1.05.2007

1.03.07 Reviews - Part 1

Jonah Hex #15 (DC): The cover and interior art remain beautiful in this wrap up to the 3 part arc that explains the long-awaited origin of Jonah Hex (scar and all!) courtesy of Jordi Bernet. Of particular note here is Rob Leigh's lettering, which delivers a consistent edge that feels right at home. Bernet's pencils should be studied by aspiring artists for the efficient economy on each panel and how they deftly convey a story beat. This is a very strong issue, due in part to it focusing much less on the supernatural and weaving together a compelling story about Hex that's placed in historical events that shape his ultimate personality. Grade B+.

Civil War #6 (Marvel): Nothing much to say here except that it's solid entertainment overall, McNiven's art is worth the wait (though I still think entire mini-series should be "in the can" before they're solicited in general), and I don't like the inclusion of the super-villians on either side of the conflict, it somehow... cheapens the experience for me. For example, seeing Venom behind Carol Danvers is just jarring and pushes me out of the page. Looks like it's all downhill to the big showdown, not sure how this can all be resolved in a single issue, and I refuse to buy any of the tie-in books, so we'll see how #7 plays by itself. Grade B.

Manhunter #27 (DC): It's refreshing to to see a smart examination about the real world legal repercussions that would surround Diana in the aftermath of killing Max Lord. Manhunter still probably holds the mantle of the "Best Title That Nobody's Reading." It's a fun ride with DEO's Cameron Chase and bits of her origin, The Order of St. Dumas (Azrael/Jean-Paul Valley, anyone?), Checkmate, and... Blue Beetle? The series is all wound up in nice corners of DC Universe continuity. The art is nice all around and pretty consistent except for a hysterically cross-eyed Diana in one panel. Grade B.

Powers #22 (Marvel/Icon): I'm still pretty conflicted about this title. On the one hand, it's fun to read and modestly entertaining, but I feel so dispassionate about it and can't quite put my finger on the why of it all. Is it that Bendis was telling a story about Superhero Registration here for years before Civil War and not getting credit for it? Is it because the arcs are very repetitive in structure? Is it because Bendis should just resolve the fate of Deena Pilgrim (her powers, her love interests, etc.) and Christian Walker (the Millennium Guard, his immortality, etc.) and their relationship with eachother already, go out while you're on top and wrap it up? Is it that the letter's page feels like it's just going through the motions and failing in terms of humor? Have I finally grown weary of Bendis' shameless self promotion - I mean, really, do we need 2 pages pimping all his other books in every single issue? I'm not sure, but there's an unsettling ennui that's crept in and permeated my enjoyment of this title. I care about the characters, but I'm also kind of tried of keeping up with them. Grade B.

Uncanny X-Men #482 (Marvel): Ed Brubaker and Billy Tan attempt another space opera with this saga of the Rise and Fall of the Shi'ar Empire here with some decent space-faring action and an eclectic mix of characters. I'm not blown away, but this is indeed more straightfoward than the convoluted X-Men titles have been in some time. Not overly friendly to a new reader, but maybe that's my fault for jumping in mid-arc. I've been getting remotely curious to see what kind of bruhaha will be unveiled for the impending 500th issue. Grade B-.

52: Week Thirty-Five (DC): One of the few effective covers in the run, which captures the mood perfectly as Luthor watches the folly of his experiments literally come crashing down. The Jimenez art bits boast a George Perez-ish affability in spots, but then it quickly degenerates into the safe, boring, middling mess that is Dan Jurgens' art, where everyone seems to have the same rounded, dopey, surprised expression on their face. Snarky Comment Alert! The best part of this issue was the ad for the Batman: Year 100 collection from Paul Pope. I was surprised to see Jimenez on art at all though, and was thinking it would be a nice long term strategic move if the "better" artists were assigned the last half of the run so it would end with a bang and garner some interest... points if DC does that. Plastic-Man has a son? Where have I been? Natasha finally listens to her dad after 20 issues of ignoring him and now decides he was right all along? Umm, ok. Grade C.

Nightwing #128 (DC): Dear Marv Wolfman, you are trying to capture the Jeph Loeb style narration boxes and the same inner monologue that Chuck Dixon kicked this title off with, but it fails horribly. It's just not interesting or insightful and some of the dialogue plays soooo melodramatic. "You hired an assassin! Oh god, what have you done?!" Who cares! Stealing dialogue from Pacino in Scarface or Penelope Anne Miller in The Freshman doesn't help your case either. Not to mention that some of those comments are horribly out of character for Dick (in addition to being tiredly lame). Also, Marv... "Code 1" usually means everything is copasetic in law enforcement lingo, what you were desperately trying to capture was actually "Code 3." Dear Dan Jurgens, why do your guns look like a grotesque combination of both revolver and automatic? They have the grips, trigger guard, and hammer housing of an automatic, but cylinder and barrel of a revolver. It's like drawing a submarine with wings, in its bizarre quest to be both, it is neither, thus a failure. It looks stupid. Overall, I just don't get the gravitas of the plot. Over at Marvel, the New Warriors blow up some kids and it causes Civil War. Here, Dick's enemy blows up a double decker tour bus full of people in the middle of New York, and... nothing happens! No mention, no reaction, a throw away panel, just move on to the next page! Instead, we focus on telegraphed moves with Luthor being the buyer, a visually 9/11-esque explosion of a high-rise done with poor taste (and much worse, no point). Poor Nightwing used to be my favorite DCU character so I thought I'd check in on him, alas, what a sad way to start the New Year. Grade F.

I also picked up, but didn't have time to read/review;

Scalped #1 (DC/Vertigo), Superman Confidential #3 (DC), NewUniversal #2 (Marvel), All-Star Superman #6 (DC), Fear Agent #10 (Image), Justice League of America #6 (DC), Glacial Period (NBM/ComicsLit), and Moon Knight: The Bottom TPB (Marvel).

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