Friday, June 27, 2008

DC Capsule Reviews Week 22 2008

Keeping up pace and schedule, here are the reviews from a 'quiet' week in DC (well, you know, apart from the debut of Final Crisis and Zur-En-Arrh!)

Am I really a month behind? Look for even more frequent (do I hear daily? oh yes) updates as I feverishly catch up to the present.


(Grant Morrison / Tony Daniel / Sandu Florea)


Everyone seems so obsessed with the reveals this issue and this phrase in particular. I see it simply as Morrison throwing a bat-load of red herrings our way (Thomas Wayne alive? Alfred an undercover actor all along? Batman a schizoid personality a la Sentry/Manhunter/etc?) which all are terribly status quo-shattering to lead to anything.

Morrison has a sordid past with his last long-term project, New X-Men for planting false turns and taking advantage of the entire length of his run to develop and reveal his hidden truths, secret identities and amazing twists. Myself, I'm betting the farm on charming Jezebel Jet as the 'Black Glove' of mystery. All it takes is to read between the lines of her dialogue to discover how cleverly she's coercing Wayne into madness. Impressed or not, things have really started getting interesting!



(Bill Willingham / Mark Buckingham / Steve Leialoha, Mark Buckingham & Andrew Pepoy)

'War & Pieces' part 1. The exiled Fables finally wage war against the Adversary to reclaim their lost lands!

Willingham has never been shy about stirring up the status quo of this title, becoming more and more like the Vertigo take on a soap-opera. Boy Blue acts as our POV and a living breathing plot frmaing device, as he teleports between the different fronts of the war, oozing exposition. It doesn't make for a thoroughly enjoyable issue, as the reader feels the weight of the information, war tactics and 'what-they-have-been-up-to' push heavily against an actually fun reading experience. With all the set-up taken care off I can't wait for things to turn sour next issue!



(Grant Morrison / J.G. Jones)

I'll choose not to comment in depth on this issue yet.

It's taken a lot of heat, yet seen in the context of Morrison's statements, it's no fault of the book itself if Countdown and Death of the New Gods ruined any sort of impact things like the Death of Orion or the look inside the Monitors' domain would have.

Morrison wrote a self-contained event, coordinating with Geoff Johns to branch it out into a specific contained number of spin-offs. DiDio came in and milked it for every cash drop a whole year before the first issue came out, killing all the buzz and almost ruining the reading experience. I still have faith this book will outshine Secret Invasion, I hope it doesn't make a fool out of me...



(Geoff Johns / Ivan Reis / Oclair Albert)

'Secret Origins' part 3. The usual excellness (is that a word? I deem it one anyway!!

Hal Jordan makes his way to Oa for the very first time, we're introduced to the major Corps members, get ring-training 101 and move one step closer to Jordan's first meeting with Sinestro.

Johns retells Jordan's origin in awe-inspiring manner, while Ivan Reis shines through with every amazing spread they trust him with. For a rookie Green Lantern fan like myself this is an incredible ride and a rare treat!



(Ivory Madison / Cliff Richards / Art Thibert)

Helena Bertinelli moves in with her uncle's family after last issue's events, where she comes face to face with the power of the mafia as she is unable to punish a child molester visiting the household, even as she is falling in love with his son.

Oh, yeah, and she gets slapped around... a whole lot! With a childhood like this, no wonder the girl joined the Bat-family...

Not as biting as the previous issue but holding to an average standard.



(Jim Shooter / Francis Manapul / Livesay)

'Enemy Rising' part 3. All-action issue with the Legion kids battling against attack-adapting alien fauna.

The way to beat them? Keep finding new unpredictable ways to use your powers to attack. Shooter is having loads of fun playing around with his darlings and it shows. It's an enjoyable explosion-fest, although Shooter's problems with plot structure and pacing become more and more glaring with each issue.

In other news, the new costumes are in, replacing Kitson's elegant designs for a retread of the old and tried. Not impressed.



(Mike Costa / Fiona Staples)

Jack gets laid, ponders his origins, does more wacky jaw-dropping stuff with his 'talks to cities' powers and chases a guy around San Fransisco straight into a Collossal robot...

There's so many threads running around I've lost track, as the murder mystery suddenly takes a backseat to Hawksmoor's creators coming back for -- don't understand exactly.

It's a fun issue but nowhere near as amazing as the first two.



(Sean McKeever / Eddy Barrows / Ruy Jose)

'Dark Side Club' tie-in. The Clock King has taken three of the Titans out of the game, selling two to Dark Side's super-hero dogfight arena. Now he makes his play against the three remaining Titans: Robin, Wonder Girl and Blue Beetle. I'm impressed with how effortlessly

McKeever has managed to weave the Final Crisis tie-in plot threads into his plans for the book and make it feel like an organic part of the storyline (the same as we witnessed in Birds of Prey).

Eddy Barrows is improving with each issue, gradually refining his lines and adding specific details. Very reminiscent of Bryan Hitch's progress in some regards. You never know...



(Will Pfeiffer / David Baldeon / Steve Bird)

A fill-in writer, a fill-in artist, a fill-in inker... Still an enjoyable done-in-one, with an offbeat adventure very reminiscent in tone of Buffy's 1st season.


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