Reviews for 2/23, OMG!

The grandparents took Ben this morning, so, woot! Looks like I can good a good morning start on this, and maybe Jeff won't have to "hold off" this week after all. Within an hour of posting my last post, Ben ran through almost all of the letters he has left in his alphabet. Oh, sure, he still mixes up his E and his F, but when you correct him, he corrects himself just fine after that. W is "Ag-gah", but it's consistant, and he says it with such verve that we can let his baby palate slide there.

I still haven't read 100% of this week's books (92% and holding, Captain!), but let's take the opportunity while we have it before I have to go into the store, do inventory, then come back and start working on both the PREVIEWS that is due, as well as the April sub forms.... god, the work never stops, does it?

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #518: Ah, the Shared Universe problem. Spidey calls on Iron Man to help, but never for a second asks Tony to actually help help him. Sure, you think your wife and mother-figure are going to be killed by a crazy bastard, and you don't ask the guy in the metal suit with the howitzers to help you fight a battle. That parses. Then, since the plot dictates that Spidey & co will move into the Avengers tower or whatever, everyone's houses have to get destroyed, but no one shows any remorse of any kind. I'll tell you what, if all of my shit got destroyed -- especially by Retro-Continuity Implant Guy -- I'd be pretty fucking distraught about it. Especially if I already had an enemy who had functionally the same powers (Molten Man). I don't know, our Spidey sales have cut themselves nearly in half post-Gwen-is-a-Whore, and I can't say I blame anyone, really. I wouldn't pay soon-to-be-$2.50 for padding and convenience like this. EH.

ARANA HEART OF THE SPIDER #3: I really don't know -- 9 issues of this character so far and I don't see a real point or purpose, or, hell, audience for it. The characters just not very appealing, and, yikes, her costume stinks. There's momentary flashes of cleverness here (The "I can't leave the building" thing, some of the High School stuff), but there's far too many other characters running around at this stage of the game, and secret socieites are so played out. Sorry, Charlie, last issue I'm going to bother to read. EH.

ARMY OF DARKNESS SHOP TIL YOUDROP DEAD #2: With so many bits recribbed from the movie, and a decidely rushed-looking job on the art (we're at 2 months late as it is), these feels just like running in place. EH.

AUTHORITY REVOLUTION #6: I haven't got any fucking idea what's going on here, and everyone seems completely out of character to me. I have to assume Ed is going somewhere with this, but if he is, I have no idea where it is. AWFUL.

BATMAN GOTHAM KNIGHTS #63: When I said in last week's TILTING AT WINDMILLS that there are too many comics, here's exhibit A. Why is this being published? Why was this ever being published? Lots of plot, very little organic characterization, and I swear to god, I really hate Hush the more he appears here in GK. AWFUL.

DAREDEVIL #71: Hey, finally a comic I liked! I can quibble (the fight scnee dragged on too long, and I'm really not sure WHAT kind of an inspiriation DD provided to the girl... she gonna throw on tights and beat the crap outta people now herself?), but I very much liked the setting and set-up for this arc, and thought this was a solid GOOD.

ED THE HAPPY CLOWN #1: Man, that cover is unbearably pretentious (Calling this work "Chester Brown's First Graphic Novel" is, at best, a ret con), and that's just a horrifically awful paper stock that it is there on, and Chester's editorial kinda indicates that you probably don't want this version anyway, because the new collection will be a revised one, and while I really really really love this work, that's 1, 2, 3 strikes at the old ball game, knocking the Savage Critic grade down to an OK. This version is probably only for you if you want to read Chet's annotations at the end, otherwise, wait the 2 or 3 years or whatever it is going to take (dumb not doing this as a monthly reprinting, if you ask me) for the TP to come out and read it then. It is hysterical and askew and top notch work, but this package is yucky and weird and wrong -- over $30 for the whole thing when it's done? Uh, what?

EXCALIBUR #11: See, and I feel like a shmucky philistine of an ass ripping on Chet, with the first sentence of the next paragraph being, "This is a marked improvement in the quality of EXCALIBUR". But, damn if it isn't. Maybe because this seemed to actually be about something (Magneto's actions), for the first time in 11 issues. This is another "I have no idea whatsoever why this is being published" book, but this one issue I thought was a very very low GOOD.

EXPATRIATE #1: Not too bad, though I thought the colors was pretty hideous and garish. This feels like I've heard this story before, somewhere, but the line art was nice enough that I could give it an OK.

FILLER BUNNY #3: Prepare to Wuv Aborto! And that was probably the most tasteful thing in the book. Yet, I laughed in many many places. I give it a solid GOOD.

[Gr, nope wait, called away to watch some TV we recorded over the last week ("I need to free up the tapes, so come now!") -- watched the American remake of THE OFFICE (Good, but I don't know if America can handle the uncomfortable nature of the show -- most of the events just happen note-for-note as in the original, with just a few Americanizations) and BATTLESTAR GALACTICA (what a great SF show!), and now I have to fly off to work to do this week's inventory and back issue management. Back in a bit]

[Back, and here's the rest....]

FUTURAMA SIMPSONS CROSSOVER CRISIS PART 2 #2: Many of the in jokes and references were funny, but, if anything, I thought this issue was nearly "too dense" with stuff, creating an uneven narrative. A high OK.

HAWKMAN #38: Golden Eagle?!?! Are there more than 6 people who might care about him? I mean, wow! I was also nearly surprised that it was kept in-continuity (but, people: ED. NOTES, man. Gotta cite that shit), rather than being a new teen hero who could join the Titans. I thought the story was solid enough, and a nice attempt at building a "Rogue's Gallery" for Hawkie, but the bomb thing at the end was kinda deadening. So, let's also call this a lowish GOOD.

HELLBLAZER #206: The wife-beating thing took this farther than it should have, I think -- long-suffering Chas, well you can wreck his car, or have him take a beating or something, but this didn't seem "fair" to the character... not after 206 issues, at least. A strong OK on because I think Chas should be off limits.

KNIGHTS OF THE DINNER TABLE #101: hurray, back to the storylines. I know, I know, you don't want to hear me talk about the gamer comic with the lousy art, but, damn you this is the funniest "funnybook" published each month. I'd still rather have only the comics, and not the gaming stuff, and pay a buck less per issue, but whatchugonnado? VERY GOOD.

LEGEND #2: In which Russ Heath gets to draw lots of titties. Lots and lots and lots of them -- some even in wildly out-of-place situations. They're also all perfectly perfect, which kinda bugged me, but what do I know? I very much liked the story, but there were certainly places where I couldn't figure out a transition, or who was speaking to who or why, and I think the issue could have stood a bit more editing. (Just like this column, man was that a run on sentence or what?) Anyway, a really high OK, but the cover price stops me from being able to say "Good"

LIVEWIRES #2: This suffered even more than the first issue from over-exposition, in a lot of places just restating what we already knew. Yet, there were some cool ideas and scenes here, and it was incredibly frenetic in a fun way, so I'll be generous and give it a low GOOD.

NEW AVENGERS #4: Bendis is finding his sea legs - this was certainly my favorite of the eight issues so far. But, man, pay attention to what you're saying. Jeff'll be along any moment with the "I can't figure out how much time has passed" problem; me, I was bemused by the "previously in" page whihc talk about how they broke up the old Avengers because they didn't want to deal with politics and money and all of that. So what do the first few pages deal with? Sure, politics and money. There were fun beats, yes, but it's really not holding together as a team book at all. The fun beats earn it an OK.

NEW WEST #1: While Jeff was right in observing that the scenerio doesn't make much sense vis-a-vis the balckout and the timeline, I didn't really care all that much. I liked the execution of the book, I liked the style, and while it's probably bloodier than it needs be, I thought it was GOOD fun.

NEW X-MEN #11: And it was all a dream! Well, of course it was, but that's a little long for dream story, don't you think? EH.

NIGHTWING #106: The end of the "year one" arc, and I really had to suspend my disbeleif a lot for everyone's reactions to Jason. But, whatever. This was fine, but the middle of the arc was much better. OK

RUNAWAYS #2: I really love how this is creating it's own little internal world in the greater Marvel universe. I'm really liking this book. VERY GOOD.

SEVEN SOLDIERS GUARDIAN #1: Dude! Best comic I've read so far this year. It has it all -- absurdity, action, imagination, fun, and a positive outlook -- this comic might be able to cure cancer. Pirates of the Subway lines, man, what a killer idea. Loud sour note right at the end with the "Hahahaha, we have your family!" bit, because that's dramatically lazy, and every other page is singing like a fire pole too the moon. Still, can't say anything else than EXCELLENT, and, no suspense here, PICK OF THE WEEK.

SLEEPER SEASON TWO #10: Two more to go, can this all be wrapped up satisfactorially? Oh, I think so, and this may be my favorite single issue of all 22 so far. VERY GOOD.

SPELLBINDERS #1: A neat idea, and, relatively, well executed (the cast is a bit too large, and some of the wicks voices seem a bit forced), but the actually strange thing is that this is a Marvel comic. I can't really see Marvel being estatic about the kind of numbers this is likely to pull, where at Vertigo, this could be a top seller as a monthly. Maybe is something about eggs and baskets. Anyway, yah, I liked it, and give it an easy GOOD.

SPIDER MAN HUMAN TORCH #3: Yes, I howled with laughter at the fruit pie explanation. This really does has it all for goofy-ass comics: Spider-Mobiles and Super Apes and Fruit Pies. Mm, Fruit pies.... GOOD.

X-MEN #168: I think it's marginally possible that next issues "trapped in the mansion, they sweat the drugs out" could be great, but, if so, damn was that a long bad build up to get there. EH.

PICK OF THE WEEK, as I said, is easially and happily SEVEN SOLDIERS: GUARDIAN #1. That much fun should be illegal.

PICK OF THE WEAK.... well, lessee, probably GOTHAM KNIGHTS #63. I'm pretty ambivilant this week because SS: G #1 makes up for like 50 bad comics.

The TP/GN PICK OF THE WEEK is.... either AVENGERS ASSEMBLE VOL 2 HC which has the second half of Busiek & Perez's run on Avengers or QUEEN & COUNTRY VOL 7 OPERATION SADDLEBAGS TP. I think the nudge goes to Q&C

Right, that's it for the week, and before it is "Too late", hurray! Thanks to Lester for putting up with my unreasonable madness!

As always, what did you think?