Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Comic shop comics: September 14

All-New Batman: The Brave and The Bold #11 (DC Comics) In this issue, Batman and Jonah Hex team up in a time-traveling adventure to stop Warner Bros. from producing 2010's Jonah Hex feature film.

Okay, actually Batman travels much farther back in time than that (with help from Doctor Nichols, natch), way back to cowboy times. The villain he and Hex face isn't a particularly inspired choice, as the two previously took him on in an episode of a Batman cartoon (but not an episode of the cartoon series this comic is based on).

The choice of first scene, pre-team-up guest stars is a bit more refreshing: Cave Carson and Geo-Force.

The best part of the story, however, was seeing another example of Batman's mastery of disguise:

Daredevil #3 (Marvel Entertainment) This is still a perfectly traditional superhero comic, executed perfectly. What I really dig about Mark Waid's writing on this title is his confidence in the fact that his collaborator is a great artist, and the way he thus seems to be thinking up wild things for Paolo Rivera to draw. Waid's challenging Rivera, and Rivera's meeting the challenge, which, in turn should encourage Waid to come up with greater, more difficult challenges in the future. That's the way writer/artist creative teams like this should work. Props to Inker Joe Rivera and colorist Javier Rodriguez for making this such a slick, beautiful book—the coloring is really where most superhero comics seem to get (visually) fucked up these days, but Daredevil is lovely.

Green Lantern #1 (DC) There' sso little change in this particular title, one wonders if DC needed even bother with renumbering it—same creative team, same lead, same story, picking up right where the last issue left off. Even the tweaked and surely extremely temporary changes to the status quo—Hal Jordan is ring-less, and Sinestro is the new Green Lantern of Space Sector 2814—were thoroughly lead into by the last issue of the previous volume.

Not much happens in this issue, which is mostly devoted to (re-)introducing some of the principal characters, but it does a fine job of leaping over that relatively low bar.

DC Retroactive: JLA—The '90s #1 (DC) I was a little surprised that DC chose the Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis and Kevin Maguire creative team and the "Bwa-Ha-Ha" iteration of the League for the '90s special. The writing team's run began in 1987 and ended in 1992, with Maguire a somewhat sporadic presence, so that team—behind the book and starring in the book—was just about as much of an late-80s book as it was an early-90s book. More representative creative teams might have consisted of Grant Morrison and Howard Porter, whose JLA ran from 1997 to 2000 and included such '90s signifiers as mullted Superman, Kyle Rayner as Green Lantern and shirtless, un-groomed, hook-handed Aquaman, or perhaps writer/artist Dan Jurgens (Justice League America, 1992-1993) or Gerard Jones and Chuck Wojtkiewicz (1994-1996). I don't know whatever became of Jones or Wojtkiewicz, but Morrison, Porter and Jurgens at least are all still working for DC.

Ah well, as much as I might have liked to see Morrison returning to his post-Rock of Ages roster, when Plastic Man, Steel, Zauriel and the others joined the Big Seven, I suppose the Giffen/DeMatteis/Maguire team better fits the nostalgia-stoking mission statement of the Retroactive books, and their run seems to be more or less erased by the post-Flashpoint reboot (if I've understood what I've heard about JLI #1), so this is an era well worth revisiting one last time (for now).

In addition to the main cast of the American League, the trio bring in Justice League Europe's Power Girl, her cat, and their Injustice League of Multi-Man, Major Disaster, Clock King, Clue Master, Big Sir and Bruce. The major conflict involves a bit of Apokalyptian technology falling into the wrong hands and the fighting of a giant monster, but as with the majority of Giffen and DeMatteis' Justice League comics—especially their occasional revisits to the characters after they completed their five-year run on the franchise—it's more about the banter, the jokes and the characters than anything else.

It still sort of boggles my mind how seemingly easy it is for Giffen and DeMatteis to slip right back into writing these characters as if 20 years or so hadn't past, and Maguire's artwork just gets better and better (as a comparison with the Maguire-penciled, Terry Austin-inked back-up reprint demonstrates).

According to the fine print, that back-up is supposedly Justice League of America #6, but I think it's actually Justice League America #60, the final issue of the Giffen/DeMatteis era, before they handed creative duties over to Jurgens (and the book went off to wander in the wilderness for five years, until Morrison and company came on to restore it to its original, pre-Crisis concept of DC's biggest heroes united to beat-up threats too big for any of them to handle on their own).

As the final issue of their run, and part 15 of a 15-part climatic storyline, it might seem like an unusual choice to pull out as representative of their run, but it does devote almost every single one of its pages to checking in on one of the many characters that populated the Giffen/DeMatteis Leagues, and thus introduces a pretty sprawling cast while highlighting particular character traits and running gags.

While the writing and the art don't seem dated at all, the same can't be said of the fashion. Check out Max Lord's sweater, which dates this story precisely as having been published during the eight season of The Cosby Show:

1 comment:

Akilles said...

I never thought of a Klaw vs. DD-fight. Mark Waid is awesome. Also Rivera.