Hibbs catches up, sort of -- 4/18's books

Happy 4/20! OK, getting much closer to being "on time", right there under the jump!

AVENGERS VS X-MEN #2: A jarring tonal shift comes this issue as Jason Aaron handles the scripting. It's sort of on par with the change of George Perez to Ron Lim on Infinity Gauntlet, because the voices couldn't be more different. I *liked* what Aaron's got on the page here, but man that's three issues in a row now with no consistency whatsoever between them, and the round robin of writers continues through the series (and art changes with #5, as well) I'm finding this jarring.

I'm also not following a specific plot point, and that's how is Phoenix "coming" in outer space, but also already possessing Hope?

Again, this book isn't for me, really, but I thought this issue was at least OK

BATMAN #8: This here is the first $3.99 issue, and I was a little concerned it would cause a jump off, but people seem to be enjoying the Owls storyline enough to keep supporting it. Again, we'll see what happens when the first Bat-line crossover happens next month -- it seems to me that most of the tie-ins are going to read very similarly, though: owls attack, fight owls. This arc has had a bunch of bizarre "power fluctuation", though -- you'll remember how it opened with Bats kicking the ass of dozens of traditional bat villains, at once. THEN, a single Owl curbstomped Bats about as hard as he's ever been hit. And NOW, Bruce is fighting off dozens of Owls at once, showing again how butch he is. I'd finding this awkward, at best.

The backup story was largely the epitome of "unneeded back up", as it just showed and elongated a moment that we'd seen just minutes before. Boo!

I'm liking the book, overall, but there's something a little off about this whole thing that I'm not figuring out yet. I still thought it was a very low GOOD.

PROPHET #24: Ugh, now THIS is comics! Man, I don't even know what this bit has to do with anything in the first three issues (same character, wholly different scenario), but I also don't care, because it's such fun science fiction, AND we get some wonderful artwork from Farel Dalrymple. I think I've said this before, but this reminds me of nothing less than HEAVY METAL from the 1970s, amazingly inventive and lavishly illustrated science fiction that may or may not make a ton of sense, but who cares because the passion just drips off it. I think this is truly EXCELLENT work.

RESET #1: Peter Bagge returns with something new, and while his cartooning is as good as ever, I had two kind of overwhelming problems with this. First is that the setup is just too thin -- we understand the protagonist is someone who is at least somewhat famous, who did some unspecified awful thing, but there are no details about any of that given here, and so it makes relating to the underlying science fiction premise (that there's a machine that can allow you to relive your life, and make different decisions, but it has to always start from one specific point) just too difficult. We neither know where the protagonist came from, nor where he is trying to go, so taking any kind of suspense or anticipation is rendered virtually impossible.

My second problem is that I think that Bagge has grown into an increasingly "safe" cartoonist as the years have gone by -- not from his underlying style, but from the range and direction of his work. There's nothing "edgy" about his work any longer, it feels predictable and almost staid. Safe.

This work is OK, at best.

SHADOW #1: I was a little surprised how much I liked this. Well, maybe not, because it's Garth -- but there's almost no Ennis-isms here (other than whatever is naturally baked into the character and supporting cast), just a great straight-forward, historically-appropriate period-piece version of the best of the character. If I had one "problem" its that Dynamite really could do itself a favor and instead of spending the coin to get four different unique comics stylists doing covers, they should spend at least that much attention on the interior art. Aaron Campbell is in no way a poor artist, but it's hard to not suffer in comparison to Alex Ross, Chaykin, Jae Lee and John Cassaday. Despite that, I thought this was swell comics, indeed, and thought it was VERY GOOD.

SUPERGIRL #8: I'm only pointing this out because George Perez is suddenly drawing a pair of issues of this book, and I thought this was a very solid little comic that your eye might have wandered away from. Here's a place to wander back for an issue or two -- I thought this was GOOD.

WONDER WOMAN #8: I've said before, ad infinitum, I so don't care for mythological supporting casts, and, so, overall while I've been liking this arc OK, it's really not for me. I still largely feel that way about this issue, but I'd be a big ol' meanie if I didn't observe just how much I liked Cliff Chiang's "redesign" of Hades and the afterlife -- that's some genuinely creepy and affecting stuff. GOOD.

That's it for me for today, as always: what did YOU think?