5.14.2007

Free Comic Book Day - 2007 (Cont'd)

I managed to find more of the FCBD books and thought I'd share some quick thoughts. Yes, I ended up *paying* for them (three for a dollar, which isn't too bad), which is excruciatingly ridiculous considering they all say "free" on them, but here you go...

Justice League of America #0 (DC): As with the Legion book, kudos to DC for changing up their offering this year, and this was a logical one to include. "First" issue of an ongoing title, currently not too deep in the run so people can snap up back issues, and features all the big gun properties. Some of the continuity jumps and time flexing to and fro might be confusing to a new reader, but otherwise a pretty solid choice for a free reprint. Grade B+.

Amelia Rules! (Renaissance Press): Jimmy Gownley shows off some beautiful line work, a great ear for dialogue, and this held my interest quite well. The full page defintion of "hangin' out" had some definite panache that endeared me to the title. This is entertaining for adults, and also has some nice little teachable moments embedded throughout for the kids. Nice blurb for the upcoming issue dealing with war. Apathy Kat felt a little too cartoony for me, but it was nice to get the full length double feature. Might have to pick me up one of those "Meel-yuh" hardcovers. Grade B+.

X-Men: Life Lessons (Marvel & Starbright): John Paul Leon & Joe Casey... that makes sense. As I started reading this, I was thinking, wow this is actually written pretty well... these thick inky lines, this art is actually good. Decent enough issue for a good cause, solid kid message (although I thought you can't access the Danger Room without supervision from a seasoned instructor/X-Man for this very reason?) starring faux X-Man Terry Raymond. Grade B.

Owly (Top Shelf): The expressive imagery and symbols are the reasons to check out Owly. I was wondering if Andy Runton's work would hold up in the larger-than-digest normal size, and there are some panels that come out a little rough. The pen and ink style linework of Korgi seems interesting. Grade B.

Marvel Adventures: Iron Man & Hulk (Marvel): Pretty strong, fun Iron Man story (though I don't know if the difference between "Zenalde" and "Zinalda" works when spoken, it's still "ZIN-Awl-Duh" either way, right?) which should appeal to kids, a fun characterization of Pepper. The Hulk story is a little more simplistic, but also entertaining enough for kids, I suppose. The Franklin Richards story is just like all the other ones are to me - boring and not funny - but overall a good offering with three properties which can function fine as segway drugs. Grade B.

Virgin Comics Special (Virgin): Too much text! Devi and Ramayan 3392 AD suffer from this, but attempt to make up for it with some nice art. I like The Sadhu, but like all of this, it's largely random reprints taken out of context. Moscow sorta' looks like Saint Peters Square in Rome, but otherwise Walk-In showed some promise. Nice ads for the trades and an uneasy feeling as I see Virgin already diversifying with spin off titles; I fear it's too soon to dilute this mildly interesting line. Even the stronger titles like Snake Woman and The Sadhu haven't sustained my interest. If Zeb Wells and Michael Gaydos could only do it for five issues or so on the main book, Ron Marz sure ain't gonna' with a spin-off title. Grade B.

Gumby (Wildcard Ink): A couple typos here and there, and the pulpy paper reminded me of that cheap grade school stuff with the chunks of bark in it. Otherwise, a nice group of indy creators doing a good book for kids with a decent adventure in a museum that weaves together some well known works of art. Grade B-.

Love & Capes (Maerkle Press): Your basic riff on the Holy Trinity of Supes/Bats/WW, complete with a "League" in a satellite. Some of the panel/dialogue sequences also seemed out of whack, as if word balloons were attributed to the wrong speaker. Some minor little character moments (I liked the Sister in the bookstore) are ok, but it pretty much never rises above the level of "harmlessly pleasant," and doesn't ever reach amusing or stand out in any way. Grade B-.

Wizard: How to Draw (Wizard Entertainment): This is a decent enough compilation, highlighting some of the better "How To" series that Wizard has run over the years, but I'm wondering why Wizard wanted to participate in FCBD at all(?) And once they decided to, this seems an odd choice (attempting to inspire would-be artists, I guess?), wouldn't it make more sense to run samples of a few articles so that the 9 people left in the world *not* buying Wizard might seek it out? Grade C+.

Sonic The Hedgehog (Archie Comics): Is this still a viable property to be playing with? It's not engaging or entertaining for grown ups, and do kids even know who Sonic is anymore? My cousin had a Sega in like, I don't know, 1990 or something? Kids today play more current games and certainly aren't reading comics, much less comics about near-20 year old gaming console characters. Nice coloring, cool page layouts, fast pace, and a decent enough package, I just gotta' question the property. Grade C.

Buzzboy & Roboy Red: The Buzz & The 'Bot (Sky-Dog Press): This is all flurry, manic hustle and bustle, but I couldn't seem to get a foothold anywhere to engage, and ultimately just found myself scanning the pics and words. It felt claustrophobic and crowded in all the panels. Dizzying bits aside, a mildy cool John Gallagher tribute to his mom encouraging his creativity with comic reading habits as a kid was about the only thing I could bear to actually sit through. Grade C.

Who Wants to Be a Superhero? (Dark Horse): I never watched the show, but the reality TV connection already has you in the hole with a kinda' tawdry and dirty feeling. The skimpy page count, Will Conrad art ruined by too dark inking, and forced generic origin story pretty much killed this. And let's not forget nail-in-the-coffin Nurse Sarah! (ugh, groan). Doesn't her very look and presence sorta' fulfill every negative mysogynistic objectifying unrealistic Penthouse forumy male adolescent power fantasy stereotype the medium has? Very not good. Grade D.

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