Sunday, February 17, 2008

Sunday Fragments

Some comic book-related things that have been on my mind lately, in fun, bite-sized form:

1. Mark Farmer makes John Byrne's pencils look absolutely top-notch. See the newest JLA Classified arc for examples. Regarding that arc, it's old-school fun that might be worth picking up.

2. Gail Simone wrapped up her run on The All-New Atom quite well, with a "shocking" revelation about why everything in town has been so zany. It's not actually shocking if you've been paying attention, but I kind of haven't been, and I also thought Simone was making stuff up as she went along without much of an overall story. I was wrong.

3. Rick Remender taking over the writing chores on The All-New Atom, however, is GREAT news. I think it's the perfect DC comic for him to tackle, and he's coming in at a time when I was just about to drop the title. Good choice, DC!

4. I know I'm a month or two late to the party on this, but The Incredible Hercules is actually quite good. I attribute this to the Van Lente factor, since Greg Pak has never written a comic that I really liked. His much-hyped Planet Hulk was a severe disappointment. Ven Lente, on the other hand, has not started out as strong as I would have hoped in some of his Marvel stuff (namely Iron Man Adventures, which is too wordy most of the time for a kid's comic, and MODOK'S 11, which started out well but ended with a whimper), but this Hercules comic is a lot of fun.

5. Kurt Busiek is an excellent comic book writer on Astro City, and the new, Barbie-tastic issue was an example of how well he can create a sense of character. His mainstream work, like his run on Avengers with Perez and his Superman comics of the past year, are weak. Do you supposed that's because he feels too beholden to characters he didn't create? The work is clearly inferior on his non-Astro City titles, right?

6. Nova Annual #1 reads like an episode of season one of Lost mashed with an episode from the current season of Lost.

7. Reginald Hudlin isn't the worst comic book writer in the world, but the newest issue of Black Panther features an alien planet which, under the guidance of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Malcolm X, will become a place of racial harmony. Isn't that a strikingly similar conceit as the one everyone laughed about from Bob Haney's Swingin' Teen Titans Elseworld Special? Haney used JFK. Hudlin uses MLK. Is Hudlin the Bob Haney of 2008? How much longer do you think Hudlin will be on Black Panther?

8. Tiny Titans #1 is a great comic for kids--my kids loved it--so don't listen to all of the childless bloggers who wring their hands about who this comic is aimed at. It's aimed at kids, and they get the jokes--don't worry.

9. At some point I will re-read the entirety of American Virgin and write an essay about how it as a contemporary update of the 1950s Romance comics. But the ending of the final issue probably still won't work for me.

10. Like many others, I was underwhelmed by beginning of the Millar/Hitch era on Fantastic Four. But in this case, I will reserve critical judgment until I see a few more issues. I think they are capable of creating a tremendously interesting run, even if the first issue seems to indicate otherwise.

11. I bought Punisher: Force of Nature because the cover showed Punisher vs. Moby Dick. I didn't expect that scene to actually occur, but I think it would have made a more interesting story than the stage-play we actually get, in which the Punisher giggles below deck as a criminal trio turns on themselves and talks a lot.

12. The Alpha Lanterns were created by Grant Morrison, or so he says. And Geoff Johns has made them into a terrifying spectacle. (Smart move, John Stewart, at not blindly agreeing to participate.) Yet the newest issue of Green Lantern Corps seems to drain all the life out of the concept. Why is that?


Seth said...

I wish Hudlin followed up on the potential of Black Panther with the first trade he did with John Romita Jr.

It had a nice and pulpy Doc Savage science king vibe going for it and the concept of BP being a legacy hero was introduced.

Kind of like what is going on in Iron Fist right now.

but even then, Hudlin's scripting was passable and I picked up the new one (based on the blaxploitation Storm cover) and it was just an utter mess.

it did have Kirby's cosmic frogs though.

Marc Caputo said...

You remind me that I've got three weeks of books to slog through.

I'm getting the JLA:Classified for symmetry (the last arc I bought was the 1st), the fact that, yes, Farmer does a good job with Byrne. His art doesn't look so earnestly goofy, like it has over the last 3 years (Demon, DP, Superman)

I LOVED the hell out of Planet Hulk and have NEVER been a Hulk fan. The whole run was a great story. Unfortunately, Pak spread it too thin when he came back to Earth - there wasn't enough story to fill the "WWH" mini AND the monthly. Not to mention the fact that some of the writing in both was so bad that I thought Pak had been taken over by the same Skrulls that swallowed up Daniel Way after the HoM Wolverine 3-parter and the Planet Hulk prelude.

I really got into FF 554 (see my post)

Busiek's Avengers was the last time that book was enjoyable as entertainment. After Bendis, it's either really good as was his Daredevil (New) or attempts at entertainment that make you say, "Why are they trying to enjoy themselves - there's a lot going on in the world?" (Mighty).

I will allow, publicly, that at this point my admiration of Busiek cannot extend to his Superman run, as he is leaving the book, thereby ruining what could have been a great run.

Nunmber 12. Johns is an astounding writer; Gibbons is very good, Tomasi did a good job. Sterling Gates is none of these people. I buy the book because I love the GL mythos. Hopefully, this won't grind down to the debacle that was Hawkgirl (the other mythos I love.)

Marc Caputo said...

Re: the Punisher book. How could would it have been to have the Punisher a) fight without guns and b)fight something that hasn't CHOSEN evil, actually something that's not evil at all. That would have been a great idea. Oh well, maybe that's why certain characters will always be a punchline.

Timothy Callahan said...

Have you read Moby Dick? That whale is evil as hell!

He's also immortal, which would make him hard to kill.

Plus, he may or may not be a symbol of God's vengeance. God's vengeance beats ex-Vietnam vet vengeance any day.

marcwrz said...

God's Vengeance in the Marvel U is Ghost frankly my money is Punisher. haha