Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Best and Worst of Last Week

So I have come upon the question of how does one person convince someone else of what they think and believe to be true. Al Gore is selling his “chicken little” scenario that man is causing to world to get warmer and warmer and ruination is upon us carbon using fools. Obviously I disagree with his proposition and have read that many scientists also disagree and many who once said yes now who have changed their minds. I believe that we are in the start of a depression and that the worst is yet to come yet many believe the crap being spread by our government that things are getting better. I use these as examples of things that I believe that most people either don’t think or take a position and are never willing to change their minds. It becomes more of a belief system for people and facts be damned. To me at least, so much of our discourse has become one side or the other just saying they are right and if you disagree then you are a (fill in name here). In comics I’m always willing to be proven my opinion is wrong, in life I’m willing to look at things that show me I’m wrong, but I want the person arguing with me to have a similar approach. An open mind is not needed, but a wiliness to at least actually listen is.

On another note I heard a news story on the radio that a cub scout is being sent to reform school for 45 days since he brought in his entire pack to school so he would be ready for the meeting that afternoon. Of course he had a knife in his mess kit and the school has a zero tolerance (or what I call a no thought approach) to weapons in school and a knife of any sort is a weapon. The mother was being interview and is fighting the ruling. I do not remember her verbatim quote but the gist of it was she believes in the zero tolerance approach but not without some sort of leverage to be able to look at the individual situation. I just laughed when I heard that, she has no clue what zero tolerance is and is just learning why it is a bad idea.


Batman and Robin #5 – Writer Grant Morrison, Pencils Phillip Tan, Inks Jonathan Glapion, Colors Alex Sinclair. I love this book. Morrison has turned this into a fast paced thrill ride that it reminds me of some of the old time silver age Marvel books. What I mean is that there are so many things going on you could spend issues getting into it, but instead we just move full speed ahead. Plus I loved how we put the idea of anyone besides Jason Todd being the Red Hood to rest immediately. The little retro-con that Jason always had red hair was a nice touch as it made some logical sense. When Batman replaced Dick he would want the person to look similar, but from an artist standpoint trying to distinguish between Dick and Jason is difficult. So we get an easy way to tell who is who and it makes sense, especially comic book sense. Scarlet taking out Robin seemed a little odd, but we have no clue as to all of her background and sometimes you can get lucky. I can almost see a relationship between Scarlet and Robin down the road. Then after Batman and Robin are defeated and the Red Hood is walking away in triumph he gets shot by a new motorcycle riding bad guy named Flamingo. This book just moves each issue and continues at a madcap pace that I’m really enjoying. It is a good sign when you constantly want more information and want to see what happens next and this book makes the grade.

Sweet Tooth #2 – Storey and Art Jeff Lemire, Colors Jose Villarrubia. I love the Vertigo line and sometime on issue #1 of a series I can be too effusive with my praise and then I fall off the book quickly. Unwritten is one such book. Issue #2 of Sweet Tooth was just as good as #1 and maybe better as the story continues to move forward and a nice clip. Jepperd the man who saved Sweet Tooth at the end of issue #1 finishes off the guys who were after Gus (Sweet Tooth) and then realizes Gus has run off. He finds him back at the cabin and the exchange between the two hints that Gus may have been the first of the hybrids born and denotes Gus maybe more important to what happen then anyone else. Even our cast has yet to put two and two together. I loved how Gus refuses to go with Jepperd and Jep tells him fine and leaves. Gus almost immediately goes after him to try and find this safe house for hybrids. On the road they are attacked and Jepperd gets hurt pretty badly after killing the bad guys. Gus is left with a bleeding and apparently dying man, now away from home and no clue of what to do. I love the pace of the book; it is moving fast but still giving us tons of information in a natural manner. The art is crude by super hero art standards, but does the job in conveying the story, the emotions and distinguishing the characters.

Daredevil #501 – Writer Andy Diggle, Art Robert De la Torre, Colors Matt Hollingsworth. The Dark Reign The List book with Daredevil acted as a prologue to this issue, but was unnecessary if you just went from last issue to this. Once I have grown to enjoy a book I’m always a little fearful when a new creative team comes onboard to take over. I have enjoyed Diggle’s writing on almost everything he has done, so I was not as nervous as I would be with another writer. De la Torre’s art also maintained a nice noir quality to the book, but I wouldn’t mind if someone would still hire an inker every now and again at Marvel. The story is simply Daredevil has taken over the leadership of the Hand. To prove his sincerity they ask him to betray Master Izo and to kill him. Now it seems like he does, but I have to wonder if Izo and DD had not set this up long ago. Some of the dialogue between them certainly sounds like they did not, but they would have known the hand was watching them. DD is a major “B” list character for Marvel, so I do not think they can let him go down the road to hell paved with good intentions, although that would make a more interesting story. What I think we are seeing is DD trying to take control of the Hand and make it serve his purposes. The problem I have with this approach is that I think the Hand will discover his deception and then we are back to the status quo. I prefer to see the status quo changed and see what happens if DD crosses that line. Does he have to continue down a road to ruination? I think a person could cross a line and then come back from it and still be a good guy, just with a more morally ambiguous position. The bottom line is that it looks like DD is in good hands.


Dark Reign The List : Secret Warriors – This is starting to feel way too much like a marketing gimmick then a story driven thing. I thought it was going to be about Norman Osborne and we might be moving towards the end of Dark Reign, but it feels like these are $4 ads for other books. Daredevil was to introduce the new creative team and this is to push Secret Warriors. Also Ed McGuiness (whose style is unappealing to me) was the wrong style artist for a Nick Fury Agent of Shield story, which this was.


Absolution #2 (of 6) – A very good second issue as we find out that it appears someone without good intentions has found out that John is killing bad guys in his spare time. Where The Mighty and Irredeemable are about super heroes going way over the line, Absolution is about splitting hairs with morality as opposed to crossing lines.

Batman The Unseen #1 (of 5) – I just love Kelly Jones work on Batman. I hope DC get around to collecting his work in a deluxe format. This issue was a great start and looks like we will get a new rouges gallery member out of it. Doug Moench and Kelly Jones on what is being called a lost tale of Bruce Wayne as Batman, great touch. Finally Doug Moench was one of the great writers of Batman in the nineties and he shows he still is a terrific writer years later. I hope this signals a return to comics for Doug.

Chronicles of Wormwood Last Battle #1 (of 6) – Sometimes I swear Ennis just wants to see how far he can push things. Still he has strong story telling skills and I’m curious to see what is going to happen with all he has set up in this first issue. Not for the faint of heart or even those with moderate sensibilities.

Criminal Sinners #1 – A good beginning to this new arc. Also I felt like it was very new reader friendly as Brubaker set-up everything very well by telling us the few things we needed to get into this new story of Tracy Lawless. Brubaker and Phillips have become quite the team.

Crossed #7 (of 9) – Wow that has to be the harshest ending to an issue of a book I have ever seen. In the context of the story it makes sense, but still seeing a Mom have to shoot her kid is off the charts harsh. This book has consistently shown us that in this post apocalyptic world hope is fleeting at best.

Doctor Voodoo Avenger of the Supernatural #1- I wish I had time to do a full blown review on this book as there is a bunch of things that I would like to talk about, but my time is running out. (I can only devote so much time to the blog). I hate the name Doctor Voodoo, even with Jericho Drumm being a doctor. I also felt like the artist in this book made Doctor Strange look like he was the new Ancient One, which makes no real sense. Additionally I did not like how Dr. Voodoo beat the Dread Dormannu to start off his career. It made Dr. Strange seem somehow lesser that this almost rookie takes out a powerful demon and arguably Strange’s most powerful foe. Of course then Dr. Doom kicked his Voodoo’s ass, so I guess it all worked out. What was really nice about this book is that it was about the sorcerer supreme type stuff and I have missed having a book that is about the mystical side of things in the MU and the DCU. (An ongoing Dr. Fate book would be great DC!). All the mystical stuff going on in this issue was great because when Dr. Strange was part of the Avengers it was super hero focused and not magic focused. This appears to be another book that was colored direct from pencils which works with some books, but does not with others; here I thought the art was effective.

Haunt #1 - Writer & Co-Creator Robert Kirkman, Layouts Grag Capullo, Pencils Ryan Ottley, Inks & Co-Creator Todd McFarlane, Colors FCO Plascenca. Spider-Man #1 was an, oops, the cover threw me; Haunt #1 was an okay book. It did not Wow me, it did not make me retch across the book and into my ottoman full of comics either. We have two brothers and are quickly introduced to each one. Daniel is the fornicating Catholic priest. Now having a priest who pays for a prostitute is better then the sadder side of what some priests did, but it still bespeaks an underlying disdain for the Catholic Church which is definitively shared by Ennis. Personally it does not faze me either way, but I always thought the celibacy thing was dumb and I believe was an economic sanction passed by the church in the Middle Ages. We meet Kurt right after as he is going to church to and meets his brother for confession. See my full review here.

Irredeemable #7 – The story continues to build as we see the Plutonian started to listen to others criticizing him and he goes against what he things is right. The entire thing backfires and makes him guilty of what happen to a large number of people. We also get to see how badly he has been stalking Bette Noire. Mark is taking way too long to get to an endpoint in this first arc. I have said this before this story needs an endpoint or we are just following along forever with never getting the full picture. You can only drag your audience along for a limited amount of time before you start to lose them. Heck I believe the TV series Lost had its lowest ratings last year.

Jonah Hex #48 – I prefer the one and done and this six part story feels a little too long. What I enjoyed this issue was Jonah’s showdown with all of these assassins from around the world. Then I enjoyed that he finally shot and killed the bad guy who set him up this issue. If Jonah had let this guy go it would have made no sense given what type of character Jonah is and would have been too super heroish. Now to see how this all plays out against the man behind everything.

Justice League Cry for Justice #4 (of 7) – The art is this book is incredible as far as static pictures go. I love the women this guy draws. Mauro is also playing with designs on his pages which sometimes work and sometime do not. All in all his ability to be a great interior comic book artist is still in progress. I’m just shocked DC does not just ask this guy to do covers as his work would make books stand out on the racks. Of course I no longer believe covers sell that many books. James Robinson’s story structure for this series is odd. It feels like the opening arc of an ongoing book and as it was planned originally as an ongoing. I get the feeling this book leads into JLA which James Robinson is taking over. The time frame for this book is a little wonky also and a footnote or two would have been appreciated.

Mighty #9 – Damn this is a good story. Cole is really in way over his head now and may not survive many more issues as his car is hurtling over the side of a cliff to end this one. This issue Cole decides to try and run away from Alpha One and almost succeeds, but Alpha tracks him down and burns out Cole’s tongue since he doesn’t want him to talk. Thankfully politicians don’t have that power or there would be a lot of muted people in the world. Chris Samnee’s art seems a little looser lately and I’m wondering if he is pushed by the monthly deadline, but I’m anxiously awaiting the next issue.

Planetary #27 – I think that as a separate issue this was a good comic, well written and beautifully illustrated. As an epilogue to the Planetary series this was excellent and a nice change of pace as Ellis did not kill everyone to end the series. Absolute Edition Volume Two please, thank you DC, now would be great.

Vengeance of Moon Knight #2 – I hate that Sentry showed up and acted as a prophet of what is to come from Moon Knight. I felt this was totally out of his character, but otherwise this was a good issue. Moon Knight is fighting down his demons and it is not real clear exactly who he is outside of being Moon Knight. The little evil Moon Knight was funny and needed to be balanced by a good one and then put on his shoulders to make the whole cartoon thing perfect. One thing that I’m very tired of is Norman Osborne and the Hood; both of these characters need to go away for a long time. The Dark Reign has overstayed its welcome and really done nothing.

This week had best and worst books again and plenty of other books to talk about. My schedule has been so hectic that I did not have as much time to focus on comics that I would like with this big of a week as even with all of this verbiage I still had more to say. Heck I never read the Rebels Annual yet. I need a secretary that I can give dictation too!

1 comment:

  1. 1) How can DD be a major B lister? Isn't that an oxymoron?
    2) Your example of Lost in the Irredeemable review is counter to the point you're trying to make. Lost has an end point and isn't just running endlessly, as the 2010 season is set to be its last. Despite the defined end point, its ratings dropped last year.
    3) Rein in the government paranoia, my friend. If politicians wanted to stop people from speaking, other than the usual gut reaction most people have of wanting to shut up critics, and if the government were such the big bad guy you seem to believe, making people disappear wouldn't be that hard. Hell, look at Argentina in the '70s and '80s. No need to have some superpowers to burn out a guy's tongue.