Thursday, May 31, 2012

EXCLUSIVE! Chad Nevett's Comic Book Mini-Reviews and Star Ratings for the Week of May 30, 2012

Yesterday was the day of many, many trades -- after last week when I bought three trades at the shop (Knightfall: Knightquest, Uncanny X-Force: The Dark Angel Saga book 1, and Silver Surfer: Parable) to boot. When I got my tax return this year, I used most of it to pay off a credit card and, then, placed an order for the available Spider-Man: The Complete Clone Saga and Spider-Man: The Complete Ben Reilly Epic trades. Well, all of those arrived yesterday (except for volume four of The Complete Clone Saga, but it will ship later). It's a big box of comics hated by... well, almost everything it seems. Flipping through them was like stepping into a poorly drawn time machine (aside from the Sal Buscema/Bill Sienkiewicz, John Romita, Jr., and Dan Jurgens/Klaus Janson issues, which are pretty great-looking). But, I also picked up that complete Alec omnibus that came out a while back since my shop had a copy on sale. That's a lot of comics to read. Sometimes, life is good...

Animal Man Annual #1: Someone explain something to me: the Red, the Green, and the Rot need to be in balance. If the balance gets out of whack, all of them suffer. Now, that's doesn't mean that one of the three won't grow a little too much, but... shouldn't it be a simple matter of the representatives of each sitting down and remembering that they all need one another? With the Rot out of control, why isn't anyone simply pointing out to that group that, unless they scale things back, they're going to be fucked, too? No, no, I get it: CRAZY BAD GUYS SHIT UP LOGIC! Still... it seems like there's an easier solution. Not as easy as the solution to the Rot back in the 19th century... Actually, it almost was just a discussion... I do like that Lemire gave us a story of the Rot being defeated without it giving any help to the current situation. And Timothy Green II's style fits well into the look of this title. Always nice when annual look like they belong with the main title. Definitely a more worthwhile tangent story than that lame Buddy Baker movie issue. [***1/2]

Batman Annual #1: This I liked a little less. Was the Freeze/Owl connection mentioned explicitly? I honestly forget. But, I also hope it wasn't and it's just a detail that they've learned and are revealing like this. If it is, kudos to Snyder and Tynion. Otherwise, it's a fairly basic 'Batman vs. Mr. Freeze' issue with some retconning thrown in for fun. A solid issue. [***1/4]

RASL #14: It's both easy and hard to believe that this series is ending with issue 15. Certain plot elements seem near their end, while others seem like they could keep going for quite some time. Before the final issue comes, I'm definitely giving this a reread so I can pick up the various bits that slipped through the cracks between issues coming out. I love Crow in this issue... his freakout over the parallel universes or the calm way he stands there when Miles jumps realities... Every issue of this series was a lovely surprise when it came out and I'll miss it. [****]

The Ultimates #11: I feel sorry for Sam Humphries a little. I've enjoyed his writing elsewhere and I don't think the writing has changed much on this title -- but, the art has had such a large shift and downgrade (with no help on the horizon) that his arrival coincides with a clear drop in this title's overall quality. Like this issue with its four artists and two colourists. One thing I loved about the Esad Ribic/Dean White team was how they managed to make this title stand out as something different and, now, it looks so fucking typical. I rarely look at previews of comics I know I'm buying, because why have three or four pages already read? But, I'd usually look at previews of new Ultimates issues so I could get a taste of the visual wonderings Ribic and White were going to give me... I tried that with this issue and saw nothing that made any impression. The writing is still strong and adventurous and -- that stuff with the new President was really quite good. But, this comic doesn't feel as special anymore. It's not one that I'm clamouring for, because one of the key elements has been completely undercut. I noticed the same thing firsthand when reading the Uncanny X-Force trade that I got last week (something people complained about when the single issues were coming out). Like I said, the writing is still at a level where I will keep buying this comic, but part of me wishes it weren't, so I could just walk away and save myself the trouble. [***1/4]