Now THAT'S How You Build A Kite: Jeff's Final Reviews for 3/7 Books and a Confession...

Getting ready to go to CE and Thank God, because I could only scratch up another four reviews total from the remaining books of last week. Since I feel that's kinda paltry, I thought I'd relate a honest-to-God dream comic book related dream to you in the hopes you'll find it funny. In order for this story to be funny, I'm making a large assumption (unsupported by Google) which is that I'm not the only person who remembers those freebie kite-flying comics they used to pass out in school. You do remember those, right? In my case, they were distributed through Pacific Gas & Electric, but I assume they were printed nationally and then branded regionally. In them, you'd have cartoon characters, or TV characters like the Brady Bunch, show you how to make how a kite and learn helpful facts about electricity. (Oh, hey, look here for the whole story, and fuck Google Images for being 80% less helpful than Google at times like this. And God bless Scott Shaw!, but that probably goes without saying.)

Anyway, Wednesday night I wake up laughing from a dream in which I'm reading a kite safety comic book--starring the cast of THE SHIELD. I wish I could tell you my subconscious had taken full advantage of the rich comic potentinal in having a bunch of hardened, racist, murderous cops show you how to build a kite (with Vic Mackey undoubtedly taking two of the kite sticks and jamming them down a criminal's mouth until he confessed) but all I can remember is Michael Chilkis, in his black leather jacket, drawn in a very Gold Key style (so that he looked equally like, say, Brian Bendis) running over a grassy field with kite string in hand, and the speech balloon, "Now THAT'S how you build a kite!"

Like I said, I woke up laughing. Please don't tell my wife I told you.

Anyway, to wrap up the reviews of last week's books:

JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #6: I thought the battle between the League and Amazo was very cool, although I would've liked it more if I hadn't taken us five full issues to get there. But the Red Tornado sections showed off Meltzer's weaknesses far more than his strengths--if nothing else, the idea that Reddy is a human being should mean that, you know, he reacts to his arm being ripped off like an actual human being and not a superhero. And, as always, I can't wrap my head around a magical system that allows Zatanna to undo a curse in two words but can't just give Red Tornado the ability to be an android and feel. OK, but if the rest of Meltzer's run is paced like this, it's gonna be a tough slog.

MIGHTY AVENGERS #1: Obviously, all of Bendis's team books should be double-sized--it allows him to get all the dialogue he wants in there and actually have cool stuff happen, to boot. But the real surprise for me was Frank Cho's art, which on those issues of Spider-Man felt incredibly stiff and forced but here looks lovely but still seems fluid. This was a Good issue, and I have to admit that surprised the hell out of me. But I think the regular sized next issue will be the true test of how well it's going to work.

NEWUNIVERSAL #4: I read somewhere that Ellis wasn't too happy about the extensive photo-references for the characters and I can't blame him: although the "Spock with a beard!" joke wouldn't have worked, it really didn't work with one of the alternate Starbrands being a dead ringer for Leonard Nimoy. There's other weird stuff going on here, too--I get the impression that Ellis is trying to make each issue a jumping-on issue with all the groundwork being summarized each time for anyone dropping by but it's not working: this is the second issue where the bulk of space is taken up by Something Mysterious Popping Up and Explaining Shit, and it's more or less the same shit that got explained last time, to boot. Pretty damn Eh, unfortunately.

SHAZAM THE MONSTER SOCIETY OF EVIL #2: Every bit as delightful as both Graeme and Hibbs have claimed--My favorite part were the evil crocodile creatures who are so thrilled at the prospect of eating children, every possible success or failure must incorporate children eating into it. I'm glad C.C. Beck wasn't around to see this because he would've landed on it with both feet (his columns in The Comics Journal were so full of piss and vinegar they permanently altered my pH balance)--I think because his conception of Billy Batson was far less little kid-like than what we get here (Beck's Billy Batson is like Tintin who also has the frequently-stolen ability to become a superhero) but Smith's recreation tears away so much awful cruft, it really does transcend those types of complaints. Very Good work and absolutely worth your time.

See? Now THAT'S how you build a kite. Back tomorrow with more.