3.13.2008

3.12.08 Reviews (Part 1)

Serenity: Better Days #1 (Dark Horse): On the positive side, this capable team has certainly captured the ear for quirky dialogue that the lamented show displayed with a certain je ne sai quoi; the one that we all enjoyed so immensely. However, I feel that these titles suffer from certain critical bits pulling a Scarlett Johansson and becoming lost in translation from the small screen to the printed page. It's just simply impossible to capture the low-fi sci-fi spectacle that made Firefly so gritty and grand. Visually, it just doesn't hum as well on paper. And I'm sorry, but no matter the inherent strength of the artist you put on the project, you'll never be able to capture the radiant beauty of Morena Baccarin's Inara, the sideways glances and comedic timing of Malcolm Reynolds, or the sheer insanity of a character like Wash. Love Whedon. Love the show. Love the movie. But can only muster a "like" for these comics that amount to inconsequential lost episodes. Grade B.

The Last Defenders #1 (Marvel): I feel like I'm having to caveat things quite a bit lately, but here goes... I'm a fan of Joe Casey, but this was basically an unmitigated disaster. With minimal exception, there's largely a bunch of c-list characters running around that I don't give a crap about. The book sits on the fence between aspiring to be either The Order or The Mighty Avengers, but isn't nearly as unique as the former and certainly not as readable in a mindless entertainment sorta' way as the latter. There's some pretty glaring continuity gaffes, such as the SHIELD Helicarrier being the "old model," when Tony was proudly showing off his new "Stark model" over in Mighty Avengers, or the inclusion of Colossus who is still in space dealing with the Breakworld Prophecy (blame it on lateness, but still it's an obvious inconsistency that smacks you in the face). So, uhh, way to go Marvel Editorial. The art is inconsistent from Jim Muniz; showing a sleek "cool enough" sorta' vibe in some spots, then degenerating to a blocky disproportionate, just ugly feel in others. There's a couple decent comedic moments, such as the jab at DC's "Monitor Duty," but that's largely offset by the random sets, forced inorganic tension between team members, the flaming skull guy whose uniform looks like a rejected version of M. Bison from Street Fighter, and the very telegraphed intentions of reuniting some form of Dr. Strange, The Hulk, and a Namor archetype. Grade C-.

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