Weekly reviews – 02/14/08

February 14th, 2008 by | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I read some comics and I review them here. Just click “Read the rest of this entry” to see them. I know you’re all very excited. Happy Valentines Day!

Gotham Underground #5 – Okay, I know the Joker always has ridiculous plot armor, but Tieri isn’t even trying to work around it here. Apparently the Joker has a habit of casually strolling into the Iceberg Lounge, killing random people and demanding a free expensive dinner. Since this is obviously incredibly damaging to the Penguin’s business, why doesn’t he have the Joker dealt with? Well… he just doesn’t. It’s not explained. People are apparently just too scared of the Joker. It doesn’t make any sense. That aside, this is still your typical generic mob story featuring incredibly shallow characters and ugly artwork. Well, apparently Bane isn’t as mischaracterized as he initially seemed to be, but it feels suspiciously like the writer trying to retcon his own mistakes. Avoid. D

Wonder Woman #17 – Hmm. I sort of like this, clunky Amazon dialogue and all, but at the same time it’s not achieving its potential. Writing Diana as a badass warrior that never kills anyone seems like a boring compromise, only highlighted in this issue by having the (totally unambiguous) main villain basically die a Disney movie death. In that sense the art is fitting: It’s perfectly attractive, clean artwork, but neither the Dodsons nor Randall can do “badass”, while that’s the angle Simone seems to be going for. Otherwise it’s an okay issue of an okay superhero comic that doesn’t feature any of the annoying writing quirks from the previous issues. Thankfully the wacky house gorillas don’t appear at all. Decent enough superhero stuff, and still the best Wonder Woman story since the reboot. B-

Booster Gold #0 – I wish DC did recap pages like Marvel so we wouldn’t get a page of in-comic summary like this one has. The Zero Hour tie-in was completely gratuitous and I could have done without the unnecessary fight against Parallax and Extant. There’s also this seemingly nonsensical sequence of events where the characters talk about doing something and you think Johns and Katz start up a new plot thread… and then they seemingly forget all about it in favor of next month’s OMAC fiesta. Cute as always, but the plotting is slapdash. B-

Tiny Titans #1 – Comics: Not just for adults anymore! This is my favorite DC comic of the week. It’s positively adorable in every way and it manages to be legitimately funny even for adult readers. This looks to be a hit for the new Johnny DC in terms of quality. That Superfriends preview looks terrifying though. A

Amazing Spider-Man #550 – Still merrily chugging along, Amazing Spider-Man is very Spider-Manny but not very amazing. Lame old superhero character is brought back, straightforward (at least so far) Goblin-esque supervillain is introduced, more shenanigans at the DB… I’m getting kind of bored at this point, but I can’t say it’s actively bad. It’s not. Okay, the faux-Stan Lee style narration and editor’s boxes are irritating and insincere (just because you’re using the concepts of those comics doesn’t mean you have to copy the writing style), but they’re not a huge factor so I shouldn’t complain. It’s competently written and nicely drawn. It’s just completely uninteresting to me. C+

New Avengers #38 – What a great issue. Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Bendis dialogue, Michael Gaydos artwork and Jose Villarrubia coloring; it’s like I’m reading Alias again! The majority of this issue is a conversation between Luke and Jessica dealing with the fallout of the annual and it’s heartbreaking but oh so well done. Gaydos is on point with his realistic style. He’s a great artist for conversations because he does subtle body language so well, and since there are no action sequences whatsoever (not Gaydos’ strongest point) it looks good from start to finish. The only thing I’m not sold on is his depiction of Ares, who looks too much like a Calvin Klein model. Otherwise, top notch issue. It’s the creators doing what they do best, making this probably the best single issue of New Avengers since the end of Civil War. If Secret Invasion is going to be as human as this, I’m on board. A

Captain Marvel #3 – This is now obviously another lead-up mini to Secret Invasion, begging the question why they didn’t bother putting the Infiltration banner on the cover. However, it does its job well and actually gives Captain Marvel a purpose for being brought back in the first place. If it’s really Captain Marvel… Lots of paranoia and intrigue if you like that sort of thing, plus excellent artwork by Lee Weeks. But why are they not using the updated Skrull designs? I have to admit, using the traditional Skrull look for this type of story makes them look very silly and out of place. Still, it’s a solid comic and a compelling read for anyone interested in Secret Invasion. If you’re not, though, you’re probably just going to be annoyed. B-

Fantastic Four #554 – Hitlar is here! And they deliver… a Fantastic Four story. It seems to draw heavily from the Mark Waid run on the book in terms of tone and ideas, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing since the Waid run was definitive. It’s cute, Millar promises some interesting ideas and the artwork is beautiful, but it’s not that original so far. Much less obnoxious than I was expecting considering the writer, but at the same time it’s a bit underwhelming. We’ll see where it takes us. B+

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4 comments to “Weekly reviews – 02/14/08”

  1. I now read Amazing Spidey with the voices from the old cartoons. Now he’s back to “oh gosh im gonna be late for MJ” it’s so fitting.

  2. Man, I’m love the story of Gotham Underground so far. There’s always a few great moments in every issues. You can feel the power structure of Gotham changing in real ways, and the Bat family is being utilized very well. Course, I haven’t read the latest one yet, but it’s been great so far. What is the writer retconning about Bane? Did he write him badly in another series?

  3. Bane was written as a kind of generic brainless thug in the first issue. Now he’s up to his old tricks again, apparently trying to kill Batman, which still doesn’t make any sense considering he hasn’t been interested in that in years. Then again, Bane’s characterization has been hilariously inconsistent since Infinite Crisis in the first place.

    The plot hook itself is alright. It’s nothing desperately original (War Games comes to mind) but a good writer can make it interesting. Bendis did a good job with it in Daredevil and to a lesser extent the recent Hood arc in New Avengers. The problem is that Tieri is just not a good writer. Why should I care about the plot if I don’t care about any of the characters involved? They’re just a bunch of boring, shallow assholes that all talk like mobsters in some third rate crime novel. I’m not even getting into how terribly conceived that Johnny Stitches guy is. Not to mention how Batman himself is in “Bruce Wayne is the mask” mode which is just about the least interesting and least sympathetic way to write the character.

  4. Bane’s characterization has been inconsistant in the past, but Tieri had this whole arc written out ahead of time, so it’s weird to think Tieri was all of a sudden retconning him. I think Tieri is making Bane the character people wish he was again, which is admirable.

    But yeah, I got the Gotham Underground issue today, and a few others. This is arc and issue great step up from War Games, so I don’t really mind if the concepts are similar. I will say I saw Tieri talking about having the Joker in this scene, but I was definately underwhelmed. He just acted like a dick and served as a plot vehicle to get the Penguin to play ball with the government. Okay, whatever. Tobias Whale is still a great (new?) character, and the villains are being handled very well (but Two-Face and Joker are a bit shaky). I’m more wait-and-see with Johnny Stitches; he reminds me too much of Jigsaw right now. And while I haven’t read a lot of Tieri’s stuff, he’s still keeping the plot moving enough so I care what’s going on. Plus, I like it when the mob is an actual threat in Gotham, so that makes this story work for me.

    And I agree that “Bruce Wayne is the mask” idea is played out, but I’m not really seeing that in this series. He’s been Matches Malone for most of the series, right? Whenever I read the caption boxes, I even hear him out as Bruce Wayne: Detective, and not Batman: Asshole, and that says something.

    Moving along, I got the latest Wonderwoman comic, and you’re review is pretty spot on. Simone really captures Wonder Woman (or at least what I think Wonder Woman is about, I’m by far not a regular reader of this series), but man, it still didn’t do much for me. I find it odd that Simone felt the need to bust out Nazis AND gorillas, which are half of DC’s staples right there. Both elements seemed to have had little consequences to the conclusion. I’m not angry I bought this arc, but I don’t think I’ll continue buying it.