Johanna Reads Some Marvels

Astonishing X-Men #23 -- I don't like it. The people are pretty, thanks to John Cassaday, and there's occasionally a funny (if very Buffy-reminiscent) wisecrack, but the bigger plots are either overused cliches, fun for only long-time X-Men readers, or too detailed to be kept up with in a comic that only comes out every three months. Best read in collected format, but even then, it doesn't seem like anything worth re-reading, so why bother spending for it? The Immortal Iron Fist #10 -- I don't mind reading it, but if it disappeared, I wouldn't miss it, and I never feel like I have anything to say about it. Probably because it's a boy comic, all about the glory of fighting well, grasshopper. Writers Matt Fraction and Ed Brubaker add just enough characterization to give me something beyond that, but not enough to make this worth me getting involved in.

The Order #4 -- Oh, this is good. Very Good. I like these characters. There are lots of them, so I'm going to have to reread the four issues to see which ones we know so far and which we haven't met yet. But I want to, instead of feeling like I've been assigned homework.

And I like the reality-show-inspired confessional structure, in which one of the team members explains themselves and their background, intercut with action sequences. It suits Barry Kitson's can-be-static style, in that they're supposed to be low-key, but he still varies the head shots up a lot. Matt Fraction's character backgrounds are complex, but portrayed with humor and feeling. He's up-to-date, with his celebrity heroes facing the typical pitfalls of tabloid culture: attention for the wrong things, addictions, toxic fame. It feels current. What a neat change.

Oh, and Abhay was right about Vinyl Underground -- #2 is all incoherent exposition, no movement, no appeal. Awful