Thursday, November 15, 2007

Chris' Reviews 11/14

Quite the mixed bag this week, with nary a soul in sight to blame for bad purchases but myself. Here's what I got, not including World War Hulk (that review and thoughts about the mini overall are coming tomorrow) or the Black Dossier (no way in hell I'm getting through all that text before the weekend). As always: Massive Spoilers Ahoy!


Gail Simone's first issue writing the Amazing Amazon (not counting the most recent Atom) starts things off with Diana fighting monkeys, moves to hints of Amazonian subterfuge, rounds out the middle with an office birthday party, throws in the newly-slimmed Lt. Colonel (!) Etta Candy, and finishes with Captain Nazi and the, um, Nazi-teers (or whatever Captain Nazi's henchmen are called) attempting an invasion of Themyscira.


It all moves along pretty quickly, too, and Diana's narrations are a mix of self-assured outsider and mildly bemused innocent (and seem perfectly in character to me). It's the usual Simone-ian mix of action and humor, and while it's certainly not a comedy title, it is a great deal of fun.

The Dodson art is typically Dodson-ish, so take that as you will --- I thought it was just fine here. The coloring seemed a little faded to me, but perhaps that's just my individual copy.

All in all, a fine, fun start to what will hopefully be a long, long run.

Best Moment: "There is cake, and that excuses much." Yes, Diana. Yes, it does.

Worst Moment: I'll admit, at this point Captain Nazi should probably be renamed to Professor Generic Villain #23 as far as I'm concerned, but hey --- in an issue with this many monkeys, I'm nitpicking.

Comic Book Goodness: 4/5. Right up my alley, and it's the issue that proves once and for all that Gail Simone can write monkeys like nobody's business.


OK, my love for the 'Factor is well documented at this blog, so this is tough for me to write.

Do not buy this issue of X-Factor unless you're following the "Messiah Complex" story in the gazillion other X-books, because there's only about 4 pages total here of X-Factory goodness we've come to expect from Peter David. Look, I know it's marked clearly right there on the cover as being a tie-in, but PAD's done a yeoman's job in the past of keeping crossover-itis to a minimum in this book, so I expected... I dunno, I guess I still expected an X-Factor book.

For what it's worth, here's how the book reads to someone who hasn't been following the "Messiah Complex" story:

1) Wolfsbane eats some terrorists.

2) Cyclops argues with some people I don't care about.

3) Madrox and Layla go see Forge, who expositions his hiney off about that stupid 19-part backup Beast story we had to put up with for the last 3 months.

4) Layla and a Madrox dupe disappear into the timestream. (It's not nearly as interesting as it sounds.)

5) Wolverine, Storm, Nightcrawler go to the hospital to talk to some nurse who turns herself into mist.

6) Cyclops argues some more with those people I still don't care about.

And then the whole thing mercifully ends, with me being sad about the X-Men in general, X-Factor in specific, and hoping this is the only crossover issue.

Best Moment: Hey! Ultimate Iron Man II is finally coming out in December!

Worst Moment: Any page featuring Cyclops and the Instantly Forgetful X-People.

Comic Book Goodness: 1/5. I suppose if you're following the event this made more sense, which is a bit like saying "You know, if you were a doctor, you'd think that medical textbook is more interesting."


OK, I'll admit I play World of Warcraft. I also tend to enjoy Walt Simonson comics. Ergo, I figured that I'd try this mixing of the two, and perhaps be entertained.

The good news is that it's better than it has any right to be.

The bad news is that it's still not any better than "eh".

Look, I understand wanting to cash in on a massive property like WoW, but fer Chrissake, an ad for WoW-themed games/action figures/comics/shirts every other freakin' page? At least, that's what it seems like.

(Side Note: In all fairness, I don't buy many Wildstorm comics, so I can't say if the ad count is usually this obtrusive or not. All I know is that if I'm reading a comic called World of Warcraft, I'm probably already playing your damn game.)

The story proper entails 3 folks being trained as gladiators in the Orc capital, and there's the usual mix of Mysterious Person What Can't Remember Their Past, Grudging Allies In Time Of Battle, and Shadowy Figure Pulling Strings Unseen. It reads like the setup to any other swords-n-sorcery book.

But Simonson seems to be visibly breaking a sweat here, like he's got a story in mind but he has to cram in a bunch of game-specific exposition to serve the brand, and even for a fan of the game like myself I find it distracting.

That said, there's an undeniable thrill at seeing the game in the comic format, and I quite like the artwork by Ludo Lullabi.

Best Moment: The scenes depicting druid shapeshifting were really well done and appropriately surreal.

Worst Moment: Note to fantasy writers: a good rule of thumb when writing about people with fantasy names is to not use 3 or more names in one sentence, as they're frequently unpronounceable and less frequently short.

Comic Book Goodness: 2/5. A decent story could come of this, but man... the odds aren't good.


Well, we're off to Africa in this issue --- and JMS uses the tribal genocide taking place on the continent as the backdrop for Thor's awakening of the Warriors Three, who are biding their time as mercenaries guarding a Doctors Without Borders camp that finds itself under attack.

As much as I wanted to like this issue, I can't help but feel that the setting was the wrong one here. I understand JMS' point about how non-African nations trying to solve the conflicts are doomed to failure, but there's a mixed message here when Thor prevents mass slaughter by throwing Mjolnir at a band of attacking soldiers.

And that's really all that happens here; Donald Blake goes to Africa, turns into Thor to defend the camp, wakes up the Warriors Three, then makes a canyon to protect the camp from future attacks and returns home to mope.

One point in its favor: I got the variant Lee Bermejo cover, and it's absolutely beautiful.

Best Moment: Next issue: Sif!

Worst Moment: Probably the little girl suicide bomber. Some real-world situations just don't translate well to a comic about Norse gods in spandex, kay?

Comic Book Goodness: 2/5. The framing device was way too serious and immediate for what I was looking for in a comic called "Thor".


SALVATION RUN #1 --- I picked it up because I enjoy the concept, but Willingham writes a full-length comic about something that could have been an 8-page backup. The Flash's Rogues are trying to survive on an exile planet that Checkmate is shipping supervillains off to, and they predictably bicker and fight. At the end, we see that more villains (including the Joker) have arrived, and some Shadowy Figure Behind The Scenes has an agenda for our stranded villains. The rogues get on my nerves, the fights aren't terribly good, and the Joker sounds like an effeminate dandy instead of a homicidal maniac. Yikes. CBG: 1/5.

SUICIDE SQUAD #3 --- More of a Rick Flag issue than a Squad issue, it's equal part flashback to conventional Squad days and a telling of how Flag escapes Skartaris and is re-recruited to the Squad in the present day. Not a fan of the generic looking art and seems like a waste of an interesting character in Rustam, but it goes a long way to show Flag's badassedness and I think we're finally ready for the Squad proper to get going. CBG: 3/5.

Tomorrow: World War Hulk!



Blogger Jason said...

Darn, first JMS uses Katrina as a back-drop for a Thor story, then he moves to Darfur? I wonder when he'll get around to using 9/11? I realize that comics can be used to raise awareness of some things happening in the real world, but if not done well, you may end up trivializing them.

Also, I kinda liked X-Factor this week, it made me nostalgic for the old X-Crosovers. Granted, back then books were 75 cents and I could afford them all, but I guess I'll have to keep buying the series through this corssover to see what happens.

9:28 AM  
Blogger CalvinPitt said...

I liked X-Factor. . . more than I thought I would for tying into Messiah Complex. There was just enough stuff with the characters normally in the book to make it OK.

Or maybe I had just really lowered my expectations.

5:33 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

I think my disappointment with X-Factor is due to the fact that I generally rely on it to be my crossover-free haven for well written mutant comics... and it's always one of the books I look forward to most, so when there's a lackluster issue like this one (which really was incomprehensible if you haven't been following the crossover) it hurts twice as bad.

2:11 AM  
Blogger Siskoid said...

I don't think I was buying it, but you unsold me the WoW comic as soon as you revealed that Simonson wasn't drawing it as well.

10:24 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home