Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Jeff’s Comics Review, 7/15/09 releases, Conclusion

Batman: Streets of Gotham 2: Continued great stuff from Paul Dini as Tommy (Hush) Elliot’s new face becomes a problem for Batman. Dustin Nguyen’s aerial sequences with Firefly look great, and The Manhunter backup continues to get interesting story ideas out of using Kate’s outsider status to look at Gotham staples (in this case Arkham) through new eyes.

Action Comics 879: Even though they have a point, I think the cracks in the government’s anti-Kryptonian efforts start to show here as they are unwilling to distinguish between Flamebird and Nightwing and a couple of murderers they are trying to stop. There’s also another glimpse of the religious angle from the Annual, and Lois figures out a key piece about what’s going on with her family. I’m not sure if we’re meant to think that the woman who disappears and reappears at the end is the assassin from last week’s New Krypton. I’m also not sure what’s going on with the Captain Atom backup yet – he’s fighting a medieval army for reasons that aren’t clear yet, and he may be delusional. It looks great, though, and it’s by Robinson and Rucka so I’m sure patience will pay off.

Brave and the Bold 25: Another Milestone spotlight, this time with Hardware and Blue Beetle. Using Blue Beetle makes this a little lighter in tone than the usual Hardware story – he’s not an Iron Man clone even though he is incorrectly drawn with boot jets here (he’s supposed to have a jet pack) – but it’s a fun story and a pretty good intro to the character anyway.

Amazing Spider-Man 599: This is a huge development in the Harry & Norman Osborn relationship that, in my opinion, justifies bringing Harry back. I’d absolutely put this up next to any of the J.M. DeMatteis Harry Osborn stories from back in the day and say it’s of the same quality.

New Mutants 3: I liked the scenes between Sam and Dani where, as far as Sam is concerned, they’re no longer equals since she lost her powers on M-Day. The rest of it is getting a little too dragged out for my taste. (Hopefully this is a four-issue arc and not a six-issue one.)

Vigilante 8: This is finally completely on its own without any baggage related to Nightwing and the Titans, and I think it works very well as a straight crime series. However, eight issues in is pretty late to find its legs so I hope enough of the crossover readers stuck around to make this viable.

Incognito 5: I can’t imagine how Brubaker is going to be able to wrap this up in just one more issue, but you can tell he’s planning to come back to this world because he gives us a glimpse of the origin of superhumans in it. Zack also finds out that his origin isn’t exactly what he thought. The “Pulp Heroes” text feature is about Fu Manchu.

Agents of Atlas 8: Apparently this is on the 16-issues-a-year plan, because it’s been coming out at a relentless pace lately. I’m not in love with the guest artist, but otherwise this is a pretty good story of the team trying to clean up some of the seedier aspects of the Atlas Foundation and running into the Hulk. There’s also a little more about the history of Atlas, and my prediction about Jimmy Woo’s 1950’s girlfriend comes true.

Mighty Avengers 27: About half of this is devoted to the previously-unknown story of the Inhuman king that came before Black Bolt (though he’s apparently known enough that Quicksilver can recognize him on sight), who is not a nice guy, and the confrontation between him and a group of Chinese heroes. (Who are somewhat of a ripoff of “The Great Ten” from 52, but that doesn’t bother me too much because both universes need such a team.) The rest of it is about Hank Pym’s newly constructed Avengers HQ, which has some interesting ramifications. Not the best issue they’ve done so far, but not bad either.

Dark Avengers 7: I like that the plot of this crossover is progressing quickly, and I liked both Scott’s and Emma’s confrontations with Norman Osborn. And I love that “Dark Wolverine” is a member of both the “Dark Avengers” and the “Dark X-Men”. (Bullseye: “How many teams can that guy be on?!?”) My only quibble at this point is that there are so many characters that we’re not always getting to the ones I’m most interested in like Namor and Cloak & Dagger.

JSA vs. Kobra 2: Good, but the misdirection was obvious to me almost immediately so I have a hard time believing that Mr. Terrific would have fallen for it. (He’s suspicious, but he hasn’t figured it out yet.) The technology that Kobra stole has some chilling implications, but at this point it hasn’t been explained so you have to have read 52 to comprehend it. (It’s towards the end of the issue so hopefully they will go into it more next month.) My only other complaint is that I don’t think Power Girl is being drawn with her ass hanging out in her own book the way she is here, and it sort of undermines her authority as JSA chairman.

Punisher 7: I love the way the tension is mounting here – The Hood’s offer is weighing on Frank every moment which is causing him to lash out at his new partner (who has his own issues.) I also love that the resurrected villains are being portrayed as having been out of touch for a decade or more. (“Craziness, right? Saw me a sweet broad walking down 5th with her butt crack hanging out.”) I’m not sure what to make of the cover preview of next issue, showing Frank facing an 80’s-era Avengers team.

That’s two butt crack references in a row, for those of you keeping score. See you next week.

3 comments:

  1. I've only read one of these titles (STREETS OF GOTHAM, which I may comment on later. I liked it also.) - - but have my eye on several of the others while I wait for the trade collections: INCOGNITO and THE MIGHTY AVENGERS.
    I also have NEW MUTANTS on my wait-for-trade list but your review of #3 here indicates that it may be fading. I certainly appreciate that, as I'm trying to manage my comics budget. Looking forward to seeing what you say about #4. Also your review of MIGHTY AVENGERS indicates that I should flag that one for potential drop status as well. Thanks again.
    Let's initiate some discussion here: butt cheeks in my opinion is more sexy and leaves a better image versus butt cracks. So JSA wins vs. PUNISHER in the first round of this competition.
    Hope all is well with all.

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  2. For the record, I'm nowhere near even considering dropping MIGHTY AVENGERS. NEW MUTANTS, maybe.

    My humblest apologies for my imprecise cheek/crack word choice. I will try to be more careful in the future.

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  3. This issue of Mighty Avengers wasn't quite as good, but considering that previous issues have been excellent, this is still, at worst, a very solid issue. I'd seriously recommend buying the trade of it--it's my favorite Avengers title right now.

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