7.21.10 Reviews

CBGB #1 (Boom!): I'm guessing this is sort of a one-shot, but I'd be happy to read more. It's got the feel of a music drenched Kieron Gillen project, and indeed he writes the lead story with gusto. It's called "A NYC Punk Carol" (though I think when "acronymized" it should read "An NYC Punk Carol") and begins with the irony of young bands attempting to worry about their place in music history and tracing their lineage, rather than simply making music and letting the critics fret over that analysis. With Marc Ellerby's gorgeous skinny lines and punk aesthetic, it quickly moves into a Dickensian history of punk; the Ghosts of Punk Past offer different viewpoints that capture the fact vs. perception vs. myth of punk's evolution around New York's infamous venue. I loved the line about quintessential punk being the depiction of "doomed youth as the blank slate to scrawl the future on" with CBGB as the (arguable) "70's punk ground zero." The back up story "The Helsinki Syndrome" isn't quite as strong, but looks great courtesy of Rob G's more plump inky lines and Sam Humphries nails the notion of sometimes the most influential acts coming from unassuming origins. Grade A.

DV8: Gods & Monsters #4 (DC/Wildstorm): This issue focuses on Threshold as the programmed masochistic killer turned God. My favorite bits of these issues are still the interviews with Gem aboard the Carrier; there are subtle differences between what we see, what she remembers, and how her captors perceive those events. As Threshold decends into a fear/respect paradigm with his newfound militaristic warrior class tribe, Brian Wood hones in on the opposing ideas of programming and free will, destiny and personal choice, nurture and nature. It's a deep examination of the subcultures that literally form around powered beings and suggests that sometimes definitions are not inherent, but reliant on context for meaning. Rebekah Issacs continues a refreshing penciling approach that appears light with movement, but heavy on emotional content. Grade A.

Avengers #3 (Marvel): Bendis and Romita begin with an odd framing sequence and continue to pile on additional villians, mindless action, and questionable pseudo-science, even for a Marvel comic. It seems an endless band of villains appear in every issue, this time Apocalypse and his Four Horsemen, but while it looks pretty and aims high, I'm starting to feel as if the reach is exceeding the grasp and things will quickly become unwieldy. I liked Spidey's quip "should have gone with Cage," but other than that nothing memorable is sticking with me. Romita is usually pretty flawless provided you like his style, but here there's a panel which absolutely cannot exist, with Tony's arm and leg appearing completely backwards as he falls. I suppose this is the kind of book I want to be more into than I am. I wish it was great. I wish it gave me a sustainable foothold on the Avengers cast, but sadly it's feeling a bit disposable. When I ask myself if I'd want this collected sitting some day on my shelf, the answer is no. The next question then becomes, well why am I buying it then? Grade B.

The New Avengers #2 (Marvel): I know I just said recently that I was going to give all of the new Avengers titles a three issue trial run, but after coming away from Comic Con a bit disillusioned (more on that later...) I don't know if I can make it. There's nothing "wrong" with this issue per se, provided you want straight superhero comics that are fairly competent and serviceable. My, what a ringing endorsement. Immonen's action is fine. The issue (and title by extension) seems to be pretty heavily reliant on a lighter tone, with humor and zany team dynamics blending with witty dialogue. The Doctor Strange, Eye of Agawhatsit, Brother Voodoo, Damon Hellstrom mystical mumbo jumbo is of zero interest to me. If the humor is your thing, sure, you'll probably like this. I'm just not sure it's my thing, and I'm finding I no longer have an affinity for many of these characters, barring the involvement of a creator I'm really loyal to. Grade B.


At 2:05 PM, Blogger Tom P said...


I must say i felt the same about Avengers. When I went to pick up my comics I almost didnt buy it, just had this gut feeling I wasn't going to enjoy it and I didnt. If I ask myself your question do I want this collected sitting on my shelf, the answer is also no. Your next question, why am I buying it then. Well thats it for me on this one which is a shame because like you I so wanted this to be great.

At 10:12 AM, Blogger Justin said...

Thanks for chiming in, Tom. The greater issue that saddens me is that I've been asking myself those questions on LOTS of books lately!


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