Happy New Joe Rice Media Review 1/6/07

Happy New Year and all that stuff.  I have two weeks of comics to tell you about.  You've gone too long without knowing for sure if something was good or not.  But you'll have to wait a few seconds longer as you read this sentence and perhaps a few more.  Like this sentence, it needs to be read, too.

Superman Confidential had some cook moments and I'm actually interested in how the entire thing is going to play out.  It definitely suffers being read so close to All Star Superman, but it's definitely a good book.  Sale's art continues to sometimes-work-and-sometimes-not-work for me, but he's definitely doing good stuff.  The polar bear bit was probably my favorite.  A good book for certain, but not the best.

I was excited to read the last issue of Nextwave:  Agents of HATE.  The series had been a beautiful surprise, like when there's actually one of your grandmother's homemade peanut butter cups left after all.  But MAN was this last issue a disappointment.  Sure, it looked great.  Immonen could draw your average blogger and it would look great.  But the two-page spread jokes just didn't work for me.  A disappointing end to an otherwise awesome series.  Perhaps it was too difficult to keep up this pace and style after all.

Godammit, every issue of The Boys has a few great moments and a lot of tedium.  It's so frustrating to see a great creator ALMOST get there but not quite.  The political stuff definitely amped up the drama, Butcher's reasoning was wrenching, and the action worked.  And I want to like a book that pisses on everything bad about superhero comics (this issue's spotlight:  superhero funerals).  But when this doesn't work (the extended hamster gag) it REALLY doesn't work. 

In contrast, Brubaker and Lark are doing everything they can right in Daredevil.  The plot is tightly woven and intriguing.  The characters are fleshed-out and natural.  The art is beautiful and tells the story.  The action is exciting.  But I've just completely lost interest!  The last issue I read had a touch of this, but this dramatic, serious conflict gets completely undercut by the fact that one guy is wearing red tights.  I just feel like this book would benefit greatly from losing the trappings of the superhero genre.  This would be an amazing hardboiled story.  As a tights story it just highlights the silliness of the genre by being so good at being serious.  It's well done, skillfully-crafted work.  I just think I'm done with it.

Ultimate Fantastic Four, on the other hand, relishes in the absurdity and freedom of the genre.  Crazy stuff happens.  It's not taken lightly, but this shit is crazy!  I guess Ronan in the normal Marvel comics has become something of a badass or something lately, but that's hard for me to imagine.  But this Ronan was a pretty cool character, one whose actions you cannot predict at all at this point.  It's light fun with nice pictures.

Fantastic Four:  The End, on the other hand, is light to the point of insubstantiality.  It doesn't make much goddam sense at all, really.  And I'm not such an Alan Davis or Fantastic Four fan that I can look past it.  I'm sure this will appeal to some.  Just not to me.  It's a pretty mess, and I got my fill of those while I was single.

NOOOO!  Chris Sprouse!  Don't leave us!  Things aren't the same on Midnighter without you!  The very panel the art changed I was like, "Blar?!?"  It's still a fun ride with such sights as Hitler being used as a weapon and a cartoonish battle between the main character and some Time Cops.  And Ennis is smart enough to make sure the last page makes you want more.  Nothing brilliant but at least it's fun.  I hope Sprouse is back for the full issue next month.

I've completely lost my problem with The Other Side's coloring.  Either they fixed it or I'm a fickle son of a bitch.  Honestly, I don't care.  I've got me a great war comic more on the lines of Full Metal Jacket than your traditional story.  I've got Cameron Stewart art every month AND IT KEEPS GETTING BETTER.  I've got two intriguing lead characters in dire straights.  This is good good good good.

Gumby is fun.  I don't mean that as in NOUN VERB ADJECTIVE, either.  I mean that as in NOUN EQUATES NOUN.  They are synonymous.  Golem Gumby?  Come ON!  How can you not absolutely love this comic?  Bob Burden + Rick Geary + Gumby?  Seriously!  It's like God gave us this comic book as a consolation for suffering and death or something.  "Sorry about that, guys.  Here, read this!"  And you know what?  I'm happy with that deal.  Read Gumby.  Love life.

Things that were totally awesome about All Star Superman this issue:  the art; the writing; Pa; young Clark; Pa's hair' Clark's embarrassment; Krypto; tree fetch; "Woo-hoo!"; Clark's sweats/outfit; the hired hands; Lana; Pete; the diner; the photo; the aging man; the Superman Squad; Unknown Superman talking to Pa; that climax; the tower destructing; the hamburgers earlier; hair on fire; the funeral; Clark's speech; the flower; the end; everything.  I love this comic more than I love some people that I love.

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