Monday, June 11, 2012

The Week In Review Staring Creator Owned Heroes and Before Watchmen Minutemen

So I got caught up and then got two weeks worth of books at once. Now of course it is a race to catch back up. Friday night is when I would usually get a few books read but for an early father’s day gift my daughter Gwen and her husband Andre took me to a USA World Cup qualifying match. It was raining almost the whole time, but at least in Tampa it was just getting wet and not freezing your ass off. Never thought I would get into soccer and I’m still not a huge fan, but it was a fun sport to watch. With the US winning 3-1 over a vastly inferior team you would have thought the game would be boring but it was actually a lot of fun to watch. Enough about me, what about this week’s books you read I can hear you saying.

The Marvel stuff is mostly standard fare, the worse part is the Avengers vs X-Men is making the regular series, like this week’s Wolverine and the X-Men feel like filler. After conversing with Lee I have come to the conclusion that I really need to cut almost every normal Marvel book off my list. FF #18 is a prime example why, we had Johnny Storm being a little more grown up and have the power of the negative zone behind him. This issue he allows free elections and Annihilus wins. This signals that the “growth” of the character is gone and I am also gone as soon as Hickman wraps his run. Stuff like Age of Apocalypse I can still enjoy because it is all alternative earth stuff. What is funny is I don’t know all the history of the characters that well so the little things they do that may shock a devoted X-Men fan pass me by, but the story of a bunch of humans fighting as the last resistance to the mutant overlords is plain comic book fun. The Thunderbolts, now Dark Avengers is also fun as it manages to avoid the rest of the Marvel Universe. Finally Fury Max is a great mini-series that examines the early days of the Viet Nam war and gives us a good picture of Nick Fury as the reluctant and cynical warrior. Nick is a man again in the Max series and not essentially a super hero. So at this point I look forward to jumping off points with many series and will continue to find the niche series that can play in their own little world.

Now into some of the other stuff I read, America’s Got Powers #2 (I know it was two weeks ago, but I’m sort of covering two weeks here) was decent. It continues to build the mystery up of the kids who got the powers and we are still unraveling what happened with Tommy. The government of course is trying to find out what is behind all of this and the mystery is being slowly revealed as well as widened. Two things that were off to me, I just don’t buy that the US would tolerate a blood sport that they have the power kids involved in as a televised spectacle. Also the time jumping gets annoying. I know the flashback was to establish Tommy’s brother being dead and how close they were, but the break down of the narrative flow of the book was due to these flashbacks. Overall the book is working and of course Hitch’s art is great looking.

X-O Manowar #2 is fine, but we are two issues and $8 in and he is just putting on the armor. So far this is a typical do over with the redo putting more pages to the origin side of the story. With Cary Nord and Stefano Gaudiano’s art carrying the load I guess it is okay, but the entire crux of the series has to be when Aric gets back to Earth. I wish I had not sold my hard cover collection of the first few issues because I would like to refresh my memory as I’m almost sure the first time this series was done it moved a lot faster. At this rate we may be six months in before the premise of the series has been established.

Harbinger #1 was a good opening and all set up, but still very well done. It keeps Peter and Harda as the main characters, but seems to be more of a psychological drama then a super hero type comic. It has some great potential.  

Next up is Creator Owned Heroes #1, the best bang for the buck I have seen in a long time. It is two different series in one book with a ton of extras. Each story gets 11 pages and even if you are not 100% sold on one of the series there are some nice little columns by the writers involved, an article on Trigger Girl being modeled with tons of photos and how the costume was done, a short interview with Neil Gaiman and other stuff. It felt like a magazine and a comic book all for $4. American Muscle by Steve Niles and Kevin Mellon was fun post apocalypse stuff as a bunch of kids are discovering what is left after the world ends driving around in muscle cars. Trigger Girl is a very cool concept that left us with more questions then answers, but the hot girl attacking planes in the air with a glider suit left me wanting more. Trigger Girl 6 is by Jimmy Palmiotto and Justin Gray writing with Phil Noto on art. As I have said so often I’m tired of standard cape and cowl stuff and this book is a blast. Run out and buy 2 copies. I think the title of the book is horrible, but it does state exactly what it is. I think Thrilling Adventures or something of that ilk would have been better.

Epic Kill #2 continues to be great fun. The art on this book is very appealing and the story leaves you wanting to know who killed this girl’s parents and why is the President of the United States involved in this. Raffaele Ienco is a very good artist and the story he has crafted is holding my interest. Of course it helps knowing that this story has an end and I just was checking out stuff about the book on the internet and it is reportedly heading to big screen as a live action film. The article said the story is part Kill Bill and Bourne Identity and I get that, but I would say more Bourne, then Kill Bill. The action is non-stop and over the top.

Sweet Tooth #34 by Jeff Lemire was bittersweet as I know we are heading to the end. I know, I just said I like stories that end, but sometimes they end too soon. This issue was a prelude as we see Doug who is chasing after Jeppard confront his brother Johnny. We get their history and see Doug finally take out his brother Johnny, This is all setting up the final arc. I have loved Sweet Tooth and I can’t wait to follow it to its end. Lemire is a one hell of a story teller.

Before Watchmen The Minutemen #1 came out this week and I loved this book. I hate that so many think that DC is raping Alan Moore. First off this was a contract he signed. Now, boo-hoo, it did not happened like he thought and now he has made a ton of money from DC raping his creation. IT WAS NOT HIS CREATION! It was derivative as 90% of his stuff and most stuff is. All Star Superman was great, but does not exist with out all that came before; Planetarty is an awesome series that is beholding to all that came before it. It was based off the Charlton Heroes, did Moore go and give checks to the guys who did The Question, Captain Atom, Blue Beetle and the rest. Darwyn Cooke is examining the “golden age” heroes of Watchmen. In the New Frontier Cooke captured an era and did his take on the Silver Age of DC, here again he is capturing an era. We are getting the story from Nite Owl as he reminisces about why he decided to be a costumed crime fighter. This is a glorious beginning to this six part story. Nite Owl is a police officer who wants to do more and he has no real strong rationale for why he did it.  We also got some back story on the other Minutemen. The two page Cures of Crimson Corsair was okay, but just a crap gimmick to get you to buy all the BW books as each one is suppose to have two pages of the story, then later we can read it together when they collecte it in one book.

The last book I will mention is Earth 2 #2. Alan Scott is gay, and Jay Garrick becomes the Flash. This is fun as we are on the ground floor of these heroes all starting up. We have terrific art by Nicola Scott and Trevor Scott and James Robinson is doing some of his best writing. I think Robinson works best when he is not forced to play with others, in other words when his book stands on its own. I was disappointed that the Terry Sloane of Earth 2 will be a bad guy. Bad enough this guy had (Mr. Terrific of the golden age) had one of the worse costumes ever, but now he is an evil genius. Regardless this book is the right up there with the best that DC has in the cape and cowl set. My concern is that we are two issues in and have only introduced the Flash. Next issue Alan becomes the Green Lantern, but at that rate we will be two years in before some form of Justice Society is formed. Also the design of the Flash costume is only slightly less horrible then Barry Allen’s chin guard. I get the helmet is the update of the Mercury hat, but is sucks and needs to go away.

If I get ambitious I will do a column about what I’m getting next week in detail. In case I don’t here is what I’m getting, standard fare goes first, Batgirl (about to be canned), Batman, Batman and Robin, Green Lantern, Suicide Squad, Avengers, AvX (for Jonah), Captain America (another book on the edge), Fantastic Four (after Hickman, good bye),  Hulk and Uncanny X-Force.  The other side of comics includes Dancer, Invincible, Mind the Gap, Planetoid, Conan, Massive (new Brian Wood series), Cobra, Night of 1000 Wolves, Pantha, The Spider, Warlord of Mars, Warriors of Mars, American Vampire  Lord of Nightmares, Before Watchmen Silk Spectre, Demon Knights, Frankenstein Agent of Shade, Resurrection Man, Saucer Country (which had bad sales numbers so sadly it may not last long) and Shade.

Come on back next Monday for more.

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