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When good tastes go bad: Graeme wants the wrong book, 8/1.

Graeme McMillan

It’s the end of the comics week, which can only mean one thing – Essential Dazzler comes out tomorrow. Is it wrong of me that I kind of want to pick that up? I mean, sure, there are good comics appearing as well – Casanova #8! – but… Essential Dazzler. How bad can it be?

FANTASTIC FOUR #548: I’m sure that I should feel as if the tension is building and the story is headed towards some grand climax at this point, two issues from the big anniversary issue, but… I don’t. Which isn’t to say that this fight issue is bad, exactly, just kind of Eh; yeah, the team is back together (which is to say, Reed and Sue have rejoined the action), and yeah, they’re fighting the Frightful Four which is kind of retro-cool and all, but when the cliffhanger ending is that they have to fight Klaw, then you’re somewhat lost in the Had-To-Have-Been-There-o-Verse.

JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA #8: Color me entirely torn on this one – On the one hand, there’s an attempt at a character arc being pushed into a done-in-one spotlight on Liberty Belle here, which is both ambitious and somewhat welcome (One of the problems with JSA is that there are too many characters for the book, if y’ask me, and it’s nice to see some attempt at fleshing out some of the lesser-known ones), but on the other, it’s all handled rather poorly, tying in to and relying a little too much on your knowledge of other books and other characters… A good effort, I guess, but just barely Okay, and that’s mostly because of Fernando Pasarin’s art.

NEW WARRIORS #3: Oh God, from the cliched – and hardly contemporary – “Usual Suspects”-ripoff cover down to the generic dialogue, lackluster plotting and entirely gratuitous guest-appearance by Wolverine, this is so close to the very definition of Awful that I’m saddened to say that I thought Paco Medina’s art was kind of groovy, in a bloated-Terry-Dodson way. Still: Best avoided.

SHE-HULK #20: Well, if nothing else, it’s novel to see writers – in this case Dan Slott and Ty Templeton – work so quickly to tie up every possible loose end they can in such a small amount of space. The result, mind you, is still an Awful mess of rushed and unfulfilling resolutions that end up making you wish that they’d tried to leave somethings open, but you can’t have everything. That said: After the fourth-last page of the story, now do you believe me that this takes place post-World War Hulk, Charlie…?

SUPERGIRL #20: On the plus side, Renato Guedes really does draw a very good Supergirl. On the minus side, it’s a shame that the art is wasted on such a flat, crossover-driven story as the one Tony Bedard supplies. Given that next issue guest-stars Karate Kid from Countdown, I have the feeling that all of Bedard’s short run is going to be crossover-centric… Eh, overall, really.

THOR #2: There’s something to be said about the deliberately slow pace of the revival of Stan Lee’s favorite classical mythological figure. Exactly what that something is, I’m not so sure, but there’s definitely something – we’re two issues in, and what I’m getting is possibly that JMS doesn’t really have much of a plot lined up but can definitely do “quirky” characters. As with the first issue, the best thing about the book is definitely Oliver Copiel’s artwork, which is clean, clear and the star of this Okay show.

WORLD WAR HULK #3: The Hulk! He’s broken Dr. Strange’s hands in the psychic realm! Hulk is apparently the hardest thinker there is! Or something. Ignoring the weak “Strange Smash!” cliffhanger, this is continuing to be the event that doesn’t disappoint – in the main book, at least – although I’m worried that the gladiator turn of events is going to change that for the last half of the series, as the attempt tat moral ambiguity (“He wants revenge on those who exiled him and accidentally caused the death of his family! He may be wrong – – Or he may be right! Which side are you on, true believer?”) gets replaced by “He’s turned Madison Square Garden into a superhero gladiator arena where he gets mind-controlled superheroes to fight for his pleasure! He’s very clearly insane and must be stopped!” A low Good.

What did the rest of you think?

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