Hibbsing into the first week of November!

Brian Hibbs

I lost last week to GTA: San Andreas. It was on crazy sale on Steam (under $5), and I let myself get tempted and sucked in, and read very very little last week. But I’m back now!

GTA: SA is a fascinating game — I certainly feel coarser for playing it (still playing it, actually — I’m not even out of LA proper yet!), but I also think there’s something insanely artful about the freedom of the entire experience. The voice acting is stellar, the motion capture is amazingly subtle, then it has those big meaty meshes that just slaughter the illusion. It’s insanely hard in places, and some of that might be standard controllers — like the rail shooting portions would be a lot more fun if you were standing in an arcade, for example — and I get endlessly frustrated by it’s arcade/console roots… I am used to having a LOT finer control of when I get to save, for example, in PC games. Anyway, VERY GOOD game if you’re OK with playing dark.  So…. comics!

ACTION COMICS #3: I’m really really really enjoying Morrison’s Year One take here. I’m still not convinced this guy has actually appeared in any other comic book, however. This really is a Superman I’ve wanted to read nearly forever, and I’m sorta kind of crazy sad that we’ve been told the book is going to switch to “contemporary”, because I wish this WAS. Ah well. If there’s a problem (and there is) it’s the ridiculous $4 for 20 story pages and a bunch of absolutely mis-thought fluff at the back. It’s horrific to expect people to PAY to BE ADVERTISED TO. Ugh! If the “backmatter” doesn’t get a WHOLE lot better really really fast, I really can see a lot of people deciding to just skip out and wait for the trade.

While I’m on this topic, can I address the crossline fluff pages? I get that in issue #1 you can’t have a letter’s page (though individualized author intros and “here’s what we’re thinking” text pieces would have been the right foot to get off on), and, sure in #2 as well, but you’re on #3 now, and I can not believe that we are still seeing these softball interview questions at this point. “DC All Access” needs to be rethought as well — especially when you’re overtly trying to sell 52 titles to people, having *dull* repeating content each week is awful. It needs more Stan Lee, more cowbell, and less “laundry list of projects” perfunctorily typed out.

 

Anyway, ACTION #3′s comics pages are VERY GOOD, and everything else about the package is AWFUL.

 

ANIMAL MAN #3: Whoa. Artistic tour-de-force, with only-in-comics concepts. This is so different in tone than any of the other 52, and I’m really enjoying it almost as much for that as anything else. An easy VERY GOOD, though I didn’t like the hand-waving away of the origin aliens.

 

INFINITE VACATION #3: I really like the ideas on display in this comic (though the “Evil Mark” scene went on two pages too long!), but the art looked rushed out to my eye… which is something given it’s been SEVEN MONTHS since the last issue! Christ! This book was solicited as a MONTHLY comic. Hell, the back page ad still has the original shipping date for #4, if you look — 4/27. That’s just of 2011, not 2012. Further, issue #2 was the book that shipped back in April, not the #4 it was *supposed* to be. This kind of behavior is exactly and precisely why so many retailers give up on trying to stock innovative small press titles in general, and IMAGE COMICS in particular — this kind of crazy irresponsible publishing behavior. That’s asshat level shit right there. The comic was GOOD, but who is going to care if you can’t release it in a reasonable manner?

 

AVENGERS ACADEMY #21: Or, as the cover puts it: 1st Issue (of a new era). Hmph, cheap. I do like this book, however — it’s got an interesting premise (training future Avengers… who would have otherwise grown to be villains ), and it’s style and pacing is kind of “old school Marvel” (in every positive sense of that phrase).  There’s a realllllly awkward transition on page 12 (and again on 13) which doesn’t work at all on the printed page, making it look like one of the characters is stripping in front of a room full of people, but it has a decent little cliffhanger there on the last page, so that’s nice. Overall, I think this is a GOOD issue of a solid comic book.

 

FEAR ITSELF 7.1: CAPTAIN AMERICA: Ugh. that’s even worse than the first time through!I might have been fine with the idea here if it had been an actual decision all of the characters made, but I can not see the Caps going along with the lie, whatsoever. Plus, the stated reasons for Nick and Natasha don’t make a lot of sense — if he’s just going to go back to his old identity, won’t the Russians know about that almost immediately? This does nothing but engender negative feelings in the superhero community, for no gain.  No wonder so few of us could tell Bucky was dead in the first place…. very disappointed. And only sheer craft prevents me from going below EH.

 

x-23 #16: once, a very very long time ago, I kind of collected “Captain Universe (‘The Hero Who Could Be YOU!’)” appearances, because the conceit of the idea was fun, if a bit shallow. So, when I saw the cover, I decided to read through this issue. Mistake. I couldn’t follow it at all (Probably mostly because it is chapter 4 of a 4 part arc, I would imagine!), and I haven’t got the foggiest idea why the FF are involved with x-23, or why it’s no longer “Captain Universe”, but rather “the enigma force” (wait, tied in with Micronauts, then? Really? Since when? and…Why?), or why… well, really anything. I kind of hated it, but rather than saying “AWFUL”, I should be more fair, and liken it to walking into the last 15 minutes of a movie — good, OR bad, you’re probably not going to get it — INCOMPLETE.

 

NEW MUTANTS #33: Have I said how much it drives me nuts when people get simple enough San Francisco-based stuff completely wrong? I mean would ANY Marvel editor anywhere have a character standing in Harlem look west and see the Statue of Liberty? But the equivalent of that happens ALL THE TIME in SF-based stories. (general Protip? there are exceedingly few places in town where you’ll have a cable car in the background) So, when the New Mutants (heh) move into a house that’s, I think, meant to invoke memories of THE REAL WORLD, and the text specifically says “1128 Mission”, but the house is A VICTORIAN, yikes, no. 1100 block is down near the Civic Center, and that’s full-on industrial buildings. Seriously, go Google street view it! You can have them in a Vic on Mission st, but it’s pretty much got to be on the other side of Division. “2128 Mission” wouldn’t have had me blink even for a second.

(Yeah, yeah, I know, sorry!)

Either way, I really don’t understand the premise of this book — it isn’t clear why THESE characters are together, or why, or, even, what they’re going to do. Pretty much all of them are cyphers at this point, with any real plot thread that could come from their own backgrounds played out. I can’t muster more than an OK.

 

SWAMP THINGG #3: I keep trying to like it, but I think it is missing something in some I-can’t-explain-what way. Maybe that it feels like it is trying to live off the Moore run, yet try to contradict it at every turn? Maybe it is that “Swamp Thing” isn’t IN the comic, at all? Maybe it is “The Rot” is very very lazy? I dunno. I like the art, I even think the writing is fine, but the entire thing fails for me in some essential way.  EH.

 

UNCANNY X-MEN #1: There is absolutely positive 100% no reason this shouldn’t just be #544. they gained NOTHING from a story-telling perspective from the renumber, and even, in marketing, I don’t think it’s going to work, because that particular well is pretty dry right now at Marvel.

(plus? You can NOT see downtown SF from Ocean Beach. (Just like you wouldn’t be able to see Utopia from downtown) It isn’t possible, unless you’re in a helicopter, but not from a worm’s-eye view like the camera there. Also, they BETTER rebuild the damn windmill, Keiron, ON PANEL, I love that thing! And? On that last page? That’s not GG Park it’s standing in — that’s the Presidio, a mile or so away…)

This is not really how I would have resolved the whole Celestial thing (I find Mr. Sinister to be, perhaps, the worst of Claremont’s creations), but, sure, whatever, if you want to make UNCANNY more of a “superhero book”, then I guess this is the way to do it. Except that I thought that that was the purpose of (adjectiveless)? This was OK, but, again, I simply don’t understand the renumber.

 

 

Well, that’s enough from me — time to help customers!

What did YOU think?

 

-B

16 Responses to “ Hibbsing into the first week of November! ”

  1. I can think of one reason. Uncanny #544 already came out some weeks ago :)

    The purpose of Adjectiveless is more like having independent, generic superhero arcs by teaming up with random MU heroes. War Wachine this time around.

    Uncanny seems to be more high-concept stuff.

  2. Thank you for acknowledging the ridiculous price to content ratio in Action Comics. I had this title on my pull list until I saw the second issue: 20 pages of story with a bunch of filler in the back and *partial fill-in art*. Seriously? If Rags Morales can’t turn around even 20 pages per month then either a) he’s the wrong artist for the book or b) he hasn’t been given enough lead time. Either way, poor showing for one of your flagship titles, DC. I’m curious to see where Morrison is going with the story, but I won’t be purchasing it until it’s in the bargain bins.

  3. It’s not nice of me but I’m afraid I find it pretty funny that all those San Francisco (“The World’s Favourite City!”) inaccuracies are driving Mr Hibbs to brain-melt.

    I speak as the denizen of an island characterised as consisting of Scotland, Wales, Ireland and London and which is populated by Pearly Kings and Queens driving red double decker buses past Big Ben. (BritFact: You can see Big Ben from any window in England – see Wonder Woman #1). I believe there was even a terrible comic (Witchblade? Tomb Raider?) which depicted sheer cliffs in London. I’m not talking about Cliff Richard or Cliff Thorburn either. Taste the Karmic payback San Francisco!

    I liked the Mantlo/Ditko Captain Universe even though he never was me which was disappointing. I think if he had been me the series might still be going. Hey, I just remembered Cap was created by Bill Mantlo and Michael Golden in MICRONAUTS! Man, memorieeees!

    Thanks for the fun time.

  4. I like that WOLVERINE & THE X-MEN felt, for the first time in years, like an actual X-Men comic. And not just because of Bachalo. The more modern X-Men stuff is all well and good, but sometimes you veer too dramatically from the core concept and it becomes something else, which is fair enough, but it’s not something I really care to read. Maybe I just miss all the goofy shit; the danger room, the school, school inspectors.

  5. Man, I get the same feeling of missing-something-I-can’t put a finger-on from SWAMP THING. I’m really afraid it’s going to end up being the first of my new 52 pulls I drop, which just astonishes me.

  6. Thom: Don’t forget c) both a and b.

    Considering the delays that have plagued Rags Morales’ other projects (yes, I’m the idiot who bought all 6 issues of First Wave… the only one, apparently), I can’t believe DC would give him such a high-profile job when they’re supposedly cracking down on late comics.

    Then again, I’m not exactly a fan of the art he does turn in, so complaining about fill-in artists really is a case of “The food was terrible, and the portions were so small.” More substitutions, please?

  7. Im also really liking Action (the only one of the New 52 I continued with past issue #1) but my resentment of the $3.99 price grows each month. It’s really unbelievable DC can justify it.

    Ditto with the Uncanny renumbering. Just sad.

    I really wish this blog would add Disqus or some other widget that would allow us to subscribe to the thread so, if follow up comments are posted, we are emailed notifications. I think it’d really help the engagement. Any chance Brian?

  8. Oops I lied: I gave Stormwatch a second shot and picked up issue 2. I thought it blew away the debut issue and I’m anxious to see if it can sustain. I hope they do pull back though and actually tilt the threat level of the book more toward the Stormwatch of the past rather than what we’ve seen from The Authority: I mean fighting the MOON is cute but trying to make the villains bigger and bigger hits a brick wall of believability pretty quick.

  9. It’s not nice of me but I’m afraid I find it pretty funny that all those San Francisco (“The World’s Favourite City!”) inaccuracies are driving Mr Hibbs to brain-melt. ”

    Heh, as if american comics creators could be bothered to check real locations. Or just basic facts. I browsed through the first issue of the Red Skull origin minseries and am still laughing about the really big refrigirator in the orphange which fell through a timehole into 1923 – or maybe was the TARDIS, what do I know – and all the other lazy stuff which screamed filmed in the backlot of Universal instead of at location.

    A cringe-inducing classic is also every Nightcrawler in Germany appeareance which still seems to be right out of Laurel&Hardy or James Whale´s Frankenstein.

    But who cares about how the third world looks; still it is embarassing if they didn´t even get theit own backyard right. So I feel for you, Brian :-)

  10. “(wait, tied in with Micronauts, then? Really? Since when? and…Why?)”

    Um, since his first appearance in Micronauts?

    And if you have to ask “Why?”, you don’t know the Enigma Force.

  11. I think Action starts running with Steel backup stories in issue 4, so hopefully this was the last issue with the fully out of whack price/content ratio.

  12. You used your own name as a verb. That’s pretty ballsy… and funny.

  13. re: Fear Itself 7.1 Captain America

    What I got out of this is essentially Bucky is going to jump off the grid with the blessing of Nick Fury and Steve Rogers and more importantly, the US government via SHIELD to go and clean up the remainder of the Soviet Winter Soldier project. I like the premise.

    Effectively, he’ll be a Black Ops Captain America which is not necessarily a new idea, but relatively timely and potentially political. Anyways- I liked this book and story a lot.

    Aside- is it just me, or are there a lot of Marvel characters with bionic arms- Bucky, Misty Knight, Deathlok, Forge…

  14. Hey, I thought Bucky re-died in Fear Itself…?

  15. Did anyone else find Fear Itself 7.1 kind of hilariously (and unintentionally) meta? “Well, Marvel, er, I mean Nick, you wanted Steve to be Cap again, didn’t you? This gets you what you want, right? Just give me back my character, er, I mean boyfriend, in an undercover role where he’ll be safe from the Russians/movie division.”

  16. @caleb: Nobody re-dies forever!

    Re: ANIMAL MAN #3: I’m with Hibbs — this feels like a shock dose of the old, early Vertigo juice with wacko, fringey ideas that definitely AREN’T somebody’s repurposed movie pitch, and huzzah for that.

    But as far as “hand-waving away the aliens,” this isn’t THAT different than Morrison using the yello guys as some kinda metafictional extra-universal rewrite-ro-nauts (and in a weird way, Lemire’s take kinda jibes with that). Maybe he’s just shunting it off in a panel so he can keep the nonstop, breakneck weirdness moving?

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