Monday, March 21, 2011

The Week of March 16 in Review

Lee, Thomm and I were having an e-mail discussion and the idea of negativity was part of that conversation. Now many people accuse me of being negative because I have what I consider a realistic view of the economy and believe a severe downturn is coming with the next year or two. I also have no love for our last few Presidents and the direction of the country. I will offer what I consider solutions, but I have found that even if you are ultimately proven right, that standing against the crowd never wins you fans. You have to sense when the crowds mood is about to change and jump in. Now Lee, Thomm, Gwen, Matthew, Greg and I could all be considered negative because the nature of the beast when talking about something you’re reading is to mention the good and the bad. Unfortunately human nature being what it is the bad seems to stir up more reaction then the good. I have taken to mention what I like and what I dislike about various books but this week I’m going all negative (as much as I can). Why? For the heck of it and then next week or sometime soon I plan to go all positive.

Included in this batch of books are books from other weeks as I’m still playing catch up from the time I took off, since I’m going negative I will leave off creator names.

Insurrection V3.6 #1 – I picked this up on a whim and wish I never had. It had that almost science fiction generic feel to it and no hook to pull me into the story. One and done for me and I will probably ship it off to Lee sometime in the future.

Chew #17 – The big problem was the timing, this issue was delayed and I had a couple week delay in reading it, therefore it took a little while to get back into the swing of the book. This is still an enjoyable series.

28 Days Later #21 – It is hard to go negative when I liked the issue so much. Selena and Clint get to London, they hook up, Clint talks to his publisher and something is not right about everything that is going on. Selena takes off by herself and I’m left hanging waiting for the next issue. Add to that the artist this issue was one of the best they have had so far and I was a happy camper.

Morning Glories #8 – Could this book please make some sense. I have not been drawn in by these characters, the art has a barren feel to it (no real backgrounds usually) and the overall idea of the school is still a mystery 8 issues in. I had dropped this book but I ship this series to my daughter Jamie and she really likes it so I keep getting it. I need to get her to write a column why she likes it as I may stop reading it all together.

Vampirella #4 – I still feel like I have jumped in the middle of a story, but now I’m feeling caught up. This is definitely a “good girl” book as half the joy is seeing Vampirella, who is drawn appropriately voluptuous. The story has pulled together and saved this book from my cancel list as no matter why I get a book I want some level of story.

The Last Phantom #5 – The love of the character has kept me around as the first storyline ends. We will see if I stay with the book. The artwork is weak but still can tell the story. The story is a basic they killed my family and I now I will kill you. All in all I see why they put the $4 price tag on the back.

Phoenix #1 – This is another revival of the Atlas series from back in the seventies. First off the book reads like we missed an issue and I believe we did with issue #0 being a giveaway. Second the art is hideous and looks like a poor art student is still learning about his craft and we get to pay $3 for it. It has some good concepts and has some limited potential, but I have a feeling this book may not last any longer than the original Atlas run.

X-Force #5.1 – What is with these 5.1 issues? This issue was okay, but it opened up a bunch of plotlines and potential storylines that will not be pursued for sometime as we are in the middle of the second arc when this book showed up. It was way too early for this stunt and it served no purpose in any sense. I will give it that it was a good story and I got a kick of seeing Rafael (American Vampire) Albuquerque do some super hero work using more of his AV art style.

Grim Ghost #1 – This was the third Atlas comic revival and maybe the worst book. Kelley Jones work has never looked so bad. I wonder if he did rough layouts and this inker came in and ruined it. I have no clue because Kelley is a great artist and I would be hard pressed to believe he is the cause of the look of the book. The story jumped all over the place and again I have a feeling the zero issue which was not readily available was the true start of this book.

Uncanny X-Men Annual #3 The artist was trying for Art Adams and was close enough for some fans, but I thought he could not maintain a consisted shape of someone’s head from panel to panel and I found the work to be amateurish for a Marvel book. The story was boring and never made me care about the group of characters that was pulled together. It is a continuing story bouncing around to two other Annuals, I will not find out how this story ends.

Thunderbolts #155 – I love this book and Kev Walker does a great job with the art, the only complaint Dr. Strange look like JJ Jameson and not Dr. Strange. This is a good series that is building all sorts of stories and plot lines.

Hulk #30.1 – At least this seem to set up a new storyline for the Red Hulk, so as a point one issue it actually did the job. I love Jeff Parker (writer) and Hardman’s art is nice, but I’m still not pulled into this character yet. Setting up General Ross to have to go through what Bruce Banner did with Ross chasing him, seems to be a backwards idea. We already had the General chasing the monster for a billion years, do we need it again? The creative team is keeping me on this book, but replaying old storylines could have me off the title.

Warlord of Mars #5 – Dejah Thoris is suppose to be the most beautiful woman ever, the artist apparently thinks that means huge boobs and a skinny waist. The art on this book is tragic and this series demands a stronger artist in ability to draw more on the realistic side as the work tends toward the cartoon side of things. The actual story is a nice expansion of ERB’s original work, but is a little too slow in its pace.

Adventure Comics #524 – We have the Legion Academy and the Avengers Academy, but Legion has Phil Jimenez drawing the book and therefore wins in the art department. So far I’m not caught up with these characters and if Legion is starting over (more or less) we did not need Comet Queen again.

Brightest Day #22 – This book has dragged on and on forever. Death was supposed to mean something after Blackest Night and instead this series has made it a joke. I could care that Martin Stein died and have no clue what is going on and just want the series to end. The series has been a waste of a lot of high end DC talent.

Fear Itself Prologue: Book of the Skull – I hate teleporters. They are a god machine. Star Trek actually started exploring that with two Rikers and Scotty staying alive in one for 75 years. If you have a teleporter you are rearranging matter to such a level and able to reconstitute it that it is absurd why you would want anything else. The Red (Sin) Skull and Baron Zemo have teleportation devices in this book. Why would they need anything else? As a prologue it worked well – BECAUSE NOTHING HAPPENED! At least it had a decent page count for the $4. I have never been so uninterested in the “BIG” events. Fear Itself and Flashpoint appear weak at this point. At least with low expectations maybe I will be pleasantly surprised.

5 Ronin #3 (of 5) The Punisher – This was an excellent issue. This was an examination of the Punisher done via a story of a samurai. Milligan kept the origin the same and just change the time and place. It raised a lot of moral questions and kept the story grounded in the original version of the character. While I have enjoyed Garth Ennis’ run on the Punisher he did fundamental changed the character from a normal human into someone with a almost mystical tie to death itself. Aaron has been taking that concept one step further In Punishermax and has insinuated that Frank knew his family was going to be killed and let it happen or at least ignored the warnings. This is a fundamental shift in what the character is from his roots of a man bent on revenge for what happened to his family. I think I prefer the examination of what it means to be a man and taking the battle to the bad guys with lethal means as opposed to more of a man obsessed with death. Of course the beauty of the Punisher are the many themes you can explore writing about the character. While I have yet to read the collected Franken-Castle, I know Greg thoroughly enjoyed even that bizarre twist on the character. Darn, nothing negative to say about this book and it gets points for making me re-examine the Punisher character.

Avengers Academy #11 – This book moves way too fast and tried to bring everyone up to speed on the Korvac saga. It was over explained and the issue turned into a long prelude to the battle coming up next issue. It takes a while for new characters to stick with me, but this book is getting the job done.

Amazing Spider-Man #656 – Darn another issue where I have little to complain about. Marcos Martin is the best Spider-Man artist on this series, great job examining how Spidey has to deal without having his spider sense and a solid story.

Incredible Hulks #624 - This book is boring me and therefore I’m cancelling the title. Eaglesham’s art has become too processed and the book was theoretically about all the Hulks and we are hardly seeing any growth or characterization with Rick and Betty in their new roles. The whole Savage Land arc is not capturing my interest so goodbye Hulks.

The Spirit #12 – Once I know a book is canceled it is often hard to get too involved in it, although I think Hine and Moritat have done a good job with the book.

DMZ #63 – Another book that is hard for me to criticize since it seems to be racing towards an ending and I missed large chunks of the story by dropping the book for a few years.

Unwritten #23 – The least straight forward book I have ever read and one that forces me to think I need to read more of the great classic literature. I’m slowly getting back into this series and so far I’m favorably impressed with all the meta-textual themes.

Northlanders #38 – Even when I want to be negative some books make it impossible, I’m enjoying the Viking attack on France and the middle chapter set the stage well for what should be a bloody ending.

Superman #709 – The Grounded storyline has been uninspiring, preachy and boring. At least the art was okay this issue. Superman is in need of a major re-tooling as the Superman books have been poor for a few years.
Freedom Fighters #7 – Way too much going on and while I enjoy hearing political debates, not when the bad guys and good guys are fighting each other.

Power Girl #22 – I have dropped this book before and I was close to doing so again, but this issue they re-established PG’s secret identity, so I will hang on for a little while.

Batman #708 – The book was hijacked by the Azrael series which was canceled. What a rip off. I have no clue why DC would cancel a series and then finish it up in two higher selling books. That seems counterproductive.

Rebels #26 – Round 2 against Starro. I would have been disappointed about going back to the same villain so soon, but since the series is ending no big deal. A shame this book did not have higher sales.

I still have four books I should read to totally catch up, but I’m running out of stream and this column has gone on long enough. Even trying to be 100% negative I found some books were just too good. All in all it was not the strongest week in comics and nothing jumped out as a truly great book.

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