Saturday, June 14, 2008

Clipped on 6/11/08

Big Marvel week! Let’s get right to it!

ACTION COMICS #866 (DC) – 4 whiskers – After a few okay fill-in issues Gary Frank returns in triumph to ACTION and he and Geoff Johns hit another homer. This is the beginning of a big-ass Brainiac story and honestly, it’s about time. Brainiac’s a major part of the Superman saga and he’s gotten short shrift for years – I think mostly ‘cause no one recently has been sure how to present him. Johns delivers that big feature film feeling – though I think it could be overdone any time now – and Frank is in lockstep with him, obviously having a great time. We get a new cool look at the famous abduction of the Kryptonian city of Kandor and a very, very strange assault on Superman by Brainiac-bots. It’s all very ominous, which is a delicious thing when one can get it in a comic. The sour note for me this issue was the reintroduction of Cat Grant in a scene that just goes on too long and overstates its point. Add to this that it doesn’t much seem like the Cat we knew from the 80s-90s and a Steve Lombard that’s simply one-note and a whisker is shaved. Overall, though, buy this issue. Its gonna be a memorable story arc.

TRINITY #2 (DC) – Please see for my TRINITY review!

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #562 (Marvel) – 3 ½ whiskers – This latest issue is a step down from the previous arc in my opinion but still up to the usual ASM-BND level of quality and goodness. Spidey runs afoul of a loudmouth 5th-tier villain who calls him out on the Internet. There’s some rigamarole with a character called the Bookie who coordinates bets with super-villains – a scene that intends to set his character is actually kind of painful to struggle through, and not the good kind of pain. Pete’s life is back in the crapper but I’d rather be subjected to the “Parker luck” any day compared to some other schlep with an unfunny homelife. There’s a very nice surprise reveal with a duplicate Spider-Man who’s inserted into the action and there’s a fun “oh snap!” moment at the cliffhanger. A good issue but not one of ASM’s better ones.

ETERNALS #1 (Marvel) – 4 whiskers – I liked this intro; it’s well-crafted, looks great, and has a unique feel to it. You could do a lot worse with a #1. My fear though is that it’s not quite enough “Marvel Universe” to sell the series to potentially interested parties. Not without some cajoling, that is. Consider yourself cajoled. ETERNALS picks up from the miniseries of the same name and lays the groundwork: a fantastic race of Jack Kirby-created, advanced god-like aliens created two races at the Dawn of Man and in the present those races are at war with each other – which is sad because a ravenous star-spanning Horde is approaching Earth and the Eternals and Deviants need to band together to stop it. There’s good dialogue here, intrigue, a bit of superhero-type action and an edgy darkness that permeates the entire issue. I’m already a huge fan of Daniel Acuna’s art and I’m glad he was given this series. He’s hasn’t much “Kirby” in him but honestly, he doesn’t need it; he does okay for himself. Check this one out.

LAST DEFENDERS #4 (Marvel) - 2 1/2 whiskers – I finally determined what it is that’s been lacking in this miniseries: its not really a story, it’s a set-up. The entire series to date seems to exist just to put together a new team of Defenders. That’s fine, it’s been done before, but this is even more blatant this issue and it becomes a distraction. As I’ve said before about the book, Nighthawk’s been presented as a real schmo, someone you wouldn’t really want to follow, but I’m happy to report he does show some backbone this month and he does elicit a touch of sympathy – but overall there’s still something that’s missing. Something engaging. There’s no real villain yet, no signs of where this is really heading, other than to present a few oddball characters here and there. I’m in it to the end, being a Defenders fan, but once we get the “real” team assembled, I don’t think the means much justify the end.

THE TWELVE #6 (Marvel) – 3 ½ whiskers – Another good issue of one of my most favorite Marvel comics and another fine, fine turn by artist Chris Weston. This isn’t a book for kiddies, and that’s kind of hammered home this time around, what with Dynamic Man and Black Widow’s encounters with the edges of society. My disappointment with #6 is the presentation of Rockman’s origin; I thought he’d be one of my favorites of the Twelve but unfortunately Straczynski seems to have taken what I saw as unique about the character and made him somewhat mundane. Or at least that’s what it seems to be. I’m hoping Rockman turns out to be exactly what he was created to be and not just another guy gone off his rocker. Perhaps it was thought that as the ruler of an underground kingdom he was too farfetched – to that I present the sad case of Black Widow and ask if that’s any more preposterous. All in all, it’s still a top-notch book and with the Phantom Reporter getting back in gear this time it’s going to be solid second half that awaits us, I think.


Glen said...

You're right about the Last Defenders. Hopefully we'll get to the story next issue.

This issue of the 12 was the first with really nothing to offer anybody. Nothing happened. After 6 issues can we please get some action?

Jim Beard said...

Re: Last Defenders - I mean, the thing's almost over and there's no real villain :-} And I hate Son of Satan's new look. Good God, would I have loved for them to have tried to make his original outfit work today...