Undead Bulletproof Bat-Nipples
June 6, 2010 Leave a comment
This week’s, and last week’s, comic reviews ahead. I only picked up two titles this week, so it won’t be that much more exciting. I picked up Fables vol. 1 last week and vol. 2 this week as well, so I’ll probably do reviews of those somewhere down the line, even though I’m rereading them and there are already plenty of reviews of Fables (and it’s fairly deserving of the praise it gets). And in other news, I replaced the *’s with little symbols (lol) and from now on there will be a Pick of the Week each week, the book that I enjoyed the most from the week’s pull.
Pick of the Week – IZOMBIE #2 –
Another solid issue of this new series. Roberson deftly weaves a bunch of different stories and different characters together, crafting a sort of oddly laid-back neighbourhood of familiar yet different ghouls and ghosts. Either the Allreds’ art is better in this issue or I’m getting more used to the style and theme of it, but either way it’s also solid stuff. With interesting characters and a few mysteries, it’s intriguing enough to be worth reading, though admittedly it’s still in a build-up phase. Still, worth sticking around.
Sky Doll Spaceship #1 –
Perhaps a bit of an ill-choice for an impulse buy. Sky Doll is a book from Soleil, one of a few Marvel are bringing over from Europe this year (like they did in 2008). I’m really interested in checking most of them out, due to their foreign-ness, though it’s difficult to find information on them. In any case, this book turns out to be a spin-off of the main Sky Doll series which was brought out in 2010, and I think for that I wasn’t able to enjoy the writing much, because it’s very much a companion piece. From what I can glean, the world of this book (some sort of other planet future Earth type of deal) is populated by manufactured, sentient robots or ‘dolls’, sexualised individuals created for a specific purpose, and the heroine is your typical slave-who-wishes-for-liberation. That isn’t really covered much here; this book is a prequel that details a bunch of different jobs that the doll, Noa, took between the time she ran away from her home factory and I assume the main series, where things really get started. As such, we get a bunch of very filler short stories. The highlight here is definitely the art, with three short stories tailored to three different artists. The art is very cute, and very sexualised (though the writing doesn’t always draw attention to it), in the first story, and similarly so in the last one, though I didn’t find that one’s art as good (looked a bit cheaper, and didn’t have the touch of caricature the first one did). It’s also pretty manga-inspired, if that’s your thing, though at least in the first story, done with more craft. The second story had this real messy incomprehensible art that I didn’t like at all. As for the stories, the solicits probably sum it all up. They’re pretty light, and barring the first one, very silly. Not really worth giving a shot at if you don’t have the original series (which I’ve suckered myself into hunting down now because it has only the good art in it).
Brightest Day #3 –
Meh. Plodding and tedious, with too many threads that have little to do with each other (so far) and which promise to take a long time to go anywhere. It’s been getting praise, but even the characters I like (like Martian Manhunter) haven’t been providing very exciting stories, and when you have to spend so little time on so many characters, you can’t do too much character building, either. The art’s fine, sometimes even better than fine, but I can’t recommend this so far.
Pick of (Last) Week – Thunderbolts #144 –
Just about the perfect #1 issue. Even if it isn’t one. The Thunderbolts is your villains-turned-heroes (or at least, turned to doing good deeds) book from Marvel (as the recap page helpfully tells you about their past incarnations), and in this issue, a completely new team is ushered in to clean up Osborn’s mess, made up of old veterans like Ghost and newbies like the Juggernaut. This time around the premise is very much Suicide Squad (and correct me if I’m wrong, but the team wasn’t quite like this before), with the members being lead by Luke Cage and promised time off their sentences if they behave (except for lifers like Crossbones, because, y’know, he shot Captain America). While it’s fairly rote, with Cage walking around gathering up his team members, there are fun moments (like when he jumps off a plane, through a forcefield, cracking the Raft’s pavement, because y’know, he can) and the art is pretty nice. Admittedly sometimes it feels too digitized (glossy and shiny and flat), which happens with digital art (which I’m assuming this is). Not saying I’m against digital art as a rule, but it can often make things feel very synthetically ugly. Nonetheless, just look at Man-Thing’s intro panel for an example of nice art. The writing’s nice too, jumping between past and present to explain why each team member is there, and everyone is characterised well, making for an interesting cast. The reveal/twist at the end throws a wrench into predictability, tying the current team back to the past history of the Thunderbolts without being obscure or contrived, and it promises a dramatic and exciting next issue. While some level of familiarity of the past is appreciated, this is still a great jump-in issue and a good start to what promises to be a plain ol’ good superhero book.
Secret Avengers #1 –
A lower score than perhaps you’ve seen ’round parts. My little theory is that people are so much in love with the concept and cast that they’re either more forgiving of, or even ignoring, the flaws of this issue. Don’t get me wrong, I like the idea too, but you should judge what you see, not what you expect. Secret Avengers is Rogers’ pet team of stealthy superheroes. Wanting to be out of the spotlight, this team will be all about undercover stealth ops and espionage. Well, in theory, anyways, because they seem to be going to Mars. Not to mention the eccentric cast, with the likes of Nova and Moon Knight, doesn’t exactly play well into a stealth team. Nonetheless, the absurdity (even moreso than usual for capes stories) is part of the book’s charm. Mostly this is a pretty straightforward issue, spending the majority of its time introducing its characters, sometimes more cleverly (like the opening scene with Widow and Valkyrie) and sometimes more predictably. We get a taste of the story arc to come, involving Mars and ancient alien artifacts (yep, real stealth ops stuff, lol), and while I’m intrigued we don’t really get too much plot here. The reveal at the end is also decidedly stupid, and very certainly a fake out, obvious to even someone like me who has much less history with Marvel. The art’s not bad, fittingly laying on the shadows and such, but there are problems with it, like some awkward posing. The panel where Rogers kicks through the glass near the start is strange and anatomically confusing, at least to me. Overall an average start to a promising series.
Spider-Man (Marvel Adventures) #2 –
Gorgeous art, smart and funny writing, there’s a lot to love about this book. It could have easily been pick of the week, except Thunderbolts really grabbed me. This series (and I believe the other MA book “Super Heroes”) follow the old formula of providing a done-in-one tale at the same time as furthering along the overreaching story, and it’s done well here. We get a decidedly silly done-in-one story where Spider-Man, Shang-Chi, and a dog named Attila the Pug fight some ninjas, but besides that we we get threads of a bunch of other stuff, including Bullseye’s hunt for Spidey, his trouble with the media (he considers changing his costume for a fresh start as a new superhero, which isn’t actually a half-bad idea), girls (Gwen Stacy won’t talk with his mutant girlfriend, Chat, at all) and mobsters (the ‘good son’ of the Torino crime family enrols in Spidey’s school), and it’s all handled with funny and witty dialogue. The art is fantastic as usual, with vibrant colours and great pencils (Kerschl is great at doing funny and expressive faces and poses, and his action is full of energy compared to the sometimes stiff and statue-esque stuff you get in a lot of capes books). Don’t be turned off by the All Ages label, people (because let’s face it, a lot of the ‘maturity’ of some mainstream stuff is just juvenile writing dressed in violence or sex), this is a good book, and I’m going to be jumping onto the other MA book soon enough.
Green Lantern Corps #48 –
What can I say about both the writing and the art? Decent, but unexciting. Ganthet joins the Corps and they all start rebuilding Oa. We also see them meet with Atrocitus, frustratingly with what seems like recycled dialogue. That’s the main problem here – most of the material is recycled, things we already know from before, and besides the reveal at the end (a twist that was really obvious, and makes me want to smack the Guardians – once again it seems the GLs will be too busy dealing with internal problems to actually be saving the universe from threats!) it was all old hat. This sort of problem has been plaguing the GL books for a while now, so to this I say blah. Not a bad book, but like the other GL books (Brightest Day included) it fails to excite.
Green Lantern #54 –
See the above review and you’ve got the gist of it. They’re still standing around that goddamn lantern, though at least now they’ve got something better to do in finding the entities (but of course, they won’t start doing that until NEXT issue). Rage kitty is cute, and seeing Atrocitus being developed as a character is interesting, but on the other hand, the final reveal was stupidly non-sequitur and I have no idea where it’ll lead. That would normally be a good thing, but it just feels like they’re about to derail the story for the sake of delaying things to the plodding pace at which this story is going. Still, I liked this issue a little more than Corps.
Return of Bruce Wayne #2 –
Harsh perhaps, but this issue was more of a failure than the last, which only succeeded on the merits of its art. In this issue we get some digital art that often comes off ugly and with the glossy digital effect I talked about earlier, though I will say some things like the sea monster and some backgrounds (like the forest) looked good enough. There was also a big problem differentiating characters, as I’m sure you’ve heard about. On the writing side we get Morrison’s vague plotting, alluding to wider concepts but at the cost of an entertaining story. Batman’s adventure in this time period is fairly boring and trivial, and the Time Masters stuff is mostly a lot of incoherent babble, until we get a weird twist and a blunt reveal as to why Superman has to stop Batman from making it back. This chase through time stuff was dumb in Cable and it’s dumb here, perhaps for the same reasons. Batman never does anything interesting, abruptly leaves the time period, and then the other guys show up and go “whoops, we missed him”, which is kinda stupid considering time travel and all. A painfully unenjoyable read so far, and I kinda wish I had skipped it, as I’m not sure any of it’ll matter once Batman is returned to the present and the story is resolved.
Oh, did I mention there’s another damn mini you have to flesh out this story? At least it’s being written by Jurgens instead of Morrison, but unless this one picks up, I’m not sure I’ll bother.