Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Four Color Commentary - Books Shipped 5-17-06

52 Week 2
Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka, and Mark Waid, Writers
Keith Giffen, Art Breakdowns
Joe Bennett, Penciller
Jack Jadson, Inker

This issue cemented what bothers me about the concept of this series. Since 52 is filling in a gap, the results of which we have already seen, there are going to be very few surprises coming out of this book. Just to pick one of the cover blurbs for instance, Sue Dibny could not have been resurrected by the events of Infinite Crisis otherwise we should know about it from one or more of the OYL books. The only suspense involved in these books is in answering the questions of how we get from point A to point B (interestingly enough I initially typed pint A to pint B which says to me it is time for more beer.) This sort of suspense generally leaves me cold as we are waiting for the characters to catch up with the audience. Having said that I have faith in the abilities of Messrs. Johns, Morrison, Rucka, and Waid to provide the reader with more than just a road map from point A to point B (or pint to pint, depending on your proclivities) therefore I am going to continue to read this book. Renee Montoya emerged from the criminally under-read Gotham Central as one of my favorite characters and I will continue reading for her story-line alone.

All-Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder #4
Frank Miller, Wrtier
Jim Lee, Penciller
Scott Williams, Inker

Some of the early criticism of the All-Star books was that by coming out of the gate with such luminary creative teams as Frank Miller/Jim Lee and Grant Morrison/Frank Quitely DC was setting a precedent they would prove unable to follow up. Now we are four issues into ASBaRtBW and three issues into ASS I can think of a way DC can improve these books; release new issues on at least a semi-monthly basis. I like both of these books quite a bit and think they are some of the best work coming out of the majors right now, however, as I have mentioned before, they are competing with a bunch of books that I read on a regular basis. I am also reading most of these books on a more regular basis than I am the All-Star books. This means it takes me about half the issue before I remember where we last left our heroes. It is kind of annoying. Beyond that I am really loving this series, although some of Robin’s dialogue is a bit, lets just say it is kind of lame.

Bite Club: Vampire Crime Unit #2
Howard Chaykin & David Tischman, Writers
David Hahn, Artist

Part of me wishes I could live in a world where people can drop, “…but we both knew it wasn’t meant to be like Heathcliff and Cathy in Wuthering Heights,” followed by, “…even when she was sucking someone else’s cock, or taking heavy traffic up her ass, or pulling a train…” without any sense of irony what so ever. On the other hand Howard Chaykin’s worlds scare the crap out of me because people like that inhabit his head. I skipped the first Bite Club series as it struck me as being more vampire pap, however I heard several good things about the series and I am slowly developing an appreciation for Howard Chaykin. So far this is reading like a decent police procedural with the vampire element being a facet of the story rather than actually driving the story. As much as I do not like Frank Quitely’s faces, I kind of wish he was doing the interior art rather than Hahn, whose style comes off as a bit too stylized for the subject matter.

Jack Staff #10
Paul Grist, Writer/Artist

This is another book I picked up because of the comicsblogoweb, specifically because of The ISB. After I first read the book I put it down wondering what the hell Sims was on about. Yes the bits with Morlan “You can call me Al” the Mystic were funny, but I really did not get what was going on in this book. There seem to be about five stories going on all at once and their relationship with each other was tenuous at best. Then today I read Johanna’s posts about the Soldiers and Everything Used to be Black and White trades from the series and everything started to make a little more sense. I think I am going to have to check out these trades before I can actually pass judgment on the series, however I am certainly interested enough to add them to the ever-growing stack of trades I think I have to read.

Moon Knight #2
Charlie Huston, Writer
David Finch, Penciller
Danny Miki, Inker

The first thing I thought when I read this book was, “Good God that was gory.” Much like the second issue of Wolverine Origins I think this book could have done with a warning on the cover as some of the violence, for example the cutting off of the villain’s face, might have been a bit much. That objection aside I really enjoyed this issue. Finch draws some mighty pretty pictures and Huston delivers a script that, in lesser hands, would have come off as heavy handed however here it is pitch-perfect with what the character is going through. If this sort of quality keeps up, Moon Knight might very well become one of my favorite Marvel books (after Captain America, of course.)

Talent #1
Christopher Golden & Tom Sniegoski, Writers
Paul Azaceta, Artist

Initially I was going to take a pass on this book. Part of this disinterest was some of the pre-release hype which described the book as being something like Lost. It is one of my pet peeves when people try to sell their book/movie/whatever on the it’s Lost meets Survivor meets Star Trek pitch. (Incidentally selling something as “For the fans of Lost,” or “If you like Lost you’ll LOVE Talent,” is only slightly more acceptable.) While the pragmatic part of my brain understands this is the easiest way to sell an idea, I also believe that if you have to resort to this sort of sloganeering, then perhaps your story needs a little work. I am not sure which blog convinced me to pick this book up, however I am glad I did. This first issue did everything right. It introduced us to the major elements of the story as well as got the somewhat clich├ęd fugitive hunted by the government and/or some vast conspiracy involving someone called “Your Grace.” My gut reaction is that this is going to be a fun book and therefore it has been added to the pull list.

Wolverine Origins #2
Daniel Way, Writer
Steve Dillon, Artist

Holy marketing Batman! We’ve got another Wovlerine book on the shelves. Of course I am going to complain about this and then buy it anyways. Such is the life of a geek. First thing I would like to say is that this issue, much like this month’s issue of Moon Knight, probably should have had the MAX label on it, or at least a warning. There were some fairly gruesome scenes in this book and as comics are ostensibly for kids, they should be warned off when things are going to be as graphic as they were in this book. Overall I am enjoying this series and I am interested to see where Way is going to take us in the months ahead. Interested enough to continue to check out the series even though I hate the way Dillion draws faces. I can’t put my finger on what I don’t like about them but, yeech.

Oh yeah, I got the variant edition, biyatches!

X-Men #186
Peter Milligan, Writer
Salvador Larroca, Artist

Finally The Blood of Apocalypse story arc comes to a close. I was not very aware of Apocalypse when he made his debut on the Marvel U back in 1986 and I was not reading X-books when he was making his big splash in the “The Age of Apocalypse” and “The Twelve” story-lines. And despite my friend Steven giving me most of the books from “The Age of Apocalypse” event, I have yet to get around to reading them, therefore I only know about Apocalypse through the character’s discussions of him and vague, half-remembered discussions with Steven about the AoA books. While I understand Apocalypse’s motives throughout this story, he just kind of bugged me as a super-villain. Throughout this story I kept waiting for him to do something really freakin’ cool and super-villain-y, and all he does is threaten the Earth and then get his butt whupped by the X-Men with a bit of help from the new and anime-inspired Sentinels and the Avengers who matter. All in all it was a somewhat disappointing ending to a somewhat disappointing story.

X-Men: Fairy Tales #1 (of 4)
C.B. Cebulski, Writer
Sana Takeda, Artist

Japanese folk-tales retold using the X-Men as characters? How could I not pick this book up, particularly once I saw the art. Let me rave about the art for a moment before we delve into the book. Takeda’s art, which I believe is painted, fits the dream-like quality that the Fairy Tales title implies and is uniquely suited to Cebulski’s tale. In this first issue we get Cebulski’s retelling of Momotaro (literally Peach Taro or more colloquially Peahc Boy) a classic children’s tale (which you can read here) that is apparently well known outside of Japan. In this tale an old couple with no children find a giant peach which, when they attempt to eat it, they find a baby inside whom they then take as their own and name, appropriately enough, Momotaro. For the purposes of this tale Momotaro is Cyclops. He then encounters a monk (Professor X) who is being pursued by three villains, who I assume are Juggernaut, Mystique, and Pyro, though I could be wrong. After Momotaro saves the Monk he undertakes a mission to save the Emperor’s daughter who has been kidnapped by oni, or demons. On this mission he is joined by the blue monkey Aoi (the Beast), the pheasant Tenshi (Angel), and the white dog Kori (Iceman). Finally they confront the oni who prove to be stand-ins for Magneto, the Scarlet Witch, and Quicksilver. Of course since this is a fairy tale there are obstacles to overcome before they even get to the oni, so I have not given everything away here. I really enjoyed this book and I am perhaps more anxious to see the next issue of this series than I am any other X-Men series out right now.

The rest:
  • Annihilation : Nova #2 (of 4)
    • Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning, Writers
    • Kev Walker, Penciller
    • Rick Magyar, Inker
  • Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis #42
    • Kurt Busiek, Writer
    • Butch Guice, Artist
  • Batman Year 100 #4 (of 4)
    • Paul Pope, Writre & Artist
  • Captain America #18
    • Ed Brubaker, Writer
    • Steve Epting, Art
  • Conan #28
    • Kurt Busiek, Writer
    • Eric Powell, Artist
  • DMZ #7
    • Brian Wood, Writer
    • Riccardo Burchielli, Artist
  • Green Arrow #62
    • Judd Winick, Writer
    • Scott McDaniel, Penciller
    • Andy Owens, Inker
  • Haunt of Horror: Edgar Allan Poe #1 (of 3)
    • Rich Margopoulos & Richard Corben, Writers
    • Richard Corben, Artist
  • Legends of the Dark Knight #205
    • Justin Gray, Writer
    • Steven Cummings, Artist
  • Man-Bat #2 (of 5)
    • Bruce Jones, Writer
    • Mike Huddleston, Artist
  • Manhunter #22
    • Marc Andreyko, Writer
    • Javier Pina, Layouts
    • Fernando Blanco, Finishes
  • Marvel Legacy: 1970’s Handbook
    • A whole bunch of people.
  • Red Sonja/Claw #3 (of 4)
    • John Layman, Writer
    • Andy Smith, Artist
  • Robin #150
    • Adam Beechen, Writer
    • Freddie E. Williams II, Artist
  • Sgt. Rock: The Prophecy #5 (of 6)
    • Joe Kubert, Writer & Artist
  • Superman/Batman #25
    • Jeph Loeb, Writer
    • Ed McGuinness, Penciller
    • Dexter Vines, Inker

Mycomicshop.com order:
  • Doctor Mid-Nite #1, 2, and 3
    • Matt Wagner, Writer
    • John K. Snyder III, Artist
  • Mouse Guard #1
    • David Petersen, Writer & Artist

My next stupid project that will never get done:
  • Manhunter #’s 1, 3, 6, 9, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19

1 comment:

Scott said...

Thought you might have an opinion on this....

Mine is that I can't believe who they picked as No.1....