Better late than never: Hibbs on 8/23

Little late here, sorry --don't really have that much time as it is, so here's a small handful of reviews for the week. BATMAN #656: Y'know, if someone more cartoony was doing the art, say an Ed McGuiness or something, I'd probably really really be enjoying this. But I think Kubert's art is... oh, I don't know, too mannered maybe? for me. This is supposed to be manic and pop and fun, and, to me, it is stiff, and overly rendered, and way too formal. Besides that, how'd you like the play, Mrs. Lincoln? GOOD.

BATMAN & THE MAD MONK #1: I thought this was super-terrific, but I'm a Matt Wagner fanboy, I am. Since "super terrific" isn't a Savage Critic rating, let's call it VERY GOOD instead.

KADE SUN OF PERDITION #1: Absolutely stunning artwork, with a very so-so script. I also don't like the "universe building" going on here, with the "Ezra" character being so prominently focused. Books should work within their own orbit, IMO. OK

52 WEEK 16: Love/Hate relationship for me. I liked the sense of the plot and where this is moving, but the staging was so slipshod and amateur that I wanted to put my head through a wall. Where's security? how do Renee and Vic sneak in? Why the hell is Vic wearing that mask, which would seem to draw MORE attention, rather than less? How is it that Renee is screaming and yelling and using Kirbytech guns to shoot into the crowd, and the Marvel family, 20 feet over their head, don't even begin to notice? Feh and double feh. Not quite AWFUL, but still less than EH.

FLASH THE FASTEST MAN ALIVE #3: Much MUCH nicer art, and the medicine goes down much smoother. If #1 & 2 looked like this, there'd be a positive buzz about the book. I still think the story is pretty bad, but the art pushed this way up to an OK

JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #1: OK, first off, that line up? Man, that's a seriously street level JLA, isn't it? Plus, there's no way Black Lightning would ever be on the JLA -- he already told those "Jive Turkeys" to blow! I also really think that I'm going to quickly go mad from the IDENTITY CRISIS-style multiple viewpoints, and overlapping narratives -- that's far too cerebral and "bookish" than I, personally, think the JLA should be. I like that style of writing on many things, but JLA should be a lot more slam-bam. Clearly, everyone's heart is in this, and it is written with depth (perhaps too much, but I shouldn't tell Ian Brill's stories for him), but I can't swing better than a High OK for how I felt about this at the end of the week.

WONDER WOMAN #2: Too many characters, way way too much previous continuity needing to be espoused, and, still, not even a hint of what or how or if Diana changed during the missing year, or what or why she's doing what she's doing now. Especially with it only coming out bi-monthly (rassen frassen), I'm going to need a real reason to care about this. And, no, Hercules really isn't it... EH

DARKNESS WOLVERINE: Also had really terrific art, in the service of what can't even be called a story. Barely a vignette. EH.

FELL #6: A solid base hit, but compared to the full out Home Runs the first five were, that feels a real let down. Interestingly, I think that maybe lateness is really going to hit this book hard. At Comix Experience, at least, first week sales of #6 were only about 60% of #5's -- one thought may be that because these are all one-offs, there's less of a compelling reason to "burn" for the next issue like a cliffhanger makes you do. Anyway, I thought this was a GOOD issue.

WALKING DEAD #30: I think shifting the action back to the prison blows most of the momentum of the story -- it sorta felt like Supporting Cast Theatre -- though it might work in a book, we'll see. But, like I said, I was pretty bored with this issue, and we'll go with a high OK

DAREDEVIL #88: Brube is firing on all cylinders, man -- he's just going through an amazing streak of great writing right now. VERY GOOD.

RED SONJA #13: This should have been the first issue. I really liked this one, bringing some depth and a solider backstory to what's really been a 2-D character. Believe it or not: GOOD.

ETERNALS #3: So weird to have such a blatant CIVIL WAR tie-in in this. That's going to go hard on the eventual TP, I think. What's really getting me, however, is that it just doesn't read like a Gaiman comic, at all. Extremely EH.

HEROES FOR HIRE #1: On the one hand, I pretty much disbelieve the motivations of the key cast members for being on the "pro" side; on the other hand, this was reasonably dopey fun that sold much much better than I would have really imagined. I intensely disliked the new Tarantula chick who licked the blood from her weapons though -- ew! EH

NEW AVENGERS #23: I was pretty much digging it until the Cheaty McCheaters of "And then she blew the island up and killed everyone" without any, y'know, how. But, still, this, like the last 2 issues that focused on one character, have pretty much been the best issues of Bendis' AVENGERS work so far. A low GOOD.

ULTIMATES ANNUAL #2: Jeff asked me, at the store, what I thought of this and I stood there for 15 seconds trying to remember if I had even read it or not. I *thought* I had, but I couldn't remember a single event for the comic. That's never ever a good sign. I'll also say that sales were way down from last year's annual, where it sold (for me) 95% of the parent title. So far here we're at about 55%. Ruh roh. The default rating for "I can't remember if I even read in the first place, something that I did read 2 days before" is AWFUL.

SUPERGIRL #9: Ugh, skeevy. AWFUL.

JACK OF FABLES #2: There's a line in here, something along the lines of "Well, I'm in no danger, I'm Jack of the Fables, and I always win!", and my interest-o-meter just went shuddering down by 50%. You want something much much more in a line-expansion like this. OK

ASTONISHING X-MEN #16: The big moment, the line that Graeme built up so much in his review, and I can't remember exactly how I phrased it then! Try this: basically, this is to Joss Whedon and (nee) UNCANNY X-MEN #133, as SUPERMAN RETURNS is to Bryan Singer and SUPERMAN (nee :THE MOVIE) -- its a glowing love letter. The difference is that Whedon takes the template (Wolverine: ALONE!), and twists it with Kitty as the protagonist. Plus Kitty's spit-take last line was a thing of joy and beauty. I enjoyed this tremendously, and will give it a rare EXCELLENT.

PICK OF THE WEEK: Well, you know how that one turns out, anyway -- ASTONISHING X-MEN #16.

PICK OF THE WEAK: Of what I wrote about here, SUPERGIRL #9. BUt I probably liked SWAMP THING #29 less, really.

GN/TP OF THE WEEK: It's a really really good week for books. BATMAN & THE MONSTER MEN is great stuff (though somewhat shockingly bereft of anything but the comic -- no intro, no nuthin'), and I was seriously grooving on the first 80% of DEATH NOTE v7, but then they start a new story in the last 20%, and it marred my enjoyment of the intensity of the conclusion of the previous story. I also think the FALLEN ANGEL (IDW) TP is gorgeous to look at, and is some interesting work, but if I had to pick just one thing, then I'm probably going to go with PROMETHEA v5, if you didn't buy it in the HC.

That's what I thought.... how about you?