Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Chris' Reviews Part 2

Back again! A thousand pets and loving scratches to kittens everywhere would approximate the joy I'm feeling now. Onward, comics lovers!

JLA #117

The "Crisis of Conscience" arc continues as the Secret Society of Half-Assed B-List Super Villains gets all pissy about being mindwiped and goes after Lois Lane at the Daily Planet.

This ish was all about the action, and it delivers. From the Flash getting punked by Faust to Green Lantern's smackdown of Star Sapphire, this entire comic was great action punctuated by Batman's logical, well-thought out disregard for human life (!) and Superman's guilt trip on the whole JLA. This group is cracking, and the next two issues should be good.

Best Moment: A classic "Superman saves Lois at the last possible minute" splash page
Worst Moment: Hawkman choosing democratic principles instead of the customary "mace to the jawbone" maneuver.
Comic Book Goodness: 3/5. That final page is so...meh...

Defenders #2

The Giffen/DeMatteis take on the most ill-conceived superteam Marvel has ever fielded continues. Basically, this is 22 pages of filler material in which nothing happens except for mildly-at-best amusing dialogue. Oh, and the Hulk may be getting some booty soon, which is somewhat vomit-inducing. Dr. Strange (still one of the most underused, mis-used, underappreciated characters in the Marvel U- more about that in another post) is made to look like an idiot, Namor continues to grate, and Silver Surfer serves no purpose whatsoever. I had high hopes for this series, but man, this ish was bad. It didn't help that the Dormammu/Umar sequences, which make up more than half the book, read like a Tracy/Hepburn comedy without the chemistry.

Best Moment: Cheesecake art showing Umar showering in a bikini. I believe this makes her stupid, by the way.
Worst Moment: Pick one. From the allegedly humourous dialogue to the ridiculous plot twists, to the brazenly stupid Silver Surfer, this sucked. Hard.
Comic Book Goodness: 1/5. Because there was one panel that was amusing, namely Wong getting his ass kicked off-panel. I have no doubt that if they had showed this on-panel it would have sucked too.

Zatanna #3

I have adored this mini from the first ish, and this one continues to impress. Zee, her apprentice Misty, and Ali Ka-Zoom traipse around looking for some connection to the rest of the Seven Soldiers series, and find it in spades. Ryan Sook continues to make Zee sexy and powerful, and we learn just enough about Misty to start putting the pieces of the whole Seven Soldiers enterprise together. I am absolutely convinced that Zatanna could have a great solo book in the hands of Grant Morrison. Keep it coming! There's even a corporate-mandated shout out to Zee's role in the DCU, what with her sloppy mindwiping and all.

Best Moment: "It was a perfectly normal day. Breakfast with the Phantom Stranger, exorcising the Temptster demon...and now this."
Worst Moment: Knowing that the next issue will be the last. Please, DC, give Zee to Morrison permanently!
Comic Book Goodness: 4/5. This whole series has been magical (Har!). And now, Randy will beat me about the head and shoulders for that pun.

Lex Luthor: Man of Steel #5

In what should have been a thrilling conclusion to a gorgeous and empathic (that's right, I typed EMPATHIC) miniseries, we get...something. I don't know what it is, but it's a mess. Here's the short form: Lex screws his artificial human hero Hope, makes her drop Toyman, then makes her explode, and hates Superman.

Read that again, aloud, and throw in the adjectives "rusted", "debt-ridden", "mucilaginous", and "surprisingly fat-free" at any point in that last paragraph, and see if it makes any more sense. Now you understand what it was like to read this issue.

The hell of it is, Lee Bermejo did a FANTASTIC job illustrating this whole series. The textures, the colors, everything was spot-on. Wonderful. But I can't forgive the complete ignorance of the Batman/Superman battle of issue three. That was a plot point that should have been addressed at the end, and wasn't. (Incidentally, that issue was also the best characterization of Bruce Wayne I've seen in years.)

Best Moment: The computer images juxtaposed between Lex's clicks and Hope's actions.
Worst Moment: We see Lex Luthor having sex. Yes, it's that bad. Also, Ew.
Comic Book Goodness: 2/5. Strong series that lost its way in the last two issues, but wonderful tactile art by Bermejo provides a reason to at least flip through the TPB.

Villains United #4

All hail Gail Simone! I will be damned if she isn't directly channeling John Ostrander's Suicide Squad in this miniseries. This is the one DC Infinite Crossover Crisis miniseries that deserves to have its own ongoing book. Here then, dear reader, are the reasons you should immediately get this book, and pick up any and all past issues you don't already have:

  • 1) Catman is revitalized as a decent villain.
  • 2) Everyone on the team hates each other.
  • 3) There is so much hate-to-miss-it-love-to-watch-it soap operaness going on it's sick.

4) Read this issue and you won't have to wonder what's been going on over in Firestorm.

Oh, and did I mention the action is great? Seriously, pick this one up. It's a LOT of fun.

Best Moment: "Tell Luthor, tell Talia. Tell Black Adam, tell Dr. Psycho. Tell Calculator, and tell Deathstroke. You're already dead. You just haven't fallen down yet."
Worst Moment: The All My Children final two pages. Tho it does set up an interesting plot point.
Comic Book Goodness: 4/5. This is so entertaining it makes my balls ache. Even the Ragdoll-up-the-toilet-sequence. Perhaps I've shared too much.

Iron Man #4

So, after 9 FRIGGING MONTHS issue 4 is here! Yay! Those who have bothered to read the previous posts on this blog know what an Iron Fan I am. So, how was it?

Crappy, in my opinion. Now don't get me wrong, I usually love what Warren Ellis writes. But here he's taken the whole human/technology dichotomy, Tony Stark/Iron Man differences and...eliminated them. Sigh. Virtually no action, and despite pretty art, not much interest in the plot here. Saving grace: a return to the "collapsible Iron Man suitcase armor" could be in the works. And that should say something, if that was the saving grace.

Best Moment: Iron Man saving the family in the car that lands on top of him. Classic IM stuff.
Worst Moment: The idea that Tony needs to be biologically enhanced to control the armor. It muddles the man/machine conflict that lies at the heart of (in my opinion) the most interesting character in the Marvel Universe. And yes, I have zero objectivity when it comes to Iron Man.
Comic Book Goodness: 2/5. I give it one point for the art and one point for actually being released before the next Ice Age. No promises on the next issue, though, which at this rate should be on your comic store shelves about an hour before we colonize Jupiter.

Rann-Thanagar War #4

I started out as a big cheerleader for this series, as it had all those components I've wanted to see for years in a comic: grand adventure, space opera, complex plot, et cetera. Unfortunately, now it resembles a big pile of oatmeal. The detailed art is almost too detailed; even I, with a deep and abiding love for all things Thanagarian and space adventure, cannot follow the plot here. So, Onimar Synn (some Thanagarian Death God) wants to kill everyone in the universe. Fine. I can deal with that. But what the hell are Captain Comet, Kyle Rayner, Adam Strange, and the HawkPeople going to do about it? I have no idea. This ish also features Komand'R, Prince Gavyn, Tigorr, and some dozens of Rannians that are not ashamed to show their prowess in fleeing the scene of a battle. I literally have no idea what's going on here.

Best Moment: I dunno. Probably being surprised when my wife brought home a pizza while I was reading this. Mmmm, pizza.
Worst Moment: The scene where Prince Gavyn proclaims the Zeta Beam technology the most important in the Universe then promptly blows it up.
Comic Book Goodness: 1/5. Detailed art, and detailed art alone saves this from the first-ever dreaded 0/5 rating. But GodDAMN, it was close.

Klarion #3

I can't describe precisely why I'm liking this series -- maybe it's the ultra creepy vibe that I get from Frazer Irving's art, or maybe it's the sense that no good can come of any of this plot. Either way, Klarion continues his creepy ways, hooks up with Fagin's gang from Oliver! and generally acts like any other teenager with witch powers, an intelligent cat, and blue skin. (Yes, I just went Broadway on the program.)

Best Moment: The gang's smash-n-grab at the Museum of Superheroes
Worst Moment: The almost heartbreaking fate of Billy.
Comic Book Goodness: 3/5. Definitely not for everyone, but for those who like their comics with a generous helping of dread, this hits the spot. And damn, the art is creepy.


Blogger kelvingreen said...

I'm told that the Umar stuff in Defenders #2 was originally even more steamy before Marvel quoshed it. After all, does it make sense that she's wearing a bikini in the bath?

9:36 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

Kelvingreen, exactly. The only other explanation I can think of is that the bikini is actually made of dead souls that Umar has collected, and wearing the dead soul bikini would by definition make Umar more badass. I guess.

Or, yeah, Marvel won't go for the nekkid.

10:49 AM  
Blogger kelvingreen said...

Yeah, because I'm sure so many impressionable youngsters are going to wander (by chance) into a comic shop and pick up (by chance) a comic featuring the big green guy from that movie no one liked, and a bunch of other people that they won't recognise, only to find (gasp!) boobies inside!

Stupid Marvel.

3:23 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

"the big green guy from that movie no one liked"


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Blogger kelvingreen said...

I should point out that I did like Ang Lee's Hulk, up until the last five minutes or so, when it went all batshit.

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