Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Comic book reviews for the week of November 17th in six sentences (or less)

Once again its time for the GTA’s greatest (and shortest) comic book reviews.

Today’s reviews have been brought to you by the letter ‘E’ and the word Exposition. Because this week’s comics are just dripping with unnecessary and long winded backstory.

No best of the week I’m afraid. While I didn’t review any out and out stinkers this week I’m afraid nothing really stood out in a positive sense.

So without further ado lets get into the verbage.

Avengers #7
I know I said I wasn’t going to read this title anymore. Well I’m not made of stone people, get off my back. I admit, I was sufficiently intrigued by the thought of Rulk joining the Avengers to pick up this issue. There’s not much to this one. Brian Michael Bendis, should have just saved some time and sub-titled this story Exposition. Anyway, former depowered super-villain, The Hood, goes looking for the Infinity gems. He manages to find two of them before stumbling into Rulk. Unfortunately I’m not a Marvel guy so I know next to nothing about the Infinity gems. Only that they’re so dangerous that they’ve been split up to prevent any one person from wielding that much power.

Bendis pulls an old Geoff Johns trick to let you know just how bad ass the villain of the story is, by getting him to beat down on someone who’s already a pretty well established bad ass. JRJR makes some pretty-pretty pictures and in four weeks I’m going to have to ponder whether or not I have the strength to not buy issue #8. That’s the kind of dilemma you want to have.

Flash #6
I wonder how long it will take DC to renumber this title? Will they pick up Barry’s old numbering? Wally’s old numbering? Or just add everything together? It probably doesn’t say much for the review that I’m leading with a dilemma on numbering. Considering that all sorts of series from the Big Two have done this recently I really think its just a matter of time. Anyway, this issue wraps up the Dastardly Deaths of the Rouges plot. Future- Top is outed as a villain and Barry puts the beat down on him, saving Iris’s life in the process, naturally. Francis Manapul does some lovely art and Geoff John hints at future plot lines, including the Kubert drawn Flashpoint that we saw teased at the end of Rebirth.

Green Lantern #59
Someone at DC was earning their media cross promotion badge this week by making sure that this issue dropped at the same time the Green Lantern trailer was being released. My thoughts on the trailer? I was underwhelmed but cautiously optimistic. Right now I’m worried that tonally it seems akin to the IRON MAN franchise and I’d be much happier if GL staked out its own territory. But its much to early in the game to start worry about that stuff now.

In this ish Flash and Hal stand around and talk, a lot. Then the Indigo Tribe, with reformed serial killer the Black Hand in tow, show up and then there is slightly more talking. Thank God Doug Mahnke is such a gifted artist that’s he able to make even what is essentially 22 pages of talking heads look good. There was a new twist on the origins of the Indigo Tribe that I thought was very interesting. (I enjoy how Johns is rolling out the different limitations or powers of the various Corps. Its about more than making giant day-glo boxing gloves in a rainbow of colours.) Anyway its implied that the Tribe might be composed of murderers and villains who have had compassion bestowed upon them. And that without their rings they might just revert back to form. Just how far down the road is Johns planning his next mega event anyway?

For the casual fan I’m this issue suffered from a dearth of combat. But sometimes you’ve got to change the pace up a little and I think this story is meant to give the audience a bit of a breather.

Justice League of America #51
Is this what comics used to read like before CRISIS OF THE INFINITE EARTHS? A couple of momentum killing paragraphs inserted at the beginning of each issue to explain the science behind the Multiverse? I’m a reasonably proficient Multiverse individual and even I found my eyes glazing over at the pseudo-science explanation. In this issue the Crime Syndicate of Amerika has accidentally created Onslaught, sorry, the Omega Man in the hopes of returning Lex Luthor (and or Darkseid depending on who yer talking too) back to life. Things go awry, as things tend to do, and the end result is big bad meanie intent on killing everyone in sight. Just take a deep breath and enjoy Bags on the pencils wouldn’t you? There, doesn’t that feel better?

Superior #2
Well, we’re still stuck in exposition mode. A very slow burn, especially for Millar. He takes us through the paces, doing a standard kind of ‘getting to know what makes you and your powers tick plot.’ The Superman comparisons are still there. Only this time instead of having to rescue a failing airplane or space shuttle Millar decides to drop a whole space station from the heavens (rendered impressively by Leinil Yu). The casual swearing in the comic doesn’t bother me, mostly cause when I was the age of the kids in this comic I was using language a lot saltier than the F-bomb. Millar clearly knows that he’s limiting the number of potential buyers by making this an R-Rated comic, but he goes for it anyway. I always enjoy it when a writer or filmmaker goes for the throat and turns out an uncompromising product, regardless of what it means to the bottom line. It may not be a better product but at least they can’t be blamed for taking half measures.

Superman #705
Superman continues on his quest to moralize across America, one step at a time. This month the subject is abuse and why its bad; complete with Supes breaking the fourth wall and staring directly into the reader’s soul. It’s the same kind of preachy, over the top and slightly dull storytelling that has come to characterize this title under the pen of JMS. With JMS’s imminent departure it’ll be interesting to see if this title will continue to meander along the story wilderness or get a much needed shot of adrenaline to the arm. I think the last time Supes was this underexposed was the mid 90’s when he was officially dead. Remember when he used to hold down FIVE ongoing monthlies?

Confining Superman to a single title was never going to be a roaring success, especially given the subject matter the writer has chosen to write about.But, if I’m trying to put a positiver spin on things. At the very least I used to be able to look at it as a temporary time out, a chance to cleanse the palette and generate some demand to see more exposure for the character. But now that JMS has sworn off monthlies and can’t even be bothered to see the great experiment to a close, Grounded qualifies as an out and out failure. I’d like to say at least the art isn’t so bad, but even this issue is pencilled by two different people. So, hurray for inconsistency.

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