Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Best and Worst of Last Week

It has been a little while since I have gone off on a point away from comics. While politics, sports and the economy are three of my favorite things to discuss I often leave them alone to avoid being too preachy on a site that is primarily about comics. But all comics and nothing else is also too narrow and we have Lee with The Daily Life, Thomm and Gwen stray to other things, which I hope keeps this site from being too predictable. I also hope that we are consistent enough so that you know on certain days we will continue certain features. All of that is a long winded preamble to the economy. It is not getting better, it is actually getting worse. We are in a depression it will not be recognized until later, the Crash of 1929 had a 50% bounce up before bottoming out in 1931. The government wants us to believe it is better so we don’t vote them out of office. I’m not sure what the sh*t will really hit the fan, but it will. Finally, if you want to see a good website that that talks about the economy, and it goes into so heavy financial details, check out the Market Ticker.


Daredevil #500 - Writer Ed Brubaker, Art Michael Lark and Stefano Gaudiano with Klaus Janson, Chris Samnee and Paul Azaceta, Colors Matt Hollingsworth. This is like when Michael Jordan appeared to have retired from basketball after the Bulls beat the Jazz for the NBA Championship. Brubaker, Lark and Gaudiano went out at the absolute top of their form. I t took a long time for this 40 page story to finally hit the stands but this book seals the deal for Brubaker’s run to be the second best ever on Daredevil and any issues I had with how much Ed drew out some of his arcs is forgiven. This story did so many things and left me with an ending that has me begging for more, I wish it would be by Brubaker, but heck did he leave Matt in a new situation that Diggle should be able to have some fun with over the coming months. A nice unexpected treat was the origin story we got of Master Izo. It was not a straight forward origin, but it was more one of giving us little vignettes into his Izo life and as you read the entire story each piece fell into place and we now have a clear picture of who Izo is. See my full review here.

Batgirl #1 - Writer Bryan Q. Miller, Pencils Lee Garbett, Inks Trevor Scott, Colors Guy Major. I was really worried that the whole mystery of who is Batgirl was going to play way too big of a role in this book. Once I saw the DC solicitations for November and they talk about Batgirl fighting crime and dealing with a frat party I know it was not Barbara Gordon. Still page 6 put a smile in my face that was damn hard to take off it for awhile as I saw Batgirl is revealed to be Stephanie Brown, formerly Spoiler and Robin for a heartbeat, also assumed dead for a little while. For me this is a perfect choice for a number of reasons. Number one I liked her being Robin and when they killed it is was almost with disdain. Second, I always liked her character as she was portrayed as a good person with a lousy father (Cluemaster). Spoiler was always a great addition to the Robin book a few years book. She gave Robin someone he could mentor and a love interest that was part of the crime fighting scene. I thought her non-death was a little weak and the explanation of why Batman played along with it was lame, but it got Spoiler back into the DCU so I was happy. Now with Tim out of town, it just works to see Stephanie take up the Batgirl mantle. She has history with the group and she is a fun character. See my full review here.

Batman Streets of Gotham #3- Batman: Writer Paul Dini, Pencils Dustin Nguyen, Inks Derek Fridolfs, Colors John Kaliz, Manhunter Back-up Writer Marc Andreyko, Pencils George Jeanty, Inks Karl story & Jack Purcell, Colors Nick Filarid. This series is coming together very well. It is another gem in the whole re-launch of Batman. Paul Dini is making Hush and the other villains the “star” of the series with Dick and Damian almost acting as supporting players. What makes it all work is how effectively Paul is using all the characters. When Robin is holding onto Hush over a long fall and drops him you know Damian would kill him. We also know that Damian is aware that Batman was there to save him, so it keeps us guessing as to exactly what Damian is capable of. They are letting Hush run around as Bruce Wayne giving away money to help Gotham because it serves their purpose, but they also pulled in the Outsiders to keep an eye on Tommy. The sub plot of Black Mask and his helping to upgrade Zsazsa was also well done. Dustin Nguyen’s light line and almost ethereal style is working like a charm. Add into the mix the Manhunter back-up series, which is top notch also, and DC has crafted a winning package. The Bat line has never been stronger and this book is one of the best of what is a very strong line of excellent books from DC.


X-Factor #47 – This book is really starting to lose me again. The future storyline and the current storyline have way too much going on. They introduce Longshot, Darwin and now Shatterstar into this book, they have Trevor Fitzroy, who means nothing to me, be a big surprise character. David’s humor has been off as he tried to steal a line from “Die Hard” for Darwin and it fell flat. I have heard fears of this book being cancelled, but at this point it would not be a big loss. David needs to wrap up this storyline fast.

Wolverine Weapon X #4 – I was reading this book and I realized this was a relatively generic story. Well written by Jason Aaron and some very good art by Ron Garney, but it is a story that is going nowhere. Wolverine fighting knock off Wolverines and some big bad CEO is behind it all. There is no risk for Wolverine as he can recover from anything and the story is not giving us a new take or wrinkle on the character. Now normally I would think it is entertaining enough and maybe keep getting it, but it is a $4 book for 22 pages. If this is a five part story I would be paying $20 for generic entertainment. I said enough is enough and cancelled the book.

Quick Hits

Blackest Night Superman #1 (of 3) – This book almost made it into my best side of things. So far what has been most impressive about Blackest Night is the quality of the add-on mini-series. Both the Batman and Superman books have been well written, strong art and are telling good stories that are created because of Blackest Night, but so far are stories that I think could be enjoyed on their own merit. In this issue the main battle is between a Black Lantern Kal-L versus Connor and Superman. We also see Supergirl and her Mom watch as Zor-el raises from the dead. Each week I’m looking forward to more of Blackest Night as opposed to my normal feeling with events, which is along the lines of “is it over yet”. I’m expecting this series to have long term repercussions and make an impact across the DCU. Final Crisis’ impact was heavily muted with DC adding the last page showing Bruce Wayne still being alive.

Invincible #65 – Another solid issue in a long string of solid issues. This issue was a down time and recovery from the fight issue that was mandated. It also explained how Atom Eve saved herself and gave us some great lines about her increasing the size of her chest. Mark’s revelation at the end to Oliver about no longer letting bad guys live if they go after his love ones made a lot of logical sense. You have to love a series that is still going so strong with so much story potential after 65 issues.

Mighty Avengers #28 – This is the best Avengers book going. I guess I enjoy it when the characters are the focus and this issue Stature was given a lot of face time. The Unspoken is a great menace and they are slowly showing just how powerful he is and how hard it will be to defeat him. Finally for all the work Marvel has done to try and make the Young Avengers something to care about Dan Slott is doing it in this book. Dan seems to be really coming into his own with this book as he is interweaving a lot of plot lines, but keeping it all very readable.

Outsiders #21 – This issue was a good one. I like the old fashioned stuff where the group breaks up into small teams to go after a multiple threat. This book is also remaining current with the other Bat books as the Batcave is now shut down and the Outsiders are without a base. The book finally feels like it has a rhythm and this issue focus on Owl Man and Black Lighting going after Mr. Freeze was great.

Punisher Noir #1 (of 4) - It was really hard to decide to keep getting the rest of this series due to the $4 price tag and it is only a 32 page comic, but the art was good and it was an interesting start to the story. At the end of the story I’m still not sure if it is the father or the son who ends up becoming the Punisher. Too good of a story to let go of, but it would have been better as a $3 comic.

The Red Circle The Web #1 – Another well done opening issue. In the span of one book we get a solid origin story, that is a little generic, but then we get the twist. The twist gives our hero a new reason to for being a hero. An excellent updating of a character name and JMS again builds a wonderful foundation for the series to start from.

Superman Batman #63 – This was a good one and done issue. It is a story about Gorilla Grodd taking over the world and Batman is the last hero. It was revealed to be a simulation on Batman’s computer, but it was just a great little story with Batman helping Superman be able to survive on earth with all the green K radiation.

Wolverine Weapon X only goes into the worst column because I’m canceling the book. The $4 price tag for 22 pages of story and art is really hard for me to get over. I know BOOM, Avatar, IDW and other companies have that as their standard price, but I also understand the economics for those companies force that decision. Also their output is significantly smaller. When Marvel (as they are the biggest offender of this policy) charges $4 for 22 pages of story and art, then that becomes an element of how I view a book. For $3 do a good job and I can support you, for $4 it has to be very good, something a little different, flat out excellent or a critical book to keep up to date on the Marvel Universe. $4 for a 30 page comic and we are back to the norm. My list is about 25 books a week, so instead of $75 a week, my cost is $100 and I do not want to go there. So I continue to look at books to drop and a regular series at $4 a crack that is just entertaining is a good one for me to cut.

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