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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Every week I plan to bring you my personal reviews of the week’s releases, hopefully in a timely manner. This would be easier if Marvel and DC still sent out those preview copies a week ahead of time but those are a distant memory, like good hip-hop.
THE PULL LIST:
ACTION COMICS #885 3.99
ADVENTURE COMICS #6 3.99
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #617 3.99
ANGEL #29 3.99
AVP THREE WORLD WAR #1 (OF 6) 3.50
BATGIRL #6 2.99
BATMAN #695 2.99
BLACK WIDOW DEADLY ORIGIN #3 (OF 4) 3.99
BOOSTER GOLD #28 3.99
BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER #31 2.99
CATWOMAN #83 (BLACKEST NIGHT) 2.99
CONAN THE CIMMERIAN WEIGHT OF CROWN ONE SHOT 3.50
DIE HARD YEAR ONE #4 3.99
FEARLESS DAWN #2 (OF 4) 2.95
GREEN ARROW BLACK CANARY #28 3.99
INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #22 2.99
MARVELS PROJECT #5 (OF 8 ) 3.99
NATION X #2 (OF 4) 3.99
PSYLOCKE #3 (OF 4) 3.99
PUNISHERMAX #3 (MR) 3.99
RED HERRING #6 (OF 6) 2.99
SECRET SIX (BLACKEST NIGHT) #17 2.99
SWORD (MARVEL) #3 2.99
TITANS #21 2.99
TRANSFORMERS ONGOING #3 3.99
UNWRITTEN #9 (MR) 2.9
Here begins another chapter in the “Gauntlet” arc of Amazing Spider-Man, detailing one of the viallians who I felt should have been included in the film series somewhow (and hopefully will be when this reboot gets going), the Rhino. Why do I like the Rhino? Because he’s got that classic element of emotional scarring through physical trauma that I like my villains to have. (See also Two-Face, Killer Croc, etc.)
Here we see Rhino doing the whole “I’m a good guy because I found a woman” routine and we’re introduced to a new character taking up the Rhino moniker. How many of the original Spider-Man rogues are actually the people they were when they debuted nowdays? Kraven and Scorpion have been replaced by younger more female-type persons, the new Vulture spits acid blood or something like that, now the Rhino is getting an overhaul. I’m not complaining, though. When it comes to the stories presented, if you’d been beaten up by Spider-Man for years you would likely abdicate your cirminal moniker too. The old guard fading away is a big part of what makes certain stories work. By progessing the villains, you progress your hero by proxy. It works.
The main story here is a bit hollow, aside from the fun interplay between Peter and Norah, there’s not much meat to the story. It’s clearly a setup for what will follow in subsequent issues. Even the advancement of Rhino as a character isn’t truly fleshed out until a very well done backup story after the main meat n’ potatoes of the lead-in.
Again, I seem to like where all this is going, and I attribute that mostly to Joe Kelly who is an underappreciated writer in many ways, but I think my feelings toward this issue will be altered one way or the other by how it is followed up down the line.
I’m going to try not to review books, such as this one, that are in the middle of an ongoing arc if I can avoid it. That having been said, I think this issue finally revealed what I’ve been feeling about the “Dick as Bats” experiment and made me grasp what had only been an inkling until reading a few panels presented here; I forgot that Bruce was gone.
Tony Daniel has been doing something that seems to counter-act what Morrison has been doing in “Batman & Robin.” Whereas that book works off of the relation between Damien and Dick and how both are coming to terms with Bruce Wayne’s absence, the main Bat book goes long stretches where Batman is doing his thing and the inner voice of the character is 100% identical to Bruce, generally speaking. It feels as if Daniel is writing Bruce Wayne as Batman and then out of nowhere we are reminded that it’s not Bruce.
Part of me thinks it’s written this way to make the reader accept Dick as the subsitute, leaving the reader in a comfort zone and not changing the tone of the character in any major way. Another part of me thinks that Daniel is not as experienced a writer as he is an artist, and therefore has trouble writing discernable voices for multiple characters. He doesn’t write Dick in the suit, he writes the suit, so to speak.
The book itself feels like a book out of the 80’s or 90’s. It’s very self contained to it’s own universe and almost a slave to it’s own past. The art is solid, which I attribute to Daniel basically writing to his own strengths, seeing how he’s handling the art along with the scripting. It’s refreshing to read a fairly straight-forward Batman narrative again, even if we know that it’s techically just filler until Morrison pulls Bruce out of the past and re-inserts him into the now.
Why are you not reading this? It’s such a great book. I know a few people must have been suckered in during that Blackest Night crossover, but that’s just not enough. This book craves attention. Just like Booster himself, this book is constantly seeking validation. It shouldn’t, because it’s just plain good and that should stand for itself, but everyone should read this book at least once.
This issue is a great place to start. It’s a good jumping on point, with Booster and his sister delivering a nicely done exposition dump and getting everyone back up to speed. The story centers around the “if you travel to the past you can’t change anything” device and takes a look at how, if given the opportunity, such things might play out in the DCU. In this case, it’s trying to avoid the Cyborg Superman Coast City disaster. With time travel being a regular staple of the DC universe, it’s suprising that we don’t see more stories centered around the government or certain heroes trying to go back and reverse history. I mean, Superman flew around the world so fast he turned back time in the original Superman film, so it’s not like it hasn’t been thought of, but Booster Gold seems to be the only series that bothers to look at certain angles of the time-travel element.
I think that’s what I’ve been liking so much about this book. Aside from the Blackest Night tie-in, the book completely covers its own little niche of the DCU that nobody else tramples on and the book acknowleges and presents a reasoning for occupying that very same niche. It’s clever writing at its best and the fact that it makes logical sense is refreshing, especially given what goes on in certain parts of the DC publishing web.
I think out of all the resurrected titles that came about because of Blackest Night, Catwoman was the one I was most looking forward to. I was terribly disapointed when they cancelled the book in the first place. Seriously, it was a solid book and it didn’t need to go away. I love Gotham City Sirens, and that has helped to lessen the blow but crowding the book with three leads makes it hard to really focus on any one character’s needed arcs. It’s almost as if that book was meant to introduce a new status quo in a manner that we all slowly forget what came before and only focus on the current developments.
Resurrecting the Catwoman title proper, allowed the reader to get a little closure in regard to the Black Mask murder storyline that pretty much dangled after the cancellation of Selina’s title. This book puts the endpiece on that particular storyline and organically presents a followup that can be built upon in “Sirens” down the line.
While the Blackest Night banner seems to indicate a quick cash-grab in bringing books like Catwoman back, the content and the fact that it is used to further the development of the character and put old business to bed justifies their existence.
There are Nazis. And I don’t really understand much else. Part of me wants to peg this book as a sort of T&A throwaway book but, there’s not actually much T&A on display. It’s really just an oddball fun book that isn’t too deep or well constructed, but it’s a fun read in the end and considering I only picked up the first issue because the cover looked interesting and I’ll buy anything with Nazi’s as the villain (see also Hellboy) I can’t complain too heavily about what’s presented between the covers.
I recently named Fraction’s “World’s Most Wanted” arc one of my favorites of 2009. He’s still continuing that with the “Stark Disassembled” arc here, but I can’t help but have flashbacks to that season of The Sopranos where Tony was in a coma and we spent so much time in a dream world that interest soon started to dwindle.
That isn’t a problem here, because now Doctor Strange is here and Doctor Strange is awesome.
I predict that the end of this arc will make me do a little fanboy squeal but if I do I won’t tell you about it because I’d like to retain some of my objective dignity, of which I have very little.
Jubilee. That is all you need to know.
Holy fuckshit Jason Aaron is impressing me left and right. His Weapon X book is the best Wolverine in years and now we get a Punisher story that lives up to the legacy that Garth Ennis left with “Welcome Back Frank” without completely aping everything that Ennis did with the character.
The smartest thing Aaron has done is focus more on the Kingpin than on Frank Castle. We’ve seen everything in Frank’s arsenal, honestly. But this new Kingpin is an unknown entity. By establishing this new character and framing the development through the lens of the Punisher and the thugs on the street, we are left wondering if this Kingpin is going to wind up like the rest of the Punisher’s rogues and be dead by the end of the arc or if we’ll finally get another recurring villain worth getting excited over. Ennis gave us Barracuda and The Russian, it seems like Aaron is trying to do the same thing with the Kingpin, and give us a new recurring foe who isn’t named Jigsaw.
This book is everything you could wan’t in a Punisher story. It also has saggy old lady tits, though I’m not sure if that counts for the book or against it.
Ultra Magnus is a dick and a half. Seriously, the guy is so oblivious to his own dickishness that he makes Silver-Age Superman look like a cognitive genius. I’m not exactly sure what continuity this book follows, considering that I haven’t read a Transformers comic in ages, but if there’s one thing that all of them share it is that Ultra Magnus is a total douchebag and he doesn’t even know it. Also Hot Rod.
This book is frustating for me in that I feel as if nothing seems to happen in any of the issues until the final page. It’s like 31 pages of filler and then shocking cliffhanger. It is already getting tiresome. That having been said, I like the angle they’re playing where the Autobots and Decepticons put aside their differences out of a shared sense of nihilistic apathy/exhaustion. It’s basically as if both camps said “screw it,what else is on TV?” It’s different, at least to me, and story structure aside, I want to see where it leads.
And that wraps it up for this week’s reviews. I would like to finish the post with something witty but I really want to finish watching LOST on bluray, so that isn’t gonna be happening.