Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Quickie Reviews (Apr 28 2010)

Another week, another stack of comics. This was a bigger week (for me) and it looks like the same next week. Heavy Marvel week this week, too. Next week, DC is heavier. Weird. As always, anything else I bought will be reviewed for CBR.

Captain America #605: There's something a little too simplistic about this conclusion to "Two Americas." I don't know what I wanted, but I wanted more. Maybe James killing the '50s Captain America is enough for some, but it's too easy. I already know James will kill if necessary as a last resort, so him doing so isn't a huge payoff necessarily. There's an element at the end of him questioning what being Captain America means and I guess I'm glad that that wasn't made too explicit since it could become very cheesy very quickly. Still, maybe a little bit more questioning. I do like the question "What does being Captain America mean?" What version of America should he represent? It's a good question and I don't mind if Brubaker takes his time with it, slowly drawing it out, talking around it, because there is no answer. It's a question where asking it is what matters. I enjoyed Luke Ross's art on this arc, but am looking forward to Butch Guice. Definitely liking Dean White as colourist. It suits the book much better than Frank D'Armata's colours did despite him functioning as a key element in maintaining the consistent art style. I only skimmed the Nomad back-up strip. What an awful pairing of mismatched stories. [***1/2]

New Avengers #64: The final regular issue of the series and I kind of like that it's just another issue. A Siege tie-in focusing on the Hood as we see the build-up to him and his crew joining the fight in Asgard. Some people haven't liked the strong focus on the Hood in New Avengers since the end of Civil War, but it's been a good counterpoint to the team. The Hood is their constant nemesis -- New Avengers as a larger ensemble book than anyone thought it was. This book wasn't just about the heroes, it was also about the villains. A longform story where you see both sides moving against one another. The Hood was never meant to be a typical villain with one storyarc. If this was a TV show, the guy playing the Hood would have his name in the regular cast credits, possibly in the first two or three spots. It's a nice, subtle thing that Bendis was doing -- something that we've seen in superhero comics, but not really to this extent. Maybe other people saw that and I think I did, too, just not as consciously as now. Here, we get the emotional payoff of the Hood's journey as he seems primed to become a bigtime player, nearly loses the only other person he cares about (mirrored by Hawkeye/Mockingbird), and then loses it all except for the woman he loves. Good stuff. Mike McKone was a good choice to do these final two issues since his style isn't too far from Stuart Immonen's with Dave McCaig's colours helping that consistent look. I'll save any thoughts on this part of Bendis's Avengers Era ending for the finale issue. [****]

Scalped #37: Shunka! Unknowable killer! Shunka! Secretly gay! Shunka! Muthafucka will fuck ya up! I don't know why, but I love that sort of thing. And, yet, I can never execute it as well as I want to. Fuck. This issue plays out how we think it will until the twist. Not sure I buy the twist since it's too planned, too calculated, especially when it comes to someone like Shunka. Then again, it does put the narration in a new light -- an unreliable, possibly untuthful light, which I like. Davide Furnò on art is something I always enjoy. Him being a regular fill-in artist is fine by me. His style suits the book. [****]

Secret Warriors #15: See, here, it's obvious that the Hydra folks are part of the ensemble, not just villains that are here one arc, gone another. Why was that obvious here and not as much in New Avengers? Is it because the other is an Avengers title? What? The behind-the-scenes stuff with Daisy and the gang is good -- the stuff with Viper is better. Unexpected and logical. And, oddly, another instance of Earth X possibly being more influential than I gave it credit for. Fury and the Contessa at the end was great, too. Hickman's Fury is a take on the character that I really like. Caselli's art was a bit more cartoony here, his facial expressions more wild and loose -- Contessa is totally vamping it up at times, but Sunny Gho's colours balance it out to keep it grounded, making the cartoony stuff work a little better with the tone of the writing. I guess we're halfway through the run of this book now? Fuck. [****]

Thor #609: I've been enjoying Kieron Gillen's run on the book, especially his stuff with Loki. His discussion with Balder in this issue is great. Gillen uses JMS's run and builds on it in a logical manner. His Loki is definitely one of my favourite takes on the character -- someone as damaged and twisted and brilliant as that one JMS issue where Loki goes back in time and ties everything together. Too bad the art is just ugly. Rich Elson's pages aren't awful, simply mediocre -- they tell their bits fine enough. The Billy Tan pages are simply awful. Ugly messy things that exist only to give me an idea of who says what and maybe if someone hits someone else. [***]