Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I Bought Comics: Third Week of July 2008

[In which I review the comics I bought today. Normally, I review comics on Sundays, but I figured, what the hell, I'll review stuff the day I get it instead of waiting. Reviews are random, personal and nonsensical. Not to be taken too seriously.]

Goddamn shop didn't have any copies of Omega the Unknown #10. Why? WHY? And it was too hot for me to consider hitting the other shop in town on the off chance it would have a copy (unlikely at best). Dammit. Guess I'll have to wait until the next time I visit my parents to check the shops there. But, I did get many good comics, so let's get to those...

Captain America #40

What am I supposed to say about this book each month, really? It's quite good. It moves at a slow pace, but that works. This issue had a couple of big fights, including two Captains America--or, would that be "two Captain Americas"? Since I know it's "attornies general" or "surgeons general" or whatever when pluralised, so would it be "Captains America" or "Captain Americas"? Does it count as a proper name or an actual military designation?--both of which are not Steve Rogers despite one looking and sounding just like him. I'm a little slow on the uptake sometimes, but it did hit me that this series has really revolved around the concept of identity with the Red Skull taking over Lukin (kind of), Faustus messing around with people's heads, Bucky turning out to be a brainwashed Winter Soldier... is there anyone in this comic certain that they are who they think they are?

And I loved the end of this issue, because you just know the Red Skull wanted Sharon to have Rogers's kid so he could have a final victory over his arch-nemesis by raising the kid to be his successor... and look where Syn stabbed Sharon... oops.

But, yeah, good comic. I am looking forward to the day where I can spend a weekend rereading the entire epic story.

Charlatan Ball #2

I love books where Joe Casey can just do whatever he wants, because this man fails on epic levels sometimes. I'm not sure this book qualifies yet, but I do know that it's not working, partly because it has many Casey trappings. Oh look, there's a drug trip and a metafictional reference and a Kirby-esque artist and music lyrics and a cross between Silver Age and modern narration styles... It's already looking like a book that won't work... as it's not working now. It's too random and all over the place. It's entertaining, but lacks the focal point to pull it all together. Caesar the rabbit is the only character with... well, character. Chuck Amok is still a bit of a cypher--and a moronic one at that. I do admire Casey's "sink or swim" mentality regarding the storytelling, and Andy Suriano's art is decent enough, but... this book isn't doing it for me yet. Because I am a Casey fanatic, I'm sticking with it and hoping things will pick up. Even so, there is a lot here worth the cover price even if the book doesn't work.

Ghost Rider #25

Tan Eng Haut's art still doesn't wow me as much as Roland Boschi's did. Boschi's work was more gritty and rough, which suited the book more than Haut's slicker style. Not that Haut is that slick, just slicker than Boschi. I will admit that Haut's rendering of Ghost Rider's skull-face during the fight with the Deacon was well done. Very expressive. The rest of the issue, though... meh.

Jason Aaron's writing is still good. I'm still not sure I buy the whole "rogue angel trying to take over heaven" stuff--if only because the conception of "God" in this universe isn't defined enough for me. But then again, I also take terms like "omniscient" and "omnipotent" to mean that a rogue angel wouldn't be stupid enough to try to take on God and... well, God would know about it instantly. Hey, that's me. Thankfully, that element of the plot is not really important. All of the stuff involving Zadkiel is window dressing when you realise that this is just a straight-up revenge story. Johnny Blaze was fucked up by Zadkiel and wants to fuck him up in return. The rest doesn't really matter. Who cares why? I sure don't.

Mighty Avengers #16

While I enjoy that Bendis wants to go back and show us where Skrulls infiltrated Earth, using an entire issue to tell these stories is really fucking tedious. It's interesting to know that "Skrullektra's" death was planned and that she was who hired Electro to break into the Raft, but... yeah, an entire issue for that?

Scalped #19

This continues to be one of my favourite books as we begin a new story where Dash and Carol's relationship heats up some more. Aaron's writing on this book is rather compelling in its slow, methodical storytelling. He is taking his time to tell his story and that's one of the reasons I like this book so much. The plot is very important, but the emphasis is on the characters... and their actions dictate the plot. Honestly, I'm surprised this is a comic book and not an HBO series...

Davide Furno does art for this two-part story and his work is really good. His style is sketchy but still realistic--he gets across body language and facial expressions well.

One thing I'm confused about... how is this a horror book? It was nominated for some horror prize and I've seen it classified as horror elsewhere. I mean, sure, some horrific things happen, but I don't really see how this falls into the horror genre at all. Great that the book was nominated for an award--it should be nominated for many awards, but, really, it's a horror book?

War is Hell: The First Flight of the Phantom Eagle #5

This was a good series that I'm going to have to reread now that it's complete. We get a nice little journey of Karl Kaufmann from eager wannabe war hero to seasoned cynical veterin. Kind of typical of Ennis, but also more optimistic than some of his other work. Kaufmann doesn't "damn" himself, he just gets a lot of reality shoved into his face. Of course, there is the obligatory "World War I was a fucking horrific waste of life" scene... but it's obligatory for a reason. Howard Chaykin's work is decent--I particularly loved the way he depicted Kaufmann walking through no man's land. And, come on, the joke twist on the name "Phantom Eagle" was fantastic--who saw that coming?

That does it for this week. Tomorrow, more Wildcats Version 3.0 commentary.