6/25 comics: better late than never

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I don’t think I’m going to actually rank my comics, but I’ll just divide them into three sections: the best, the worst, and the rest. Each category may only have one, or it could be several, depending on the quality of the week.

This was a week heavy both on quality and especially quantity. Here’s what I thought about the nine comics I bought and read:

THE BEST

Xanadu!

Madame Xanadu #1: I’m not sure I’d rank this #1 if I had to rank my books, but it was still good. Plus, since it’s new, I want to spotlight it a little. As most of us know, Vertigo has a history of putting out some of the highest quality comics on the market, attracting top talents with its near-complete creator freedom/control, and the ability to be as edgy as possible. Madame Xanadu is a testament to that, bringing in Matt Wagner, best known for his apparently brilliant Grendel series. Wagner is a great artist himself, but here he’s just doing the writing chores, leaving the art to the very talented Amy Reeder Hadley, who provides some beautiful panels that add to the mystic nature of this book. This premiere issue won’t quite blow your socks off, but it’s an interesting read, and it puts a lot of things into motion that make you think this series has a lot of potential. Far too soon to say this is a must-buy, but this is a title that bears some watching.

X-Men Legacy #213: Now this is some good X-Men stuff. With Uncanny X-Men reaching its 500th issue in July, and Astonishing X-Men welcoming on the famous Warren Ellis, this book is getting overshadowed somewhat, but it shouldn’t be. Mike Carey (of Lucifer, among other things) delivers an X-story that feels like the good parts of 90s: high-octane action with an emphasis on high-profile villains. Here, the story is mostly surrounding Charles Xavier and the great Mister Sinister, with Gambit and Sebastian Shaw playing pivotal roles. It was very accessible, even though I haven’t been reading the book. If you’re making the rounds of trying out the different X-books, don’t forget to give this a shot.

 

THE WORST

Shitty book

Mighty Avengers #15: This was just shit, frankly. I might take a little crap here and be told that I don’t get some stuff because I haven’t been reading Bendis’ Avengers long enough to understand some of what he’s already developed, and that’d be a fair point. But if he writes Hank and Jan like that, then fuck him, I don’t want to see what he’s doing in these books. This was one of the worst Avengers issues I’ve ever read. To quote Arrested Development, “I don’t know why, but that’s it.” I think I’ll be dropping these titles now.

Green Lantern Corps #25: This is kinda unfair, because obviously I haven’t been buying this book, and I accidentally jumped in the middle of an arc, just to see a villain I like, only to not understand anything. Even not going what’s on though, I can usually get a feel for how the writing is, and it didn’t seem impressive here. I could be wrong, and this placement isn’t the book’s fault necessarily, but I had to put it somewhere, and this is where it belonged under the circumstances. I’ll revisit the title once Blackest Night starts, though.

Superman #677: I debated for a while about whether to put this issue here or with the middle group, because it was pretty borderline to me. I didn’t hate it, but at the same time, I can’t really say it was good. James Robinson was onboard as the writer, which piqued my interest. I didn’t mind the opening scene in space, actually, but it did start to drag on too long and overemphasized Robinson’s point (not to mention overemphasizing Kryto, probably). Superman’s fighting style didn’t seem very Supes-like (seemingly unconcerned about collateral damage, etc.), and the Metropolis PD angle did nothing for me. And the late arrival villain, Atlas, was more annoying than intriguing. So no, it wasn’t a good issue. At the same time, there were a few lines and places in the issue that let you see where Robinson might be going with this, and that it might be good. I haven’t decided yet whether I’ll try another issue.

 

THE REST

Surprise (kinda) ending

Final Crisis #2: This came fairly close to making the “best” list, but I couldn’t quite do it. A lot of things still seem weird, inaccessible, or just rub me the wrong way. I still don’t like what’s kinda going on with the New Gods, but I might just have to get over that, since it’s probably going to be that way for the duration. But there was definitely some cool stuff, particularly with Green Lantern, Batman, and perhaps Superman (though my guess is not much will come of that last one). That’s all without mentioning the ending, which will certainly have the most buzz. And to be certain, the end was very cool. But it didn’t really shock me all that much; I was pretty sure since DCU0 that this would happen in some form. So while it was a good way to end the issue and get people excited, I think it could’ve been a moment that really blew people away, but DC/Morrison telegraphed the possibility a tad too much.

Green Lantern #32: This is a difficult story to judge, because it’s a six-part arc telling the “secret origin” of one of DC’s most famous characters (this issue being the fourth installment). Of course, it’s telling Hal’s early days with slight twists and adding things behind the scenes, all in an effort to build to Blackest Night. Six issues certainly certainly doesn’t seem necessary for this, but the odd part is, they’re very enjoyable. You kinda feel like you shouldn’t have had to pay money to read it, but you read it and you really like it. And that’s what happened here yet again: I liked this issue, maybe even in spite of myself.

The New Avengers #42: Unlike Mighty, which was a complete disaster, this was pretty good. That’s Bendis: he’ll piss you off one moment and wow you the next. This was a cool issue, focusing mostly on Spider-Woman, and the Skrull menace was well-written. I liked it, but I don’t think it fully evens out for Mighty. So what I’m thinking is that I’ll just buy these Avengers books in trade. That’ll allow me to pick and choose what stories/arcs to read. Also, I think Bendis probably reads better in trade. I get pissed at him sometimes for having too many slow issues or drawing things out too long, but I can handle that much more easily in tpb. I won’t be buying these as montlies anymore, but I doubt I’ll give up on Bendis altogether any time soon. To use sports terminology, his upside is too good.

Captain America #39: I think the fact that I was definitely disappointed by this issue is more Marvel’s fault than Brubaker’s. Because when you think about it, this was a pretty good issue. But Marvel advertised the crap out of this one, posting that misleading cover everywhere and making us all think this would be the big showdown. And it wasn’t, and I couldn’t help but be disappointed that it wasn’t. But hey, it’s still a good story, and the next issue (really the next two/three as this saga wraps up) should be great.

Writer of the Week: Mike Carey, X-Men Legacy

Artists of the Week: Amy Reeder Hadley, Madame Xanadu; Ivan Reis, Green Lantern

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3 Responses to “6/25 comics: better late than never”

  1. just saying Says:

    Did you notice in MA that Bendis also apparently has Hank and Jan remarried (either that or he can’t write worth #&*!). The whole thing takes place right before MA #15. The “new girl” says she knows Hank and Jan are married, Hank says they are only separated, and Jan says he’s soon to be ex. Holy continuity holes!

  2. spiffyithaca Says:

    Hey welcome to the blog JS!

    And yes, I must agree that Mighty Avengers was the weakest of the tie-in’s in a long time, but I thought New Avengers more than made up for it.

    I’m glad we agreed on Cap. It was a good issue, but it just seemed like something was missing, and I wasn’t even as hyped as you were for this particular issue.

    And you make me want to get Legacy and Xanadu….which I can’t afford. I do love me some X-Men, but I could see myself buying all three main titles by the end of the month, and that’s not cool. But Legacy sounds better than Astonishing, and I forgot that Carey is the Lucifer guy, so I’m not surprised it’s pretty good.

  3. davidry214 Says:

    I didn’t think a pretty good issue of New made up for a truly, truly pathetic Mighty. Thanks for the inpur JS; hope you stick around.

    Yeah, fuck Astonishing, try Legacy. The next issue may be crap for all I know, but I think this book at least has a lot more potential than Ellis’.

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