Saturday, November 24, 2007

Even with a list, I'm a forgetful moron (Or, many many many comics)

I'm at home in London and I have a rather large stack of comics to discuss/review/whatever it is I do. I hit two shops yesterday with a list in hand that I update with each week's shipping list. Despite the list, I somehow came home without Criminal #10. It's on the list. My regular shop didn't have it and the one I stop at to pick up what my shop doesn't have may have had it, but in all the excitement of getting other comics and their awesome sale, I skipped it. I am filled with shame and, well, self-anger. What the fuck? It's Criminal, dammit! And I forgot! *lowers head in shame*

Ah well. Let's get on with this anyway...

New Avengers: Illuminati #5

Alright, so Black Bolt is a Skrull and revealed himself why exactly? I read the issue and I can't figure out the logic in that revelation. There's some half-assed shit about wanting to make them not trust one another, but really. Come on. Really? That's lame. Why do that when you could do the big reveal at a better time? Or never reveal and work on the inside to make shit worse, which is what we're to assume the Skrulls have been doing? But, hey, that's me.

As well, I have to admit that the magic eight ball was wrong as it said Black Bolt wasn't a Skrull. Damn you, magic eight ball.

Finally, this issue doesn't seem like what was supposed to happen. For some reason, I remember Bendis saying in an issue of Wizard a year ago that it was more about everyone else in the Marvel universe finding out that the Illuminati exists and being pissed. Maybe I'm wrong, I don't know. Not that that's a problem really as plans change--just something that occurred to me.

The issue itself was passable and pushed the story forward, albeit in a really dumb way.

New Avengers #36

Alright, so we can skip the second Mighty Avengers arc, right?

I'm amused that the two Avengers teams are working together so quickly. The Venom virus situation was a necessity, but that last page--and the little hints to the Skrull stuff--suggests that we're in for a united front. An undoing of "Civil War" so soon? Probably not, but interesting.

All-Star Superman #9

Wow, because this issue wasn't lame at all.

Some great ideas here, but the ending was a cop-out. It was a cheap as fuck cop-out that has deus ex machina written all over it. The two Kryptonians' bodies are poisoning them with Kryptonite? Yes, yes, we all see the mirroring of Superman because he's being poisoned by his body as well, but... come on. This is an issue where the subtext and themes are given more importance than the basic plot--something Morrison is usually pretty good at avoiding.


Thunderbolts #117

No offence to Paul Jenkins as I haven't read his work with Penance, but why is Marvel bothering with a mini-series devoted to that character when Ellis is actually making him interesting? Not just interesting, but actually providing actual reasons for his behaviour? He's taken a joke of a character and suddenly gives him motivation and depth and reasons for being a whiny little emo kid.

Ellis continues to use this book to show exactly why the idea is an incredibly stupid one, logically. It almost reads as a satire of various ideas from "Civil War" and why they were half-baked. This book is a demonstration in why aiming for those "fanboy orgasm" moments doesn't work, really.

Batman #670, Robin #168, Nightwing #138, Detective Comics #838

Half of "The Resurrection of Ra's al Ghul" and... wow, there isn't a lot here. Lots of fighting and talking, but it leads to this: Ghul is back, his current body won't last, needs a new one, and is either going to use Damian (his grandson and Batman's son) or Time Drake. Shouldn't more have happened in four issues written by Grant Morrison, Peter Milligan, Fabian Nicieza and Paul Dini?

What If... Annihilation Reached Earth?

This issue was a lot less interesting than I hoped, but it does outline how the heroes will unite to fight the Skrulls. I don't know what I expected, but this issue does pretty much the bare minimum in imagining what would happen: the Annihilation wave is heading for Earth, the heroes unite, they fight together, they finally overcome it with Nova, Iron Man and Captain America sacrificing themselves in the process. It all makes logical sense, but... I don't know, it's just too basic. I wanted more.

The Boys #12

Not quite the direction I thought this story was taking. But, Ennis does some nice bits of dialogue and further develops Hughie's character as he adjusts to his new line of work. I enjoyed this issue, because I really like Ennis' writing. At this point, you know what to expect (in general, not specifically).

Captain America #31-32

The post-Steve Rogers world continues and we begin "Act 2" of the story. Like with the previous stories in this series, individual issues are difficult to discuss as it's about the bigger picture. Things progress, basically. Great book.

Velocity: Pilot Season #1

A nice little done-in-one story by Joe Casey with Kevin Maguire on art. I never really read Cyberforce, so I don't really know much about Velocity. Picked this up because of Casey and it's a decent read. Typical Casey dialogue--a sort of hipster casual (if that makes any sense). A story with a clever solution. A slightly downbeat ending. I haven't read any of the other "pilot season" books, but this could be a fun superhero series if it gets enough votes. Oh, and Maguire's art is excellent.

Infinity, Inc. #3

I really don't know where Milligan is taking this book. This issue moves a very quick pace, jumping forward a lot, just hitting the beats we need, never giving the reader a chance to really catch up or get a handle on what's going on. There's the potential for interesting stories with the former members of Infinity, Inc. getting new powers and, well, being kind of crazy. We'll see.

Thor #4

I love how Straczynski recognises at the end of the issue that his pacing is slow as fuck and needs to be quickened. The first three issues felt like what the first issue should have been. This issue should have been eight pages. I'm giving it to issue six and then I'll assess if it's worth it. So far, it's just been so slow and mechanical, in a way.

Annhilation: Conquest--Starlord #4

A nice ending to this series that always left me a little underwhelmed. I did notice how the Uni-Force acts a lot live the Hivemind that Nova has in his head. Used differently here, but found that interesting. Giffen also does something clever by having the Uni-Force assist the group by joining with a member of the Phalanx for a short period of time. I'm thinking about getting the three volumes of the first Annihilation, so maybe I'll pick up this entire story in trades at a later date.

Midnighter #13

This storyarc is lasting a little longer than it needs to. Midnighter ups the stakes against Anthem and gets his ass handed to him. Plus, looks like his support system is gone. Giffen's done things here that I didn't expect, honestly. I expected the story to stay closer to Midnighter's home town, but taking it into the world at large has been interesting. I just wish the pace would pick up a bit.

Punisher War Journal #13

Okay, I really enjoyed this issue. The opening bit with the Rhino doing it "OLD SCHOOL" is great. The inclusion of Spider-Man is always a plus as Fraction has him nailed. The Punisher is more of a supporting character here, which works. My favourite bit is after Kraven has kidnapped Rhino and Spider-Man is talking to a webbed-up Frank:


P: ...

P: NO?

S-M (adding more webs): PSH. LISTEN TO YOU.

I dig it.

Wolverine #59

Um... what? An entire issue where Wolverine fights himself, except not really himself and not in any physical sense, but he does come back to life despite not really being dead as only his soul was missing and now he knows who to kill except why we don't know so we better read next issue. Ye-ah.

Doktor Sleepless #3

This is the first issue I've really dug. It's got lots of nice moments, it advances several stories and gives a hint of the big picture. It doesn't seem aimless like the previous issues. Or, at least, not in the same way. We all knew I was going to keep buying this book no matter what, but this issue has me in as a fan.

Gødland #20

Do you think Casey killed off Crashman because of Captain America's death? Something about the opening scene of this issue just reminded me of that. America's hero dead, everyone freaking out, etc.

This book is some good fun. Lots of action and thrills and good guys and bad guys and army guys and, yeah, you should read this book. It's good. And the Earth is doomed. Fuck.

The Order #4

It looks like Fraction has a plan for this book. I'm liking it more with every issue. It comes across as the most "mainstream" of his work--and it IS--but it's not as "mainstream" as it seemed when it began. It's subtle in its subversions and deviations. I have a feeling that it could all fall apart at any time now and that's pretty cool (and, wow, that sounds weird).

Omega the Unknown #2

This continues to be weird and mysterious, but compelling. It's offbeat in all the best ways. Plus, the end where Omega works at a church and as a fry cook--that's just funny. I think this will turn out to be a fantastic read. Or, I'm hoping.

The Programme #4-5

And I'm really liking this book, too. CP Smith's art is still a little too unclear at times, but the story is beginning to cohere and advance. The Senator Joe bit was nice and not overdone, which many writers would have fallen prey to. Another book that will be judged as a whole, but after a few issues were I was unsure, I'm in 100%. Now, watch Milligan fuck it up next issue...

Casanova #10

Hells yes. We secretly watch Quinn who secretly watches Benday who secretly watches Toppogrosso who secretly watches many people. Asa Nisi Masa. Lots of sex. When is Casanova Quinn? BLUE! I love this book.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand that does it for the singles. I also picked up 52 volume four, which I've got to read still; Thanos: Epiphany, which fits into the Starlin stuff; and the three Human Target trades I need in an awesome sale--I've read one of them, but will discuss them all later, maybe after I buy the uncollected issues. Oh, and I also managed to find Infinity Crusade #6, so when my last eBay order arrives, we're back on track with Mr. Jim Starlin up through to his most recent work--the only thing missing will be his Silver Surfer run.

I'm tired.