Some comics from 12/28/04

OK, sub setup is done, and Ben and Tzipi are sleeping, so let's see what, if anything, I can address before I need to go off and do family stuff.... CONCRETE HUMAN DILEMMA #1: I'm a long-time Concrete fan, and I usually really like it's usual brew of heady politics and realistic environmentalism. However, this one kinda thudded for me -- stories need conflict and there's really none here except internal monologue. Further, it wasn't so much a moral or ideological choice as much of a practical one, dampening much of the drama. Given Chadwick's track record, there's no way I won't give him the benefit of the doubt for the long haul, but as a single issue entertainment experience... this was merely OK.

DESPERADOES BANNERS OF GOLD #1: Very solid return to this Horror/Western hybrid, though that $4 cover price is hard to swallow. It's one thing on a licensed title, where they have to pay a rights holder over and above creation costs, or on an artsy experimental book like almost anything Ashley Wood or Ben Templesmith do, but it feels way too expensive on something like this which is so... well, I don't mean this prejoratively, but "middle of the road". The script was good fun, the plot moving, the art solid... basically everything I want in a comic book, but, be that as it may, it "feels" too expensive. That knocks a grade offa it, bringing us, sadly, down to OK.

LEGION OF SUPER HEROES #1: Yes, that worked. It felt new, but nicely retro too. This may be a LSH reboot that "works" -- maybe the "DCU book for people who don't like DCU books". VERY GOOD.

STRANGE #3: Dude, I already saw THE MATRIX! What the fuck? As Lester mentioned in the store on Friday, this totally undercuts Strange's origin, which was originally a tale of redemption. But if they just outright tell him, "You are The One, Neo", then where is the redemption there? Foo! You can't look at this, or AMAZING SPIDEY and tell me the man doesn't need an editor for the shared universe toys. AWFUL.

SUPREME POWER #14: Meanwhile, he doesn't seem to need an editor at all here -- this is firing on all points, almost certainly because it doesn't MATTER if he changes something totally -- in fact, that probably makes it better. VERY GOOD.

WARLOCK #4: What Jeff said, but let me amplify it, and say that the twist made me go "whoa, that's fucking clever!" out loud and everything. I really do wonder if this was meant to go on from here, or if this ending was planned for later, or just what the "path not taken" was, but I thought this was VERY GOOD, and while I didn't like it the BEST this week, I was caught by surprise enough to give this one the PICK OF THE WEEK.

WHAT IF...? 5th week event: From the interviews, at least, one might think that Bendis was a big fan of WHAT IF...?, which shocks the fuck out of me considering how badly he got every little thing about the execution wrong. I mean, first off, you can't consume nearly half of your page count doing the recap! Then it was all Tell-Tell-Tell and some more Tell. Barely a page of "show" in either issue. Either ...KAREN PAGE HADN'T DIED or ...JESSICA JONES JOINED THE AVENGERS were the PICK OF THE WEAK, so let's jointly bestow that honor, shall we? Both were CRAP.

PAD's ...GENERAL ROSS BECAME THE HULK worked as a proper WHAT IF...? story, but it and the Kesel/Smith ...DOCTOR DOOM WAS THE THING suffered a lot from not having any space to breath. It's easy to forget that series 1 of WHAT IF...? were 48 pagers. The Paul Smith art on the latter was really really something to behold. OK for the former, VERY GOOD for the latter on the strength of the art.

Brube's ...AUNT MAY HAD DIED was OK (I thought the conciet of it being a comic book store conversation was pretty funny), but it depended more on WHAT IF PETER PARKER WAS A NORMAL TEENAGER? than the bounds of the concept.

The whole event gets an AWFUL, sorry.

For the BOOK/GN OF THE WEEK we don't have a ton of choices, it is either BLOOD A TALE NEW PTG, finally back in print,or FANTASTIC FOUR VISIONARIES JOHN BYRNE VOL 3 TP, showing us that, yes, once Byrne was a major talent, and a follower of the grand traditions of the Marvel Universe. I'm feeling nostalgic this second, so the award goes to BYRNE'S FF.

I had more to say (like about QUIT CITY's aviator comic without airplanes?!?!), but they woke up 20 minutes ago, and I must jet...

What did you think?