Jeff’s Comic Reviews, 6/10/09 releases, Part 1

Red Robin 1: I’m not going to be coy here, because there aren’t any other viable candidates – it’s Tim Drake in the costume. (Though he’s going by Tim Wayne now.) The explanation for his more brutal behavior here is logical, but I’m not sure I agree that Tim would behave this way under any circumstance. The flashback scenes between Dick, Tim and Damien are worth the price of admission – Chris Yost’s dialogue for Damien is as good as Grant Morrison’s.

Batman 687: I know not all of you like Judd Winick’s work, and it may turn out eventually that don’t like this book, but I think this issue is worth buying anyway. This is basically the material that should have come before the end of Battle For The Cowl #3, and it’s well done. (Superman to Alfred: “Are you all right?” Alfred: “Am I all right? No, sir. I am not. My son has died.”) In fact, I would go as far as to say if you haven’t read Battle For The Cowl yet you might as well skip it and read this issue, Red Robin #1, and Batman & Robin #1 (in that order) instead. There’s nothing in the miniseries you need to know that isn’t done better in those three issues, except that there’s a new Black Mask. (That’s not a dig at Tony Daniels, who did the job he was hired to do well – I consider it an editorial planning failure.)

Final Crisis Aftermath: Escape 2: This has become annoying. I have no problem with surrealism, or with stories that require some work to figure out, but there has to be some basis in the story to speculate on (like all the theories about what’s happening on “Lost”, for instance.) There’s nothing to grab onto here – it’s just one odd event after another with no way of figuring out what’s real and what’s in Nemesis’ head.

Wolverine 74: Nothing terrible here, but I wasn’t really satisfied by the end of either story. I stopped caring about what happened to the bikers, and I don’t think the (admittedly clever) explanation in the other story works because Wolverine was already appearing everywhere (including New Avengers) before House of M.

REBELS 5: Kind of plot heavy which I guess is necessary at this point in the story, but it doesn’t play to the strength of this book which is Dox’s obnoxious personality and manipulation of the other characters. On the plus side, Tony Bedard does a good job of using an established DC space villain in a new way that doesn’t require the reader to be familiar with past appearances.

Miss America 70th Anniversary Special 1: The idea is good – girl reporter infiltrates girl factory workers to look for saboteurs – but they lost me when the Nazi chicks with the lame code names (“Axis Annie”, “Fraulein Fatale”, etc.) showed up. Also, they couldn’t decide whether Miss America was supposed to be wearing glasses in her civilian identity or in her secret identity. (I’m pretty sure she’s supposed to be wearing glasses as Miss America, but not as herself.)

X-Factor 44: Interesting progress in both time zones, with a twist in the present day that I suspected a little bit but still didn’t 100% see coming. Oddly, the cliffhanger from the end of last issue is not followed up on at all, not even on the recap page. (That is to say that those characters don’t appear in this issue, not that the story pretends anything didn’t happen.)

Beta Ray Bill: Godhunter 1: I liked seeing Thor and Bill together, the Agent Brand scene was fun, and though I doubt Bill will be able to defeat Galactus at least his method of trying is new and interesting.

Fantastic Four 567: I just am not as impressed by the badassness of Doom’s Master as Millar wants me to be. He does have a point about Doom being a failure because the FF are still around, but that seems to me like one of those story conceits that shouldn’t be examined too closely. Beautiful work by Bryan Hitch, though.

Buck Rogers 1: I want to like this, because I like Stuart Moore’s work and I thought the zero issue was good, but the talking, gun toting, cyborg bear is a little much for me.

Action Comics 878: Good, but it’s one of those “middle chapter” issues that I always have trouble finding something to say about. I love all the characterizations here, including General Lane, who is chilling.

That’s all I have time for today – I’ll finish tomorrow.

Comments

  1. Fun fact--Beta Ray Bill: Godhunter is written by Kieron Gillen, one of my absolute new favorite writers (thanks to the majesty that is Phonogram). Him writing Beta Ray Bill means that I will actually be buying a Marvel trade soon. Crazy!

    Your review about Red Robin seems to match most of what I've heard--there are good parts and interesting concepts, but so far Tim's actions seem a bit out of the blue. I'm optimistic, though, because Chris Yost wrote some rather good stories over at Marvel, and I like the (perceived) freedom he has here.

    As for Batman, your review is the first positive one I've seen--but with that said, the exchange you quoted between Superman and Alfred is one that I really liked, and it makes me want to pick the series up. Plus, the next few issues should have some nice Mark Bagley artwork.

    I haven't read any of this yet--although of course, the only thing here that I get monthly is REBELS. But you've made a few titles sound more interesting (Red Robin and Batman), and one title sound less interesting (Final Crisis Aftermath: Escape, although I think that one should read better as a trade). So, success!

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  2. At Heroes Con this weekend, Marvel announced Gillen as the writer of a three-issue "Dark Avengers: Ares" minsieries coming out in October.

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  3. I read two of these books.
    WOLVERINE #74: I'm also disappointed in this, Jeff, and I expected to be. I just picked it up out of a sense of completeness. I wonder if the DARK WOLVERINE #75 which begins next month will allude or flash back to anything with Logan or just move forward with his son's story (assuming that's where this title is going, of course).
    BUCK ROGERS #1: I had reservations after reading Issue #1 which I thought had a minor degree of promise to it - - none of that shows up here. Dull and boring. And I dislike the ending as much as Jeff does. Any book with talking animals interacting with humans is hard to pull off. That's why I avoid Guardians Of The Galaxy. I can't stomach Rocket Raccoon. This will be the last issue of BUCK ROGERS that I pick up.

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  4. CORRECTION . . . . . . . . . . ..
    In my comments on BUCK ROGERS I meant to say "I had reservations after reading Issue #0" instead of mentioning Issue #1 twice.

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  5. I actually love Guardians of the Galaxy. I admit that I can't explain why I'm OK with the talking racoon, but the cyborg bear put me over the edge. :-)

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