Unilaterally Sarcastic, Dangerously Cheesy

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Weekly Comic Reviews

I Do Not Actually Look Like Jesse Custer

It was a hectic week at the shop. UPS lost one of the shipment boxes, and it happened to be the one that contained the packing list in it. Not gonna lie, UPS is about as competent as a brain-damaged snail when it comes to the handling and delivery of packages. When that’s your entire purpose for existing and your that bad at it, perhaps you don’t deserve to be in business. Just saying. Actually, I’m not really saying anything as much as I’m venting. There’s a subtle difference and most of it has to do with the tone of voice I hear inside my head while I type this, which is probably not conveyed very well as text over the internet.

ARRIVALS 5-26-2010
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #632 2.99
BATMAN RETURN OF BRUCE WAYNE #2 OF(6) 3.99
CHOKER #3 (OF 6) (MR) 3.99
DAZZLER #1 3.99
DEADPOOL MERC WITH A MOUTH #11 (OF 13) 2.99
DETECTIVE COMICS #865 3.99
EARP SAINTS FOR SINNERS #0 1
FALL OF HULKS SAVAGE SHE-HULKS #3 (OF 3) 3.99
FANTASTIC FOUR #579 HA 2.99
FORTUNE & GLORY A TRUE HOLLYWOOD COMIC BOOK GN HC 19.99
GOTHAM CITY SIRENS #12 2.99
GREEN LANTERN #54 (BRIGHTEST DAY) 2.99
JUSTICE LEAGUE GENERATION LOST #2 (BRIGHTEST DAY) 2.99
POWER GIRL #12 2.99
PREVIEWS #261 JUNE 2010 (NET) 2.7
SECRET AVENGERS #1 HA 3.99
THOR #610 SIEGE EPILOGUE 2.99
THUNDERBOLTS #144 HA 2.99
WOLVERINE WEAPON X #13 3.99
WONDER WOMAN #44 2.99
X-FORCE #27 XSC 2.99
X-MEN ORIGINS EMMA FROST #1 (MR) 3.99

And because I have access to the internet, now come my opinions:

DAZZLER # 1

I freaking love Dazzler. If ever there was a character who deserved more respect, it’d be her. She pre-dates Jubilee and has enough of a sob-story background to appeal to the angst-happy comic reader of the modern generation. It would be a dream come true for me to write a team book led by Dazzler and Boom-Boom that goes off and fixes all the problems that the A-Listers can’t because they’re too busy dealing with a crossover or something.

The issue picks up on the threads left in the Necrosha crossover following Dazzler’s run-in with her sister, a mutant who can kill with a single touch. She and Rogue should have a pow-wow. Anywho, Dazzler’s feeling all misdirected and shaken up after the events of Necrosha and then has to deal with Arcade kidnapping her and dropping her into Murderworld, which honestly needs a new name as I’m not sure anyone has ever been killed in Murderworld. It sounds all ominous and scary but Arcade is probably the least successful X-Villain with the best ideas for marketing.

Here’s the sad thing about this issue; it’s really good. But not a whole lot of people are going to pick it up because Dazzler has essentially been reduced to a one-note joke and nobody realizes the potential there is for good stories with her in the lead. I’d rather read a story with Dazzler than Cyclops, honestly. But then again, that’s just me I guess.

EARP : SAINTS FOR SINNERS # 0

I love proto-futuristic, psuedo-apocalyptic stories. The environment presented in those types of books usually do it for me. They just suck me in and I don’t want to leave. Earp has the added bonus of transplanting famous historical gunslingers from the past of the American west and dropping them into the future. Is there any reason why they couldn’t have told this same story with new and original characters? From what is presented in the pages of this zero issue, the answer is pretty much a solid no. There’s not any real impedus given for the characters relation to historical figures, it just works with the story they’re trying to tell.

Radical publishing is hit and miss with me. I love Last Days of American Crime but I never quite got on board for FVZD or Hercules. This book seems to fall within my sensibilities. I think that’s why I added it to my pull sheet when I saw the ad for it in Previews. It takes a lot to get me to jump onboard a series nowadays, so it’s high praise when I say that something will keep me around for the next issue, which is the case here with Earp.

POWER GIRL # 12

This issue was darn near perfect. It was a great send off issue for the creative team that has kept me onboard for the last year and made me punch a wall when I heard they were leaving. This issue we get all the major players from the series coming back and tying up the loose ends so that anybody who doesn’t want to stick around can feel like they had closure. I’m still not sure if I’ll be sticking with the book when Winick comes on. I feel like I have to because I don’t want DC to think that the demand for Power Girl isn’t there.

But seriously, if you can find the issues still on shelves, pick them up. Or barring that, be sure to pick up the trades. Because this run was seriously some of the best anything that DC put out in the last year. For sure.

SECRET AVENGERS # 1

Ed Brubaker. That guy is something. I feel like if GI Joe had never left the Marvel umbrella all those years ago, this would resemble his take on that particular property. Brubaker knows how to utilize characters to their fullest extent, and here he meticulously points out how every member of the new covert ops Avengers team fits into the mold and makes sense in their appearance in the book.

I also get the feeling that he’s gearing up to write something that has the same scope and over-arching intricacy of his Captain America or Iron Fist runs. It’s easy to see that he’s hitting the ground running a little faster than Bendis is over in the flagship title, where by the end of the first issue we’ve already seen the team operating on multiple levels and we have an idea of what kind of foe they’ll be up against.

I won’t argue which of the two writers is better, as they’re working in two entirely different arenas, that having been said I do believe that Secret Avengers sucked me in a little better than Bendis’ mainline book, simply because of who they have on the team and the manner in which they were utilized. With Nova’s book off the market, this seems to be where I’m going to get my fix and I like the way Brubaker handled him in the overall context of the group.

This is going to be a series to keep your eyes on.

X-MEN ORIGINS : EMMA FROST # 1

I almost didn’t pick this up. I’m not going to lie. I’ve mostly ignored the other installments in this little expirement, but I like Emma Frost as a character. I think that she has the most potential for interesting stories out of any of the high tier X-people on the roster right now, with the possible exception of Rogue, who has been proving her value in X-Men Legacy for the last few years.

Having read the issue, I would like to say that with all the books that came out this week, only two inspired real gutteral emotional responses from me. One was War of the Supermen, where (***SPOILER***)Krypto took a kryptonite knife to the spleen to protect his master (***END SPOILER***) and the other was this issue, where Emma’s struggle to deal with her father twisted my stomach into a pretzel. I think that we all have a sort of undying need to please our parents, but the extremes presented here with Emma’s dad exemplify the sort of worst-case-scenario that every child fears. Emma’s father is presented as the physical embodiment of the no-win scenario, and the manner in which she deals with his abuse, and let’s face it, whether his intentions were pure or otherwise, such treatment of any child is abuse, forms Emma into the character she is today.

Most of the best X-Men stories revolve around family. The X-teams are essentially the family that most of the members never had. This issue ties into that by showing how important family is to the development of certain characters. Emma has a family in the beginning that offers no solace and she drifts from the Hellfire Club to the X-Men later in life, all in the search of the acceptance her father never gave her. Such a story could have come off as overwrought or melodramatic, but this particular issue handles the situation well and seems organic to what we know about Emma overall, which is the true test of validity for a story like this.

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I’m done for now. Have to get some rest before the weekend, as it looks like it’ll be a long and tiring road ahead of me. Cheers.

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Weekly Comic Reviews

I Do Not Actually Look Like Jesse Custer

This week begins a drastic reduction in the amount of money I put forward toward weekly books. I’ve come to the point where storage space is becoming a problem, and honestly I just can’t justify spending around $200 per month on comics anymore. I’m trying to cut back to a absolute maximum of $30 per week. I’d prefer to stay around $25 but that’s probably a pipe dream. This week I was JUST over my self-imposed limit, but still better than my usual 45-50 dollar pull.

Unfortunately this means that the reviews will vary from week to week, as there may not be a whole lot worth reviewing in my stack. On new series I’ll always try to pick up the number one just to see if it’s something I might want to continue with while another book gets bumped off, but there will be a lot of trial and error in the coming weeks.

ARRIVALS 4-21-2010
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #628 3.99
DEADPOOL MERC WITH A MOUTH #10 (OF 13) 2.99
FALL OF HULKS SAVAGE SHE-HULKS #2 (OF 3) 3.99
FEARLESS DAWN #3 (OF 4) (C: 1-0-0) 2.95
GREEN LANTERN #53 (BRIGHTEST DAY) 2.99
HER-OES #1 2.99
POWER GIRL #11 2.99
SPIRIT #1 3.99
SUPERGIRL #52 2.99
ULTIMATE COMICS AVENGERS #6 3.99
X-FACTOR #204 XSC 2.99
X-MEN LEGACY #235 XSC 2.99

Like I said, a shorter week than usual. But I’ve still got some things to say about ’em, so let’s go for it.

Green Lantern # 53
GREEN LANTERN # 53

I was very close to dropping this particular title in the cull of my pull-list. I’ve been very vocal of how much  I didn’t like Blackest Night, and I already dropped Brightest Day after a single issue. Logic would dictate that this title would follow suit and end up as a casualty of my reading list dissection. But I’ve generally enjoyed the ongoing series of Green Lantern since it’s inception and I felt it deserved a shot, so I gave this issue a chance to keep me on board.

The problem with this issue is simply that it’s 95% setup for something else. That might not be a problem if the setup were for plots to be fleshed out in this book, but the ending sets up the forthcoming stories in the new Guy Gardner lantern book and Green Lantern Corps, both titles that I will not be picking up.

I suppose that if someone were picking up all the GL books right now, this wouldn’t be as bothersome. But to me, it’s a little frustrating. It’s the same issue plaguing the Superman books right now, where the reader is essentially forced to read all the titles if they want to understand anything. How is that a good thing for someone on a budget who just wants to read a single Superman book? I feel like the same effect is radiating off of the lantern books right now.

Luckily, it doesn’t look like the books cross over in the sense that one chapter begins in one book and you have to pick it up in another, like the aforementioned Superman titles. So hopefully now that the setup has been fleshed out, the main title can remain independent of the other books. Or at least, such is my hope, as I will not be defacto coerced into buying more monthly GL books. I’d sooner drop the main title and be done with it. Which is not something I want to do, because complaints about the nature of the issue aside, I actually enjoyed the book. Mahnke’s art is a great fit for Green Lantern and Johns gets in some decent character moments with Hal and Carol. If the book didn’t sidetrack itself trying to pimp the side-series, I don’t think I would have had much bad at all to say about the issue.

I think my contention that Johns is an excellent writer when applied to the right kind of series stands with this issue. Last week, his Flash proved this as well. He’s much better suited for monthly titles where he can work his magic over a longer period. Mini-series where he has to go straight to the finish line in the span of a few months seem to undercut his ability to build his characters and his story. Then again, if he has too much time to play with we get “Thy Kingdom Come” which ran for about six issues too long.

Johns needs to settle back in to the healthy middle.

Her-oes # 1
HER-OES # 1

This kind of reminds me of Spider-Man loves Mary Jane, but slightly off kilter. It deals with established female superheroes transplanted into the world of high school and centers around Janet Van Dyne aka the Wasp, who really always felt like she was a high school stereotype most of the time ayway.

The book is interesting in the way things are revealed, as we know that Janet can become the wasp and hints of teenage Jen Walters being able to turn into the She-Hulk are dropped, but we don’t get any explaination as to how these girls have their powers at this point in their life. I think that’s a little refreshing that establishing a continuity for this universe doesn’t seem to be a major concern and that more time is spent establishing the characters in the book. Janet puts on a bold face but never follows through with her boasts, all the while taking on the role of the fringe set outsider, a position that some readers of the book will most assuredly be able to connect with.

All in all, it’s a harmless little book that’s gotten too much crap dumped on it because of the title. Yeah, it’s a dumb pun and it’ll probably put some people off buying it. But it’s also a fun read, which I find myself drawn to more and more these days in the wake of my favorite heroes being ripped in half by my least favorite heroes and melodramatic schlock where Aquaman won’t even get in the water.

The Spirit # 1
SPIRIT # 1

This reads more like Frank Miller’s take on the Spirit than it should. The brooding narration, the dark and moody Central City, the fact that the Octopus isn’t hidden in the shadows like he damned well should be…

Honestly, I don’t think the Spirit needs to be published anymore. Without Will Eisner to take the reins, anybody doing the book will be doing the character and his creator a grand disservice. The only person who even came close was Darwyn Cooke, but then again Darwyn Cooke might be some sort of wizard. I’m not sure. It’s only conjecture at this point. But this “First Wave” incarnation of the Spirit seems to be slightly wrong. There’s no warmth to this book. I think that might be because he doesn’t have a little Ebony White driving him around and cracking wise. Darwyn Cooke pretty much prooved that you can make the character work without seeming hokey and/or racist, so why leave him out? He’s a big part of what makes the Spirit feel like the Spirit, and this Spirit doesn’t feel like the Spirit.

This issue makes me wish that Azzarello were doing the book. In First Wave # 1 we got a little bit more of a classic take on the Spirit. A guy who relied on his wits to keep him sane in a world where you would have to be insane to do the things the Spirit does. The Spirit in that book had the warmth and (groan) spirit that the character should have. Maybe things will shift around in issue two, but I can’t bank on that.

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Like I said, not as many reviews, but I try to do what I can. Join me next week, when maybe I’ll have better luck in the pull list lottery.