Monday, September 10, 2007

OML Comments for August, Part 1

Yes, I'm taking a page from Dr. Norge on the Raging Bullets podcast and breaking these down into parts. I'm thinking that there'll be three parts a month, but we'll see. For explanations of the categories, scroll up or go here.

Category A
Archie & Friends #112
Archie stories. That about sums it up. I started buying this last year when we found out that we were going to have a girl. At the time, the comic had stories featuring Archie, Josie and the Pussycats, and Katy Keene. I thought that line-up skewed toward little girls, so I bought it stockpile in preparation for the day when monthly comics disappear. However, the Josie stories disappeared and Katy hasn't has a story for a couple of months, so I can't think of a reason to keep ordering it. Even my daughter, now eight months old, acts bored when I read it to her.

Nihilist-Man and His Amazing Friends #1
I bought it because I saw E-Man on the cover in Previews. It wasn't a bad comic, just nothing special either. However, I liked it enough that I'd order it if a Nihilist-Man comic was regularly offered.

The Mice Templar #1
I just couldn't get into this and I'm really not sure why. I found the story a little difficult to follow and that difficulty wasn't precipitated by an inherently complex story. I think the problem is the art, primarily the coloring. I just had problems remembering which character was which and by the end of the comic, I didn't really care. I've seen sample uncolored pages of Mice Templar on Newsarama and the art looks much clearer than I remember the art being in the actual book. I'm wondering if the coloring muddled the art, making the characters resemble each other more than the artist intended. On the whole, I don't know if I care enough to continue ordering the title.

JSA Classified #29
I dropped JLA Classified earlier this year because I found the stories pointless; I got more out of any back-up story in a DC comic back in the 80s then I did out of the JLA book and, after some strong stories, JSA Classified is becoming just as dull. The problem, as I see it, is that JSA Classified focuses on individual members of the team, which gives the rotating writers an excuse to be WRITERS, more concerned about showing off their craft rather than delivering a story about which a reader can care. Both of these titles would be well served to have permanent writer/artist teams. The writer here, Arvid Nelson, is no worse than most of the others that preceded him presenting character development and insight with rather pointless action. At least Nelson isn't a faddish writer, substituting narrative captions for thought balloons, so that is something in his and the story's favor. The art, however, is not a style I like, the characters are heavily inked and they do not look natural, but, rather, as snapshots in a panel. Some might like that style, but not me--at least when Greg Land does it, his characters are traced with a clean line.

The Flash #231
Eh. Mark Waid writing Flash never excited me like it does the rest of fandom, but I'll admit that that is my problem. I'll always have an expectation of what I expect in a Flash comic book and focusing on human drama--or having Wally drone on about his and Linda's perfect love together--will never be as exciting to be as watching a Flash use super-speed tricks to get out of a fantastic Rouge deathtrap. There was none of that in this issue, but I'm still not excited about this comic. I ca say that I am not crazy about the kids aging so rapidly due to their exhilarated metabolisms because it just feels like a set-up for an inevitable tragedy, probably just in time for Final Crisis. However, the biggest problem with the book is Daniel Acuna's art. I want to see art, not a demonstration of digital inking. And could could someone please someone could please explain to me why it is now acceptable for artists to let colorists carry the primary art burden, I'd be appreciative. It was good news to learn that he'll be leaving the book soon. I might be able to give the book a better chance with a new artist.

Daredevil #99
I always think I'm going to drop this book, but then the story becomes semi-interesting enough to keep me going. Personally, I'm tired of the "Frank Miller-light" Daredevil that we've had for what feels to me like the last thirty years; there are other ways to write the character and I think it may be time for one of those ways to be explored. Even the art by the usually great Michael Lark is sub-par to me; in fact, I had forgotten he was even drawing the book until I checked the credits. Maybe it is time to partner Lark with a different inker so that his style isn't completely lost.

Wonder Woman #12
I'm just killing time until Gail Simone starts writing the book.

New Avengers #33 Yu & McCaig

The Irredeemable Ant-Man #11
I know I'm supposed to like this, and I do, but just not enough to care that there is one issue left before cancellation. Maybe it is just my inherent dislike of the comic's conceit, that the protagonist is just a self-serving jerk or that if you really thing about it, the situation that set this title up should never have happened because there is no way Eric O'Grady could have passed S.H.I.E.L.D.'s psychological battery.

Dynamo 5 #6
The Clockwork Girl #0
A very enjoyable all-ages comic from Sean O'Reilly, Kevin Hanna, and Grant Bond. I'm adding this one to my monthly order and moving it into Category B for reading.

Mouse Guard Winter 1152 #1

The Last Fantastic Four Story
People have been kicking Stan Lee for this book, but I think the kickers are those with no appreciation of the past. The dialog was not as bombastic as previous current-day, Lee-written comics and if there were clinkers here and there, at least the words and actions rang were true to the characters unlike, say, Reed Richards as written in Civil War.

Category B
Amelia Rules! #18
This book. This book. It is a fantastic book and I look forward to the time when my daughter can read these comics. However, I always tread picking this book up because I know that Jimmy Gownley, Amelia's writer/artist is going to somehow touch me with the story. This issue was no different, telling the story of ten-year-old Amelia's "first date," but it also told the story a child dealing with the news that her father is being deployed to Iraq. (Not Amelia's father, her parents are divorced, but the father of a friend.) Gownley doesn't have an agenda in his story, except that anything that separates families is never a good thing. However, now that I am a father, it touched me even more. I recently turned down a job in Virginia because I would have had to go without my family; I can't imagine what it must be like for people on both sides of the equation for someone to have to leave leaving is part of the job and there is no assurance that person will be coming back. Another great story by Gownley.

Simpsons Comics #133
I never would have equated Chuck Dixon with comedy writing, but he does a good job getting the flavor of the television show in his Simpsons work.

Bart Simpson #37
Ty Templeton does double duty as writer and artist, and also captures the flavor of the show. Templeton deserves more opportunities at the Big 2 on mainstream books.

The Batman Strikes #36
Marvel Adventures Hulk #2
Marvel Adventures Iron Man #1
Legion of Super-Heroes in the 31st Century #5
Marvel Adventures Iron Man #4
Teen Titans Go! #46
Marvel Adventures Fantastic Four #27
The Oz/Wonderland Chronicles #2

Fantastic Five #3
When Tom DeFalco was editor in chief at Marvel I wasn't reading too much Marvel, so I can't speak to how damaging his tenure was to the company, but I like his work with the M2 characters. At least Mary Jane is still alive somewhere (assuming she dies in "One More Day"). Credit should also be to Marvel for giving Ron Lim work as the artist. It would be so easy to give these books to unknown artists at a cheaper rate, especially because art by people with style's like Lim's doesn't seem to be in favor much anymore, so it nice that Lim still has the job.

Fantastic Four Power Pack #2
Man, I have been loving this series of mini-series. I never read Power Pack the first time around, so I can't speak to how close it is to the original series, but I like the characters here. After a return in a solo mini, each new mini has guest starred a different Marvel hero or team. Thankfully, the guest star has never overshadowed Power Pack, not even when the Hulk was the title's visitor. Here, for instance, the book opens up with Jack Power running away with Franklin Richards because neither felt they were being treated properly by their respective families. The FF appears, but it is still a Power Pack story and it is Power Pack that brings the adventure to an end. Marvel has quietly cornered the market on kid-centric comics with this title, Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane, and the Franklin Richards one-shots, but you are missing out if you are over fifteen and not reading any of those comics.

Marvel Adventures Spider-Man #30
Why do I get a feeling that this is the kind of MU Spider-Man Peter David thought he was going to get to write when he went exclusive to Marvel. At least he gets to write that Spider-Man here, and I'm glad he does, because it is pure Spider-Man, unfettered by Marvel inter-title continuity.

Fantastic Five #4

Marvel Adventures #15
Jeff Parker is an unsung writer. He works under the radar, but he does consistently good work in done-in-one stories. Bendis needs to look at Parker's work to see how an Avengers title needs to be written. No talking heads here, just action and, yes, character moments if not true character development, which is all I need because I buy into the illusion of change concept.

Justice League Unlimited #36
Dare I say that this is the best Justice League title being printed. Well, until I read McDuffie's first issue of Justice League of America, and compared to the filler that appears in JLA Classified and the emptiness of Brad Meltzer's work now in Justice League of America, I say JLU is the best. A Question-centric story, it captures the character well, even if his dialog sounded more like it should be said by Rorschach. If you read any of the news out of the Baltimore convention, you may know that Dan Didio said this title is not necessarily canceled. It will run at least until the middle of next year and cancellation isn't necessarily a certainty, even if there are no more new episodes of the show. "If sales support the number of kids books out there, we'll keep them out there" I'd like to thing I did my part in that decision.

Category C
Amazons Attack! #4
Amazons Attack! #5

Nightwing #135
Jon Bosco, I'm sorry to say, is not a substitute for the art of Jamal Igle. Add to that the news that Marv Wolfman is leaving the book and I think I'll be leaving before Marv does.

Amazons Attack! #6
People hated this mini-series from what I've read. It wasn't anything special, but, IMO, the attack of the Amazons felt kind of like an empty threat. The best thing I've read, though, was the writer, Will Pfeifer, passing the buck on the story quality, saying there was a lot of editorial interference. I'm sorry, but a mini-series like this had to have been editorially directed from conception, so "interference" should have been expected.

Big Bang Presents #6 Agents of B.A.D.G.E.
The last issue of this title for the foreseeable future. Maybe its time has come, as the stories feel more bogged in continuity than stories from the companies being homaged.

Supergirl #20
Hellboy Darkness Calls #5
Superman #666