AA’s Judgment: Comics of 7/23/08

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This is about as late as you can get, so while I wrote a lot on the first one, most of these reviews are brief and to the point. It was a solid but unspectacular week. There were two issues I really liked, but didn’t exactly love, so I don’t think I’ll have a “Best” segment this week. Another issue was decent, and the fourth was predictably bad.

 

THE GOOD

Uncanny X-Men #500 (Writers: Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction. Artists: Greg Land and Terry Dodson)

If I did prizes for best of the week, this probably would’ve taken it. Probably Marvel’s most anticipated issue this month, not to mention biggest seller, Uncanny provided people such as myself an easy jump-on point, and it did an effective job of hooking me. The dynamic that Brubaker and Fraction have put in place is one that’s fairly atypical for the X-books, ditching the classic “world that fates and fears them” angle for a freer environment. It’s an interesting take that works pretty well, and there’s some good action in this issue as well. The villain interaction was pretty well done. I liked the issue, and I’ll be buying the title for at least the forseeable future. It wasn’t without flaws however. The book comes across as a travel brochure for San Francisco at times, and the environmental messages go past clever and fall short of satirical, just seeming moronic instead. The art fom Land and Dodson is gorgeous, and its brightness reflected the tone of the book quite well, yet it reminds me some of Salvador Larroca when he drew X-titles: there’s one beaming expression that everyone gets when happy, one upset face that’s the same throughout for everyone with pain or anger, and the rest of the time, characters are typically just emotionless. It’s very pretty art, but it lacks substance at times. Still, if you’re one of the few people in comicdom who didn’t buy this landmark issue, you should, because I bet this title will be quite good.

Madame Xanadu #2 (Writer: Matt Wagner. Artist: Amy Reeder Hadley.)

Now, for the second issue of the book that Spiffy loves to misspell. Like the first issue, this one was highly intriguing, with many cool moments. Hadley’s art is really good, almost great, though it’s a rather odd mixture of styles. I finally put my finger on it this issue that one of the influences displayed in her art is the slightest touch of manga/anime. There was only was a panel or two where you could tell, but that does seem to have some influence on her. As long as it doesn’t get too manga-y, I’m really like the art. A mainstream DCU character who seems to pop up as a guest star in a number of books had a brief cameo in this issue, which surprised me since that rarely happens in Vertigo, but it was cool I guess. The only flaw I can really see in this book is that after two issues, I really don’t know what it’s about still. The Fall of Camelot is nearly over, so it won’t be as simple as that. The end of this issue has interesting possibilities. It’s not a bad thing to keep readers guessing, I just think it’d be helpful to convey the general direction more. I’ll keep reading.

She-Hulk #31 (Writer: Peter David. Artist: Vincenzo Cucca.)

Part 2 of the 3-part “He Loves You” crossover between X-Factor and She-Hulk, all of which is tying into the larger Secret Invasion crossover, this was a decent issue, but not really anything special. She-Hulk is kind of a bitch, which isn’t how I’m used to thinking of her, and while it’s evident that PAD is working her interaction with XF into a larger design he has for the character, my curiosity wasn’t piqued enough that I’ll keep buying the book past this issue; sorry to the gamma-irradiated glamazon (apparently, that’s the go-to phrase to describe her in solits). There were a few cool things here, and I imagine the conclusion in next month’s XF will be pretty good. Cucca’s art was OK but nothing overly impressive.

 

THE BAD

The New Avengers #43 (Writer: Brian Michael Bendis. Artist: Billy Tan.)

A low rating for an Avengers tie-in to SI? Who could have foreseen this?! Kidding. I ranted long and hard last week about the negatives of some of what Bendis has been doing, then played devil’s advocate with what I thought was a fairly compelling defense of the writer, and didn’t get a comment of that segment of the post, so I’ll just keep it brief this week. The issue actually started off slightly promising, with some Spidey quipping goodness, but it soon devolved back into Bendis’ apparent plan to show us how every single Skrull on Earth came into possession of its current form. Tan’s art was excellent, however. Kudos to him.

 

Writer of the Week: Brubaker and Fraction, I guess, with Wagner right there as well.

Artist of the Week: Billy Tan, despite strong but slightly flawed efforts from Land/Dodson and Hadley.

Line of the Week: “We’re heading toward the gunfire? Yay! This is the best day ever!” -Spider-Man in New Avengers.

(i don’t know if that was really the best quote of the week, but that was the last issue I had open, and i didn’t feel like looking through to see if there was anythign better in the others.

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2 Responses to “AA’s Judgment: Comics of 7/23/08”

  1. spiffyithaca Says:

    I would argue Uncanny was worthy of being in a “Best” column. It wasn’t anything spectacular, but definitely sounds like the easy winner of the week out of your crop. Good point about SF, but I honestly liked the SF move in this title a lot more than in Astonishing.

    Should I buy Xanadu 1 and 2? Does it have what it takes to become the next great Vertigo title?

    I want She-Hulk to be my glamazon.

    I wonder how everyone else feels about the Avengers titles tie-ins. My friends from school have liked ALL of them so far, and I can’t trust that. They like Bendis too much (more than me, even)!

  2. davidry214 Says:

    Agreed on your last point on Uncanny, but really, everything about this title was miles better than Astonishing. It’s weird that there’s seemingly no separate teams for each title though.

    I honestly can’t answer on Xanadu yet. I like it so far, but I don’t know how much, and I don’t know what its potential is, since, like I said, I don’t even know what it’s really about. One major mystical DCU characters has had a cameo, and another one has played a significant role as a regular (if it’s the person it appears to be). Maybe it’ll be exploration of some of the origins of mysticism in the DCU? I have no idea. It has potential, but it’s not a must-buy yet.

    Your friends from school are insane, then.

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