Thursday, March 08, 2007

The Comic Pull Power Rankings

Reading this week's comic stash, so you don't have to. Assume spoilers.

Superman/Batman #32 - Wow, I still get this? It's been so long since a new issue came out. And a bad sign of an issue is if you have to go back to the issue before it to remember where the story was going. Me, I had to go back two or three issues deep; maybe I'm just not in the mode to be feeling this story arc - where aliens of the DC Universe are being controlled by a collective mindset - but it gets a big "eh" from me. Nice little bit at the end where several aliens cameo, but too few. If we're talking "all" the aliens, that's enough to fill the Hall of Justice. The art looks like smears of feces on toilet paper; someone get that man an anatomy book, stat. 2 count.

Iron Man: Director of SHIELD #15 - Civil War's in the books, and Tony Stark has taken the reins of SHIELD. Kinda nice direction they're going with this new role for Stark in the book. Iron Man's always been about insane mech dynamics, and so far they've been doing well with this. The spy elements and the sci-fi stuff blends really well. Two gripes, though: An awkward "Office Space" reference is thrown in for no good reason, and ... c'mon. The ending? "He is ... an enigma?" I can solve that: It's China, it's a major villain, it's the fucking Mandarin; I'd wager that against me biting my own dick off if it isn't, if it weren't for the off chance that, one, I don't know enough Iron Man history to have anyone else in mind that it could be, and two, I happen to like my dick ("That's what she said" ... ZING!). 2 1/2 count.

Civil War: Frontline #11 - What would you do if you were reading a mystery, toodling along, loo-loo-loo, but near the end, the printer switched the penultimate chapter with the final. You'd scratch your head pretty hard through those last 20 pages. That's what Frontline has felt like. Proving that there are no new ideas in comics, Frontline has basically served as "52"-lite, in the comparison between "Civil War" and "Infinite Crisis." This final issue wraps up some loose ends, giving an explanation for why the Civil War occurred, but if serious journalists made the speculations that Ben Urich and his unmemorable sidekick make in the denouement of this tail, they'd be bumped down to Weekly World News status. Yep ... not even the Enquirer. 2 1/2 count.

Mighty Avengers #1 - Everyone's an Avenger. Whoopedy. Even me, with my super-strong tongue muscle? Yep, even me. I remember back when being an Avenger was something to be proud of. Now, if a new hero joins the Avengers, it just means that it's, like, Tuesday or something. I'm going 1 count on this one, 'cause Bendis has had three chances to remix the Avengers, and he ain't got it right yet. But Marvel keeps letting him try, 'cause if it ain't broke, well, keep on fucking with it then and see what happens. (That sounds like a conversation I had at home yesterday.) No wait, I'll give it a 2 count, 'cause Frank Cho's art is pretty.

Brave & Bold #1 - Mother fucker. If Superman/Batman is approximately World's Finest redux, then this book comes out, add another round of Defenders and you've basically got my comics buying habit from the '80s covered. Well, there'd also have to be a Sgt. Rock and House of Mystery on the horizon but, hell, we've got a "War" and a "Crisis" so it's all retro again. Anywhich, this first issue teams Batman w/ Green Lantern, and I swear, this is complete and total nostalgia for me. The story, the pacing, the subplots ... everything that the old B&B had in spades; only thing missing is a Nemesis back-up feature. Can't wait to see what kooky team-ups this thing can pull off, and under the competent direction of Mark Waid, it has only up to go from here. 2 3/4 count, handicapped for nostalgia.

New Universal #4 - Really, what's with the use of actors as direct facial references in comics this week? You got James Gandolfini in "Punisher," and Yaphet Kotto in "Iron Man." And here's New Universal, by the remarkable Warren Ellis, starring Kevin fucking Smith. What, there aren't any other fat bearded fuckheads that would have made better references? Ah, but that's a minor gripe ... this is shaping up to be a nice tidy little story by the current reigning king of nice tidy stories. 2 1/2 count.

Civil War: The Initiative #1 - 1 count. Basically a catalog of comics that are coming out, getting revamped, masquerading as a meaningful chapter of the Civil War series. Omega Flight looks decent, but it'll peak at its 25 issue, then start the bullet train toward cancellation.

Marvel Zombies vs. Army of Darkness #1 - Best part of this? "Issue 1 ... of 5." Ho yeah. Continuing the Marvel Zombie storyline, this is actually a prequel ... yep, Ash & some Necronomicon fun play a part in the formation of the Marvel Zombieverse. It's just the first issue ... there's four more to go. Wicked. 3 count.

Justice League of America #6 - Will and I had a conversation about this title last weekend. It's just too ... there, like watching your favorite heroes on their day off, only to find out that they just go to the grocery store, wash the dog, and occasionally scratch their asses & smell their fingers quizzically. Nothing is really too attention grabbing. The shit with Solomon Grundy, the ersatz philosophical meanderings taking up too much of what coulda been a decent storyline. Why's Grundy beating the shit out of Red Tornado? I just read the thing and I couldn't tell you. The finishing move - Tornado summons a wind that severs Grundy's body in half - is played up too heavily for a villain who dies and comes back over and over, ad nauseum. 2 count.

Punisher #45 - I had almost written this book off, but this latest story arc, where widows of mob bosses gang up to take on the Punisher for murdering their husbands, ratchets its way back to solid Ennis territory. I am getting more impressed with the "War Journal" title, 'cause I totally buy Frank Castle as an eliminator of costumed villains, but the MAX series is finally (only 45 issues in) coming into its own. 2 1/2 count.


Rev. Joshua said...

I kept up with the Civil War storyline solely by reading the main book. I don't see how companies have stayed in business when they create these huge arcs that require buying books that you probably don't normally read. I realize the point is to make you buy books you don't normally read, but you'd think the backlash against it would have wiped one of the big two out when they tried one of these crossovers. Shawn at Atomik really hated how Stark and Cap were handled. I was pretty ambivalent toward the whole thing.

I'm kind of surprised it has taken 45 issues for you to get into the Punisher MAX series, but I'm a major league Ennis fanboy. (I've even been buying the Wildside stuff he's doing without really knowing anything about it. They're self-contained stories, though, so it's easy enough to figure out.) I prefer Castle vs. run-of-the-mill lowlifes better than the superhero stuff, so I've been digging it since day one. Seeing Frank get medieval on the kind of scum who actually exist is far more entertaining. Especially the 24-30 arc "The Slavers." Who isn't all for murdering sex-slavers?

Rev. Joshua said...

Er, I've been buying Ennis' Wildstorm stuff. See, I'm such a fanboy I don't even know the name of the company publishing his stuff.

Nate said...

What Wildstorm stuff is he doing? I'm out of the loop on that one.

Yeah, I actually did dig the "Slavers" arc. There's just been a few that haven't really clicked with me, I guess. However, I completely glossed over the Barracuda storyline, which was just so over the top that I appreciated every issue of it. How can you not like a guy who has a grill that spells "fuck you," only to have his teeth knocked out enough for it to read, "fucky?"

Rev. Joshua said...

The Barracuda storyline was disappointing, but I'm missing an issue of that. Regardless, the ending left a little bit to be desired.

(I was wailing on the new baby when you messaged me, btw. If you're still around, I'm back at the PC.)

Rev. Joshua said...

Oh, and Ennis is writing the Midnighter miniseries, just finished a Kev mini and there's also an ongoing book called The Boys which DC dropped and is being picked up by Dynamite Entertainment. It's apparently very anti-superhero, but I can't get all the back issues yet so I haven't started on it.