Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Reading and Writing 2.8.2011

The first dedicated "review" blog of last week's comic releases, or at least the ones I bought. Thanks to Chad W. and Dave F. for suggesting this as a feature.

So, welcome to Reading and Writing for 2.8.2011 - Books released on 2.2.2011

Batman Odyssey #6
I've generally been a defender of this series, and I still consider it a must-read. It's Neal Adams artwork, for God's sake! You don't just write that off.

That said...This is the first issue of this series where I had trouble figuring out what the hell was going on, and simply how I was supposed to move from panel to panel. I also respect Adams' desire to fit a lot of story into each issue, but this is like the full opposite of the decompressed storytelling that's overrun the industry. Yet, in a way, it's exactly the same. The story doesn't really move very far forward in this issue, but a crap-load of exposition is spewed out.

Not to mention a really, really poor ending. I mean, Bruce says, "I'm tired," and collapses into sleep on the Batcave floor? What the hell was that? It was almost like a joke, a way to end the issue quickly because, well...that was 22 pages.


Brightest Day #19
Hey, Aquaman got his had cut off...again. Which is fine, I always thought the "harpoon-hand" was pretty badass, but, once again, where is this series going? The Deadman/Liveman/White Lantern/Whatever stuff in the first half of the issue is obviously trying to put the pieces in position to start wrapping things up, but it certainly feels like too little, too late.

The "Aquawar" section was at least propulsive, but, maybe I''m stupid, why are Mera's people attacking the surface world? The answer might be in the book, but, frankly, it made no impact. It was just something for Aquaman and the new Aqualad to run from/through, then, bam! Black Manta cuts off Aquaman's hand...again.

The art is really solid, and unified, on this book. That's saying something for this schedule and the sheer number of artists working on it. It at least looks fantastic.

Jonah Hex #64
Heh, that one was twisted. A tale of sexual perversion isn't the usual for Hex, but they've hit on almost every other form of perversion, so why not? As usual, there's not much backstory, and half the dialogue is in untranslated Spanish. That, however, is really one of the strengths of this book. I love how each issue pretty much just drops you, and Jonah, into the middle of something that's already in play, and Hex's eye for human weakness makes it crystal clear to him very quickly.

"Nelson" was this month's artist, and he's got a very clean, precise line. His women are nice, too, which is fitting for a story turning on a beautiful woman. He's (She's?) an artist I would love to see on any superhero book, it's that kind of work, but it didn't really feel like Jonah Hex art. Too clean, in a modern comic book way. I've grown used to seeing very identifiable, quirky artists on this series, Jordi Bernet, Darwyn Cooke, and Nelson doesn't have a lot of quirk.

The Stand: No Man's Land #1
This book is really hard to review for me. It's a really good adaptation of the novel, and the team has plenty of room (with 30 issues, when all's said and done) to tell the story right. I can reccommend it very much, if you like the book. The script by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa is excellent, the art by Mike Perkins fits the material.

It's hard to really mention anything else. If you're reading these connected mini-series, you're likely a Stephen King fan, and if you're a Stephen King fan, you've likely read The Stand.  There's not going to be a lot surprising, nor is there anything that's going to upset you.

I mean, my only complaint is that Larry Underwood has looked less and less like Bruce Springsteen (who King suggested should play the role in a movie) as the series have gone forward. But, y'know, whatever...

...and there you go.

Ultimate Comics New Ultimates #5
OK, so, I can't even tell you how long it's been since issue #4 of this series. I mean, what the hell is the deal with Ultimates projects?Yes, yes, I know you want a "hot" artist, but, my God....I feel like this mini-series started almost two years ago. It was right after that Ultimatum nightmare, right?

I mention this because, it took me at least 4 pages to try to re-set my brain to where we actually were with this story, and what the hell was at stake. Yeah, yeah, Marvel provides a "quick recap" on the first page, but does anybody else remember when, A) you got that info in one cation on the opening splash page, and B) The characters themselves would re-iterate the events throughout the story? Yes, I know that's not the most "realistic" way for people to talk...

But I remind you...It's a COMIC BOOK, about a man out of time, a Norse God and a dude that build himself a suit of armor that would need a nuclear reactor to power it. I don't read superhero comics for realism, no matter what Mark Millar's deal is. I just wish, especially if your artist is gonna need five months between issues, you reflected that in the writing.

Now, on that score, Frank Cho's art is pretty stunning, but not his best. Some of the female figures, which we all know is his strong suit, seem a bit out of proportion in some panels. It's not terrible, and I certainly couldn't do any better, but with the wait we've had...?

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