Thursday, March 31, 2011

Sketch Reviews (March 31 2011)

You know it's a big week when it takes two hours to read all of your comics. For me, at least. I know, for some people, that's a standard week. Pity those poor bastards. So, let's do this nice and quick...

Age of X Universe #1: I'm torn on this one. I liked some parts, didn't like others. The twists Spurrier brings to the Avengers are pretty good. Not sold on Captain America here entirely. I remember Spurrier saying that it was Steve Rogers, but it doesn't seem like him. Since he's a character from before mutants, he shouldn't be as changed. Did love Iron Man. The art was very hit or miss -- Pham has a habit of drawing perfectly round heads. The Spider-Man back-up was nice in that 'I'm going to forget about it in two days' sort of way. [***]

Avengers #11: Another issue I'm torn on a little. I like the concept of the splash pages, they work for the idea of this being a big event, as does the inclusion to Uatu... but the execution just falls down. The narration is awful, overly verbose and clunky. Romita, Jr.'s splash pages are great, though. I can't complain about that. The final page... you know me, Thanos shows up and my heart skips a beat, but... 'master of death'... he's dead... ugh. [**1/2]

Captain America #616: An anniversary issue... this also begins the split between James and Steve stories in the title, which is a good approach and better than those Nomad back-ups. I'm still a little confused on the extradition procedures and agreements here, but that's my own nitpicky bullshit. This new situation is an interesting one for James, while the Steve stuff just... bores me. He spends a bunch of time wondering if he should become Captain America again and, I guess it's that 'change or die' mentality I have, but that's uninteresting to me. I do find it interesting that every other story in this issue is about Steve Rogers as Captain America. I wonder, was that requested by the editor or what everyone decided to do? A solid package with some hit or miss stories (and some really good art -- I was impressed by some of Mike Deodato's line work here... and Jason Latour! AND CHAYKIN!). [***3/4]

Detective Comics #875: This was the issue of potential realised. I really liked the first issue of Scott Snyder's tenure on the title and I'd been waiting for another issue to really say to me that this was a comic worth sticking with. I wasn't really thinking of dropping it, because it wasn't bad. It was good enough to keep buying and be worth it... I just kept waiting for it to hit that level that it seemed like it could. Partly because of the potential glimpsed in it, and partly because of the reactions others were having to it. I was finding it to be a good comic with the odd moment that was more than that. Others treated it like the goddamn second coming... maybe not that far, but you get the impression. It happens to everyone: people seem to be losing their shit over something you think is fine and you want to like it as much as they do, you just don't. At the same time, you call them all idiots for loving something that's not that good. Anyway... this is a pretty great issue. The level of skill on display here with the pacing, the structure, the confidence in alluding to previous 'throwaway' lines without calling any attention to it... Snyder blew me away here. It certainly doesn't hurt to have Fracesco Francavilla drawing the issue, but Snyder definitely showed me something that I hadn't seen yet from him here. I'm sure he'll love that. Of course, now that I know he can do it, I'll be expecting it every time. [****1/2]

Halcyon #4: I'm holding off until next issue before I pass judgement on this series as a whole, but... I'm still underwhelmed. It's hard not to see Sabre as Rorschach with a little more humanity and that's uninteresting. He's such a mundane character with his singular purpose -- and that mundaneness drags the entire story down into that same pit. Loving the art. I really dig Bodenheim's style. [***]

Incognito: Bad Influences #5: Call me a sucker for metafiction (because I am), I enjoyed Slaughter's little rant at the end. Nothing revolutionary or anything, just something that I like seeing, especially when it just skims the surface like this did. I do wish he'd lived, though. I wanted to see where he was heading. I was much more interested in that than anything to do with Overkill or Zeppelin or anything... but, hey, After the Gold Rush is my favourite Young album, so... [***1/2]

Jimmy Olsen #1: Wasn't sure if I was going to get this, but I enjoyed the first chapter I read online and like Spencer's writing. Thoroughly enjoyable comic. [***3/4]

Scalped #47: Hey, it's Scalped... so: [****]