Monday, May 14, 2012

comics for the week of 05/09/12.

A heavy week, but nothing truly stood out, with the exception of one book.

Batman 9 - Way better than last issue, we finally get some traction on the Court of Owls story. Maybe it's because I'm not reading any other Bat books, but I'm not going to, so I should be able to get the story just from this side. (I loved the editor's note in the box saying that the other half of Bruce's night took place in Detective. Well played.) The suit that Bruce has constructed is cool, sure, but we've seen things like this before. Maybe not from this Bruce, per se, but it doesn't have the wow factor that Snyder clearly wanted it to have. The backup, meanwhile, is stunningly penciled by Rafael Albuquerque (shout out!), but I hate the story. I hate how Alfred isn't there when Bruce looks like he's almost 6 or 7 already, I hate how DC is forcing a new timeline on us, claiming that they have their ducks all in a row, when it's perfectly obvious they don't. The story is all right, but if the Owls were really this big of a deal, there's no way Bruce (OR ALFRED!) wouldn't have already heard of them.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer 9 - My least favorite issue of both comic book seasons thus far, even surpassing issue 7 and 8. I'm unhappy with where Buffy is going right now, mainly because it doesn't feel like it's going anywhere. As usual, I trust Joss, and if I look back after this season is done and see that this was important, I'll love eating my words, but I just can't see the big picture at this point. The last-page revelation is intriguing, at least, but the rest of the issue felt flat, forced, and a failure.

Green Lantern 9 - The secret of Abin Sur is revealed and it's just as bad as we all imagined. He imprisoned all the bad guys, mind wiped them with Indigo rings, and he had a partner in the whole affair. (Just imagine if pre-DCnU Bruce Wayne found out about this! He'd be pissed.) The new guy seems like he'll be a good addition to the supporting cast, but as he makes his decision so quickly to destroy the battery and then he acts on it, and leaves Hal and Sinestro in that terrible position, I'm not convinced that he'll be around that long. Someone's going to have to take a fall here, and it's clearly not going to be either of our Big Two. Can't wait for the conclusion next issue and to see where they're going next. Feels like Johns is finally back on track.

Invincible 91 - I was happy to see that the whole thing wasn't the classic, superheroes doubt each other and have small misunderstandings that turn into huge fights, for the whole issue. It was handled well, but to be honest, I don't really care about the characterization of Zandale. I hope Kirkman's only forcing it because he plans to kill him soon and wants it to have more impact, because at this point, there's very little that's redeeming about the guy. The main characters of the book, though, have a lot going on for themselves. It's really great to see that Dinosaurus gets to have a newly healed body every time he re-ups because, honestly, I thought that dude was dead, no ifs, ands or buts. However, the real shocker of this issue, and the thing everyone is going to be talking about, is the last page. Robert Kirkman knows how to write a cliffhanger and I get the feeling that this will not be something that's easily resolved in an issue or two. We're in for a long haul story here, and that's great with me.

Resurrection Man 9 - As I said last month, there's no way I'm reading the Suicide Squad, and, honestly, I don't feel like I had to. I was able to go pretty seamlessly into this story without reading that one, which is a great sign. Here we see two rival squads competing over Mitch to see who gets to capture him, and ultimately, neither of them do. However, Amanda Waller and company do end up with one of his hands, which will probably be a long-term plot thread that won't have the chance to fully unravel. The book is fun, I enjoy it, and I wish it would sell more copies, but I just don't see it lasting a whole lot longer.

The Ultimates 10 - The conflicts that are brewing (and the ones that are already boiled over) in this book are gargantuan in nature. I don't understand how they're going to get back to any semblance of normalcy in the Ultimate universe. I don't necessarily mind it, because I love stories that are huge in scope, but it's definitely going to present them with a difficult genie to put back in the bottle. Here we get the elimination of the US government, essentially, a slimy character stealing Shield from Fury (reminiscent of Secret Invasion and Secret War) and we finally get a look at Sue Storm. I can't imagine that the world has been going to hell as thoroughly as it's been shown and yet she's only now coming to grips with who's responsible. The art was subpar, but I'm all right with that as long as the story stays in this mode. The ending was intriguing with Thor and Iron Man appearing to have some sort of a plan, but I hope they move quickly, as it appears that Tony Stark is going to be running out of time faster than he thought.

Ultimate X-Men 11 - This book was the exact opposite of its Ultimate brethren. The art by Paco Medina is almost as gorgeous as it can get, and yet, the story did absolutely nothing for me. The Eastern half of the United States is under way more significant attack in the Ultimates, and that doesn't appear to be acknowledged at all in this book. The Sentinals are building some sort of base in the West, but there's a scene with Val Cooper and I thought she was at the White House when we last saw her? And now she's still there? It appears as though the right hand doesn't know what the left is up to anymore, which is a shame because these two books were playing so well together. But this is the reality of negotiating an entire universe with three separate writers: you're going to have three different stories going on. This isn't a bad thing, but compared to how tight it was previously, it's a disappointment. I'm glad, though, that we're finally seeing Jimmy and Kitty in the Morlock tunnels again, as this book had definitely slipped away from that. Storm and co. can find their way to them, obviously, but let's have some sort of X-Men story happening if we're abandoning the Ultimate Universe as coherent entity.

Wolverine and the X-Men 10 - I didn't think this issue was as good as 9, but it was still really good. It's great to see such diverse opinions on the X-Men, because that's really what they are: a bunch of people who don't truly agree on many things who are willing to set those disagreements aside for the purpose of a common goal. Unfortunately, their goals right now are not that common, as Logan is finding out. I'm curious as to why Scott came to the school, just like Logan is, and I think we'll find out in the future that there was something much, much larger at play here than was revealed in this issue. Surely, he wasn't just there to inspire some dissent, or to talk to Wolverine. There's got to be a bigger play. For now, it's great to have Scott Bachelo back on art, and Jason Aaron is doing a heck of a job with one of the most difficult writing assignments in the Marvel Universe.

Book of the week goes to Invincible. Buffy's not doing it, Batman and Green Lantern were solid, and the Ultimate books are wavering. Meanwhile, Kirkman is slow and steady, moving his way up the food chain of always-great comics one month at a time.

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