Thursday, February 22, 2007

Chris' Reviews 2/21

Howdy all! It's that time again; light week (only 2 comics for me), but one of them was a rollicking good time with old-school superheroics and good in-character dialogue! The other one was Civil War #7. As usual: Massive Spoilers Ahoy!


I'll say this: if you're going to have a DC team-up comic with a revolving cast of characters, you can do a damn sight worse than Mark Waid and George Perez as the creative team.

A corpse in space leads Green Lantern (the Hal Jordan version) to join forces with Batman; before you know it, they're fighting off aliens in the Batcave and the trail leads them to Las Vegas, where they encounter (among other things) more aliens, Roulette (the villain), and Blackjack (the card game). Oh, and there's some hoo-ha about a Book Of Destiny.

As a fan of old-school team-up books, I really enjoyed this one. First off, Waid hits the right marks with the dialogue and inner monologues (of which, thankfully, there aren't too many), and typically a team-up book lives or dies on the strength of the banter between the heroes. Good stuff. Of particular note was the scene where Bruce and Hal sit down for some blackjack.

(Side Note: My first thought when I saw the dealer hand over stacks of chips marked "5" and "10" was: Way to slum it at the $25 tables, Brucie! You go, Playah! Then I realized that they were probably $5000 and $10000 chips.)

(Additional Side Note: After that, I realized that I would read an entire issue of Bruce Wayne, Gamblin' Man in which a down-and-out Bruce attempts to maintain a playboy image by hitting the keno room, playing the nickel slots, and betting the under in the Knicks-Lakers game. Calling Jeff Parker! Jeff Parker, you're wanted at the Fanboy Request Phone!)

And while the overall plot (chasing the Book Of Ultimate Power Or Somesuch) doesn't really do much for me, the issue moved quickly enough that I enjoyed this part of the ride nonetheless.

I assume Perez did the page layouts, and kudos to him for a bang-up job conveying the action and thought processes that were occurring simultaneously. Really nice work.

Best Moment: "Dick always swore that penny would come in handy someday." Heh.

Worst Moment: It gets a bit confusing near the end (as things typically do when DC's aliens are involved) plot-wise. Also: the aliens come from Planet Ventura where based on the name I assume the waves are high, the days are hot, and the nightlife is hotter!

Comic Book Goodness: 3/5, due in no small part to my natural affinity for team-ups. It's a solid first issue, and I look forward to more from Waid and Perez.


(Lets out a deep breath)

(You can do this. Eye of the tiger, Chris. Eye of the tiger.)

Well, it's over, I'll give it that much.

To be honest, I was hoping that this issue would be a massive success, at least a big, loud, explosive conclusion to a long, poorly-told badly-characterized mess that's consumed the Marvel universe.

Unfortunately, we got... well, I'm still not quite sure what we got, but if I had to pick a word for it, it's "underwhelming".

Put it this way: every time Millar goes for a "big moment", it's completely undermined by one of three things:

1) It's completely out of character. Examples include Cap attempting to kill a defeated Tony Stark, Tony egging on cap with the phrase, "Let's hope I don't have to put you through all that pain again, huh?" and Tony backhanding Johnny Storm saying, "You think I'm stupid, son?" We won't even get into the fact that Millar has Hercules stealing dialogue from Lloyd Bentsen.

2) It makes no sense given the context. There's a point where Cap surrenders because they're "not fighting for the people anymore". Excuse me? At what point did ANY of the anti-registration folks ever convince anyone that they were fighting for "the people"? At what point was this NOT a completely self-involved pissing match over a stupid piece of legislation pertaining only to the cape community? What? And the ThorBot reappearing in his own page is supposed to be a "money" shot when we all know it's not really Thor? Please.

3) The words are telling us things that the art is contradicting. For example, at one point Namor shows up with maybe a dozen Atlanteans, at which point She-Hulk declares "they're going to wipe the floor with us now". Huh? And Reed marveling at Spider-Man's fighting ability like a six-year old who just saw their first elephant at the zoo is belied by the fairly pedestrian panel depicting Spidey bopping 3 or 4 guys on the head. Or Cloak apparently having to teleport a hundred heroes, when the splash page shows eight or nine. It's a lot of cognitive dissonance.

That said, there are a few panels where Steve McNiven does a great --- I mean, GREAT --- job depicting the force and impact of action. And the "extra pages" at the end basically establish where we are in the Marvel Universe now, which...

I can't get into that right now, because I need more time to process it. In fact, you know what, screw it. I'm going page-by-page on this tomorrow and you all can decide whether it means anything or not. In the meantime...

Best Moment: "Man, this is the living legend of World War Two? Who was he fighting? Bing Crosby?" --- Bullseye

Worst Moment: Hate to say it, but the whole "Cap surrenders" sequence was notable only for being even more out of tune than normal in what has been a discordant symphony of wrong notes.

Comic Book Goodness: 1/5. Like I said, underwhelming. And not terribly good. Expectations had been lowered, and it didn't even meet those. More tomorrow.



Anonymous DJ Black Adam said...

I have to totally agree with you regarding Marvel Civil War, what a let down.

5:01 PM  
Blogger Spencer Carnage said...

I think that whole "fighting for the people" is Cap realizing that they are no longer looked at as heroes, but as villians. I'm not sure, because I haven't read it yet. And from what I hear, not too sure if I want to.

5:13 PM  
Anonymous carla said...

People need to go through this book page-by-page to make sure their following the right points. Heck, I'm near digging out the whole series and trying to read it without the huge gaps in info to see if the story gets any better this way...

6:00 PM  

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