Spiffy Speaks: The Week of 7/10/08

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Following a week filled with mediocrity, the second week of July comes through in impressive fashion, with a surprise at the top of the rankings. And also: Green Arrow showed up in all 3 DC titles I bought this week, which is always a good thing.

5. Green Arrow and Black Canary #10: Judd Winick, Mike Norton. In part 2 of “A League of Their Own”, Green Arrow and Canary, with Batman and Plastic Man in tow, go after Ra’s Al Ghul’s League of Assassins, and attempt to save Speedy and Dodger (yeah I don’t know who the fuck he is either, but he’s kinda like Gambit without the accent and cards, which is to say, without much character). Norton’s art, kind of like a mish mash of Dodson and someone else (I’m on a roll here), continues to be quite pleasing. At first it felt like cheesecake art, but then again, this is kind of a cheesecake title. This is the kind of title you read while on the shitter: it’s nothing special and doesn’t require a lot of thought, but it’s fun. And when you bring in Bats and Plastic Man, that doesn’t hurt either. I’m not sure I really like how Winick portrays Mia as Speedy. She’s not the same character as in Smith and Meltzer’s run, but then again, she’s changed since. Also, there hasn’t been any great Ollie one-liners yet. I plan on continuing throughout the arc and follow the heroes in their quest to find Connor Hawke, but who knows if I continue. Judging by the smorgasbord of appearances by Ollie in DC books this week, I might be able to get my fix elsewhere.

4. Ultimate Origins #2 (of 5): Brian Michael Bendis, Butch Guice. In a week with Secret Invasion, this might’ve been my most anticipated issue of the bunch. We get the origin of Ultimate Steve Rogers, and there proves to be little different with it than the original, but it’s still a good issue, and we get a great FDR/Steve scene. We’re also introduced to some creepy alien totem pole that has “turned on”, and while being mildly intriguing, we won’t know if it’s that good of a plotpoint until next month (though it necessitates the appearance of Ultimate Fantastic Four and acting SHIELD director Carol Danvers, which was cool). To me, the stuff with Wolverine and Fury is more interesting than with Cap, so their disappearance here is why this issue lags in the rankings, but it’s a step above GA/BC, and was still a good issue. Also: Guice’s art is still a joy, but is kinda sketchy at the beginning.

3. Booster Gold #1,000,000: Geoff Johns and Jeff Katz, Dan Jurgens. As expected from the millionth issue, this issue is set in the future, but then again, that’s par for the course in the finest time travel book in comics (is there another?). Following the Blue Beetle’s sacrifice to fix time, Booster Gold finds himself far in the future, where he meets “Peter Platinum”, a hero who took after BG himself! This issue was a hoot, and we get some more insight into Rip Hunter and the entrance of a character from Booster’s past (or future, depending on how you look at it). Dan Jurgens’ art is suited perfectly for the title and he shines as always. We also get a great Batman/Booster scene here, that was prefaced by an appearance of Hal and Ollie saving Booster’s ass. At this rate, I’ll be around for #2,000,000.

2. Secret Invasion #4 (of 8): This issue was much in the same vein as #1, where shit just hits you with each panel. Yu’s art, while not as fine tuned or beautful as it has been, is still stellar. There are just so many great scenes in this one, and the narration at the beginning proves to be an excellent device to bring it all together. The crazy Spider-Woman and Stark scene from issue 3 continues and ends in this issue, and it’s the finest scene of this issue and quite possibly of the crossover so far. And around that, we get updates on Agent Brand in space and Maria Hill vs the scariest skrull of all (HUGE SPOILER from issue 1: Jarvis). I kind of had a problem with the seemingly out of nowhere introduction of The Hood, but I’m excited for what comes next, and the ending promises for a helluva lot of awesome to come (although I wish the solit didn’t lie by saying this issue featured their involvement more). Overall, great issue. If #5 isn’t #1 next month, I’ll be shocked.

DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVEN’T READ FINAL CRISIS #1

1. Final Crisis: Requiem #1: Peter Tomasi, Doug Mahnke. As seen in our DC solits for July, both AA and I were very skeptical of this issue, the final story about Martian Manhunter, who was murdered by Libra to show DC’s biggest villains that he means business. It was more shocking than a meaningful death when that happened, and that was why I believed this was to be a shameless attempt to profit from MM’s death. Not so. Tomasi and Mahnke team up for one of the best issues of comics I’ve read since I started back up. It was touching, sad and powerful. Tomasi managed to make the death in Final Crisis mean SO MUCH more, and the impact of his death on the heroes said it all: J’onn will be missed. Mahnke’s art here is better than anything on JLA and make me think if his skills were just thrown under the bus because of how crappy the writing was. There wasn’t a wasted page here, and it was truly a fitting end, if it really is the end, to J’onn J’onnz.

Fucktastic Writer of The Week: Peter J. Tomasi, Final Crisis: Requiem.

Fucktastic Artist of the Week: Doug Mahnke, Final Crisis: Requiem. Dan Jurgens, Booster Gold.

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4 Responses to “Spiffy Speaks: The Week of 7/10/08”

  1. davidry214 Says:

    Excellent reviews. I couldn’t agree more on the two of the five we both read.

    I doubt I get into in my review, but since you brought up the Hood in SI, I did find that slightly annoying. I barely cared, and wouldn’t have cared at all, but the one flaw in this mini (which itself has been great) has been that so much of the fighting has been done by minor characters, like Young Avengers, Initiative people, even Fury’s new commandos (minor referring to them, not Fury obviously), making it harder to care about some of the NY action. It’s not a big flaw, since that’s part of the point (that the Skrulls so effectively marginalized the big guns), so I wasn’t going to bring it up, but mentioning the Hood made me think of that tangent. Great issue still.

    It’s interesting to see Jurgens as just an artist now. He reminds me a lot of Alan Davis. Both exceptional pencillers, but also both capable of both greatness and terrible crap as writers. Davis tried just doing art for a while too, but it didn’t last long. Hope Jurgens stays on though, since even though I don’t read that book, I’d like other people to enjoy him.

    Don’t give up on GA/BC. Only loser named Dave abandon their favorite characters/

  2. spiffyithaca Says:

    Well my response was wiped out, so this will be shorter:

    The problem with The Hood was the lack of set up involved, especially if you haven’t read New Avengers. And the fact that it was basically one panel of him getting involved, it was kinda forced. But I’ll reserve on his involvement, because I do like him, it just wasn’t the best entrance ever.

    And I think you pointed it out well with the Initiative/YA/Fury’s commandoes guys, but I think you also brought up the point why it makes so much sense and why I think it’s fine: that the Skrulls focused their attention on the big guns of Marvel (except Thor and Sentry, the two that will turn the tide, I assume) and no threat of infiltration (they trust each other, yay!), and this is why Fury set up a whole new team. If Bendis can’t make people care about them, then that’s on him, but I can’t fault his reasoning behind it.

    Jurgens does rule, but I think we saw him in solits as a writer as well. But like you said, he is a talented penciller. I don’t give a shit about everything else as long as he brings the goods in BG.

    And good point about losers named David. But as I found out, Green Arrow apparently appears in every DC title, so I might not miss a helluva lot by dumping the title. But I’ll hang on for now.

  3. spiffyithaca Says:

    Wow I think that was longer. My bad.

  4. davidry214 Says:

    Yeah, I do remember now about Jurgens writing something. I’m pretty sure we made fun of it too.

    As for the SI problem with all the minor guys, I think we’re in agreement that the current situation is necessary/logical for the way the story set up. So I’m OK with that conceptually, but the fact remains that it’s harder to care about the NY action when I genuinely don’t care if the Skrulls kill practically all of those heroes. I haven’t found it to really hurt the mini much though, since Bendis has done a good job of keeping the NY action from being the main point, and his Savage Land things have been great.

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