Wednesday, May 21, 2008

New Comics: Week of May 14, 2008

Better late than never.

Batman #676 - As much as I love Morrison, I dropped this title after the first few issues when I started to hear that other writers would be filling in arcs and there would be some crossovers coming up. That's a scenario where I usually rely on the eventual TPB (see below) to catch me up. RIP seemed like a good time to jump back on board. Morrison's the kind of writer who really leaves nothing to waste; what seems inconsequential now will undoubtedly play a part later. This issue provided a good point for new and returning readers, as Batman has seemingly reached a new level in his career. It's the kind of place one reaches right before the fall, however. Batman RIP looks to mine some of the same territory that Morrison covered in his Seven Soldiers series; spiritual death and reincarnation. I don't really believe the rumors that someone else will be replacing Bruce (for long), but I do believe that we will see a new Batman that's going to be removed from the grim-n-gritty one that has been somewhat of a killjoy for the last twenty-odd years.

Casanova #14 - Didn't see that coming. It's a great creative leap that makes me want to read not just this album, but the entire series, over again. The first album ended with a fundamental character shift for the protagonist, and this second arc does the same. Fraction is putting Cas through his paces, giving me faith that he has a direction and purpose for this series. Also, sexy super-spy action, parallel universes, mystical crows, giant robots and mad scientists. Just when things are getting to far away from anything resembling reality, Fraction does a head-check like the reveal in this issue, which brings things down to a human level. In a way, Cas has become worse than a traitor to everyone who is connected to him, just as he's gotten to a point that he might actually care about what that means. The next album can't come soon enough.

Final Crisis Sketchbook - One those things I wouldn't have picked unless it involved Morrison and/or Jones. I would have hoped for a little bit more insight into either gentleman's artistic process, but otherwise I think it was worth the purchase. Looks like Morrison is tying Final Crisis into much of his previous DC work: Particularly his Seven Soldiers: Mister Miracle series, plus shades of Darkseid from his JLA run with a little bit of 52 for spice. I skipped the Crime Bible series that spun out of Countdown, but now I think it might be worth a look. I remember that being one of the elements of 52 that I thought might be Morrison's baby.

Green Lantern Corps #24 - You've got to hand it to Tomasi and Johns for keeping their corner of the DCU on track and in harmony. While the main GL title slips into an extended secret origin story setting up the next big GL event, the sister title has been working in unison laying the contemporary groundwork for same.

Late to the Party: TPB Edition

I picked up a clutch of trades at Flying Dog Comics' going-out-of-business sale.

Batman and Son - Just as I suspected: Morrison's run reads much better in uninterrupted chunks. I admire the man's chutzpah in picking up on a stray, but important, bit of continuity that no one wanted to touch for the last twenty years. He does seem to leave a bit of doubt that Damien is who his mother says he is. Paternity aside, does it even matter? What matters is what Damien believes, to an extent. He believes he is Batman's son, and that informs everything. Also: Man-Bat ninjas.

Daredevil: The Devil Inside, Vol. I - After showing up late to his run on Captain America (and his most excellent Sleeper and Criminal series), I finally got around to his run on Daredevil. Overall, I'd rate this over his other Marvel work. There's a tension that remains firmly rooted in reality in his Daredevil work that's missing from his work on Captain America. Maybe it's because Matt's world is more ground level than Cap's, what with the secret agent stuff, cosmic cube and SHIELD and all. Bonus points for bringing in the forgotten Dakota North in a supporting role, and resurrecting the whole Michael Murdock identity. Also, was I the only one who thought the interactions with Frank Castle were touching. Personally, I thought it was a nice contrast, and deepened the character of the Punisher: while he has no qualms about killing criminals, he wouldn't want to see someone like Matt arrive at that solution.

Y: The Last Man, Vol. 6 - 9 - This series is like a great TV show. It's interesting that so many reviews compare it to Lost (and ironic... doesn't Vaughn write for that show?), because everytime I read a chunk of it, I think that Lost should be more like this book (or should have been... I dropped out midway through season 3... has it gotten back on track?). It's got a focused, forward movement and knows exactly when to disclose a secret or two. So far, I've remained unspoiled as to the nature of the series end... though I suspect it's not going to be a happy one. The last trade should be out in July, and I can't wait.

That should do it for last week's haul. I know I was supposed to have a new Comic Shop Project entry up this Monday, but real life got in the way. I'll be making it up by having a two-fer next week. Thanks for stopping by.




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