I've written over a dozen 500-word reviews for comics over the past couple of weeks, but I can't talk about any of those just yet. Hopefully I'll be able to link to them this weekend, so you can see what I've been up to. For now, here are my brief thoughts on some comics from last Wednesday.
Amazing Spider-Man #554: Don't know, I didn't read it because my comic shop never got the previous issue in. Diamond shorted them on it! (And I know the owner didn't get any copies at all, because even if he only gets a few, he hooks me up--hey, James!) How ridiculous is that? Basically a weekly comic, and then the guy ends up receiving no issues, and the replacements won't be there until two weeks later. Ridiculous. Anyway, I'll read the rest of the Gale run tomorrow and let you know if it's any good. I suspect not. I'm just waiting for the non-Gale crews to have their turn(s).
Brave and the Bold #11: Strangely, I enjoyed this non-George Perez issue more than all of the previous issues. Maybe it's because Waid didn't try to cram too much in this one issue, as has been the problem in the last few. I'm all about compressed storytelling, but this comic hasn't been reading too smoothly lately. It's a mish-mash and my eyes glaze over. Maybe the addition of Ultraman helped. Who doesn't love the Crime Syndicate?!? (Hint: nobody, because they are awesome.)
Captain Marvel #4: Ed McGuinness is such the wrong guy to do covers for this book. I love him, but not here, where he makes this look like a space fantasy bodybuilding adventure and it's really a relatively quiet, existential look at this bizarre time-warped hero. By the way folks, if he DOES turn out to be a Skrull, what's the point of any of this? Is there a point even if he's not a Skrull? At least the interior art by Lee Weeks is really nice.
Checkmate #24: This comic has been getting better every issue, or maybe I'm just connecting to it's vibe more and more. Also, I will absolutely be dropping it after the next issue. I have no interest in Bruce Jones's take. Aw, heck, maybe I'll stick around. I'm easy to please.
Ex Machina #35: This was an embarrassing diversion from any narrative momentum that Vaughan had built up. I know this is a comic about "issues" (as in political and social, not floppy comics), but this is one of the many instances of Vaughan trying to hard to make a social comment. It's Guess Who's Coming to the Mayor's Office. Not good.
Flash #238: I guess I'm not easy to please, because I didn't like Ex Machina and I absolutely hated Tom Peyer's debut on this comic. Terrible, terrible stuff. I did a full review of this that you'll see over the weekend (if you look carefully around the internet.)
Ghost Rider #21: Best of the week. And, as I posted on Jason Aaron's message board, my son wanted to look at the issue and I wouldn't let him because the final sequence would have given him nightmares until he is 30. This comic is so good, it makes me a better parent.
Justice League of America #19: So, is my understanding correct that James Robinson will relaunch Justice League with a new #1? Is that the plan? Because this series is going nowhere, and this issue proves it. It wasn't a terrible comic, but it was about a wild goose chase. Seems like the team is just running around accomplishing nothing, waiting for Robinson to do something.
Order #9: I really like this comic. I have decided to write Order fanfic the moment the final issue comes out. I will immediately give all the characters back their powers, have them fight Galactus and unite the alternate Earths into a single planet under their direct control. The stories will also star my new creation: MODOCTOPUS.
Programme #9: I gave up trying to read this in single issues, but I'm still buying it. Will it cohere when I read the series in one sitting? I'm not a big fan of the photo-real artwork by C.P. Smith. How about you? Do you understand what's going on right now?
Thor #7: Is J.M.S. writing for DC supposed to be a big deal? Has anyone read any comic that he's done that's been good for more than a few issues? I kind of like The Twelve, but there's still time for him to dull all the greatness. Anyway, this issue of Thor looks GORGEOUS. I would have bought it just for the art, and I guess I kind of did.
I also caught up on my Fourth World Omnibus reading, and I'm primed for Volume 4 tomorrow.
Plus, I've been re-reading the Kirby Captain America comics from the late 1960s, before Steranko took over. He and Stan Lee did those Cap stories right before Kirby bolted for DC and they are action-packed and surprisingly light on characterization (the Kirby dominance, and the lack of Lee evident, perhaps). Unlike other Marvel comics of the 1960s, these Cap stories almost never show him out of costume. Also, I didn't realize how significant Batroc the Leaper really was. We all laugh at him now, with his outrageous French accent, pink costume, facial hair, and kicking, but he was, without a doubt the #2 Captain America villain of the 1960s. The only villain making more appearances with the Red Skull. I think the moral of this story is that foreigners are evil and kinda dorky.