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Goodbye, Farewell, Au Revoir

Brian Hibbs

I regret the need to do this, but I’m leaving the Savage Critics. I find that my good intentions of contributing are far outweighed by not having the time available to do the job I should be doing here, which makes me feel guilty. I thank everyone involved, especially the great Brian Hibbs, for including me in the first place. I still feel incredibly honored to be asked, and I’ll remain a reader, of course!

Johanna Does DC: Atom, Supergirl, JLAC, Teen Titans

Brian Hibbs

All-New Atom #19 — A classic fill-in issue, with the first page featuring the hero thinking about all the things going on in the “regular” title storyline, before the rest of the book becomes about an unrelated adventure. Some have of his buddies have been exploring an abandoned mine, and they haven’t returned in days. The Atom goes after them, with text lumps conveniently explaining heavy-handed plot needs to keep the story going: the radio must not work at that depth, no one can excavate because the ground gives way, and so on. A scary underground inbred community living like its the 1800s has already been done, and much better, by Grant Morrison and Frazer Irving in Klarion the Witch…  Read More…

Johanna’s Last Marvel Review of 2007: Hulk/Fin Fang Foom, She-Hulk, Order

Brian Hibbs

Hulk vs. Fin Fang Foom — I’m surprised no one’s thought of pitting the two green laconic purple pants-wearers against each other before. I was looking forward to a fun slugfest, but I was even more surprised that Peter David’s put in a story. In a situation reminiscent of The Thing, a group of Antarctic scientists discover Fin Fang Foom under the ice. The art team of Jorge Lucas and Robert Campanella do a terrific job of capturing the original beetle-browed Hulk look. I’m ordinarily not a fan of Kirby lookalikes, but it’s the perfect style for this kind of no-holds-barred adventure. David’s Hulk is simple but poignant in his desire to simply be left alone. Instead of some long…  Read More…

Johanna Snickers at Black Canary/Decrepit Stud

Brian Hibbs

I only read this book because I am a total fangirl for artist Cliff Chiang. The storyline, by Judd Winick, is Ass. I think everyone’s figured out by now that Green Arrow isn’t really dead, and Black Canary is remarkably clear-headed for someone who just a few months ago thought she’d killed her new husband and long-time love on their wedding night. But that’s the problem with comparing superhero comics to real life. What would be institutionalizable fixations in our world — no, he’s not really dead, an alien or clone is impersonating him — make perfect sense in DC world, so it’s kind of hard to relate. Anyway, BC is undergoing a trial by combat to prove she’s worthy…  Read More…

Johanna Previews Northlanders, Afterburn

Brian Hibbs

People send me PDFs for review. Here’s my thoughts on a couple. Bear in mind that I use a laptop, so my screen space is minimal, and by the time I blow up the pages to be able to read the dialogue, I’m looking at individual panels, not full pages. It’s not the most ideal format, but it’s effectively free for both of us. Northlanders #1, DC/Vertigo If I say “Brian Wood’s Viking comic”, you’ve likely already made your decision on whether it sounds like something you’d like. But there’s more to it than you might suspect. The preview copy I saw was uncolored, which put me at a disadvantage. Artist Davide Gianfelice has a very European look to his…  Read More…

Marvels Advance — Johanna Drops She-Hulk, Tries Iron Man Annual

Brian Hibbs

She-Hulk #23 — I gave it another shot, but I see nothing here to stick around for. The cliffhanger is resolved though a typical Marvel “all rules out the window” substitution, and one that makes me fear upcoming event crossover (spoiler: the broken-necked Jen is a Skrull). When Peter David’s wisecracks suit the characters and fit the situations, they’re gorgeous. Here, they’re more like generic, seen before or bolted on regardless of character voice. She-Hulk doesn’t solve her own problems (like the miniature Titania in her ear canal); instead, she hits things until everything’s resolved. Bravo for a strong female hero, but it would be nice if she a) showed some brains as well and b) didn’t disavow being a…  Read More…

November 14 Exhausts Johanna

Brian Hibbs

This is a really busy week, especially for DC books, which means too much to get distracted by. In another week, I might have tried Wonder Girl again, but I had two other comics with the Amazons I expected to like more. (Plus, I’m not interested in either New Gods or the goofy art.) I like Blue Beetle ok, but a “Sinestro Corps War” banner gives me a good excuse to skip this month. I’m looking for reasons not to get comics in order to keep numbers manageable. (This is why publishers should better manage their overall schedules to smooth out weeks, which would be better for readers and retailers, but that seems to be beyond them.) Captain Marvel #1…  Read More…

Johanna Reads Some Marvels

Brian Hibbs

Astonishing X-Men #23 — I don’t like it. The people are pretty, thanks to John Cassaday, and there’s occasionally a funny (if very Buffy-reminiscent) wisecrack, but the bigger plots are either overused cliches, fun for only long-time X-Men readers, or too detailed to be kept up with in a comic that only comes out every three months. Best read in collected format, but even then, it doesn’t seem like anything worth re-reading, so why bother spending for it? The Immortal Iron Fist #10 — I don’t mind reading it, but if it disappeared, I wouldn’t miss it, and I never feel like I have anything to say about it. Probably because it’s a boy comic, all about the glory of…  Read More…

Johanna Doesn’t Like Geoff’s Legion: Action Comics #858

Brian Hibbs

Wow, really not a lot this week to try from the “Big Two” (snicker). There wasn’t a single thing that interested me from Marvel. On the DC side, I don’t read event tie-in titles, which leaves out six books. Given the increasing levels of violence and ickiness in the DCU, I wasn’t interested in the Halloween Special. The same goes for skipping the book wearing its fetish on its sleeve, Death of the New Gods. The Confidential and Classified books are beginning to resemble slush pile fill-in dumps. So what’s left? Well, Action Comics #858 starts a Legion of Super-Heroes guest-star story. But it’s written by an Architect, Geoff Johns, so my bias going in is that it’s going to…  Read More…

Responding to TITLING responses

Brian Hibbs

There’s been a couple of other opinion pieces going around this last week, using my latest TILTING AT WINDMILLS as a starting point. Most notably from Johanna, and from Christopher Butcher. This is good, I like debate. Here’s the thing though: I’m not sure if it is because I’m a lousy writer (guilty!), or if people are reading what they want to read rather than what I intended to say. I’ve been using Vertigo as my example because Vertigo has a (unstated but crystal clear) program where periodical series UNIFORMALLY get collected at about month #9 in what I think any reasonable person will conclude is the SUPERIOR value – it is cheaper, sometimes by nearly as much as half…  Read More…

Johanna Catches Up…

Brian Hibbs

Trying something new… quick takes, to break my block. The Flash #233 — A writer as experienced as Mark Waid should know not to write stories picking at the scabs of superhero conventions. No good will come of examining the fraying fabric “realistically”. As soon as the Justice League says “we’ve come for the kids”, I laughed. The people who hung out with Mia and Wonder Girl and Robin are trying to tell a real parent how to raise his babies? Flash points this out to them, along with a grim message of potential death for the young ones (because Sim forbid that having powers could be FUN), and they all back down. Watching the Justice League stand around like…  Read More…

Johanna Has Hope: Preview of Hope Falls #1

Brian Hibbs

People send me PDFs for review. Here’s my thoughts on one. Bear in mind that I use a laptop, so my screen space is minimal, and by the time I blow up the pages to be able to read the dialogue, I’m looking at individual panels, not full pages. It’s not the most ideal format, but it’s effectively free for both of us. I’m looking today at Hope Falls #1 from Markosia. It’s due in November, but I suspect that unless you have an excellent comic store, you’re not likely to see it unless you commit to preordering a copy. It’s written by Tony Lee with art by Dan Boultwood. The plot starts with a home-town girl, gone 20 years,…  Read More…

Johanna Reads Archies: Jughead Enters Our World

Brian Hibbs

The new story in Jughead & Friends Digest #23 is odd in an historical way. Dilton’s figured out a way to store stuff in another dimension with his “infinite closet” invention. For most stories, this would be a fruitful premise in itself… but here, it’s just a way to set up the real conflict, when Jughead falls through it and winds up in “our” world. Jughead happens to land in the comic book company that creates his stories. (It’s a lovely fantasy, the idea of writers and artists all in one office, working to create comics, although it’s never been true in the modern age.) The writer winds up showing Jughead how a comic story is created. Given this publisher,…  Read More…

Johanna Visits the Subculture

Brian Hibbs

Subculture #1 assembles clichés into a too-familiar story, running the risk of demonstrating contempt for the kind of reader it will attract. Kevin Freeman writes and Stan Yan draws the story of a depressed retail-rat comic reader. He hates his nowhere job. He hates his demanding boss. He goes to the comic store to complain about the books he buys. His friends there speculate on which superheroines don’t wear underwear (and there’s only one girl, a fat manga reader obsessed with our “hero”). His roommate does nothing but play video and card and role-playing games. Then a new girl with multiple piercings enters the shop. She’s an artist, opening a gallery, and she’s got her own taste in indy books….  Read More…

Johanna Ponders Conscription: Drafted #1

Brian Hibbs

People send me PDFs for review. Here’s my thoughts on one. Bear in mind that I use a laptop, so my screen space is minimal, and by the time I blow up the pages to be able to read the dialogue, I’m looking at individual panels, not full pages. It’s not the most ideal format, but it’s effectively free for both of us. Drafted #1 made me wonder how fair it is to consider the publisher when evaluating a comic. The premise is intriguing — massive earthquakes around the world have killed hundreds of thousands, and as people struggle to cope with the aftermath and the uncertainty of the cause, aliens appear and instruct everyone to work together to go…  Read More…

Johanna Liked Toupydoops #6, But…

Brian Hibbs

People send me PDFs for review. Here’s my thoughts on one. Bear in mind that I use a laptop, so my screen space is minimal, and by the time I blow up the pages to be able to read the dialogue, I’m looking at individual panels, not full pages. It’s not the most ideal format, but it’s effectively free for both of us. Toupydoops #6 is the best issue yet. Kevin McShane’s characters are as distinctively animated as ever, but new co-writer CJ Julian brings extra snap to the proceedings. Toupy’s an alien-looking aspiring actor in a Hollywood based around comic books instead of movies. Teetereater is still his slick best friend, a hit with women and a conman player….  Read More…

Johanna Reads Superheroes Again: Stormwatch, Gen13, Wonder Girl, Suicide Squad

Brian Hibbs

What I Read This Week: Stormwatch PHD #11 — This is why I don’t care about keeping up with superhero comics. (You might have noticed my issues with timeliness.) As soon as I find one I like, they cancel it. This issue sets up next’s final with yet another bad guy attacking the heroes by striking at those close to them, and events happen in abbreviated fashion. The intriguing character interaction is undercut by boob-focused art when it comes to the female characters. (Gorgeous is less impressive as a bombshell if all the other women also have her exaggerated secondary sex characteristics, you know?) I’ll miss Black Betty and several of the others when they’re gone. Okay. Gen 13 #12…  Read More…

Johanna Squeaks at Mice Templar #1

Brian Hibbs

People send me PDFs for review. Here’s my thoughts on one. Bear in mind that I use a laptop, so my screen space is minimal, and by the time I blow up the pages to be able to read the dialogue, I’m looking at individual panels, not full pages. It’s not the most ideal format, but it’s effectively free for both of us. I can’t help but compare Mice Templar to the earlier (and well-lauded) Mouse Guard. After all, they’re both about mice with swords and spears. David Petersen’s art is much more attractive, though, lending a storybook/fairy tale quality to the premise that helps with suspension of disbelief. Michael Avon Oeming’s mice, on the other hand, have outsized ears…  Read More…

Johanna Bunts Potter’s Field

Brian Hibbs

People send me PDFs for review. Here’s my thoughts on one. Bear in mind that I use a laptop, so my screen space is minimal, and by the time I blow up the pages to be able to read the dialogue, I’m looking at individual panels, not full pages. It’s not the most ideal format, but it’s effectively free for both of us. First up, Potter’s Field #1, Mark Waid’s first book from Boom! Studios now that he’s their Editor-in-Chief. It fits right in with their publications, reading more like a media project storyboard than a comic. The first five pages set up the premise, another twist on the “oddball solves murders” plot that’s so common in hour-long TV procedurals….  Read More…

Horseradish Ketchup: Johanna Tries to Get Current

Brian Hibbs

Following Graeme’s lead, here’s quick takes on the superhero books still sitting around from weeks previous. (And yeah, Graeme, really weird week here, too. Very mood swingy.) Stormwatch PHD #10 — It surprises me to realize this, but this title is probably my current favorite team book. (Although statements like that say as much about what else is available as the quality of this title; and the last time I said something like that, it was about Power Company, so we see what that’s worth.) Anyway, the strength of this title is characterization, as the plots so far have been pretty simple “bad guy team infiltrates, then attacks” or “someone is attacked, find out who did it”. The roster’s huge,…  Read More…

Archie as RIAA Shill

Brian Hibbs

Archie #577 tries to tackle a modern issue, but the presentation is so one-sided and ignorant that it fails even as brainwashing. The Archies, it seems, are ready to record a song that’s been popular when they’ve played it live. (The lyrics we see are “RU the 1 4 me”, which suggests that they’ve been listening to an awful lot of 80s Prince.) They scrape together money for studio time and decide to sell the record on their website, only with no physical CD “to reduce overhead”. But boo hoo, their fans make copies for each other instead of buying, so they don’t make any money. There’s so much wrong with this story in terms of internal logic that it’s…  Read More…

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