Wednesday, February 29, 2012

comics for the week of 02/22/12.

A great week overall, but definitely the week when I decided that I read comics for the stories, not the pretty pictures. Sorry, Manapul, that's not gonna cut it anymore.

Fantastic Four 603 - Jonathan Hickman is the other side of Scott Snyder! While Snyder is plotting seriously epic superhero fare, Hickman is taking standard superhero affairs and making them into sprawling, year-long stories that make sense not only month to month, but also when viewed on the longest of timelines. He's brilliant! The deaths in this issue felt fresh, even though we knew they were coming, the revelation of the weapon felt intimidating and the ending, where we thought, OK, it's over, revealed that Hickman is still building! Incredible.

Flash 6 - The worst comic that I've intentionally bought since the New52 relaunch. This felt like a 1950s Superman comic, where Clark had to choose between rescuing Lois Lane and Lana Lang. The only thing that half-saved it was the gorgeous art by Manapul, but that will no longer be enough. This book is definitively being dropped. The Captain Cold change didn't bother me nearly as much as I thought it would, but that wasn't what it came down to. Manapul, if we're being honest, isn't much of a storyteller. There's nothing wrong with that, most people aren't, and most people don't have half his artistic chops to fall back on. But I'm not going to continue to pay 3 bucks a month to look at pretty pictures, and be frustrated by the story. The whole will-he-or-won't-he with Barry Allen has been done before and done better with other characters. I'm not going to stick around to see the conclusion I already know.

Ultimate Spider-Man 7 - I'm not sure if the problem was me or the issue last month, but this issue stood head and shoulders above 6, for me, in terms of story and Samnee's art. The pitch was perfect, the jokes were plentiful, and the interactions were all dead-on. I'm glad that Bendis is still writing this, and that he's had such a historic run on this title, because, honestly, it makes me feel like I imagine people did when comics were first starting. There's just one guy writing it, there's just one little (albeit bigger than Lee imagined things would become in the 60s) universe to deal with, and things matter. When something happens, like Peter Parker dying, it stays happened and isn't used as merely another plot point in inching some pseudostory quote-unquote forward. I ditched Ultimate Spider-Man after the last reboot, so I'm sad to say that my collection has some significant holes in it, but I've been so delighted since jumping back on. It doesn't hurt that Ultimate X-Men and the Ultimates are so, so, so, so good right now, too, but, honestly, I'm not sure that I would be enjoying this book any less if they weren't stellar, too. Great stuff.

Wolverine and the X-Men 6 - Another issue that was better than its former counterpart, and I liked the last issue just fine! We get Kid Omega and Wolverine in space, gambling. We get Kitty Pryde, not pregnant, but invaded by Brood. And we get all kinds of wacky hi-jinks inbetween. You can't ask for much more from an X book that is obviously priding itself on its nostalgia factor. More than that, I continue to be blown away by Jason Aaron's talents. The fact that he can write a book like this at the same time as a book like Scalped is a testament to his talent.

Book of the week goes to Fantastic Four 603. The sheer scale of Hickman's writing is virtuoso.

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