Monday, March 13, 2006

Four Color Commentary - Books Shipped 3-8-06

Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis #40
Kurt Busiek, Writer
Butch Guice, Artist

An apparent complete relaunch without a new first issue. What the heck is going on here? Busiek is on record as saying this book stars a new Aquaman therefore it would only be proper to give the man a Number 1. The lack of such is making me wonder if Busiek et al are going for the old bait and switch with Aquaman and the whole OYL concept. We shall see. Okay, enough with the conspiracy crap, lets talk comics.

I really enjoyed this book, so much so that Aquaman is going back on the pull list. This should come as no surprise as I have yet to find anything from Busiek I did not enjoy. On top of this he is bringing a swords and sorcery swashbuckling fantasy feel to the book. Read much R.E. Howard lately Kurt? I kid, I kid. This is something I like and feel serves the setting very well. I like how Kurt has already given us conflicting origin stories for the character and the confusion exhibited by the Sage. I can’t wait to see what Busiek has in store for us.

Batman & the Monster Men #5
Matt Wagner, Story & Art

Mmmm. Matt Wagner + Batman = Pure Geek Joy. I am torn about this series. I love reading each issue as I think Wagner is delivering some of the best Batman flavored fun to be had in the past few years, however each issue takes us one step closer to the end of the series. My only hope is that the rumor I read somewhere about this being the first in a triology of Bat-books from Herr Wagner is true. Until then I will have to start tracking down some of his other work since I do not believe I have read any Wagner before this series. I am particularly interested in his Dr. Mid-Nite series. I eager await/dread the release of the next issue in this series.

Fables #47
Bill Willingham, Writer
Jim Fern, Penciller
Jimmy Palmiotti, Inker

When I first started reading Fables I was under the impression that it was meant to be a limited series. I am very glad I was mistaken on that front as this book is one of the best non-cape books coming out of the majors right now. I particularly enjoyed the last two issues as they take a break from the main story and explore little corners of the Fables Universe that we would otherwise not see. In this case it is the story of two wooden servants of the Empire, Rodney and June, who fall in love and wish to be made human. Eventually their wish is granted but not without consequences. I really enjoyed the way that Willingham let his characters learn of love from storybooks while giving us a post-modern storybook romance and that he managed to pull off this feat without drowning in Trantino-esque irony is a testament to his skill as a writer and the respect he has for his readers. If you do not read this book, start.

Powers #17
Brian Michael Bendis, Writer
Mike Avon Oeming, Artist

Gah. Bendis insists on using the unfunny stand-up comic as a device in the Powers stories and, to be completely honest, I am sick of it. I am perfectly willing to admit that it might be genius and that I just don’t get it, but the last few stand-up routines I have had to experience in this book have really felt like a meta-commentary on what is going down in comics fandom that month and I have, at best, struggled to find even a tangential relation to the story. Since Powers was one of my favorite books until about the last six months, I am wondering how much of it is due to the current storyline and how much of it might be due to a bit of Bendis-fatigue. Until his run on Daredevil ended I was reading between three and four Bendis books a month and I worry that I may have just grown tired of his voice. I realize I haven’t said too much about the book to this point in this review, and that is going to continue. I am at best ambivalent about this book right now. I hope it picks up but if it doesn’t it may find itself on the chopping block.

The Pulse #14
Brian Michael Bendis, Writer
Michael Gaydos, Artist

Hey look! More Bendis! At least this one is ending. It is unusual that I enjoy it when a book ends, however from the inception of this book it lacked the focus and fun of Alias. I am also glad because the lack of this book in my reading stack may contribute to me ridding myself of the current Bendis hangover I have. As far as this issue goes, Bendis did an excellent job of ending the series. I liked getting the story of how Luke Cage and Jessica Jones met and I also like how Bendis gave Luke Cage a much more compassionate and, to be honest, more human face than he is usually given. Overall this was an excellent swan song for the series.

Teen Titans #33
Marv Wolfman & Geoff Johns, Writers
Todd Nauck, Penciller
Sean Parsons, Norm Rapmund & Marlo Alquiza, Inkers

This book was a bit of a yawner for me. Infinite Crisis is quickly becoming tiresome and even though I am enjoying the story so far (unlike Marvel’s House of Suck) I am having trouble getting into these side stories and worry they are contributing to a feel of Infinite Crisis being spread too thin. Adding to my irritation with this book is the author’s use of the alternating voice-over which will be familiar to any reader of Superman/Batman. It really works in Superman/Batman, however somehow it falls a little flat in this story. Having said that, I suspect it may have been an intentional rip-off/homage to snap the Superboy-Nightwing relationship into sharp focus for readers of both books. Beyond this I enjoyed some of the exchanges between Superboy and Nightwing (“Let’s not makes this a moment.” Gold, I tell ya!) and I thought the links to the ** story were very well done. I’ll keep picking this book up for now, but it really needs to shape up to pull back from the edge of cancellation.

The rest:
  • Seven Soldiers: Frakenstein #3 (of 4)
    • Grant Morrison, Writer
    • Doug Mahnke, Artist
  • Seven Soldiers: Mister Miracle #4 (of 4)
    • Grant Morrison, Writer
    • Freddie E. Williams II, Artist

  • SOCOM: Seal Team Seven
    • M. Zachary Sherman, Writer
    • Roberto de la Torre, Artist
  • Rocketo: Journey to the Hidden Sea Vol. 1
    • Frank Espinosa, Writer & Artist
    • Marie Taylor, Co-writer
  • Essential Moon Knight Vol. 1
    • A metric crapload of people.

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