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.
Did you miss me? I bet you did. How would you know what comics to buy if I didn’t tell you what was good or not? Surely you would be lost and you would have to find a new hobby. Like knitting. I’m sure you could do that on your own. Can you tell I’m completely rambling right now? Sorry. I went to a Dropkick Murphys concert last night and didn’t get any sleep afterward. Oh yeah, comics!
THE PULL LIST:
ADVENTURE COMICS #8 3.99
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #623 2.99
BOYS #40 (MR) 2.99
BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER #33 TWILIGHT PT 2 (OF 5) 2.99
CHEW #9 (MR) 2.99
CONAN THE CIMMERIAN #19 2.99
DEADPOOL TEAM-UP #895 2.99
DETECTIVE COMICS #862 3.99
FALL OF HULKS SAVAGE SHE-HULKS #1 (OF 3) FOH 3.99
FIRST WAVE #1 (OF 6) 3.99
GIRL COMICS #1 (OF 3) 4.99
GREEN HORNET # 1 3.99
INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #24 2.99
JSA ALL STARS #4 3.99
MIGHTY AVENGERS #34 2.99
PRELUDE TO DEADPOOL CORPS #1 (OF 5) 3.99
PUNISHER MAX BUTTERFLY #1 (MR) 4.99
ULTIMATE COMICS AVENGERS #5 3.99
ULTIMATE COMICS NEW ULTIMATES #1 3.99
WOLVERINE WEAPON X #11 3.99
And now, my humble opinions…
I’ll start off by saying that, yes, the art has taken a bit of a nosedive for this issue. The art isn’t horrible. It’s a bit muddy, but it’s not indecipherable and it clears up in scenes set in daylight. However, I believe that any art will look lackluster when following Michael Lark. Because, c’mon, it’s Lark.
The story however is right up my alley. We finally get a little background on this new Vulture and we get some throwback to JJJ’s involvement in crafting the original Scorpion. There’s a lot to love for Spider-Man purists here, while being modern enough to appeal to people who think that the old Lee/Ditko Spidey stories were too cheeseball.
One thing I would like to point out is that we once again get some acknowledgment of the daughter of Kraven’s existence. She’s been on the periphery for a while now but hasn’t been directly involved in the proceedings, it looks like we’re finally getting to the crux of the story, and I’m anxious to see how things play out.
First of all, how weird is it that this book has reached issue forty? It doesn’t feel like I’ve been reading it for that long. And yet, it’s been on shelves for over three years, and chugging along like a juggernaut each and every month.
This issue sees the fallout from the last issue, which I reviewed HERE starting to shape up. It plays with the common storytelling trope where the reader knows everything but the parties involved know only pieces of the puzzle, thus creating a sizeable bit of tension and drama. Here, Butcher has drawn his own conclusions upon finding out about Hughie’s relationship with a known supe. Hughie is unaware of Butcher’s knowlege and we start to see a bit of a breakdown within the group. As readers we’ve come to really like Hughie and hate to see him put in such a position, and we hope that nothing bad happens as a result of Butcher’s rash and brash nature, but this being a Garth Ennis book, we have a sinking feeling in our gut that something REALLY bad is going to happen soon, and so we are forced to keep reading with mindless zeal.
Batman does not appear in this book. Unless he was stealthily hiding in the shadows or something. I just feel like I should point out that this intro issue is definately a showcase for Doc Savage and the Question, providing the new readers with an insight into the diversity of their crime-fighting styles. Throwing Batman in there might have muddied the waters, I suppose. Still, I’m never going to say that something should have less Batman. I mean, wouldn’t Avatar have been even more awesome if there were some Batman in it? I just imagined There Will Be Blood with a Batman cameo. That would rock.
As far as the issue goes, they do a good job of setting up the story. It’s full of classic noiry intrigue. The kind that Brian Azzarello does so well. And the art by Rags Morales is quite effective. Remember that book called Identity Crisis (aka Mindwipe & Rape : A Musical Revue)? That was a detective story at its core, albeit a shoddy one. But the art was very well done. Morales knows how to capture the tone of a pulp/noir/detective environment and here it most definately shows.
But the next issue better have some Batman or I’m gonna start wrecking shit.
In the same comic we get a cute little comic about Venus trying to prove her worth to the male gods of the pantheon by working at a fashion magazine and a story where the Punisher goes all Chris Hanson to the nth degree on a pedophile at an amusement park.
Kind of a striking dichotomy no?
Everything about this felt…wrong. It was too modern and too keen on being hip to feel like The Green Hornet. The voices of the characters seemed off. I know that characters are open to different interpretations and that no one embodiment can be considered definate because it could always be replaced down the line. I mean, c’mon, look at Batman. But in this instance it just seems like it doesn’t fit anything previously established with the character. Like, if Superman started saying “Yo, man. Stop the crime, dude.”
I spent an entire review praising Kevin Smith’s work on Cop Out, but I cannot do the same here. It just doesn’t feel right. It just didn’t click with me. I hope it clicked with someone because Dynamite put out EIGHTEEN variant covers for this issue, and that’s a lot of effort gone to waste if everyone felt like I did about this particular issue.
The ending of the Tony Stark : Dissassembled arc hits home with a fairly anti-climactic final issue. I think that attempting to balance a fight with Ghost against the cerebral surrealism inside Tony Stark’s head led to a contrast of intent and could only really be resolved in a manner that felt overly simple in the end.
What the book has going for it however, is the last few pages which really drive home how much has changed for Tony Stark. During Civil War someone commented that they wished Tony Stark from years back could see his actions during that crisis, and here we sorta get that but with none of the satisfaction. It’s more of a shallow pity and it does a great deal toward redeeming Stark as a character. Which needs to happen considering he’s just as recognizable as Spider-Man in the public eye now.
The issue begins with a panel of Lady Deadpool seen from behind where her leg tapers off into something that looks like a suction cup. It’s supposed to be her foot.
Did I just start this review with the statement that Rob Liefield can’t draw feet? A fact that is pretty much abject fact at this point? Yes I did. And do you know why? Because it doesn’t get any better from there. The book is one long rambling fight sequence, then Deadpool shows up and drafts Lady DP into some mission and the issue ends.
There is NO substance here. And for a character where razor-sharp wit is the defining characteristic, this issue is filled with some of the dullest humor and sloppiest attempt at witty writing this side of a Dane Cook special.
My fears have been realized. Deadpool is no longer infallible in my eyes. Excuse me while I weep.
I think this book simply proves my point that the Punisher is only as interesting as the people he kills. Garth Ennis knew this. Jason Aaron knows this. And Valerie D’Orazio knows this.
If you don’t know Valerie’s story, and believe me it is a long surreal tale unlike any you’re likely to hear in the world of comics again, you might want to take the time to give her pseudo-memoir/blog “Goodbye to Comics” a look-see. It’s not a short read by any means, but it is something that begs to be read. For a quicker bio, you can click HERE.
There are two ways to read the book. You can read it knowing Valerie’s story or going in blind. If you’ve read Goodbye to Comics you can get an inkling of how cathartic writing this book must have been for her. There are themes that are definitely derived from her experiences in the publishing world and it helps to make the book feel genuine. If you know nothing about the writer, you’ll either bitch that there’s not enough Punisher in the book or you’ll comment on how the best Punisher stories of the last few years seem to use the actual character of Frank Castle sparingly. Like the shark in JAWS.
Jeph Loeb didn’t make me want to kill myself while I read his latest offering to the Ultimate universe. You may remember how I called Ultimatum one of the worst books of 2009. I stand by that. UCNU (because typing out that long ass title every time would make me want to kill myself) is about as middle of the road as you can get. It is not excellent nor is it bad. It simply is. I like where Loeb hs put Tony Stark. I like that we got to see Frank Cho draw Hela undressing herself seductively in an attempt to get Thor to “raise his hammer.” I like that nobody was eaten alive.
It’s like when Homer Simpson invented the Flaming Homer; “It passed the first test…I didn’t go blind.”
Wolverine celebrates the resurrection of Steve Rogers by having Nightcrawler fly them around the world to different bars where they get drunk and form a nice little bromance. Also there are multiple Deathloks going all Terminator on the progenetors of the next generation of heroes.
Yeah. I dug it.