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Steamroller of content: Hibbs’ 10/10

Brian Hibbs

Yes, yes, let’s keep this week’s Steamroller of Content rolling along, with me doing This Week’s Comics actually, y’know, THIS week…!

BATMAN #13: I thought this was very very effective, full of mood and tension and anxiety and evil clowns and, yeah, just everything you might want in a modern comic. To a certain extent, I think the vigor as a commercial product that BATMAN has shown since its relaunch might possibly single-handedly make “the new 52” have been worth it. Clearly America’s #1 superhero comic book of the moment, I thought this was frankly EXCELLENT.


BATGIRL #13: this one, on the other hand? Not so much. I mean, the main story was perfectly adequate attempt at making  grrrrr/gritty nemesis for Babs (who, let’s remember, until now has primarily be associated with Killer Moth) — but it feels to me like… dunno, trying to hard or something? I was pretty insulted by the “tie-in” to the Batman storyline, with its wraparound cover and instant sell-out, but only being, yuck, 2 pages  of anything, and that thing was pretty much no-thing, anyway. So, yeah, I thought it was pretty EH.


AvX: CONSEQUENCES #1: I think that personally, my favorite “consequence” of this issue is that Cap apparently went squirrelly, and decided that the best time to go shopping for new clothes was in the narrow space between AvX #12 and this… and that no one is willing to say anything to his face about it. “Cap, seriously, you look like a penis now.” or “Nice look, did NFL Superpro have a sale?”. Anyway, the plot of this is mostly “Cyke’s in jail, doesn’t care”… I don’t know, where can he possibly go as a character from here? He was always the most boring of the X-Men original or giant-sized or uncanny or new, and this isn’t doing him any favors. He’s just as dull watching mope around a prison cell. Hope is also told she can go be a normal kid first, but someone is going to have to take her hand and take her clothing shopping first, because she looks distinctly unnormal standing around in that combat suit talking like that. Just, god, please don’t let it be Cap taking her to the store — his fashion sense sucks! That comic was extremely EH.


UNCANNY AVENGERS #1: I really wanted to like this, but man I have such a hard time with the things they’re trying to get us to believe about how the world perceives the mutants, etc. I sure don’t believe when Captain America comes along and says that *Alex Summers* is the last, best hope to lead mutantkind to their new Avengery-destiny. Dude, Alex Summers is a damp squib of a character. Just about the only thing he’s got going for him is that cool costume. But past that? Name one actual human-personality trait he’s ever shown in some 40 years of existence? No, you can’t, because he’s never exhibited one either.

I mean, honestly! You want the even duller brother of the world’s most tedious mutant to lead an Avengers team, really?

The main thing UNCANNY AVENGERS has going for it is John Cassaday, who is, of course, a very fine artist. My problem is that this isn’t a gathering of characters that I want to see him draw, and the situation he is drawing is fairly uninteresting to me. This was OK.


HALLOWEEN EVE: This is one big Amy Reeder showcase, and, yeah, she’s an artist to watch, with a wicked sense of style and verve in her drawing. I’m less enthused about her lettering and coloring — the former looking entirely computer done with too large baloons, the latter being too bright in too many places, and without a good balance between background and foreground. But who cares, the art itself is so pretty! The story, on the other hand — pretty much just “A Christmas Carol”, except set during Halloween — I’ve read worse, I’m sure, but it was pretty average stuff. So what to rate it what to rate it… Oh, hell, I’ll go with a low GOOD.


POINT OF IMPACT #1:  Jay Faerber’s new ongoing black & white crime book, and while part of me thinks that maybe it veers towards the wannabe TV Pilot that Abhay was discussing earlier (at least partially pushed along by the ode to Boomtown in the text page), I thought it was a zippy enough first issue to say something about it. Artist Koray Kuranel is new (or at least “new to me”), and he’s still got some awkward drawings to get out of his (?) system — look at that hand in the next to last panel of the last page and tell me that doesn’t look like that weird SNL character with the tiny hands? But I was more struck through a lot of the issue that the art kind of looked like Ian Gibson. Haven’t seen his art is years — still working in the UK?

Anyway, this is a noble effort that looks like it has a certain amount of potential. I’ll also call it a low GOOD.


RED SHE-HULK #58: Or, what would, in any other universe, be called #1. I’m very much not the audience for this, I don’t think, because in my brain, making Betty Ross a hulk (let alone the very idea of multiple, colored hulks!) seems about as wise as having, say, Jean Loring become Eclipso after killing Sue Dibney.  But, even if I didn’t think that, I’d want to see some characterization or personality or motivation, all of which seem to be 100% absent in this comic book. Is it too much to want the titular hero of a book to be a protagonist… well, or at least a motivating factor in things that happen? Yeah, this ain’t for me. AWFUL.


PHANTOM STRANGER #1: I can’t believe that I’m going to say this, but maybe this was even worse than #0.  If only because it didn’t have the deeply wrong Judas backstory, yet was, in effect, exactly the same story as issue #1 — someone wants PS to help them (in this case, it is Raven, once [but no longer] of the Teen Titans), PS betrays them because God tells him to, PS levels up (he’s down to 28 pieces of Silver now, woo!) — exactly and precisely the story of #0, where it was the Spectre then. Douchebag Monthly! This is going to sell and sell and sell!

I lie, there is ONE more thing that’s slightly different, something which pushes this issue truly into howler territory — at the end of this it sure looks as though the Phantom Stranger goes home to his wife and loving children. Yep, not only have the entirely missed the point of being a “stranger”, they now seem to be saying that Judas has changed his name to “Phil”, and is living The American Dream in what looks to be a suburb.

I’ll just let that idea sink in for a moment.

I kind of now need to give this comic just one more issue to determine if it is merely criminally insane, or Bob Haney-style brilliant. I know which way I’m leaning, but I have to leave the possibility of brilliance open, don’t I?  So, while I want to say “CRAP”, I’m barely, and perversely going to call it as “INCOMPLETE”.


AME-COMI GIRLS #1: Well, even shrunk and reformatted, I’ll stare at Amanda Conner art all day long. And, boo, that she only does about 2/3rds of the comic, but it still looks nice in those bits. Plotwise the comics is a bit sex-n-gore-y, but if you’re looking for an anime-style version of Wonder Woman, with nice cheescake art, there are certainly worse directions this comic could have gone.  So, that’s, what? OK, I guess?



OK, enough from me… what did YOU think?



10 Responses to “ Steamroller of content: Hibbs’ 10/10 ”

  1. No, you were right the first time; Phantom Stranger was utter crap.

  2. I am intrigued by your assertion that PHANTOM STRANGER may mutate into some kind of perverse 21st century BRAVE AND THE BOLD…really looking forward to your reaction to the next issue. :)

  3. I’m stunned that the people in charge of DC still let Dan Didio write any comics at all.

    Oh wait…

  4. I can only think of one character trait Alex Summers has displayed over the years: an aversion to leadership (even when forced into it:)

  5. Brian: I agree with you accross the board (with the caveat that I am not at all following the marvel books).

    Batman left me with the sense we are seeing something special here…one of those storylines you remember for years. The Jock back-up was stellar as well. Batgirl, however, left me feeling exploited, as its a tie-in without any actual link to the Joker story.

    I also read Point of Impact and thought it was GOOD. But it says something about the drastic shift in my buying habbits that I will now give most Image books a chance. What a shift for that company’s direction. Keep it up!

    and yes: Phantom Stranger. WHY DC? WHY!

  6. “BATMAN #13: I thought this was very very effective, full of mood and tension and anxiety and evil clowns and, yeah, just everything you might want in a modern comic.”

    Mood’s a thing for cattle and love play… not fighting.

    also, Phantom Stranger…there are no words.

  7. Hey… I like Havok. Maybe putting him in an Avengery role will give the character better opportunity to develop. Except I didn’t care for UncA at all, besides the art of course. The story was all over the place and way too much caption-monologuing. And $3.99? No.

  8. I really liked Havok in the early issues of David/Stroman’s X-Factor run. It was back when when I first started reading comics, and a scene with Lorna and Alex playing “catchup” on their relationship was probably the first example I read where characterization won out over plot advancement.

    It feels really strange to have a Red She-Hulk book out with no She-Hulk on the market. Is she (Jen) going to be on one of the Avengers teams at least?

    Also, shouldn’t it really be She-Red-Hulk? It’s not like her powers came from She-Hulk.

  9. Thanks for posting your comments, Brian. Always nice to read what another retailer thinks.

    I really liked Uncanny Avengers #1. Not as much as I liked Batman #13, but I thought it was a very solid start to Marvel NOW.

    AvX Consequences surprised me by not being horrible. Having read issue #1 and #2, I can honestly say that this is one of the best weekly series that Marvel has ever done, (that’s really not saying much, I know).

    I enjoyed Phantom Stranger #0, but #1 fell flat. What’s with the art? Same penciller on both issues but #1 had “embellishments” by another artist.

  10. RED SHE-HULK #58: Or, what would, in any other universe, be called #1.

    The thing I really don’t get is… if they want to try and leech off a book that’s otherwise ending… why didn’t they “continue” the Aaron Incredible Hulk, which sells 10k better than Rulk did.

    It feels really strange to have a Red She-Hulk book out with no She-Hulk on the market. Is she (Jen) going to be on one of the Avengers teams at least?

    Fraction/Allred FF.

    Also, shouldn’t it really be She-Red-Hulk? It’s not like her powers came from She-Hulk.

    *shrugs*. She’s a She-Hulk. Who is red. And her powers DO come, in part, from draining Jen while she was captive, if I recall Fall of the Hulks correctly.

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