Monday, September 17, 2007

Chris' Reviews 9/12

Smallish pull list last week, so I picked up some stuff that looked intriguing; in other news, I read quite possible the single worst comic I've read all year, and that's not even using the standard 2GBC Hyperbole Quotient. Massive Spoilers Ahoy!


Well, color me surprised that so far Thor has been as good as it has been. I think the Stracyzinsky/Gaiman/Whoever premise of putting Thor in Oklahoma is unique, charming, and makes for a neat setup. Additionally, the idea that he has to go about the planet "waking" up his fellow gods makes for a quest with some longevity; don't get me wrong, in about two issues I need to see some hammer throwin' against Mephisto or something, but for now, I think we're good.

Of course, that's due in large part to the fact that the Thor v. Iron Man confrontation was something we've been waiting for for about a year and a half; and I must say, it doesn't disappoint. Thor's verbal smackdown of Tony is just withering, and if you know anyone who didn't think Tony was a complete shitheel during Civil War, well, just fax them a copy of page 8 and then wait by the phone for their apology.

Also, I've never been so happy to see Iron Man get smacked like a Hank Aaron home run, electrocuted, nearly strangled, and cracked like an eggshell. Oh Thor, you silly God of Thunder, your wacky antics never fail to entertain!

Meantime, there's a touching bit with Heimdall, and some plot hammering regarding Asgard's status that had to be gotten out of the way sooner rather than later (despite Tony's completely wrong interpretation of what defines U.S. territory), and nice art to boot.

Best Moment: SHRAKOOOM!, which apparently is the sound a lightning bolt makes when it's zapping billionaire industrialist dickheads.

Worst Moment: I admit, I got a bit verklempt at the sad, insane guy stuck with Heimdall's soul in way that totally did NOT remind me of Star Trek III. Nope. Not at all. Nosiree.

Comic Book Goodness: 4/5. A payoff moment, the return of a familiar face, and have I mentioned it's nice to have Thor back? Also, SHRAKOOOM!


So, I figured I'd get back into the JLA once McDuffie came aboard, and figured "why not jump on board with the one-shot?" The results were, um, mixed.

There's essentially 4 parts to the issue:

1) The bachelor party for Ollie, in which Hal acts like a doofus, John Stewart gets a line that pretty much defines why he's such a cool character, Batman is Batman, and a bunch of archers stand around skeeving me out with references to Ollie's sex life. This part is generally good.

2) Firestorm and Floaty Head Girl Who's Not Professor Stein (I'm not up on my Firestorm developments, so someone can explain who she is in the comments) duke it out with Killer Frost, who has Power Suit Luthor, Action Figure Cheetah, and Zoot Suit Joker along for backup, and that goes about as well as you'd think it would, ending with a score of Firestorm 0, Villains 2,344.

3) Lex assembles all the villains into a new Injustice League, which... you know, probably is the way things should be, except I just got done reading Justice, so it wasn't a particularly shocking development since I kind of assumed that all the DC villains were already working together. Also, it always bothers me when the Joker is lumped into supervillain teams, because the Joker doesn't give two farts about anyone but himself.

4) Batman and Roy (Red Arrow? Speedy?) investigate the crime scene from (2) above, Wonder Woman and Hawkgirl visit Firestorm in the hospital and get ambushed by Dr. Light, Joker, Polarity, and Cheetah in a fight scene that's frankly kind of bad. The issue ends with a broken Kendra getting back to the Hall of Justice and Superman saying "The party's over!" (Eeesh.)

Sprinkled throughout are nods to McDuffie's work on the animated Justice League Unlimited, and while I'm still excited to read his ongoing JLA, there was just too much of nothing happening in this issue that couldn't decide whether it wanted to be a JLA action issue or behind-the-scenes character piece. Ultimately it comes up short at both.

Best Moment: The opening pages with Lex, Joker, and Cheetah parodying Brad Meltzer's opening pages of his JLA run, with the three trying to decide who's in the new Injustice League.

Worst Moment: I thought the Firestorm section was hard to follow and out of place, but then that's generally how I've always felt about Firestorm.

Comic Book Goodness: 2/5. At 4 bucks, I expected something other than a disjointed set-up piece, or something that actually had to do with, you know, the wedding. I understand now the point is to set up McDuffie's run, but still this one left me kind of cold (except for the fact that John Stewart's going to be in the League). Also: is it me or did the strippers that Hal hired remind anyone else of Marvel's X-Men Rogue, Psylocke, and Storm? Hee!


Oh, Sweet Jumpin' Waffles, this comic was awful. I mean, awful.

Forget --- try to forget, anyway (it's damn near impossible since there's pages where Tony Stark and his goons show up again to grill Marc Spector over Cap's visit) --- that this issue takes place before the end of Civil War. I have no problems with issues told in flashback, but this is the second issue in a row that does this, and the action is so muddled, the dialogue boxes so confusing, the characters so badly developed that I had to read it three times to understand (kinda) what happened.

And I hate reading bad comics more than once.

The gore is more gratuitous than ever (and for this comic, that's saying something), there's at least three Whiskey Tango Foxtrot moments where characters do things out of the blue for no apparent motivation, and everybody generally behaves like murderous six-year olds. It's Terrible with a capital "T", and it's off the pull list for good. Randy tells me there's a new writer coming on board, and I can only hope that what started with an interesting premise for Moon Knight's return somehow gets back on track. Also, I'd still like to know what the hell happened in this issue.

Best Moment: "Hello, Local Comic Shop? It's Chris. Please burn any remaining copies of this comic. It's for the best. Think of the children."

Worst Moment: "Maybe if I read it a third time it'll start to make sense."
Comic Book Goodness: 0/5. In retrospect, I really should have just taken my three dollars and lit them on fire.


Well, I won't lie; I've been waiting for this one for awhile. Oddly, though the entire thing takes place before Infinite Crisis (actually, it takes place even before Identity Crisis), the editorial message at the bottom of the first page tells us that it takes place before Salvation Run. Whatever. Not the point.

The point is that Ostrander's back with the Squad, and tell me if this seems familiar: Amanda Waller is leading them into a trap, Deadshot's trigger-happy, they're fighting old-school villains in the form of The People's Heroes (Pravda! Bolshoi! Molotov! Hee!), and nobody has any respect for Captain Boomerang. Plus: dinosaurs!

It all reads like it was written about 20 years ago, and I'm actually OK with that. There's a few disquieting moments --- Puma, for instance, falls for the tried-and-true Explosive In The Head trick --- and if Waller seems a tad out of character at times, I think it's because this is actually closer to where she was back when she was running the Squad, rather than her animated counterpart (or even Checkmate version).

Can't say I'd recommend this for everyone, but if you have any love for the old Squad or just are a fan of villain team-ups (and really, who isn't?), you'll probably dig this.

Best Moment: Is it wrong that I still get a kick when dinosaurs show up unexpectedly in superhero comics? No? Good.

Worst Moment: "Boomerbutt" once is kinda funny. "Boomerbutt" multiple times starts to get irritating. Just sayin'.

Comic Book Goodness: 3/5. Solid work, about what I expected, and for an eight-issue series I think it'll do nicely to soothe my Secret Six withdrawal.

FALLEN ANGEL #20 --- On the plus side, it feels like forever since we've actually been in Bete Noire, and it's good to be back. This issue focuses on Jude coming to terms with the fact that he's trapped in the city, and the efforts of Jubal to undermine his faith. That said, the art by Dennis Calero is all over the map here, ranging from "effective" to "that page looks like it took about two minutes to draw", and it hurts more than helps. It's better than usual after a lackluster four issues or so, and let's hope things get even darker in the next. CBG: 2/5.

X-FACTOR #23 --- A rare (in my book) so-so week for Peter David, as X-Factor starts to show crossover fungus developing on it, what with Huber exposed as the villain we knew him to be and the Somewhat Less Than Astonishing X-Men showing up and behaving like dorks. Major hooks into Endangered Species, and the setup for the upcoming Messiah Complex notwithstanding, the end leaves three of our heroes (four if you count a dupe) stranded in Antarctica, which could --- and should --- make for a highly entertaining next ish. CBG: 2/5.



Blogger Greg said...

WTF? I specifically asked about Fallen Angel last week and was told it didn't ship. Nor did Atomic Comics (the old back-up store) have it. How do you rate? Sheesh.

10:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know, I thought FA 20 was so much better art wise that anything in ten issues or so, I'd give the book 4/5 just for that!

6:05 AM  

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