Thursday, April 23, 2009

Abundance of Reviews

Playing catch-up.

Detective 853
I don't think I posted a review of the first part of this 2-parter by Neil Gaiman. That was, as I recall, in an issue of Batman. This was delayed, I guess since I've mostly forgotten the first half which I read right away. It had to do with Batman's funeral. A rather surreal funeral that continues here with all sorts of people talking. Bat foes all claim credit for killing Bats and by the end, I couldn't help wondering what the point was. This seemed to be Bruce reflecting on his life as he is dying, but given what we now know about his death, it makes no sense to me. Andy Kubert's art is nice. But I was expecting more from such a big name writer as Gaiman. Or am I missing something because the only Bat books I've read since returning to comics in the mid-'90s have been BoP, Nightwing, and an occasional Robin, plus the Huntress Year One and Robin Year One minis.

Supergirl 40
Okay, I didn't see that coming. Maybe because I'm not a regular reader of the Superman books other than Supergirl, but really, I was surprised by the big reveal. I will not reveal it here, not even with a spoiler warning. That just wouldn't be fair because it's hard to not see something like that even with a warning. I loved the cover, but I wish it had more closely matched the last panel of the story. Inside, Kara pulls off Superwoman's mask, having figured out who she is. On the cover, a shcoked Kara stares at Superwoman, seen from behind, who reveals herself. The cover is lovely, but I would've prefered an angry or determined Kara yanking off Superwoman's mask on the cover, without revealing her face.

Trinity 47
More of the same, not as good a weekly as 52 was, but as good or sometimes better than Countdown to Crisis was. Almost over now; I hope to see a big finish.

Justice League of America 32
All I can say is, huh? Which beats my first reaction: WTF? A lot of people have recently decried the boobification of DC's covers lately. Oracle is viewed from above, her cleavage on display. And there have been others. But the Oracle cover didn't bother me. The GA/BC cover was simply ugly, which fit nicely with the story inside, so it didn't bother me, either. But I don't get this cover at all, as in Why is Dr. Light on the cover representing the JLA when she's just joined the team and isn't a big name, hardly a selling point. As in Why is she in the grasp of the latest big bad who is biting her neck while she appears to be unconscious. Yeah, that'll pump up sales, among the Love to See Women Victimized crowd. Seriously, sexy women? Not a problem for me. Show some cleavage/skin? Fine as long as it's a grown woman and not a teen girl like Kara. And while showing our heroes in danger is always a good way to hook readers -- the Ooo, how will they get out of that deathtrap? factor -- it is preferable for the good guys/gals to actually be fighting to survive. She tried to fight back in the story, so why not on the cover. Why is she ... uh... out like a light? This annoys me. Not the sexy art (provided it's anatomically correct/possible/doesn't defy the laws of physics/anatomy), but this crap that demeans Dr. Light, while giving no real sense of the group aspect of a group book.

As for the story, half is talking heads talking talkity talk. So nice to hear Supes explain to Dinah why they made her leader and why the JLA needs her and then to see the remainder of the team she disbanded get together to keep it going and talking about Dinah, yadda yadda yadda, so that by the time the actual story starts, we have time for Shadow Thief to resurrect Starbreaker who drains Dr. Light's power or much of it, for himself, and then disappear with her going after him. And now Roy isn't in the book, away on leave, so why am I still reading this? I know people didn't like how Brad Meltzer paced his stories, being that he's a novelist who is used to having time for setup, but McDuffie is a practiced comics writer and his pacing is as bad or worse. At least Brad wrote interesting things happening and his talking heads scenes were on-target characterization.

Even the art by Rags Morales (pencils) and John Dell (inks) was ho-hum. Feh.

Zorro 10-12
This just gets better and better as California history and Spanish politics meets the superhero genre where the good guy wears a mask and a cape and carves a Z as a calling card, sometimes on the face of the enemy. This is a novel in comics that is paced just right.

The Lone Ranger and Tonto 2
This is a standalone followup to the first non-continuity Lone Ranger and Tonto. Not as strong as the Lone Ranger title, but a well told story about a town of monsters. Maybe. A good jumping on point for people curious about this new version of the beloved character.

Jack of Fables 32
Wherein Jack learns something that changes well, everything he knows about himself and puts a new spin on his relationship with the Page sisters. I so love this comic.

Battle for the Cowl: Commissioner Gordon
Always nice to see Gordon, especially when he's on his own, but really, was this actually necessary? It isn't memorable enough for me to be glad I got it, but it wasn't a waste of money, either.

Green Lantern 39
Agent Orange brings another color to the mix. heh I think we're gonna need a color chart before this is done and we're into Blackest Night. Another solid installment from Geoff Johns and Philip Tan's penciled art (inked by Jonathan Glapion) is stunning.

WildCats 8-10
Issue 8 featured Maxine, with fill-in art by Pete Woods whose art I like better on the book than Googe, although Googe does a nice job. I just don't like his style on the book and it seems Woods was aiming to keep to that style as best he could. Maxine isn't my favorite WildCat, but she was quite enjoyable in this story focusing on AIs and robots just trying to survive post-Armageddon. The next two issues continue the story of a lunatic Majestic. I love these characters, even if every carnation of them seems different than the last, and it's nice having them back on a regular basis.

Simon Dark 17-18
There had been no indication that the book was a limited series, so I don't know if this was planned to end here or it was canceled, though probably the latter is the case. In any rate, it all read like a horror novel and it ends in just the right way/place. It wasn't a favorite book, but I did get sucked in and will be sorry to not see it next month.

And that's it, until I read some more. Next up, a couple of issues of Madame Xanadu, and a whole lot more.


  1. JLA drives me crazy sometimes. I KNOW that Dwayne McDuffie is a good writer, and I've always loved the Justice League, so I keep waiting and waiting for it to be good. And sometimes it IS good, and sometimes, it is ALMOST good, which can really be infuriating.

    But hey, John's in it, and he actually has a speaking part, so I'm happy. No Roy though.

    Jack of Fables was a hoot.

  2. I missed the JLA issue, but I saw the cover in question, and I think I know why the cover was laid out that way. It's kind of unique to the issue's villain, Starbreaker. You see, he's a cosmic vampire, and his appearance, other than skin color and costume, kind of resembles how Dracula is traditionally portrayed. So the creators who handle Starbreaker seem to be in love with the Dracula archetypes, which include the scene with the damsel traditionally in Drac's power, and seem to be intent on including at least one Drac homage whenever Starbreaker appears, which admittedly isn't often. Jurgens included a similar scene when he did a Starbreaker story back in 1992.

    Not defending, just explaining.

  3. That makes sense, so I'm sure you're right. It doesn't quite fit the images inside, but that figures. ;)