AA’s Judgment: Comics of 7/10/2008

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Remember when I said I was going to have this up by Saturday? Yeah, I’m a liar. I got busy doing Handsome Man stuff. Anyway, just enjoy this review of a strong week of July comic books. There’s spoilers in the first two, but after that, I’ll keep them out.

THE BEST

Final Crisis: Requiem (Writer: Peter J. Tomasi. Artist: Doug Mahnke)

I’m going to assume by now, anyone actually reading this blog knows that Martian Manhunter is dead. Even if you didn’t read Final Crisis #1, DC has been been postering the news everywhere, even in ads within other comics (which only lends to the theory/probable fact that the death was just to give instant credibility/attention to the Crisis). But forget everything else about how/why that death occurred. What matters is that in this issue, we actually get real meaning. All the problems from FC1 are fully and brilliantly resolved: from it being too short, to MM not being seen fighting back, to its full impact on the superhero community. It’s a touching and memorable tribute to the death, and more importantly, to the life of J’onn J’onnz. In a way, even as it fulfilled my wishes, it still made me angry: this should have been in FC itself. Not the whole thing, obviously, but this was a spectacular sendoff–DC was capable of putting together an amazing tribute like this, but did the deed itself unceremoniously in a couple panels in FC1. You shouldn’t have to buy a special one-shot to see how one of DCU’s top ten characters died (see Crisis on Infinite Earths 8, and even 9, for how it should be done). I’m getting off track a little, but not completely. The way Morrison killed J’onn made me hope for a speedy resurrection; the way Tomasi celebrated J’onn almost made me hope it is legit (especially the talk about his family). Even so, DC may have been hinting at some possibilities for brining him back: it was too weird that MM would contact fucking Gypsy but not Green Arrow (or Atom! Where the fuck was Ray Palmer is this? The one flaw in an otherwise masterpiece) without there being something going on. I don’t know though, I’m rambling. Best scenes: Ollie and Hal over the corpse, and Bruce’s final token.

 

Secret Invasion #4 (Writer: Brian Michael Bendis. Artist: Leinil Francis Yu.)

If there’s one thing Preview Reviews really made me realize, it’s that companies don’t know how to write a solicitation to advertise their own books worth a shit. Take this issue, where Marvel advertised two people, “one with a shield and one with a hammer,” wanting answers. They don’t show up until the end, have absolutely no impact on the issue, and all you really did was ruin for the conclusion of the issue for your readers by making a false promise. Whatever. Misleading solits aside, this was the strongest issue yet of an already strong miniseries. The opening narration was superb, and really gave this a much more epic feel. The best part though, for me at least, probably had to be Black Widow. Bendis wrote her better than anyone has the past ten years, and I loved to see her being the one to take control of the situation in a really badass series of scenes. Looking forward to more.

 

THE WORST

I Kill Giants #1 (Writer: Joe Kelly. Artist: JM Ken Niimura.)

OK, so it would have made for a great story: Boy’s friend makes fun of comic. Boy buys said comic on a whim. Comic turns out to be amazing, and boy loves it forever. Boy buys friend a porsche as thank you. Unfortunately, the more realistic story turned out to be: Boy buys comic. Boy learns not to make uninformed purchases. What can I say, this was awful, so bad it almost got to be funny. I read Final Crisis: Requiem first this week, and after one half of one of the most disastrous JLA runs ever helped redeem himself (artist Doug Mahnke), I had hope that Joe Kelly could do the same. But, it wasn’t meant to be. I thought this might be a fun, silly romp about a boy surviving in some magical land of giants; instead, it was a very dull portrait of an emotionally scarred grade school girl who makes up stories because her life sucks. I just reread the previous sentence, and even that premise actually sounds like it could be cool, but trust me, it wasn’t. I actually think I might have liked Niimura’s art as a weird/quirky complement to the right kind of weird/quirky title, but with the story sucking ass, the art was unimpressive. Despite everything though, I don’t regret buying this. I tried something outside my typical comfort zone, and I now own the first issue of a series called I KIll Giants, and maybe that alone was worth the $2.99. If there’s ever a sequel called I Kill Midgets, I’ll buy the first issue of that, too.

 

THE REST

Justice Society of America #17 (Writer: Geoff Johns with contributions by Alex Ross. Artist: Fernando Pasarin with cover by Ross.)

The bizarre yet intriguing saga of “Gog” continues, reaching now the inevitable darker side of the Utopia that Gog would seek to create. There’s a lot of very strong happening here with fascinating implications, as Johns delves far deeper into character development. When I read this book before quitting, I thought Johns (and David Goyer, to whatever undeterminable extend he deserves credit) probably did an even better job than Mark Waid on JLA and nearly as good of a job as Kurt Busiek on Avengers at balancing the action and characterization sides of a team book. He still has that talent, and it’s on display several times here. The one flaw is that the team has grown huge beyond belief, and I honestly don’t recognize at least half the characters in a title I read for more four-ish years. But a scene with Hawkman here made me think that problem is somewhat intentional and will be addressed soon. Back to the point, when i first started back on this title to see that Gog/Kingdom Come would be playing such a large role for quite a while, I wasn’t sure the story interested me much. The past two issues have convinced me otherwise, and I’m looking foward to whatever happens next.

 

Captain America #0 (Writer: Jeph Loeb. Artist: Tim Sale.)

This isn’t the easiest issue to grade, since it was mostly a prologue to the mini itself, and not a ton happens. Still, a few things stand out. One, Jeph Loeb still has a talent for writing sad narrations. Frankly, that’s what the entire ‘color’ series are about. Daredevil: Yellow did it to perfection, and even though Spiderman: Blue didn’t turn out to be anything great, the narration was still strong, as it is in this prologue to White. The other thing is Tim Sale. Only half of this issue is story, with the other half being Sale’s sketchbook and an interview with the two creators, so Sale gets the most chance to shine. He’s an odd artist to grade, because his style simply wouldn’t work the majority of the time; if you put the guy on an ongoing monthly with this style, it wouldn’t fit well. But for whatever reason, when it’s a mini or an event like this, there’s something about his stuff that I really love. This really isn’t something you need to buy even if you do want to get in on the miniseries, but it piqued me enough that I’ll buy at least #1.

 

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

Artists of the Week: Doug Mahnke, Final Crisis: Requiem. Tim Sale, Captain Americaa: White #0.

Line of the Week: “He was my favorite Martian.” –Green Arrow, Final Crisis: Requiem.

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2 Responses to “AA’s Judgment: Comics of 7/10/2008”

  1. spiffyithaca Says:

    I can’t disagree with the top two at all.

    Great review of MM, and I wondered about the Ollie thing, but I had no idea who Gypsy was, so I figured she was important in J’onz’ life. If not, then yeah that’s definitely weird…or something that will come into play, good catch.

    A shame about I Kill Giants. I hope you continue delving into indy titles, because they really are something to behold, usually. A shame that it turned out to be more of a joke than a true great blog story to remember, and wouldve been sweet if both Mahnke and Kelly redeemed themselves. I’m holding out for I Kill Midgets #1.

    I guess I’m going to have to wait for White #1 for me to begin to find out how wrong I was about Loeb, since it doesn’t sound like #0 had enough in it (was it worth buying since it was part interview and sketches?). Keep me posted.

  2. davidry214 Says:

    I hope I continue delving into Indies as well, but I don’t really know where to go. For whatever reason, I would prefer to start on something new, rather than jumping on an older book.

    White 0 was interesting, and I liked the sketches, so I don’t regret buying it, but not would I really recommend it to someone else. I don’t mind buying things that turn out to be underwhelming, so long as they weren’t completely pathetically bad (the Pym Mighty ish) or predictably bad (I can’t think of a good example since I’ve been back). I’d rather keep trying lots of things to find a few gems. We’ll see whether White will be one, but I KNOW I Kill Midgets would be great, if they ever made that.

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