Well, you got to hear Hibbs' excuse, now you can hear mine: I was home sick with some nasty cold thing that knocked me on my ass. While on said ass, I wrote the latest newsletter for the store and so, dropping the blackline back at the store a day early, I got my hands on some new comix today. In the interest of bailing out Mr. "Ooo, I can't review comics, I had to assemble an armoire!" Hibbs, here are my impressions of the following: BIRDS OF PREY #74: Felt a bit like two disparate stories jammed into one issue, but they were pretty decent stories, so I don’t mind too much. And really nice art by Fern and Bird, too. Overall, a very nice change from the last several issues. Good.
CABLE & DEADPOOL #7: Did Marvel chicken out of using that “Passion of the Cable” title? Bummer. Maybe it was seeing Deadpool get his can kicked by an old Master of Kung-Fu villain, but I liked this: it seems like a faster, dumber incarnation of what Macan and Kordey (right?) were doing on the Cable title back before it ended. I don’t hold much hope for it ending satisfactorily, but in the here and now, I thought it was Good.
DAREDEVIL #64: Well, since the previous issue biffed the storyline for me, I didn’t get too excited by this. But the larger story is still in place and the scenes that connected with that worked for me. Good.
FANTASTIC FOUR #518: Hmmm. I guess it’s a good thing there’s no attempt to live up to the ‘Avengers Dissembled’ logo on the cover, but there wasn’t much here to really grab me on its own merits. I’m sure that’s probably more me than anything in the book; mainly because I think Galactus stories are just experiments in creative self-frustration (you’re just not going to do better than the original stories). Also, I’m no science joe, but doesn’t the planetary invisibility thing make no sense because the planets would still emit a gravitational pull which is pretty easy to detect? In any case, maybe you’ll like this better than I did (I have some weird resistance to the Waid/Wieringo run overall, it should be noted) but for me it was Eh.
HAWKMAN #32: What is this thing you call “fun comic book?” A little too glib in places (if you’re going to have someone say, “Thanks for the exposition,” you might want to make the exposition a little more subtle so the comment seems like more of a joke and less of a self-criticism), but darn pretty art and having it done in one was gratifying. Not great, but somewhere around Good.
HUMAN TARGET #14: Apparently Cliff Chiang can draw anything and make it look great except a naked human butt. Go figure. OK.
IDENTITY CRISIS #4: Basically an “all middle” issue with nothing particularly outrageous. I don’t buy a couple of the premises (Lois Lane isn’t checked into a hotel somewhere under the name “Lori Lemaris” or something? I doubt it.) but the skill in the writing and art are evident. If something had actually happened, I could’ve given this more than just Good.
INVADERS #2: A similar tact and C.P. Smith’s art makes this feel like the Marvel version of Stormwatch, and at least for this issue, it has the same problems: too much set-up, too little pay-off. Pretty art, though. Eh.
MADROX #1: Sadly, never got better for me than that very cool David Lloyd cover. Nothing wrong with it, I guess, other than the introduction of all the secondary characters kinda slowed down the narrative thrust. OK.
STRANGE #1: Hmmm. Pretty much what Hibbs said only more so. Hibbs compared the change from Strange-the-jerk to Strange-the-jerk-with-good-intentions to Han not shooting first; and indeed, this feels like that reported change to A New Hope where Han and Greedo now shoot simultaneously: A decent job is done showing Strange as initially having some good in him but since now absolutely no time is spent showing why he becomes a greedy dick, I think the waters are muddied even more—I guess the opportunity for early introductions of Wong and The Ancient One was too good for JMS to pass up. So competently done, it’s at least OK, but I found it too damn annoying to be more than that.
ULTIMATE NIGHTMARE #2: Torn on this, because while I certainly liked it, it’s just not going fast enough. The plusses are an abundance of interesting possibilities and a surprising connection between Ellis and the Ultimate version of the Marvelverse (that helicarrier page fits perfectly between classic Kirby SHIELD and Ministry of Space, even though I think the naval carrier design doesn’t work). The minuses are Bam Margera right after the recap page and paying not just $2.25 for an issue of all set-up, but for a second consecutive issue of all set-up. Too good to be an Eh; too frugal to be an OK, so a tough call all around.
WANTED #5: Hmmm. That whole “death of the dynamic duo” sequence really underlined for me how low Millar’s ambitions are for this book. Or maybe the sequence is designed to distract from the rather flimsy “the entire world is filled with guns, but only two people in the world are either skilled or motivated enough to use them” recovery our antiheroes make. Lots of gaudy cheap thrills to be had, but I remember back when I thought this miniseries would end up being much better than merely Good.
WOLVERINE #19: This whole arc didn’t do it for me—it’s bad enough that Logan and Creed have a mysterious past, but then The Native gets introduced and, since she’s connected to them, her past has to be mysterious, too. Consequently, too much of this storyline required taking Rucka’s word for everything and so I had no emotional connection to it. It felt like seven issues of well-done plot hammering. Eh.
WOLVERINE: THE END #5: Not reviewing it because I haven’t read the others. But I did want to point out that page eight, where astral Xavier exposes his genitals to Logan while floating on an airplane wing, made me laugh—it’s like Nightmare at 20,000 Feet…only sexier! No review.
X-MEN #161: Looks like Austen is starting to put his toys back in the box (which seems smart since he’s got first-hand experience seeing how the editors deal with whatever’s left lying around). I’ve got the same problems with his work I usually do, but Larroca’s art bumps this issue up to OK, more or less.
YOUNGBLOOD: GENESIS #1: Ow. Between the art (having Rob Liefeld do your inking is a bit like having Jayson Blair do your fact-checking, isn’t it?) and the lettering (reads like NON-STOP YELLING), I’ve actually got a headache now. The “secret origin” plot is clever enough, I guess, but if there was a hook to bring me back for the next issue (it could well be that nobody can work with Liefeld and actually expect there to be a next issue), I missed it entirely. Because of the headache, I’ve got to give it an Awful.