I know that I told you that I'd be the first one to punk out 0n the every-week reviews -- and guess what? I was right! (But I was writing Tilting, and a very special DC-Relaunch ONOMATOPOEIA that you can actually download as a full color PDF until June 28, so I don't know, maybe that counts?)
Anyway, Jeff and I were talking about how much we like John K (UK)'s comments every week in "Shipping this week" threads, and we thought "Well, let's give him a shot".
(Important note to everyone who constantly asks to become a Critic -- this is actually how you do it. You write nd you write without any expectation of anything other than amusing yourself and others, and then we invite you without you asking whatsoever. There will be no more discussion of this.)
So, accordingly, here's John K (UK)'s first shot, below the cut. Make comments in the comments section, with your thoughts, though the final decision is absolutely mine and Jeff's.
(I really should have some reviews of my own up tomorrow, I am pretty sure)
Without further ado: John K (UK):
FEAR ITSELF: THE HOME FRONT #1: Wow, do you like your Dumb wrapped in Ugly? Then have Marvel got a Speedball story for you! How about a page which is just J Jonah Jameson saying: “I hate superheroes, me, I do, it’s true.” It’s one of the nicer Chaykin pages the self-proclaimed Jew From The Future has recently secreted but it’s still definitely one he just did to be able to afford his RDA of Mai Tai mix. Peter Milligan does a bit I’ve already forgotten but I’ve never forgotten that his and Duncan Fegredo’s ENIGMA is fantastic. And the folk of Broxton are horrible. What a bunch of self obsessed platitude panting dingleberrys. Are we supposed to empathise with them? Is this how the Marvel Landscape Gardeners view us commoners not blessed by The Muse? I’m being unfair; I know that the stress and financial hardship of the current recession that I and my family were experiencing was alleviated no end by the fact that Marvel were excreting an oily link of overpriced comics about Nazi robots and magic hammers. CRAP!
iZOMBIE #13: I swear stuff happens in this comic but I can’t remember what all from issue to issue. It’s just horribly frothy and weightless, an astronaut’s milkshake affair. Everybody’s a zombie, or a vampire, or a mummy, or an old man in a chimp’s body and they’re all just dating and, like, RPG-ing and totally worrying about lattes and how to recharge their iPod in a crypt. It’s like Scooby Doo for people who are legally allowed to have sex but are emotionally incapable of doing so. Look the fault is mine, I’m 41 years old I should have got out as soon as I saw “paintballing vampires”. Golly, it’s so cutsey and coy I can’t really process it. Every month it turns up and smiles at me and demands to be loved but…I can’t. I’m just not built that way. I graze on Hate. I think I’m buying it because I like it and I think I like it because of Mike Allred but I think, actually, I just liked X-FORCE/X-STATIX. And this ain’t that. So few things are, bubba.
JONAH HEX#66: I don’t know much about Fiona Staples but I know that she knows enough to know that you don’t draw snow. (The Master of not drawing snow is of course Mr. Joe Kubert.) There’s a super (almost) wordless sequence where you know what its leading up to but you kind of hope that it isn’t (it’s called “ suspense”) and its delivered nicely by all parties. Words and pictures successfully working together towards the common purpose of entertaining actually happens a lot less than you might think but it happens in JONAH HEX quite a lot.
JONAH HEX #67: This is a typically taut and tasty tale in which Jonah Hex must save the life of the very man who framed him! Which sounds teeth grindingly predictable but I assure you it is not. It’s a decent done-in-one but really it could just be Jonah sat on his porch digging cow muck out of his spurs with a sharpened matchstick because Jordi Bernet is in the saddle this issue. Like Brynner’s boys dealt in lead Jordi Bernet deals in awesome. Bernet! Spread the word!
(Y’know, I’m not convinced that having Jonah Hex fight Hush in a stovepipe hat is going to bring in a whole new audience. But then again I am baffled by the fact that there is no real audience for a comic as consistently well written and excellently drawn as JONAH HEX is.)
JSA #50: Despite being a mobile fossil I don’t know much about the JSA as before 1986 the only way we got comics in Blighty was when they washed up on the beach after a U-Boat had scuppered some luckless cargo ship. Were the silence broken by so much as a fruity trump kids would be hurtling to the nearest beach hoping to find a sandy four colour treasure. Distribution was patchy is what I’m saying. Luckily the JSA are introduced in Part One, illustrated by George “Ladies wrestling? Yes, please.” Perez. Unluckily it totally fails as an introduction to the JSA. Predictably the big guns elbow all the others out of the way and then stamp on their feet with their heels until they have to move to the back of the room near the stinky damp patch of carpet.
Look, can I just personally ask DC to, for the Love of all that is Holy, to stop telling me about Hal Jordan and Barry Allen! Stop it! You’re making me crazy here! I mean look at Mr. Terrific , he gets about three panels (Usually when faced with a scene where a young man on a bridge is approached by some creepy looking guy in green underoos talking about “voids” and the need for their “filling“ you’d get some kind of hilarious rudery. But I’m better than that. And I need you to know I am better than that.) which leave you none the wiser really. Luckily I know all about Mr. Terrific (He’s the world’s third warmest man, his wife is deaf and he is invisible to heavy machinery) but you won’t learn any of that in here. Golly, it’s a good job no one is expecting him to support his own series or anything. This chapter was a mess but George Perez drew it so it was a pretty dynamic mess.
Part Two involved time travel and how to fill a lot of pages with very little. Beards still equal evil in parallel universes in case you were wondering.
Part Three and please put your hands together for – HUAC! Because the JSA without HUAC is like a Day without Doris! Howard Victor Chaykin does the pictures here. DIAGNOSIS: MURDER must have finished because it actually appears HVC was almost engaged with this. He gives everyone a different face, some of them don’t even look like they are composed of uncooked dough, and he does a nice job of layering his drawings over his now obligatory clip art compulsion. Delightfully he also effectively communicates the inherent visual comedy of having a bunch of Cosplaying adults in a stuffy legal setting. It’s okay this bit but there’s a slight possibility I might be biased.
Part Four is how I guess most issues of JSA are on a regular basis which explains why I don’t buy JSA on a regular basis. Give me a mystery – I’ll solve it! No charge.
JSA #50 was very much like turning up to a party no one actually wanted you to turn up to. I don’t think that was the idea. AWFUL!
MIGHTY THOR #1: Oh God, this priest. This priest is the worst priest ever. He appears to have been written by someone who has heard of priests but only actually experienced them via the distorting medium of popular culture. I’m no priest defender and I’m certainly not Ricky Religious but I’m pretty sure the accepted role of the priest isn’t one of scaring the living piss out of the congregation. Having a priest act like that at a time of crisis is like having a fireman show up during the Watts Riots only for him to proceed to hose down burning buildings with gasoline while screaming racial epithets. Faith, pal. Google it sometime. Oh yeah, Galactus drools when he sleeps. Heck, he probably scratches his cosmic nuts when he forgets other people are around as well but I don’t need to see that either do I? EH!