Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Best and Worst of Last Week

A couple of things this week, first and foremost there were no Best or Worst books. Nothing jumped up at me and made me want to writer a longer review and nothing was so atrocious that it made me want to cancel a series or just rant against sub par work. It was a decent week and some books certainly made an impression but everything was a quick hit or a no comment.

Second are variant covers. I’m so tired of seeing all of the variant covers and they have become so common place that the store I buy from had a sale of them for $5 a book. They had multiple long boxes of these so called variant covers. If someone likes getting all the covers good for them, but when I was a retailer in the early nineties I would usually sell the variant for cover price because I would not change my order numbers to receive a variant cover. If the variant is more desirable or a better cover, why is that not the actual cover? This tells me two things, covers no longer matter in sales of comics. Many fans are more like me who have a standing pull list that we add and subtract from so that the covers are something we glance at before reading the book and have no impact on the purchase decision. Second is that these variant incentive covers are a tool to get retailers to order more comics and therefore inflate sales numbers. If a retailer knows he can get $10 for a variant cover on a book that costs him $2 (for a $4 cover price book) or better yet it is a “free” book to the retailer, it makes it worth his while to order to extra copies or whatever to get that variant. The one poor fan who likes the variant now is paying the tab for those extra books which go into a dollar and eventually a quarter box. I think the game for variants is pretty much over at this point as they are so plentiful that there is no “real value” in them.

Last is I’m toying with the idea of actually running for a State House Delegate seat next year. I don’t have the money to do this, but I hate what is happening on a state and federal level and feel like if I want to make a change I should try to foster the revolution by running for office. Of course I have to run as a Republican as the state is almost a one party Democrat state and I could not get a shot on that side of the coin. The Republican side is problematic as I more of a Libertarian then anything else, but the Republicans are in need of bodies and I could call myself a Republican, but still campaign on what I think is right regardless of what the party says. It always kills me how lock step people get about party affiliation anyway. Why do I have to think I certain way because I’m register one thing or another. I was on the Board of Education in a small New Jersey setting (Boards were very local in New Jersey, not county wide) and ran for the same reason. If I want to try and foster change then I think I need to do more then complain. Still I’m not sure people can see how bad it is yet and therefore maybe unwilling to make a change. Right now I sense only about 25% of the country think things are as bad as I do and only about 40% are willing to throw the bums out so far. It could all change faster though in the coming months.


Nothing here




Astro City Astra Special #1 (of 2) – I think the Dark Age book is way too long and the publishing schedule has diluted the strength of the story, but this type of story is why I love Astro City so much. It just tells us a good story about a character in the Astro City Universe. I don’t know these characters that well, but since all the characters are analogs of DC and Marvel heroes it makes it easy to know them well enough to not be bogged down with introductions. This story is about Astra (a daughter of world renowned super heroes) graduating college and her “normal” boy friend going out together after her graduation. Sounds way too normal but meeting other heroes and going to different dimensions make it anything but normal.

Blackest Night Titans #2 (of 3) – More dead Titans then you can shake a stick at. My favorite part is how Dove frustrates Black Lantern as she gives them no emotion that feed them. It was very creepy having Donna’s dead family come back and then the baby biting her and doing whatever to her was interesting. One thing this book is showing me is the Teen Titans and Titans that are left need to form one group as together they can have a good line up.

Existence 2.0 #3 (of 3) – This was a decent ending, where Sylvester did a redeeming act at the end of the book. It took some good twist and turns, but the lag time between issues #2 and #3 hurt the flow and level of excitement the book during the first two issues. Also bringing in Al Qaeda was a little much, too over the top for a story that had science fiction ideas in it, but was trying to be grounded in reality. I’m curious to see the next mini-series and also grateful that this series was completed unto itself. Green Lantern #46 – Sinestro, Carol and Hal all together with Indigo I as we are seeing the beginning of Indigo1’s plan for defeating the Black Lanterns. We also got to see Mongul and Sinestro go at for control of the yellow spectrum and it was a great battle. Blackest Night continues to entertain like no other event series.

Gotham City Sirens #4 – The best issue of the series so far. The premise of why these characters are getting together was a little thin, but this issue feels like the ongoing story lines are pulling together. With a cast of Catwoman, Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy and playing off against Hush and Gotham itself there is a lot of material here. I thought dealing with the Joker early on is a good thing as Harley and the Joker are too tied to not think she would stay with these guys if the Joker is around. Between this and Streets of Gotham Dini has craved out a nice little niche in Gotham.

Justice League of America 80 Page Giant #1 – It was a smaller comic week, so I picked this up on a whim. It certainly delivers a bang for the buck since 22 pages of story and art cost $3 and for $6 we got 80 pages. It had a nice framing device which set up an ongoing story that looks interesting, but when will it be picked up. DC has done this numerous times over the last few years and seldom picks up on the stories.

Justice Society of America #31 – I love how this book is building up. The foundation for where they are going is being laid down and I love that the JSA is dealing with a super team menace as well. We still have no clue what happened to Obsidian, Mr. Terrific supposedly dies at the end of this issue (by the way Blackest Night has taken the shock value out of death in the DCU unless everyone stays dead) and we still do not know who is behind the attacks. The new writing team is doing a wonderful job of establishing the JSA and I believe is driving a wedge into the group and they may split into two groups with one being the training ground and one being the active force.

Punisher Annual #1 – This was a good issue of the Punisher, but I’m not sure why it was an annual. It was essentially part of the current story line, just with a better artist. In fact while an entertaining and well told story, that I feel was worth my price of entry, it was eminently passable as far as continuity goes. By that, I mean the story was part of what is going on currently, but had no impact as to the outcome or moving the actual plot forward.

Superman #692 – There is nothing wrong with this comic and there is also nothing great about this comic. The Superman titles are interesting, but often feel like they are on a treadmill and very little is happening.

Thor #603 – Not enough of Thor. I know this is the lead up to JMS final issue, but it was way too much about the guy Bill is hanging around with the Asgardians in Latveria. NO matter what JMS and Marvel says it feels like JMS is leaving way earlier then he would have wanted too. JMS’ stories some time have these lulls as he is laying the groundwork and this book has been in a lull period. Add to it the slow publishing schedule and the pace is a crawl, but after reading this issue JMS has a lot more developing then what he will be able to wrap up in one giant sized special.

Wonder Woman #36 – I want to like this book, but it makes my head hurt at times. Gail Simone is one of the best writers in comics and yet, when I read this, I can never follow what she is doing with this comic. I know this book has devoted fans that would claw your eyes out for denigrating it, but this book is still missing the mark. It comes a little closer every once in a while, but still wide of its target. As the whole break up with Tom goes on I keep thinking of the Dennis Green quote from the Coors Light commercial when he said they are who we thought they were, which was essentially what Tom said at the end of their break up. The actual break up was confusing as all get out as Diana essentially said she loves him more then ever and wants to marry Tom, but know Tom thinks it would not work out. The whole island now with Achilles and all the other stuff is not making a lot of sense as I read this book. It frustrates me because you have a good writer, very good art and yet it never clicks like Secret Six or Birds of Prey.

This week was more commentary from me then there was about the actual books. It was also one of the fastest comic weeks in history for me as I was finished reading everything by Friday. Next week should be more of a normal week. The Baltimore Comic-Con is coming up and I will probably go Saturday, but the thrill is gone for me in going to conventions anymore. I’m not looking to buy anything, the company panels are like interviewing an athlete (you know what the answer is going to be) and unless I was going to be able to actually interview an artist or something getting autographs is a minor thrill at best.


  1. Maybe Simone is a better small team writer than an individual story writer?

    How are you going to run for office with no money? Besides, you just said it's a Democratic (note, Democratic, not Democrat) state, so what's the point in running as a Republican? If you want to effect change, you infiltrate the governing party and win in its primary. Taking on an incumbent in the general election usually is fruitless, but sometimes they can be taken out in the primary. See Wayne Gillcrist out of the 1st District, for example.

  2. I'd vote for you but I'm a Florida resident.

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