Thursday, March 22, 2007

Randy Reviews March 21

Greetings one and all!! I bought books, and let me tell you, I really want to tell you about them. Not a bad book in the lot. I was very very pleased with the books this week. Without further ado, and spoiler-free too, here they are.

Amazing Spider-Man #539
Back in Black, Pt. 1 of 5

Yes, yes, I bought into the hype. Or at least I'd thought I'd give it a try. I am a fan of JMS from his Babylon 5 days. I haven't been a big of fan in his comics writing days.Don't get me wrong, he usually weaves a good tale. The problem is the weave- sometimes it takes sooooo long to get there, and then its just kinda punchless.Regardless, its usually a good tale. This book is not the case. Its a great tale, and I am very glad that I picked it up.
Its raw. That's the easiest way to put it. Its Peter Parker raw. This book is just full of pure, raw emotion, and never, ever lets up. We all know how its going to end, its not meant to be a suprise any longer with the THOUSANDS of news posts and such (anyone miss the old days when we could be shocked and taken aback by comic happenings?) But the end of this chapter is well-played out. The art, at first, I was not happy with. But, as I re-read it, it too, just helps to emphasize the pure raw emotion of Peter Parker. I don't ever recall seeing a character ever being this...driven?
I really wasn't expecting much- I got a great surprise though at the end, when I found that this was really well done! This is no longer your whiny, fun, down-to-earth Spider-Man. This one you can really fear.
Rating: 4/5. This is a Peter Parker/Spider-Man that I would not ever want to face! And I really liked that in this character.

Warbird #13
The Deal, Pt. 1 of 2

I cannot say enough of how boring and bad this book was during CW. It really screwed with the character, and you could tell it was all forced during this time.Finally, I am happy to say, that this issue reverts to its former...better self.We have an unhappy Warbird. You can tell that she is not happy about CW, and really reflects that ESPECIALLY with a great piece involving Iron Man. Its made JUST FOR YOU CHRIS!!
This ish explains a bit about why she was chosen to lead the Mighty Avengers (and the Mighty part too!), what she will be doing in her solo book, and the NICE!! ride she now has. Must be nice to have DoS Tony Stark in your hip pocket. Sigh. If only we could all know someone like that.
I will say that I do not care for the cover. Its just too...pretty for me. Too touched up. It is pretty, dont' get me wrong. don't model-ish. The interior art was up to my par though, and suits the book well.
Warbird now has all kinds of directions to go, and I can foresee lots of tales that can be told here.
I was actually looking to drop this book, but this one issue will keep me onboard for a couple more, especially now that I like the direction it has taken.
Rating: 3/5. Started kinda slow, and was left a bit unexplained later. The Tony bits are great, especially my second favorite scene of the week.

Brave and the Bold #2
Lords of Luck: Ventura Chapter 2

Why is it that Supergirl is so well done OUTSIDE of her own book? The banter between characters was very strong, they played well off each other, and holy crap was Supergirl NOT HILARIOUS when she um, dressed down? Was it completely outlandish? Abso-friggin-lutely, and I think that is why I enjoyed it so much. I could not stop laughing my ass off when she did that from her chat with Green Lantern.

Mark Waid is a great writer- am I coming to that conclusion way late in the game? Fun, fun and more fun is this book. It was very wordy in parts, but the dialogue was so well done that I honestly just wanted to read more. I want this team-up more, due to the repercussions that COULD happen! All I will say is "Poor Hal", as I laugh just typing this. I just laughed again just thinking of of Supergirls reactions to Hal when she um "goes into disguise mode". Oh, and there is a part with Batman and the new Beetle too. I really enjoyed the Beetle's scenes in that discussion. I'm loving the "kids vs. the pros" vibe I"m getting from this book.
Rating: 5/5. I'm sorry gang, this just couldn't be funnier, with great dialogue, great action, and just overall a really strong book. Great job to Waid and Perez!!

X-Factor #17

This was the only "average" book of the week, which is certainly not a down turn because X-Factor has been a strong read every month. And this trend continues. Great dialogue again between Madrox and Layla, Rictor and Rahne (though I still tire of Rictor every month, but at least he's not a dick!) and Madrox and the end-game character, Val Cooper.

As usual, good intentions go sour. X-Factor is dragged into the middle again. And lots of ice cream too boot. At this point though I'd rather start to see more team interaction, less Madrox collecting his dupes. Each one of those could be stories themselves (see last ish) and would rather see these played out elsewhere. At least they are much more readable in small chunks like was done in this issue.
Rating: 3/5. Always on the good side. As I mentioned, I would like to see more team action. But great dialogue that didn't bog me down.

Birds of Prey #104
Whitewater Part 1: Crystal Ascension

Ladies and Gentlemen, I would like to present my book of the week! This book has everything I want in a book.I have my favorite writer, Gail. I have the Secret Six. I have heroes in disguise. I have heroes in disguise having fun at the expense of others. I have action. I have great dialogue amongst EVERYONE. And, I have a rocking surprise at the end. (Side Note: this surprise has been revealed on a Newsarama interview with Gail. (I read all the interviews with Gail.)I thought Brave and the Bold was a fun book?! This one was even more of a ride than that one! I do so love the Barda reactions to situations. She has been a great change of pace to this book.Basically: BoP needs to steal something. Secrex Six needs to protect something. We all know where that is going to lead.
Rating: 5/5. I would go higher, but I'll behave. As I said, this book has everything that I could want in a book.

Bonus Review:

Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Season 8, #1, The Long Way Home, Part 1

  1. I so neglected to review this book last week. Basically because I'm just dumb and spaced it.
  2. 1. Did I like the book? Yes, I liked it. Didn't love it.
    2. Do you need to know the tv series? Honestly, yes you do to understand the ending. That was a little disappointing, as I had heard you could just pick this up and run with it, especially for new readers. For fans of the show, they are going to love it.
    3. Was it true to how the characters were based? Yes, the dialogue was dead on, but it should be, given who is writing the book.
    4. How was the art? Eh. Meh. Some characters were "pictured" like their characters. Buffy was not. Well, except for the cover art. Do I really need exact likenesses? Nah, and the action was captured very well.
    It jumps right from the Season 7 finale, and does a great job with that.
    However, I do not like the 1600 or so slayers around the world being a task force fighting evil wherever it may be. Its Buffy, the Slayer.
    Singular. Not plural. That's not really the story I want to read. I want to read Buffy. The Gang. Their adventures.
    Am I still going to buy the book? Yes, I will be. I have hope that things will improve, and besides, as a fan of the tv show, and season 6 sucking ass, I stuck with it thru 7, which wasn't horrible.

Rating: 3/5. Still giving it a good rating, as I do enjoy the characters, and it left me looking forward to next ish with the "antagonist". And dagnabbit, gimme some Giles! Wait, did that sound wrong...?

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12:43 PM  
Blogger kelvingreen said...

Didn't think much of ASM, to be honest. There's nothing there we haven't seen before, and while it's quite solid, it's relying too much on a sense of drama that just isn't there. 3 out of 5.

Oh, and it bothers me that they got the reason he retired the black suit wrong.

1:35 PM  
Blogger Nick said...

You didn't like Season 6! Oh come on man, you can't tell me the episode Life Serial with the nerds monitoring Buffy wasn't the most hilarious thing that's ever been on there (not counting The Zeppo). "Quit touching my magic bone!"

3:48 PM  
Blogger kelvingreen said...

I have to agree. While there was some good stuff in seasons six and seven, they should have just ended the show with season five, and done a few one-offs or tv movies of the post-five good stuff, leaving all the flab (and there was a lot of it) out.

4:08 AM  
Blogger Randy said...

Kelvin: I never was a consistent reader of ASM, so I am unaware of most of the history with the black suit. I did see quite a bit of what you are saying on Bab5. Dramatic speeches were often too lofty. I remember one speech where the damn captain kept using "extraordinary" over and over. Ruined the drama. But I think it worked here, especially backed by the art.

Nick: Compared to the other six seasons, Season six was a huge lowpoint in the Buffy TV era. Did it have one or two good episodes? Sure. But certainly not overall a good season.

6:57 AM  
Blogger SallyP said...

Gosh, but Birds of Prey was fabulous. My favorite book of the week, and it WAS a very good week.

Catman lickes Huntress. Huntress throws meatballs at Catman. Barda nonchalantly digs bullets out of her thighs.

Ice is back. There. I've said it.

10:25 AM  
Blogger Jack Norris said...

You said:
That was a little disappointing, as
I had heard you could just pick this up and run with it, especially for new readers.

Really? where did you hear that? Everything I read about this book seemed to indicate that this was, as a direct "canon" continuation, pretty much a gift to the fans (of Buffy, not comics, necessarily). I don't even recall the usual "easy jump-on point" boilerplate that seems to show up in most comics PR copy these days. Not trying to argue, but I'm honestly surprised that this was even a point in your review.
Also, I prefer the "Slayer army" to the idea of ignoring or sidelining the series-end status quo, and I'm pretty comfortable that the old regulars will turn up soon.

Season 6? Eh, had its high points, had its low points, but I don't think that the ratio between good & poor episodes is as widely different from other seasons as the fan consensus seems to be (then again, I also have massive affection for season 4, another widely hated season if online opinion is to be trusted). Also, as I first really started to follow People Arguing on the Internet About TV right around that point in time, I tend to have this knee jerk reaction that people who get REALLY worked up and vehement about the point are to be dismissed as silly, clownish figures. Then again, that tends to be my reaction to people getting worked up and vehement about most things in general, owing to what basically amounts to an emotional defect on my part, so you probably shouldn't take my reactions to such things too much to heart.

2:26 PM  
Blogger kelvingreen said...

Basically, Spidey says "I retired this suit because I didn't like the message it sent" when what he means is "I retired this suit because a nutjob wore it when he did something horrible to my wife they couldn't show because of the Comics Code".

Slightly different things, there.

7:31 AM  
Blogger Randy said...

I had thought I read that in an interview somewhere along the way from Joss Whedon, but it may have been me reading too much into the interview.
That last page reveal, new fans will be going- huh? Who?
For fans though, they'll love that "long-lost" storyline.
Also, seasons 4 & 5 are my two favorites.
And, gimme some Giles! (I know, eventually.)

Sallyp: BoP and B&B were two of the most entertaining books I have read in months. If not the most.

8:58 AM  
Blogger Matt said...

Season 6 had some good episodes, but overall it was just kind of "meh" (and the season that gave us Doublemeat Palace deserves no love from me). Season 7 got better, but as far as continuity and consistency goes it was a trainwreck.

I really enjoyed the comic simply because, with the end of the television series, the army of Slayers thing is kind of something I came to expect, so I've acclimated myself to it.

I kind of liked seeing Amy, but I'm not sure how I feel about her as a villain. The closest she ever came to villainy was turning Willow into a man in The Killer in Me (also a crappy episode). I guess I'll hold off reservations until I see/read some more, but so far I'm not too sure.

As for ASM, I kind of enjoyed it this issue - at least moreso than the last eight issues or so - but there are a couple of bones to pick.

Like Kelvin said, all of the drama comes from a forced place, and the motivation for the retirement of the black costume was misplaced.

I'm also annoyed that they established that the black costume has just been sitting there in webbing for years. Should've dissolved by now, no?

It's the little things like that - forgetting that Spidey's webbing dissolves, making Iron Man suddenly forget Peter's spider-sense to make it more convenient to the story - that really bug me about JMS' writing more than anything else.


12:14 PM  

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