It seems like I keep starting each week's set of reviews, but never quite finishing them lately? Gonna try (since it is such a small week) to get through virtually everything by this time next week... COUNTDOWN #49: 52 was always, always, without fail the first comic I read each week. And, three weeks in, its the same with COUNTDOWN. But, I'm reasonably confident that won't be the case a month from now -- I'm really not feeling it. (You know there's something wrong when Doug Wolk's chosen successor starts his second issue review with "Well, that wasn't very good at all, was it?")
I may need to go back and look at the start of 52 again, but it seems to me that by this point in 52, the individual character arcs were all well into play:
Will Ralph find Sue? Will Booster find respect? Will Renee find herself? Will the "space heroes" get home? Will Black Adam fall even farther? Will John Henry... hm, harder that one... make up with Natasha, I guess?
Everything else in 52 gets back to those points, even with all of the flash and dazzle, and, so, 52 was effectively a human story about human motivations.
And, yes, I know its absolutely unfair of me to keep comparing this with 52, but the book physically demands such comparisons.
In COUNTDOWN, here's what I think we have so far:
Will Jimmy get a story? Will the Monitors do [something barely understood by the audience]? Will Karate Kid... well, dunno, but let's go with "prevent the Great Disaster"? Will the Rogues...again, unclear yet again so far, but probably some sort of redemption/destruction split Will Mary find herself (/powers)?
Of these five threads, only the last two seem to have much of a human core around them. #2 & 3 are... well they seem like comic stories ABOUT comic stories, y'know? And Jimmy... he's meant to be the POV character, the "everyman" of the DCU, but ironically that's what renders him the least dramatic, really -- he's Jimmy Olson, Superman's Pal, and ain't nothing gonna happen to him. "Jimmy Must Die!" buttons notwithstanding. He's the safest character in this series, let alone the entire DC universe.
Maybe it will get better, who knows, but at this moment in time, I'm really only vaguely interested, and I don't see any immediate evidence that this is going to change. So: EH.
This issue also starts a backup of "History of the Multiverse", just like 52's "History of the DC Universe" (which really wasn't), and really everything you need to know is the first line: "The Timestream. A place unaffected by the flow of time..." Buh, wha?! AWFUL.
CAPTAIN AMERICA #26: I'm going to pretty much echo Graeme, all the way along -- this is effective, compelling work, and I liked it very much, especially its structure and use of 0ff-panel (esp. the Falcon's speech thing), but one thing bugged me: in the bar where Bucky confronts the redneck guy, the redneck guy calls him a "jackhole". Yet, both Falcon and Luke Cage use "$#!^". That really really bugged me. Other than that? VERY GOOD.
IRON MAN HYPERVELOCITY #5: One of those "and that's why covers are important, kids!" moments -- I had skipped reading #2-4 of this mini, but the cover here made me said "Huh, give it a read" Glad I did -- pretty ripping cyber-sci-fi action that made me think than nothing less than a Warren Ellis comic. I was fairly lost on the stakes, etc, but I was still wonderfully engaged with the story as it transpired, which is exactly what a comic should do: VERY GOOD.
OK, that's enough for right now. More tomorrow, I hope...
What did YOU think?