May 13, 2010 6 Comments
Lots of books this week, though admittedly a lot of ambivalence too. I like superheroes and all, but it’s often frustrating how lamely they’re written sometimes. I also wanted to pick up the first volume of Sweet Tooth, but couldn’t find it, so I decided to pick up the first volume of Pluto, but I couldn’t find it, so I ended up buying the first four issues of Joe the Barbarian. I’m not disappointed, but I am too lazy to review them right now, so expect a review of that tomorrow or so.
Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #1 – score: *** outta four
Dialogue was awkward and irritating to read (caveman speak rarely isn’t), but it made up for it with some great art and imagery. I was telling Vyperchild before the issue came out, this issue would have been really cool had they done it as one of those comics with no dialogue and just told the story with the art. After reading this book I still stand by that. They’d have to change some things and they might lose a little of the meaning (that couldn’t be translated to non-verbal), but it would have been a more interesting book overall. I’m derailing the review though – plot-wise it’s pretty predictable. Bruce Wayne hits things as a caveman and then some superheroes show up, and it seems like the series will be a chase through time and space (that should be the name of a song). Since the next issue will be out of the caveman era hopefully it’ll be more readable.
The Flash #2 – score: *** outta four
Once again the art is what makes this book shine, though I think oddly enough I found the colouring a little duller on this issue than I did on the last. Nonetheless, the art is pretty suited to The Flash. The arc about The Rogues from the future continues (and we get a bit from our present Rogues too), and the more this series is about The Rogues (rather than our, so far, somewhat bland hero) the better, but this book advanced the plot far too little for my taste, as this issue was mostly more foreshadowing/buildup and gags. Especially insulting was that ‘plot twist’ at the end – yes, we all knew that was coming, now can we get this book about the *fastest man alive* to quicken the pace a little?
Birds of Prey #1 – score: ** outta four
Surprisingly didn’t enjoy this that much, though I did almost consider raising the score to ‘ambivalence’. And once again, I have to put blame on the writing and dialogue. I haven’t read any prior Birds of Prey and though I know Simone’s earlier run was popular, some of the conversations, as well as Black Canary’s thoughts, felt awkwardly written and I didn’t get a good grasp on either the characters or the team. We did get a good showing from Hawk though, who’ll definitely be an interesting character, not least because he’s on an otherwise all-female team. Not that the team has really formed yet: they’re called together by The Oracle to deal with a vague threat (a villain who knows too much about our heroes; it’s been done a fair bit recently though so eh) of sorts, and the issue ends with the reveal of a villain I don’t know. It’ll get better, I guess? I have some issues with the art too. Benes is pretty suited to drawing smexy ladies, but sometimes he draws all the Birds standing around with this dull blank look on their faces, even in some of the panels that were meant to be more emotional. I don’t think he has a problem drawing more varied facial expressions so hopefully this sorta thing isn’t common.
IZOMBIE #1 – score: **** outta four
I mainly picked this up for Allred’s art (though I initially decided not to). His unique pop art stylings probably aren’t for everyone, and I have to admit, his art lended itself better to colourful superheroes like Madman than the more muted colours of the zombies and other critters in this supernatural story. Nonetheless its a decent (if slightly inconsistent) showing, coupled with a well-plotted first issue. We get a dose of a multitude of plotlines and characters (ghosts, vampires, were-terriers, et cetera) in Gwen’s supernaturally-charged little town, with just enough info from each thread to create a compelling background to set-up the next issue. Most importantly we learn of the book’s main ‘gimmick’, in that the Gwen (our protagonist) is a zombie who has to eat a brain every month to avoid going mindless zombie; furthermore she has to fulfil their wishes (in this issue, a murdered man’s wish for revenge) so they won’t torment her. A healthy mix of humour, mystery and horror seem to be in store, so I’m looking forward to the next issue when the plot starts to get going. As an added note: I hate the name. Creativity please.
R.E.B.E.L.S #16 – score: **** outta four
Probably my favourite showing so far (keeping in mind as I write this review, I have yet to read Joe the Barbarian), and as far as cosmic police go, definitely more exciting than whatever the hell is going on in the GL books right now. This is, as usual, mostly due to Vril Dox (Brainiac 2). The last issue spent too much time on Starfire’s whining (wah-wah Nightwing etc). In this issue we see both the new Rann, and the new L.E.G.I.O.N. established on Rann (with Starfire joining up, of course) and the ramifications of this. The Vega system being a hot pot of lawlessness, dropping Rann into the mix is like ‘dropping Israel into Palestine’ (as Captain Comet puts it) and Dox manages to piss off everyone from Blackfire’s Tamaranian fleet to the Green Lanterns (who have already assigned new guys to the sector). It’ll be excited to see where this sort of tense power balance within the Vega system leads, and as this establishing arc concludes the next issue we’ll hopefully get right into the thick of it.