Funnybook Babylon

February 21, 2008

Pull List Reviews for February 20, 2008

Filed under: Reviews — David Uzumeri @ 12:47 pm

It’s Thursday morning, so here’s the reviews. With no further delay, and more below the jump:

Batman and the Outsiders #4: This book is actually getting more interesting than I initially gave it credit for, although I’m really confused about how this lines up with Countdown (although this is hardly Chuck Dixon’s fault). That said, this is a smart use of Brother I as a continuing villain, and the book’s quality is basically in line with the best of Dixon’s work – it doesn’t blow your mind, but it’s consistent and entertaining and intelligently constructed. Julian Lopez’s art maintains the same quality of the first and third issues.

Brave and the Bold #10: Christ, this book is old-school. Despite the creative heavyweights behind it, I can understand why its sales are sinking – it’s really for people who totally, utterly love bizarre and obscure strands of DC continuity. I understand that it’s supposed to be introductory for these characters, but the fact of the matter is that a lot of the charm is only there if you know the history, the pencils are incredibly busy and the colors are muted and frankly lifeless. I love the book, but I kind of get the feeling that despite Waid’s best efforts, it’s not for everyone. That said, this is a fun issue where the fight against Megistus continues through time and space. The plot is incredibly convoluted, but makes a lot of sense when you put together the pieces – it’s just that that’s really hard to do without a really solid background in DC continuity. I guess I’m torn.

Catwoman #76: This kind of bailed out on the promise of the last issue, but not in any way that snuffs out hope for what looks to still be a really interesting arc, and far better than the main Salvation Run book. Consistent. And speaking of consistency, is it just me or are the Pfeifer/Lopez/Lopez/Cox team the most consistent monthly deliverers at DC? They’ve been running straight since OYL with, like, one guest colorist. As usual, a great and underrated comic.

Checkmate #23: After the news that this was the last arc by Rucka and Trautmann, and that Bruce “GASP! A M-Metahuman??” Jones is the replacement come number #26, the fact that this was such a great damn issue was like a knee in the nuts, but at least it looks to be going out with a hell of a bang. Obviously I can’t recommend this as any sane jumping-on point, but for loyal Checkmate readers, this looks to be a great climax to the Kobra story that’s been rolling since #1.

Countdown to Final Crisis #10: Why are concepts that could be so awesome executed so fucking lamely?

Death of the New Gods #6: It’s really hard to discuss this issue, or review it, at all, without giving spoilers, since the whole issue is a lead-up to the big reveal of the killer – which may surprise a lot of people, to the point where I have to wonder if this was the original intent or not. It’s still the same overcomplicated, impenetrable series it was for the first five issues, and largely interesting to see Starlin try to implement what are undoubtedly Grant Morrison’s ideas. And why hasn’t ANY of this information yet been mentioned in Countdown?

Flash #237: Keith Champagne, fill-in dude extraordinaire, takes a shot at the depressingly unpopular new family-driven status quo given to Wally West that was recently introduced, and abandoned, by Mark Waid. Champagne gets the characters and vibe down, and Koi Turnbull’s art fits in well enough, but at the end of the day it’s just another fill-in one-shot, and I’m kind of sick of reading them and I’m pretty sure Keith Champagne is really fucking sick of writing them. Good for what it is, but hamstrung by its fleeting nature.

Justice League of America #18: Yet again, Salvation Run’s peripheral stories are far more compelling than Salvation Run itself. The lead story, by Alan Burnett and Ed Benes, is a fun story dealing with the ramifications of the Suicide Squad’s villain rundowns hamstrung by the fact that Benes’s art is perennially creepy and distracting. The backup, by Dwayne McDuffie and JonBoy Meyers, sets up some of McDuffie’s upcoming storylines with Red Tornado that look to be pretty promising, if McDuffie ever gets back to writing his own damn comic again.

Robin #171: If it weren’t for Batista’s art and the death-of-Stephanie allusions, this comic seriously could have come out in 1997.

Superman/Batman #46: Why the hell am I enjoying this story so much? The idea is kind of dumb (Superman and Batman track down all the kryptonite), but the execution is solid and this issue takes a few frankly hilarious turns that really sold me on Shane Davis’s art. Good stuff, and even though it’s part 3 of 6 it works well as a done-in-one. Couldn’t tell the difference with the new co-writer, Mike Johnson, which I guess is a compliment.

Wonder Girl #6: CASSIE is HIP and DOESN’T TRUST ADULTS! Man, seriously, why is DC making this character so unlikeable? J. Torres did the best he could with this book, I guess, but it all just comes off as breezy and weightless. And why the hell was the New-God killer rolling with a gat last issue?

Amazing Spider-Man #551: This really is almost everything everyone was scared of in the post-BND reboot, to an almost parodic degree. I’m really, really waiting for the twist, because this entire direction seems so damn uncharacteristic of Quesada’s Marvel, but then again, so did House of M. Gorgeous Larroca art, though.

Hulk #2: Is Jeph Loeb five years old? What a waste of gorgeous art. Oh, the humanity.

Immortal Iron Fist: Orson Randall and the Green Mist of Death: Man, this is how fill-in background one-shots are done. Yeah, this fills in background, but it fills in IMPORTANT background for the main story and also functions as just a completely kick-ass oneshot with a bevy of talented artist from the brilliantly insane mind of Matt Fraction. There’s a reason this book is becoming the favorite of many, and this oneshot doesn’t stray from that.

Incredible Hercules #114: This book is so awesome. I’m going to miss Stephane Peru’s coloring, but at least this totally great book lives on. I’m honestly at the point where I’m enjoying this more than I liked Pak’s Hulk proper; the web of characters that interact in this book is both supremely logical and completely hilarious. I just had a dumb grin on my face the entire time. Incredibly well-done.

Iron Man: Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. #26: Well, this is now basically already the “other” Iron Man book in most people’s minds, with Fraction/Larroca’s new ongoing starting in May. That’s kind of fair, since it’s a really complex book with a lot of intrigue that isn’t easy to just jump into the middle of. That said, it’s a book well worth catching up on if you haven’t, and this serves as really the first big fight issue of the comic in a long time, and thanks to the huge amount of buildup as well as Roberto de la Torre’s great art, it’s effective.

Mighty Avengers #9: Bendis has some interesting ideas, and this story is taking him to places as a superhero writer he hasn’t really hit before in my recollection, like time travel. The characters and concept are all interesting and well-executed. Except for the middle. Where there are three – count them, three – consecutive double-page spreads with no dialogue of nothing but Avengers fighting Doombots. That’s it. That’s almost a third of the comic dedicated to … what? There’s not even any storytelling, it’s just three big splashes of a gigantic melee. I really like this comic, but why, Bendis? Why?

Order #8: I’d use this space to rail about how awful it is this book got cancelled, but events in this issue and recent news have me thinking this was basically Fraction’s plan all along. This is rollicking towards a great conclusion, and even if you’ve been staying away, there’s still good reason to catch up and get on board now. I will really miss this comic, but… at least something will replace it.

Ultimate X-Men #91: Kirkman’s run is ending, and nobody really seems to be crying. That said, he’s tying everything together rather well from the various strands of his run, but it all seems so rote and by-the-numbers and symptomatic of the “616… WITH A TWIST!” formula that’s really sunk the Ultimate Universe. Marvel needs to shake the line up with something that isn’t…

Ultimates 3 #3: This is the most retarded, depraved comic I’ve read in forever. It bashes the boundaries of bad taste like Superman-Prime with a crystal wall, playing cheap trick after cheap trick on the reader tied together with mindless, badly choreographed violence and sleazy sex. I know that’s the vibe Loeb is going for, but it doesn’t seem ironic, it just seems stupid.

World War Hulk Aftersmash: Warbound #3: A fun miniseries building off of the characters Pak spent so much time building up in Planet and World War Hulk, but it’s a really by-the-numbers Leader villain plot just featuring the Warbound fighting him and being misunderstood instead of the Hulk. I guess it sets up a place for them on Earth in the modern Marvel Universe, but much like Wonder Girl – although better written – it just feels inconsequential and written to fill up a spot on the schedule.


  1. “Keith Champagne, fill-in dude extraordinaire, takes a shot at the depressingly unpopular new family-driven status quo given to Wally West that was recently introduced, and abandoned, by Mark Waid.”

    You know, I was thinking, it’s really DC’s own damn fault for the new family-driven status quo being so unpopular. They pulled a bait and switch with Waid coming in to write a handful of crappy issues and then really had no plan beyond that.

    Comment by Kenny — February 21, 2008 @ 5:22 pm

  2. I agree; I actually wish they’d done more to sell this family-driven status quo as I think it’s got lots of potential and is a reasonable, worthy direction for the character and title. It seems like they threw Mark Waid in there to save the book but couldn’t hang onto him.

    In general, I’m just really disappointed and annoyed by the way DC treats its ongoing titles, both on the art side and writing side. They seem to have no real respect for the idea of giving a writer time and space to do good work on a title, instead settling for this silly musical chairs where there’s this whole turgid mass of b-level writers who are basically interchangeable and just a handful of A-list talent who get the chance and freedom to sink their teeth into a book.

    And it’s not that I don’t like Tony Bedard, or Sean McKeever, or Fabian Nicieza, or even Keith Champagne–just that I wish they’d let these guys settle someplace and get some work done.

    Comment by Matt — February 21, 2008 @ 5:51 pm

  3. Yeah, I’m not sure what DC is up to with its ongoing titles. For example, I hear great things about Catwoman, but I don’t want to read any of the Salvation Run tie-in issues because I don’t care about SR. Even when that ends, I’m reluctant to pick up any DC titles that I’m not already reading because I suspect that Crisis Redux Redux will mean that there’s some kind of reboot that will invalidate anything I buy. Hazards of serialized fiction, I guess.

    Comment by ch'p — February 22, 2008 @ 1:42 pm

  4. If you read any interview or informational release about Final Crisis ever, you’d know that it is emphatically not a reboot and won’t have any tie-ins and will also likely be very good, but don’t let that stop you from complaining about it on the Internet.

    Comment by David Uzumeri — February 22, 2008 @ 2:06 pm

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