I wrestled with whether or not to share this bit of information with you for all of ummmm… 5 seconds. Misery loves company, and I was/ am miserable. May God have mercy on me for what I am about to do.
I appreciate that it might be exciting to include role play in your dalliances. I understand that with comic book collectors role playing might involve characters from various books or movies. This can’t be good for business.
For me, the only things aroused were confusion and horror… not the good kind of confusion either.
Wednesday has come and gone. The heroes have fought their battles and villains have hinted at things to come. Now it’s time to review the game tape…
Went to that other store again this week. The experience wasn’t quite as creepy, but still not pleasant. You’re probably wondering why I haven’t already committed to a mail-order system instead of complaining about this particular LCS. There’s a bit of a chance that my shop might reopen in a new place…we’ll see. At any rate, here’s how the books played out.
Let’s start with this gem and work toward the good stuff. If you’ve seen the cover of Geoff Johns’ Green Lantern #50, you’ve seen all you need to see. Nothing else happens. Let me clarify: nothing else happens in the same way that nothing else happens in half of the episodes of Dragonball Z. Lots of talking about how something cool should be happening any minute now. Then something not really cool happens and the show ends with a promise that something big and awesome will happen next time. It is notable that the events in this book might have spanned all of 12 minutes, and 12 minutes it about how long it took me to read the issue: real time comics. Save your money. Look at the cover and know that’s all that really happens: Parallax is back.
This isn’t the cover to Justice League of America #41. It is the only image I could find related to said issue though. Perhaps the problem is that JLoA #41 shouldn’t be out for at least another month. The book is a confusing fallout to two stories that ARE NOT FINISHED. I read the first three pages of this issue and got sick of the ridiculous amount of references and plot points revolving around events that haven’t happened (what the hell happened to Star City?). I’d like to say that in two months when Blackest Night and Cry for Justice are over, that this will be a pretty decent book. Flipping through, it looks like they’re rebuilding the team. This one’s got to sit on the shelf until time catches up to it. Until then, at least it’s a pretty thing to look at.
Speaking of odd jumps in the space-time continuum, there’s Fantastic Four #575. I was digging this issue until the final third. I had to flip back a page to make sure that I didn’t skip a page or five. Things are clipping along nicely with a strong and solid Moleman story and suddenly Ben’s jumping out of an aircraft, somethings exploding or caving in, a city may or may not have popped up within the US boarder, and Moleman slinks away in a sentence. Too many important things fell into the gutters with this one. If anyone out there read this, can you explain the end to me?
Batman and Robin #7 was pretty good…until the end. Knight and Squire accompany Dick around London. Morrison shows off his knack for naming villains and crazy concepts. Batwoman shows up…wait. Batwoman? Yeah… it’s forced at best. She’s shoehorned into the plot and you can almost hear her trailing off at the end as though she’s not buying her explanation either. That’s when some weird editing SNAFUs take place. This issue was already late coming out. Why didn’t they hold it and get it right?
GI Joe: Cobra II #1 was a good start. There was a surprising cameo and it was fun to see Cobra gearing up for some sort of big pow-wow. Think of it as a process story for Cobra.
Justice Society of America #35 was a satisfactory and mostly clever ending to the return of Mordru.
X-Men Forever #16 was solid too. It focuses on Nightcrawler and Rogue. If you’re not reading this, you’re missing an enjoyable book that’s not burdened with crossovers or keeping up with the events of 7 other titles.
That’ll wrap up this week’s review of books.
Finally! A chance to spread the good word on some good comics rather than complaining that X-Babies exists!
Avengers vs Atlas #1 - If Matt and Hannah Montana have taught me anything, it’s that there are only 7 plots in literature,* so I wasn’t terribly concerned when I read his review of this book before I got a chance to read the book itself. I wouldn’t even say that this book fits the category of “teams meet, fight, realize they’re on the same side, then team up” unless you count earlier issues of the AoA ongoing and X-Men vs Atlas (which is fair because if you read comics then you should have been reading already). Recycled plots or no, it’s the way Parker puts them together than makes AoA so special. The humor, banter, and situations always feel fresh and novel, as if it’s the first time we’re seeing a Human Robot interact with a Gorilla Man. I don’t have much to say about this book that Matt didn’t say first, but I definitely second how great this was. The Namora backup was a weak story we’ve seen dozens of times before, but there’s still a lot of bang in here for your 4 bucks.
The Muppet Show #1 - This book? Well, if our frequent shilling for Roger Langridge and BOOM!’s Muppet Show books haven’t sold you yet it won’t now, but this continues to be the funniest comic on the stands. Langridge really gets a) comedy, and b) Muppets, and doing both is apparently harder to do than you’d think. After the damage done to the theater in “The Treasure of Peg-Leg Wilson”, the Muppets take their show on the road to any gas station, residence, warehouse, farmhouse, henhouse, outhouse and doghouse that will have them. Fozzie, meanwhile, has temporarily gone his own way to rediscover standup (the alphabet at the end of the book was brilliant!). It’s a spectacular read, as always. The next issue should have the Muppets rolling into Little Statwald, which I can only hope is a town full of Stadlers and Waldorfs.
Thunderbolts #140 - This is more like what I was expecting from Jeff Parker’s Thunderbolts run. The Agents of Atlas/Thunderbolts battle is resolved and Jimmy Woo proves he’s willing to do anything to take down Norman Osborne, with unexpected results. Hopefully it doesn’t make me a bad person that the horror and shock of what happened was matched by thinking it was pretty funny (and a relatively ingenious twist). The dichotomy between the lighter Atlas team and the darker T-Bolts is certainly fascinating, though I’m afraid Parker may have made the Agents too powerful. We’re starting to see a lot of psych-outs by Marvel Boy and characters who are unaffected by Venus’ song. Still, we’ve had 3 AoA books this month, which is proof that Marvel either recognizes quality, is still working their “throw it on the wall and see if it sticks” publishing philosophy, or is just willing to print anything Jeff Parker wants to write.
Weekly World News #1 - I was amazed by how much I like this comic! The first story arc, “The Irredemption of Ed Anger” follows the regular WWN columnist (who tends to get “madder than a <NOUN> in a <RELATED NOUN>) and television pundit as he rails against the freaks and illegal (space) aliens that the WWN specializes in. Of course, this puts Bat Boy at the center of his rage. Chris Ryall puts together a very funny story here, and weaves in more disparate WWN regulars than you would think possible (and thankfully annotates them in the back). Alan Robinson’s art was quite good, as well: consistent, well laid out, and with only one facial expression for Bat Boy (as it should be). Ryall’s text piece in the back relates a history with Weekly World News that Matt and I can definitely relate to. I’m looking forward to more issues, especially after the last-page reveal. Anyone with a fondness for the WWN should be pleased by the comic, and I’m curious to see how far they can take it.
*Hannah Montana is “Man vs. Self”.
For your Tuesday, I submit the following. This one is inspired by the shocking final panel of issue #1. You saw this panel in Sunday’s Game Tape Addendum.
OTHER THINGS THAT SHOCKED ANGEL LOVE IN 1986
It’s another light week, but at least there’s a couple solid books out. I’ve been getting caught up on back issues, though, so expect looks at Avengers/Atlas, Thunderbolts, and The Muppet Show tomorrow. Here’s what I’m looking at this week.
- BATMAN AND ROBIN #7 - I’m glad this book is making its return…Between Batman being dreadfully dull and Detective pricing itself out of acceptability, I’ve really missed good Batman stories.
- GREEN LANTERN #50 – I don’t know what to expect from this, especially since Matt recommended I pass on #49, but between Blackest Night going on and the tragic events of the LAST GL #50, I’m sure it’ll be something big.
- X-BABIES #4 (OF 4) – While I was in my LCS the other day a woman came in asking if X-Babies #4 was out yet. So apparently there are some people who really dig Royal Roy and Top Dog meeting up with infant clones of the X-Men. BUT YOU SHOULDN’T BE ONE OF THEM!
That’s it for me. What are YOU getting?
Robbed a bank or two,
Gliding through New York’s canyons,
TiVoed Golden Girls.
Jeff Parker knows how to write. For some of you out there, this is an article of faith in your comic collecting. For others, you may still need some convincing. Case in Point: Avengers vs. Agents of Atlas #1.
I enjoyed this book so much that it wasn’t until later that I realized it’s just a generic team-up story. In fact, it’s essentially a team-up story that he’s already told (see the X-Men/ Atlas crossover). The beats are boilerplate: two (or more) seeming unrelated incidents fielded by two (or more) separate teams. Everyone converges for a battle and team up. What makes this standard story any good is Parker’s handling of both teams. Each character has a distinct and fitting voice. No one on either team feels out of place.
Because Parker has mastered the Five Magics, I was having too much fun and enjoying the book to notice that this story structure was old when Gardner Fox used it to invent the JSA.
Even the backup story is worth reading (it ought to be for the $3.99 cover price). Namora stars in a story that Aquaman doesn’t even have the stones for.
Outside of Jeff Parker, Gabriel Hardman does an outstanding job on the art in the main story. The lines are thin and crisp. The color washes are muted compared to most appearances of these four color heroes. The main reason I love the look of this book is that it reminds me exactly of Jackson Guice’s run on the sorely underrated Resurrection Man.
I know Hardman’s been doing AoA for a while now, but this was the first time it hit me why I like him so much.
If the $4.00 price scared you off, man up and get this book. It’s worth it. It’s well paced, well written, well drawn, and well colored.
In other Parker news, I found a copy of his Starbrand #1. It was in the half dollar bin, and it comes from that brief period when Marvel thought they were going to revive New Universe. I know nothing about the original Starbrand. I don’t really care about New Universe. This issue was enjoyable though. It also served as a good solid introduction to the idea and the character. Worth picking up if you find it cheap.
I also found Angel Love #’s 5 and 6. That this series made it past the first issue astounds and impresses me enough to need to find the rest of these…gems?
That wraps up my latest week in the wilderness of not having a regular comic book shop.
I’m flattered that Matt said he was looking forward to my review of Starman #81, but also a bit surprised. While I’ve definitely loved the series, since he’s a bigger Golden Age fan (and to be honest, a bigger fan of times past) and the one who introduced me to Starman in the first place, I expected that I would take my cues on this book from him. Still, I’ll give it a shot and hopefully not let him down.
As disappointed as I am in the Blackest Night experience so far, this is the perfect opportunity to revisit Opal City. This is a natural tie-in since most of The Opal’s heroes are gone at this point. Most of the story revolves around the relationship between The Shade and Hope O’Dare, whose soap-opera ramblings seem completely out of character. This is not a Shade I recognize, and even though he doesn’t seem to recognize himself anymore, either, the difference is just too stark. By the end even his speech patterns have changed to become Jack’s, with verbal pauses and references to Crackerjack prizes.
The art isn’t doing the story any favors, either. I’m not familiar with Fernando Dagnino’s work, but it was completely overpowered by Bill Sienkiewicz. Maybe it’s just because I don’t get Sienkiewicz’s art in general, but it was too sketchy for my taste, and the characters look far too different from the people we’re used to.
Matt’s right, there’s an awful lot crammed into one issue. I imagine it wouldn’t have been quite as rushed if Robinson had all the space he needed rather than just a one-issue tie-in. I’m still willing to believe that a Starman revival could work, but only when Robinson finds his (and the characters’) voice again. It’s great to see our friends after so long, but if these aren’t the people we know then there’s little point.
Starman 81 isn’t a bad issue, but it’s not stellar (no pun intended). I just hope that if we see more of Starman and opal City, Robinson gives himself more of a warm-up to really get back into the rhythms of Opal City.