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Some reviews of stuff, whoa!

Brian Hibbs

So, really, I’m still catching up. It is ugly. I really thought I’d be out of my pit of work by now, but I forgot I was going to lose all day Thursday and Friday of last week because Sue is out, and Jeff wasn’t back from his honeymoon yet. My bad.

I’ve made a Mysterious Offer to a Mysterious Personage, and while tentatively the answer was yes, we’re waiting for the final word; if it stays that way we’ve got some terrific news for the Savage Critic, but I’m not counting any chickens before they, y’know, hatch.

Anyway, I’m still not up to speed yet to do a full load of reviews, but I have want to get at least SOMEthing up so you all didn’t go writing us off…

JLA #119: So INFINITE CRISIS is 2 weeks away (or here, if you believe the cover blurb), and, still, really, I haven’t any idea what it is ABOUT. Even going after to the (forced feeling) cliffhanger here, I don’t have clue one where this is going. I don’t know, every character feels like a little action figure being pushed around and asked to spout this line or that because that’s what they need to do to advance things to the place they “need” to be.

Like, when Hal opened his mouth I was all “what? What do you mean Batman quit? All he said was “get out” or whatever. He says shit like that ALL the time, man.”

But, OK, the JLA is “broken up” — leaving us with Aquaman and J’onn: the masterminds behind JL Detroit, right?

I don’t know, it wasn’t awful or anything, but it felt… felt… oh, I don’t know, all resigned, maybe. A big ol’ EH from me.

OMAC PROJECT #6: Also terrifically problematic. It sort of felt like the last 10 minutes of a weaker episode of STAR TREK TNG — “If we insterpositate the ramenfraz on the hyperperambulator, then the megahynadyne of the whathefug will zamriffian!” Problem introduced and (mostly) solved snicker-snack, snicker-snack.

I thought that was a pretty ball-less solution, actually — the landmine of there being 1.2 million metahumans (or whatever the number was) running around the DCU is still there, and while we saw a few minor deaths (presumably) (and, wow, got rid of the Supermen of America and the Demolition Team — should be a massive fucking outcry over that, huh?), this could have been a great excuse to wipe a number of slates clean.

But, still, there’s over 200k of the Omacs still running around — moving from completely inane to just insane, I guess, and not really resolving much of anything.

If I was bugged by one thing more than anything else, it was the leaden last page with the Big Broadcast. To me this was pretty weak storytelling — I was actually expecting this to be the first page of issue #4 (propaganda being the best tool of control of all) — it waas like Rucka knew he couldn’t end on the kiss, and since there’s no actual resolution to the events, he had to drop that in.

Ultimately I think I’ll go with an OK, and leave it at that — this should have been much better, but it was all plot-hammers, and ended up with no room for explanation or actual story.

DAY OF VENGEANCE #6: This one, on the other hand, was really stinky-bad — it had even less resolution that JLA or OMAC, if that’s possible. Correct me if I’m wrong, but absolutely nothing was accomplished by the “Shadow Pact”(what a lousy name for a group) — Spectre and Eclipso are still running around trying to “destroy all magic”, or whatever their ill-defined plan actually was, and the “destruction” of Gotham was dealt with in such a basically off-hand manner, more like “well, my plot memo says this happens, so sure!” rather with any meaning or depth. I get the feeling that this will be sorted out like the “Clark nearly kills Bruce” thing — one artist draws Bruce in a full body cast, with tubes coming out of his nose, while in the next issue he’s just got a little bandaid on. But, I don’t know, I tend to think if you drop an exploding mountain on a city, that’s got to be a legitimately big deal. Why Gotham, anyway? It didn’t work when they tried it with an earthquake and a plague…. DoV #6 was truly AWFUL.

NEW AVENGERS #11: I’m pretty damn annoyed this shipped the WEEK after #10 — honest to god, if you’re trying to make up your production schedule, doing so on the backs of the retailers isn’t the way tto go. First week sales on #11 are 17% less than first week sales on #9 or 10, and three guesses who has to eat THAT in the long and short terms. “Who is Ronin”? My response is generally “who cares?” because I’m much more about the “Magnificent Seven” style approach to team books than introducing New Hot Characters. Having said that, I generally liked this issue — it doesn’t feel a whole lot like an Ävengers” comic book, but it seems like it is making a decent enough use of the Marvel U as a backdrop, I guess. I’ll go with a really low GOOD, muchly for the art.

ULTIMATE SECRET #3: I barely remember what happened in #1 & 2, but overall that doesn’t matter as this is reasonably self-contained. Fairly crisp hero writing, kinda meh-ish art, it was still solidly GOOD

YOUNG AVENGERS #7: with the really great origin story out of the way, here we go with “now, what’s the point of this book?” portion of the show. Sadly, I’m not really sure WHAT the point is, at this stage — these are alright characters, but it feels pretty much like, I don’t know the New Warriors or something. I’m not sure what makes them Young AVENGERS, per se. Plus the art was pretty bland. And, while I’m willing to give a benefit of the doubt, I was pretty distressed that the single black member of the team was “pulling a Speedy” there on page 22. Let’s very much hope that’s not how it seems, because that’s pretty yucky. A solid OK, but nothing more.

ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #83: Yeah, liking this arc — feels like the “good days” of the book are back. Solidly VERY GOOD.

INVINCIBLE #26: Hm, solid solid stuff, but I’m not too sure that I buy Mark’s father little transformation there. Feels a bit happy-coincidence, if you know what I mean. Still, a low GOOD.

LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES #10: I dunno, I really don’t. I’m not invested in this world, or these characters, especially when freed from the Bonds of Nostalgia. Trying to do Big SPace Epic is all well and fine, but there’s no POV character that lets the audience RELATE. Plus I miss the drawn lettercol. That was really nice and charming. A modest OK.

VIGILANTE #1: Full of mood, and nicely drawn, but I didn’t CARE. At all. Definitely the wrong week to launch this, sales speaking — too much competition on the shelves, and we sold through poorly on mediocre orders. Can’t really picture this extending into a second mini-series, based on this launch. EH.

AUTHORITY: MAGNIFICENT KEVIN #2: The first issue was pretty odd, with the pie throwing genie yelling “vagina!”, and all, but this was solid character-study stuff in this issue. Worth your coin, and VERY GOOD.

BLACK WIDOW 2 #1: Er, this is BLACK WIDOW 4 isn’t it? Plus the indicia calls it that, but the cover doesn’t. Odd. Bill Sienkiewicz inking Sean Phillips is a strange mix (they kind of merge into Klaus Janson, if you ask me), but I thought this was a solid debut issue. AN easy GOOD, I think.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #524: The hydra story is resolved, mostly, off camera, while this sets up (and up and up and up….) the “Others” storyline. I was, largely, bored. So, call it an EH.

That’s about all I have time for this week — more next I promise. I also hope to give you that Mysterious News I hinted at above by this time next week. But… we’ll see.

My PICK OF THE WEEK was…. well, hm, not really sure. Probably ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #83, but there wasn’t a clear unbeatable Must Have this week.

PICK OF THE WEAK-wise, well I didn’t do a full write up, but what I liked the least was probably HULK DESTRUCTION #3, a book I simply don’t get the point of.

For the BOOK /TP OF THE WEEK there are a number of choices… SPX 2005 is a GREAT contender (I especially liked Jesse Reklaw’s piece), but I have to deduct WTF points on that cover — basically impossible to tell what the hell it was, or why you should care. It’s a rare book that becomes MORE commercial by going spine-out.

So that means I’m going to go with either of the volumes of SHOWCASE that shipped this week — SHOWCASE PRESENTS SUPERMAN or SHOWCASE PRESENTS GREEN LANTERN. 500+ pages for $9.99? Yes, sir, sign me up!! If you make me pick one, I’ll edge over to SUPERMAN, me thinketh.

What did YOU think this week?


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