Sunday, July 06, 2008

The Sunday Open: First Week of July 2008

[Not proper reviews! Chad rambling for fun! HOO-HA!]

After last week's giant Marvelathon, this week is small and DC-centric, mostly. Granted, I didn't get Astonishing X-Men #25, but the shop was sold out. I think. I didn't see any copies, but I also wasn't looking for any. I had totally forgot about it until I got home. So maybe they had copies. Ah well, there's always next week. And the eventual collection. Gotta love comics.

Batman #678

Okay, that isn't at all what I expected. But, hey, that's a good thing, no?

Morrison continues to integrate every Batman story ever told and, in the process, pushes Batman's sanity to the brink. The issue begins with a Black Casebook entry, read by Robin, where he explains just how damaging his superhero career has been to his psyche. This isn't the Batman we're used to seeing. The journal entry is strangely open and earnest... sadly, it reads more like the sort of thing I write in my private journal thing--I say "sadly," because it shows a certain humanity and weakness in the character--not a shot at the writing, but a feeling of sympathy for Batman--does that make sense? And Robin shows off how good he is by taking on a couple of members of the Club of Villains... while Nightwing can't hold his own. It's looking very much like the new Batman and Robin will be Tim and Damian.

Hurt wears Thomas Wayne's Batman costume...

Bruce Wayne has been drugged up and is now the Batman of Zur En Arrh...

Next issue, the Joker shows up...

I forget where I read it, but someone recently said that Morrison is done a disservice over on Final Crisis by the art being so good. Doesn't that seem almost a pattern? Morrison's best work is often done with subpar artists--maybe because they don't distract from the writing? Not to say Tony Daniel is that bad, he's just not that great. He falls in line with the long line of "so-so" Morrison artists. Of course, Morrison has worked with his share of fantastic artists (and his stuff with Frank Quitely is among his best work--and we all know how much I love Marvel Boy with JG Jones), but... I don't know where I'm going with this, actually. Shit.

Good comic.

The Boys #20

The history of superheroes continues ending on September 11, 2001.

Ennis does a good job explaining how superheroes came about here and providing a good overview of the sociopolitical impact of their existence. I imagine next issue will be quite the story since we already know that the Seven's attempt to stop the hijackers from crashing the planes into the World Trade Center will result in at least one of the planes taking out the Brooklyn Bridge.

The other stuff in the issue is alright. The continuing meeting between Butcher and Homelander doesn't really go anywhere. The Annie/A-Train stuff is good, but gives me that uneasy feeling since I like Annie and I really like Hughie... but I know Ennis can be a downright bastard to characters, especially the ones suckers like me get attached to, so I fear the worst.

After this arc is over, I plan to reread the series. Looking forward to that.

Cable #5

This comic is a weird mix of decompressed storytelling in the macro and ultracompressed storytelling in the micro. The larger story is slow and plodding, but the actual pacing (particularly in this issue) is quick to the point of seeming fragmented and almost like a montage. I assume this altered pacing is Swierczynski still getting used to writing comics and maybe even responding to criticisms of writing too slow and decompressed. I don't hate the writing, but it is problematic. I find myself strangely liking this comic because it isn't working. I like watching Swierczynski try new things and discover what works and what doesn't. I also think this book would probably work better with a different artist--maybe someone who's been spending some time over on Ennis's Punisher book. This is Blade Runner SF, which is done a disservice by Olivetti's CGI-esque art. It needs more darkness and grit. The transformation of Sophie from waitress to Punisher is really fucking weird. Where the hell did that come from?

Holy War #3

The weakest issue so far. There is a nice moment when the Weird tries to get the band together officially and everyone's response is to ignore he exists. This story is still all over the place, but it seems to be coming together, slowly. It's still all about various religions preparing for war, but, sadly, the anti-god ray has been sidelined. The heroes fail to see that maybe getting rid of Lady Syx's hold over Rann would help them out. Not as much insanity as the previous two issues. I am a little bothered that this eight-issue series requires at least two one-shots to accompany it, though. Not that I'm complaining about getting some more Starlin stuff, mind you.

Infinity, Inc. #11

I'm thinking that I may do something comparing this work to Milligan's The Programme. Probably not, but once I reread both, I'll see if there's something there. Both twelve issues, both out at the same time, both about superheroes (kind of)... who knows.

This series ends with a two-part story tying into Final Crisis via the Dark Side Club... and Desaad. Yeah, it hasn't been said, but Desaad is Fogel. He says, at one point, "I AM A CHILD OF APOKOLIPS. / I AM PARTNER TO THE MIGHTY DARKSEIF. HIS INQUISITOR SUPREME." So, yeah, Fogel is Desaad.

The art is serviceable. Pete Woods is gone because the book is cancelled. Javier Aranda is alright, but I would have preferred they brought back Max Fiumara or Matt Camp since, well, both are better, in my opinion.

The cover to this issue is strange as it doesn't seem to have anything to do with what's inside. Unless that's supposed to be Fogel... but that doesn't explain the actual body show or the face that seems to have a mask. What's going on exactly?

Oh, and the writing is decent. I'm disappointed that this book is ending as it seems like Milligan had some longterm plans for these characters as they deal with their emotional and psychological problems.

Until next week.