Sunday, October 28, 2012

Week in Comics 10/24/12

I almost forgot to review comics this week. So, that's pretty cool. I should still probably say SPOILERS FOR THIS WEEK'S COMICS even though we are pretty close to next week's.

All-Star Western v3 #13
By Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti, Moritat and Phil Winslade
     I kept getting the feeling with this issue that this series is just missing something. There's no real arc to it so far. Sure characters have been introduced, but the stories seem almost too fast and end without much consequence. It seems to me like this series needs a villain, or at least a goal. As far as we know Jonah Hex is just hanging out in Gotham because he's bored and anything Batman related sells comics. There isn't a grand story tying all of this together, and without the #0 issue a new reader would know almost nothing about Hex as a character. Shallow is the word that comes to mind for all of this. It's entertaining, but there is nothing more to it, at least so far.

Batman Incorporated v2 #4
By Grant Morrison and Chris Burnham
     This is the kind of issue I've been waiting for since Batman Inc started up. A bunch of different members of Batman Inc all fighting a bunch of leviathan troops. Of course, there's more to it than that, but on a base level this issue was satisfying for that alone. It'll be interesting to see how much the plot point at the end of this issue will affect Batman and Robin. Probably not at all since DC seems to be keeping Morrison in a bubble.

The Flash v4 #13
By Brian Buccellato and Francis Manapul 
     Any enjoyment this issue may have provided was immediately destroyed by the eye roll inducing page where someone's arm is cut off. People at DC have to know how insanely lame and cliche that has become in relation to DC Comics.

I, Vampire #13
By Joshua Hale Fialkov and Andrea Sorrentino 
     Once again this series is back to feeling like a vertigo title, despite mentions of Stormwatch and Gotham. This issue reminded me of all the stuff I am missing in All-Star Western. There is characterization, a sense of history between characters, a reason for the grand scale plot other than the moment to moment justifications. There were definitely some hits and misses over the last few issues and tie ins, but this gives me hope that the series is back on a track where I was really enjoying it.

Justice League Dark #13
By Jeff Lemire, Mikel Janin and Victor Drujiniu
     I never thought I would see a high speed chase between two houses. That plus some other stuff made this issue pretty sweet. So far it actually seems like the #0 issue will matter to this series, which is a plus, I'm not sure I'm totally on board with the whole mentor coming back thing. The idea that constantine had a mentor kind of ruins the image of the young punk rocker who used magic and the occult to fuck with people. But that is the Vertigo series, and I guess DCU Constantine isn't as much of a prick.

Talon #1
By Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV and Guillem March
     Right away this series gets bonus points for having a GCPD blimp. So sweet, yet so impractical. One of the things I have been, and still am, worried about with this series is that it's based on an enemy who was cool because they were secret. The same thing worked with James Jr in Snyder's detective run. The evil was mysterious, which led to surprises and tension stemming from the fact that the reader didn't know what was coming. Now we have a series all about following up on one of these, and it shows. There was pretty much nothing in terms of the court that we didn't know going into this issue. I hope there'll be more to discover down the line, but so far there really isn't. At least this doesn't feel quite as lame and undermining as James Jr's appearances in Batgirl do.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Week in Comics 10/17/12

Hey, here is some SPOILERS FOR THIS WEEK'S COMICS. Which I should probably still say, but it doesn't feel like I have to since I am not reviewing everything on Wednesdays anymore.

Batwoman #13
By J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman
     It really seems like J.H was in an experimental mood when doing the art for this issue. This series has usually been pretty unconventional with layouts and it's visual style, but parts of this issue seemed to be another level beyond what I'm used to seeing. It's not a bad thing, but after reading some other comics all week, it was definitely striking.
     So far I'm not totally on board with the writing in this issue. It came off as a bit overdramatic, and not totally in line with Wonder Woman's own comic in terms of characterization. Although, I can't think of any comics Wondy has shown up in that felt similar to that. But maybe I am expecting more out of this series than, say, Justice League.

Birds of Prey v3 #13
By Duane Swierczynski and Romano Molenaar
     I've never really been a fan of any dudes on the Birds of Prey. I always kind of liked that it was a ladies team because I can't think of any other team that is all women. So this Condor dude is obviously being set up to join the team, and that signals pretty lame times ahead. Also, starling just straight tortures a dude for info. This team has had issues with murder and all that before, but it really makes the characters less likeable to me. Double-also, the art in this is not too hot. It's not terrible, but it has little bad habits that annoy me, like characters having solid white eyes if they aren't front and center in a panel.

Catwoman v4 #13
By Ann Nocenti and Rafa Sandoval
     I'm not sure what to make of this issue. The writing was all over the place, and really felt like it was trying to be clever, but was totally missing the mark. The cover led me to believe that this was a Death of the Family tie in, but aside from a little clown iconography, there wasn't anything that made me think the Joker was involved at all. I'm sure the little bits of her past showing up is him, but the plot with the chess pieces seems totally unrelated. I get the feeling from this issue, and Batgirl last week, that some story arcs had to be rewritten or chopped in order to fit in with this new event. Which is a feeling I got around Night of the Owls too. As much as I like Scott Snyder, I don't really want his stories encroaching on every other Bat related book.

Nightwing v3 #13
By Tom DeFalco and Andres Guinaldo 
     Ok, seriously. What is the obsession with the Penguin in the DCnU? He has got to have shown up more than any other Bat-Villain so far. And it's never good. The last and only really good Penguin story I can remember is Penguin: Pain and Prejudice, and that is seeming like a fluke with how Dark Knight is going. I mean, I get that the Penguin totally fits in with the evil 1%er zeitgeist, but he isn't that great of a villain.. He just sits in his casino waiting to toss a little deus ex machina info into a story.
     Beside that, this issue wasn't great. Nothing really happened. The penguin showed up, leading me to write the first paragraph, then Batgirl was kind of a bitch for like 2 pages before someone remembered that the comic was about Lady Shiva. I look forward to Kyle Higgins coming back.

Wonder Woman v4 #13
By Brian Azzarello and Tony Akins
     As I mentioned when talking about Batwoman, there are no other comics where Wondy is like this. I really wish there were, because this series, and this issue, is really enjoyable. Similar to the Flash, I thought Wonder Woman was kinda boring pre New 52. Both Flash and Wonder Woman changed my mind about their respective characters. At leas tin their own series. I can't say I have enjoyed either one of those characters in their various cameos and team-ups.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Week in Comics 10/10/12

You may notice that Frankenstein isn't in this week's comics I read anymore, and that's because it's just eh. I enjoyed it a lot at first, but lately I've been enjoying each issue less and less. This week is getting pretty light. If only Batgirl would get worth reading again.

Batman v2 #13
By Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo
Backup By Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV and Jock
     I really wish this story hadn't been hypes do much. For a while now it's been "OH SHIT THE JOKER IS COMING BACK!" and the covers to all the tie ins make sure that you know what's happening. It really kills the impact for me. Don't get me wrong, the Joker's first scene back was intense and definitely striking, but I can't help but feel that I would have been blown away had I not known what was coming. Even if I hadn't kept up with comic news and read solicits there were tons of ads detailing that the Joker was back and what issues he'd be in.
     All of that aside, I still really liked this comic. It really had that tense darkness that Snyder pulls off so well at times, and I swear I like Capullo's art more every issue. The reintroduction of the Joker was appropriately creepy, and I really enjoyed the ties back to Batman v1 #1. With all the shitting on continuity DC has been doing, it's nice to see some callbacks.

Batman and Robin v2 #13
By Peter J Tomasi, Patrick Gleason and Tomas Giorello
     Ehhhhh Zombies. As much as I was into all of that a few years ago, and still like to see it done well, it just feels so played out. I'm sure the cult will play into it and maybe it'll not even be zombies, just crazy cannibals, but it's got a stigma to it that just makes me sigh. I do like, and by like I means it's kinda dumb, that everyone was like "BOY THE JOKER IS BACK" but the story had nothing to do with him. I get the whole shared universe thing, but sometimes it's less weird to keep them disconnected.

Demon Knights #13
By Paul Cornell and Bernard Chang
     As I've said before, I really like seeing characterization and backstory for all these characters. I actively want to learn more about them, and that's exactly what this issue delivered. Of course it was pretty funny too. I'm glad that we're finally getting more of a plot than a kind of vague quest to go somewhere.


Friday, October 5, 2012

Week in Comics 10/3/12

After a month of comics I mostly want to forget, I'm back to hopefully read better things. We'll see. I am pretty much giving up and assuming this column won't be coming out on Wednesdays anymore, but I will try and post it before the next one. Anyway, time to drop some SPOILERS FOR THIS WEEK'S COMICS. Which are much less important the later I do this.

Animal Man v2 #13
By Jeff Lemire, Steve Pugh and Timothy Green II
     I'm so glad that Rotworld is more than a generic zombie apocalypse story in a superhero universe. It's a similar concept but done way bigger and, so far, way better. This issue really gives the feeling of the apocalypse. Things don't seem like the JLA is going to show up and fix everything.
     The art gets this across really well too. The red and the rot always looked great, and now the rest of the world has been brought up to match. The scenes that take place before Rotworld just don't look as cool, and are a lot less interesting now that I know the outcome. I'm sure these scenes will be important to how the DCU didn't get taken over, but for the moment I don't care. I'd love to see a spinoff series in this future like Marvel's Age of Apocalypse  ongoing.

Batwing #13
By Judd Winick and Marcus To
     What's this? A Batwing story that takes place in Africa and doesn't end with one of the Bat-Family taking care of the problem? I must be hallucinating. But, no. It's true, and I am so glad. I really hope this series stays away from Gotham for a while. At least long enough to establish some supporting cast and maybe a solid villain or two. Although, it's not selling too well so it may never get there.

Detective Comics v2 #13
By John Layman and Jason Fabok
Backup by John Layman and Andy Clarke
     I had to give 'Tec another shot with the creative change, and I was pleasantly surprised  It wasn't the best comic I've ever read, but its miles above Daniel's run already. The main story is kinda bland, but I can definitely tell that Layman knows he is writing DETECTIVE comics. There was definitely a focus on Batman figuring out crimes instead of punching them. It was maybe a little too forced, but I'd definitely willing to read the next issue, so that is an improvement.
     And, for once, I enjoyed the backup. I always like stories about normal people living in superhero universes. It seems like the backup is going to tie into the main story in a larger way than just referencing it, but maybe that is me just hoping.

Swamp Thing v5 #13
By Scott Snyder and Yanick Paquette
     I got less of an 'end of the world' type feeling from Swamp Thing than I did Animal Man. Sure, similar elements were there, but it didn't feel as big. Maybe if I had read this first I wouldn't have been left kind of disappointed. I really wanted it to ramp up from Animal Man. It had elements of a bigger story, but I think the pacing and the small panels of the fight took everything down a notch. It needed a big splash page to set up the scale of the fight, and it didn't get that.

Worlds' Finest #5
By Paul Levitz, George Perez, Jerry Ordway and Wes Craig
     Every issue of this series is trying to reintroduce the characters. At some point, there has to be more of a plot than "WE ARE FROM A DIFFERENT DIMENSION AND THINGS ARE DIFFERENT HERE." Also, 3 pencilers is never a good sign. This book needs help. I'd really like for it to stick around long enough to get better, but at this rate it will be canned before then.