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.