2.08.12 Reviews (Regular Edition)

Batwoman #6 (DC): It’s the first issue with Amy Reeder handling all of the pencils and… I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little disappointed. When JH3 is on art duty, this is hands down one of the best, if not the best, looking books on the stands. That said, it’s hard to come in and see the occasional awkward lines, weird angles, off perspective, and odd proportions after what is usually perfect stylish art. It’s just not as accomplished. The early pages see Reeder trying to emulate the gloss of the figures and clever panel layouts that Jim Williams offers, but after that, even the combined skills of Richard Friend (inks), Guy Major (colors), and Todd Klein (letters) are juuust barely able to keep it all together. The cover and the superhero sequences are definitely more satisfying than the civilian ones, particularly shots like the two page spread of Kate doing a standard Secret Service “flay” move to protect DEO Agent Cameron Chase. Thankfully, the writing is strong, focusing again on the web of (mostly female) relationships that exists with Maggie, Bette, Kate, and Cam. Anyway, this is a title that usually scores “A,” if not “A+,” so it’s just a little bit of a downer to see it slip toward above average mediocrity with a Grade B+.

Secret Avengers #22 (Marvel): Sigh. The short version is that a) Remender tries to squeeze way too much into this issue, but b) the art is pretty good. If you like that Michael Lark/Michael Gaydos/Butch Guice/Winter Soldier sort of aesthetic, then Gabriel Hardman is your man. I really have no quibbles with the art. It’s not my favorite style, but it’s consistent and does its job without distraction. My issue is really the scripting. The more Rick Remender books I read, the more I start to pick up on his weird tics. It’s like he’s trying to pull a Jonathan Hickman and create his own little Remenderverse within the Marvel U. There’s overlap between what’s going on in Uncanny X-Force, Secret Avengers, Ghost Rider, Venom, etc. But… I don’t get how what Captain Britain is currently doing in UXF gels with this, still don’t approve of Hawkeye as team leader after what happened in the 21.1 boondoggle, hate all the Otherworld crap, can’t stand Venom, and expect Ghost Rider to show up any day now to totally kill whatever enthusiasm I have left. There’s a dopey conglomeration of villains at the end, the humor is totally flat, the Avengers Lighthouse Space Station is basically the JLA Satellite HQ, and Hawkeye doesn’t come off like a lovable smart-ass, just an annoying douche. Also – THERE’S A LOT OF TALKING. JUST TALKING TALKING TALKING. Yet, I still don’t quite grasp the main thrust of the story. Blah, blah, gathering the team. Blah, blah, The Ideal, The Origin, The Urn, The Swine. Blah, blah, some Fire Eater Woman. Blah, blah, The Descendants. All the choppy disparate parts just don’t coalesce. The art saves this from getting any lower than a pretty low Grade B.


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