Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Best to Worst of Last Week

That was another fun week of comic book entertainment. I also glance at other people’s review columns and individual comic review and see how many people torch the medium they claim to love. I read a heck of a lot of books and usually enjoy the vast majority of them, but go in expecting different things from different books. When I’m reading a Batman comic I’m not expecting a political thriller, when reading Hero Squared I’m not expecting a film noir type book. So when people review I think they first need to understand what it is presenting itself to be and then see if it meets that qualification. Also when you critique something, at least have some like for going in. So often (especially in movie reviews) someone rips apart a movie because they hated that type of movie going in; so they hated it going out, what a shocker. On to last week’s best to worst.

Brave & Bold #5 – Batman versus the Legion of Super Heroes was great. I love seeing Batman be so smart and Perez’s artwork is great.
All Flash #1 – A sentimental favorite seeing Wally burst back onto the scene and his dealing with the death of Bart.
Highwaymen #2 (of 5) – This book is great about some older secret agents pulled back into the game for one more adventure. Action, humor and a good story.
Breathe #4 (of 4) – A very moving and tragic ending. I really enjoyed this series.
Catwoman #69 – This book totally rocks and it keeps getting better and better.
Cover Girl #3 (of 5) – This is a rock solid mini-series, that is telling a great story and has some really fun parts to it also.
Goon #19 – The first four pages is why this book is so high. Nice to have Powell and the Goon back, but the Oprah send up and ripping on “The Secret” was priceless.
Spirit #8 – Just a wonderful series. Darwyn Cooke and J. Bone are producing winning issues almost every time out.
Captain America #28 – Very good story line, only gripe is the huge caption introducing almost every other page. Akin to one page chapters in a 200 page novel.
Black Canary #2 (of 4) – What a great 4 issue mini-series. Bedard has gotten Black Canary right away.
Birds of Prey #108 – Gail Simone’s final issue, another sentimental favorite. She has a definitive run already under her belt, with more to come I’m sure.
Conan #42 – This is a very good adaptation of “Rogues in the House”.
Fall of Cthulhu #4 – Really good issue, this issue had a really nasty ending.
Strange Embrace #2 (of 8) – This story has a creepy vibe and an interesting story.
World War Hulk #2 (of 5) – Too much of just Hulk smash and Reed being brutalized like that was uncomfortable, Plus Romita Jr.’s art already has fallen off from issue #1. He never gives a job the same bang as he does when he starts a series.
Zero Killer #1 (of 6) – Good start. The artist is reminiscent of Paul Gulacy.
Giant Sized Marvel Adventures Avengers #1 – It had Agents of Atlas and a really light and odd version of the Avengers. Just fun.
Action Comics #852 – Nice job by Busiek giving Jimmy Olsen some prime time development.
Amazon Attacks #4 (of 6) – I’m still having fun with this book for no strong identifiable reason.
Aquaman Sword of Atlantis #54 – Continues to climb back into my good graces. Now the mystery is who the heck is this guy really.
Robin #164 – Solid series and Tim has his own nemesis now Dodge.
Hunter’s Moon #2 (of 5) – Enjoyable issue and so far a decent series, seems to be building and laying ground work.
Programme #1 (of 12 ) - Nice art and an okay start, but the story was a little tough to follow. Would a caption saying when this scene is taking place kill them?
Annihilation Conquest Quasar #1 (of 4) – Decent start and Christos Gage continues to shine as a writer on almost any project. I wish DC would lock this talent to an exclusive.
Superman/Batman #38 – Wow, I’m actually enjoying this arc.
Checkmate #16 – Good issue, but somewhat of a breather issue, Still great to see Fire and Ice together again.
Weapon #2 (of 4) – Fun little series.
The Order #1 – A lot going on, strong art, will need a couple issue to know what I think about this book.
Justice League of America #11 – Okay solo issue story, waste of Gene Ha’s artwork
Avengers Initiative #4 – Okay book, but too many characters and I’m not vesting in anyone at this point.
Ultimate Spider-Man #111 – Nothing really happened but a nice farewell issue to Bagley.
Lone Ranger #7 – Story was disjointed, solid art.
World War Hulk X-Men #2 (of 3) – Now it feels like filler as we are having a pointless battle between X-Men and the Hulk.
Thunderbolts Desperate Measures – Felt like it was a fill in issue, called a one shot, but still it came out when Thunderbolts was skipping a month.
Legion of Monsters Morbius – The back up Lilith story was better, but still just books to build up to a hard cover that can be at Barnes & Noble forever.
Countdown #41 – Has become the DCU headline newspaper. Boring. Where is the excitement!
Shazam The Monster Society of Evil #4 (of 4) – Nice art, really did not enjoy the story or the Sugar & Spike aged Billy Batson and Mary. Okay they were a little older then Sugar & Spike, but by a hair.

Nothing below the line is any real danger except the Lone Ranger. It is nice art, but the story was so disjointed that I feel like it is being confusing for the hell of it. If I drop it and say I’ll get the trades, I would forget about this title. WW Hulk X-Men only has one more issue, Legion of Monsters is a series of one-shots, Thunderbolts was a one-shot by Jenkins and Lieber, not part of the Ellis run, Countdown hangs in there no matter what as I still believe it will be important later on (I hope), and Shazam is already over.

10 books above the line, but I believe there were that many really well done books this week. If you take Wildstorm as a different publisher the top ten has six different publishers represented and a wide variety of genres. One of my favorite in comics is the “thriller” or action-adventure books that have been coming out from a lot of sources, really well done and entertaining material.


  1. Hey Jim,

    Greetings from Leavenworth, KS! I heartily agree with B&B being number one for the week and your comments on WWH mirrored mine as well. I liked Flash, I just didn't like the need to bring Wally back and kill Bart (talk about cutting off your nose for future storylines) or making the Rogues so brutal. It'll be interesting to see how they play Wally the family man.

    One book that I don't think you picked up last week, but that you should seek out is Magic Arcana: The Black Knight. It's a one-shot within a mini-series, but what a fabulous story. Written by Roy Thomas and drawn by Baron Zemo:Born Better artist Tom Grummett. It's superb. I did have to reread portions because the old-style storytelling is so rare these days. Check it out, you won't be disappointed. Rusty said "What are you getting this for?" In the age of Previews of upcoming books where you know just about everything coming out, it's nice to actually find a surprise on the shelf for once. Good thing I dropped Action so I could afford to pick it up. I hope Grummett gets another series soon.

  2. Matthew - Based on your recommendation I'll pick up Black Knight, thanks for the heads up, after the Magik issue I abandoned this book.

    I also would love to see Grummett on something again, he has a great super hero style and would work on many books.

  3. Matthew-

    Leavenworth, KS??? I just got back from there today.

    What were you doing out there?

  4. Are you guys prison buddies?

  5. It's interesting... I've noticed a lot of people rip apart every comic that doesn't fit into what they like. I mean, I'm not that into Fear Agent, it's just not my kind of book. I know that it's sent to me for Andre to read anyway, but I'll still read it. Even though I don't care for that type of story I still think it's a well written book. Eh, people are too critical sometimes and usually don't know how to take things as they are - not what they want them to be.

    I say that every time I see a comic book movie though.

  6. B6-

    What I think you miss is that most people only buy the books they like. OR a genre they like. If you buy something you think you will like and then don't... rip away I say. I buy lots of NBM and Fantagraphics but I don't like all of it. Nor would I recommend to all.

    It would be better if people tried more variety in their books but I don't think that will ever happen.

  7. Lee, you're kidding right? My mother is from here and we're visiting my Aunt who lives in my Grandmother's old house on 1000 Olive Street. I'm going to thrift stores looking for Three Investigator books, going to parks, talking naps, reading War on the Middle Class (passed page 50 yesterday) and finishing up Jack Kirby Omnibus Vol 1. What were you doing out here?

    We're going to Denver on Friday for a few days. I'm currently trying to download the Apologetix RARE NOT WELL DONE volumes 1 and 2, but my Aunt only has dial-up and it's really slooooow. I did get the new Galactus and Sentinel Super-hero squad figures today.

    Jim, how was Black Knight?

  8. Matthew - Just picked up Black Knight yesterday and ahve not had a chance to read it yet.