Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Sunday Open: First Books of 2008

Let's pause for a moment and celebrate this being GraphiContent's 301st post. That's impressive, maybe? I dunno, actually. You know what, fuck it, let's get to the books.

Gravel #0

I totally skipped all of the Strange Killings minis. I got Strange Kiss and Stranger Kisses, but then missed everything. But, I always liked William Gravel and thought the idea of a combat magician was pretty cool. So, I saw this zero issue in the store and figured I'd check it out. First off, I was thrown off by the colour. I'm used to black and white William Gravel and colour is kind of weird for me. But, colour is also good. The story is simple: Gravel saves some hostages in Afghanistan since he's an SAS agent and then fucks up an occult detective that has taken his place in a group of magicians called the minor seven while he was in Afghanistan. This sets up him going after the other members of the group for cutting him out. Should be an entertaining series and, honestly, the fact that Mike Wolfer co-wrote it doesn't show.

Thor #5

So, the cover is just lying to me? On the cover, Thor is obviously in front of Sif and, in the comic, it turns out to be Loki now in female form. That means the cover is a lie. Fuck that shit.

The Mighty Avengers #7

Hey, look at that, plot points that happened months ago in another title! And, once again, Bendis has lost me with the thought balloons. There was the kinda funny moment where Wonder Man is told he needs a new costume. Otherwise, nothing really new here.

Batman #672

I'm a little (just a little, mind you) disappointed that the third Batman shows up here, just because I loved the idea of Morrison concluding that story in issue 666. Otherwise, this is a decent issue that falls in line with issues 664 and 665, everything in between not even seeming to factor in. There's not much to say about this issue specifically as it is obviously a piece in a larger puzzle, but I'm wonderng how Morrison's run will read as a whole considering the fact that this issue really does seem to come right after #665.

Wolverine #61

And so ends "Logan Dies," an arc that seems to have done two things: made it so that the next time Wolverine dies, he stays dead (like that will happen), and the return of Mariko's father from the dead. This arc should have been, like, three or four issues max. Meh.

Ultimate Human #1

After Bendis and Millar, it's weird to think that Warren Ellis has had the most impact on the Ultimate universe, although most of his stuff has taken place outside of the main titles. This series seems perfect for Ellis: two oddball geniuses, lots of science, a twisted villain (actually, combining two MU characters like that is really smart), and stuff hitting other stuff. Will this be the best comic of the year? Of course not. But, it's entertaining and a good read. Plus, the last line of the issue "I don't think I like it when he's angry" just makes me laugh.

Youngblood #1

I bought this because Joe Casey is writing and this may just wind up in the pile of crappy Casey comics alongside Infantry and Hellcop. It has potential as Casey takes the book back to its roots, recognising that Youngblood did do a lot of the things that The Authority and Ultimates have done, but years before. The only problem is that the logical thing would be to try and take this title beyond what those books have done... and Casey doesn't do that here. It reads like X-Statix lite. I'm not sure if I like the West Wing reference either--mostly because I'm not sure I want Aaron Sorkin's characters inhabiting the same world as Rob Liefeld's. Eeeeeuuugh!

The Boys #14

There's something very anticlimactic about this issue (especially for Little Nina). The group does stop the plot to take over Russia/turn it back into the USSR, but it just kind of happens. Hughie has a few nice moments, especially when he freaks the suit out. Butcher gets to blow up a warehouse of superheroes, which makes him happy. As well, Ennis sets up the corporation behind the whole thing as a future threat. It's a decent issue, but I expected more from Ennis.

The Death of the New Gods #4

Okay, I think I figured this out: the Anti-Life Equation is a living being (according to Starlin's take on it, which was first used in The Cosmic Odyssey) and it's the little globe at the end of this issue. As well, the killer is actually Mr. Miracle, turned evil by the Anti-Life Equation which he keeps using and pushes him further and further "out there." I could be wrong, but that's my guess. I am digging Starlin's work here. His layouts are so singular and unique to him and I love it. I have a total weakness for it. This series isn't the greatest, but I'm finding at least one moment each issue that wows me.

Captain America #33

And thus Bucky becomes the new Captain America, a choice we all saw coming but couldn't quite believe. Brubaker continues to just nail these characters and have Steve Rogers play a giant role in the book despite being dead. In fact, the driving force in this issue is Rogers with every other character's actions dictated by Rogers. Plus, Iron Man gets in a fight while not seeming like a douchebag. Wow.

Thunderbolts #118

Again, a cover just lying to me. Despite what the cover shows, Doc Samson and Penance get along just fine in this issue. Norman Osborn falls apart and so does the group, further demonstrating that a group of villains is a retarded idea--but makes for good comics. My favourite moment of the issue has to be Osborn sitting on the toilet (just sitting, pants on), wearing the Green Goblin mask and saying "I'M COMING OUT."

Omega the Unknown #4

Ooooooooooooh, so that statue isn't Professor X! The head statue speaks and things become a little more confusing. This is a good book, but will read better as a whole. Am really digging the art--although the lettering on the first page is a little unclear as to the order of the balloons.

I also read Ultimates 2 and Fantastic Four: First Family, but I'll save them for next week. Give them some more space, maybe throw in some Incal and Black Diamond Detective Agency.