It was another kinda blah week for comics, weren't it? After I read Jeff's Saturday entry, he covered everything I woulda, and pretty much the same way I woulda, this week. In fact, there were only 2 books "left" that I had ANY interesting in writing about.... FABLES #35: Nice ending to this 2-parter, though I was a little surprised by the leap forward in time. That could be an interesting choice, I suppose -- after all, the Fables are eternal -- but it did jar my reading of the issue a bit. I'll go with GOOD.
JSA #71: Some real nice character moments here, though the Mr. Teriffic vs The Klan scene was corny and arbitrary, and I was kinda annoyed by the abrupt jump in the Hourman scene without any explanation whatsoever. However, the moment with Courtney and Ted was really precious, and the whole back half of the issue was nearly as good. All in all, I liked it and will also go with GOOD.
That's it, otherwise I pretty much agree with Jeff.
PICK OF THE WEEK goes to clearly to PROJECT SUPERIOR, which I thought was easily VERY GOOD, a hard-ass rating for an anthology to get. While, like Jeff, there were entries that I HATED, there were several immaculate editorial choices made in pacing the book, so I was never more than 2-3 pages from something I loved. What's interesting is that the stories that were probably the best (I'd go with the one with the aliens, or the one with the letter to Marvel probably [man, without my copy at hand, those sound like episodes of FRIENDS where Jeff Lester was the Executive Story guy...]) weren't really about super-heroes at all, but rather the feelings they create in us. What's also interesting is that the dead worst things in the book were by the older, more established creators who have dabbled in fields of mainstream pubs. I also want to draw special attention to the physical production of the book -- the reproduction is crisp, and clean, and there's TONS of different styles and media being used here; the whole package is just impressive to look through. This really is something you should have a copy of, and while you might like different things than I did, I guarantee you you'll like way more of it than you don't.
"Oh, but Brian, that's cheating, that's not a comic book!" Bah, fine. I've got three real choices for a purely floppy PICK OF THE WEEK, the first is probably STREET ANGEL #5, but, in large part, it's because I read and loved the "Afrodesiac" piece in PROJECT SUPERIOR. I agree with Jeff that there's just not enough ambition here, because this could be The Best Book Evah, and still it's instead just Really Strong. I'd go with a low VERY GOOD here.
My second possibility is SHINING KNIGHT #1, which lays a number of my fears to rest in regards to the accessibility of the individual pieces of the "Seven Soldiers" meta-arc. I liked this a lot, but didn't love it -- a VERY GOOD comic. Really, not enough "happens" in the issue on it's own, tho it be chock fulla stuff -- I mean the interesting thing about a Shining Knight is him being here, in modern day, not the Camelot stuff. Just like how Thor is dull as dirt in Asgard. Still, a good start.
In a normal week, I woulda stopped there, but I'm feeling perverse today (I just got back from sorting through THIS week's comics!) and I think I shall give PICK OF THE WEEK to BLOOD OF THE DEMON #1, even though it is "just" VERY GOOD. I'll grant Lester's problems with the last page, but, damn it, I haven't seen Byrne look this nice.... well, in a damn long time, and Pfeiffer solves the problems of Byrne's sometimes leaden scene-turning with a different authorial voice. I really have to give props to inker "Nekros", he brings a density that Byrne 's work needs. Now, mind you, I may be saying in 2-3 issues, "Ugh, god, make it stop!" But I think this is one of the "Good" Byrne projects, and if it goes someplace less obvious as we progress, maybe there's some hope here. One odd thing, though: how the hell is this not a "Mature readers" book? Seriously, there are explicit scenes of flayings here, man. Now, look, I don't mind -- it's my PotW, ain't it? -- but there are places in the country where people could get arrested if a teenager bought this.
That was easy enough, despite not a single "EXCELLENT"
Hm, well, maybe I'd give FREEDOM FORCE VS THE THIRD REICH an EXCELLENT, but then, that's not a comic, is it?
PICK OF THE WEAK just has one possibility: WOLVERINE SOULTAKER #1. Good lord, that was truly bad comic, plodding and leaden and stock characters being offered up for dull shadow plays of other Wolverine stories. God, if I never see Wolverine in Japan story again, or Wolverine versus ninjas (or, sure, monks too, same diff!) it will still be too soon. Seriously, trying to pull out "this is my oldest, dearest friend, who the audience has never met before, and so he must be killed so that this time (finally!) it is personal" trick is the surest sign of not only a bad comic, but a bad bad bad writer. Marvel seriously needs to stop hiring writers that just take old Marvel stories and putting them in a blender. Sheesh, fucking hacks.
The TP/GN PICK OF THE WEEK goes to.... um, well, I guess it is John Byrne week here because I think I'll go with FANTASTIC FOUR VISIONARIES JOHN BYRNE VOL 4 TP. The only credible competetion is SUPERMAN BATMAN VOL 1 PUBLIC ENEMIES TP. It could go either way, but I'm perverse today, I said, didn't I?
If I had a TP/GN PICK OF THE WEAK, it would have to go to STAN LEES ALEXA VOL 1 GN, for putting Dave Gibbons and Dan Jurgens names on the top of the cover, when they do pinups, man. Dumbasses, it's not like people BUY something because you put a name artist's name on the cover. They'll pick it up and flip through it, but when they don't see what you've advertised, they drop it fast. Sheesh.
Anyway, that's that -- sorry I'm so late (but, better late than never? Or something?) I do so solemnly swear I'll be much much earlier in next week's cycle!
What did you think, anyway?