12.28.11 Reviews (Bonus Round)

Swamp Thing #1 (DC): I’ve been on a bit of a Scott Snyder kick after the new Batman and the American Vampire: Survival of the Fittest mini-series, so I decided to check this out. I think one of the things that makes Snyder a good writer is that he finds a nice balance between the literal and the figurative, and the juxtaposition of those elements within the words and pictures creates a tertiary layer of information. In that, he really *gets* what makes the medium unique. One of the examples of that in this issue is when he talks about stemming roses against the birds falling out of the sky in Metropolis. The team seems to re-root Swamp Thing in the DCU, with several JLA’ers making cameos, and Yanick Paquette is able to relay a lot of information visually during these early sequences. Paquette’s pencils can slip into being a bit stiff at times, but they’re mostly serviceable. Snyder’s script is well researched, and I generally dig the interpretation of the violent plant world. Shit, I don’t even like Swamp Thing as a character, but in Snyder’s capable hands, it’s kind of making me want to track down the next couple of issues. Grade B+.

Aquaman #4 (DC): For these next three reviews, I picked up a few books for a coworker. I couldn’t resist reading them before I had a chance to hand them off, so here we go… I don’t understand how Arthur and Mera can talk underwater. That's just lazy writing. The art is nonsensical at times. Something about Atlantean creatures underwater… or something? It seems to revel in its own attempted self-aware stupidity. Proof? One word: “Aquadog.” Grade C-.

Captain America #5 (Marvel): I kept thing that there was some hoary tired dialogue as I was trying to figure out something involving Hydra and Nowhere-land… or something? Then the book ended. There are some very jarring art transitions from the style of McNiven to Camuncoli. If Steve Rogers was frozen in a block of ice at the end of WWII, say 1945, then was revived in the mid-60’s, say 1965, then that means he was out for 20 years roughly, so saying that he “slept through the majority of the 20th century” is kinda’ dumb. "Majority" means more than half the total, which would be at least 51 out of 100 in this case. 20 does not equal 51. Dumb. Grade C-.

Captain America #6 (Marvel): Because one half-assed issue per week wasn’t enough! Man, this is so steeped in impenetrable Hydra and Baron Zemo machinations. There’s also this thinly veiled Impotent Cap theme running through these two issues. Brubaker seems to be attempting the clever intro captions that Matt Fraction made famous in Uncanny X-Men, minus the “clever” part. When did Hawkeye’s costume change? There’s a mindless fight sequence with no real plot advancement in the whole issue. Alan Davis instead of McNiven on art AND Laura Martin on colors can’t even save this thing. I thought Brubaker was hailed as like The Great Captain America Writer of Our Generation, but this is just perfectly mediocre Big Two Superhero Comics. Grade C.


At 2:05 PM, Blogger Matt C said...

Captain America was utterly brilliant when Brubaker initially took over, but we're along way off now from the heights he used to scale, and this double-tap week of sub-par Cap books has helped me make the decision to drop the title.

At 8:40 PM, Blogger Justin said...

Judging from just those two, I can certainly see why.

With the older Brubaker Cap, what would you recommend to see him/it at its prime?

At 2:01 PM, Blogger Matt C said...

I think up to #25, the "death" issue, it was stellar stuff, and the whole Red Skull plotline that was introduced in the first issue was wrapped up about #40 or so. There were high points following that, but I would say the first 40 or so issues are where Brubaker was on fire. I'm speculating, but I reckon the Winter Soldier series is where the writer will really get his creative juices flowing in his corner of the Marvel U this year.

At 2:14 PM, Blogger Justin said...

Cool, thanks Matt. I have some Amazon credit to burn, so I might grab the first trade. And I was already planning on getting at least the first ish of Winter Soldier.


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