Ahoy, there, reader! In a bit of a switch from last week’s post, wherein I reviewed only a handful of titles, I’ve decided to give shorter reviews of a larger number of comics. If this is not your preferred method, feel free to comment. Perhaps I’ll return to my previous, more specialised style.
Sally forth, shall we?
Things I read that weren’t bad:
Time Bomb #1
Who am I to resist a cover featuring a Steranko-esque Black Ops team set against a backdrop featuring Jet Propulsion Lab-era rocketry and a Nazi skeleton? Well done, Radical Publishing. Not only did you suck me in with the cover, but you gave me the nostalgia-evoking team of Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti and Paul Gulacy.
Action Comics #891
Mr. Mind serves as our guide through Lex Luthor’s power fantasies. Read that sentence again. Now remind yourself that Mr. Mind is a giant anthropomorphic worm with the power to invade and control minds. Now go buy this fucking comic.
Secret Warriors #18
Just when I think Jonathan Hickman can’t make me enjoy this series any more, he inserts Macross-esque air battles into this bittersweet arc, entitled “The Last Ride of the Howling Commandos.” Now hear this, Hickman: If Dum Dum dies, you’ll soon follow. The Cheung covers always blow me away, as well.
Tom Strong and the Robots of Doom #3
Perhaps a step down from the first two issues, but I’m not about to tell you that anything featuring the Tom Strong-verse and Chris Sprouse is not good. Plus, NAZIS!
Avengers Prime #2
Bendis doing his best Simonson and Alan Davis being Alan Davis. I’ll take it. I still think Mister Mind was my favorite surprise comic appearance this week, but this book featured a close second. Your only hint: This guy didn’t NEED pants. Yet he most certainly wore pants.
Sweet Tooth #12
Visually splendid, as always, but the more Jeff Lemire reveals in his slow-moving tale, the less I care. The mystique of this title is disappearing for me, but I still revel in Lemire’s layout and line.
I have heard tell ‘round internet ways that many are finding this book incomprehensible. They point to this book, along with 1602 and the Earth X titles - failed experiments, to be sure - as examples that any attempt to place Marvel into a bigger, all-encompassing mythology will fail. To those naysayers I say this: BAH! JUST BUY IT FOR DUSTIN WEAVER’S ART. I am enjoying this book and its last page reveals very much, thus far. We’ll see if it reaches its goals.
Doom Patrol #13
The best comics are the ones that send you scampering to your longbox or, these days, Wikipedia. Keith Giffen has given Rita “Elasti-Woman” Farr a bit of the ol’ Alan Moore Swamp Thing treatment, completely re-imagining her and upsetting the status quo in the span of just one issue. With just 22 pages, Giffen had me scampering for my back issues and looking up bits of DP history. The man loves these characters and refuses to let any of them remain stagnant. Even Rita Farr.
Daredevil: Black & White #1
Briefly, I’ll get my opinions on the issue as a whole out of the way: two neatly scripted tales with some fantastic art, followed by a prose piece with more wonderful illustration. This is a good comic, certainly, but eclipsing that was the discovery of Jason Latour, the artist of the first story. His dynamic style found a way to be tight and loose at the same time, omitting lines here, placing a truly bold stroke there. Latour is a very exciting find, as his work - intentionally, I’m guessing - was evocative of, simultaneously, the great DD artists of days gone by. Mazzucchelli, Miller, Sienkiewicz, Romita the younger; they were all in there, but within his own unique work.
Things I read that weren’t so good:
The Rage of Thor
This comic wasn’t poorly written, nor was the art horrendous. However, this read like a bad pastiche of Conan and Northlanders. If I need to envision lamentations of the womenfolk or to ponder the whims of Crom, I’ll crack open a Cimmerian tale or pick up Brian Wood’s latest Viking yarn.
The Invincible Iron Man #28
Well, we’re back to regular covers for good, it seems. ‘Twas a noble experiment, Mssrs. Fraction and Larocca. Now stop aping Warren Ellis and do your own thing. If I wanted Iron Man as The Authority, I’d pick up something from the Ultimate line.
As much as I have enjoyed Warren Ellis’ previous takes on the folly of creating ubermensch - No Hero and Black Summer - this book has been a rambling mess and is rather dull. Ellis made his points with the aforementioned series, and I’m not really sure what he has left to say on the matter.
Amazing Spider-Man #639
Bollocks to this. ASM was doing quite nicely for itself for quite sometime there. In strolls Quesada with his “One Moment In Time” non-event and, lo and behold, the streak hath ended. Ah, well. I guess I’ll step over this, not unlike if I were to encounter shit on the sidewalk.
Jonah Hex #58
Know Jordi Bernet, know peace. No Jordi Bernet, no peace. The artist on this book, Giancarlo Caracuzzo is not series regular Bernet, but he’s not the reason this book falters. Gray and Palmiotti, the writers and, usually, masters of the single issue story, just simply lose control of their twisting tale. The narrative device is a neat one, letting the actual bullets fired serve as storytellers, but the writers get too caught up in their double crosses and coincidences to write a cogent and compelling issue. Don’t give up on this book, for it’s usually a paragon of the medium.