Monday, February 28, 2011

The Week of February 23 in Review

I want to open this week talking about heroes. So much of what we read is about heroes but one story that caught my eye this week made me think about a real life hero. The Libyan pilots who flew their planes out of the country and landed them so they could avoid firing on their own people. I have not read the entire story I only caught a blurb on the morning news, but the actions of these pilots is true heroism, doing what is right regardless of the personal impact to you. Remember many people at the Nuremberg trials said they were following orders and often I believe we can never understand how we would react in certain situations. If I was a fighter pilot and my commander told me to bomb civilians what would I do? I hope it would be to disobey orders, but how about if they said they would kill my family if I didn’t? How about they just send up someone else who would do it and try to go for a big kill and I could have limited the damage by deliberately missing the primary target? These guys are true heroes and I hope one day they get some recognition for doing the right thing.

Which can lead into my review of Captain America #615, Bucky does the right thing and this issue hit all the right notes. Bucky fights against the new Red Skull, Steve Rogers and Sharon Carter show up to help, they save the Black Widow and the Falcon; and Bucky turns himself back into the police after the battle is over. The judge sentences Bucky to 20 years, then commutes the sentence to time served. A comic book standard type of ending that has a twist that the Russian government has extradition papers for him and has already tried him. Brubaker’s took what was a nice wrap up and this story and has now extended it into another arc. I want to enjoy this book more than I do. Bucky as Captain America has been ineffective and constantly needs someone to save his ass. In this issue Sin (new Red Skull) escapes and the Falcon has to save Bucky from killing himself when he jumped after her from the top of the Statue of Liberty. Add to that the pointless Nomad back up making the book $4 and I ended up liking and disliking this issue all at the same time. Of course Butch Guice’s art looked great as always.

This week form Marvel I thought perhaps the letters went on strike since Amazing Spider-Man #655 was half silent and Fantastic Four #588 almost all silent until the last page of the main story. Does anyone ever look over the entire publishing week and decide to maybe ship one a week later? It feels odd when two books are using the same gimmick. I like the Spider-Man issue as Peter struggled with the amount of death he has gone through. I didn’t like that he decides no one dies on his watch anymore. It is an emotionally immature and stupid response. With all Peter has been though you know this is not going to go well and I don’t want angst ridden man anymore. I like Peter being more on top of the world which is what drew me back into the series. Problems and headaches are okay, stupid pronouncements, not so much. Marcos Martin on the art was great and he is the best of the three artists being used on this book. I also appreciated that with Slott at the helm of this series they have some continuity. The FF issue left me a little cold. The art was decent, but I have no belief in this death at all so the emotional response does not resonate with me. Plus the Future Foundation looks so lame as to make me throw up in my mouth when I look at it. Spider-Man is now as bad as Wolverine since he will join the group and the new costumes are less than impressive and rather effeminate looking for the guys. The new FF stands for the Future Foundation and not fashion forward I guess. These are complaints for future issues I suppose, but they include it as back up material. Finally both books were $4, which is just wrong as Marvel should be leading the way to the $3 price point, not trying to kill the market.

As you can see I have abandoned my more formulaic approach again this week, but the titles were driving me to approach my review of the week differently and I tend to let the books dictate how I should review them so no reason I can’t weave in various review formats at different times.

The Age of X, Chapters 1 and 2 both hit this week. Again, does anyone at Marvel care about what is published at the same time; a week’s separation would not have killed these books. Of course having two issues at once we get deep into the story right away. I find it amusing how Marvel just uses two titles and gives them to one writer and turns it into a mini-series. I wonder what makes certain decision points from a publishing schedule. Would Age of X have been better as a standalone series or using two, what I’m guessing are lower selling, titles to host the idea. Anyway Mike Carey has crafted a great alternative world and drawn me in immediately. I love the mysteries that abound already. For the first time I’m sad one of these mini-events is so short as Mike has ton of potential built into what he has shown us so far. Rouge (or Legacy now) is the star of the book and it is interesting to see her try to unbury Magneto’s secrets (as he is the leader of the mutant band). The one negative is Steve Kurth’s art in Chapter 2 as he keeps drawing too many people like they are holding an imaginary phone with their head and neck, it drives me crazy.

I have to add a quick blurb about JL Generation Lost #20 and it is a message to DC Comics - I hope you are f***ing kidding me, if Blue Beetle stays dead I will be ticked off beyond belief. Another ‘death” I’m not buying at this point, alien armor can save the day. On another note of disappointment Teen Titan #92 has Robin leaving the team! His addition was one of the best things about the team. This book is getting better under JT Krul’s pen, but Jeanty’s art did not help the book and at times was downright poor.

Scalped #46 is part 2 of the “You Gotta Sin to Get Saved” arc. This is Jason Aaron’s best work in comics and yet I hope that we are driving to a conclusion of the entire story. I love this book but feel like it needs to wrap up the entire story of Red Crow and Dash and the whole mission for the FBI. The strength of this book is its believability and the longer the story goes on and more complex it becomes the less it feels real. Not to take anything away from one of the best series on the stands, just saying that a definitive conclusion of some storylines can strengthen a story that has so much emotional power.

Detective Comics #874 sees the backup story become the main story. I appreciate that DC is holding their books down to $3 and wanted to make it a companywide thing, but this book should have been the exception as Scott had obviously written the Jim Gordon story to be an adjunct to the main story of Batman. Regardless the story of Jim Gordon’s son returning is an exciting one as it is more of a psychological drama as opposed to an action story. Jim Gordon is such an interesting character and Snyder and Francavilla are making him come alive like he has not been in many years. It has all the earmarks of a story that will not end well for the Commissioner.

As seems to be the case sometimes different books written by a writer will show up on the same week and we got American Vampire #12 to go with Detective comics. Like Scalped, in-between longer arcs we are getting some character building pieces and this was a great one and done story about Skinner’s girl friend and some outstanding art by Daniel Zezelj. I love Zezelj’s art work and he turned in another terrific job. I loved the story about Dolly and why she turned in Skinner to the law; it had a poetic feel to it. AV is 12 for 12 now, a great run to a series that is on my top ten.

Echo #28 was another great chapter as we race to the end of this series. With the series coming to a conclusion with issue #30 speaking of all the great plot points is meaningless. If you are not reading this series, you should be. One of the best Science Fiction stories I have read in a long time and one with terrific characterization all supported by the wonderful artwork of Terry Moore. Terry shows he is equally skilled as a writer and an artist in this series.

To wrap up the week we have Dr. Solar #5, which is broken into two parts. The first half continues the main storyline as we see Dr. Solar dealing with the ramifications of what happened and trying to solve why it all happened. The second half is the origin story of how Dr. Solar ended up being what he is now. Jim Shooter has done a remarkable job in reinventing Dr. Solar yet again for another run at the character. I hope the sales are decent for this series as I’m enjoying the book, but worrying that a spotty publishing schedule is not helping develop a fan base.

Next week and the week after maybe just opinion columns as I’m taking a little time off and hope to catch an Orioles spring training game. I have never gone to a spring training game and I’m hoping this will be fun, plus I have high hopes that the O’s will be competitive this year.


  1. Competitive with who? You're ever the optimist when it comes to Baltimore sports teams.

  2. We have a solid shot for third place and if the Yankess fall apart (as they have issues) we could sneak into second place. This is the year the O's turn it around!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. That would be nice, but I'm not holding my breath.