Okay, so so much for that "returning and beginning again" thing yesterday - That's what happens when you suddenly find yourself working a 13-hour day the night before and being unable to get to the store to pick up new books to read, apparently. That's what I get for letting other people at my company to get sick without my permission, it seems.
(Also: People who say that they want me to write more on this site? I'm flattered and all - and ignore any potential snark there, because I genuinely am - but convinced you mean someone else. I already write almost daily on here...)
(Also also: Thank you very much to everyone who's contributed via the Paypal link, by the way. I will now try and review some comics to earn my share.)
52 AFTERMATH: THE FOUR HORSEMEN #1: I don't know if it says more about how much I enjoyed 52 or how little I'm enjoying Countdown that I find the follow-ups from the previous weekly miniseries so much more interesting than the goings-on in the current universe-shaking mini. That extends even to this Okay opening issue of the spin-off of one of the more disappointing elements of the Morrison/Johns/Rucka/Waid series; despite the overly expositionary dialogue - the Veronica Cale/Wonder Woman scenes in particular are leaden with the feeling of "this is what you're supposed to know" infodump - Keith Giffen manages to pull an initial swerve with the recasting of the Horsemen as spirits possessing survivors and emergency workers in the remains of Black Adam's 52-ending rampage. It's an unusual book - it feels too subtle and dark for both Superman and Wonder Woman to be starring in, in a strange way - but one that's almost worth paying attention to, for that very reason.
COUNTDOWN #35: Wow, cruel trick to lure in readers with a JG Jones cover only to hit them with Manuel Garcia's less impressive art on the inside (To be fair to Garcia, I think a lot of the problem is with the inking; if there was more variation in line weight, things would look a lot better). Storywise, the book is as disappointing. Not only is the script overly reliant on cute scene transitions and flat dialogue ("What if, together, [Kyle Rayner], Jason Todd and Donna Troy decide to navigate the multiverse in their search?" asks one of the Monitors, and instead of you thinking "That would be terrible!", you think "Oh, like all of the already-solicited spin-offs, you mean?"), but the plot is equally reliant on unsuccessful cliffhangers (Did any of the cliffhangers from last issue end in a way that surprised anyone?), nonsensical plot developments and absolutely atrocious pacing. Continually disappointing, and still pretty Crap...
COUNTDOWN TO ADVENTURE #1: ...But this, on the other hand, turns out to be surprisingly Good. Maybe I'm just a soft touch for a story that sees Adam Strange replaced by a man called Steve Hazard - Apparently, you can't defend Rann unless you have a wonderfully melodramatic name - and treats its characters with respect and affection instead of interchangable chess pieces in some crazy sales plan, but this was very much better than it had any right to be. Congratulations should be flying in the direction of Adam Beechen and Eddy Barrows (who provides some clean art here, with the occasional Rags Morales touch in places) for this one, because, really, who saw heart and fun coming from this book when it was announced?