Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Chris' Reviews 2/15


Three comics of note this week, and I've got Essential Moon Knight waiting for me in my box this week. Mmmmmmmm, Moon Knight. Randy has most all of the back issues, and he's a MK Superfan, so I'm looking forward to reading this. Massive Spoilers Ahoy!

JUSTICE #4

Superfriends Writ Large continues, as the Legion of Doom ambushes our JLA heroes one by one in attempts to either capture or kill them. Meanwhile, Luthor, Black Manta, and Poison Ivy reveal themselves to the world as saviors of the human race.

Their argument boils down to "We're using our powers to heal the sick, feed the hungry, and help out --- how come you don't see any JLAers doing them same, huh? Who REALLY are the bad guys here?" And then the Legion of Doom invites people to come live in their new cities. Or something.

It's actually a fairly good argument they make. Too bad it runs contradictory to pretty much every single depiction of the Justice League EVER.

Seriously. How many JLA comics had little throwaway panels of a hero helping out a community or something? Usually it was along the lines of, for example, Flash building houses at superspeed, then Batman would come along and say "Hey! We need to take down Darkseid!" and of course, Flash would run off and go help, after which I always assumed that Flash went back to his charity work.

I can't say it undermines the whole premise, but if it turns out that there's a huge groundswell of support from the public buying into this notion, then I'll have to rethink buying this. Thankfully, it's bimonthly and Elseworlds-y, so I don't have to care too much.

The scenes of each Legionnaire (I guess that's what they would be called) taking down a JLAer are appropriately done, for the most part. You get Sinestro trapping Hal in a boom tube, Bizarro, Parasite, and Metallo taking down Superman, Scarecrow doing a creepy number on Ollie and Dinah, Cheetah and Diana in a catfight (HAR!), and a very ooky new Toyman going after the Hawks. It's fan fiction, but it's nicely painted fan fiction.

The only problem I had was with the Atom's takedown scene, which was done by having a sniper shoot him from across the street. Ray Palmer gets shafted again.

(And by the way, who the hell was the lady sniper supposed to be? Is she a supervillain? Did Luthor figure, "Let's see, Superman, Green Lantern, Flash...aw crap, we forgot about the Atom. Somebody call a henchman and just have her shoot him.")

The art is Alex Ross and Doug Braithewaite, which at this point you either like or you don't. I still do.

Oh, and Batman is conspicuously absent in this issue, which to me indicates that he's going to figure out the whole thing next issue. (Although if they truly go the Superfriends route, he'll do it using the Troubalert and the Wonder Twins. I'm not sure how I feel about that last sentence.)

Best Moment: I actually really liked how each hero called for some other hero to help them when they were being attacked --- and how that call was always unanswered. It's little things like that that reinforce the sense of a league, and it's done a lot less than you think in most depictions of this bunch.

Worst Moment: I still have no idea what the hell they did to Barry Allen to keep him from being able to stop running. Plus: a sniper? That's the best the Atom rates?

Comic Book Goodness: 3/5. Lots of mini-fight scenes competently done, enjoyable art, and a few new depictions of classic foes. Not much not to like here. As opposed to the next comic, which is...


NEW AVENGERS #16

Marvel's premier superteam gets to strut their stuff, as a fierce battle with a cool new opponent takes up most of the issue here---punctuated, of course, with brilliant in-character asides and just the right amount of quieter moments. The Avengers each get to show off what makes them such a valuable part of the new team, and Earth's Mightiest Heroes take center stage in a battle sure to have repercussions across the Marvel U.

I am, of course, kidding.

This is the single worst issue of New Avengers Bendis has crapped out thus far, and I am done with this book. This just sealed the deal for me. Why, you may ask?

- Take a look at the cover. Believe me when I tell you, and I am serious, no one on that cover is actually in this comic book. Yeah.

- Tony Stark's talking head makes a two-page appearance at the beginning of the book getting in a silly pissing match with SHIELD.

- Did I say beginning of the book? I'm sorry, I meant a third of the way through the book, since there's no talking and no characters in the first 8 pages, just single page splashes on every page.

- The rest of the book takes place on the SHIELD helicarrier, as we watch various SHIELD personnel monitor the new energy villain thingy wipe out a SHIELD squad. Yep. It's a whole issue dedicated to monitoring radio transmissions! Woo! Hoo!

- Alpha Flight shows up, which is always a bad sign for any comic. They confront the alien thingy for one panel, and then we turn the page and see Alpha Flight laying bloody on the ground. Nope, we didn't even get a fight scene there! (Although on the plus side, I'm sure John Byrne got so mad at this he developed a rash.)

- Did I mention that there aren't any Avengers (new or old) in this book? Not one?

Do yourself a favor, and go buy Essential Avengers vol. 5, which is my favorite Essential volume bar none at this point, and avoid New Avengers at all costs.

Best Moment: Since so little happens in this comic, it only took about 5 minutes to read.

Worst Moment: Realizing that it'll be at least until fall (after Civil War) before the Avengers stand a remote chance of being good again.

Comic Book Goodness: 0/5. There are some people who claim that this comic is good. Of course, there are also some people who claim that Hitler's brain is still alive inside the Loch Ness Monster, who is living with Elvis in Atlantis. I can only assume that these people drink from the same bottle.

X-MEN: DEADLY GENESIS #4

After a slow third issue in which nothing really happened, Brubaker starts to draw back the curtain, and not having been spoilerized by the Internet on this, I was pleasantly surprised. Maybe that makes me a moron, but oh well.

We learn that when Xavier sent the original X-men to battle Krakoa, before he recruited Storm, Colossus, Wolverine et al. to go rescue everybody he first went to Moira McTaggart and recruited her four young students for the mission. Among those students? Kid Vulcan, who just also happens to be the third Summers brother.

So this issue is very, very heavy on exposition, but it's a necessary evil given the story that's being told here, and the dimensions of bastard-osity that it adds to Charles Xavier are, in my book, welcome. It makes him loads more interesting and it's probably worthy of a longer post, but I like the fact that he's got a must-win attitude not so different than Magneto's.

It also neatly serves up a purpose to the mutant backup stories that have been appearing in these issues, which I totally should have guessed about 2 issues ago, but like I said. I'm a moron. Of course, Nightcrawler, Beast, and Wolverine learn all this (except for the part about Vulcan being a Summers-kin) by watching the tape retrieved from the airline wreckage.

Oddly, no one seems to much care that Banshee died two issues ago...which pretty much is right in line with most comic readers. (I keed! I keed! Kind of.)

Anyhoo, I'm not sure how this is going to end, and that's a good thing.

Best Moment: "No, Logan...the question is...what happened to them?"

Worst Moment: I'm still a little fuzzy on what Gabriel's backup story in this ish was trying to tell us, but I think it's going to be fairly important that I decipher it by next issue.

Comic Book Goodness: 3/5. Pieces of the puzzle get filled in, and we're steaming ahead to the conclusion. I'm in the minority here, but I've gotta say that this is the most interested I've been in the X-Men in years.

ALSO THIS WEEK:
Conan #25 - competent set-up for next issue, but slow.

Earth's Mightiest Heroes #1 - to wash the bad taste of New Avengers out of my mouth, I picked up Joe Casey's first ish to give it a whirl. Not bad. I never read it when it was current, but my LCS has all 8 issues so I'll try one a week if it stays good.

7 Comments:

Anonymous Patrick said...

New Avengers #16 isn't just bad, it's actively offensive. Seriously... how do you sell this comic for three dollars and not feel absolutely ashamed of yourself? A third of the issue can be read in under twenty seconds! What the hell?

I'm very seriously thinking there's no way Bendis legitimately believes he's turning in quality work.

11:32 AM  
Blogger Spencer Carnage said...

Its like that silent issue of GI Joe. That shit was hot! Or Frank Miller's Silent Night? Uber-hot!

Actually, I'm a bit bummed out that this issue appears to suck so much. I haven't gotten it yet, but from what I heard, it was lauded as a good issue.

Why does Bendis tell and not show? Is he so in love with the sound of his characters' voice that he has completely curtail the action? Remember the Sentry arc? Just when all the heroes are there and the weird Void monster comes(which was different from the Void in the Sentry trade), all of sudden it cuts to Emma Frost being all "uh, i'm such a bitch and i'm in the sentry's head. fascinating." while sticking out her boobs. That was bad.

If there was someone that should be writing this book, it should be Joe Casey. He has shown that he can do new and interesting things as well as honor and add to the existing versions of already establishing characters.

Oh my god, did I just praise Joe Casey?

Ok, I'm done now.

12:34 PM  
Blogger James Meeley said...

Man, did you call it on that New Avengers issue.

I mean, those eight splashes at the start, could have been told in two panel pages, then maybe we could have SEEN Alpha Flight get their asses handed to them, instead of seeing it inferred.

This was MY last issue of the book, too. It's been riding the edge since the end of the Sentry arc and this just pushed it over the edge. I think Bendis just really doesn't "get" the Avengers concept.

1:21 PM  
Blogger h-boogie said...

I AGREE with everything everybody has said here.
definitely.....

I miss the Avengers.....really do.

One thing I must say though,

keep STEVE MCNIVEN on pencils.
I luv the way he drew Alpha Flight,
and I can only imagine what he can do if he was given sum real Avengers to work with:)

4:56 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Oh, I didn't even mention the shitty 8-page Kickers, Inc. backup story at the end of the book!

I am so not even kidding about that.

7:50 PM  
Blogger Bored_Yesterday said...

A few months ago, when the fans were blabbering about how boring the New Avengers were, number 16 was announced in the solicits, and it was like "hell yeah! See? It's going to get good? A new Galactus level threat! Alpha Flight in their Final Battle! See? It said "Battle?"" That kept a lot of people buying the crap leading up to this travesty. I'm putting off my trip to the comic shop, because I don't want to pick this up out of my pull file.

Crap like this is a good argument against copyright. Let somebody else have a go with these characters, because Marvel has not proven to be a good custodian of our cultural heritage.

10:16 AM  
Blogger kelvingreen said...

Comic Book Goodness: 0/5. There are some people who claim that this comic is good. Of course, there are also some people who claim that Hitler's brain is still alive inside the Loch Ness Monster, who is living with Elvis in Atlantis. I can only assume that these people drink from the same bottle.
Damn. I wish I'd thought of that. Bravo.


I've not been reading Brubaker's X-Men retcon, but has he made use of the Shi'ar yet? I think he might be going to kill them off or something. They were doing a piece on this upcoming "Annihilation" thing and saying that they couldn't use the Shi'ar due to circumstances beyond their control, and in an unrelated piece, Brubaker was talking about how this series clashed with something they wanted to do in "Annihilation", but he and the editor worked it out. I assume this has something to do with the Shi'ar.

12:49 PM  

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