11.09.2006

11.08.06 Reviews (Few!) & Comics (Lots!)

Ok, so disregard that last post about reviews being non-existent this week. On my way back home from a business trip, I managed to squeeze in a few books since my flight was delayed and I got to sit at the airport for what felt like an eternity.

Stormwatch: Post Human Division #1 (DC/Wildstorm): You know what? I kinda' liked this. I feel almost ashamed to admit it, because I'm so surprised. The Wildstorm (yes, I refuse to capitulate and refer to it as "Worldstorm," because really what's what about?) relaunches have been thoroughly lackluster (at best) to date. And I really expected to like this one the least. While it is *just* an assembling the team issue, it's done pretty well. We're introduced to a nice ensemble cast of leftovers from previous Stormwatch incarnations, as well as some new players, and it feels pretty organic instead of forced. There's some witty, intuitive, natural sounding dialogue, that may be expository in spots, but is nonetheless engaging. The art is kind of "90's Image-y," but pretty consistent at that (a strength in itself) and energetic. While the last page reveal of a mole feels soooooo tired and disappointing, I actually might give this a couple issues. Wanted to hate it, but pleasantly shocked I didn't. Grade B.

52: Week Twenty-Seven (DC): Wow, for a few pages there I was kinda' getting pleasantly surprised. Felt like things were finally moving! But then, as usual, it gets all shitted up. Ralph takes on the mantle of The Spectre for a minute and confronts Jean Loring! Woo! But then he's acting all out of character and I still don't get what happened despite reading that scene 3 times. Fun to see the possible "missing 52 seconds" where Skeets confronts Waverider, hints at what he's made of, and W'Rider retorts with Rip Hunter's (now seemingly) deliberate lack of true identity and inability to find him. Could Renee Montoya be the new Question? Cool! But, Charlie's illness seemed to come from nowhere, yes? Cool to see the possible reference to Batwoman Kane and Ralph being pulled to Nanda Parbat. It feels like some of the plot threads are finally converging, yet when you stop to think - it also feels totally random. Grade B-.

Bullet Points #1 (Marvel): Brilliant idea. Take Alan Davis' approach to JLA: The Nail and slap it against the Marvel U. Poor execution. Instead of a single altered event (the proverbial butterfly flap in Japan) having an unforeseen ripple effect (creating a Tsunami in Hawaii) and following a pretty linear progression, this feels more like putting some Marvel characters and their identities in a bag and shaking vigorously to emulsify, ala oil and vinegar. Steve Rogers is in the Iron Man armor? Peter Parker assumably is irradiated by gamma particles and... Hulks out? Not too sure if I like this approach to Marvel Elseworlds, it's different but in a sillly, repetitive, contradictory way. I did enjoy the JMS-penned history lessons about WWII. He takes us on a nice succinct tour through Pearl Harbor, the Bataan Death Marth, Corregidor Island, and Guadalcanal. But, I have some nitpicks. Why would the Iron Man armor be posed that way in a case? And the first page breakdown of the bullet? Fun idea, but the facts are all wrong. That's actually not what all bullets do ballistically speaking. And it's very misleading to laymen to explain it that way without removing the bullet, meaning the actual projectile, from the shell casing, or talking about the fire pin strike against the actuator, the strip slide ejection system, barrel rifling, etc. Anywho... Great art from Tommy Lee Edwards. Grade C+.

Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes #1 (Marvel): Didn't Joe Casey already do this book? Something with Scott Kolins? Is it meant to be a series of mini-series? Anyway... This is sort of like when I'm reading a really good book, but I need background static so I pop on a CD softly in the distance. Let me clarify that in that analogy, this book is not the "really good book," but rather the harmless, inconsequential white noise in the background. I hear it, but I'm not listening. It neither adds to or detracts from what I'm doing. It's not my focus. It's not interesting. I'm not interacting with it. It's just... there. Grade C.

I also picked up;

Midnight Sun #2 (Slave Labor Graphics): I really, really, really liked the first issue of this quiet, thoughtful, moody little mini-series from SLG and was ecstatic to find the second issue. It had been so long since the first came out, I thought that it was either cancelled or that I'd somehow missed it along the way. Check it out!

Tales of the Unexpected #2 (DC): Don't care about The Spectre headliner, I'm here for Dr. 13! God, I hope they collect that story independent of the rest of this.

Eternals #5 (Marvel): I now realize that I'm only buying the rest of this series because I have the first 4 issues.

Phonogram #3 (Image): Yes! My favorite new series fom Image!

DMZ #13 (DC/Vertigo): Is this the best thing coming out of Vertigo right now? Oooooh! I just pissed off all the Y: The Last Man fans.

Doctor Strange: The Oath #2 (Marvel): Really enjoying Brian K. Vaughan's take on The Sorcerer Supreme. Will this finally be the definitive work about Stephen Strange?

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