I’m not as insane as Tucker – I’m not going to try and hit every single book for the week, but here’s like almost half of them, at least… (and if you wonder why I’m not writing a lot of comics reviews lately, this week might be a god-damn good reason…. I barely like any of this stuff right now. SOMEONE HELP ME GET MY GROOVE BACK!!!)
ACTION COMICS #893: Part of my problem with this current direction is the semi-unclear of what Luthor is trying to actually DO; it’s all very McGuffin-y, but I don’t see a concrete plan/idea, other than “let’s tour the universe”. Which would be fine, except that it is already starting to repeat itself (which is even commented upon inside the story itself), and there’s a bit about the androids that even repeats itself within this same issue. Comics about “super brains” are generally hard to pull off correctly, and this isn’t much of an exception. I am kinda of curious as to how exactly they pull off the Death (of the Endless) thing next month, however, and will certainly be reading that one. This was OK. There’s also a backup story featuring Jimmy Olsen which I sort of think epitomizes the problem with the superbooks well – it’s solid enough, but it’s like 180 degrees from the last try to revamp Jimmy (which was, what, less than six months ago?) – I don’t know if DC knows who any of these characters really are. Also OK, for the backup.
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #644: Solid writing, gorgeous art, though I didn’t really feel any stakes in the events of the issue, but this is kind of the least of mainstream super-hero comic should be. A low GOOD.
AVENGERS PRIME #3 (OF 5): Pure middle (well, it IS #3 of 5), though it has a couple of cuteish “Man, is Tony Stark a douche, or what?” scenes. The real draw is Alan Davis’s art, which is as nice as ever. If this was $2.99 I’d be saying “Wow, GOOD”, but $3.99 creates it’s own weight of expectations, and knocks it down to an OK.
CAPTAIN AMERICA #610: I’m not sure what’s happened here – this used to be one of my absolute favorite Marvel books, but it feels like it is drifting nowadays. In particular to this very issue, there’s a whole lot of moral-choice-ing set up here, but the resolution to those morals are pretty lacking – “I’ll strap you to the missle and you can choose whether it kills you or not” Huh? Pretty EH. A bigger problem is the backup story, which neither matches the themes of the lead, or is even in the same tone or weight – I can’t imagine many people who like Brube’s faux-70s approach to Cap digging on the lightweight adventures of Heroes Reborn Bucky. It isn’t bad or anything, but compared to the lead, it makes me lean to AWFUL.
CASANOVA #3: I think it is fairly sad that the only periodical comic that I genuinely, no hesitation liked this week is effectively a reprint. I’m eager to get to the truly new material of this series. What do we have, like 3 more issues to go, or something? VERY GOOD.
CHEW #14: Too many flashbacks, forwards and whereevers for my tastes – it’s generally a bad idea to set up a dramatic confrontation, then not actually follow it through inside the story itself. Even with that, still highly OK.
CROSSED FAMILY VALUES #4 (OF 7): not enough of the “family” bits the title really demands (and the first three set up so disgustingly). Solidly OK.
DETECTIVE COMICS #869: Nice Scott Daniel art, an alright story with a Joker-a-like. In a world that only had, say, 4 Bat titles a month I might call this a low “Good”, but that’s not our world. OK.
FRANKEN-CASTLE #21: Seriously, the Getting Frank Back To Himself bits take place between panels? Bah! The art by Brereton is great, as usual, but the story plods along, and while it has Else Bloodstone, and the Legion of Monsters and Monster Island all all other kinds of funky 70s stuff, it’s just so…so… humorless, I guess. I wanted to like this, but EH.
GREEN ARROW #4 (BRIGHTEST DAY): I certainly read too many comics to keep all of them straight, but I’m not wrong that pretty much the first half of this comic (including the fight) was already in an issue of BRIGHTEST DAY, am I? The real problem here is there’s nothing here for me to care about why the protagonists are doing what they do – J’onn may be in the story, but there’s no hint of what his relationship to Ollie is, or why he’s doing anything or … well, really anything. I don’t think this comic CAN be understood if you haven’t read other comics outside of this one… and if you did… well, you’ve pretty much already read this one, haven’t you? The other semi-protagonist (Galahad, is it?) is a total cipher, the antagonist (“The Queen”) is pretty clichéd and shallow, and the climactic villain-thing isn’t introduced in any real way, nor is it clear what he or she might be. Als, am I wrong, but wasn’t it just like 4 months ago that Ollie was sentenced to never set foot in Star City again, yet here he is hanging around on rooftops and getting into fights in the streets? It’s really pretty AWFUL.
JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA #43: I dunno “all the magic is on the Dark Side of the Moon” isn’t really that compelling, and, I think, rather than giving Alan Scott a new direction and reason to be, it is more likely to close the character off even more until a future writer rolls through and completely ignores it after all. In this kind of “new direction for B-character” kind of deal, it seems to me that the outgoing writer really needs to put 6-8 story seeds into the story itself for someone else to pick up and run with, and while this ENVIRONMENT might have some story potential (though, as I say, it is far more likely to simply be ignored), it doesn’t do anything good for the CHARACTER of Alan Scott. Similarly, the Obsidian/Jade revelation seems to me to be more limiting and external for the characters than something to get stories out of. Plus Alan is kind of a dick to Todd, ain’t he? Having said all of that “The Moon is full of magic, and GL is the King of the Fairies” does kind of have a 40s JSA feel, doesn’t it? I dunno, I guess this was OK.
POWERS #6: OK, I lied in the CASANOVA note – I liked this one, too. The problem, for me, is I think the bi-monthly schedule – it doesn’t feel like the storyline is getting to the point fast enough, and I sort of miss the “Investigating crimes” portion of the story (which almost makes a return here) – still, solidly GOOD.
TAROT WITCH OF THE BLACK ROSE #64: I might live to be 100 and I’ll never ever ever understand this comic. Page after page of chicks saying how and why and where they fuck other chicks, yet the word “tits” is spelled “t*ts”. It won’t top the “haunted vagina” issue, probably, but there’s at least one howler of a line each issue. This time, we have “You killed my boobie spiders, you jerk!” Man. Clearly AWFUL, but Balent doesn’t give a fuck, he’s partying with Ace Frehley and getting girls to send him half-nekkid pictures.
TEEN TITANS #87: I’ve talked here before about cutting things that sell less than 3 rack copies, and I think next month TITANS (both flavors) will face that cut – I’m only 50/50 on selling the single rack copy we get in (even though it still has plenty of preorders from our sub customers), and I’m not seeing anything either in this issue, or in the previews of the next (running in this month’s DC books) that causes me to question this thinking whatsoever. This is pretty EH stuff, and it seems as directionless as anything that DC is publishing right now…
TIME MASTERS VANISHING POINT #3 (OF 6) Jesus, why the fuck is this being published, and don’t they GET that having low quality not-actually-tie-ins to the “Return of Bruce” storyline (especially when RoB is now epically late and looks like it will have its ending issues come out AFTER B actually Rs) isn’t actually doing them any favors of any kind? I guess they needed a way to keep the Starfire (1970s version) trademark alive, or something? The only thing I liked about this was the notion that Booster is Rip’s dad somehow (or was I reading too much into that scene at the top? Too bad if so, that’s almost clever in a Moebuis-loop kind of a way) Extremely EH
VALKYRIE #1: I like Winslade’s art, but getting through the end of the story was a serious slog for me. EH
WONDER WOMAN #603: I don’t get why they upended continuity and all of that for this – 98% of what happens here could have happened in the “previous version” of Wondy, and the 2% that couldn’t isn’t very interesting. We’re already back to Charon, and Cerberus and all of that? I don’t get the point, and by focusing on the Same Old tropes of Greek Myth, rather than direct motivation of the character, it reads like anything mining the same kinds of Unreal Societies (Anything involving “Atlantis” in Aquaman or Namor, most “magic based” series, and so on) – there is a reason that “Hey, let’s destroy the Amazons” is WW storyline #1… because the Amazons aren’t very interesting in their own right! A costume change can’t make this any less AWFUL
X-MEN LEGACY #240: I really couldn’t follow this at all – it is filled with a bunch of no-name, no-interest villains, and the protagonists are nearly purely passive through everything that happens. A real page-flipper of a book, and not in the “Wow, I can’t wait to see what happens!” sense. AWFUL.
As always, what do YOU think?