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Sunday, November 21, 2004
Criminally Late Reviews
Outsiders #17: Man, that photo cover is distracting, isn't it? My sole complaint with this story at this point is that it runs the risk of being a little too earnest.
Identity Crisis #6: Oh come on, you know that they're not going to really make him the killer without providing a damn good explanation. It's a nice twist and one of the most effective cliff-hangers I've ever seen in a comic, but it does drive home the point that this series has relied heavily on red herrings to divert the reader's attention.
Angeltown #1: Philips and Martinbrough do a good job of introducing the core cast. We're given hints at characterization mostly, rather than fully fleshed characters. The mystery, concerning the murdered ex of a missing basketball player, is perhaps a bit too inspired by real-world events, but there are hints already that not all is as it seems. A promising start for the mini.
Ocean #2: More beautiful artwork from Sprouse, and Ellis' story remains compelling, with new twists added.
Challengers of the Unknown #6: A thought I had the other day: many artists and writers of Chaykin's generation are still writing and drawing comics as if it was still the early 80s. Chaykin's not. Not only has his work evolved, he's still ahead of the curve compared to almost everyone else.
Solo #1: I can appreciate the quality of Sale's work, but he's never been on my list of favorite creators. The art here is certainly quite nice, but I'm a little disappointed with the quality of the stories, and the reliance on super-hero stories. What I was hoping for in a book of this nature was the kinds of work that top talents can't do in a regular book or mini. I wanted more personal and idiosyncratic work.
Intimates #1: It's a bit of an odd beast. It wants to be something new, and it certainly looks like almost nothing else out there, but none of the characters are particularly engaging and I really don't have much patience for teen angst comics. I'll give it a couple more issues, because the talent behind the book is obvious. Let's hope it goes somewhere.
Adam Strange #2: Great action, an intriguing story, and beautiful art. This is what super-hero comics should be.
Wild Girl #1: I'm gong to be very bitchy here and ask: would the reviews for this book be quite so negative if people didn't know that Leah Moore was Alan Moore's daughter? My gut feeling is, no, people would be more willing to give it a fair chance if they weren't looking for reasons to dislike it. The art is wonderful, and while the story is more suggestive than explanatory, I'm more tolerant of that approach in a mini. It has sold well for us, largely to people who don't read super-hero books.
Catwoman #36 and Batman #633: And War Games ends pretty much the only way it could end...in disaster. It'll be interesting to see what the various Bat-creators do with the new status quo...at least until the next big editorially mandated cross-over changes the status quo all over again. I think for me, what this cross-over drove home is that, at the end of the day, there are just too many Bat-family titles.
City of Heroes #6: Kind of a fun comic if you play the game. Sort of goofy if you don't. The "heroes must serve on a jury when another hero is accused of a crime" gimmick is amusing, but the strength of the comic is Brandon McKinney's art.
Losers #17: Another good issue, though the coloring seems a little off. I don't know if it's something I've just noticed or an attempt to visually convey to the reader that this issue is a flash-back, but without knowing the context it would be hard to say.
Plastic Man #12: So, let me see if I have this right: people don't like Kyle Baker's goofy Plas stories, and they don't like Scott Morse's Plas-as-super-hero story either. Then I guess what people want is a grim, dark version of Plastic Man, similar in tone and content to the new Space Ghost series. If sales decline enough, rest assured, I'm sure DC will try that before canceling the book.
(Y'know how I sometimes point out that kids like certain comics that people don't necessarily expect them to? Plastic Man is one of them.)
Spider-Man #8: This...this is awful. This is worse and farther from the right tone for a Spidey book than the "Gwen bangs the Green Goblin" story-line in Amazing Spider-Man. Pete owes me big time for making me buy this. (And in fairness to him, he only wants to know who kidnapped Aunt May.)
Strange #2: This isn't actually bad, but it's paced at the glacial rate that Marvel seems so fond of lately.
Fallen Angel #17: Please, DC, I'm begging of you...just one year without anything bad happening to a female character, especially a pregnant one, that's all I ask of you...
JLA #107 and JLA #108: Busiek's first issue is cute, a nice reaffirmation of the current status of the characters and an introduction to his approach to the book. His second issue, however, is fantastic. It's great fun, in a twisted, through the looking glass way. And while I'm not necessarily opposed to Ron Garney's art, it does seem rather...plain in comparison to the story.
Ultimate X-Men #53: And all the good-will that Vaughn had built up on this title evaporates, just like that...terrible, boring, cliched ending.
Ultimate Spider-Man #69: Apart from the fact that no-one, anywhere, ever talked like any of Bendis' characters do, this is actually a surprisingly good, low-key adventure comic. This book is at it's best when it's not taking itself too seriously, as it has been in the last couple of "team-up" storylines.
Teen Titans #18: The appeal of this kind of story is that it makes a nice reward for the long-time comic fans. Lots of little in-jokes, lots of broad hints at future stories, lots of elements of interest only to long time fans. Of course, since this is another one of those books that sells strongly to people who aren't long time comics fans, it would have been nice if some of those elements had been toned down a little. It's a fun story, but a little frustrating in that regard.
Superman/Batman #14: Everything I said about Teen Titans, repeat here, only emphasize it more strongly.
Adventures of Superman #634: Uhm...I'm sure the creator's thought this was very funny and original, but honestly...no, I can't even get too annoyed by it, it's just kind of...lame.
She-Hulk #9: It's nice to get back to the book's usual tone and setting, after the cosmic storyline I didn't care for. Pelletier's art is always nice to look at, but Juan Bobillo really is a better fit for the character. There's just something more appealing about his chubby, baby-faced figures.
Hawkman #34: A good start to what looks to be a good super-hero adventure story involving the return of Hawkman's rogues gallery. Not ground-breaking work by any means, no, but good super-hero comics.
Conan #10: Long-time Conan fans will instantly recognize where this story is heading, but Busiek adds some nice twists to it, highlighting the "mystery" aspects of the tale.
Wildstorm Winter Special: Bruce Jones and Josh Middleton tell an important story about the history of some of the WildC.A.T.S. characters, which would probably have meant a lot more to me if I had any interest in the characters in the first place. Allen Warner and Carlos D'Anda have a slight, but well illustrated Deatblow story, and I'm just going to pretend that I never say Will Pfeifer and Scott Iwahashi's Jack Hawksmoor story. The star story is Tom Peyer's and Cary Nord's Apollo & Midnighter story. Beautifully illustrated, with a slight but amusing story that nevertheless displays some of the better takes on the character's personalities, especially in contrast to their cross-bleed counterparts Pluto and Daylighter.
Ex Machina #6: I really shouldn't have to still be telling people that this is a quality, clever, original book that they should be buying, should I?