Posted by: Brian Hibbs on May 24, 2013
Tags: Avengers, Brian, Brian Buccellato, Brian Michael Bendis, Daredevil, David Messina, Diane Nelson, Fantastic four, Francis Manapul, Frazer Irving, Geoff Johns, Green Lantern, Half Past Danger, Joe Casey, Jonathan Hickman, Occupy Comics, Powers: Bureau, Stephen Mooney, The Bounce, The Flash, The Green Team, Uncanny X-Men, What is the actual premise of this comic?, Young Avengers
Thoughts on Twelve Angry Comics from this week, below that jump
AVENGERS #12: I’ve tried, really I have, but I find Hickman’s AVENGERS titles so bloodless and over-plotted that I just can’t get into them whatsoever. Here we are at what would be the “one year mark” for a “normal” comic, at the five months-old mark (and people wonder why Marvel is driving sales now?), and I’m so very very cold to this one and it’s sibling title. Only “Spider-Ock teaching those kids how to be selfish” showed any real spark. I find this so very EH.
BOUNCE #1: I don’t understand what Joe Kelley is trying to do here? “Speedball, except with swearing and explicit drug use?” That’s not so very appealing, and then the first issue ends with an “alternate reality”, and I’m trying to figure out what I’m rooting for? Some of the wilder ideas (A superhuman who IS a drug, shadowy conspiracies run by lizard-eaters, etc.) probably work a lot better with the mainstream-like art by David Messina that some of Casey’s other co-creators. I liked it fine, but I’m having a hard time deciphering the actual premise. Call it a very strong OK?
DAREDEVIL #26: this book is moving from strength to strength, and I think that the new enemy is one of the strongest ones that DD has ever faced… but, damn, I can’t for the life of my recall his name. Akemi? Ashema? Somewhere in that range. Too bad it wasn’t something like “Devildare” or something else easily remembered (Like, dunno, “Bullseye”, maybe?), as that would mark a perfect nemesis. Either way, this book is VERY GOOD.
FANTASTIC FOUR #8: There’s been something just a few degrees off from this renumbering, that I wish I could put my finger on — but it’s just dying in sales on our racks. Plummmmmet. Which is a damn shame, because this was as near as perfect of a single issue of a superhero comic book that I read this year. Ben Grimm on his one “day of being human”, visiting the past of Yancy Street even before his sainted Aunt Petunia, and its just a great great little Done-In-One. VERY GOOD.
FLASH #20: Excited, oddly, about a new “Reverse Flash”, but, like much of the Manapul/Buccellato era, it’s just not delivering it’s potential in my eyes. I really really want to believe, but the fairy is dying right in front of my very eyes. It tries so very very hard, and I desperately want to like it but like a poor marksman, it. keeps, missing. its. target. (KHAAAAAAAAAAANNNN!)
(Christ, I’m a nerd)
I honestly can’t generate more than an OK, though I *want* it to be a VG, y’know?
GREEN LANTERN #20: And so ends an era. Really, this deserves an essay of its own, but Geoff deserves some amazing props for turning what was a (lets face it) second string character into a genuine franchise. Some people deride the “rainbow corps” (and, yeah, it probably went a step too far), but at least there are really legitimate differences and motivations and backstories between the various Corps.
I am personally of the mind that Geoff’s run ran 3-4 years too long — I’m not convinced that anything after “Blackest Night” was really particularly good — but you GOT to give it up to Geoff for what he’s accomplished in the run, overall. I think even moreso because MY expectation is that the franchise of GL is going to crater out without Geoff at the helm… largely I think that the audience was essentially tolerating much of the excess in the line due to perceiving it as a creative vision. We’ll see.
This last issue, sadly, wasn’t much special — the villain of this story has been uninteresting, and the final crossover dragged on way too long, with way too much handwaving and gnashing of teeth — so I’m not inclined to go over an OK, but I do want to make special mention of the “text pieces” scattered throughout the issue which (and this is really straight from Jeff Lester, I am sorry for stealing!) read like nothing more than signatures collected in a high school yearbook, with all of the empty insincere praise that entails — I’m shocked there’s not a “Have A Great Summer!” in there somewhere, honestly — the nadir probably being Diane Nelson’s. I’d be shocked if she could recite the rest of that.
Yeah: “Have A Great Summer!”
GREEN TEAM #1: Here’s the good news: We’re guaranteed to get more issues of this than from the first series (which had just two issues, after it’s debut in “1st Issue Special”, both cancelled before they shipped), as this will last AT LEAST until issue #8. It’s hard to think that it will get much more beyond that, however, since there wasn’t a ton of ACTUAL premise on display in this first one. I get that on paper it’s “rich kids buy superpowers”, but that only happens for ONE of the “team”, and that only on the last page. Has no one heard of “in media res“? Plus? I liked them better as, y’know, little kids. Well, copyright resecured, I guess.
I *love* this description of the cancelled first series: “In the first of the two unpublished adventures, the boys were pitted against giant lobsters and the Russian Navy. In what would have been the third issue, the Green Team face a villain called the Paperhanger who had special wallpaper that grew plants and trees, and who was a dead ringer for Adolf Hitler. They dispatch all menaces, then disappear into history in their private jet.” Oh oh, the wacky wacky 70s…
This was highly OK, but needed to be so so much better to escape the event horizon of the current DCU
HALF PAST DANGER #1: Nice try, but another example of “burying the lede” and starting the story long long before the story should actually be started — “WW2 adventurers FIGHT nazi dinosaurs!” is a great idea, but so much of this comic was walking through woods and sitting in bars and things that were not actually fighting nazis OR dinosaurs. Plus Stephen Mooney’s art is just too anatomically awkward in places. There’s virtually no genre serialization that couldn’t learn a lot by studying the structure of, say, an episode of Star Trek, and applying that to EACH INDIVIDUAL issue of the comic. Yet another OK on display in this one.
OCCUPY COMICS #1: I think this might be a year too late to do any good, but I liked virtually every page of this polemic of a comic. You could also call this “time capsule comics”, because that’s likely how this will seem in a decade (sort of like how the 9/11 comics are today), but that doesn’t stop this from being a solid little anthology, and (I thought) VERY GOOD.
POWERS BUREAU #4: there are times that I think that Bendis has single-handedly done more harm to the very idea of creator-owned comics than another other guy in comics. As a working retailer, I am constrained to point out that this issue is nearly a full month late, and that’s after they utterly wasted having a few issues “banked” by shipping the first two bi-weekly and bragging how they were absolutely “guaranteed” to ship on time. And now we’re already selling fewer copies than we did of the prior series, *sad trombone noise*
And the shame of it is that the book is very readable again, after a pretty dire patch of thinking it was better than it was — I thought this issue was solidly GOOD.
UNCANNY X-MEN #6: Speaking of Bendis, he’s just killing it here. KILLING.
I don’t know why — maybe because the Claremont DNA makes “chatty” a good move for x-books? I don’t know, but this (and “All New”) are absolutely “good” Bendis, and I thought this issue, with art by the incomparable Frazer Irving, was VERY GOOD.
YOUNG AVENGERS #5: Really GOOD ending to the first arc, and they’re all given a plausible reason to be a team. It’s just too bad that “Avengers” comics are as common as STDs on a hooker these days, because the clutter on the shelf (there are FOUR “Avengers” comics just this WEEK) is leaving this one the poor-selling stepchild.
Right, then, that’s me — what did YOU think?