Which no one is likely to read until after anyway! I will also be using my new grading scale, that I have yet to explain, and won’t today! I have faith in any readers I have that they can figure it out for themselves.
Usagi Yojimbo #100– I really enjoyed last issue, the first one I’d ever read in the series. So much that I did not see any problem with jumping in to an ongoing series 100 issues in to its latest incarnation. This issue presents one of those problems I hand’t seen, in the form of a celebratory anniversary issue. It’s an artist jam issue, which is usually enjoy on principle. However! This one has a conceit (it’s a roast of Stan Sakai celebrating the 100th Dark Horse issue) that’s not as cute as it thinks it is. There are some strong bits here, mind you; Jamie S. Rich’s two page anecdote about working with Sakai as a young editer (drawn by Andi Watson) is short and sweet, and Guy Davis has a lovely dream sequence. As a whole, I was unenthused. It’s not bad, it’s just that I was expecting more samurai rabbit adventures, and I got a tepid humor comic instead. I’ll be back for the next issue, mind you, because I assume regular service will be restored by then. I’ll also look in to finally getting some Usagi trades. So it’s not like it killed my burgeoning interest in the series. I do think, however, that it was a waste of $3.50 (what were the extra .50 for?), and really only something for long time fans and completists. Which, you know, is probably to be expected for a 100th issue, but still, I was disappointed. Meh.
Spider-Man: Reign#1- One of my most impulsive impulse purchases ever. I was interested in seeing how much this was “The Arachnight Returns” (doing the Dark Knight Returns with Spider-Man, in other words) and, I have to admit, Spider-Man in his underwear punching a decrepit J. Jonah Jameson on the last page amused me enough to get my $3.00. Besides, it was the last copy!
And y’know, I actually liked it. Yes, it is pretty much exactly how you’d expect a competently written fan-fic using this idea to read from the plot to how much Kaare Andrews apes his dialogue (although it’s less over the top than some of Miller’s own recent work reads). But I’m interested in seeing where it goes, and there was enough underlying humor (I love that he was still cracking jokes in fights, and that last page just cracked me up) that I wasn’t thinking “that’s not Spider-Man!” I don’t think the world neccessarily needed this comic, but I think the first issue was good enough to justify its wholly derivative existence. Maybe I went easier on it because of the dedication to Seth Fischer at the beginning, though, and I’ll come to my sense with the next one. Unless he dedciated it to Bam Bigelow or Barbaro or something. I’m sentimental like that. But I went in to this expecting to hate it, and I’m feeling almost guilty for thinking it was Not Bad. Better move on to a comic I can unreservedly enjoy!Â
Criminal #4- I have yet to pick up #3 yet, but I was able to follow things fairly well. This is up to, if not possibly already exceeding, the standard Brubaker and Phillips set of themsevles with Sleeper. It’s $3.00 for a good chunk of story, some nice text pieces, and very few adds. Unless you have a personal beef with Brubaker,Â I have a very hard time believing you wouldn’t find this as Damn Good as I do. I mean, it even has a text piece from nerd icon, and close personal friend of CBR’s Justin Davis, Patton Oswalt! What more do you want?
DMZ #11- A very good done and one story by Brian Wood and Kristian Donaldson, which I always like to see in monthly comics. It’s the kind of thing that makes me more willing to try a series I’m not familiar with. It serves as a good introduction to the concept of the DMZ while leaving just enough mystery that I want to fill in the gaps. So yeah, color me impressed. More so than I was with that Demo review copy we all went over what seems like a lifetime ago. Damn Good
Civil War: the Return- No Rating, because I read it in the shop, and only skimmed it at that, but I have to say, it didn’t seem as awful as the guys over at the Savage Critic (at least 1/3rd of whom I agree with 75 percent of the time) made it out to be last week. I mean, Graeme was so bemused by it he wrote a snarky open letter to Marvel, it was one of the comics that made Jeff stage an intervention for the House of Ideas, and Hibbs called it the first contender for the worst comic of the 21st Century. It didn’t seem that bad to me though, on not very close inspection at all. What did I miss? By not actually reading it. I don’t doubt the veracity of the claim that it’s bad, but is it that bad? I want to find out, if for no other reason than to damn it with the faintest praise ever, but not enough to pay for it. Quite a dilemma.
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