Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Comics Out April 4, 2007

A nice day for comics, especially if you are a Joss Whedon fan:

Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction, and David Aja's The Immortal Iron Fist #4:

Aja is great -- even simple stuff, like a layout that has a two-by-four grid of panels over a larger image just shines. Aja is amazing -- this guy is rapidly becoming a favorite, and anyone who wants to recommend something he has done before would be welcome. His bodies just have the natural weight and grace you see in live action kung-fu movies. One of the best fits with a book I have ever seen. With this issue Fraction -- and with Five Fists of Science I am sure it is Fraction -- gets to add in some of that amazing 19th century science stuff that he loves, to great effect. Pneumatic subway systems: how can you not love them? Plus "Lightning of God" is a nice touch -- what a great idea and a great set-up for making it work.

Brad Meltzer and Ed Benes's Justice League of America #7:

The epilogue for Meltzer's first arc is cheesy, but after a great six issue story I am almost willing to call his sentimentality lovable. Almost. The league elects people with a card that says "The Justice League of America [in the font] hereby elects BATMAN [his name written in like a High School diploma], with all privileges and gratuities including" blah blah blah "possession of the golden key which permits entry..." blah blah blah "n special commendation for expert assistance in the case we have entitled in our scrolls THE TORNADO'S PATH". ?!?! SCROLLS?!?! is this a D&D club? Scheesh.
Lots of DC history drawn on here, Green Arrow's sidekick, some girl named Terra who died. I won't spoil the new HQ design, but it is exactly as sweet as it is cheesy and nostalgic. If you have been around me for a while you know I don't go for nostalgic. Metzler claims, in the issue, to be drawing on history, but look at the images -- it is a museum everywhere you turn. That's not drawing on history to build the future (as Morrison did in his JLA) -- it's building cold vacuum sealed monuments to nostalgia.
But the pacing, structure, and scene transitions are great and I will be staying with the book till the end. I just don't think that the JLA needs these X-Men style no-action epilogues -- after every big X-Men plot there would be an issue where everyone just plays football or something. That works because it is a school and they are a family. I don't think the JLA should be such goofy "I love you man" buddies. But that could just be me.

Joss Whedon and Michael Ryan's Runaways #25:

I am not in love with the art -- I wish whats-his-name could have stayed on -- but the story was pretty good, the jokes are good, and Whedon does bang-on characterization in just a moment. It is something he is very good at. The scene with Nico and Karolina was strong, for example. And Whedon can do an ending beat like no man's business. As for the end of Vaughn's run, where the kids get captured by Iron Man, it seems like either Whedon is ignoring that, or it will turn out that they have been forced into working with Iron Man to catch bad guys -- there is evidence in the issue for either one, though the second seems more likely.

Joss Whedon and Georges Jeanty's Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight #2:

I liked this issue quite a bit more than the last one. Sure it is a geek-fest, but it is a fun geek fest and I am a sucker for stuff such as Xander getting water on his Nick Fury outfit and pointing out that he only has two of them. A nice fake-out between Xander and Buffy is not just for no reason -- it leads into what is needed to get Buffy back. That's the Joss Whedon touch: even the fake-outs are more than just jokes. But one bad art moment -- don't have the two night guards not notice a horde of zombies until dozens of them have almost clawed up to the top of the wall.


Mitch said...

As far as Justice League goes.. I was fine with all the nostalgia, but I was really put off by the mystifying page sequence with the fold out... I felt like the pages surrounding it were out of order, or I was missing something.. the transition captions didn't even remotely line up... anybody else get that?

Runaways was great... the very first issue I've read so far of the series and I don't see any reason to read the others. So there.

In the spirit of supporting the home team, I bought some of "The Initiative" titles- Avengers: The Initiative and Omega Flight. A:TI is fine... Dan Slott is a good writer, but this isn't his best. The concept of training rogue wannabe heroes is fun, but we'll see. OF was so/so. I was enticed by several characters on the cover- USAgent, the other Spider-Woman and Beta Ray Bill, but none of them actually appeared in it.

Finally, this was a big payoff issue for "52" that the cover gives it away. This series has been up and down for me, but this new character is one that I like and makes for a cool visual. Hopefully there will be good follow through.

In non-comics news, tonights Lost inspired a crackpot theory in me and I'll share when TV Week comes along.

Also, do yourself a favor and check out this video on You Tube-

It's Alanis Morrisette covering Fergie's "My Humps" and it's brilliant. I always knew I loved Alanis, and now I know why.

Geoff Klock said...

Mitch: I noticed that as well -- it is confusing at first but I also think it is intentional -- these are the sudden shifts he wants just before the clarity of the picture. It is strange, but I liked it.

Oh, I look forward to your lost theory. I love lost theories.

That video is FUNNY.

Mitch said...

Also, Grant Morrison was on Fanboy Radio this week- he specifically mentions "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow" and says it's brilliantly structured, but doesn't think Superman should ever cry.

Matt Brady said...

I enjoyed Runaways, and I can see Mitch's point about not needing to have read previous issues; Whedon does a good job introducing the team and the concept right at the beginning, so if you're coming on to the book because he's writing, you should be fine.

As for Geoff's question about the team being captured by Iron Man, I suspect they escaped from him. When one of the characters said "What should we do?", Chase said (IIRC) "Well, we're not going to walk", meaning that they would live up to the title and run away. We might get a flashback detailing how they escaped, or it could just be implied. Or, I could be wrong, and Geoff's theory that they are secretly working for Iron Man might be correct.

Marc Caputo said...

Actually, there was a printing error with the JLA this issue. The two Hal and Ollie pages should go together after the fold-out. It seemed that it was a mistake and then I doped it out - Meltzer confirmed it later on.

James said...

I shouldn't plow through my comics when I'm dead-tired, but I did, and here's what I thought!

Buffy #2, Runaways #25: I was surprised by how much I enjoyed both of these. I thought I'd end up dropping at least one this week, but Buffy was a vast improvement on issue 1, and Runaways was a great first issue. The art on Runaways is nearly distracting, but it's not awful. It seems as though the pencils are fine, but something is off about the inking or the colouring. Everything is too heavily outlined, and it doesn't match the style.

Justice League of America #7: I had dropped this a while back, but jumped back on recently because it kept getting praise here, and because the JLA is one of my favourite comic book concepts. After reading Geoff's comments, I was ready for a schmaltzy time, but was still surprised at just how heavily they laid on the syrup. ("How do I look?" "Grown up.") And the new HQ is literally a museum now? Not sure about that. Not a bad comic, but I think I agree Geoff, that the Justice League do not need these "hang-out" issues.

Batman #664: A lot more enjoyable than Batman & Son, but not exactly world-shaking. Hopefully Morrison is building to something interesting. More Zur En Arrh graffiti.

Fallen Son: Wolverine: I'm glad I got this for Leinil Yu's art, because Loeb's script is pretty bad. I've been a fan of Yu's since he first drew Wolverine, but I'm not sure I like the effect of his raw pencils being coloured (seen here and in New Avengers). Hopefully they'll be tighter once he has less on his plate.

The Iredeemable/Mighty Ant-Man #7: Fun.

Immortal Iron Fist #4: The best issue yet, I think. I loved the interplay between Danny and Orson; it was snappy without ever resorting to cliche.

I also got Dark Tower #3, but haven't read it yet. I'm enjoying this series; King's got an interesting mythos (maybe not 9-novels-interesting - I'll stick to the comic), and Jae Lee's art is gorgeous.