Hibbs on 2/28 (part 1)

Oddly (not really), now that I have this week's comics, I don't want to talk about last week any longer. On the other hand, I promised.

So... I'm going to start writing about this week's books, at least what I've read so far. My intention, this week, will be to write daily posts, each covering 4-5 things, then by the end of the week I'll have it pretty much all done. One possible road-block: WonderCon is this weekend, so I might slip on Friday, but otherwise, let's see if I can handle 7 days of blogging this time out.

52 Week 43: The last couple of issues have had a density that I was bemoaning early on -- here we have 3 (or maybe 4, depending on what the Four Horsemen things works out to) threads working things out, and now we feel like we have some real momentum. Oddly, I think, the cover featured bit is maybe the slightest of them (and was also the one I wanted to read the most), but it's under-cut by the apparent loss of a caption on page 15 which makes the next scene confusing. Plus, now we know who "hunger" is (though I'm kind of unclear as to what the motivations to hang around in plain sight all of this time were), because it ends in a gore-soaked explosion. That was probably 2 panels too long, really. Finally, we end with Dan Didio telling us to buy COUNTDOWN in a fairly unconvincing way, and I'm going to be REALLY interested in how the audience reacts. Quick straw polling indicates that, in advance, very few current readers of 52 are looking forward to another year, though, obviously, the quality and content of the printed work will ultimately be what matters. Anyway, I thought this issue reasonably GOOD.

FIRESTORM #33: I think this is McDuffie's first issue? (*looks*) Yeah, it is. Weird start for a book -- clearly starting a new story, but I, as a reader feel like I'm right in the middle of something else. This isn't a smooth transition, especially because its more about the New Gods than anything else (and I find them pretty dull in most cases). Also, we're back to a quick regression for Prof Stein where, although he's the McGuffin for the plot, he is pure sideline (to the point of "This better be important, I was i the middle of a lecture" -- what, he's been fired, then, yes?). The tricky thing about a character like Firestorm is to balance the different parts of the matrix. A sloppy start, and it felt very "by the numbers" to me, so I'll say EH

CIVIL WAR FRONTLINE #11: Wow, I'm amazingly disappointed. After all of the build up to a "shocking secret" and a "traitor", the answer is obvious and telegraphed, and then absolutely dismissed and swept under the rug. Am I really to believe that 2 passionate reporters, after laying out a whole line of extremely criminal charges, and who (at least Ben) have close ties to two characters nearly eviscerated by the actions they describe, are just going to walk away from the story with a smile and a wink? Muh? I kinda liked the Cap half of the story, though I have to give the closing notes an AWFUL

IRON MAN #15: So begins "Director of S.H.I.E.L.D", which I was hoping would have a lot of scenes of Tony doing paperwork. Oh well! It's also probably worth noting that I'm less than thrilled they forced 2 covers on this issue, but only branded one of them as part of "The Initiative". Not really sure what to say here otherwise -- obviously, I'm as concerned about the overall direction of the book and character because handing that much power to one person ain't ever a good idea. And I found the introduction of the Sal character into S.H.I.E.L.D. infrastructure to be... weird. But there's some potential for interesting stories (particularly in "civilian-izing" a military organization), and the actual execution of the comic was highly OK. I definitely don't see this as having much of a chance, ala Mark Millar's predictions, of this attracting a huge new long-term audience to the character, or "breaking 100k". So, yeah, highly OK.

FLASH #9: Marc Guggenheim comes in to try and save a sinking ship, and he does a yeoman's job with it, but we're still quite a distance from there being an actual direction here, or a reason for it to be Bart in the red, really. There are a couple of fine enough scenes here, I liked the humor of the copyright-infringing villain, and I thought the "break up" (?) (though probably a good idea -- whatshername isn't a very memorable character) flowed pretty well, but, I don't know, the whole thing felt kind of weightless to me. I was (as above) pretty disappointed with the New Gods thing, and especially with the Deux Ex Machina way they resolved it, but the real problem is I still don't really care for or about Bart in the red. Still, its at least OK.

WALKING DEAD #35: Largely a return to form for this reader. But I really hope that the Martinez thing at the end of the issue is a fake cliffhanger ("What, what? I was just using the bathroom!") because I think its way too soon to go back to Woodbury. To a certain extent, it's like "The Others" in LOST -- I think that show jumped the rails when they introduced and POVed that set of characters. Clearly the "Woodbury" thread is going to have to be dealt with, but I hope it doesn't become the focus of the title. Also: note on the lettercol -- "On the cusp of being on schedule" is a pretty loose definition when you're shipping an OCT06 book (due in December 2006) in the very last week of February 2007. You'll be "on the cusp", Robert, if you shipped that book in the first week of Jan. Anyway, this issue was GOOD.

OK, that's it for now. See you tomorrow (night) with more! What did YOU think?