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Tuesday, April 26, 2005
New Comics, Reviewed
City of Heroes #11: The final issue of the current run. This book was never anything exceptional, but I enjoyed it for what it was: a light and fluffy look at some of the yes, okay, sillier aspects of the game, from the perspective of characters much like the kinds of characters people can play in the game. Great care was taken to make sure that just about all the costumes were actually "buildable" in the game, and the powers were rendered faithfully enough that you could usually tell which of the game's powers was being used. Even little things that players do, such as meeting under the statue of Atlas to look for team-ups, made it into the comic. Brandon McKinney's art had a suitably heroic feel to it, and that was a big part of the charm as well. In other words, I'm sorry to see this version of the book go in favor of the grim and generically drawn series focusing on the NPC characters from the game.
Birds of Prey #81: Joe Bennett's art hasn't fully grown on me yet. And, frankly, I don't really need to see a story about super-heroes traveling to Asia to deal with crime lords ever again. Still, Simone's usual mix of humor and action is here, and she does write the characters very appealingly. She's got a very good handle on Wildcat, in particular. His relationship with Black Canary gets glossed over from time to time, so it's nice to see his paternalistic side brought out a bit. And it may just be me, but I really like the idea of Wildcat having made (potentially) sword and sandal movies.
Hawkman #39: So...is Carter's vision here a foreshadowing of events in this title, or of events in Rann/Thanagar War?
Young Avengers #3: Okay, my good-will towards the title is starting to wear off. Three issues in and we're still just getting the barest out-line of a plot. And have I mentioned before that the "death of a character" tease they've started for this title really annoys me? Maybe if the book wasn't so closely tied to a poorly done prior story-line, or if Jim Cheung could draw the characters so they didn't quite all look alike, I'd be more forgiving and patient. As it is, the book is starting to feel more and more like a big tease with no payoff.
JLA #113: You know, I really liked this issue. It was clever, it was well written, and the characters all felt like themselves. Well, except for the Batman/Martian Manhunter switch, which struck me as a bit silly. And I absolutely loved that the JLA essentially sics the Qwardians on the Crime Syndicate in order to deal with both threats at once. In fact, about the only thing about this issue I didn't enjoy was the fact that this is part seven of the storyline. It, to be honest, has felt a little long.
Runaways #3: Reading this in the same week as Young Avengers makes for quite a comparison. We've got a reliance on older continuity in both titles, but here it feels more like the older characters are being used as an opportunity to tell a new story, not as a way to limit the kind of story that can be told. And as a result, the story here feels fresher and more interesting, and not like an exercise in copyright renewal.
JLA: Classified #6: Eh. I'm starting to feel that this may have been going back to the well one time too many. It's over-long and over-talky and a lot of the jokes simply fall flat.
Conan #15: I enjoy the "in-between" stories on this title flashing back to Conan's boyhood. Greg Ruth's art is very strong, and the short story format I always think tends to work better for Conan stories. And seeing stories of Conan's youth, in a "the boy is father of the man" fashion, adds a welcome element to the character.
Ex Machina #10: The resolution to the great mystery is...another mystery. I like this title, I really do...but man, all the little hints getting dropped with little in the way of resolution...it can be a bit trying at times.
Question #6: A great wrap-up to the series. The ruthless (I'm almost tempted to say Randian) side of the Question comes to the fore, and we get a very nice scene with him and Superman to round out the run. And, as usual, beautiful art by Edwards. And, of course, a final little twist is revealed that ties all the seemingly disparate elements of the book together. That last crucial bit of information that was with-held from the reader puts much of the things that seemed odd about the book in a new light.
Manhunter #9: It's nice to see villains just cutting loose and being villains from time to time. And the subtle implications that maybe, just maybe, Kate really is in over her head in this vigilante business is a compelling hook for the character. So, go read this book.
Omac Project #1: If I had any particular interest in talking in circles with people again, I would point out that some of the "problems" with DC Countdown are addressed in this comic. But, I don't, so all I will say is: this first issue is a little slow, and dwells too much on a character who never really appeared much outside of a few Batman comics from several years ago, and that may have been a poor choice for viewpoint character.
Teen Titans #23: It's a good, old-fashioned super-hero bang-em-up, with one largely implausible flaw at the end. Yeah, I know that it explicitly ties in to DC's new meta-continuity and inter-title-connectivity...but I still don't' buy that those two are able to impersonate who they impersonated so easily.
ps238 #11: While I did laugh out loud at the notion of using Magic cards to foretell the future, I didn't enjoy this issue as much as I usually do. And the reason is plain: I don't know anything about four square. We never played it any school I ever went to, so the very concept of the game is a bit of a mystery to me. And the bulk of the book is an extended game of it. So, I had no idea what was supposed to be happening. This is why I don't like sports manga, either...
Klarion #1: While I really like the self-centered brat version of Klarion, and while Frazer Irving's heavy-blues give the book a unique, compelling and distinctive look, so far this has been the Seven Soldiers book I've been the least responsive too. I loved the idea of it. It was probably the title I was most looking forward to. And then the issue finally is in my hands...and while the world-building that went into Croatoan and Limbo Town are nice, this has all served largely as prologue to Klarion's adventures. Ah well, perhaps I'll see some witch-boy mischief in the next issue.