This was a very busy week for me and when then happens I end up writing way too much on Sunday, which is usually day 2 or day 3 of doing most of my writing. When that happens I have a tendency to have less to say about the books I read that week, but I think this week had a lot of good books, but not many of them generated me wanted to do any commentary at of any note.
American Vampire #3 – Writer Scott Sndyer “Rough Cut”, Writer Stephen King “Blood Vengeance”, Artist Rafael Albuquerque, Colors Dave McCaig. This series is three for three. The story of Pearl, the young starlet who is now the second American Vampire, is the front half of the book. We start with Pearl telling her friend to get out of their shared apartment because it is too dangerous. Hattie is worried that someone is after Pearl, but Pearl is after the people who left her for dead in the desert. Pearl is now a dangerous creature in her own right. The pacing of this book is superb and the marriage of words and pictures is a thing of beauty. When you are reading the book the words fit and your eyes follow naturally from panel to panel and page to page. When the action picks up the dialogue slows down allowing the pictures to carry the story. We are treated to a great vampire death when Pearl shoves one of the older vampires into a cactus remarking how the needles are mainly wood. As the story progresses we, along with Pearl, are learning her weaknesses as well as her differences from the older breed of vampires. The back up by Stephen King is really started to hit its pace and this issue we see Skinner back in the land of the living and ready to take revenge on foes and almost anyone else. The level of violence that shows you that this Skinner knows no bounds and lacks any subtlety the slightly older Skinner seems to posses now. This book is another winner from Vertigo.
Zatanna #1 – Writer Paul Dini, Pencils Stephanie Roux, Inks Karl Story, Colors John Kalisz. This was a good start to a new series. Personally the first page showing “Z” chained like Wonder Woman from the golden age and a phallic symbol device about to go into her back I thought was an off way to start the book. Of course it was part of her magic show and maybe Paul’s point was only during her show will “Z” play the victim. We are treated to a murder mystery and “Z” is brought in by a police detective to help him figure out what is going on. Zatanna is able to determine all the magic that went on and even finds out who is behind it. She goes to confront the underworld magician and tells him to back off. Of course he won’t and we will see the repercussions over the next couple of issues I’m sure. The police detective is an obvious choice for a love interest of Zatanna, but I think it would be a mistake. A non-powered male with a super power female always comes off like an emasculated wimp. Tom Tresser as Nemesis is a very cool character, as Wonder Woman’s boy friend he came off poorly. Still Paul did not make the detective a love interest yet, but it sure feels like we are going down that road. Of all the new series this week Zatanna was the best and looks like it could be a strong ongoing series. A quick side note Marvel is trying to pump up all the “Women of the MU” and have one shots for Sif, Dazzler, Rescue and more while DC has series for Power Girl, Wonder Woman, Batgirl, Super-Girl, Birds of Prey and now Zatanna.
OTHER BOOKS OF NOTE
Brightest Day #2 – I like the way the series is being structured with each issue giving us a few pages about each story we are following and one or two characters getting additional attention. As this is a bi-weekly series that pacing can work. Also the quality of the art team is impressive as all the artists are doing a great job.
DCU Legacies #1 (of 10) – With Andy Kubert and Joe Kubert doing the art on the first story I would be hard pressed to not like this issue and I did like it. Still the thematic approach to this story was reminiscent of Marvels of even the Dark Age, both Kurt Busiek books. Still I’m not sure how else you could do the story outside of getting the everyman’s viewpoint. The second story being told by a detective investigating a crime scene after Dr. Fate and The Spectre was entertaining as the detective acted as a debunker of what was seen and refuses to believe what happened.
Legion of Super-Heroes #1 – I’m a huge Legion fan, so I’m giving this book some leeway, but if I wasn’t a Legion fan I would probably so this book was a miss. It was too continuity laden from prior stuff going on with the Legion and assumes everyone who got this book knows what is going on. I found it difficult to remember all the little nuances of things that had happened with the Legion lately, so a new reader I feel would be lost. Plus the artwork was decent, but very generic super hero type of work. A lot of artists as they are growing into what will be their style develop what I might call the “Sal Buscema” style. Solid storytelling and distinctive characters but missing that extra factor to make it stand out or be something unique. Finally while the multiple storylines appear like they will be interesting it was a lot to drop into the first issue. I will like this book because it has tons of characters I care about, Levitz still appears to be able to write a decent comic and the art will suffice, I’m harsh on this first issue because I do not see it wowing lapsed LOSH fans or bringing in new readers and I want that to happen so I have a regular Legion series for more than one or two years.
X-Men Legacy #230 – Second Coming Chapter 8 – I really enjoyed how Bastion has trapped most of the mutants under a sphere. The entire war between Bastion and the X-Men has been laid out very well and is holding together halfway through the story. So often these grand battles lose something in the translation but so far kudos to the mastermind of this storyline as it is working.
BOOKS THAT MISSED AND WHY
Atlas #1 – It is so hard to put this book in this category as I love the Agents of Atlas, but this book while good was a horrible way to start a new number series. The book was a story about 3-D Man that was well written and interesting but did nothing to tell us about the Agents and what they are doing. The first issue about the Agents of Atlas should be about the Agents of Atlas. I like this book so it did nothing to dissuade me from continuing the series, but I was already sold on this book. For potential new readers trying this book out they learned almost nothing about the stars of the book which is a mistake.
Avengers #1 – I’m done with the Avengers and I’m done with Bendis’ work on this series for now. Why? Because I am. That makes no sense. So that would be nonsense? No sense is not always nonsense. Well you should have a reason. I do have a reason. What is the reason. The reason is because of this type of banter that Bendis feels the need to put into his books. It also is about the fact that the Avengers is being set up like a group of groups and not a real team of characters. Plus John Romita’s art is not to my liking. It is very blocky and almost choppy at times. Jack Kirby at the end of his career was not as good as he was during his heyday, but his work often felt way too blocky and that’s what JRJR’s work feels like to me. Sometimes he can hit it out of the park, but this is not it. Finally I’m looking for ways to cut back on my list. The number of books I get is way too many and with everyone pushing price points to $4, I’m cutting books as much as possible. Since Marvel is trapped in Amber, they are the easiest to cut. This team has Tony Stark, Clint Barton, Thor, Spider-Man and Wolverine on the team. The freshest face on the team is Bucky as Captain America. The first story is about Kang telling the Avengers to go to the future and stop their children from being bad guys. We see Kang meet up at the end go to the future and meet up with the Hulk of the future who is apparently going to be some Machiavellian type figure. This is as bad as Lost where characters do whatever anyone says no matter how many times the person telling them has screwed them over. Here we are to expect the Avengers are going to mess with time to stop their possible future kids, which means they are trusting Kang. Bendis super hero group work really falls apart for me and when the art is not to my liking it makes it easy to drop. I may come back in a few months, but this was a bad first issue.
Even though I had two (almost three as LOSH was skating on thin ice) in the books that missed classification, nothing was a bad comic. Avengers #1 is a matter of taste and Atlas was a matter of editorial mistake. The editor should have final say over a book’s direction and a good editor would have had Jeff Parker make this the second issue and give us a better introduction of the books’ stars to start things off.