Thursday, April 19, 2007

Comics: Week of April 18 2007

I know I teased a 25¢ bin adventure, but new comics come first...

52 Week 50 - Aside from being disappointed that WW III is about Black Adam pulling a Johnny Bates instead of the Four Horsemen and whatever batshit crazy stuff that was coming out of Oolong Island, I thought it was a good issue. I thought the resolution that Billy comes up with was quite clever, and that last shot of Adam mumbling words to himself was one of the most resonant moments of the series.

It's weird to write about in light of the events at Virginia Tech this week. I always felt sympathetic towards Adam. His actions are deplorable, but in some of his characterization in Johns' JSA, one can understand where he's coming from to an extent. I was hoping for a happier ending for him in 52, but I think he's now lost to us. There's no redemption now.

World War III #1-4 - Even the LCS owner was surprised that they dumped this all in one week. I bought it sight unseen... which may have been a mistake. Basically expanding upon the events covered in this week's 52, it felt a little redundant. On the other hand, WW III (the event within the event) would have felt pretty anticlimactic if it were merely contained to a single issue of 52. I'm divided.

Didio's column in this week's 52 would have been helpful last week, frankly. I appreciate him coming clean about the whole impetus behind having World War III (the event within the event), but I feel a bit suckered by this notice so late in the game.

I appreciate that the writers ran with the opportunities that presented themselves in the course of 52, and that WW III is basically handling the original purpose of 52 in that it's providing the bridge to where we found everybody in the OYL jump. That's all fine. I just wish that information was communicated before I bought the thing.

I'm just not sure that I care about the connections. The only threads I was interested in were the one for Manhunter (Kate Spencer) and maybe Aquaman... and I had completely forgotten about the OYL differences in Manhunter. In hindsight, I probably would have skipped WW III. It really didn't do that much for me, other than explain why the Martian Manhunter is all messed up again.

Manhunter #30 - And we have the sweet chaser of Manhunter. I think Andreyko provided a nice ending point for the series, even though it got another last minute reprieve (I especially liked the blurb on the last page about the next issue... "no really").

Not that I'm complaining, but I'm wondering why the cancellation was reversed. My assumption is that Kate's going to be tied into a big event soon, most likely this Amazons Attack I keep seeing ads for. Plus, this last storyline seemed only to serve as a kind of bonding experience between Kate and Wonder Woman.

I don't care. I'll support this book until the end. It's unique and takes chances one doesn't see a lot of these days.

The Mighty Avengers #2 - I don't know if it's just me, but I'm not overly excited about this title so far. Up until a little while ago, my reading had been relatively Bendis-free. I took a chance on New Avengers: Illuminati and felt underwhelmed by the first few issues (though I might hop back on if it's true that they'll bring Morrison's Marvel Boy into the 616).

I'm getting the same feeling from Mighty. I couldn't put my finger on it until just now when I briefly compared Bendis and Morrison. Say what you want about Morrison, it's clear he has a genuine love of the medium and the characters he's writing, and he conveys that through his scripts. Everything I have read from Bendis seems undercut by a low-level cynicism or sarcasm, and it's hard to differentiate the authors voice from the characters (or even the characters from each other). He may be a fanboy at heart, but I just don't pick up on that through the writing. Maybe I'm wrong. I've heard the man in interviews, and clearly he loves what he's doing, I'm just not convinced that he has a vision of where this is all going.

Chris Sims just ran a look back on the original World War III from Morrison's run on JLA, and it occurs to me that the man had vision of where he was taking everything from book one. Morrison had a solid idea of what the JLA was and underscored that throughout the run, building and building until the final battle in the final arc. These weren't just superheroes, they were the idealized aspects of humanity just like the pantheons of ancient myth. They were above us, but they were also us.

What is the big idea behind Mighty? No really, I'd like to know. What, that there's always a team of Avengers?



Monday, April 16, 2007

Comics Mega Post!

I've been preoccupied the last few weeks with a job search. I got to pay for all these comics somehow. Prepare for info dump.

52 Weeks 47 to 49 - I don't know what to say about 52 right now. I should have known better than hope that all the great new things I was seeing would last beyond this series. I loved the Black Marvel Family, loved the new Batwoman, and was even interested in the Great Ten.

The last few weeks have seen most of what was compelling about 52 completely reversed/dismantled/dismembered... what have you. About the only thing left to look forward to is the revitalization of the Metal Men... maybe.

Maybe it's just the event fatigue talking. It's been interesting, and it's been fun. Most exciting is that DC was able to pull off a weekly series successfully with what looks like little of the expected attrition over the year.

I just wish they weren't already rolling it over into another year long weekly. The teaser ads are compelling... but I don't know if I'm willing to make the leap to Countdown. Plus, there's the whole side-trip to World War III.

There's three issues left, and even with a rumored giant-size final issue there doesn't seem like there's going to be a satisfying conclusion for me. I don't know. Call me cynical.

All Star Superman #7 - Best Superman title ever. If only it were monthly, though I'm still happy to wait. The first two-parter of this series, though when I got to that last page cliffhanger, I'm happy to muse about the possibilities contained in the next issue until it finally arrives. That's the appeal of this title for me: the unending potential and imagination, and how much Morisson and Quitely allow for the reader to contribute. Most titles try to spell things out to the last detail, or jerk you around with promised payoffs that never materialize.

The Immortal Iron Fist #4 - Continuing to intrigue. There's a feel that anything could happen right now. I'd like to see more answers about the multiple Fists (hello Googlers), though I'm not in a rush. Like a good b-list character, Iron Fist kind of operates in his own bubble of the Marvel U right now, and has a hazy enough backstory that lends itself to this kind of retcon.

JLA Classified #37 - Long awaited story, though I think it was supposed to be it's own series or graphic novel, wasn't it? I like it enough to see where it may be going. There were certainly enough references to philosophy and religion to make me think it might lead somewhere interesting.

The Mighty Avengers #1 - Interesting. Thought balloons are coming back? When did that happen?

Aside from that, this really let me know that the whole Civil War thing isn't really over. I get the idea that Tony's gone a bit around the bend, which will lead to a sequel of some sort. I dunno. Sure it kind of congeals the Marvel U around a new status quo, but it feels a bit forced sometimes.

Speaking of forced, Marvel sure seems to be pushing Ms. Marvel on us tha last few years. It wouldn't bother if she was, you know, interesting. I'll give this series a few more issues.

Shazam! Monster Society of Evil #2 - I love it, but I'm wondering if I should just wait for the trade at this point. I feel like DC is trying to soak me. This book should be in an affordable, entry-level format and price for kids. I may be a kid at heart, but that doesn't count.

Runaways: Pride & Joy Digest + Runaways v.2 #25 - I'm finally getting on the Runaways bandwagon. I've wanted to pick up this series for a while now, and hearing Whedon was coming on board finally gave me the excuse, I guess. I picked up the first digest, and I have to say, I think I would prefer all my trades as digest now. They're just as legible, more portable and cheaper.

As for the story, I have to say I'm hooked. Probably one of the best premises to come along for long time. Straightforward and simple: teenagers find out that their parents are a secret supervillain society and go on the run. The first six issues require little to no knowledge of Marvel continuity, which is great since it seems not even Marvel knows their own continuity sometimes (I couldn't resist).

I also couldn't resist reading the current Whedon issue out now. Sure, I've missed everything in between, but I just couldn't wait. I kind of spoiled some developments for myself, but it was nice to see that the series was headed towards some resolution. Whedon recaps and resets the stage apart from Vaughn's initial run. Looks like it's going to be set more inside the mainstream Marvel U, which will hopefully bring new eyes to the book.

Iron Man: Extremis TPB - I like that this is basically a re-jiggered origin story for Iron Man, a restatement of who the character is. Tony's always been one of those characters that I could take or leave. Even with the alcoholism, there was never anything compelling to me about him. Ellis manages to find an angle that I can relate too in that Tony, despite being an optimistic futurist, is always making weapons. Suddenly, Tony's story has the dramatic weight on par with Greek tragedy; despite his best efforts, he may be making the world a more dangerous place.

The artwork's gorgeous. Small wonder that Granov's been tapped to lend design concepts to the movie.

That's all for now. Next up: 25 Cent Wonders!