Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Best and Worst of Last Week

You know I hope I’m wrong in my world view but I see the US economy at the precipice. I’m not rooting for this or anything, but there is nothing in all the numbers and articles I have read that explains how we will avoid the depression that is on the horizon. What is upsetting from a comic book perspective is how many smaller companies that produce some great material will not survive the final outcome. If our government stepped out of the way and let the crash occur, we would be back out of the woods a lot faster. Of course since we have exported so much of our manufacturing it may be years as we have to rebuild our ability to produce again to truly grow a strong economy again. The fantasy that we can just be a service based economy is a fallacy and the end game is near.


Superman Secret Origin #1 (of 6) - Writer Geoff Johns, Pencils Gary Frank, Inks Jon Sibal, Colors Brad Anderson. This was an excellent book. The story was well done, the art was excellent and we got 40 pages for $4, which is quite a bargain in today’s marketplace. I was wondering how they would go about doing the origin of Superman again, would it be the soft reset of his origin or more of a hard reset the way Bryne did it or have those retro-cons that Johns has almost become famous for, what we got was almost a classic retelling of Superman’s origin. I loved it. Johns allowed us to see this almost from a young Clark Kent’s eyes as the origin and elements of what makes up Clark’s past were introduced as a natural part of the story. It appears we are catching up with Clark as he is entering into his teen-age years and starting high school. An awkward time for any person and add to that you have new powers that are starting to develop and you life becomes even more complicated then any other kid. What is so wonderful about the way the story is being presented is that it almost has an independent comic feel to it as it is being presented as a “slice of life story” as we learn along with Clark just how different he is from the rest of the world. It never feels like an origin story, it never feels like we are hitting certain points to hit certain points it has elegance to the flow of the story that is almost sublime. See my full review here.

The Web #1 – The Web: Writer Angela Robinson, Pencils Roger Robinson, Inks Hilary Barta, Colors Guy Major. This was another good book following up the introduction of the Red Circle characters. The Web was especially well done and moved at an incredible clip. It continued with the investigation of his brother’s death, furthered what looks to be a great nemesis for The Web and gave us some background and mystery involving a femme fatale. Never heard of writer Angela Robinson before, but I loved what I saw from her. Roger Robinson’s pencils were very dynamic and had a great flow to them. The script and art worked so well together that this was a fast exciting read that gave us action, character development and a good cliff hanger ending.
Hangman: Writer John Rozum, Layouts Tom Derenick, Inks Bill Sienkiewicz, Colors Guy Majors. The Hangman back up was also well done and really enhanced by Bill Sienkiewicz inks over Tom Derenick’s pencils. Tom is a great layout and designer, but his work meshed with Bill’s jumps off the page. Rozum’s story does a great job given the confines of less pages. The Red Circle books are both starting out as hits in my mind and show great promise in giving DC some excellent second tier characters and books to shore up the entire line. One last note about the coloring, but stories demand a different palette and a different tone. Both stories has very different art work and both stories looked great due to a wonderful coloring job by Guy Majors who is becoming a name I notice when the book looks good.


Incredible Hulk #602 – This book is not working for me. I gave it a two issue try out and now I’m canceling it. The reasons (1) $4 price tage, (2) The art is wonky and is too computer graphic oriented (3) Banner does not ring true as Bruce Banner (4) this will apparently tie into a massive cross-over with the incredible bad Red Hulk and force me into reading Jeph Loeb. All of that equates to a cancel.

Justice League of America #37 – I have to say if this was not Len Wein last issue, it would have been my last issue on this title. Len is writing what feels to be very generic comics. I know he has not been given a series and this is basically your fill in writer assignments, but Len needs to step it up. I like writers from different eras, but you need to change with the times and certain writers like Wein, Claremont and Wolfman no longer are doing it for me.

Wolverine Giant-Size Old Man Logan - What crap. I mean we pay $5 for 32 pages of new story and art and then a lot of covers and some pencil artwork to fill up the size and heft of the book. Is it any wonder I think better of DC who gives me 40 pages of story and art on their big book of the week Superman Secret Origin and Marvel charges me $1 more for 8 less pages. Just a stupid ending, Logan’s family is killed by the Hulk family, the Hulk eats Logan and he pops up out of his stomach and takes baby Bruce Banner Jr. and starts off across America to set things right as Lone Wolf and Cub. Horrible stuff and just blood and gore for blood and gore’s sake. Playing to the baser fanboy instincts I guess, but if this is what most comic fans want, I’m not sure I want to hang with them. See my full review here.


Dark Reign The List – X-Men – Namor does not fit in with being an X-Men. This idea that he is a mutant is really not working for me. I prefer Namor just being an anomaly, trying to put this square peg into a round hole makes no sense. Also this issue had the Fraction caption crap which makes me puke. Nice art by Alan Davis saves this from being a worst book.

Detective Comics #857 – A good story to start out the Batwoman run and a visual tour de force by JH Williams III, this book is screaming out for an oversized deluxe reprint of Williams work. Page after page causes you to sit back and look at Williams layouts in amazement and awe of his design work. The coloring by Dave Stewart is amazing as Williams’s artwork and it integral to the stunning nature of the work. As much as I’m enjoying Rucka’s writing the art is stealing the show.

Echo #15 – It is hard to find anything wrong about this series. Each issue is like a chapter in the story of Julie Martin and the strange suit that has bonded with her. Each issue brings revelations, new mysteries, answers and more questions. I have loved the development of Ivy from being the bad guy of the series to being a potential ally for Julie. Also when you look back on this series the pace has been at a breakneck speed as so much has happened in what appears to be a very short time span.

Fantastic Four #571 – I’m still getting use to super buff Reed, but I’m enjoying Dale Eaglesham’s artwork on this book. If it is as I have read being shot from the pencils, then other artists need to learn how to do the pencils as dark as Dale’s work because it looks like inked work. The story is good, but I’m worried when you have truly infinite universes as that means an unlimited number of rabbits to be pulled out of hats. Also Jonathan Hickman is having fun with all the science concepts, but he needs to remember this is the Fantastic Four and not the Incredible Reed Richards.

Guardians of the Galaxy #18 – This is a great story that is just being hurt by less then adequate art. Wes Craig’s artwork is not suited for this type of story and it makes this book a hard one to read. I fear for the life of this title as the art work will drive people away, it needs an artist with a more super hero bent to it.
Immortal Weapons #3 (of 5) – This was a better issue, but still not what I was hoping for and I thought all the weapons came from the mystical cities. The art drop off in the back up was also disappointing.

Incredible Hercules #135 – I’m finding this book to be as much fun as the fans of the book have said it is. In fact this series is so enjoyable that I want to go back and get the trades of the run. While I’m sad to see Agents of Atlas end up as a back up series in Incredible Hercules, both series have similar qualities. This issue about Amadeus Cho is well done and I’m guessing gaming fans would get a great kick out of this one. It is interesting to see alternating issues focus on Hercules and Amadeus. This series is fast moving up my list of top books.

No Hero #7 (of 7) – All in all an interesting series, but way too often Ellis ends a book with everyone dying. I liked that Joshua was a plant from the federal government to take down the heroes, but then when everyone is killed so fast it just felt rushed. Ellis has some great concepts, but to make them mini-series he appears to just kill everyone to end them.

Power Girl #5 - This book is what I think DC does best at times. They have so many great self contained series. Unlike Marvel, who drags all the books into the core universe and therefore makes everything dark, DC can have dark and light books and this is a light one. It has strong story telling, humor, character development and action. An under the radar series that should be on your reading list.

Spider-Woman #1 – This was a great start to a new series. I loved how it was quickly established how Jessica will have a reason to be out and about away from the Avengers, so that she can be an Avenger and have this mission and it all make sense. On one hand I can tell this book is a little old since it was released as a digital comic first, but in another way it is set up to be a story that occurs at anytime. Jessica is recruited by SWORD to hunt down rogue aliens that live on earth (in some ways the ultimate illegal aliens). I guess it was a fait accompli that she had to go after a skrull to start the series, but it works.

Underground #1(of 4) – Not the strongest start to a four issue mini-series and some of the foreshadowing or whatever they were doing did not work, but it was good enough to bring me back for issue #2. Next issue should get more into the meat of the story and get us into some spelunking.

There were a ton of well done books this week and the best list could have been populated with a lot of books, but it is an indefinable quality that separates these books. It is also just a whim on my part at times. Still Detective, Power Girl, Echo, Fantastic Four and others were right next to making the best.

1 comment:

  1. I thought your theory was that we're already in a depression, and have been for some time?

    Your argument about having to have a manufacturing base to be a strong nation reminds me of the old mercantilist arguments that couldn't see the change that came with capitalism. Our economy has continuously changed throughout the history of the nation. The manufacturing base only took off in the middle of the 19th Century, but the country was still primarily agrarian for much of that time. It's the ability to adapt and change that's the strenght of the US, not a given system of production. Change comes everywhere eventually. The US history of acceptance of a lot of change is one of the characteristics that differentiates it from the rigid societies of much of the rest of the world.