Tuesday, April 15, 2008

DC Capsule Reviews Week 12 2008

Catching up on comics I missed during my Greek holidays. Be patient as we shift through everything -shudder-


(Sean McKeever / Nicola Scott)

Damn, that was a LOT of girl-on-girl action, even for a 'super-chick' ensemble book. Cheery teen girls, handicapped girls, angry goth girls, lapsed catholic girls, time-travelling girls from the 40s brainwashed into skin-tight lycra and a finned cap. It doesn't matter. They#re here and they're kicking, slapping and pulling each other's hair like there's no tomorrow. Plus, you know, spot-on characterisation, a slowly building plot that pulls my interest and an ever-improving Nicola Scott working wonders.



(Mark Waid / Jerry Ordway / Bob Wiacek)

What? George Perez left last issue? As much as Ordway is a great artist, the plot of this book isn't enough to keep me coming back (really, does anyone care who Megistus is? I'm tired of this relentless build-up and teasing). Perez's art was my only draw ion this title, i'll stick around fo the storyline finale next issue and then drop this book like a mob rat on the pier by midnight.

Ok, ok, this issue was actually quite sweet, with Ultraman (the evil Super-man of the reverse Earth-2) showing up at the Daily Planet causing all manners of havoc, having a tussle with Supes, and then both confronting mr Mixyezpitlik, the coherent well-mannered Earth-2 parallel of the famous imp.

Fine. It's a fun read even without Perez. I'm still dropping it next issue though!

What's up with all the alternate Supermen this year? We've got Superman, Superman Prime, Cyborg Superman, Ultraman, Bizarro and Kingdom Come Superman all running around at the same time. Eek.



(Will Pfeiffer / David & Alvaro Lopez)

'Waking up On The Wrong Side of the Universe' pt 3

Selina is still trapped in the VR perfect world, while captured in the Salvation Run planet, and this time she's kicking the collective ass (you might notice i love using the phrase 'kick ass') of the Justice League - including Superman, Green Lantern and the Flash (in a semi-believable way, no less). It's sheer fun, but it reeks of fanboy enthusiasm, reading more like over-enthusiasticfan-fiction than an actual DC mag.



(Paul Dini & Adam Beechen / Mike Norton)


The 'heroes' have taken Karate Kid's deceased and diseased carcass to Cadmus labs on 'some' Earth (I don't even care to remember at this point) and things hit Super Fast Forward as Average Joe Cadmus Lab Tech Buddy Blank narrates the 'epic' of the dreaded Morticoccus virus spreading on this Earth and mucking things up. Nope, still don't care. Even though whole worlds are ending each issue, there's no anchor to attach ourselves to the tragedy at play as all protagonists and villains remain painfully dull and feel unimportant. I really hope the rumours are true and this series doesn't in fact tie into Morrison's Final Crisis (I still have high hopes for that one).



(Bill Willingham / Mark Buckingham / Steve Leialoha)

Skullduggery part 1

The title switches gears after the previous epic storyline, with a 2-part spy thriller starring Fabletown's ultra-fashionable espionage guru: Cinderella! Draped in a series of amazing 60s-inspired outfits in black-and-white, Cindy goes Bond-in-heels on a bad of kidnappers in Tierra Del Fuego, trying to rescue the missing Pinocchio. Discussing the issue with Mark Buckingham last weekend in the Athens Comicdom Con (gloat/plug combo +20), I was amazed at the amount of forethought and design work that goes into every page layout and character design. Major brownie points to series editor Shelly Bond for her input in Cindy's outfit designs.



(Alan Burnett / Ed Benes / Sandra Hope)

Pointless Event Tie-In Alert! Made more pointless by the fact that it's not even an actual crossover, just a tease of one for no apparent purpose than to boost sales on a book that sells better than the actual event it ties into.

One step back to explain. The JLA finally sets off to visit the alien prison planet where Checkmate has exiled the world's villains (in the Salvation Run mini-series). Once there, they're under attack by what seems to be the villains, but turns out to be Kanjar-Ro. Bummer. A laughably lame plot device frees the captive heroes who then discover that the villains aren't actually on this planet at all, but have been sent somewhere else by mistake (hey it happens to the best of them, just read Planet Hulk). So, they pack up and head home. Meanwhile, Ed Benes's art is deteriorating more and more with each page, now resembling nothing of the firm goodness that was his Birds of Prey run.

By all means, don't pick up a copy.



(Sholly Fisch / Dario Brizuela)

Hey, I'll review anything! In this case, the first issue of DC's new kid comics. And I do mean 'kid comic' instead of a different tag like 'all-ages' or even 'kid-friendly'. This is so adult-unfriendly I could actually feel some brain-cells devolving as I was turning the pages. Considering the name branding and the cast (alluding to the popular cartoon from a few decades back, only featuring the Jon Stewart Green Lantern for the sake of ethnic diversity), I'd have expected this to be geared just a tad towards old nostalgics (much like Tiny Titans seems to be full of continuity geek in-jokes). I'm not sure kids today would take so kindly to being talked down this shamelessly. This is definitely a kiddie comic made for the 80s kid generation, complete with unsubtle social messages and moral-of-the-month. Couple all this with the saccharine plump character designs and pastel colours and you've got a comic I would be embarrassed to be seen reading even at the age of 5. DC please have a look at what Marvel is doing with their adventures line for some pointers.



(Joe Kelly / Scott Kolins)

Easily the surprise hit of the month! I never expected any issue of S&B to be even readable, judging from all the past attempts from some usually decent writers. I should always count on these annuals to do what the ongoing series, and make me care...
Joe Kelly simply nails it here. He gets the antithesis between the two characters. Not the obvious surface ones, he gets them on a deeper level. The dichotomy of views, of feelings, of phobias. And he also gets the inner urge that makes these two characters seek each other out. Scott Kolins is an unrecognised gem in DC and the industry in general, producing amazing art with style, and a lot of titles each month, but not managing to get a big break since leaving Flash all those years ago. Here his renditions of Superman and Batman give a nod to the classics in a way similar to what Matt Wagner accomplished in Trinity.
As for the plot, it's a recreation of an odler team-up story (although I'm hazy on the details, but we do get to see Supes adopt the (Super)Nova identity for the first time, before 52) Superman seeks out Batman's help when he loses his powers. Planets juggling, giant meteors, Robin's (super)man-crush, Batman wearing a Superman muscle-suit and the self-help suicide enabler Mr Socrates. All the Silver Age fun quirkiness tampered with well-thought characterisation. Thanks DC!


ROBIN #172 (Chuck Dixon/David Baldeon)

Robin is gearing up to being a very pleasurable read month in month out. Yay Chuck Dixon. Yay Fredie Williams moving on to other projects. Robin tracks down Violet (the Black Cat to his Spider-man is a more fitting analogy for the dynamic here than the obvious Catwoman/Batman route) inside Maxie Zeus' (think Rama Tut, only Greek) illegal casino. Bullets, togas and lots of flying dollar bills! Plus: Spoiler returns! (oops, spoiler alert :) ). And is it just me, or are all the bat-boys sporting air-gliders this month?


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