Posted by: Brian Hibbs on November 13, 2004
Not a lot of time this week (got to get the new Tilting written, and Garth Ennis came to town and so I kinda blew a day this week recovering), so a quick in-and-out on some notable books:
ANGELTOWN #1: New Vertigo crime mini. Likable (enough) characters, nice art, strong plot and decent scripting. This won’t be a classic (or, really, I suspect, TPed), but solid enough and worth a GOOD.
AVENGERS FINALE #1: I was liking it fine until we got to the double-page spreads, whereupon I started intensely disliking it. There’s a few pretty weird choices in here (Especially Jarvis’ “The BEST time of the Avengers? Oh, that’s easy – when the Wrecker beat me nearly to death with a crowbar, then sodomized me!” Um, OK?), and it looks like Marvel is “pulling a DC” and letting Wanda’s powers be a big ol’ reset button (Tony’s “And thankfully no one thinks I’m Iron Man any more”, or the implication this explains away Morrison’s NEW X-MEN run, or I guess, how Korvac didn’t end up committing cosmic suicide in the end?), which, y’know, is so not-Marvel it hurts my head. Then there’s the weird plothammering bits like everyone kinda wandering away despite the obviousness that “The Avengers” is still an idea of merit, or Tony’s proclamation that, sure, the City of New York is happy to grant Landmark status to a pile pile of rubble, or… well, look, you have to turn your brain off for this. I really hope NEW AVENGERS is worth all of this. A (high) AWFUL
BATMAN LEGENDS OF THE DARK KNIGHT #185: Wait, is Riddler a joke or not? He just was last month, but now he’s serious again, but, wait, this takes place BEFORE War Games, but maybe after that backup story thing with Ivy? Can’t tell. For a “No, really, he’s a threat, believe us!” story, this was fine I guess, but I didn’t care too much. EH
FIRESTORM #7: Ouch, major mistake. I tend to think this will just chase off both sets of readers from both these morally complex books. The problem is, both of them succumb too much to thuggery to be ending up enjoyable. The entire story seems too long, too padded, too brutal, and, ultimately, adding little to either book. Not my thing, sorry, and this derails some promising starts for this reader. AWFUL.
GREEN ARROW #44: I can’t wait until the lectures and the facts and the statistics and everything is over (in OUTSIDERS, too). “Message” comics are fine, but within each 22 pages there should be some attempt at story movement. So, EH.
IDENTITY CRISIS #6: Don’t really want to comment much on this because too much turns on how the last issue resolves (Can it be done in the 38-or-whatever remaining pages?), but it’s sorta hard to see how this won’t break the JLA pretty permanently, and I assume that the Ray Palmer thing is a final red herring if only because Ray’s the most shat upon in the service of crossovers-and-ennui character in the DCU. I’d say OK for now, except next issue is either going to make this AWFUL or VERY GOOD, so I’m going to go with an INCOMPLETE
IRON MAN #1: Except for the big splatty “real world” continuity problems this underlines (Wait, WHEN did these stories happen?), I really liked this. The art is a bit stiff, but the story was strong, and I felt like I got a “comics worth” of reading. Also, did anyone notice the MAJOR Marvel policy change this issue snuck in? Right, Warren and Adi’s names are ABOVE THE LOGO. That’s big, and I hope it starts a new trend in Marvel branding because it makes a big difference in sales and rack presence. Either way, I’ll go VERY GOOD.
JSA #67: Damn, Dave Gibbons drawing the JSA. That’s…. well, that’s damn cool. Solid writing too, I think I’ll go both EXCELLENT and PICK OF THE WEEK here.
MARVEL TEAM-UP #1: Somehow the logo makes me think of the commercials for the LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN movie – “ELL! ECHS! GEE!!!” – but here it is “EMM! TEA! YOU!”. We start with a Spidey/Wolvie teaming (yawn), but this is better than some of Kirkman’s other Marvel work, and, anyway, I like INVINCIBLE better. Nothing shameful here, but it does feel like Marvel saying “We don’t love you; we just want all of your money” (Apologies to Dave Sim) As EH as an EH could possibly be.
NEW THUNDERBOLTS #1: This too, I think. I don’t know what exactly is off about it, but I really don’t care at this point what happens to anyone here. EH.
OCEAN #2: What I liked most about this was that you could read this without having read #1, and still followed it fine, yet I didn’t feel like I was reading the same information twice. VERY GOOD.
MARVEL KNIGHTS SPIDER-MAN #8: Great googly-moogly, that was awful. I read it twice and I still couldn’t figure out how SPidey had his heart ripped out on one page, then he was fine on the other. Took Jeff, who had read #7 minutes before reading #8 to figure out that it was the people casually mentioned as trying to fake results for the money. He had to figure it out, too. What horrifically unclear storytelling. Then, those endings! Yikies! C’mon, convincing Jonah Spidey is his Son? Any how many seconds does it take for Jonah to pick up the phone and make that call? And, then, how many seconds later does Peter have a PI on him so Jonah can destroy him utterly? I mean, that’s like sueing a MMOG like City of Heroes for perceived inadequacies in policing the character base for copywritten characters when you’re about to launch a MMOG yourself. About the best you can do is open YOURSELF up to future legal actions once you realize it’s basically impossible to adequately vet hundreds of thousands of players and the scores of characters each and every one has. Oh…wait… Well, anyway, this falls below even the Critic scale, and gets the dread rating of ASS. It is also the PICK OF THE WEAK.
WILD GIRL #1: Guh. Unclear, dull, and awkward and tragically paced. Very little happens, and what does is confusing and muddled. AWFUL.
Sveral good choices in Books / TPs this week, here’s my first draft list:
ABSOLUTE PLANETARY HC
BLAB VOL 15
NIKOPOL TRILOGY TP
PRO OVERSIZED HC
SHE-HULK VOL 1 SINGLE GREEN FEMALE TP
SUPERMAN SECRET IDENTITY TP
THE PULSE VOL 1 THIN AIR TP
ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN VOL 5 HC
Every one has a strong reason to buy it, but I think I’ll go with the NIKOPOL TRILOGY TP as the BOOK OF THE WEEK because Bilal is yummy, and the story is excellent, and the price is a steal.
See ya soon!