Saturday, December 08, 2007

In Review

Sheesh. I need better titles for these posts.

Countdown... 21
Piper trying to wake up Trickster. *sniff* Holly, Harley, and the Amazon Island storyline: Finally, a hint of something happening. Look, a cave! With someone lurking within. We'll see how long that gets dragged out. Ah, but now, after battling his brother Monitor, Bob the Monitor knows where Ray Palmer is. But we already know from the solicits, we won't be finding him for a few weeks yet. Which leaves the two parts of this weekly event comic that makes it not nearly as good as 52. OMACs and The New Gods. They just don't interest me.

Supergirl 24
More coherent than issue 23, but nothing special, either. We get yet another peek at another version of Krypton and Kara's parents. Seeing Kara with a baby Kal was a tad startling. I don't think I'll ever get used to this whole Kara was born first and is older than Kal even tho she's still a teen bit. The art wasn't bad, but I miss Guedes.

Atom 18
Gail Simone does a wonderful job with guest star Wonder Woman. I loved her scene with Head. Oh, poor Head. Atom and WW made for a good team, but Ryan is so hapless when it comes to women. A cute, fun book.

Justice League of America 15
I love Ed Benes' art, but this was not his best. I know folks, Sally among them, who feel the art brought down the issue, but I think there's plenty of blame to go around. Yeah, we had action this time. Was it necessary? Did it accomplish anything? Our heroes are freed, off-panel, then most of the villains escape, only to be mostly rounded up, off-panel, by Amanda Waller and the Suicide Squad so they can presumably send them off to the secret prison. Roy manages to get some panel time, but where there could have been some interaction between him and Cheshire, instead we get a cutsie "Must have missed her" from Roy after Kendra points out Cheshire is escaping. So, yeah, I'm taking that as Roy letting Lian's mother get away, but it was so off-handed as to be too subtle and made him look like an idiot.

And after all this time, we're still pre-wedding, so Dinah splits before the dust clears, leaving others to decide Firestorm, who left a sickbed to save everyone, needs to be in the JLA so Batman can keep an eye on him. Not that it would've mattered if Dinah had hung around because no one's paying attention to her, anyway. What's the point of electing her leader if no one listens to her?

So, back to the art. Yeah, lots of tush shots. That's how Ed Benes draws women. Not my favorite aspect of his art, but I can live with it. He draws a nice Roy. But if he's not given anything interesting to draw (and fight scenes are probably not his strongest suit), we get a lot of posturing. The only moment of real interest to me in this is the hint that Lex has something else up his sleeve, that this wasn't his real scheme. Nice to see Hal show up, and Mari kissing Supes to give him his powers back was an interesting touch, but other than having a lot of characters thrown at us, I don't see what's so special about McDuffie's writing. I hope his next story lets me in on the secret. Because right now, I'm missing Brad Meltzer. He might've paced his stories too slowly at first, but he nailed the characters with wonderful bits of business and his sense of comics history gave his stories a larger than life feel, two things I feel are lacking in the book right now.

Justice Society of America 11
This book has characterization and the feeling of importance on every page. The Alex Ross cover is gorgeous, with everyone looking so real as they fly across the page. Wally and Jay on the Cosmic Treadmill was great fun, while the plight of Kingdom Come (KC) Superman was poignant. And Power Girl's grief and loneliness were well-written, leading to a touching scene between her and the KC Supes. Eaglesham, Jose, and Geraci make for a great art team, with the women looking sexy and real. And the men were just as sexy. Carter with his chest hair. *sigh* I liked that Maxine made a new costume for KC Supes, a small thing but it uses her skills that aren't directly involved in crimefighting, just a neat bit of character development. When I read this book, I feel like I'm visiting with friends. There aren't too many comics, much as I enjoy them, that I can say that about.


  1. Poor Trickster. And poor Piper.

    Gail Simone is a GODDESS! Also, I really enjoyed Ryan's babbling and the fact that he just could not stop it.

    Per your suggestion, I dug out some of the Ed Benes illustrated "Birds of Prey" and I think that he did a better job there, than he has been doing lately with JLA. He's not a BAD artist, it's just that he can't seem to stop himself from posing everybody. And Dinah presenting her behind every two seconds is getting boring. There isn't a lot of fluidity in his artwork.

    Dale Eaglesham on the other hand, just did a beautiful job. His women are just as sexy, but they don't look posed. He's also capable of actually portraying different body types and faces, which is always a plus.

  2. I've been thinking about this art discrepancy a lot. Even Benes' work on Brad's JLA was better than the most recent issues.

    I first saw his art in Codename: Knockout (issues 15-18, tho there might've been other issues). That book was not known for subtle art. While some things weren't on display, upper front nudity on the woman was routine. The art style was more cartoonish. Amanda Conner did art for that book, too, which is where I first saw her work. I knew what to expect from that book (the male characters were portrayed as sexily, though not all hanging out--there was always a well-placed towel or some such), and didn't mind it. Benes' art had movement, and was well suited for the book. I really liked it. And I really liked his work on BoP.

    On BoP, I believe Gail said she'd spoken to Benes about toning down his depiction of women with all the butts hanging out, etc. He comes from a culture, she'd said, where that was no big deal.

    I'm coming to think that like many actors, Benes needs a strong director. I've seen actors who are marvelous in some parts and sucky in others and have heard that if the director isn't strong enough, the actor will just get lazy about things. I think Benes needs someone to keep an eye on things and he needs more direction on what to draw. Give him the right words and he should be fine, and if some more tush than usual shows, then fine, but at least the art will be decent.

    But as things now stand, he isn't the best artist for JLA. JLA needs someone who can pull more out of McDuffie's words, not just draw the basics of the story, if that makes any sense.