Saturday, June 7, 2008

Clipped on 6/4/08

DETECTIVE COMICS #845 (DC) – 3 ½ whiskers – Like the previous two issues, the actual crime here isn’t near as interesting as that which surrounds it. The story of a guy who wants kooky revenge on the Riddler took a backseat to the whole “Batman online” scenario – complete with Bobo the Detective Chimp anonymously chatting with Bats, trying to dope out the book’s mystery with a virtual sleuths club. That whole deal alone was worth the price of admission. I liked the interlude with Catwoman but it really felt out of place with the other goings-on – I know Dini’s trying to set up the next issue, an “R.I.P.” tie-in, but it’s just felt like a digression, intriguing as it was. I dug the ending a lot, which surprised me because I generally don’t care for that cruel of a Batman – but hey, the guy deserved it. DETECTIVE has been a steady source of great one and two-issue looks into Batman’s world and I almost hate to see that status quo interrupted by “R.I.P.” – almost.

JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA #16 (DC) – 5 whiskers – Yes, only my second perfect score, but this issue is more than worthy. I’ve had some mixed feelings over the direction of the current Gog storyline but Geoff Johns brought it all home this time, laying out a JSA tale with a different feeling to it for me – different good. I think there’s a wonderful sense of reality when the team confronts the monolithic Gog, a good take on what it’d be like to look up at such a towering being and try to wrap your brain around what your eyes see. Looking at Gog made me muse on the lack of gigantic characters there is in the DCU, unlike in the Marvel Universe, which made it all the more appropriate when Gog’s power manifests in “Kirby crackle”. The beautiful Alex Ross pages are some of his best work, I think and really helped to set Gog’s “origin” apart from the here-and-now of the JSA – and are we supposed to see a similarity between Gog and what Darkseid’s supposedly gone through over in FINAL CRISIS, et al? Guest artist Fernando Pasarin’s no Dale Eaglesham (who is?) but I give him a lot of credit for consistency and for the aforementioned worm’s eye view of the proceedings. Add in the wrinkles of the JSA members’ reactions to Gog and the way Damage speaks for all of us readers when he calls BS on the whole scene – and you’ve got one great issue of JSofA. And no, I don’t trust Gog. One. Single. Iota.

TRINITY #1 (DC) – Please see my TRINITY review on

THE WAR THAT TIME FORGOT #2 (DC) – 3 whiskers – The sad thing here is that so far this is actually a fine little miniseries that I’m sure no one is reading. This issue introduces even more old DC characters into the action and for an old-schooler like me they’re definite pluses. The art is nothing to write home about, those it’s serviceable, and the story isn’t anything to rock the house, but the locale is interesting and the characters are oddball enough to make you want to know what the hell is going on. Which by the way you will ask yourself several times while you read this. One bugaboo I have here is that old-time characters I really love like Viking Prince and the Golden Gladiator are basically being used as “bad guys” – or so it seems. That’s disconcerting to me, but the wacky, out of left field appearance of a faulty G.I. Robot being worshipped as a deity by a group of ancient Greeks, Romans, and Viking is truly an idea that will keep me coming back for more next month. And I’m probably the only one who will.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #561 (Marvel) – 4 ½ whiskers – Okay, here we go again: Jim’s gonna rave on and on about how awesomesauce ASM is. Well, I can’t help it – its may be the best book I’m reading right now. Consistently best book I’m reading right now. I mean, this issue you’ve got a really cool-creepy villain, great Spidey action, Spidey’s great supporting cast, the return of Mary Jane, Peter Parker’s redemption as a paparazzo, and of course, Spidey himself. Slott, Martin, and Wacker just don’t let up with the unique blend of humor, action, drama, and super-heroness they’ve captured on the page and it becomes one literal page-turner. Cleverness abounds as Spider-Man fights Paper Doll while MJ gives him heads-ups over a microphone from a safe-room in her billionaire boyfriend’s mansion – I know some readers will be pissed, thinking that the Spidey crew is playing with their affections for MJ but c’mon, this was great stuff. And that Peter does “the right thing” at the end and tells his boss to stuff it is just frosting on the webbed cake. And another weirdo appearance of weirdo Sara Ehret at the coda? Extra points. Which gets a half-point deducted for making us wait two weeks for this wrap-up.

AVENGERS/INVADERS #2 (Marvel) – 3 ½ whiskers – I don’t have a whole lot to say about this issue other than I like the direction their taking, laying down the impact of the Invaders jaunt to our present day, and I dig seeing Steve Sadowski on the art chores. I wish the Invaders could have mopped up the floor with the Avengers but I have a feeling that day is still to come. The whole deal with Paul Anselm is just drawing a “meh” from me right now – too obscure – but I think Ross and Krueger are doing a competent job of portraying each Invader’s personality and mind-set and really, this is a series that I know ill continue to be a solid super-hero adventure.

SECRET INVASION #3 (Marvel) – 2 whiskers – I really don’t know what Marvel thinks they’re doing with this series but I started shutting down while reading it, realizing it’s the third issue and nothing much is going on. I get he distinct feeling that I need to be reading a LOT of other Marvel books to be able to grok the situation here in the main book, and that ain’t right. This issue is simply a slugfest between lackluster heroes and lackluster baddies. Where is the promised intrigue and Cold War-type suspicion and whatnot? Yes, the scene with Spider-Woman and Tony Stark was just about awesome but hey, the whole damn series should have that feeling. It’s not any kind of a “secret invasion” at this point and despite the aforementioned scene and a truly creepy bit with Jarvis-Skrull and the Helicarrier this book is firing blanks, in my opinion. I want to dig it like I dug WORLD WAR HULK but the gee-whiz-gotcha-gotcha factor is plainly absent.


Glen said...

I agree that The War That Time Forgot is an excellent mini series thus far. I think many fans are staying away due to Bruce Jones's reputation.

Didn't like JSA as much as you. The last two issue could have been combined, with room for what will probably happen next issue as well.

Scott said...

Thanks for your reviews Jim. You made me go back to JSA and appreciate it more. I don't trust Gog either, and I'm doing to be really peeved if Damage's face gets unfixed! Agree also with your rating for Secret Invasion - it really isn't living up to the hype. Thanks again!

Jim Beard said...

Glen, thanks again. I sincerely believe that JSA needed to be the length it is. The somewhat slower exploration of Gog was needed, IMO.

Jim Beard said...

Scott, welcome aboard. Never been a Damage fan myself but will admit to some joy when Grant's face was healed. Hope you will bookmark me and check in every week.