Feb
13

Pull List Reviews for February 13, 2008

Posted by on Wednesday, February 13th, 2008 at 05:21:48 PM

Alright, the first three are above the fold but there’s a huuuuuge dump of reviews here so most of them are after the jump. Enjoy!

Booster Gold #0: Something about the dialogue seemed clunkier in this issue, but that very well may have been a knowing nod back to Zero Hour. That said, it was shockingly approachable — as a matter of fact, the ZH aspect of the issue plays back seat to a fairly creative retelling of Booster’s origin and circumstances. Jurgens’s art continues to improve. More of the same, but in a good way.

Superman #673: This insect queen storyline really kind of fell flat for me. Busiek’s scripting is starting to feel clunky, and I just can’t get involved, at all, with yet another repetition of the “insect alien hive-mind” trope. And after the last arc with the Third Kryptonian, this feels decidedly… villain-of-the-week. Chris Kent is still the best part of this story, and that’s no surprise, since he’s really the major soap-opera throughline that connects this to the rest of the ongoing run. I’m not really concerned, though, as it was just this particular arc that seemed like a low point – at least so far. If the next two issues were continuing on this path, perhaps Busiek’s removal wasn’t the worst idea in the world.

Amazing Spider-Man #550: This is, in every possible way, more of the same. Great coloring from Stephane Peru. RIP.

Fantastic Four #554: It’s Mark Millar writing the Fantastic Four. If you like Millar’s style and appreciate his quirks, like characters announcing ridiculous intentions matter-of-factly (Why, *I* am going to start the WORLD’S BIGGEST ROCK BAND! | SORRY, Sue, I’m BUSY devising a MAP OF SOLUTIONS for the RUBIK’S CUBE!) and aren’t overly bothered by the fact Mark Millar protagonists are always kind of dicks, then you’ll find this to be a fantastic opening issue with involving art, intriguing ideas, strong characterization and very smart plotting. It’s a Mark Millar book, for better or for worse, but the material, and characters, are treated with the lightness and respect they deserve. Fucking gorgeous art, too.

New Avengers #38: Probably the book of the week. It really does feel like an issue of Alias, and it’s an essential chapter of the lead-up to Secret Invasion. Really, if you’re enjoying this saga so far, or these characters at all, you’re already getting this issue. You won’t be disappointed. But you might not know about…

Captain Marvel #3: If you have any interest in following Secret Invasion in the macroscale, you should be reading this series. Not only is it smartly written and very well-drawn, but it is a major, major, MAJOR component of the leadup to SI, with this issue in particular dropping a number of bombs on the audience. If you were turned off by Civil War: The Return, don’t let that stop you from grabbing this – Brian Reed is really making the concept work.

Green Arrow/Black Canary #5: Another slow Winick characterization issue, although the book started off with a fairly intense action story and Winick’s view of these characters is so strong that I can’t complain. That said, what’s up with DC’s art management? Amanda Conner was originally announced for this issue, and while Andre Coelho does a fine job, the issue was clearly meant for Conner and would have significantly benefited from her presence. I don’t remember any notice about the artist changeup, either, so discovering it when Newsarama posted their previews was kind of disappointing. Not a knock against the issue, or Mr. Coelho, who did a fine job and I’d like to see get more work.

Wonder Woman #17: I don’t think I saw a single inappropriate quip in this entire comic. As a matter of fact, all I saw was intelligent world-building, but this issue’s flaws are twofold: 1) The dialogue seems… clunky, although this may be a completely inappropriate complaint on my part since everyone in the comic is an Amazon, and they don’t exactly chat like Tarantino characters. 2) is not really anybody’s fault at all, and that’s that Terry Dodson and Ron Randall’s art really doesn’t mesh, especially when Dodson is given top billing and seems to only do, like, six pages of the comic. This is the last part of the “The Circle” story arc that kicks off Gail’s run, and it’s a pretty ovaries-to-the-wall action sequence that’s well-executed. Also, I’m willing to bet certain aspects of the perspective on motherhood in this issue would piss off quite a bit of the blogosphere if Gail Simone hadn’t written the issue. If you’ve been enjoying Simone on Diana so far, recommended. If you’ve been waiting – this is a strong first arc, although it’s way more of a straightforward superhero book than it was under Greg Rucka. If you find her writing style on Tranquility or Atom grating, give this a look – it doesn’t fall under that category. A tentative recommendation – this book has its reader, and that reader will find it very, very good.

X-Force #1: So, hey, this didn’t suck. Who knew? I was waffling on this until the morning-of-game, but decided to go for it, and to my surprise I don’t regret it. The book is ridiculous, and it completely knows it; it’s melodramatic and over-the-top and DARK and EDGY but it is completely aware of how ridiculous that all is, as well as how unsuited many of the characters in the book are to these tasks. A way more interesting start than I anticipated.

Countdown to Final Crisis #11: Is it DC Universe Zero time already? No? Oh, I get another 20 pages of nonsensical Kirby callbacks that don’t fit together for me, who read all of OMAC, Kamandi and the Fourth World? OK.

Wolverine #62: A smart, engaging mystery with Ron Garney’s strongest recent art to date. It follows logically out of the end of Messiah CompleX, with solid characterization for everyone involved. My recommendation: Finish this issue before you judge the character portrayals, trust me.

Green Lantern Corps #21: From an idea by Grant Morrison, implemented by Geoff Johns, expanded on by Sterling Gates. And it still maintains thematic unity. Huh? This basically piggybacks off of GL27, giving Tomasi and Gleason a break so newcomer Sterling Gates and old hat Nelson can tell a nice two-part story about Boodikka before being a Lantern and now. It also seems to show that Alpha Lanterns knew what they were getting into when they signed up, which at least shows the Guardians aren’t COMPLETE dicks. Recommended reading for people following the progression of the GL storylines, but not required by any means.

X-Factor #28: Since #1, this has been a strong book with a real sense of identity – ironic, considering the lack thereof is a major theme of the series. Messiah CompleX was a big aberration in the book’s MO; since it started, even though it’s been OF the Marvel Universe it’s largely managed to avoid its recent excesses, so an old-school 1990s-style numbered-parts crossover was a bizarre change of pace. Now it’s over, and how does the book snap back? Pretty goddamned well, actually. Messiah CompleX itself has had a very real effect on the book and its cast, and now just as the characters seem lost the sense of Peter David’s plan and vision has never seemed more concrete. MC gave this book the shot in the arm it didn’t even need, and now it’s still damned good.

Punisher War Journal #16: Chaykin’s art works in this issue, I’m going to start off with that. The man’s earned himself a huge number of detractors recently, but this kind of material suits his style far more than Wolverine. As for the script, this is a seemingly disconnected one-shot that, knowing Fraction’s plotting, will likely play a large role in the events to come; it’s a more serious story than we’ve seen for a while, but it still fulfills the mandate of “Punisher in the Marvel Universe.” A good issue of a traditionally strong series.

Ghost Rider #20: I’ve never given a shit about Ghost Rider before in my whole goddamned life. Jason Aaron, for the first time, is showing me why I might even want to. Way’s 19-issue run on this title was, frankly, crap, and both script and artwise this is a totally different beast – however, it does carry on Way’s storyline, so if you have a big uncompromisable problem with Ghost Rider being an angel, deal with it. I can tell you Way’s plot is interpreted and incorporated in a way more interesting way than previous. It didn’t knock me off my feet, but it’s a huge improvement laying a lot of long-term story beats down that could very well pay off in an incredibly strong book. We’ll have to see.

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