Thursday, June 4, 2009

Jeff’s May Reviews Part 4

Jonah Hex 43: Good, but not one of the more exceptional stories they’ve done in this book. I did like the “silent” section at the beginning, though. I don’t know the original series well enough to know if the acquisition that Hex makes at the end is significant or not, but it felt like it might be.

Cable 14: Bishop is starting to look silly here, as he has the girl in his possession for the whole issue and somehow fails (doesn’t even try, really) to kill her. The twist at the end is potentially interesting, but I’m ready for this to get wrapped up soon.

Human Torch Comics 70th Anniversary Special 1: This didn’t work for me at all. Man vs. machine angst works fine for a character like The Vision, but the original Torch has always been portrayed as acting fully human even though he’s an android. I hope this isn’t the tack they plan to take when they bring him back later this year.

Strange Adventures 3: There’s no bigger Adam Strange (and Captain Comet, for that matter) fan than me, but this is getting to be a struggle to get through. It feels like Starlin is really excited about what he’s doing, but there’s too much of it in his head and not enough on the page to make me care. I’ll probably stick with it, because I’m an idiot, but if you’re looking for a space adventure I would recommend REBELS 100 times over this.

Deadpool 10: Pointless. Deadpool’s too far crazy to be sympathetic, and he survived a beheading in the Thunderbolts crossover so there’s no drama in Osborn sending Bullseye to kill him.

Azrael: Death’s Dark Knight 3: Good enough to give the ongoing series a try when it comes out, but the setup of that series is really rushed here – there’s no particular reason for Nightwing to allow Azrael to continue other than issue #1 coming out soon. And there’s a twist near the end that’s spoiled on the cover, so someone wasn’t paying attention to that either.

Wolverine 73: Welcome to the Mighty Marvel Era of out-of-sequence publishing! Ostensibly because of the movie (but probably really because “Old Man Logan” is running late), #72 was skipped and we get the first half of two stories, with the second halves of both coming in #74. Why they didn’t do one complete story in #73 and the other in #74 is beyond me. Anyway, the first story, literally showing Logan’s relentlessly busy schedule (he’s with the Avengers Monday, he’s with the X-Men Tuesday, he’s with X-Force Wednesday, etc.) is kind of amusing but I question the wisdom of pointing out how ridiculously overexposed the character is. (Are we going to see him at cartoon voice recording sessions next?) I liked the second story, of Logan trying to help an old biker friend’s kid, much better.

Dark Reign: Hawkeye 2: The front half is somewhat over the top, as Bullseye and Osborn have to eliminate absolutely everyone and everything that could have witnessed him killing people in Hawkeye’s uniform, but I liked the back half with Ben Urich, the scene where Norman realizes that he’ll never be able to control Bullseye, just channel his energy, and the maybe-fake, maybe-hallucinatory guest star at the end.

Final Crisis Aftermath: Escape 1: This is a very surreal story of Nemesis being held captive, um, somewhere, by, ah, somebody. Intriguing, but impossible to evaluate until they give some idea of what’s really going on. Probably worth holding off until the trade.

Secret Warriors 4: Finally something I loved without reservation. Hard to talk about without giving a lot away, but we get to check in on some more familiar S.H.I.E.L.D. characters, there’s a hint of Nick’s hidden agenda (actually everyone in this book has a hidden agenda) and the last page is priceless.

Black Panther 4: One of the better Reggie Hudlin issues, which is kind of a weak endorsement because I’m not a huge fan of the Hudlin run. (Yay, Priest!) Still, I like the scenes with T’Challa’s sister and the suggestion that her replacing him is only temporary.

Wolverine Weapon X 2: This is is the “stabby” Wolverine book, in case you’re keeping track. It’s pretty good, though not at the level that Jason Aaron’s writing is capable of. Still the new Weapon X “Wolverines” are interesting. I’m a little uncomfortable with Wolverine being well enough known by the general population that a reporter actually wants to do a story about him, but I guess that was inevitable once he was with the Avengers. (I thought they had kept him out of all public appearances, but I’m too lazy to go back through “New Avengers” and check.)

Final Crisis Aftermath: Dance 1: Best title of the year so far. (I mean the actual title, not the book itself.) I think Joe Casey’s trying to cover some of the same social commentary ground he did in Wildcats, but it didn’t work for me here as well as it did there – it just comes off as kind of shallow, and the characters don’t have the same kind of manic energy they had under Grant Morrison’s pen. I’m a huge fan of Chriscross’ art, however. (Though there’s an army of inkers credited for some reason.)

Outsiders 18: I liked all the Alfred scenes, though I am somewhat uncomfortable with him operating in public – it seems like Deathstroke wouldn’t have to be a genius to put together Alfred (who he knows works for Bruce Wayne) + Outsiders = Wayne is Batman.

Planet Skaar Prologue 1: Other than the weird marketing – why isn’t this just Planet Skaar #1? – another one of the best books in this batch. Skaar arrives on earth, and the beings that are connected to him (Hulk, She-Hulk, the Warbound) are drawn to him. I also liked that Reed Richards feels protective of Skaar, and the difference in Skaar at the end is very intriguing.

Fantastic Four 566: Another gorgeous Bryan Hitch art job, but I find it grating that Millar’s conception of these characters seems locked at 30 years ago. Ben’s behavior in this issue (threatening a romantic rival) wasn’t completely out of character for early Ben Grimm, but his character has evolved way past that. I’m usually all for “back to basics” but it’s not working for me here.

Punisher 5: As far from the MAX version as you can get, but I’m liking the Frank vs. The Hood battle so far. Apparently because of his demonic connection, The Hood has some ability to resurrect the dead. That’s how he gets an old ally of Frank’s to turn against him, but my guess is that it’s a lie – I think he can only bring back evil, like the Scourge victims at the end, not the loved ones that he’s promising.

Amazing Spider-Man Family 6: For me, only worth supporting for the Spider-Girl story. The other stories aren’t bad (well, except for the Aunt May story), but missable. It’s too late to try to get me to care about Jackpot, a character that was only created to be a Mary Jane red herring, and the Peter Parker story is cute but not that original.

Marvel Mystery Comics 70th Anniversary Special 1: A pretty good 40’s-era team-up of Namor, the Torch and some other characters that (presumably) were featured in Marvel Mystery at the time. Not essential, especially at this price, but it’s fun and the art does a nice job of evoking that era but still looking modern.

Skrull Kill Krew 2: There is some funny stuff here, but it’s hung on a story that I just don’t care much about. I probably will buy the trade when it comes out, but it’s not worth the expense of the individual issues.

Batman & Robin 1: OK, it’s not a May book, but I couldn’t resist. Terrific fun, with some stunning visual design by Frank Quitely. It’s in it’s own little Morrison world – for instance, Gordon and the cops are with Batman here when they’ve been shown as distrustful in the other books – but he’s never claimed otherwise so life’s too short to worry about it.

Well, that was mostly drab and awful, wasn’t it? We’re through everything except the last week of May, I think, so I’ll try to get to all those books tomorrow and then get caught up with this week’s stuff.

6 comments:

  1. Why they didn’t do one complete story in #73 and the other in #74 is beyond me

    I wondered this briefly when I saw the solicitations. And then it was pointed out to me--to get people to buy both of the issues, instead of forcing the stories to stand on their own.

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  2. Well, yeah, that's probably their thinking but I don't think the math works: comic shop customers are already either buying the book or not, and the chances of luring movie viewers in a month apart for both issues seems pretty slim.

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  3. Doesn't one of the stories set up Wolverine: Weapon X and the other sets up Dark Wolverine?

    That's the impression I got from the solicitations way back when, at least. I'd figure, people that wanted to read Weapon X might not all want to read Dark Wolverine, and vice versa. So if they separated the two stories into their own issue each, they might lose sales from people that wanted to just read one of the books--they would only pick up one of the issues. This way, they're sort of forced to pick up both of them.

    I have no idea if it will work out that way, because readers might be irritated by the method, but it seems like how it would work to me. Of course, I'm just making random guesses.

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  4. Actually, Wolverine #73 helped me make up my mind. I'm not going to buy Dark Wolverine and my patience with the less-than-full-potential effort from Aaron on Weapon X may run out before the first story arc concludes.

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  5. No the Wolverine #73-74 stories aren't tied to the other books at all as far as I can tell.

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  6. My bad, then.

    Actually, Wolverine #73 helped me make up my mind. I'm not going to buy Dark Wolverine and my patience with the less-than-full-potential effort from Aaron on Weapon X may run out before the first story arc concludes.

    Yours is the only negative review I've seen about Weapon X, actually. Most have been glowing reviews about how refreshing it is for a Wolverine book.

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