Because Travis & I reviewed the first two weeks of DC’s new 52 comics in episode 10 & 11 of the LBR podcast, I’ll toss the first two weeks of non-DC comics into the review here. To find out what I thought of the first 26 DCnU comics*, have a listen.
Episode 10: DCnU, week 1
Episode 11: DCnU, week 2
Now on with the rest of the comics I read from the first two weeks of September.
Mystic #2: Sigh. While I was impressed with issue one, issue two’s plot devolves into familiar territory: odd girl fitting in (or not really) where she’s not wanted, and odd girl’s best friend works with others against her for a perceived betrayal. Then there’s the problem with the magic MacGuffin: I’m not sure if that’s yet interesting or just overly trodden ground–we’ll see. I still like the alternate reality aspects as well as the art. At times it reminds me of tv animation stills, but I find it very clean and accessible.
New Avengers Annual #1: I do believe I’m starting to get tired of Brian Michael Bendis. I have not been liking the Fear Itself tie-in stuff on this title in general, and in particular, I do not care for this turn in Wonder Man’s character. Not that it’s a bad move necessarily, but I guess it just wasn’t handled with any panache, i.e., it’s your typical former ally turns on you story. I did like in one way the five double-page spreads at the beginning wherein Wonder Man outlines the top five worst things that has happened in the Marvel U because of the Avengers (I assume he means recently). How I did not like the double-page spreads is that I have been reading a lot of comics lately that take use splash pages or two-page spreads (mostly DC books). I think it’s an overused technique that the artist uses to have to draw fewer panels, i.e., we get “less” art, in a way. The rest of the issue is essentially a fight scene and the issue ends with a To Be Continued in Avengers Annual #1, which I will not be getting.
Alpha Flight #4: Ok, 1) this comic needs more Northstar in it and 2) oh my god, what the hell, Vindicator? While she seemed to be motivated in her actions because she wanted her children back and safe, Heather has now just turned into the classic, murdering villain, and what’s the fun in that? This is turning out to be what I was afraid of: you can’t go home again, eh.
Buffy, S9 #1: I’ve said this a few times, wait. Let me start by saying I love Joss Whedon. I think he’s a visionary and a genius, BUT he shouldn’t write comics. Come up with the ideas for them, sure, provide insight and plot points, yes. But write the scripts? I don’t think so. This first issue was ok, and I can see why Buffy is acting the way she is considering the events of last season, but the chronology of this story could have been tighter and better drafted, and I lay at least part of the blame here at artist Georges Jeanty’s hands. I was really hoping Joss and Dark Horse would go with a different artist in Season 9, but here we are. And wtf is up with that ending? Joss is known for pulling the rug out from under you, but that last page was just dumb. It’s a very lovely Jo Chen cover (and maybe the only one?), don’t you think?
Criminal: Last of the Innocent #4: Overall, I enjoyed this tale of lost (and found) love, infidelity, betrayal, and murder. This issue wraps everything up, along with some revelations (including one that came out of left field, so I didn’t care for that). It’s so weird about these kind of stories. In the hands of a good storyteller, you can come away sympathizing with a murderer, and that’s exactly what happens in this comic. So, when you get to the end, and Riley has achieved his goals (killed his unfaithful, bitchy wife, ruined his asshole father-in-law financially, covered his murderous tracks by killing his old, junky friend who figured out what he’d done, and got the girl), that last page of art that transforms the happy couple from the “now” style to the “Life with Riley”, “Archie” style, I was very satisfied with the story since Riley got his happy ending. Side-note: in one panel on that last page, where Riley and Lizzie are walking down the street arm in arm, I was reminded very much of a panel in the Miller/Mazzuchelli Daredevil “Born Again” arc. It’s probably just coincidence, but the possible homage sure lept to the front of my brain when I saw it. I’m looking forward to Brubaker’s and Phillips’s next project, Fatale.
Daredevil #3: Speaking of Daredevil, here’s another great issue from Waid, and the Riveras. I love the look of this book, and Waid is writing some good stuff here. That whole bit with Daredevil and Klaw was masterfully done. Every sound effect is used not just to convey “sound” to us, but to represent how it is sounds to Matt. I even like the legal stuff, which usually bores me in Daredevil comics of the past. Matt and Foggy are being very creative in how they deal with Matt’s courthouse ostracism, though, how will they pay their bills? I was trepidatious about this book when it was announced, but I am fully on board now.
Fear Itself #6: It’s rare that I actually exclaim out loud when reading a comic. After all, I’ve been reading comics steadily for over 30 years–what can possibly surprise me? But every once in a while, I get a little tidbit that does, and in this issue, I got Captain America ordering Odin, king of the Norse gods, around. When Odin protests and starts blustering about who he is, Cap cuts him off. Insert exclamation. :) There’s a nice little scene between Spider-Man and Aunt May (though, I’m not sure by the way this scene was shown: does Aunt May know that Peter is Spider-Man now?), and the rest is just moving the plot along to the big fight at the end of the series, next issue.
New Avengers #16: So, between this title and the few Avengers issues I bought recently (grumble, grumble**), I’m a little tired of the talking head, “interview” panels. Bendis has long been criticized for his talking head scenes in his books, but I haven’t minded them until now. And part of the irritation I’m feeling is that I’m not sure who everyone is talking to (look at the scene with Luke Cage talking about DD), so Bendis using that device to push the plot forward is either amateurish (lazy?) or hasn’t yet been revealed (I hope it’s the latter). Other than that, I enjoyed the spotlight on Daredevil in an Avengers book, plus DD gets the call to join the New Avengers. If that isn’t yet another good reason for me to read this book, I don’t what is.
Spider-Island: Amazing Spider-Girl #2: I really hate it when a story feels padded, and this issue does because it takes the whole issue for the lead character to come to the realization that she would have to team up with the Kingpin when I knew that she would from last issue. Normally, I don’t mind character progression over time, but we only have three issues here, so either issue 2 is wasting the story, or the story isn’t really here to begin with. However, I like Paul Tobin’s portrayal of Anya and that makes up for a lot. Pepe Larraz’s art is a little too heavy handed on the inks, but Andres Mossa’s colors help make up for it by giving a real depth to the art.
Unwritten #28-29: I finally got issue #28 from my comic book shop, but it’s been worth the wait. I got caught up in the mostly flashback tale of Tom’s father and his relationship with a woman comic book artist. This is Mike Carey at his best, when he writes about characters that take over in my head as I read them and they become more than just pencil and ink in front of me. And I’ve just bought into the Cabal’s world view! :D Of course this tale of a comic book creator within a comic book about stories is just about metatextual overload, but it’s so much fun! The covers are great homages to 1930s superhero and pulp magazines, even down to the “wrinkles” and “skuffs” on the “covers”. Great stuff.
* These are the titles we reviewed:
- Action Comics #1
- Animal Man #1
- Batgirl #1
- Batwing #1
- Detective Comics #1
- Green Arrow #1
- Hawk & Dove #1
- Justice League International #1
- OMAC #1
- Static Shock #1
- Stormwatch #1
- Swamp Thing #1
- Batman & Robin #1
- Batwoman #1
- Demon Knights #1
- Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #1
- Green Lantern #1
- Grifter #1
- Legion Lost #1
- Mister Terrific #1
- Red Lanterns #1
- Resurrection Man #1
- Suicide Squad #1
- Superboy #1
** I bought Avengers 16 & 17 because they were both solicited as having a story featuring Spider-Woman, and neither issue had anything of the sort. It royally pissed me off.