Thursday, March 22, 2007

Quick Reviews: Week of 03/21/07

I bought a bunch of comics this week, as usual, and because I actually had some free time this week, I read some of them already! (I'm still three weeks behind on some other titles.) So here are some thoughts:

52 #46: I rate this issue as BEST OF THE WEEK, surprisingly. Even though 52 has been weak since the new year, this issue puts a Grant Morrison spin on the climax of the Black Adam story. One of these days, after 52 is complete, I'm going to go back through each issue and break down each section to identify the writers. It's pretty clear that the bulk of this issue, the entire Black Adam sequence on these pages, was Morrison's work. It has the apocalyptic overtones, the absurd moments, the anti-climax, and the central use of extra-dimensional science. It's Morrison's dialogue without a doubt, and I'd be shocked if he didn't write this whole sequence. His writing has been absent from the series for several weeks, except for the brief Animal Man section, so it was a treat to see him return at such a key moment. The Superman and JSA bits at the end of the issue would obviously be attributed to Waid and Johns, respectively, and they didn't quite carry the momentum from the main story, but at least they were short enough and provided some interesting bits. I really liked this issue.

Wisdom #4: With Trevor Hairsine gone, I was less inspired to pick up the newest issue, but my extreme love for the first issue has propelled me this far, and I think Paul Cornell is quite a good writer. He juxtaposes the fantasy worlds with "reality" as well as anyone in comics, and he's made this series work, even though there's not much apparent connection between issues. It's a strange structure for a limited series. It's much more episodic than you'd expect, but the ideas are great fun and the individual issues work on their own terms. Manuel Garcia provides serviceable art, but the best part of this issue is the multi-dimensional Jack the Rippers and, of course, the great character find of the century, Captain Midlands. I recommend this issue (and the whole series).

Army@Love #1: This was my recommendation to Greg Burgas over at Comics Should Be Good, and I'll stick by it even after reading the first issue. In retrospect, 52 was a better read this week, but who could have known that before Wednesday? But Army@Love was definitely NOT a disappointment. It was much better than the preview pages in the back of the recent Vertigo issues would have you believe. It is certainly a much better satire than American Virgin, which isn't even a satire, it turns out, though it was seemingly promoted as such during its launch. Army@Love is Rick Veitch as he was meant to be, slightly sanitized for your protection by DC, perhaps, but's not the Aquaman Rick Veitch on display here, it's the guy who gave us Brat Pack. This new series has great promise, and the first issue sets up the conflict nicely: Motivation & Morale as a corrupt organization (running a corrupt war fought by corrupt soldiers) trying to make it all look good for the public. Perhaps Veitch will give us a (no doubt flawed) "hero" to fight against this corruption, or perhaps he won't. Maybe the whole series will be about bastards being bastards. Either way, I'm going to keep reading, and you should too.

The Spirit #4: Speaking of Greg Burgas and CSBG, someone made a comment over there asking for a more "in-depth argument" for why The Spirit is so good. It seems that some people just don't get it. They don't see why this series, which has no continuity-laden subplots or visceral shocks, is any better than your average Johnny DC title. Here's the answer: Darwyn Cooke. Seriously. That's it. He's just that good. He's the best visual storyteller working in comics today. He's freakin' Kirby and Toth combined for a new generation. What's not to like. And, yes, a comic book is worth buying just for the art. So buy it. The story in issue 4's not half-bad either, with a nice narrative twist that adds to the playfulness of the issue. Yes, I know, the Denny Colt character is underwhelming, but he's basically just a cipher anyway, and he always has been, even in the Eisner stories. He's the excuse for the comic book, but he's not the most interesting character and he never will be. Think of The Spirit as a great anthology book by a comic book master. And buy it!

Justice Society of America #4: I L-O-V-E the Dream Girl appearance and everything that might entail. I H-A-T-E the Kid Wildcat. Hate him.

The Flash #10: After the first issue of the Bilson/DeMeo relaunch, which was notoriously horrible, I told my comic book guy, the loveable James Arlemagne, that I'd keep buying it anyway because I am a sucker and I wouldn't be able to stand a gap in my collection when the inevitable good writer takes over around issue 12. Thankfully, Guggenheim rescued me a few issues early, so I only had to waste $24 instead of $32. Stupid comic book compulsion! But, yes, the book now has a good writer. I'm looking forward to the upcoming issues, because the past two have been excellent.

Ultimate Power #4: You know what I hate? The JMS Squadron Supreme/Supreme Power thing. Man, that whole set up was a disappointment, wasn't it? All the issues led nowhere. Just really, really bad. Am I wrong? And I don't particularly like Greg Land, either, with his creepy Photoshop art and all. It's the eyes. His cropped, retouched photos are angry at him, and it comes through in their eyes. Take a look. Yet I buy this series and I kind of like it. Whatever.

The Brave and the Bold #2: Dear Mark Waid, don't have Hal Jordan think dirty thoughts about Supergirl anymore. It's creepier than a Greg Land pornstar superhero. Even if it's a "plot point" in the issue, it's just not worth it. Thanks.

Y the Last Man #55: Is this the final arc of the series? I think it is. What do I think the odds are that he'll finally find his girlfriend and they will be the new Adam and Eve? 100%. Could I wrong? We'll see.

Ms. Marvel #13: Speaking of porn, the covers on this title could not be more jarringly different than the interiors. It's embarassing to buy this series, it's embarassing to be seen reading it, all because of those fugly airbrushed girlie-mag covers. Yet, it's probably one of the best ongoing series Marvel puts out. It's surprisingly well-written. You should buy it and rip off the cover (give it to Greg Land to use as "reference" or something). But read the comic book. It's a good exploration of what it means to be a hero.

I read some other stuff too. But I don't have much to say about it yet. Here's a teaser, though. Mike Carey should be a better writer than he is. But, unfortunately he's merely mediocre.


Matt Jacobson said...

I agree, this issue of 52 was definetly written largely by Morrison. How exactly did Clark realize that Luthor was really Everyman, though?

Matt Jacobson said...

BTW, Is your Grant Morrison book on sale at Midtown comics? I'll be home next week and will no doubt make a trip there while I'm home, I'll pick up your book while I'm there if I can.

Timothy Callahan said...

My book has been held up a bit by a cover redesign, so the official first printing hasn't happened yet (the copies at the Comic-Con were the proof copies). It should be available within the next month, I hope. But I'll let everyone know how to get it when it becomes available, definitely,