Monday, February 06, 2006

Four Color Commentary - Books Shipped 2-1-06

Athena Voltaire: Flight of the Falcon #1
Paul Daly, Writer
Steve Bryant, Art

A cover featuring a raven-haired woman with Tommy gun dangling from bridge with a Nazi about to blow her head off. That sums up why I bought this book. That and I have been feeling the need to start reading more of the independent books being published and as this one appealed to my Indiana jones, I, obviously, picked it up. The book begins in media res with the good guys hopelessly outnumbered by the bad guys and their blowgun toting allies in the depths of a South American jungle followed by a death-defying escape via a float plane. Sound familiar to anyone else? I thought so. The story was a little light on action and heavy on the sort of character development that bothers me in a visual media such as comic books. There is a lot of time where other characters are talking about Athena Voltaire and while these discussions often take place in voice-over so we can see Voltaire in action, they are still taking the place of character moments and telling the reader rather than showing the reader. For now I am going to continue picking up this book in the hope that it improves after the Basil Exposition moments are out of the way.

Batman & the Monster Men #4
Matt Wagner, Story & Art

Even though this series is another example of a company crowding the shelves with too many book about one character (see my rant in last week’s review of Red Sonja vs. Thulsa Doom) I am still enjoying it. Together with the last two issues of Detective Comics, this is the best Batman work to come out of DC in some time. As I read this series I cannot help but think that Wagner’s Hugo Strange is an alternate version of Dr. Venture from the Venture Brothers. Cementing this connection to a twisted Johnny Quest is his turban-wearing assistant, Sanjay. Wagner’s handling of the Bruce Wayne/Batman dichotomy, as shown through Bruce’s interaction with his love interest in the story, is pitch-perfect and steers clear of the mania so often introduced into that particular conflict in recent years. With only two issues left in the series (I think) I think it makes more sense for those of you not reading this series to hold off until it comes out in trade, however if you savor the challenge of tracking down the issues you have missed, you will not be disappointed in this series.

Captain America #14
Ed Brubaker, Writer
Steve Epting, Penciller


Captain America is perhaps my favorite Marvel character. He is everything a hero should be, incorruptible, powerful, merciful, and yet in the hands of a good writer he is also very human. Brubaker’s run on Captain America has cemented Brubaker as one of the premier writers in comics today. He has crafted a couple of stories with mind-bending plot twists as well as managed to bring Bucky back from the dead in a way that was not completely fromagesque. Having said that, the conclusion of the Winter Soldier story, which had been running through the last six or seven issues was somewhat of a let down. In this issue we finally get the confrontation between Bucky and Captain America in which Captain America gets the Cosmic Cube and uses its power to help Bucky remember who he is. Bucky then grabs the Cosmic Cube in a fit of remorse and disappears. We then get the following panel (it has already been established that Fort Lehigh is where Bucky and Captain America first met):

This is the perfect place to end the story. We have Cap’s assertion that, “…he’s out there somewhere…I know it.” Perfect! We have a bit of a cliffhanger, but the main story has been wrapped up. Then we turn the page and get this:

I would like to nominate this as the worst F*@% NO moment in all of comics (with apologies to Dave Campbell). What’re you doing to me Ed? The story was over. Done. Fin. And then this page shows up! ARGH! This page sucks all the cool out of the book, especially the reveal on the last page, which, if it had followed the “…he’s out there somewhere…I know it,” panel, would have made this book the single coolest thing I have read all year. Instead it is mired in the could have been so cool if category.

Fury: Peacemaker #1 (of 6)
Garth Ennis, Writer
Darick Robertson, Penciller
Jimmy Palmiotti, Inker

Ennis is one of those writers who can either really rock or really suck. There is very little of his work that I have read that I am ambivalent about. This book is one of those moments where I am not sure if I like what Ennis is doing or not. The narrative came off as being a bit choppy and there were flashback moments that were in the story to show how invincible the Americans thought they were in the early days of Operation Torch, however they ring a bit false and quite frankly come off as Ennis poking fun. This is particularly true since the young Sergeant Fury does not seem to buy what the Lieutenant’s are selling. We shall see how this pans out as all the elements of awesomeness are present, but it is up to Ennis to either use them properly or FUBAR the entire situation.

Gotham Central #40
Greg Rucka, Writer
Kano & Steve Gaudiano, Art

This is the last issue of my favorite book currently coming out of DC. [SNIFFSNIFF] Much to my surprise (please read with the appropriate amount of sarcasm) Corrigan appears to have beaten the rap for killing Detective Allen and when Renee Montoya has a chance to kill the SOB all she does is make him cry like a little girl. Now I spend a lot of time complaining about how the heroes in modern comics are not very heroic anymore. They are all compromised ethically or morally in some manner, however this is the one time where I would have liked to see Montoya take the next step and take justice into her own hands by killing Corrigan. There are several reasons for this. The first is that Montoya is already compromised in that the last few issues have seen her develop a fondness for the drinking and a fondness for the bar fights, so her image as a hero is already tarnished. If she had taken the final step and killed Corrigan this could have turned her upcoming appearance in 52, which we have all heard about, into a sort of Orphic journey into the underworld to seek to set things right. With Crispus Allen’s spirit taking on the mantle of the Spectre, the stage was set for her to take a journey of mythic proportions, however since all she did was turn in her badge and walk away, I do not feel as though anything spectacular is in her future. This saddens me as I feel she is one of the most human characters in comics these days and thus could serve as an excellent tool to tell a story of redemption.

Green Lantern #8
Geoff Johns, Writer
Carlos Pacheco, Penciller
Jesus Merino, Inker

The only reason I wanted to write about this book is because when I picked it up and read through it today I spent the entire time wondering what the hell was going on. The last thing I remembered in Green Lantern was some giant shark and aliens that spoke German. Now Ollie and Mongul are there and there are some strange plants on everybody’s chest. Then the dream sequences start and things get really weird. My willingness to stick through this disorientation says two things to me. First, Geoff Jophns must be firing on all cylinders to be able to draw me in and keep me going through something like that. Kudos to you Geoff. Second, I think it says something about this book that I was disoriented and did not think anything of it, but I am not sure what it says. Anyways, I finished the book and found it to be “Eh” then as I was putting the rest of this week’s books into my unread pile I found that I had not read the last issue of Green Lantern. Silly me.

Hellboy: Makoma #1 (of 2)
Mike Mignola, Writer
Mike Mignola & Richard Corben, Art

The Right Hand of Doom goes BONK. This is an important lesson and one that I really appreciate Mr. Mignola for sharing with us. BONK. BONK. BONK. There is something cathartic about saying BONK. Perhaps this is why I was a big fan of Radek Bonk when he played in the IHL. Go ahead. Say it. Out loud. You know you want to. BONK. BONK. BONK. Fun, isn’t it?

Seriously, I missed the boat on Hellboy. Back when it first came out I was not really looking at anything Dark Horse was putting out. I heard the name bandied about and I would occasionally see an issue of Hellboy or B.P.R.D. at the LCS, but it never struck me as something I would be in to. Boy was I wrong. I have fallen in love with Mignola’s writing and grown to appreciate his artwork. His subject matter is what drew me into the comics, being a big fan of myth and folklore my self, however his sense of humor is what keeps me at the table. Apparently there has been a big to do about Mignola passing off the art duties to Richard Corben for the two issues of this series, however I don’t see what the problem is. Corben’s art compliments Mignola’s very well, and even more so for this story. All in all I wish this series was going to go on for more than 2 issues.

Powers #16
Brian Michael Bendis, Writer
Mike Avon Oeming, Art

Gah. In the last several issue of Powers Bendis has decided to frame the story with a comic doing a stand-up routine that is loosely tied into the plot. In this case it was about aliens. Now, while this allows Bendis to flaunt his twisted sense of humor, which I totally approve of, it seems like a waste of three pages that could be put to better use. Bendis, you’re a damn fine storyteller when you want to be so stop screwing around and tell me a story, even if it is as bizarre as the one you are currently telling in Powers. I buy your books for the story, not the art, and certainly not because they are action packed.

Thunderbolt Jaxon #1 (of 5)
Dave Gibbons, Writer
John Higgins, Art

This is an extension of the Albion project wherein Alan Moore and some of his crew are digging up old British superheroes and revamping them for the modern reader. I have to admit that while I am reading the Albion miniseries, I am not sure what is going on over there, and I was worried there might be the same thing going on with Thunderbolt Jaxon. That is not the case at all. In contrast to the obfuscatory storytelling in Albion, the story in Thunderbolt Jaxon is fairly straight forward. A young boy stumbles across an artifact, a belt, which when he dons it imbues him with the spirit of a Saxon god or hero. Pretty classic stuff. I look forward to what else this series has in store for me.

The rest:
  • Conan and the Demons of Khitai #4 (of 4)
    • Akira Yoshida, Writer
    • Paul Lee, Art
  • Detective Comics #816
    • Shane McCarthy, Writer
    • Cliff Chiang, Art
  • Infinite Crisis Special: Rann-Thanagar War #1
    • Dave Gibbons, Writer
    • Ivan Reis & Joe Prado, Pencillers
    • Marc Campos, Oclair Albert, and Michael Bair, Inkers
  • JSA Classified #8
    • Peter J. Tomasi, Writer
    • Don Kramer, Penciller
    • Keith Champagne, Inker
  • Outsiders #33
    • Jen van Meter, Writer
    • Dietrich Smith, Penciller
    • Art Thibert & Steve Bird, Inkers
  • Red Sonja #5
    • Michael Avon Oeming with Mike Carey, Writers
    • Mel Rubi, Art
  • Sable & Fortune #2 (of 4)
    • Brenden Cahill, Writer
    • John M. Burns, Art
  • Seven Soldiers: Bulleteer #3 (of 4)
    • Grant Morrison, Writer
    • Yanick Paquette, Penciller
    • Serge Lapointe, Inker
  • Supreme Power: Nighthawk #6 (of 6)
    • Daniel Way, Writer
    • Steve Dillon, Art
  • Team Zero #3 (of 6)
    • Chuck Dixon, Writer
    • Doug Mahnke, Penciller
    • Sandra Hope, Inker
  • Uncanny X-Men #469
    • Chris Claremont, Writer
    • Billy Tan, Penciller
    • Jon Sibal, Inker
  • X-Men: The End Book 3 – Men & X-Men #2
    • Chris Claremont, Writer
    • Sean Chen, Penciller
    • Sandu Florea, Inker
And because Dave Campbell made me:
  • The Legion #’s 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 21, 25, 26, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 36, 37
Sorry there wern't more links. Too lazy/busy trying to get packed for moving. I promise to try and do better next week.

1 comment:

Trent said...

You're moving?