11.10.10 Review (Singular, No "S")

T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #1 (DC): [Man, what a dull week in comics. This is the only book I bought. WTF!?] Honestly, I was a little off-put by the authorial proselytizing about Oscar Wilde quotes, word derivation, and Roman history lessons that the book opened with. It felt a little more like writer Nick Spencer was just showing off fun facts that made their way into his wheelhouse than any actual organic characterization being presented. Cafu’s art is mostly pleasant, thanks in part to the coloring, with a similar vibe to Rebekah Issacs’ recent effort on Brian Wood’s DV8. It’s got the same clean polish, but at times not quite as consistent. For example, what the heck kind of wine glasses are those atop the building in Sri Lanka? Weird. The plot revolves around a faux frontal assault that is a diversion for the covert extraction of a captured agent. I had to read the book two times to be certain of that fact though, since there is some sort of double-double agent convolution and it’s constructed with one of those chopped up narratives that goes: Scene. Eleven Months Later. Scene. Twelve Months Ago. Scene. So, the whole time I’m trying to reassemble a linear timeline in my head, like we all did with Pulp Fiction. I didn’t think the out of sequence delivery was necessary from a plot standpoint, nor was it a particularly appealing stylistic choice. It was just kind of annoying. And I still couldn’t seem to figure out who Colleen was running out to yell at. Getting past all that, Spencer lays out the new status quo and premise of T.H.U.N.D.E.R. fairly effectively. I’ve never read any of the old comic, so I don’t know if this is a loyal interpretation, but it feels more like a reimaging and modernization of the property, using a mechanism that allows the old agents to be phased out, while others can transition in and assume the codename guises. I think deep down there might be some interesting philosophical questions being asked about the human cost of war, but it all plays fairly middling. It’s not a bad book, but it doesn’t feel great either. I didn’t feel a strong emotional tie to the characters, I didn’t feel like any strong hook was presented, and it wasn’t quite an assembling the team issue, just a fairly straightforward introduction to the property. I'd rather be reading Greg Rucka's Checkmate for this type of socio-political espionage kick in the DCU. I’ll say that I’m mildly interested in seeing how it pans out, and if it’s another slow week where I’m searching for something to read, I might give this another issue or two to wow me. For now, a pretty low Grade B.


At 3:46 PM, Blogger Tom P said...

On the rare weeks I only get one comic I find it can be quite refreshing. Save some cash and re-read a collected edition, trade or unread issue from the shelf! Nice. With the new arrival in the house my "to read stack" is growing fast ,but it does make you question the books that end up in that pile, anyhow I do enjoy having unread comics about the house for those rainy days.

At 3:42 PM, Blogger Justin said...

I will say that these light weeks are much appreciated by the wallet as holiday shopping season is upon us!


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