This week Marvel is allowing the sale of Fantastic Four #587 on Tuesday by retailers. As an ex-retailer I find this news to be horrible. The reason is that I was a retailer when the Death of Superman hit and while this will not be the same type of phenomenon with killing off one of the Fantastic Four what this does is put the retailer in a bad spot. As a retailer I have ordered double the amount or triple of what I normally order of the Fantastic Four. I’m hoping for a little boost from whatever publicity Marvel can drum up on this stunt, but considering Captain America is already back how big a deal can it be. Plus no matter how important the FF is to the start of the Marvel Universe to the outside world the FF is part of a moderately successful movie and not in the same class as Batman, Superman, Spider-Man, X-Men or now Iron Man. Heck Captain America was a story because of what he represented and the FF is more important to comic fans and older fans at that.
Therefore as a retailer I’m trying to keep my regular customers happy and of course want to welcome any new traffic even if for one day. By saying I can sell the book Tuesday if I get a rush of people who normally don’t show to my store on Tuesday what do I do? If I tell them to show up tomorrow I miss my sale chance. It I sell to them and disappoint a regular customer who is not showing up until Wednesday I can risk alienating a regular customer. At this point I might allocate a percentage of books to sell Tuesday and of course sell to any regular who wanted to see it Tuesday, but Marvel is making an awkward situation for many retailers.
Good luck to Marvel in getting the real world to care about this stunt because they brought into the Captain America stunt, but I’m betting this generates interest only in the comic community. As comic fans we know the person is only dead as long as the current creative team is on the book or until a new anniversary issue demands some event, such as the return of the recently departed.
Morning Glories #6 – Writer Nick Spencer, Art Joe Eisma
What I Liked – Not a lot when you get down to it. It was a well written issue from the standpoint of following the story and art was designed and laid out well.
What I Didn’t Like – After six issues I still have no idea where the story is going and none of the characters are sticking with me. I think Nick has loads of potential but this series is not a break out type series or a revelation to me. The thing that sealed the deal to drop the book is when there was a big reveal at the end of the book as a mysterious character turned around we saw it was Jade. It had no impact on me as I had no idea who she was. Plus the art work does the job, but it is not doing anything to wow me. Someone let me know if the book gets great later on.
Amazing Spider-Man #652 – Writer Dan Slott, Art Stefano Caselli
What I Liked – The art was fantastic. Caselli has a great fluid style that work on Spider-Man better then Ramos’ slightly cartoon type of style. Caselli also is one of the few artists that have ever depicted the mask as being over someone’s face. It was a very nice piece of work that conveyed the mask is something stretched over a face. The story is well done also as we get parts of characterization and a great action sequence. Dan Slott has the right tone for this series and even though I’m still adjusting the new status quo I’m enjoying Spider-Man again.
What I Didn’t Like – The $4 price tag and while we are getting an extra eight pages, the backup is something I could care less about.
Invincible Iron Man #500 - Writer Matt Fraction, Art Salvador Larroca, Kano, Nathan Fox and Carmine Di Giadomencia
What I Liked – As a lapsed fan this read like a solid stand alone story. Not sure it brought me back into the series, but as a one and done it was entertaining.
What I Didn’t Like – The regular artist’s (Larroca) work is super slick next to the other artist and I realized I prefer the sketchier style over the slicker approach. The story is an alternative future story and it has it interesting moments, but when this type of story is done you know that future is not coming true so it kills some of the impact of the story. Also after doing the anniversary issue doing this 500.1 issue seems to be odd timing. I know Marvel is trying to give us a jumping on point, but issue #500 could have been that issue.
Hellblazer #275 – Writer Peter Milligan, Pencils Giuseppe Camuncoli, Finishes Stefano Landini & Shawn Martinbrough
What I Liked – A great story this issue that had a sort of happy ending as John Constantine married Epiphany. At the same time we had demons, slick maneuvers by John, ghosts and everything that makes Hellblazer great. At the same time we had Gemma get turned into an enemy of her Uncle and done in what is a “comic book” logical manner. Peter Milligan is doing terrific work on this series and is consistently doing entertaining stories. The pencils by Giuseppe are also well done.
What I Didn’t Like – Nada, this is a solid series.
Batman #706 & Batman Streets of Gotham #19 – Writer Tony Daniel and Paul Dini, pencil Art Tony Daniel and Dustin Nguyen, Inks Derek Fridolfs, Sandu Florea & Ryan Winn.
Remember my only rule about the way I approach my reviews and that is there are no rules. I know Streets is soon to be ended and that is a blessing as there are officially too many bat books at this time and so many story lines I can’t keep them straight. Add to that two of the bat books are being written in an indecipherable manner by Tony Daniel and Neal Adams and you have a sense of my confusion. Tony Daniel writes Dick Grayson as an inept Batman, forgetting he was an accomplished crime fighter in his own right for many years, needing Robin to save him. Plus we have Catgirl and Enigma (Riddler’s daughter) running around looking to form a girl band with Batgirl. I-Ching, Sensei, Reaper and a cast of thousands keep Tony’s work indecipherable even as I admire his line work that this issue approaches something akin to Alfredo Alcala. Paul Dini in streets is dragging out the Hush storyline with more flashbacks then an acid dropping Viet Nam vet would experience in a lifetime. Each character gets to have a flashback and we mix up stories about Thomas Wayne and Zatara with stories of Tommy Elliott and Bruce, throwing in a random guy’s old encounter with the Joker. Given how much Grant has explored the Wayne family, the entire back story of Batman’s family is now a convoluted mess in my mind. The only thing that feels consistent is Batman sleeping with Selina Kyle which is good news for Christian Bale as Anne Hathaway is reported to be Catwoman in the next movie.
At this point I believe Detective and Batman Inc. are the main two books I care about. Batman and Robin may make the grade with Tomasi and Gleason coming onboard and Batgirl is a fun read, but Batman, Streets, Red Robin, Azrael (soon to be cancelled), Batman Odyssey (thankfully a 13 part limited series) all need to up their game to stay on my list.
Brightest Day #18 – Writers Geoff Johns & Peter Tomasi, Art Diverse Hands
What I Liked – Despite multiple artists the book look good from beginning to end. The overall story itself was interesting to see the Hawks story finally get an ending of sorts.
What I Didn’t Like – This book is hit or miss and the overall plan of finding a guardian of life has been hit or miss to say the least. The gimmick to bring these 12 specific people back and then the inane ground rules for their lives to be returned is not making any sense at all. Also the white light saying the Hawks need to be apart is taking the happy ending away, five seconds after we got it. The art saves this book in many ways, but I’ll be happy when this series is over and these characters can either have their own series or something because this book is going nowhere in 18 issues.
That is a wrap for this week and all in all it was a rather blasé week. I’m not complaining that much because the last couple of years the first couple of months were blah and this year it has only been this one week so far. Plus when I’m uninspired it makes this column shorter and therefore less time to prepare, so there is that.