Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Comics Out November 7, 2007.

Since the comics out posts are always first impressions, I am going to write them a little faster and use more question marks. Because I am not always sure how I feel about it -- which is why I put my impressions here and wait for the comments. Please comment, even if this post is a few days old.

Hellboy 6. This issue's colors are dominated by red, yellow and blue -- especially in the first two pages 3, 4, and 5. Since those pages are about a hero who cannot die fighting a villain who cannot die, I cannot but think of Superman. Probably an accident, but I have a doctorate in making anything about of anything. You will remember -- and if you do not the post is in the Best of the Blog links -- that I have already discussed Hellboy's relationship to superhero comics. Fegredo's image of Hellboy, with the horns and mannered crown, leading an army, makes me fell like Fegredo has really come home. He points to big things, and I believe him. I cannot believe a book so linked to Mignola's art could survive with another artist, but boy howdy.

Buffy 8. The third part of Vaughan's story is actually not as bad as the last two, though that is not much of a compliment. The art continues to be bad, but in a slightly different way here. Parts seem...thin? Could just be my old pet peeve about removing backgrounds -- this issue is horrible about it. And the bathtub scene -- is that really all you want to do with that? Not a line of dialog about subtext or something. I feel like part of Whedon's world -- part of the modern media saturated world -- is that we perpetually comment on everything. The lack of comment seems, maybe, unrealistic? With one more issue in this arc to go before Whedon returns, I think the crummy-awesome ratio may be 1:1 next month.

The Order. Kitson again SHINES at panel after panel of the same face in slight but hypnotic variations. This small thing is quickly becoming my favorite part of this book, which is weird. You FALL IN LOVE with the character. It is a SERIOUS EMOTIONAL APPEAL that just knocks me out, every time, like a smitten little kid.

Iron Fist. I have to admit to being a little upset that Dog Brother #1 -- I cannot believe the awesomeness of that name -- got beat off screen by a character who seems less inspired, but the book is not over, and I appreciate that Fraction and Brubaker have a story to tell. Maybe he will be back. Aja Rules! Next comic!

Astonishing X-Men 23. I will save my big thoughts on this for the issue by issue posts I am in the middle of. No, I wont. All this Kitty Pryde focus -- her "nothing has changed" -- has been smoke and mirrors for what Whedon is really up to. Cyclops. Whedon has done for Cyclops what Frank Miller did for Batman. Definitive. Morrison set the stage, but was never even close to this. And is it a coincidence that the last page alludes to the last page of issue 10 -- except Morrison's bald surrogate has been replaced by the hero in Whedon's run most emblematic of Whedon's transumptive triumph over New X-Men? BAM!

Speaking of over-reading -- something I probably did twice in this post -- I have said this before but now I want to make it official. I have been arguing in comics out posts that covered Morrison's Batman, All Star Superman and Miller's All Star Batman that Morrison has been trying to trump Miller by going back to a pre-Miller time of fake Batman cops (as Mitch pointed out, an 80s plot that took place in the issues immediately before Year One) and Neal Adams love god stuff. How did Miller respond to this implied threat? He got the ACTUAL NEAL ADAMS. The Adams works for Miller story is on Newsarama.

Also, not really comics news but sort of -- word from the front is that this writer's strike could leave us with an 8 episode season 4 for LOST. Nutz.

EDIT: NEW THING! AGAIN! I have now included labels for all comics discussed in ALL 76 Comics Out posts. That means if you are reading this post for the review of Buffy #8, you can click the Buffy label and all the past "comics out" posts in which I reviewed Buffy 7, 6, 5, 4, and so on will be right there.


Thacher said...

Wheedon absolute Miller-izes Cyclops. I hate that phrase, but it's exactly what he did, and I wish this issue had been on time so this transformation of Cyclops would be complete to set the stage for the Cyclops/Xavier power dynamic that seems to be a sub-plot of Messiah Complex. Of course, there's no demarcation of when Astonishing happens, but I can only assume that it's pre-MC and its buildup (which would be a couple of months ago, our time)

I'm also hoping that this means that we'll have a Cyclops that's complete in control of his powers. Granted, that would mean that he's been running around with the "just visor" over his eyes for the past few months for no good reason, but still, it's the one thing that they can do to show a dramatic psychological change in the character visually, and it's something that hasn't been done with him before.

Are you reading Criminal? It's really amazing, one of my favorite books right now.

Personally, I take great delight that in my store we ordered, and will sell, more copies of Buffy than we will the Messiah Complex Uncanny issue. To me, that feels right, like the industry is healthier with something like Buffy, that has such a wide appeal, to a mass audience, than a flash in the pan yet another super-hero crossover event book. Buffy, Criminal, Y the Last Man. Things like that build a healthy industry and show the real breadth and scope of comic storytelling. Would I like to see super-hero comics get to that level? The good ones, like the Order and Iron Fist, absolutely. Things like Countdown and One More Day? No thank you. I think superheroes can be selling better to a mass audience, or even to a genre audience, and with better material than Civil War or the Death of Captain America.

Marc Caputo said...

Thacher: you like Criminal and Iron Fist (and justifiably so) but not Brubaker's Captain America? I agree that Civil War was poorly handled, both politically and narratively, but I would argue that Brubaker's Captain America sits very comfortably with the best monthlies that the Big 4 are putting out as well as Brubaker's own work. He's definitely found a new career high for himself as well as the ability to keep feet in both worlds (mainstream and independent.) All of his books are high-quality, but I want to make a point about his Daredevil which seems appropriate on this blog, given Geoff's book's conceit - Brubaker seems to be the one who will make Daredevil something its never been - an absolutely rock-solid monthly that doesn't aspire to revise/revisit Miller. All Daredevil books fall into one of these categories: Miller, not Miller, reviewing Miller. After Brubaker untied the knot that Brian Michael Gordian gave him (which was masterfully done, to say the least) he seems content to let Daredevil be his "quiet" book. That's why I love him and Johns so much - they've got many facets as writers (but they're not infallible, please let me say that) and they've got a variety of books to indulge each one.

Now, Morrison and Whedon, who I would say are on the same level, unfortunately don't get that luxury - everything they write gets looked at as if it's a MAJOR COMICS EVENT. (Of course, Whedon doesn't help that, what with the glacial shipping of his books.) Morrison's Batman is getting a lot of lumps in the comic world that I don't think he'd be getting if it weren't him handing in those scripts.

James said...

I love Astonishing X-Men #23 so much I am [i]unable to write a comment about it[/i].

Thacher said...

I guess that came out wrong, because I do really, really love Brubaker's Captain America, and has been the only run of the character that I've really enjoyed. This is what happens when I write comments too late at night. I think I was just struggling with a big comic-related news story that got a lot of play, and those two just popped into my head. Civil War deserves the criticism, both in its content and lateness, but Cap's death doesn't.

I just I just hope for a mainstream surge that isn't about a famous super-hero dying, or changing costume. I know from retail experience that just because someone like Buffy and Wheedon, they aren't going to read X-Men because of it, but it'd still be nice.

Geoff Klock said...

Thacher wrote: "Now, Morrison and Whedon, who I would say are on the same level, unfortunately don't get that luxury - everything they write gets looked at as if it's a MAJOR COMICS EVENT. (Of course, Whedon doesn't help that, what with the glacial shipping of his books.) Morrison's Batman is getting a lot of lumps in the comic world that I don't think he'd be getting if it weren't him handing in those scripts."

I think it is fair to judge them by the past books they themselves created. Especially since, if we judge them by the industry as a whole, it will be very hard for them to do any wrong, ever, and that just does not seem right.

Marc Caputo said...

That was me, not Thacher, Geoff.

I see your point, but I speaking more to the point that I feel things are PRE-judged based on their creators.
Morrison's Batman was the first mainstream thing he'd done since X-Men. Now, I read those in trade (except for the last arc) and I think, almost always, reading in tpb form makes things better to some degree. His Batman is the first thing that has a mass appeal that he's done while I've been on the 'net and I see a lot of people coming down on it that don't really a) know and understand Morrison and b) are interested in anything other than the same old Batman. I think as we watch Morrison on this book, we'll see what he's after. I, myself, have re-assessed the first arc after these last few issues.

Anonymous said...

It's not entirely surprising that Miller would've gotten Adams to do a cover if only because, even before All Star Batman's first issue was even out, there'd been rumors that Adams would be doing an arc after Jim Lee's run finished.

Oh, and BTW you were wondering what that "Grant Morrison vs Neal Adams" thing was on WIZARD. Well it was basically like the previous issue WIZARD had where they proclaimed "Kevin Smith vs Brian Michael Bendis!" but was actually an interview conducted between the two.

Here's the link to the article:

So yeah, basically Grant Morrison and Neal Adams in a discussion with Morrison praising Adams' stuff a lot.