Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Weekly Haul: July 8th

Booster Gold #22 (DC Comics) Last issue, Booster Gold went to visit the Batcave just as someone tried to assassinate the new Batman, Dick Grayson. In this issue, Booster Gold has to go back in time—and thus to another point in DC continuity—in order to stop the assassin from killing Dick Grayson when he was still Robin and hanging out with the Marv Wolfman/George Perez.

I think that’s what this book does best; sends it’s titular hero to team up with, fight against or otherwise interact with the characters from old DC comics. Here decades worth of continuity isn't baggage to be burdened with or a pitfall to be skillfully avoided, but the very premise of the book.

Unfortunately I think that means this will probably always be a book with extremely limited appeal, unless some out-and-out ingenious motherfuckers start scripting it for Dan Jurgens. There’s nothing wrong with the scripts as is, it’s just that nothing terribly fresh or inspired is done with the premise to elevate it above competent DC super-comic that a reader of any age could probably read and enjoy without risking mental scarring.

Anyway, in this issue Booster Gold and Skeets team-up with Cyborg and the gang to protect them from the original Ravager, Deathstroke the Terminator and the mysterious Black Beetle. In one panel, Booster Gold smashes his fist into Ravager’s face and says, “Ravage this, Pal” which has got to be the worst pick-up line ever.

In the back-up, Blue Beetle, Paco and Brenda continue to deal with robots and their makers. The robots’ makers, not Blue Beetle, Paco and Brenda’s makers.

Green Lantern #43 (DC) Given the fact that this is Geoff Johns forty-third consecutive issue of the series, and a prologue to the “Blackest Night” storyline he’s been slowly building to ever since Green Lantern: Rebirth, this probably shouldn’t come as any sort of surprise, but this is one hell of a Geoff Johnsy comic.

Check it out. Scar, the female Guardian of the Galaxy that cries black tears, recaps the history of the Guardians and their prophecy regarding the “War of Light” and “Blackest Night” during six very full panels.

Cut to the Black Hand, cuddling with one of the four skeletons in the bottom of an open grave, at which point it transitions for a while into something similar to the sorts of "Rogue profile" issues Johns would often do during his Flash. The Black Hand then tells his life story, from one of his earliest memories (telling his undertaker father that a female corpse he’s working on is pretty), to his childhood obsession with death and taxidermy, to his encounter with Atrocitus, Hal Jordan and Sinestro during Johns’ “Secret Origin” arc, to his making his costume out of a body bag, to his Silver Age career, to “Emerald Twilight,” to Green Lantern: Rebirth, to the Gremlins arc.

Then it’s back to the present, where he wanders through a graveyard, thinking of every DC hero who died and came back to life or didn’t since Superman’s “death.” Then he kills his whole family. Then he kills himself, blowing his brains out with his little cosmic rod thing. Then Scar shows up, pukes up a Black Lantern ring, which then resurrects Black Hand zombie. The end.

It’s really, really, really gory, by far gorier than any other Johns comics I can remember reading in a while. It’s not the sort of thing I really like to wallow in, personally, nor it is the type of material that comes to mind when I think of superhero comics, but it’s executed well enough and, from this point on, it’s not like goriness is inappropriate in a story about an army of reanimated corpses or anything.

This issue is drawn by the Doug Mahnke/Christian Alamy art team, and it is great looking stuff. They do an incredible job. They cover a lot of ground from throughout DC history, including Hal Jordan at various eras, the death scenes of about 16 DC characters from throughout the course of the last 15 years so, and a great deal of subtle work involving Black Hand and his family.

The level of detail they work in makes the goriness extra icky, but it’s also well drawn, which is always preferably to sloppy, poorly drawn goriness.

Marvel Adventures Super Heroes #13 (Marvel Comics) With Paul Tobin writing, and a story that starts in Avengers Tower and features a couple of the MA version of the Avengers, this reads an awful lot like an issue of Tobin’s MA Avengers, which isn’t a bad thing in my book.

A bull dog dives off a SHIELD helicarrier and smashes to the ground in New York City, completely unharmed. Meanwhile, She-Hulk shows up at Avengers Tower to pick up Tigra, and Spider-Man joins them for a puppet theater presentation of “Hamlet, using X-Men puppets.” (?) Sadly, before they arrive at that, they encounter the bulldog which, it turns out, is a SHEILD L.M.D. (Life Model Doggie) programmed by Hulk villain The Leader to fetch some sensitive SHEILD data for him.

Hilarity—well, some mildly amusing scenes featuring robot pigeons and horses—ensue. Marcelo Dichiara’s art is pretty good—his Spider-Man bears an uncanny resemblance to the one I grew up watching cartoons of—but there seems to be something a little rough about many of the lines. I wonder if someone else inking Dichiara’s art, or a different colorist might have helped?

One question though: Where did Shulkie put her jacket between pages 11 and 12? And where did Tigra’s street clothes go?

Wednesday Comics #1 (DC) I don’t normally review super-comics at Blog@Newsarama, since the gang at “Best Shots @ Newsarama” covers thoroughly, but this was such an unusual project that I reviewed the hell out of it on Blog@. So click here for a billion words, some goofy pictures and some mathematical facts about Wednesday Comics.

Short version? I was really, really, really looking forward to this one, I wasn’t in the least bit disappointed, and it was well worth the $3.99 price point in terms of quantity as well as quality. Do give it a shot.

The series is only one-twelfth over, but I’m already pretty sure that I’d like to see this become an annual summer event.


Hdefined said...

"Here decades worth of continuity are baggage to be burdened with or a pitfall to be skillfully avoided, but the very premise of the book."

. . . what?

By the way, as someone who reads your reviews before reading the comics, I'd very much appreciate if you either scaled back on the summaries/spoilers in your reviews, or started providing spoiler warnings.

snell said...

Or, you could wait to read the reviews until after you've read the comics...just a thought.

SallyP said...

For such a small week, there was a whole lot of goodness.

Hdefined said...

"Or, you could wait to read the reviews until after you've read the comics"

Ideally, reviews are written to suggest to others what books might interest them. However, I'm not going to be interested in a book - in fact, I'm going to be disappointed - if I know everything about it before reading it.

Martin Gray said...

Loved the Newsarama review, especially your comments on Joe Kubert. I pretty much agree on all counts . . .

. . . bar the Wonder Woman strip, which I found a bit of a mess. Oh well, horses for courses.

I do like the newsprint, the art looks great, though there seems to be odd saturation problems to sort, such as in the Wonder Woman strip.

(I was going to post this at Newsarama, but the server is very spotty as regards accepting my posts from work - durn! Still, finding another way led me to your blog - bookmarked!)

Martin Gray said...

Oh, and given that the language has two great words - 'reviews' and 'previews' I don't see any need for you to dot your blog with SPOILER warnings. Carry on, don't lose your head.

Hdefined said...

A good review need not explain the story points in detail, or give away the major developments, in order to refer to them and comment on them.

Hdefined said...

And now that I've read GL #43:

"It’s not like goriness is inappropriate in a story about an army of reanimated corpses or anything."

Caleb, I think you generally get too uptight about gore and violence in comics. Many times it's reasonable exception, like the Loeb's approach with Ultimates books, but in the context of Green Lantern in particular, the gore and violence hasn't really seems inappropriate for the tone and genre of the story.

So I'm glad to see you finally accept this.