Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Comic book reviews for the week of October 6th in six sentences (or less)

Best of the week

Ultimate Thor #1
I have a confession to make. I used to be in love with Marvel’s Ultimate line. When it first hit I thought it was fun, fresh and free of stupefying continuity. Then the line grew stale, Jeph Loeb happened and it never really regained its luster. ULTIMATE THOR goes a long way towards recapturing what made the Ultimate line so great. It’s about four years too late to turn the tide, but its a great read nonetheless. This first issue covers his Thor’s early years in Asgard, the fall of Asgard at the hands of the Nazi’s and his first Ultimized appearances on earth. Except for the 3.99 price tag, I can’t think of a single thing to complain about. Read it after The Ultimates 2 and I think it should blend into Ultimate continuity quite seamlessly.

Batman: Odyssey #4
Good lord, I’ve heard of purple writing before, but the scripting in this book is so overdone its hard to read it without breaking into laughter. I found myself constantly rereading several sections in the book, trying to get a handle on what’s happening in the various scenes and a grasp some feel for the flow of the story. I’m not sure why this title doesn’t have the Elseworlds logo on it. It’s clear that nothing happening in the title is part of the DCU proper. Instead, it seems like Neal Adams got inspired by Miller’s All-Star Batmanand is trying to push the character of Batman in the most ludicrous direction possible.

Brightest Day #11
While BRIGHTEST DAY may not meet the requirements to technically be considered part of DC’s strategy to put out a weekly comic, it certainly embodies the spirit of the plan. And, after 11 issues I feel confident in saying that it easily surpasses Trinityand Countdown, while coming a hairsbreadth away from the high watermark that was 52. The art is strong and the story has powerful forward momentum that comes from its serialized nature. What’s not to like? Anyway, in this issue, Black Lantern Firestorm (aka Deathstorm) introduces shadow versions of the heroes and villains resurrected in the pages of THE BLACKEST NIGHT.

Neonomicon #2
Love him or hate him Alan Moore is a creator who continues to generate a fair amount of controversy in the insular comic book blogosphere. After reading the first issue of this title I found it helpful to spend some time knocking around online, perusing other reader’s analysis of the story. There were some interesting interpretations to be found that allowed me to look at the story on levels I hadn’t previously considered. But none of it prepared me for the visceral and disturbing imagery of the second issue. If, as Moore contends, there isn’t really anything interesting happening in comic books anymore then this is a nice little ‘up yours’ to comic readers. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions, but make no mistake, people will be offended by this book.

Superman: The Last Family of Krypton #3
Speaking of Elseworld titles, and we were, this one is a nice little throwback to years gone by when DC was afraid to throw a couple crazy ideas at the wall and see if anything would stick. It’s always nice to see Carey Bates play in the DC sandbox. Renato Arlem’s art doesn’t do much for me unfortunately. I find it flat and somewhat static. It’s not bad by any means, It’s just not my cup of tea. My biggest complaint with LAST FAMILY is that it falls prey to the trap that kills so many ‘what if’ stories. While initially these imaginary tales start off with bold new ideas on inflexible established franchises, too often they end up mirroring the current state\world of the character. Lex must always be bad, Kal must always be Superman and Clark must always end up with Lois. I’d be more interested in a renewed Elseworlds line if they took more risks with their properties and allowed creators to really push their boundaries with the characters.

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