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Sunday, May 02, 2004
Last Week's Comics: Selected Reviews
Wanted Dossier: Millar's Wanted is a slight, but enjoyable book. It requires no heavy thinking and the most strenuous intellectual activity it requires of the reader is figuring out which DC villains the characters are meant to be. This book opens with three pages of plain black text on white paper and closes with five pages of ads. Already I feel cheated out of content. The text accompanying each profile is minimal and several of the art pieces have a hurried, sketchy appearance. Why, if I didn't know better, I'd say this was rushed out to meet demand for the title while the regular artist plays "catch up" on a dead-line. But that would be needlessly cynical of me.
Ulitmate Fantastic Four #5: As I've said before, there's nothing wrong with big, dumb, goofy super-hero comics. There's too many of them, yes, but there's nothing inherently wrong with them. This is a good example of a well-done, big,dumb, goofy super-hero comic. And it's the first time I can think of since Kirby and Lee did the FF that Ben Grimm has been written well.
Batman #626: I have a suspicion that this book may get over-looked. It doesn't have the super-star cachet of Jim Lee anymore, nor the indie cred of Brian Azzarello. And for some reason I keep hearing fan-boys complain about Wagner's covers. But what this most reminds me of is late 70s, early 80s era Batman comics. And what I mean by that is, it's not taking itself too seriously or pretending that because it's a Batman comic it needs to be excessivly dark and grim. Hell, for the first time in a long time it's a Batman comic other than an animated series tie-in that I can tell parents is appropriate for children, and that's saying something.
Ministry of Space #3: How long has it been since the last one came out? And I still had no trouble jumping into the story or remembering where things left off. Which is more than I can say for:
Too Much Hopeless Savages #3: I enjoyed the prior Hopeless Savages minis, but I was completly lost with this issue, and it hasn't even been nearly as long a wait as I had between issues of Ministry of Space. I think I'll be waiting for the final issue to ship before I attempt to finish reading this issue.
Uncle Scrooge #329: I like Duck stories. I like Don Rosa. I like Don Rosa Duck stories. But sometimes, when Rosa delves into Scrooge's past, writing stories that "fill in the gaps" or are intended to be sequels to Barks stories, I can't help but think that Rosa is performing a lingham massage on Duck fans. With release. His work is much better when he's doing something new or original with the Ducks, rather than retreading old territory. And speaking of which:
Conan #3: This is a perfectly acceptable sword-and-sorcery comic. In the early 80s I burnt out at least two VCRs playing videos of sword-and-sandal movies over and over again. All those movies about well-muscled men, wearing nothing but loincloths and baby oil, are probably one of the factors that influenced my sexuality (that, and He-Man toys). So, I dig this. Which is why I was kind of annoyed to go to the letters page to read the latest installment of the Robert E. Howard biography comic, The Adventures of Two-Gun Bob, and see at the top of the letters page a writer chiding Dark Horse Comics for having the temerity to create stories that "fill in the gaps" between Howard's Conan stores. Because as we all know, there's absolutly no precedent whatsoever for the creation of new Conan stories.
Caper #7: There are times when I feel that I must be the only person reading this book. Which is a shame, because this is probably Winick's best writing outside of Barry Ween. I'm one of those horrible people who actually thinks Winick's a good writer, just a bit wasted on super-hero books. And it's drawn by John Severin, the man who drew the best Nanny Dickering ever! That being said, the revelation of the real killer should come as no surprise to anyone with a pulse, nor should his apparent motives be.