Even less time than normal this week -- have to get the order form done, and the next month’s sub set up, plus it's a holiday weekend, and the store has been rocking. Jeff's out of town, so this is all the Critic you get this week. I'm barely halfway through this week's books, but I was writing as I was reading, and if I don;t post this now, I don't know when I would. We're pretty purely mainstream stuff this week as a result
Evidently, I was also extra-cranky this week...
ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN #640: I very much liked the formal experiment (the top 2/3rds was completely told in pictures -- from a scrapbook, or a magazine, or a broadcast -- if you didn't notice), and the story was very well crafted, but that big reveal seems pretty preposterous to me. OK
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #520: Probably this should be called "The Avenging Spider-Man", since it's all-Avengers, all the time. As an issue of Spider-Man, I didn't care for it, but as an issue of Avengers it entertained me more than the recent stuff, so I can go with OK, I guess.
BATMAN #640: Effective art, and the Red Hood sequences were clever enough, but, man, that Superman/Batman scene was pretty damn pointless, wasn't it? A mild OK from me.
CAPTAIN AMERICA #6: Perfectly strong issue, I guess (though the last page undercut the Big Reveal -- sorta like how the season ender of LOST undercut itself by not ending one commercial earlier), though it seems to me that it would be difficult for it to be The Actual Bucky. He'd be in his 70s or 80s now then, right? Brube's point of B's death being a retcon is stictly true, but he's going to have to work really hard to make this new story make more "sense" then the 30 years of "Dead means dead" we've grown up with. I, personally, do rather hope this is a feint. A strong OK.
DAY OF VENGEANCE #2: None of these characters are remotely in what I'd consider to be "in character", and much of this don't make no sense (magic in the DCU seldom does), and yet it was breezy enough with fun dialogue and nice art, that I'll go with OK.
DC SPECIAL THE RETURN OF DONNA TROY #1: Um... what? How was Donna brought back? Just a quick "I was resurrected" in the middle of the data dump with no explanation? Then page after page of "Who's he?" and "I don't care" fighting and blah blah blah. I never liked the "New Titans" idea in the first place. This is clunky stuff, and hardly what I'd want to present as my first impression to DC. Since it is the "collector's item" first appearance of the new DC logo, and all. Garcia Lopez and Perez's art (both of whom I love individually) really doesn't gel very well here -- GL was always about the fluidity of line for me, and Perez about the obsessive doodling, together it "hardens" GLs line to me and looks blocky and too heavy. Or something, I don't have the vocabulary to properly discuss art. This is one of the places where the usual critic scale fails me -- it's worse than "EH", but "AWFUL" seems to harsh.
FANTASTIC FOUR #527: well-written, pretty to look at, and some solid ideas. Won't win an Eisner, but it's a GOOD issue of FF. The copy machine joke died, though -- Nick just had said only 2 copies were allowed.
FLASH #222: Still suffering a bit from the Too Many Characters and Too Many Plans syndrome, and the Let's Space out the Reveal on Boomerang's Mom Some More annoyed the piss out of me, but good solid action comic here, alright. a strong OK.
GIRLS #1: I thought ULTRA was keen from the first issue -- this grabbed me much less, what with the "get me wet" and "squeeze my melons" and the other "we're aiming lower than we might" stuff. While it's hard to judge from one issue, my first instinct is "Sophomore Slump". Looks pretty, though. OK.
GREEN LANTERN #1: I hate to say it -- I mean, I REALLY hate to say it because there's not a bigger Hal fan than me -- but this was pretty dull. Crafted well enough, but I would have expected a much bigger opening and scope. Coast City really seems weird and creepy, too, and I can't imagine anyone living there -- that could actually be a clever little running backstory, but it doesn't feel like one that fits in a GL comic. Plus, whatever happened to "Haven", the crashed alien ship/city thing? There was a quick line in REBIRTH that they vanished, but you'd think that space-savvy Hal would make that a top priority. Well, sure, it was never a good idea to begin with (do you remember the initial press, about how this would be a major facet of the DCU and lots of writers were planning on touching upon it, and yadda?), but it seems like a pretty major thing to just leave hanging. Anyway, glad to see Hal back, but I don't really care about pilots and piloting very much. Sadly, a very low OK.
INCREDIBLE HULK #81: Meh: was it real or not? I mean, he "rides off" at the end -- but if it was all a nightmare, as it were, then where the hell is he riding TO? And the coda was really unnecessary. Nice cover, though. OK
JLA #114: Buh? Look when you start changing costumes and all that it, then set it in a pitched space battle, it becomes pretty damn confusing who is who and doing what and how. Plus, I think I can speak for everyone who is me and say "No, we don't want them to TEAM UP, sheesh!" The Construct angle was clunkily resolved, and I really really didn't buy any of the last page of League speechifying about why the let the CSA get away. Having said all that, I think I'd be interested in reading a Busiek CSA book that stayed 100% in the evil universe -- he throws out lots of cute little bits throughout the issue and arc. Still, this individual comic was pretty incoherent, so: AWFUL.
MACHINE TEEN #1: Slow slow slow; especially since the Big Reveal is sorta spoiled by the TITLE of the book. What surprised me was the art -- it simply doesn't look polished enough for a Marvel title, does it. A great big whopping EH from me.
NEW X-MEN HELLIONS #1: really horrendously long way to go to get that set-up together. And it feels kinda awkward and clunky at that. There's really no reason this shouldn't have just be an arc in the regular title rather than its own mini-series, or, in fact, even had to be a "Hellions" story. A big fat OK.
OMAC PROJECT #2: I liked the first couple of pages, though was frustrated when they cut away because the rest has to happen in another comic book. Don't really care much about the Machiavellian goings on in Checkmate, so most of the rest of the issue was wasted on me. I'll go with OK, though I basically Don't Care.
OUTSIDERS #24: Man, you'd think they'd put a cover blurb on this that says "INSIDERS 2 of 4!" or something so that all of the people who don't religiously follow comic news sites and buy both titles would know they're walking in the middle of a crossover. I feel sorry for the poor shmuck who just reads OUTSIDERS and not TITANS who reads #23 then reads this. "Wait, what now?" Then the rest just devolves into a dumb fight scene, and you're left wondering, "Why didn't she just kill them all, ESPECIALLY after announcing that she had an advantage they didn't -- they had no idea who she was or what she could do" "This has all been part of a plan" is fine, I guess, if the plan is any good. This is not. AWFUL.
RUNAWAYS #4: Kind of a wasted issue -- extraordinarily little happens in the first half, while the second half is yet another "let's walk through the possibilities". The last page fills me with a smidge of hope, though I will gently observe that DD already has/had an heir, so it feels like treading back over ground we've seen before.
SLEEPER SEASON TWO #12: satisfying wrap-up, yes. Successfully went both ways and ate some cake, too. I can give this a VERY GOOD.
ULTIMATE IRON MAN #2: Again, not any Iron Man I've ever read before, but, judging on it's own merits this is solid enough comics. Big quibble in the "tape dissolves, but he can still wear shoes" thing, but, whatever, I'll go with a muted and mild GOOD.
ULTIMATES 2 #6: Nice idea of using "The Defenders" as they did -- that worked really well, I thought. Wish the last page had been a smidge more specific: NO ONE would say "We crippled a nation this morning", they'd say, "We crippled France", or whatever. Other than that, a solid VERY GOOD.
PICK OF THE WEEK: SLEEPER v2 #12
PICK OF THE WEAK: From what I've read so far, OUTSIDERS #24.
BOOK / TP oF THE WEEK: either GOTHAM CENTRAL HALF A LIFE TP, TRUE STORY SWEAR TO GOD VOL 2THIS ONE GOES TO 11 TP, or WRATH OF THE SPECTRE TP -- all three are great books