Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Week of April 7 In Review

I have been struggling with a way to express my displeasure with certain books, but I also do not want to disrespect the creative efforts of the people behind these books. So my worst section is hereby dismissed. Instead when I feel a book missed, I will focus on what failed to generate interest or caused me to view the book with some displeasure. I’m trying to act more as an editor and give reasons behind my views as opposed to degenerating to sheer snarky comments. I’m sure I will occasionally slip, but my goal is to provide a reason for my viewpoint and to not just say the book sucks or something else as inane. I truly believe that 99% of the creators are trying to produce something entertaining.


Superman Secret Origin #5 (of 6) – Writer Geoff Johns, Pencils Gary Frank, Inks Jon Sibal, Colors Brad Anderson. – The bar has been set high for Superman stories. Between this and All Star Superman we have been treated to some of the best Superman books ever done. Johns is becoming one of the best writers in comics ever. Akin to Warren Ellis he seems to play to his artist strength and manages to marry word and pictures to a “T”. Of course having a great artist like Gary Frank doesn’t hurt and he has gotten over his garish stage with women and has me falling for Lois Lane as much as Clark. What is even more amazing is the way Gary is drawing Clark and Superman as the same person, but with Clark’s goofy expressions you can almost believe Lois may think they look alike, but that would be all. Plus only we as comic readers even think of secret identities, I mean if we were Superman would we even care about a secret identity? The actual origin story is really done and now we are just moving forward in Superman’s early career and seeing elements introduced that will play out in his life over the years. What is so stunning about this book is page by page, panel by panel this is just pure out and out quality. If all super hero books were this good they would be nationwide best sellers week after week with circulation in the tens of millions. This series should stand as Superman’s Origin for at least a decade and should be a perennial best seller. Johns and Frank are delivering the Superman Origin of all time.

Nemesis The Imposters #2 (of 4) – Writer Ivan Brandon, Art Cliff Richards, Colors Matthew Wilson. – As I’m typing this I find myself in disbelief that this book has made the jump to being a “Best” book. This issue we are still left with more questions than ever before but what a great frelling ride. This issue Tom is picked up by Batman and a fight ensues. Immediately Tom knows this is not Batman, which makes perfect sense as Tom is a master of disguise and studies everyone, so he knows immediately this is not the Batman he knows and he’s right as it is Dick Grayson. Batman takes Tom down and as he is traveling with him we find out that according to Wonder Woman Tom just suddenly woke up paranoid and never was taken to Electric City (from the last mini-series). Tom escapes in an unimaginable way from Batman that was just out and out cool and we have the mystery of people with bloodied hands. I’m getting absolutely no answers on what is happening and have no clue about what is up and what is down or even what Nemesis is doing, but I’m enjoying the ride. This is what Nemesis should be and I’m ready for an ongoing series at this point.

Demo #3 (of 6) – Writer Brian Wood, Art Becky Cloonan – This is a simple and sweet story about a young girl named Marlo who has an OCD issue with post it notes. Now I have post it notes here and there and use them to track my comic list each week, but she goes way over the edge and out of control with them. Still she is so cute and likable that you fall in love with her anyway and the end of the story when she throws her notes a way to take a chance on love, it is truly heartwarming. Reading my short review may make you gag on how sappy or sickening sweet the story is, but I think reading it and seeing Becky’s great artwork on it would win you over too.

Other Books of Note

Batman and Robin #11 – I liked it and it advanced the story and all, but serious middle chapter syndrome here. Now the reveal at the end was an odd surprise, but also fits given Dick is now Batman. Even with the flaws this series has had now and again, Morrison’s run on this book has been nothing short of brilliant.

Cinderella from Fabletown with Love #6 (of 6) – This was a very enjoyable and well done mini-series. The only issue I have with the book is that I would like to see this as an ongoing series, but they used up the clever little twist by having Cindy’s Fairy Godmother be the bad guy already. This series has a lot of potential and truth be known I was more enthralled with this series then I have been with Fables lately.

Flash Secret Files and Origins 2010 – I went in thinking this would be a waste, but it was a great story and then tons of great information setting up the new Flash series. DC may have gotten this one right from the jump now that we are past Rebirth.

Invincible Returns #1 – Hey I call it issue #71, but whatever. This was a well done book that should bring new readers up to speed but did not bore this regular reader of the series. It was a nice story that set all the players in place, advanced the storyline and did a nice job of updating new readers in a way that was natural to the two stories told in this issue.

Proof #26 – This is still a good series but between the one over long story arc and now the slow pacing of its publication the book has lost its immediacy. I hope when we get to Season Two that they achieve a faster story pace and keep a monthly schedule.
Red Robin #11 – This series has become one of the best Bat books on the stands. Christopher Yost is doing a great job with the book and it is apparent to me Tim Drake has moved past the Robin role and is a pretty cool hero on his own.

Stephen King’s “N” #2 (of 4) – This book is appropriately creepy and eerie enough that if you let your imagination open up a little it can actually be a little unsettlingly. I think horror comics are the hardest to do because 90% of them are never actually scary, so this book is a good job by all the creators.

Superman: The Last Stand of New Krypton #2 (of 3) – This story is a blast. Superman, Mon-el, General Zod, Brainiac, Lex Luthor, the Legion of Super Heroes all in a battle to save New Krypton and the rest of the bottled cities. I can’t believe how much I missed a solid Superman story adventure.

Uncanny X-Men #523 – I enjoyed this chapter of Second Coming. What I loved about it is that we are getting a linear story right now as opposed to each series being its own thing that meanders around the main story line. If this keeps up like this I will be all in for the whole story.

Books that Missed and Why

Moon Knight #7 – I hate Deadpool and his endless appearances in all Marvel books. I swear I would drop this book because of Deadpool being in it, but it appears to be a two part story. I think that dropping in a character like Deadpool so early in the series is a blatant sales gimmick and the short term bounce (if any) is offset by interrupting what has been a good story showing what Moon Knight is all about right now.

Realm of Kings Son of Hulk #3 (of 4) – I will finish this series out, but it has nothing to do with Realm of Kings and served as a horrible book to get me interested in the main character. Instead of getting the feeling the writer was inviting me into the story it is in fact not welcoming me into the fold at all. This is a big mistake when Marvel was obviously trying to give this character a broader audience and the writer kept going like we know every bit of his story. Finally this book needs the one page opening explaining the character and we don’t get one.

S.H.I.E.L.D. #1 – I have been reading that a bunch of people are really enjoying Hickman’s retro-con of Shield and I thought it could be good but was seriously unimpressed. He has made Shield an age old secret society with so many cute bits that it just feels thrown together and phony as opposed to clever. I guess when you trod ground others have done you better have a new twist and I have not seen that twist yet. I like Hickman, but no longer love his work. This book has Leonardo Da Vinci as part of Shield and a scene where Galileo fights off Galactus hundreds of years before he first came to Earth (which changes a classic story and a critical element of Marvel history for a one panel moment). I also was unimpressed by appearance of Reed Richards and Tony Stark’s fathers. Between the Illuminati and Shield it is as if the whole of Marvel history was a lie or we never knew the “Secret History”. There is only so much of this I can take. I will give it a couple of more issues and then bail if it does not pull me in. Let’s see Tesla will be a member, Ben Franklin, Isaac Newton or Asimov, maybe both, that would be ultra clever and Phillip K. Dick and some random guys outside of western civilization so it can be more inclusive. This may not be how the world ends, but false intellectual bits pretending to string together crap that never went together will be how the series ends for me.

Turf #1 (of 5) – Loved the Tommy Lee Edwards art, but boy I did not feel like reading freaking novel. This was a book with way too many ideas going on and is a book that shows off the bad side of creator owned projects. Even though the book lists an editor I have the feeling he had no control of the actual content. We have Vampires trying to take over the mobs in New York during 1929, which is a cool premise but we have aliens and all sorts of characters whose detailed history is being explained in great detail. Comics are a visual medium and the pictures need to tell a lot of the story. I got the feeling that the writer had done a ton of back story and put together a bible on all the characters, but then decided to share it all with us in the comic. I actually stopped reading it halfway through the book. Plus the alien stuff was out of left field from what I read. I think with someone actually editing the book and sending it back for a re-write there is the foundation for a great story buried in here.

In addition to my new section I’m rechristening the name of this column into what it really is. While this is a minor change I like to constantly relook what I do and try to find different ways to approach something. It is a minor name change, but also a slight shift in my focus.


  1. Good reviews, Jim. Normally I hate calls to continuity, but for some reason I always get excited when Morrison does it, so I'm pretty pumped about Batman & Robin.

    Where you are wrong, however, is SHIELD. Galileo fighting Galactus and time traveling Leonardo Da Vinci are the JAM.

  2. Wow. Flash Secret Files was HORRIBLE.

    "We all feel a disturbance in the (Speed) Force....because Barry is sad about his mother's retconned murder."


    FLASH #1? Almost as bad.

  3. Shawn I haven't read Flash #1, but Secret Files wasn't bad in my opinion.