Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Comic shop comics: February 20

Classic Popeye #7 (IDW) Holy smokes is that cover creepy! The gag is fine—Popeye making a scarecrow of himself—but the fact that his scarecrow looks so exactly like him, with stitching up and down the stuffed skin? And the fact that the color of that skin and the light that reflects off it almost exactly like that of the real Popeye, standing behind him? Brr! It really looks like someone flayed Popeye.

The inside of the comic is, thankfully, much more delightful.

Daredevil #23 (Marvel Entertainment) I'm not too terribly enthusiastic about the recent plot development involving Foggy, but when I remember being quite choked up when a similar storyline was resolved on Party of Five, and I wasn't even a big fan of that show, so maybe this will pay off at least as well. It's a credit to Mark Waid and Chris Samnee's talents that they are making this readymade source of melodrama interesting (rather than offensive in the face of all of the many better, non-superhero comics to deal with the subject and to, not incidentally, telling real stories involving real people). Not only that, but, by the climax, I think they're even starting to sell it.

There's other stuff involving an unseen foe who has been hounding Daredevil since the start of the series, and a very elegant seen in which the creators kinda sorta retell DD's origins while withholding the face of the person living through it in the visuals. Specifically, someone is trying to recreate the precise conditions of the accident that lead to the creation of Daredevil, having prisoner after prisoner push old men out of the way of speeding trucks carrying toxic waste in the hopes of creating more Daredevils. Not sure where they're going with this, but I hope at the resolution 40 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles show up.

Green Lantern #17 (DC Comics) I could not stop laughing when I saw this page. Geoff Johns has written over 100 pages of this comic, which he's been writing for about eight years now, and, all that experience aside, he's still in a position where he can turn in a page with 500 words of exposition in narration boxes...? And check out those credits! Dough Mahnke generally pencils the whole shebang, with the help of three to four inkers, but, for this particular installment we get two art teams, one which features Phil Jimenez providing finishing art over layouts by Dan Jurgens (who apparently now lives in a glass case in DC HQ bearing the words "Break Glass In Case of Looming Deadline/Sudden Creative Team Change"), the other featuring Dough Mahnke and four inkers. This issue also has an extra colorist in Tony Avina.

It's sort of a mess. The last issue was part of the "Rise of the Third Army" story that apparently climaxed and concluded in some Green Lantern I didn't know I'd have to read in order to follow the one Green Lantern book I've been reading since 2005 or so; this is the first part of "Wrath of the First Lantern," and it finds are heroes in a completely different place than where we left them in #16 (Oddly, all those narration boxes recap new GL Simon Baz's origin story, which unfolded in the pages of this book, but not what happened in that annual, which did not).

There are five pages—one-fourth of the 20 page book—devoted to splash pages; three individual image splashes and a single two-page splash. I'm going to miss this book when the creative team leaves—and the strategy employed to find replacements looks or less like the New 52's Oh shit we need new creative teams and directions STAT what creators do we have laying around the office we'll take anyone, even that one guy whose had like three books canceled this year! strategy, so I don't imagine I'll be following this or any GL books monthly—and Mahnke and the dirty half-dozen who ink him did a great job on making The First Lantern distinct and creepy looking.

Justice League of America #1 (DC) Well, they got the Ohio state flag right, or at least pretty right. The dimensions may not be perfect, and the rendering is pretty lazy and amateurish—surely DC could have found an out-of-work freelance artist capable of drawing state flags, right?

I'll be discussing this at some length tomorrow at one of the sites I write for (Which one? Tune in tomorrow to find out!), but short version? Wretched art, awful design work, decent writing and an uninspired paint-by-numbers pitch for a new series that can't quite overcome the feeling of being more Ultimate-style DCU than anything new. (So, you know, par for The New 52's course). It is a much, much, much, much, much better first issue than writer Geoff John's Justice League #1 though (it even gets all of the characters in, one way or another!), and better too than Justice League Dark #1 and Justice League International #1.

Saga #10 (Image Comics) ComicsAlliance's Andrew Wheeler ranked The Will at #15 on a list of the Sexiest Male Characters in Comics list, but the bald bounty hunter is hardly the only hunk in the book. As you can see above, artist Fiona Staples makes a strong case for Marko on the opening splash page of the latest issue (She also designs some pretty disturbing characters in the form of the midwives on the planet Marko and his mom are looking for the ghost babysitter on).

As striking as that page might be, it was the splash page that closes out the book that elicited the strongest reaction from me. In fact, I actually exclaimed, "Oh no!" when I read it.

Vibe #1 (DC) Another book I expect to talk more about later. Real quick though, DC went to some lengths to tone down all of the ethnic caricature that ended up defining the original Vibe, from ditching the Claremont-style phonetic slang to renaming him Francisco instead of Paco. Unfortunately, they also seem to have ditched his personality (he doesn't even breakdance, or seem to listen to music!), and comes across as a particularly generic character in a particularly generic superhero story. His powers have been tweaked to make him a potential pole for any future multiverse-related stories DC does, but that and Pete Woods' competent art (although the hoodie and Skittles was a rather tone deaf choice, given the associations of that particular combination) won't help much. Countdown to cancellation? Eight issues if retailers reacted as expected to a Vibe monthly, but with Johns' name attached (for, um, one issue) and the JLoA tie-in, it could maybe last a whole 12.

Wonder Woman #17 (DC) Wonder Woman basically stands around while various Tony Akins and Amilcar Pinna-drawn Olympians trade wordplay. Kinda like the previous sixteen issues, really. There is a weird-looking combination giant shark/sea serpent, Orion seems to be modeled after Tom Hardy and there's a panel where the New God slaps Wonder Woman on the ass for some reason. I guess it's 1963 on New Genesis...?

1 comment:

Tony said...

Man, I love the new Wonder Woman series, but absolutely nothing ever happens.