Friday, July 16, 2010

Quick Comic Reviews - 7/14/2010

This was a decent week, but a little light which allowed me to pick up a few books that I normally wouldn’t have if the big companies had more releases. What happened? Well…..

Superman takes a stroll through my hometown and has a Philly Cheese Steak, Bruce Wayne fills in some blanks for us, Comic Book Guy meets his nemesis, Jane Wiedlin gets abducted by Colt 45 drinking aliens, Oracle gets kidnapped, Rocket Red joins the JLI, Batgirl gets a new partner and Iron Man meets Detroit Steel face to face….or rather helmet to helmet. Also, this week I was referred to as a “Cooke Whore” while picking up the prelude to Darwyn Cooke’s The Outfit. I’ve definitely been called worse, and I will pretty much buy anything that he publishes :-)

Want more? Click below:

Pick of the Week

Comic Book Guy : The Comic Book #1
Story by Ian Boothby
Art by John Delaney

CBG #1 was the “Pick of the Week” because frankly, it’s a hell of a lot of fun. Like a good episode of the Simpsons, it is immensely quotable and I think it would make a great episode.

The focus is, of course, on our beloved uber-fanboy Comic Book Guy and his new nemesis the Graphic Novel Kid. As expected, the comic industry references abound and the geek-self-bashing is rampant. If you are a comic enthusiast with a sense of humor about your lifestyle, you’re going to love this.

Given the theme “The Death of Comic Book Guy”, there are some pinups in the beginning with parodies of famous comic images like the Death of Superman in which Agnes Skinner cradles a defeated Comic Book Guy and of course, George Perez’s much homaged (even by myself) cover to Crisis on Infinite Earths #7 where Homer and many other Springfieldianites hold CBG. The two-page sequence where he recreates famous film and comic deaths is well done with my favorite being the Gwen Stacey panel. The last Simpsons “event”, the 3-part Radioactive Man Event, was a hit with me and this mini is well on its way to joining it.

Batman #701
Story by Grant Morrison
Art by Tony Daniel

Before I can really determine how useful this issue was, I’m going to have to go back and re-read Morrison’s RIP run on Batman but unfortunately I really do not have the time right now.

From what I can recall, this is helping things make a bit more sense, like nailing down Bruce’s time between the climax of RIP and his “death” in Final Crisis. It’s good to see Morrison and Daniel back together on Batman and if we’re lucky, this issue combined with the next will alleviate some of the confusion that has been plaguing Bat-fans about who Doctor Hurt really is or what he’s planning to do upon Bruce’s return.

Superman #701
Story by J. Michael Straczynski
Art by Eddy Barrows

Here begins Superman’s walk with humanity, and it begins in my hometown of Philadelphia (or, as it was once referred to by a friend: “a wretched hive of scum and villainy”). Although, in a city full of historic landmarks, not one of them is shown to let us know that it’s actually Philly (the Liberty Bell at least, anyone?). Would it have killed the creators to look up some reference on the city or at least what the neighborhoods are called, because Philly doesn’t have a “South Side” (although Chicago does), it’s called South Philly. But I digress.

Geographical nitpicking issues aside, the premier issue of new regular writer J. Michael Straczynski and artist Eddy Barrows is solid. Superman is fairly depressed after the events of the past year or two and he needs some time to think and work his issues out on his own. He also needs to re-connect with the human population and this is his way of doing it, by coming down to our level and walking. The Man of Steel helps out some people with everyday issues like car repair and drug dealers and even helps out a suicidal woman in an unconventional way…for him anyway. This is a good step in the right direction for this book to make it back to regular status with me. By the way, how awesome would it have been if Charlie or Mac from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia had shown up?

Lady Robotika #1
Story by Jane Wiedlin and Bill Morrison
Art by Bill Morrison and Tone Rodriguez

This comic is not to be taken too seriously, which is a good thing. Reading this first issue reminded me that some comic books are just meant to be goofy, ridiculous fun and that’s exactly what this is. Full of references to pop culture and Miss Wiedlin herself, Lady Robotika #1 follows the former Go-Go as she is abducted after a concert by aliens who are big fans of hers and Earth pop-culture in general. That’s about the extent of the premise here. It’s refreshing to see a comic that is shallow simply because it wants to be and doesn’t require a whole lot of background or depth to weigh it down.

There is a funny appearance by a fat man with a five o’clock shadow running out of a bar named Joe’s who wonders if Jane and her companion are glowing (during their abduction by tractor beam) because they work at the nuclear plant too. Wonder who that could be? I’ll most likely be picking up the second issue, because we need more comics that don’t take themselves seriously and are there to entertain us with fantasy.

Invincible Iron Man #28
Story by Matt Fraction
Art by Salvador Larroca

My faith in Iron Man was waning a bit, but it has redeemed itself with this issue. We get some fantastic story progression by Fraction as Tony continues to set up his new company and he meets the competition in the World-Saving business…Detroit Steel. Larocca’s art fits the book very well and the whole package just flows together into a fun ride. The interaction between Rhodey and Stark is just perfect, as well.

What stopped me dead in the beginning of the book had nothing to do with the comic, but it was an ad for a replica Stark Racing jacket from Iron Man 2 by Museum Replicas Limited. I sat there and stared at it for 5 minutes or so trying to justify the nearly 300 dollar price tag but sadly, even though it is pretty awesome, it’s not going to happen anytime in the near future.

Great issue, though. Invincible Iron Man may soon hold the honor of being the second Marvel book added to my regular list. I can’t wait to see Stark Resilient’s repulsor-powered car, either. I wonder if it will only come in red and gold?

Birds of Prey #3
Story by Gail Simone
Art by Ed Benes and Adriana Melo

Damn you, Gail Simone. I was ready to drop this book after a 3 issue trial. Like I’ve said before…it was good but not great. Well, it just got really, really good. I’m into the story now and dying to find out who the White Canary is. Great job on art by Benes and Melo, too. Benes was basically born to draw sexy, tough women and thus he was destined to be the artist for Birds of Prey. Simone, super-nice person that she is (my wife and Ms. Simone had a lengthy discussion about their hairstyles at a con once) excels at writing mean characters like Hawk and the villains in this book. I’m on for at least a few more issues and we’ll see what happens after this first arc is done. By the way…14 Benes ass-shots in this issue alone....but I'm not complaining.

Batgirl #12
Story by Bryan Q. Miller
Art by Lee Garbett and Pere Perez

The first year of Batgirl rivals the first year of Red Robin for the most fun Bat-Book recently. The writing is super-tight and you can totally get behind the characters, especially Stephanie in her role as Batgirl. This issue concludes The Flood, the 4th part of the final arc of Batgirl Rising. Stephanie has proven to everyone that she can take over as Batgirl and still have fun while doing it. My only concern is that when Bruce comes back, he is not going to be happy that Stephanie faked her death and is now back AND is now Batgirl. But, she does have the backing of Oracle so that may help. The introduction of Steph’s very own Oracle character, Proxy, is handled well since Barbara will most likely be mired in Birds of Prey business. Introducing new characters into the DCU is tough, especially characters that will stay around. I highly recommend this book and if you haven’t read it, definitely pick it up in trade.

Justice League : Generation Lost #5
Story by Judd Winnick
Art by Aaron Lopresti

The reunion of the JLI rolls on! As the team sort-of-officially forms, they get closer to tracking down Max Lord and finding out what he plans to do next. Booster hasn’t been this good since 52, and Jaime Reyes has always been a closet favorite for me. Max Lord has never been more arrogant and cool, as he tells the JLI that he is the one pulling the strings but they shouldn’t bother trying to track him down or stop him. JL:GL has now replaced Brightest Day as my DC bi-weekly of choice. The story is tight, it’s tying in with the right books, and it’s fast-paced and interesting. Brightest Day had promise but it’s not really delivering, in my opinion.

Honestly, there was no “Worst of the Week” this week as everything I read was enjoyable. A good week for comics!

No comments: