Monday, March 24, 2014

comics for the week of 03/19/14.

March Madness, y'all.

Batwoman 29 - Checked it out for the one panel Dave Jordan posted on Twitter. That panel was the good part. The rest was horrid. Cliche, overblown, poorly drawn, tired plot, and it's almost April and we have no clue how she got to this point. Poorly done DC. I'm out.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10 1 - Superb example of dramatic irony. We know Giles is back. So when Buffy keeps laying it on thick throughout the issue that IF ONLY she could TALK TO GILES, we knew how this issue was going to end. But that didn't keep me from tearing up at their tears. It felt perfect. And yes, the art was so much better, just like they mentioned in the letters column. The better team SHOULD be doing Buffy. I just hope this means that Angel and Faith isn't going to suffer, as I don't know who Victor Gischler or Will Conrad are. (In fact, if they're here, now, does that mean they're staying, or did they just get the distress call? Are they headed back to London in their own series? If not...well, we'll cross that bridge when we get there.) I love the new normal status quo, I love that Buffy's got her Scooby gang back, I love that everyone's there (literally everyone, at this point we're just missing Oz) and I love that this feels right. They said they were going smaller in Season 9, as a response to 8, but that never felt like this. The Zompires are on their way out, which is great, but magic has been restored in a way that messes all kinds of other things up and it's going to be delightful to explore those ways. This is going to be fun. (P.S. The preview of Angel and Faith looked great - Conrad's art is pretty and the script was good in the few pages we got.)

Daredevil 1 - The team was already great, and putting Matt in a new situation works out beautifully. Seriously, I didn't think this was going to be much of a change, much less an improvement, but it's awesome. I love Kirsten in the Oracle role, and I love Matt using all his diverse skills. Ninja, Murdock, DD, caregiver, etc. Waid is still playing around with the solid fact that Matt can't see, which we never realized was underutilized until he took over this title. Now it's a great little nod (bare minimum) in every issue and it's always pitch perfect. The cliffhanger with Foggy is a good touch, too, since I have no idea where that's going. Daredevil isn't new, but his circumstances are and it'll be great to see where they take him from here.

Ms. Marvel 2 - The first, alphabetically, of the issues that I didn't get the first of and am catching up on this week. First things first: This is really, truly an issue about a Muslim becoming a superhero. Maybe, if the book lasts longer, it'll just become a background part of her character, but man, they're really hammering home that Kamala is DIFFERENT. And that's OK sometimes, but here it truly feels like that's the entire justification for the book. And when you're pushing a book based purely on agenda, it makes me doubt the veracity of that agenda. Secondly, the art is horrid. I know that it's probably some people's new favorite, but it's got that lumpy style that's never appealed to me. The first issue's cover was done by Sara Pichelli and she'd be a great fit on this book. McKelvie did the second issue and while it's clear that he's amazing at everything, he couldn't keep up this schedule. And there's nothing wrong with that. But I'm just not digging Aphona on the pencils here. In the beginning of issue 2, while she's figuring out her powers, it takes five pages to really get any kind of idea what they are. The clearest explanation is on the credits page. That shouldn't be the case with a great set of pencils. Or with a better script. But then, the action starts. Turns out, it was the Terrigen Mist Bomb (which maybe makes Kamala an Inhuman? She certainly makes the meta-pun later that makes me think that's what we're supposed to think) and she's got her first superhero and Qu'ran test right away. She passes, of course, and she feels good about it, but the best part of the book is when she's talking to her brother, talking herself through the changes that she's going through. The most cliche part of the book is the ending with her parents. It's not that I expect to avoid cliches in a superhero comic book, but it feels like they're diving head in to a mess with a gleeful grin on their faces. I just wish it could be a little more self-aware, as opposed to so on the nose. I'll stick with it for the first arc, if only to support the idea.

New Avengers 15 - I don't get it. It's too complicated. Too sprawling. And it seems like it's just going to continue this way for so much longer. Every month, I read this book and every month, I try to find something worthwhile in it, to justify my continuing to read it. But it's so vague at this point. There are Black Priests and Mapmakers. There are Black Swans and there's the Multiverse and there's the Library. There's the Bridge and the Mirror and the Illuminati and there's Strange off on his own, getting all that power. There's Bianchi on art, whom I don't care for. And at the top of the pile, there's Hickman, building out sick variations of world after world after world after world. Tony and Reed apparently helped the Swan in another universe, before she came to ours? Terrax tells her things it seems she already knows? There's a reckoning coming? There's a big bad in charge of all this? Is that what the end and the middle mean?

Thor: God of Thunder 20 - My. GOD. This was it. The issue that brought it all back. Holy cow. First of all, Esad Ribic does a great job making Galactus look like a Celestial. Secondly, the subplot with modern Thor and Roz was the weak point, because of the ambiguity of the Roxxon agent, but this issue clears some of that up. That splash page was incredible. The only bad part of the issue was the fact that it ended. The battle with Galactus has just begun and the Roxxon Corp. is making their move against modern Thor and his adopted city after he took out some of their facilities. Man. What a treasure.

The Unwritten: Apocalypse 3 - All right. So, the war story is more than halfway over and we've seen Pullman finally. We know he's pulling the strings, as do the gang of heroes, but the flight is still on. They're trying to get out of the war story, which should happen next issue. Meanwhile, we've still got that background plot with Danny happening, where he eventually shoots the mystery lady, she's metamorphosized and she promises a similar transformation for him. Also, some cool dialogue between the kids in French. If you don't know French, you're not missing anything. But if you know iambic pentameter, and the Lord of the Rings and the War of the Worlds and all the cool stories referred to in this issue, you're getting some great background information. Last but not least, there's the fact that the end is coming. We're going to see some sort of grand sacrifice and soon, and it's going to involve Tom and his father and the world is going to be saved, or returned to its prior state or, ideally, improved upon. This is all the creation myth all over again, huh? Appropriate that we've got a devilish vampire, a sweet and innocent lady, a kind of twisted God, a son of God who's going to have to die and a version of Cain who's going to muck everything up and be banished for his role in making a mess of things.

Wolverine and the X-Men 2 - Another one that I'd missed the first issue of, but it came out so quickly after Jason Aaron's series ended that I couldn't believe that it was real. (Seems to be a lot of that this week.) Last issue we saw some of the future hints from the last run being followed up on, and Quentin Quire plays a large part in those future plans. We also saw Wolverine going to find Fantomex. This issue, we see more of Logan in his not-having-a-healing-power state (which is depressing and made all the worse because it'll be back sooner rather than later and it doesn't add anything to this story. Maybe it's adding over in the book where they caused this problem? At least I can hold out hope on that front?) and the BAMFs acting out a little more than even before, which was plenty already. Cool to see they're serving a purpose (emergency cutes, cute) but bummed to see they're still annoying plot devices in the fight with the new Askani Clan. But that brings us to one of the best thing about the X books...wait around long enough and the plot will circle right back to where you liked it previously. A guy who looks like a steroided out Cable, calling himself John, heading up an Askani Clan, from the future, with his disciples in Phoenix attire? And they're bringing back the Evan as Apocalypse angle? With Fantomex in the wings? Man, this is just going to be one fun-filled 90s and 00s rerun, isn't it? Well, I'm along for the ride.

Book of the week goes to Thor. While Buffy was a great start and DD was a great re-start, Thor proves that you can keep on telling things, but pull out novel twists and still get it done. Beautiful and well-written. It's all a person could ask for.

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