Comics of 8/18

Yah, like Lester I was thinking about how good ol internet time made it seem like we never posted. What's up with that? I've mostly been trying to unravel a Mystery in the UK the last few days -- I think I have most of it sussed, but I'm still not sure HOW to solve the crime, as it were.

I also finished TILTING (appears on Friday on Newsarama), and have started making notes on Deppey's NuMarvel essay in the new Journal. Damn, that's one fine issue.

Plus I dinged 30 in CoH, and am now playing the How Long Until I Get Bored and Quit game (I doubt I'll make it to 35, is all I can say, but we'll see -- really this is all a function of running out of Content and having to Street Hunt too much at the higher levels)

I'm going for my bi-annual haircut in a bit, so let's see how many comics we can bat away first....

For some reason, IE won't connect to blogger this morning, so I'm doing this via Opera, which means I don't have easy itals. I probably should learn the HTML commands, but I'm lazy and I'll just use CAPS for stress and titles this post instead.

(After the fact note: When I went to publish this, Opera wasn't working with Blogger either, so you won't see this until I get home tonight)

SIMPSONS #97: Usually I'm the big singer of Ian Boothby's praises -- he's usually the Funniest Writer in Comics, or something -- but I thought this issue was kinda flat and boring. The feud thing really didn't work -- maybe because it's too much of a staple cliche. Anyway, EH.

SHE-HULK #6: Some cute and decent Ha Ha in a few places, but the art, being mostly done in Marvel House Style reduces the humor for me by tons. OK.

NEW INVADERS #1: Too much time spent introducing the characters in far too obvious ways -- the whole first half of the issue passes in a weightless plot free fall. The second half is also mostly plotless as the flat characters revolve around each other in obvious ways. It's not BAD or anything, but, unless you really have a hankering for these characters it is pretty lifeless. For $3, I have to go for a high AWFUL.

TERRA OBSCURA V2 #1: I don't really care about any of these characters, and I'm surprised anyone else did enough for there to be a second go round here. Having said that, I like this much better than V1, and I'll go with a strong OK.

BIRDS OF PREY #72: You might have noticed most of this week's DCs came bagged with a SKY CAPTAIN AND THE WORLD OF TOMORROW CD. Well, you didn't notice this at CE, at least -- I unbagged all of the copies (that was a fun 45 minutes I'll never get back). One the other hand, this means a certain VP gets a fun package on his desk on MOnday morning. They filled up an entire DoubleWide Diamond box, sheesh! Anyway, this comic mostly felt like marking time to me -- not much happens except setting things in motion for NEXT issue, which, while fine, makes me only say OK

HAWKMAN #31: This is well done comics, but I think this arc (while adding to the Dead Girlfriend in the Refrigerator count [sorta]) really shows why a traditional Hawkman comic really doesn't have much for legs -- at least with the Ostrander HAWKWORLD run they were able to get into neat outsider-looking-in concepts. But this Hawkman is pretty much Just Another Hero. *shrug* OK

GOTHAM KNIGHTS #56: "War Games" 4 Lots of super-villains. They don't do much. There's an attempt to go with the throughline of GK's "Wow, Hush is a badass!" thread, but he's not, really, and he comes off far more as Chump to this reader. Batgirl also feels written very wrongly here. My fav bit is at the beginning where all of the bosses finish each others sentences. Only in a comic book, man. AWFUL.

ROBIN #129: "War Games" 5. Tim shows everyone in the whole city that's he's a super bad-ass, which makes me hope all the more that the speculation of his returning to the mantle at the end of WG (and/or IC) is wrong. My fav bit is right at the last 2 pages where a seemingly invisible gunman shoots the chick, then seemingly decides it's not worth (despite being, y'know, invisible) to follow up and make sure she's, y'know, dead or something. A very low EH

BATGIRL #55: "War Games" 6. Almost nothing happens in this one -- the overall WG plot isn't moved ahead one fraction of one inch. Still, Sean Phillips art makes this the first chapter I've genuinely liked LOOKING at, so OK.

TOUCH #5: Suddenly, the book starts moving right before it gets axed. Huh. OK

FRACTION #5: This one on the other hand just feels like it's standing still. Nice art, but this can't end fast enough. A very low EH.

DC COMICS PRESENTS: THE ATOM: Damn, they both picked a "Julie saves the day!" turn. I liked the Gibbons story better, mostly because Waid "cheats" on the second one and only has the cover be a brief one-panel bit in the story. Still, OK

ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN #631: Quite a bit harsher than one would expect from a Superman story -- I don't know I'd let a kid near this one. Having said that, very strong and moving, really only undercut by the sequence of Supes hearing that last shot. How does he hear that from halfway around the world when I bet there's guns going off in, say, Detroit too? Meh! OK.

EX MACHINA #3: Finally, something to get excited about! This is a really terrific book, and one of the rare recent example where we're gaining new readers with each and every issue. Between this and Y, THE LAST MAN, Vaughan is cementing himself as one to watch. VERY GOOD.

EXILES #51: I also quite liked this -- the happy twist at the end was both unexpected and was celebratory of heroism. I don't feel that often enough in super-hero books, which is pretty fuckin' weird, don't you think? GOOD.

FANTASTIC FOUR #517: An "Avengers Dissembled" crossover (Which is about as "red skies" of a crossover as you can get), and, to celebrate the sales increase, the book is now $2.99. Huzzah! A perfectly reasonable issue, but the previous points left a nasty taste in my mouth, so I'm going with a patently-unfair AWFUL. (If it weren't for that, I might have gone for a low GOOD)

ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #64: IN every technical way this issue is just as good as the book has ever been -- but something in me somewhere says this arc was a mistake. None of this was anything I wanted to see, and it largely strikes me as pandering. So, foo, let's settle with EH.

MANHUNTER #1: There's nothing for it but to compare this with BLOODHOUND, because the two books seem to occupy a similar "space" in the DCU. This one tries way way way to hard to set up it's moral dilemma, and given that it seems to be moving to "Murder is fine, as long as it is scum!" rather than anywhere else, I'm going to give this the big thumbs down. The art is nice, the writing is adequate, but I don't want to read about super-powered murderers, thanks. There's really nothing here, no mystery no suspense, that makes me want to come back for issue #2. The worst part is this is naturally going to sell better to the retailers because of the legacy name, and the suggestion somewhere that this ties into IDENTITY CRISIS somehow (though I can't seem to find that citing now that I'm looking for it -- I know I read somewhere that there was a connection though). Sorry, though, this is AWFUL.

DOCTOR SPECTRUM #1: Not only does nothing happen, but it doesn't happen between panels of earlier issues of SUPREME POWER. Wrong way to do a spin-off, kids. EH.

SUPREME POWER #12: Meanwhile JMS does a good job with the formalist four-panels-across story. Things are starting to move here, and I like what he's doing all in all. VERY GOOD.

JSA STRANGE ADVENTURES #1: Period work, which always fits the JSA. Nice nice art from Kitson. But the story feels a bit light for the HOLY SHIT, $3.50?!?! Man, that's too much. EH.

Right, be back with more tomorrow, I think -- that's what I've read so far. Whatta d'you think?


Ben's asleep now!

The best part of him climbing up on the shelf is that he doesn't have the foggiest notion of how to get himself down, so he'll start crying about that, and I haul him to mother earth, and what does he do? Yeah, try to get back there right away. He understands there IS gravity, but he doesn't quite get how it works yet....

Still, I got him down for his afternoon nap, so back at my in-box....

KINETIC #5: There were a couple of books that really REALLY made me wish I had a column during the hiatus -- issue #4 of Kinetic was one of those. Wonderful quiet story about the reactions of his mother as her world shatter and changes around her, and all of her preconceptions are discarded in a moment. Kinetic started really slow, probably too slow, but it has really come into its own now, and is one of the most emotionally satisfying comics on the stands. This is "the next Sleeper" or "the next Runaways" -- the kind of book no one is reading, but they really should because they'd just love it if they did. Very Good.

FANTASTIC FOUR #516: I liked the first part of the arc, I thought the second was OK, but here at part three, I think it should have been a done-in-one. Nothing wasn't said here that wasn't said last issue. Eh.

SUPERMAN #207: This book is running the trajectory almost exactly opposite Lee's Batman run -- started strong (though less so than we anticipated), but it's bleeding readers every issue. I kinda don't even think this will be Top 10 by issue #12. Far too much blabity-blab talking about stuff that only tangentially matters ("faith" is a great topic for Superman to undertake -- setting it in this context robbed it of almost all of it's real-life human resonance). After six issues of Batman and 4 of this I think it's fair to declare what we all guessed going in -- Azzarello really doesn't "get" how to write super heroes. (which is fine, not everyone should / does)  Lee is a great artist, but the underlying material is so unremittingly dull and oddly paced that I just have no interest in this. Eh

SUPERMAN: BIRTHRIGHT #12: And so the stealth reboot ends. I sadly found the whole thing to be a bit preposterous, and largely unnecessary -- this last bit of Luthor's big master plan was just dopey, and wrapped with a real whimper. Plus, trying to fit it into continuity with the offhand "You know Luthor will find a way to beat the charges" just hurt my tiny little head. I really don't think this added anything new or majestic to the legend, so foo. On the other hand, the last two pages, though slightly torturously arrived at, where a really touching bit of "closure" on the K-side. I liked that so much that I'm going to be a big softie and give the whole thing an OK.

FUTURAMA #18: Reasonably funny (Go, Ian Boothby, go -- how come I'm the only reviewer who ever says what a fabulous writer this guy is?), but doing extended storylines in a quarterly comic book is really a bad idea. Good.

DC COMICS PRESENTS HAWKMAN #1: I really thought the first three of these (Batman, Adam Strange, and GL) were really awful, so I'm glad to say this one was pretty charming. The Cary Bates story (w/ Byrne) brought back Earth-Prime (Did Cary "invent" that? I have strong memories of him starring in a JLA one... but I'm not sure if that is the first one) and the Kurt Busiek (w/Simonson) one had a decent Silver Age "feel", and ended on a sweet note. This isn't great comics, but it's decent stuff, and the strongest of the batch. OK.

ASTONISHING X-MEN #3: Joss has, I think, found his legs (fingers?) with the characters -- some razor sharp characterization, and some really fun scenes (Scott and Nick Fury aboard the Helicarrier, or the excellent Danger Room sequence) made this issue crackle. This is the first time I think I've ever found Scott an agreeable personality, because too often "all work" = "boring dick". Not here. This is great stuff, and I think I might even like this better than the mad-wild Morrison run. Excellent.

Right, that's it for the mo... gotta read more, but since Ben is asleep and Tzipi is out, I'm going to go grab an hour of City of Heroes instead. Probably a bit more tonight.