It’s still less than Burgas covers in a week. Here’s hoping quality wins out over quantity! Or at least a cocktail of sleep deprivation and brain chemicals.
Air #1– I was sold on this thing due to the previews I read in Vertigo’s loss leading first issue collections (I forget the name. First Hits? Some other drug metaphor?) and that one issue of Previews I read front to back. Consequently, that made me never want to do that again, although more out of boredom than an overwhelming urge to commit suicide, so it exceeded my expectations there.
Anyway, Air-. I found it interesting, which puts me more in the Paul O’Brien camp than anybody who’s written about it at Savage Critic(s). Which covers pretty much all the reviews I’ve read of it. All the Pynchon and Rushdie references go over my head, being the least literary English Lit major ever, so I don’t really care about any of that, nor does any of the purported unreality or magical realism or whatever really have any bearing on my reaction to this. I just found the set up intriguing.
It helps that I didn’t roll my eyes over the secret societies of airborne vigilantes or an agoraphobic flight attendant. I did miss the bit about sex on a broken clavicle on the first reading, although the only reason that registers with me now is because of Candice Michelle’s injury. That and writer G. Willow Wilson’s self congratulatory backmatter essay about being Vertigo’s answer to CM Punk (she’s straight edge!) give me my requisite WWE references for everything I write. It’s much easier to do it with superhero comics than it is for the Esoteric 19th Century German Philosophy Blog I write for, I tells ya.
Abhay wasn’t too fond of M.K. Perker’s art. I thought it was fine. Kind of reminded me of Steve Dillon, although that’s probably because everyone was kind of ugly more than Perker being in Dillon’s league at all. He did toss out a nice face kick in the action sequence, which helped get me through the great Sims drought of ’08. Solid work on the art side, despite the universally agreed upon drab coloring, at any rate.
Of course, throwing my lot in with Paul here not only makes me open to Arctic Shit Knife Fight Challenges from ADD (agreeing with Paul on anything does that) but also means that I add the caveat of wanting to see where it goes from here. So I’ll most likely forget it exists some time around issue #3, just like I did with Young Liars, and keep meaning to buy the trade every time it does seep back in to my consciousness, but then forgetting again because I have very little headspace for things beyond a chronological list of every Intercontinental Champion and verbatim dialogue of Simpsons shows. That’s just the brakes for non-super comics, really. For like 5 years I had no recollection that I really liked Love and Rockets, for instance.
Amazing Spider-Man #568- Dan Slott and John Romita Jr. is a dream pairing for me on this title. Not that this issue really played to either of their strengths, but it was a solid bit of set up, especially with Slott finally using Front Line in a comic I would pay to read. Mark Waid and Adi Granov give us an interesting back up about Eddie Brock. Hopefully things will really pick up next issue. Which my shop apparently sold out on in like 5 minutes, so no review of that yet. I sure wish it was because of Slott and Romita Jr. and not because of Venom or Anti-Venom or Reverse Composite Venom, but I don’t have the vast reservoirs of Obama on that one.
Ambush Bug: Year One #2- Yeah, I didn’t find this one nearly as funny as the last issue, or the small sample size of the original stories I’ve read. I do have to admire the energy behind it, though, and I can’t say I didn’t laugh at all. Really, I can’t; that’s comics blogger blasphemy. But I did like bits of it quite a bit. Giffen and Fleming certainly don’t shy away from the possibility of insulting anyone’s sensibilities, what with gags revolving around a giant, swishy, pink space interior dictator (play on words rule!) and a suicide bombing from an old timey sidekick. Also, any further manga-esque Adventures Mitsu Bishi would be more than welcome. As in a 19 volume series. Right now. Make it happen, Jann Jones. You gave Sims this, throw his internet stalker a bone!
Final Crisis: Revelations #1- Renee Montoya’s story arc is pretty much the only one spawned in 52 that’s held my interest since, so that was the main (only) draw of this mini for me. It’s a pretty big one to make me break my rule of not buying crossover spin off minis, really. Although, in a completely predictable change of heart, I’m gonna go back on that again pretty quickly in this little round up. But were I not really interested in Renee’s journey, I would not have shelled out for this.
So, of course, this issue is more about the Crispus Allen Spectre, and Renee only shows up at the end, although that at least lets us in on the pretty obvious resolution the cliffhanger of her excellent (if horribly titled) mini. Allen spends the first chunk of the issue enacting Michael Fleischer-esque vengeance on various supervillains, including comeuppence deserving Dr. Light, before becoming disillusioned with his employer (the Lord, Your God Inc.). A confrontation with villian du jour Libra leads to the interaction between the former partners turned legacy heroes (well, hero’s kind of a stretch for both of them, really), which is an interesting hook for the series. Not sure I’m willing to pay cover price for the whole thing, though. Art was okay, even if nothing will ever Jim Aparo’s rendering of grotesque poetic justice, but being a non-Gotham Central reading philistine (hey, it’s on my ever growing to read list of omnibi!) makes the cool hook less of an actual draw than it would be otherwise. Also, the scene leading up to Light’s apparent death was unneccessarily sleazy, even if it was reminding us that he deserved to be murdered violently. Had to mention that. Just… you broke the DCU, Brad Meltzer, you and all your fanboy pals who want to build on Infinite Crisis. I am almost ashamed that we share a name. But I am physically incapable of shame, so you’re off the hook there.
Final Crisis: Superman Beyond #1- Pretty much what Sims says, although I have an amusing/embarrassing anecdote to add.
My mom walked in on me reading the book in full 3-D glasses regalia. She hasn’t stopped laughing since, I don’t think. At least under her breath. So, I have to wonder if someone didn’t conceive of this gimmick solely so things like that would happen to hapless babymen like me. Have to say, of all the things I do, it’s not quite the most embarrassing thing she could have caught me doing. It’s on the short list, but still, thank heaven for small embarrassing anecdotes she’ll tell everyone for the rest of her life and all. I’d complain a bit about the 3-D glasses being a gimmick, but:
1) When have they not been in their history of existence?
2) It was still a fun little gimmick
3) When your mom walked in on me with them on, it was in her bedroom. Because we were copulating.
Sorry for the non-sequiter there. I just had to get that one in there. Sorry. But it’s true. For all of your moms. I am nothing if not prolific.
Moving beyond that a little, I want to address the inevitable T. backlash to a Grant Morrison story Cronin liked in the comments section to his review. I’d like to it, but a backlash to a backlash is self reverential enough for me, thank you. Anyway, I’m not gonna tongue lash our resident surly consonant or anything, but I do find his criticism kind of tedious. The same as I’m sure he finds people tripping over themselves to fawn over a Morrison comic featuring metafiction. So, point for him.
But I dunno, it seems like people can like this comic on its own merits without getting in to a pissing match over it, you know? It is Morrison going back to the well and dredging up his pet theme (which is the Water Horse in this mixed metaphor, I guess?), but I happen to like that, and I don’t think it overpowers the actual fun story here (although the lame 3-D does a little), even if it was a little disjointed on that level. Much like water is wet. Because, you know, it’s a Morrison comic. Also; do you really, really want a Superman comic where tears ass around the Multiverse with analogues of himself to examine the human condition? Beyond the fact that stories about the human condition are way more tedious and overrated than stories about stories, in my books… really? Seriously? Oh, T., whatever shall we do with you?
I guess it all boils down to audience reaction. If you thought “Oh, cool, it’s character limbo from Animal Man again” when you saw Merry Man and mentally composed a sonnet to Morrison for bringing back this interesting concept, then that bit was for you. If you saw it, rolled your eyes, groaned, and mentally composed a poison pinned hate letter to DC Comics for allowing that prima donna Scot to bring back that hoary old cliche he’s been dragging around his whole career, then it most obviously wasn’t. And also, you probably smell terrible. Just saying.
Immortal Iron Fist: The Origin of Danny Rand- Seeing Gil Kane’s work in slick new coloring was a big draw here. That was pretty much it, other than IIF completism, because these stories are just too choked with purple prose to really grab me by the short and curlies. I mean, it’s not that I didn’t expect that from Roy Thomas and Len Wein, but still, it’s a problem for me. That and the fight scenes verge on boring, as none of the cool move names for what Danny’s doing make his standard punches and kicks look cool. For what basically serves as an advertisement for the Essential Volumes, it sure didn’t win me over to buying those, although I still probably will buy them one day; at least the stuff that chronicles his bi-racial bromance with Luke Cage, especially because it’s always been the other (and, if you ask Hatcher and certain other old people, the best) Claremont/Byrne collaboration. But mostly for that enduring bromance. Just chokes you up man. Even if it is shamefully Rom-less.
Incredible Hercules #120- Things kind of went pear shaped during the big finish here, although this is still one of my favorite monthlies out there, and I do like that Pak and Van Lente used the shameless crossover tie-in to set up a potentially excellent plot for their own book. That also kept the mostly happy ending from feeling too pat. But it didn’t give me that giddy sugar rush the way the best issues of this run have.
Shonen Jump Bought solely for the excerpt of a manga Stan Lee put his name on. I mean, really, that’s what it seemed like he did here. So, you know, more glory whore stuff from Stan, but I can’t hold it against him (mostly because he wasn’t as big a one as people make him out to be, reputedly hilarious songs from late Doom Patrol creators aside).
Anyway, it turns out the Stan look alike samurai who offs himself in the color section is not the star of the comic, and instead it’s an Astro Boy riff, so color me totally disappointed. Stan Lee really should get an autobio comic out soon, before he
dies ascends to Huckster Heaven on a cloud of his own gloriously charming hot air. It has some okay moments, but the action scenes lost me, as they do in most manga that isn’t Lone Wolf and Cub. It’s just a big mess of speed lines to me in most of the Tokyo Pop/Viz stuff. I am qualifying this a lot because I fear manga people (and not just the ones who are icky girls), but still; I always feel like Halle Berry reading a Jim Lee X-Men comic when I come across a fight in Manga; I have no idea what’s going on. Or why I’m reading comics when I have a damn Oscar and woman plumbing.
The Slam Dunk and Naruto serials were completely readable, though; Naruto because of the lack of action in the chapters I’ve read, so I could read it without feeling physical pain. For reals; the last time I tried to review Shonen Jump, I got a splitting headache. It was like going in to Hot Topic; I felt really out of place the whole time, and left with a headache and a bewildering feeling that I was really damn old. I actually liked Slam Dunk for reasons that didn’t involve a bottle of Tylenol or lack thereof. It feels weird to say that I’m part of the audience for Japanese high school basketball drama for teenage boys, but that’s not nearly as embarrassing as the 3D glasses thing. Or also being the audience snooty rich kid high school drama for tween girls. I blame Josh Schwartz entirely for that one.
X-Men Pop Up Book- Because, after the 3D Glasses thing, why not? That said, I’m saddened that it’s not an actual Claremont/Byrne done up in this style, but a who’s who kind of thing. It’s like it’s for children!
I am a babyman, aren’t I? That phrase and comix are two words that make me grind my teeth and seethe with rage every time I see them. So, you know, first douchebag commenter to use them in a sentence wins my undying rage and scorn. Act soon!
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