A Bunch of Superhero Comic Reviews From The Past Couple Weeks

So much for a thin week! Well, for me. This like 1/5th of Burgas's weekly haul.

Speaking of Burgas, I actually feel bad about stealing the venom from him. Especially because I was barely even trying, really. He really has to really work to get people howling for his blood; apparently, it just comes naturally to me. Let's see if I can move towards inoffensiveness with my own reviews of some floppy pamphlets. Right there, I bet I made 12 people angry by calling them that.

Amazing Spider-Man #570- Hey, speaking of the Venom, which I did a few sentences ago but by damn I will not let that easy transition go without a fight; there are two of them in this! Well, one of them just used to be Venom and now is so adamantly against him he made that part of his name. Talk about a single issue voter!

I missed the last issue of this storyline, but was able to follow this well enough; this is the first time I've ever really been able to use one of those "story so far" pages. I'm not entirely sure what the deal with Anti-Venom is at all, but they set this up in that Waid backup strip in the issue before last, and I'm not really sure I want to know why Eddie Brock is covered in malleable white goo and able to cure cancer with his tentacles.

It helps that it's an extended fight scene broken up by various subplots, which is (as World War Hulk proved last year) the kind of thing John Romita Jr. was born to draw. Possibly literally; his dad was quite the company man. It's always a joy to see what someone with as much skill at panel to panel storytelling can do, even if (especially when?) it's kinetic fight coreography. Throw in some gorgeous coloring (especially in the opening pages) and you have a very pretty comic book.

Slott peppers in some of his trademark humor in there, and we get a pretty nice moment between Eddie Brock and Peter, especially for people who grew up during the time period when they were arch enemies, before feces collide with fan. A lot of my enjoyment of the Brand New Day Spidey feels like I've got a mental checklist and the writers are just marking off all the boxes. Not that I've ever had a problem with being pandered to, but it is odd how well these are working for me with based on what amounts to a recipe of things I want in a Spider-Man comic.

Blue Beetle #30- It took Sims' description of Matt Sturges description of the supehero kitsch golf course to finally get me to sample an issue of this series. While that was a fun sequence, the rest of the book also kept my attention by doing many things right.

I was impressed with how well Sturges juggled a lot of disperate plates of story here. He was able to integrate topical material that the setting demands (a Texas border town), the tropes you expect from a teen supehero comic (he has to juggle his personal life with superheroing!), and some elements specific to the character (even if the dialogue with his suit reminds me of Dwayne McDuffie's Deathlock). Nice to see some humor come from there, too. Sturges even throws a nice, Julie Schwartz-esque science less in there, although I don't think they were ever applied like this in Julie's comics. Heeven caps it off with the best line I've read in awhile.

In the obligatory "I know next to nothing about comics art but am obligated to talk about it" section, Rafael Albuquerque does a great job here, although it's not nearly the most expressive/adorable thing he's drawn lately, as I will mention later.

It all adds up to a comic that zips along and ends on a pretty interesting cliffhanger for our young hero. So my interest is piqued, and all it took was a cardboard Vigilante popping a wheelie just off the green to get me in the door. Take note, other superhero writers! Also, old school fans; a bone was totally thrown to you with that foot note referring to the Manhunter crossover!

Brave and the Bold #16- First thing's first; not a fan of Scott Kollins art here. Something about it seemed sloppy and drab to me. That said, it doesn't hinder Mark Waid's snappy, fun script, it just didn't do a lot for me as being anything more than illustrations for the story instead of an integral part of it.

The fact that this is only the third issue of this incarnation of DC's legendary team up book brings up something I've found about self contained stories. I like the idea of them, and am more likely to pick one up on impulse, but I find it easy to not buy them in serial form due to the fact that there's not the same kind of hook to pick them up as there is in an ongoing (i.e What's gonna happen next!). Oddly enough, the fact that it had a running storyline made me less likely to pick one up during its first two arcs.

That is to say, I wish there were more done in one comics (especially when it comes to superheroes), but I don't put my money where my mouth is often enough to help make that a reality. Also, this book is damned if it does and damned if it doesn't. Furthermore, Magneto and the Wildstorm Universe are equally deserving of my disrespect. It is really hard to keep a lid on this whole internet douche thing now that I have unleashed it.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 #18- Yeah, so, this sure was a part of an ongoing storyline. The plot was certainly advanced somewhat. It was totally like a segment of the television show, expect I paid $2.99 for it.

There are portents of heavy things going down and double crosses and all, but this seemed to be stalling for time before the big cliffhanger. Well, we did get a pretty nice contrast between what Buffy's become thanks to her new role as general of a slayer army and what she was in Fray. So, that was an interesting piece of writing from Whedon. We also got one of those fun "mythical creatures talk like real people" gags he likes to use with some mutant offsprings of these guys. He is making the best of Dawn as a Centaur, I guess, although the fact that his name is on the damn comic makes it hard to pretend this could have possibly been forced on him. Maybe he lost a bet and really did have to use random monsters from a D&D book, and Dawn was the most expendable characte for that exercise.

That said, the sooner Fray and her sub-Mutant Gang slang go away, the better. She just really annoys the crap out of me every time she shows up on panel. The weird thing is, I don't remember hating her at all in her solo mini-series. I mean, that thing left me cold, but I didn't have any problem with her then. I guess my tolerance for Whedon's attempt to take his already stylized dialogue to the absolute limit of coherence has greatly dissipated in the intervening 5 years since I read the mini the special (and I do mean special!)guest star sprung from.

All that said, I have to hand it to Dark Horse; I have never been happier to see a variant cover than when I had to choose between this and this. So, thank god I could choose Jeanty's there, although his tend to have more charm than Chen's anyway. Seriously, though; I only thought Trachtenburg being sexualized in Road Trip was creepy. What is this, a Buffy comic or dirty, dirty centaur porn? Of course, Jeph Loeb is next up on scripts, so maybe I better enjoy this while I can, even if it's nice to see them finally get something out of that Buffy cartoon.

Superman/Batman #51- Well, that was certainly the most adorable comic I've read in a long time. In fact, if there were an Eisner solely for most adorable superhero comic, this would win hands down. I mean, that's both not much of a contest these days and an exceptionally specific award that you'd be making up just to give this one (just like best letterer! Seriously, did they just make that up to give Todd Klein a bunch of statues and Augie something to geek out about besides Chuck Dixon?)

Green and Johnson deliver a light, fun script while still getting in some shots and the current sturm und drang of supercomics, while Albuquerque does a great job on the Lil' League (seriously, just typing that makes me smile). I really liked the device of the little hearts being visible when one of the Lil' Leaguers (I'm beaming right now) was lusting after some one. Just some fun work here, the kind you don't get to see in mainstream books too much these days, due to all the crises and what not.

Hey, I actually like that stuff, it's just nice to have a different flavor out there when I want something beyond Skrull paranoia and Grant Morrison's technicolor superhero apocalypse in my capes and tights comics. I'd seriously at least consider buying a Lil' League (I just vomited from the saccahrine head rush I get typing that!) ongoing by this team. I mean, Red Tornado looks like his mini-mate! I mean, the kids get Tiny Titans and Super Friends; I deserve an infantile version of my favorite superheroes! Respect the primacy of the Babyman! RESPECT IT! (I still kind of hate that word, although at least it doesn't cause me physical pain any more. But seriously, was manchild not adequate, Manley?)

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