Friday, December 07, 2007

Comics Out December 5, 2007

Buffy. This, the fourth and final part of Vaughan's arc, is better than the last three, but still not what I would call good. Buffy writers, on the commentaries to the episodes, all say that when someone compliments some scene, it is a scene Joss has written. I have a hunch the stuff I like here -- the ending, the darker Giles -- is Whedon's work, while the stuff I do not like -- the dialog, the death of that girl and that guy who was working with her, is Vaughan. Just a hunch. That force field thing is from a Fantastic Four issue, maybe Ellis, maybe Miller, maybe some earlier writer. The art continues to be dowdy. And you want to see some lazy art, check out Faith's little devil tee-shirt. Bad enough the "symbolism" (if you can call it that) has to be so painfully obvious, but worse -- the devil icon has been lifted by the artist and placed on her shirt REGARDLESS OF THE SHAPE OF HER BODY. It does not curve where she curves. Don't do that, Just do not do that. Sheesh. Though it is not happening at an Aaron Sorkin Studio 60 rate, Whedon is burning through my goodwill here.

The Order.
Kitson, who I like more and more every issue, just does the layouts here. That was not always true right? And is that the new status quo? The art in this issue is good, but some charm might have gotten lost in the translation, maybe. (I say "maybe" a lot on comics out posts, because these are first impressions).

Ultimates 3. I almost was going to like the art here -- I liked Madureura on the X-Men ten years ago -- but the monotone color palate drains it of any energy. Bachalo often uses a monotone color palate, but I like it there. I am not 100% sure what the difference is, but there is a big one because I love Bachalo and Ultimates got me really frustrated. Is it that Bachalo knows the right moment when to make an icon pop off the page? Cause check out the Loeb's introduction of Captain America. You don't remember how Captain America was introduced in Ultiamtes 3 #1? No one does -- that was how unbelievably dull it was. This was the worst introduction of a main character I can think of since Superman Returns. This thing reads like a 90s Youngblood issue, complete with poster-ready splash pages of anatomically bizarre women (the placement of her nipples is just absurd), AND the cliched intro of your team in a big splash ready fight with a monster in the opening sequence so you can introduce all your heroes. If that was not bad enough check out this horrible exposition:

"It's like Clint Barton died with his family and the only one left is Hawkeye, Tony's locked himself into his bedroom drinking his way into oblivion, Thor is shacked up with a nineteen year old girl who turned up here six weeks ago with the powers of a "goddess" and no real explanation for it, I still can't get security clearance for the Panther, except that Cap vouches for him and ... [Dr. Pim overdoses]."

She might as well be on the very first page, speaking the "previously on the Ultimates" recap. I am not asking for the Wire or anything (that show just drops you in and wonderfully assumes you will be smart enough to figure everything out), but at least watch some of Whedon's better work and see how you do exposition. I am never getting this again.

In comics news this week, One More Day continues to do what everyone sadly expects it to do.

Review, recommend and discuss the comics you got this week. Click the labels to read my first impressions of earlier issues of the titles discussed here.


Mitch said...

Right there with you on Ultimates, Geoff. Such a shame, because - say what you will about the last story arc - but Millar and Hitch really worked some magic with this title. It's like Loeb aping (and GOD do I mean "aping") the more adult parts (sex, drugs, etc.) of Millar and Hitch's run with none of the subtlety. For instance, while Tony Stark was a functionally alcoholic lothario in Millar's run, Loeb can only muster the dexterity to exposition to us that he's "drinking his way to oblivion" and show us a sex tape of him on a big screen. Again, in Millar's run creepy siblings Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch are aloof and weirldy dependant on each other. Well, this uncategorized complexity must be too much for Loeb to bear, because he spells their incestuous relationship right out. In fact he spends nearly a whole page (1/22 of the story) explaining just how much they love each other. Even though this book be available for me to read for free every month, I still won't.

I also read some other stuff... none of it good.

Oh! I LOVED the Black Dossier. And Geoff, I hope you eventually give it a try. Regardless of whether Moore is your apetite these days, he certainly handles exposition much better.

scott91777 said...

I wasn't overtly impressed by Ultimates 3 either, I like Mad's art but, like you said, the overall picture seemed dull. Another problem is that Wasp is supposed to be ASIAN in this series.

I also not sure I liked the relationship with Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch being overtly stated... I liked it much better when it was all innuendo... I think Garth Ennis could pull it off though.

Christian said...

Without having read the Ultimates 3, Ill wager a guess that the following occures: Characters acting completely out of place and like simplistic version of themselves, a drawn out "conflict" that someone with the logic of a three year old could solve, retarded internal monologue that somehow cleverly mirrors what the character is doing, or rather the complete opposite and a hamfisted, ill-fiting allegory to the death of his son.

I don't normally want to talk negatively about a creator's personal life, but Loeb needs to stop using commercial comics has his therapy tool, much like Winnick needs to stop inflicting every second character with AIDS.

I think Loeb is an awful writer, who hasn't done anything good since, and previous to, The Long Halloween and even that felt a little drawn out.

Voice Of The Eagle said...

I liked "No Future for You" a little more than than you did (mostly I liked all the interactions between the Scoobs). I think Vaughan's problem here (and his main problem elsewhere) is that he's trying way to hard to sound like Whedon. What's fun and charming for one writer merely becomes annoying for another, particulary on the heels of that writer firing with both barrels.

I'm just so happy to have Buffy back and with the Heroic Rapist nowhere in sight(For the record, I do not hate Spike, I hate Spuffy with the fury of a thousand suns). So my goodwill is not yet spent.

Timothy Callahan said...

Ultimates 3 was a disaster. I don't mind the monotone colors, necessarily, but the digital painting of the colors makes Mad's art looked washed out and the overall effect is 80s side-of-the-pimp-van airbrushing. Terrible, terrible looking.

And, yeah, not only has Wasp changed her ethnicity, but isn't Thor's hammer completely different looking in the Ultimate U? Here, it looks like the 616 hammer--note: I think this may be the first time I've referred to the regular Marvel U as 616. But I'm joining the cool kids.

Not that the Ultimates have ever been subtle, but the whole extended emphasis on Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch's relationship was a bit too blatant. I'll paraphrase here: First, they are clearly shown being very physically close in every panel, then people talk about them like this: "Pietro and Wanda are really close" "They are brother and sister and they are in love" "With eachother" "And they have sex" "With eachother" "A lot" "It's called incest" "And they do it, with eachother" "Are you paying attention readers?" "Sex--with eachother" "Got it?" And so on...

Troy Wilson said...

"I think Loeb is an awful writer, who hasn't done anything good since, and previous to, The Long Halloween and even that felt a little drawn out."

Loeb and Sale's Challengers of the Unknown mini was decent too - though I admit that I haven't read it for a long time.

Marc Caputo said...

I think maybe we have to read the pages out of order for the book to make sense.

pg. 4

Wasp: You're going to get yourself killed.

Hawkeye: Yeah, so...?

pg. 12

Wasp: I expect you to NOT try and get killed.

Hawkeye: What makes you think I'm trying to get killed?

And, yeah, Wasp's expo is horrible but we ALREADY saw these things.

Over at my blog, I already have some thoughts on this, but I'll add: this isn't the Ultimates, it's porno 616 fanfic. When I was a dean, about 10 years back, two 8th grade girls were caught with 5 full notebooks of Buffy/Angel fanfic that was UNBELIEVABLY XXX-rated. (The sad and disturbing thing is that the sex stuff was really...accurate.)
That stuff was better than this. At least those kids kept true to the characters...

However, there was at least some redeeming value in Loeb's handling of Hawkeye. Maybe because he's always been a favorite of mine, but I thought that his stuff was at least thought out. Hopefully he'll survive until v. 4.

James said...

Not only does the digital painting directly over Madureira's pencils not work, but the print quality looked really bad, which just made it muddier. You hit the nail on the head with the Youngblood comparison, Geoff. Rob Liefield has said he invented the superhero-as-celebrity with that comic (Fantastic Four, Rob? No?), and claims credit for The Authority, X-Statix, Ultimates and more. I guess Jeph Loeb agrees, and decided to pay tribute with shitawful dialogue, nonsensical plotting and arbitrary action scenes! EXTREME!

Stephen said...

Whedon is burning through my goodwill here.

I'm reading Buffy in trades, so I haven't read the Vaughan issues yet. But a more general point on this: I don't know about you, but for me, my goodwill is stored in separate funds -- comics & TV shows. I think Joss is a mixed bag as a comics writer; I think he is as good as it gets as a TV writer. Mixed results in one domain won't affect my expectations for the other (whereas if he started doing lousy TV shows, that might change my mind.)