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I Knew This Would Happen…Jeff’s Review of 04/05/06 Books.

Brian Hibbs

I knew that sooner or later my weekend job would get extra-busy and piledrive me into the ground, and, of course, it happened on the same weekend as APE. And since Graeme didn’t make it into the store Friday, I thought it unlikely he’d be posting his reviews over the weekend. (I don’t know for sure, but I sort of imagine Graeme making his way around APE and the various parties over the weekend, mingling with the comix hoi-polloi. If so, maybe he’ll get a chance to grace us with a report? Hey, I can dream, right?)

And, of course, Brian’s busy and preoccupied and, unless I’m remembering his schedule incorrectly, probably has a Tilting that he’s working on this week.

But can I let this site lie fallow? No! Can I remember a damned thing about the comics I read on Friday? No! I mean, uh, mmmmaybe…. Let’s see.

ANNIHILATION SILVER SURFER #1: Are all the chapters of this Annihilation epic going to look so scratchy? What happened to the Joe Sinnott-style Silver Surfer, who looked liked he’d been sculpted from buttery-smooth marble? It would suit some of the old-school style Surfer anguish being bandied about here, as he and other former Galactus herald Gabriel find themselves trying to distinguish the mass destruction seen here as different from what they used to enable during their glory days. I’m inclined toward Eh but that might change depending on how things develop.

DETECTIVE COMICS #818: The Ventriloquist is one of the few Batman villains created in the last twenty years that really seemed to stick. So if he’s really been offed, as apparently happens here, just to make Two-Face seem like more of a badass, well, I think that’s a really stupid move. Parts of this, combined with those One Year Later ads that show the bloodiest parts of the Infinite Crisis storyline, make me worry that the post-IC universe is going to be very, very Geoff Johns-ish, where the heroes are good and noble, and everyone else is going to be tortured within an inch of their lives. Yes, yes: all of you wishing to send me “Well, duh” emails, please form a line to the left. OK.

INFINITE CRISIS #6: There were some really cool bits here and there–all those earths and Luthor’s glance at Earth-Prime which the artists nailed perfectly came to mind–but the whole thing is logging down with Superboy-itis. Why did weird stuff happen in the DCU? Superboy punched stuff. Why did a bunch of second string Teen Titans die and the Speedforce disappear? Superboy punched them. How does Luthor’s impenetrable tower topple? Two Superboys punch into it. Is this a way to give the Siegel family a bunch of money since the entire miniseries spins around the actions of Superboy(s)? That’d be swell of DC, but it doesn’t seem likely, does it? Eh, and, hey, what was up with that Black Adam-Psycho-Pirate scene? I mean, the fuck.

JONAH HEX #6: Supposed to be a wild, plot-spinning ride but it felt a little too hyper to me, like two isues jammed into one. I would’ve been more touched by Jonah’s reunion with his long-lost love if I hadn’t still been trying to figure out the whole plague-Apache-nuns-outlaw angle. The nuns are outlaws who fake a plague to keep the Apaches at bay, maybe? But…uh, why? Eh.

MARVEL TEAM-UP #19: I’m just enough of a Marvel fanboy to appreciate the idea of the Mandarin making a new ring out of a cosmic cube shard. I’m trying to think if there’s been a single arc on this title I haven’t ended up underwhelmed by, though. OK, but I’m pessimistic.

MARVEL ZOMBIES #5: Had almost none of the darkly amusing horror that made the previous issues so striking, and the undead superhero/supervillain fight felt like something Kirkman pulled out of his ass to either (a) pad out pages; or (b) delay his original ending to milk another miniseries out of this. And wouldn’t that ending have had some punch if we hadn’t seen the Marvel heroes chowing down on Galactus a few pages earlier? Just when Kirkman’s almost proved me wrong to view all of his Marvel work as cynical hackwork, he busts out the ultra-cynical hacky ending. Awful issue, and dragged the whole endeavor down to Eh for me.

MOON KNIGHT #1: I really liked that reversal–didn’t see it coming at all. The narration reads less like an authentic monologue and more like a chance for the writer to show us, honest, he’s a fan of the character and he’s done his homework–like a slightly klutzier Brad Meltzer–but the hook caught me. Let’s see where it goes from here. Good.

OMAC PROJECT INFINITE CRISIS SPECIAL: Hibbs really disagreed with me, but this struck me as pooped out–although whether I mean that in the sense of “completely exhausted” or “fell out of somebody’s butt” even I can’t rightly say. Sasha is capable of being taken over by the OMAC satellite so she doesn’t feel like it’s a problem that she’s the only one investigating the very same satellite? Hello, my name is Jeff Lester and I’m today’s loser on ‘Suspend Your Disbelief!’ And unless Sasha’s whining about how all the other heroes are dissing her is Rucka’s clumsy attempt to bring DC Countdown full circle, I’d say that tune’s a little played. Awful.

PUNISHER #32: The rich Masters of the Universe and the poor killers of color–if only this was being written by Tom Wolfe! Like last issue, I’m digging the art but kinda can’t help but see one little flaw after another–the end of this issue would be evocative if not for the opening of the previous issue, it seems like. Eh, but you may feel differently, one way or the other.

REVOLUTION ON THE PLANET OF THE APES #3: An Ape-head like me really appreciates the love and respect this series is giving the original set of films, but each issue feels slight to me–as if they didn’t have enough money to pay the artists for a full issue and kept wedging in text pieces to get by. I want this to succeed so badly, I can’t tell if my OK is actually too optimistic or too pessimistic. I’m enjoying it but not loving it, is what I’m saying. But then, I didn’t lay down a hundred-twenty-plus bones for the DVD complete edition, so obviously I’m a poseur…

TEEN TITANS #34: I thought Marvin and Wendy were funny, dammit. (And I assume that’s one of the Wonder Twins robbing a bank.) But how many issues until Black Adam gouges their eyes out? Four? Five? Even worse, the strongest and most consistent hook this book had was Superboy and Wonder Girl’s relationship–since that’s now gone, I’m gonna need another emotional hook and pronto. Trying to second-guess who’s in The Doom Patrol doesn’t really cut it. OK.

THUNDERBOLT JAXON #3: Huh. I thought things would be a little further along by now. Bummer. Eh.

YOUNG AVENGERS #11: That Heinberg can mesh his story with so tightly with Marvel continuity without making it feel constricted by that continuity is a remarkable achievement. That Patriot is so dumb he takes a shot for the one Avenger who has a shield is also remarkable. Still, a high Good and my PICK OF THE WEEK.

PICK OF THE WEAK: I think maybe Mr. Rucka has burnt himself out on the DCU or something. OMAC PROJECT INFINITE CRISIS SPECIAL was so bad, I couldn’t believe he wrote it.

TRADE PICK: Bupkis. I didn’t delve into the week’s selections very deeply, however. Someone’ll come along with a good recommendation, I’m sure.

MANGA FIX: DEATH NOTE, volumes 2 and 3. Ohba and Obata have done a great job of crafting an absurdly effective cat-and-mouse tale with some genuinely creepy scenes. It’s a little silly in its not-so-subtle-teen-pandering (The world’s greatest detective! The world’s deadliest killer! And they’re both starting college!) but the way the creators take their premise and play it out is really, really enjoyable. Great stuff.

There. That’ll give you something to chew on (at least until Graeme posts twenty minutes from now…). Now I can go read Jog and The X-Axis…

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