Saturday, May 31, 2008

Clipped on 5/29/08

ACTION COMICS #865 (DC) – 3 whiskers – There’s a lot of nostalgia here and for different ages of Superman fans. Me personally, I was treated to both the Toyman of the 70s and the one from the Bryne era. That’s cool and all but it didn’t really make for that fantastic of an issue. Basically, Geoff Johns tries to return Superman villain The Toyman to his original, well, not exactly “glory” but status quo, I guess. In a tidy done-in-one story, Toyman busts out of Arkham and kidnaps Jimmy Olsen to tell him the real story about all the various Toymans we’ve seen over the decades – they were robots, see, and Toyman is not the child murderer everyone thought he was. I applaud Johns for what he’s attempting but at times the attempt is all you can see in the story and when it comes right down to it, it’s debatable whether Toyman’s a bad guy you’d want to save. Again, it wasn’t a bad issue and Jesus Merino’s art is very good (he switches styles for the flashbacks – too cool), but you get the sense that it’s simply a biding-time measure until the upcoming Brainiac story arc. Extra credit for the Prankster's appearance and obsession with team-ups.

BATMAN #677 (DC) - 4 whiskers – I’m disturbed. Very, very disturbed. Everything in Batman’s world has been dynamited, devastated, and I’m lost. This isn’t actually a bad thing – it’s just disturbing. Grant Morrison has me exactly where he wants me and I’ll admit it: my concern for the character just went through the roof. And I need to make this clear – this demolition is done well, written well, drawn well, constructed well, but as a story its like a knife in the gut. When I was done reading this issue, I didn’t know what to do with myself. I was nervous, anxiety-ridden, confused. Never before have I “connected” with Batman, felt I knew what he was going through. I wanted to scream at the pages for him to get out – get out! Get Out! Run! You can’t fight this! They’re crawling under your skin, into your bloodstream, towards your brain…and Alfred. Good God, Alfred. No, no, no. Morrison, you got me. How can Bruce come back from this? You committed the one act that pisses me off the most concerning Batman: people discovering his identity. That’s sacrosanct to me, and now, goons that just work for the villains know! You’ve got me, got me, I’m lost, lost, no rudder, no moorings, drifting, drifting – until next issue.

FINAL CRISIS #1 (DC) – My review at

GREEN LANTERN #31 (DC) – 3 ½ whiskers – Here’s the thing: did we need a re-telling of Green Lantern’s origin? Oh, it’s good, and as solid as any of Geoff John’s issues of this series, but while I read it, same as last issue, I can’t help but wonder why we were going over this ground again. Maybe I’m just not that big of a GL fan and maybe there are tons of new revelations here – I don’t know, truly. But, as with most any issue of this book, it’s crafted well and that in itself is a reason to pick it up. Johns somehow attracts the best artists for his books and GL is no omission. Ivan Reis’ visuals are incredibly pleasing and oh-so professional that they’re worth the price of admission. I just hope that when “Secret Origin” is wrapped up, that it’s a long, long time before another re-telling of this story comes up again.

GIANT-SIZE ASTONISHING X-MEN #1 (Marvel) – 3 ½ whiskers – This series brought me back to the X-Men after about fifteen years or so and has held my interest throughout. I know enough about the team to enjoy the stories but I’m not their hugest fan. There could be things here that have pissed off the diehard X-fans but I can’t worry about that. I’m also not a subscriber to the cults of personality that swirl around such writers as Joss Whedon so I feel like I can judge the book on its own merits. It was pretty good. I felt the tension, was surprised at which character made the big sacrifice, and think that as a wrap-up, I’ve read worse. Whedon had his little character bits like he’s had all along in the series and those were good, although by this time they stress cracks are showing a bit. I’ve given this series a lot of leeway for being late, something I haven’t done with other such series, but I do have to state that as nice as John Cassaday’s art here was very nice, there were also many pages of obviously rushed work. It was as if he jumped around, drawing all the cool stuff first and then dragged his heels on the quite stuff until it was way too late. The guy’s done better. In all, I judge this ending by how much I’ll miss the characters and the situations. I won’t be continuing on as the series does – but I will miss my semi-regular dose of Whedon’s X-Men.

IMMORTAL IRON FIST #15 (Marvel) – 4 whiskers – this has been one heckuva enjoyable series but its drawing to a close. Matt Fraction, without co-writer Ed Brubaker, delivers another tale from The Book of the Iron Fist, a kind of “times past” series-within-the-series that’s been a nice blend of history, fable, mythology, and drama. This issue is continuation of the story of Iron Fist Bei Bang-Wen, from 1860, the first part of which was several issues ago. Bei’s an interesting character with a death-wish who meets up with a fellow “super hero” from India and together they act out a morality play. Fraction’s narrative runs the gamut from history lesson to humor to dream-like state. I especially envy his ability to insert a funny line into the drama that is at once humorous but also strangely appropriate and truthful. It’s a good issue and I for one am really going to regret when Fraction’s (and Brubaker’s) run on the series is done.


Glen said...

This Green Lantern arc seems to be killing time while Johns catches up on his other books.

Immortal Iron Fist is a great book. I hope the next team can maintain the quality.

Jim Beard said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jim Beard said...

Unfortunately, I'm going to be leaving IIF behind once Bru and Fraction are done. Its pretty much a money thing for me at this point.

Thanks again for the comments.

Glen said...

Well, I don't get nearly as many comics as you, so I'm going to give the new guys a chance.

Have to say I completely disagree with your take on Final Crisis #1. I felt it was nothing but a mess of advertisements for other series, drearily told, with no real tension or immediacy.

I can't forget the beginning of the first crisis, when the Earth 3 supers, every bit the equal to those of Earth 1, 2, S, X, etc, went out fighting futiley to the antimatter. Then Earth 6 went down, Batman foiled the Joker and something happened to the Flash, The Monitor gathered heroes to his giant satellite and they were attacked by shadow beings.

No one sat around a frickin' table.