Here comes Crankypants!: Hibbs' 5/23

Here I am, here I am!

(Yeah, I skipped a week, sorry)


AQUAMAN #9: Here we are at issue number NINE of this comic, and I've realized that I still really don't know who Aquaman is, or what motivates him (other than "being pissed off", I guess, generically?). I mean, I like the character just fine, but there's not any "there" there, is there? Pretty much just a collection of cool powers and a costume. And this "Aquaman's other team" storyline is just as bad at this, introducing several new characters, again, who don't seem to have clear personalities or motivations. And yet, and yet.... and yet, I kinda still like it, because Ivan Reis is a very good artist, and Johns knows how to write compelling action and dialogue, but it still feel like less than the sum of its parts to me.

I didn't like the cliffhanger either. Besides the tarnishment it implies, I'm kinda getting sick of John's Daddy Issues as being the only kind of motivation that anyone ever has.

I enjoyed this more than the rating as I was reading it, but here two days later I can't say this is anything other than OK.


BATMAN INCORPORATED #1: I liked the issue just fine as chapter #81 (or something like that? He's coming close on 100 Batman comics, isn't he?) of Grant Morrison's Batman run -- especially because Chris Burnham is one hell of an artist -- in fact, as issue #81, this was pretty crazy awesomely good, but I'm this weird old fashioned kind of a guy who thinks that a first issue of a series should contain it's premise. I thought this was largely unreadable as a FIRST ISSUE, and it's hard to see where the "incorporated" comes from here. So that's going to knock this down at least an entire grade to only a GOOD. You can tell me I am a crankypants. But it won't stick, because I'm also pushing for a Bat-Cow mini-series. So there.


FANTASTIC FOUR #606: It's nice to see Hickman doing a "traditional" FF story for once -- where they are heroically exploring. And then there's a fun little "twist" at the end that makes it even better. A nearly perfect little "done in one" issue that I thought was VERY GOOD.


FLASH #9: Pretty pretty comic, every month without fail, but can I say that I've yet to find the "new" Speed Force to be compelling, and Barry Allen personally even less so? I think tying in the "origin" of Gorilla City to Flash is incredibly wrong-headed, and I don't like the new Grodd's relationship to his fellow residents. But it is pretty, and therefore, at least OK.


IRREDEEMABLE #37: As impossibly powerful as Waid has made his title character, there was largely only way this could end, and Waid did almost exactly what I thought he was going to do. Exxxxxcept, I was thinking that "energy" would moebius-loop somehow (like the Supremium Man in Alan Moore's Supreme), and I didn't expect that Waid would then make his evil analogue responsible for the creation of the original from Siegel and Shuster. That's kind of ballsy. Or douchey, I don't know. For leaving a bad taste in my mouth, I sadly have to go with AWFUL, when it's not nearly that bad -- hell, I'm sure Mark didn't consciously realize that's how it would be taken; but there it is.


JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK #9: Jeff Lemire's first issue, and the book takes a decided turn towards "traditional super team" with a guest appearance by Steve Trevor, an explicit naming of the team, tie ins to the "black room" plot points in JL, and so on. And it strikes me that in a way this is a larger betrayal of anything the creator envisioned, or the character was built to be, or, hell, of their sister imprint for that matter, than "Before Watchmen" is going to be. It also seems like it undoes Gaiman's Sandman kind of explicitly.  Which is weird. I kind of don't understand what this book is meant to be, and the nuDCU has way too many superteams-without-a-clear-function titles already. More than anything, I'd guess this book is aimed at formal Marvel editors who sneered a lot about Vertigo when it launched -- "Sandman done right" and all that. That's not a very large audience, though; and I don't see how this book doesn't just keep freefalling from issue to issue like it has been. Extremely EH.


MIND MGMT #1: It has been a terrific year for amazing first issues from new independent ongoing series, and this one spreads the love over to Dark Horse for possibly the strongest debut issue yet this year (which is a crowded field, I think, with things like SAGA and MANHATTAN PROJECTS and PROPHET, etc. etc). There's this wonderful wonderful density to this title, which sets up a wide-ranging conspiracy theory-ish story like, say, "Lost" or "Fringe", and does so under the incredibly assured layouts of Matt Kindt. I absolutely admire Kindt's storytelling and energy on the page, though I constantly think that he'd be incredibly aided by having a solid and professional finisher to ink him -- there are pieces of this that really look like layouts more than anything else, and I think that stylistic choice is going to turn a lot of the widest potential audience off.  Try to overlook it, though, or you're missing something really special.  Kindt colors the book himself, and his color choices are really strong and striking.

Either way, this is comics by someone who "gets" comics just perfectly, and this absolutely deserves to be on your reserve list -- I've just placed a reorder at 100% of my initial, and will be hand-selling this with some large amount of joy. I thought this was a truly EXCELLENT debut.


PROPHET #25: This was the first issue where I was NOT enjoying what was happening until we got well past the halfway point and the "real" Prophet showed up. Then I totally fell back in love all at once. This is such a VERY GOOD comic, and I'm totally at awe of the world-building that gets built and tossed around each and every issue.


SUPERMAN #9: Basically, see what I said about AQUAMAN above -- I have no idea who or what the "modern" Superman is about, really, other than "it's Superman", but all of the changes to the supporting cast and mythos, so far, seem to be arbitrary to me, rather than organic. All of the stuff in this comic about how the media behaves? Beyond terrible. This is terribly EH material, and I doubt I'll read another issue until they change creative teams (again!) YOUNGBLOOD #71: Y'know what? I was digging on John McLaughlin's script here -- kind of the most AUTHORITY-like comic that we've seen in a while, but dear god, the art by Jon Malin and Rob Liefeld (Rob's inking?) is really wretched and uninspiring. I know a lot of people used to really really like Liefeld, but, honestly folks, most of those people stopped actually purchasing comics at least a decade back, leaving this a commercial trainwreck. Too bad, I really dug the script, but the final product is a muddled EH of a comic.


That's me... what did YOU think?