Well, it’s time for me to rant and rave about comics again. It feels like it’s already later in the week than it really is so you’ll forgive me if everything feels a bit “off” today. I’m not sure why I feel so damned disoriented but I do. I spent Tuesday playing Red Dead Redemption, which I finally managed to complete and it was worth it because that game is all kinds of amazing right up to the very end. I want a sequel now. But games are more my brother’s department, so I’ll let him tell you about that if he ever decides to do another editorial for us, the lazy bastich.
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #633 2.99
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #634 GRIM 3.99
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN PRESENTS BLACK CAT #1 (OF 4) 3.99
BIRDS OF PREY #2 (BRIGHTEST DAY) 2.99
BLACK WIDOW #3 HA 2.99
BOYS #43 (MR) 3.99
DEADPOOL #24 2.99
DEADPOOL MERC WITH A MOUTH #12 (OF 13) 2.99
HER-OES #3 2.99
HERALDS #3 (OF 5) 2.99
INCREDIBLE HULK #610 WWHS 3.99
NEW AVENGERS #1 HA 3.99
NEW MUTANTS #14 XSC 2.99
ULTIMATE COMICS X #3 3.99
WITCHBLADE TP VOL 07 14.99
X-FACTOR FOREVER #4 3.99
So let’s hop to it. No sense in wasting time.
Two issues of Amazing Spider-Man hit the shelves this week. Three if you count the Black Cat mini-series. The finale of SHED was passable, but the overall quality of the arc is tainted for me by Bachalo’s artwork, which I find to be damn near incomprehensible. Seriously, I have no clue what in god’s blue balls is going on when that dude draws an issue. I’m not saying that he’s a bad artist, as there’s obviously talent there. I certainly can’t draw with any degree of his skill, his style simply aggrivates me and if Spidey weren’t a title I’d been collecting for around six years straight I would probably skip the story just so as to avoid looking at his clusterfuck linework.
Skip to the next issue however, and it looks like we’re in for a ride and a half. The Kraven saga is finally coming to a head, with the Kravinoff family hunting down members of the “Spider” family in some sort of scheme that I guess will either redeem Kraven’s honor in the family’s eyes or straight up resurrect him. I’m not sure. There seems to be a lot of misdirection on the part of the Kraven family. They were straight up trying to explode Arachne with a rocket launcher in the streets of New York while they had much more elaborate and detailed plans in their hunt for Mattie Franklin, the other, OTHER Spider-Woman who sometimes gets lost in the shuffle.
But honestly, the best part of the issue for me was seeing Kaine get his ass handed to him. I’m no fan of Kaine. He oozes 90’s psuedo-cool-lameness and seeing him get beat up and sliced to ribbons was just a treat for me. Like a free dessert at a restaraunt I was already enjoying.
I’m not gonna really review this issue, I just wanted to post a picture of Black Widow’s wicked awesome “Srsly?” face as drawn by Daniel Acuna.
Seriously. Epic bitchface.
You know what? This may be the single best issue of Hulk of the decade. It’s definitely the best to come out since the Planet Hulk saga ended. It feels like the Hulk should. It’s got all the melodramatic pathos, all the internal emotional struggle worked out through unrepentant violence. In short, it’s just a really amazing piece of Hulk. So much of what happens in this issue builds off of years and years of Hulk history, so much so that every event that happens in the pages of the issue carry an emotional weight that has been missing from the series for a while. I think that running parallel to Loeb’s overblown lunacy has caused the Incredible Hulk book to suffer by association. Pak has had to work within the confines of what Loeb has been building up to with the Red Hulk identity mystery and the introduction of gamma-radiated heroes, but he maneuvers in between the raindrops of insanity here to put out a classic Hulk issue that I think people will be talking about YEARS down the line as a perfect example of what makes The Hulk work as a character.
I will admit that the issue did have a bit of sensory overload. A lot of what happens happens very, very fast and there’s a lot of information to process. That having been said, it’s not so mindbogglingly convoluted that you can’t fully understand what’s going on. Compared to something like, let’s say, last week’s issue of SHIELD which just about made my brain crap itself. (Thanks Jonathan Hickman, you magnificant bastard)
In short, it may not be a great jumping on point if you’re unfamiliar with what’s been going on, but this issue should be a treat and a half for true died-in-the-wool Hulk fans who have been waiting for an issue like this for a long, long time.
If Avengers was Bendis doing the Avengers in a more classic mold, New Avengers certainly continues the work he did in the previous volume, with all the stuff that will make Bendis haters gnash their teeth and complain until they’re blue in the face while ignoring the fact that it’s still a damned fine book that is in no way inferior to what he’s doing over in the flagship title or anything any other Avengers writer has done before him. He even has the requisite Avengers trope of having everyone sitting around the table at the Avengers mansion and talking. Which happened ALL THE MOTHERFLIPPING TIME back in the old days, so it’s not as if his “overly talky” style is in any way counter to what the Avengers have done in the past. Plus we get some serious mystical mania with Hellstorm, Strange and the new sorcerer supreme, Dr. Voodoo.
Seriously, to prepare for this review I stalked message board topics about it. Just to see what other people were thinking and I have to say that the majority of comic book readers are a bunch of jaded cynics and hypocrits who really would only be happy with any given title that they claim to love if they were working on it with an artist of their choosing. Of course then only one person would be happy with the book and the rest of us would still be complaining. Lighten up fanboys, you guys are killing me.
Also, my new comic nerd-crush is Victoria Hand. In this issue she has a big gun. She’s won my heart.
Now I have to head back into the shop for a few hours on my day off to continue pulling books for subscribers. UPS lost another one of our boxes and so there’s a few things that we have to finish up today. I swear, in between Diamond Distribution and UPS, it’s a wonder we have any comic books to complain about on a weekly basis AT ALL.
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.