1.08.2007

1.03.07 Reviews - Part 2

As it turns out, I got caught up on my weekly reading pile over the weekend, so I thought I'd finish up reviews for this week's purchases. I was going to refrain, but I'm a firm believer in only opening your mouth when you have something to say, and it turned out I had some opinions on the back half of the pull list.

All-Star Superman #6 (DC): Morrison and Quitely deftly pull off a high-wire balancing act here, combining the Silver Age affability, manic sci-fi ideas, defferential attitude toward the properties, pleasant nature of say... Jeph Loeb's Superman For All Seasons, and first rate Quitely art that embeds meaning into every deceptively simple panel. In short, this is everything a Superman comic is supposed to be. Grade A.

Glacial Period (NBM/ComicsLit): While this original graphic novel from Crecy and The Louvre Museum tested my patience with the anthropomorphic talking dog/pig hybrid, there was no denying the strength and intrigue of the underlying concept. Hundreds of years in the future, a group of explorers find the Louvre Museum amid a glacier and attempt to (wrongly) discern the meanings of the paintings and what they say about the society that made them. Grade A-.

Scalped #1 (DC/Vertigo): At first, I thought this title would quickly run its course and offer nothing more than sensationalistic violence with no point. And there's an element of that, but it gets interesting fast with the setting of a bleak, corrupt, Indian Reservation, and I'm always a sucker for "battered hero returns home after living life" type stories. That combined with the last page hook won Scalped another two issues for me. Bravo to the marketing department for including a preview of this book in the last issue of DMZ, I would have never tried it if not for that. Grade B.

Superman Confidential #3 (DC): Not nearly as insightful as the second issue, clocking in with a mere "ok." I will however, give it another issue or two based solely on my faith in the creative team. The competition is tough though, with All-Star Superman being so strong, I have to ask myself why would I keep buying another merely "ok" Superman title? Grade B-.

Fear Agent #10 (Image): It's good, which is bad, because it used to be great. There's nothing worse than that. A mediocre comic that grows in strength will be commended. A great comic that sustains its power through its run will be loved. A crappy comic that stays craptastic is at least consistent and you may find notes of "noble failure," at the very least it will be fun to pick on, but the great comic that slips... this one hurts. It rattles your faith. It frustrates you and makes you ask why with no clear answers. There's nothing specific I can point to here. It just... doesn't feel as fun as it used to. The sheer joie de vive and panache of the plot feels really bogged down in something. And I don't like Heath being an untrustworhty narrator. He lied (or implied?) about his girl being killed? I thought she was dead? Why is she with another guy? I don't mind Heath being an alcoholic and following him through that stupor, but I also don't want to be deceived as a reader. Grade B-.

Justice League of America #6 (DC): I like reading this book, but damn if the plot advances slower than poured molasses on a cold day. Also, Ed Benes' art is getting a little unwieldy. There are several panels where Hal's increasingly Manga-influenced fists were larger than his entire head. That's just odd. Grade C+.

NewUniversal #2 (Marvel): Hoo-boy. Essentially, there's nothing new here if you've read any of Ellis' other work, namely Planetary. The concept of "the bleed" in between worlds, though boasting a different name here, is essentially the same premise. I kinda' was enjoying the Nightmask chic, but it's nothing I can't get better/before some place else. And I'm sorry, but when the photoreferenced art is so strong that I'm cracking up at the renditions of James Cromwell, James Gandolfini (and his crew!) from the Sopranos, and Sawyer from Lost instead of paying attention to your Rising Stars/Supreme Power/Watchmen retread... there's no reason to stick around. Officially off the pull list. Grade D+.

Moon Knight: The Bottom TPB (Marvel): This collection of the first 6 issues from Charlie Huston and David Finch is... really bad. I don't understand the praise it's getting. Finch's art is really aspiring to be something akin to Steve McNiven, but never gets past the 90's Image wannabe bar. From a script standpoint, there's really nothing new at all here. Huston does what every writer trying to weave together divergent past continuities does, and it fails to transcend those limitations and remains a confusing, convoluted mess that doesn't transcend its origins and remains a cheap urban vigilante Batman knock off, complete with cave, gadgets, and a cast of helpers. Grade D-.

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