Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Recent Comics I Have Read Part II: More Quick Reviews

Here's where I talk about some other comics I read over the past two weeks. Because I like comics, and so do you.

JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #21: "Sightings"! That's DC's way of saying, "we're sorry about making everything tie into Countdown, because that was a really crappy story, wasn't it? To make it up to you, we'll just kind of sort of vaguely let you know that you may or may not want to buy this here comic because it might possibly relate to our big Final Crisis event, or whatever. We're totally cool either way. But if you're into it, you might want to check it out. No pressure. Seriously. But, it is kind of important, actually." Luckily, DC, I'm really into you, and you had me at "Crisis." But, is this comic worth your $2.99? Yes it is, because it has many panels featuring a guy who can shoot flames from his nipples AND has a moustache. ***1/2

JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA #15: The debut of Big Gog. I'm often a Geoff Johns apologist/supporter/activist, but I think this series is his weakest work in years. He doesn't seem able to do anything with his gigantic cast (oh shit, that doesn't bode well for Legion of Three Worlds, does it?), and it's just a lot of continuity wankery and legacy characters that just sit around and I want it to be better than it is. Please, Geoff Johns, save this series by pruning it down, and amping up the conflict. Big Gog is perhaps a start in the right direction, since he's, you know, bigger than the old, regular-sized Gog. **

NEWUNIVERSAL SHOCKFRONT #1: Warren Ellis has made the New Universe interesting, but he still hasn't really kicked off any sort of plot yet. The first series was all set-up, and here we are again, setting things up. The dominoes are in position, Warren. Kick em hard. Starting, now! Really, anytime you're ready. Go! (Warren? Hello?) **1/2

SECRET INVASION FANTASTIC FOUR #1: I liked Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa's characterizations in the Marvel Knight's 4 series, but the premise of that book was so ridiculous--the broke FF get "regular" jobs to pay the bills? Um, they're kind of a big deal--that I couldn't really enjoy what he was doing with the characters themselves. So I'm glad to see him doing something that's based on superheroic hinjinx. Plus, I like Secret Invasion a lot so far, and if you don't like it then you are too jaded to enjoy anything. So too bad for you. As for this actual comic, it's okay. Barry Kitson's Sue Storm is nice. **1/2

SOLEIL SKY DOLL #1: I didn't buy this, because I've already read the whole series when it was reprinted in Heavy Metal a few years ago. By the way, it's not actually very good. It's a typical sleazy religious satire with a lot of sex--pretty much what you'd expect from Heavy Metal. I like the art, but the story has thinly-veiled allegory and plenty of low humor. I don't recommend buying the single issues, but it might be worth a look if the collected edition is under $10. Which it won't be. *1/2

SUPERMAN BATMAN #48: Shane Davis is by far the best of the Jim Lee clones DC is so fond of. He should be doing Morrison's Batman. That would be a nice fit for his style. (Then Geoff Klock would get even more fodder for his Miller/Morrison one-upmanship theory.) Meanwhile, this current story arc, which began approximately twelve years ago by my recollection, is all about Superman gathering all the kryptonite on the planet, blah, blah, and then in this issue: Kryptonite Doomsday! Except, it's actually a simple-minded American soldier transformed into an exact replica of Doomsday, but with KRYPTONITE KNUCKLES. What bad luck for Superman! Even though Supes can't weaken the KRYPTONITE FISTS, he can weaken the human heart. With love. God bless you, Superman (and Batman). **1/2

THUNDERBOLTS #120: What kind of schedule is this series on? I don't remember the last Warren Ellis-written issue of this comic, but this one was a doozy. Green Goblin is crazy, did you know that? He has a bit of a history, and he probably wasn't the best choice for a governmental official. I hate, hate, hate the Tommy Lee Jones look of Norman Osborn (especially since Dum Dum Dugan is ALSO Tommy Lee Jones over in the Iron Man comic). But Warren Ellis writes the greatest crazy-person dialogue maybe ever, and when I go back an reread his run on this series--which will probably never happen, let's face it--I'll surely find that he's been telling a Norman Osborn story all along. ***1/2

TINY TITANS #4: Disco Nightwing premieres. My kids loved this issue, even though they know nothing about Nightwing's original costume or disco. Also in this issue: The Little Tiny Titans: Miss Martian, Jericho, Wildebeest, and Kid Devil. They are cute and precocious. Art Baltazar remains one of my favorite cartoonists, and this series is for everyone who has the heart and mind of a small child. Therefore, I adore it. It's better than a KRYPTONITE PUNCH to the face. ***1/2

TWELVE #5: I'm only buying this for the Chris Weston art, really--and the concept, since I'm a sucker for obscure old heroes (although not so much of a sucker as to find Dynamite's Superpowers enjoyable). Maybe the whole thing will add up to a good story, but right now I'm just looking at all the detail in each panel and thinking: how does he draw comics as quickly as he does? He is good at making lots of little lines. ***

WAR IS HELL: FIRST FLIGHT PHANTOM EAGLE #3: This is a bit lighter than Garth Ennis's usual wartime stuff, and it doesn't have the ridiculous excesses of his Preacher or The Boys, but it's a cynical little dagger of an "origin story." The stiff-upper-lip mentality and gung-ho heroics are mocked, and the protagonist keeps stumbling into good fortune, and it's all illustrated by the incomparable Howard Chaykin in what's probably his best Marvel work so far. It's almost as if Ennis and Chaykin collaborated on a revamp of a goofy, obscure character. Oh, wait, that's exactly what it is, and that's good time for me. ***1/2

WOLVERINE #65: Here's a little tidbit from the secret files of Jason Aaron: he wasn't allowed to have Wolverine use his claws in the scenes set in the past. Apparently, Marvel editorial has a "no-claws" policy for Wolverine flashbacks, except for "Origin," in which his claws appear. So the official stance is: claws at first, no claws for a couple hundred years, then claws again in the present. Does that affect this final part of "Get Mystique"? Nope, but I wanted to share the knowledge with the world. This comic has been good with Aaron and Ron Garney, and I'm glad to see that Aaron will get another shot at the character after Millar runs him through the futuristic wringer (will he have claws in the future? One assumes so). A good conclusion to a good story. ***1/2

WONDER WOMAN #20: This book is completely on track, finally. If you've been waiting for it to settle into a groove of goodness, I think now's the time to safely jump on. Gail Simone's version of Wonder Woman is 90% warrior, 10% "stranger in a strange land," and I think that formula works for the character. It's worth a read. ***

Wow, this expensive little one-shot was a waste of money. I bought it because Trevor Hairsine's art, which is quite nice (and somewhat rare, since he's super-slow), but what you get for your four bucks is the same old Colossus origin story we all know--he's from Russia and he turns into metal--and...that's it. No additional subtext, no new perspective on his early days. Just a slow-moving recap presented at the rapid pace of a Henry James novel. Here's my new rule for these kinds of stories: tell them from a fresh perspective, or don't tell them at all. Thanks. *1/2

This Thursday is the greatest day of comic book awesomery this year, though, so I'm sure at one of the cool comics this week is bound will wipe away all of my bad thoughts.

1 comment:

Chad Nevett said...

I was so disappointed that my shop had no copies of Tiny Titans since you've made me want to check it out!