Friday, July 06, 2007

Comics Out July 5, 2007

[Sorry: this is being posted 55 minutes later than I would have liked. Usually I keep on top of this.]

Geoff Johns, Richard Donner and Adam Kubert's Action Comics 851
. You know I actually liked the 3-D glasses, I thought they were really fun. I was surprised at my own enjoyment. I would have liked to see Morrison do this for All Star -- it would have been right in the spirit of things. In Action Comics a nice decision was made to keep the 3-D effects for the phantom zone, which makes a lot of sense, since the phantom zone is a floating 2-D plane. Also it makes sense for the colors to be off in the phantom zone; the colors have to be off if you are looking at something through red and green glasses. But the story here is not good. Many publishing months went by since the cliffhanger of last issue. Superman sent into the phantom zone seemed like a big deal. It did not take him a heck of a long time, or too much trouble, to get out. I guess it is because they did not want to do too much 3-D stuff, but if you want to have a gimmick, do not let it ruin your story.

Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting's Captain America #25 The Director's Cut. I did not get this issue when it first came out, because I felt burned by Civil War. Also I read Sleeper, and X-Men: Deadly Genesis and felt that while they were serviceable stories, they lacked a spark necessary for me to follow a writer. With the hype, Brubaker's connection to the flawless Iron Fist, and the fact everyone keeps telling me how great he is, I picked this up. My judgement remains the same. Brubaker seems solid -- he knows how to tell a story -- but I feel a little cold. I don't hate him, I just fail to see what all the excitement is about. His work seems to me to be like Law and Order -- always watchable, but never rising to the genius of Lost, or West Wing, or something like it. Could also just be my mood, and I can try again later.

Jeph Loeb and John Cassaday's Fallen Son: The Death of Captain America: Iron Man. Like the other Fallen Son books I got this only for the art. I have not read it yet, but I think the Thing looks unintentionally silly in a suit and tie. Otherwise, at first glance, it seems to be what I wanted.

Joss Whedon and Michael Ryan's Runaways #27. Joss Whedon does what Joss Whedon does, and he is great at it, if you like that kind of thing. Jokes are sharp, dialogue is crisp, plotting is solid as a rock. And you need great plotting for a time travel story. An example of Whedon 's smarts: You know when they try to blend in to the 19 th century, they will break out soon, and Whedon knows you know this, so they blow their cover one page after they establish it. People declaim his smart stuff as pretentious -- and I can see what they mean though I think he sells it -- but this is a great unpretentious example of why he is great. The art on this book, however, is dowdy. A particular example: Karolina says "We also can't hide in an alley and do nothing" and Xavin replies "You're not even pretending to contain your excitement." Go back and look at Karolina's face when she speaks -- try to imagine that is the face of an excited person. I dare you.

Grant Morrison, Frank Quitely and Jamie Grant's All Star Superman #8. The last issue was not my favorite, in part because I find the Bizarros a little more annoying that I am supposed to. The first half of this issue left me a little bored for the same reason. Also: Morrison does a very stilted "I already explained..." followed by "And I already explained..."; this kind of clunky exposition drives me nuts. Morrison may be doing it to honor his aim to make these like old comics, as self contained as can be, but I still think it is annoying. But by the end of this issue I was back to remembering why I love this book so much. Zibarro's face when he says "There only seems to be room for one on your rocket ship" has that indefinable something that makes me look at it again and again. The issue closes with a wonderful apotheosis of this mad planet, the danger and horror Superman is in, a great Bizarro version of The Star Spangled Banner, and several perfect ending beats.

Also 52 the novelization came out today. I obviously did not get it, but I burn with a single question. Who, you know, on earth, is the target audience of this book? Are there people out there going "I wish there was a way to read 52 again, but with someone describing the panels rather than me having to look at them"? It boggles the mind.

Plus in comics news, one amazing super-exciting thing: Samurai Jack will continue as a movie. Words cannot express. Though it is sad that the voice of Aku died.

Review, recommend, and discuss this week's comics and comics news.


Geoff Klock said...

Also, on the bizarro planet, the statue of liberty has nun-chucks instead of a torch. Awesome.

Streebo said...

I didn't make the trip out to the LCS this week, yet. All Star Superman is my favorite book - but when one lives 60 miles from the shop - sometimes one has to wait a week.

Samurai Jack as a movie? That is the best news ever!!! I'm still looking forward to the Season 4 DVD set coming in August (?) I believe. After Mako died, I thought they should get James Hong to take over the voice duties of Aku. They could set up Aku's transformation during an episode - or the beginning of a movie - that would explain the different sound of his voice. It will be hard to find anyone that could properly emulate Mako - so I think going in a different direction is the only way to go.

Geoff - I started following Brubaker's Cap after reading his Iron Fist. The last issue has the Winter Soldier going after Cap's shield. I agree with your assessment of Brubaker's style - but I am enjoying the current storyline much more than I thought I would.

Mitch said...

In All-Star Superman- I was a little put off by this issue too, but the scene between Quintin and Lois is great on a few levels: Lois learns he is dying and we kinda learn what/who Superman's final battle will be against. It's fitting the story starts and ends with the Sun.

Madd_Hadder said...

I picked up all Star Superman 1-8 but have only read the first 3 so far.

Not being much of a Superman fan I have to admit I am loving this thing so far.

Anonymous said...

Hey - really like the blog, and just thought I'd mention that well I haven't read a lot of Bribaker's output, if you want to see a gritty noir comic, Brubaker's Criminal is note perfect.

Brian G said...

I agree with pretty much all of your reviews here. Despite it's story flawes I thought the 3-D Action Comics was an insanely fun Superman comic, I was also very pleased with the final double page spread. I don't know if you've read any of Brubaker's run on Cap before #25, if not you should definitely check it out it's exceptional. Other Brubaker recomendations include his first arc on Daredevil, his creator owned Criminal, and Gotham Central (one of my favorite series ever)which he writes with the amazing Greg Rucka. I feel that these titles will show you what all the fuss is about. I would also like to say that I totally dig Iron Fist
and this Blog.

Chuck said...

I agree that Brubaker's writing is cold at times. I find it hard to care for many of his characters, and without that emotional investment, it leaves me liking the story but not loving it.

Geoff Klock said...

Anon and Brian: thanks for posting. Keep it up. We need vocal people.

Brian: if you want me to read Brubaker you are going to have to tell me that Deadly Genesis and Cap 25 and Sleeper are poor representations of him.

Chuck: I am glad I am not crazy.

Marc Caputo said...

I've got to say, I'm a BIG Brubaker fan from waaaaaaaaaay back in the early 90s, with his indie stuff. Even then, I thought he nailed characterization better than his peers. Now, he's just exploded all over the place, but he's lost none of his power. Geoff, if I may, I think you read Cap 25 isolated with only (by your admission) bad reactions to "Civil War". For those of us who'd followed the series from 1, it had a great deal of power and good characterizaion.

His X-Men stuff, I admit, isn't his best - but I like it (not a big X-fan - I only read it for writers I like - Morrison, Whedon, etc.) But his Daredevil is amazing - he wriggled himself out of the corner Bendis had written the book into and has shown that you can write a Daredevil book that doesn't have to live in the shadow of Miller. I highly recommend these books. With Bendis and Brubaker writing a lion's share of Marvel's books, they are the company to beat right now.

Brian G said...

Geoff: I will completely stand by the fact that Cap 25, Sleeper, and Deadly Genesis don't represent Brubaker at his best. I don't love everything that Brubaker has written, his Uncanny X-Men run really disappointed me as did his run on the Authority. I've only read the first issue of Deadly Genesis but I didn't care for that too much either, it also wasn't my favorite Trevor Hairsine. Cap 25 was obviously written as a jumping on point for new readers and because of this its really bogged down in exposition and doesn't reflect the really amazing stuff that Brubaker has done with Bucky, Cap, and Sam Wilson throughout his run. I know you dig Iron Fist and although I attribute much of the sweetness of that book to Fraction's scripts (the palm of forty sorrows blew my mind!), Aja's pencils (the Davos scene in issue #4), and Hollingsworth's colors, Brubaker obviously plays a large role in making that book, in my opinion, Marvel's best comic right now. You'd really really be missing out if you did't check out some of Brubaker's other stuff (Daredevil, Gotham Central, Criminal, Captain America) cause I think it definitely lives up to the hype. On the other hand he just might not be your kind of writer.

Kicksplosions are for lovers said...

Brubaker is a noir writer, and is better when he gets to those sensibilities. While I can't speak for Sleeper, Captain America was better as it's own beast and follows a story that had minimal (if at all to do) with Civil War until the concurrent arc. That said, Winter Soldier is looking to do a fine take on a noir hero. A man with a past in world he neither knows, nor wants a part of. To see the once Bucky stand up and say, "I'm going to kill Tony Stark," got me a tad excited.

I'm not as much of a fan of Daredevil now, but it was admirable the way that Brubaker ran with Bendis's run and what he did (minor spoilers) with Foggy Nelson.

Criminal is Brubaker's best, and I love it. But it is playing in a playground full of dusty old noir tropes. But I still read superhero comics, so whatever.

troy wilson said...

The general consensus seems to be that Deadly Genesis wasn't Brubaker's finest hour, and I heartily concur. It was a convoluted stinker - ugh. Can't comment on Captain America 25, but I've read and greatly enjoyed his earlier Cap material in trades. I dug Sleeper too, and actually thought he made decent use of Tao (except, unfortunately, for an all-too-key moment late in the run where Tao kinda thinks with his dick - I can totally understand why that moment alone could shatter the enjoyment of some readers, but I was enjoying myself enough to forgive it).

Haven't read Criminal, though I have heard it described as containing everything people liked about Sleeper without the capes and powers. Have only read one issue of his Daredevil later in the run, so I can't comment on it intelligently.

If I were a betting man, Geoff, I'd bet that, on the whole, Brubaker just isn't going to be your cup of tea. But who knows, I've been wrong before...

Jumaan said...

I'd just like to comment on the Statue of Liberty in All Star Whatever #8:

Instead of a torch, it's a morning star.