Friday, February 22, 2008

Comics Out February 22, 2008

Runaways 29. I barely remember what happened since the last issue of this, which came out a long time ago I think. I am not optimistic about my abilities to remember this one when the next (and final) one comes out. For example, I do not remember if the kid and the miniature man are new to this issue, and brought in only to die, which is quite lame, but not as lame as the fact that I cannot remember. The art is dowdy and dull – check out panels two and three of page two for example: no backgrounds, exact same pose and expression. I was pleased that Whedon introduced a sympathetic character who is unable to transcend her culture and embrace interracial lesbianism; it at least avoids an easy out there. There is a dull romance plot, and an attempt to evolve Nico’s power, but none of this is keeping my attention. To cap the whole dumb thing Whedon, who usually is a MASTER of the final moment in an episode, totally fails to come up with something more interesting than a bomb. With time travelling mutant kids you have to end with something more imaginative than 24 would, especially if you are going to make everyone wait this long.

The Order 8. Knowing the Order is no more makes this a bitter-sweet read. Every issue I like this book more and it only has two more issues to go. In, perhaps, an effort to wrap the whole thing up quickly – or maybe it was always going to be like this – we get a big reveal about the man from SHADOW and the main threat. And hey, Whedon, THIS is how you do and ending beat.

The Immortal Iron Fist: Orson Randall and the Green Mist of Death. This is all good fun, even though I feel like I have seen these “put the hero through various periods of comic book history” thing. Fraction and Co seem to be working out a new structure for monthly books. In an age where slow auteurs produce amazing work (All Star Superman), and bog-standard monthlies support the industry (Ultimate Spiderman) Fraction, possibly unconsciously, is building a third way: Have your auteur strand (the Aja pages) but keep the pace up through sidebars (fill in artists who handle subplots in the main story) and specials like the annual and this thing – specials that genuinely augment the main story. That way you have prestige work without the gaps. I am not saying this is exactly what is going on -- Chaykin and Fraction on a book may be as prestige as Faction and Aja on a book – I am just saying that this book implicitly suggests something to the industry. I would like to see more people work with it.

Angel 4. This book remains basically acceptable, but I feel like Joss putting out a series of e mail letting us know periodically where he was going to go next would suffice as well.

Umbrella Academy 6. This book continues to look great. The fight, especially the reds, are great; the little “BOOM” is a particular highlight. You rarely see that kind of understatement in a punch-em-up. But the end is little more than a blood-bath, a random solution, and an epilogue. I would get more of this book if Ba is on the art. If not, not so much.

In Comics News Newsarama has an interview with Grant Morrison about his Batman run. Basically he sees himself as trying to imagine all of Batman's history as taking place in fifteen years of Batman's life. I am still thinking through exactly what I think of that. I will get back to you.


Mikey said...

Regarding Morrison's Batman, I'm conscious that he says that the reintegration of Batman's tradition and history is what he is doing. A nice idea, if not perhaps as important or interesting as Morrison thinks it is. I just don't see him actually doing it in the pages. Unusually for Morrison, the work doesnt actually bare out the theories and goals he ascribes to it. I wonder if in the case of Batman, it's an ongoing process that has yet to really get going bu will gather weight in time. Possibly impeded/overwhelmed by the problematic force of Miller's influence?

Also, I was going to re-up this in Free Form Comments, but with the release of the Iron Fist one-shot, this seems like as good a place.

Thacher said...

The next issue of Runaways was on Final Order Cut-Off this week, with an expected ship date of March 19th. I find that a little hard to believe myself, but FOC is usually a good indicator that stuff is going to be out then. Occasionally stuff will show up on there twice if a ship date is pushed back a week, but that's kind of rare.

Casey Malone said...

I'm surprised to hear that you don't enjoy Ultimate Spider-Man. After the first trade (which took 6 issues to do what any other writer would do in maybe 2) it's been one of the most consistently enjoyable super-hero books I read.

It doesn't need any kind of crazy twist on the genre (kung-fu, crime, "realism" or a post-modern take) that so many other books seem to require these days: It's simply Spider-Man, fighting against all odds and being genuinely funny, and that's all it needs to be.

Also, since you're such a fan of the West Wing, I really highly recommend CheckMate. It's a highly political spy drama in the DCU Universe. Give the trades a shot if you are looking for something to read, or are a fan of Greg Rucka's Queen and Country.

Streebo said...

I picked up the latest Simon Dark, The Order, and The Immortal Iron Fist. I grabbed a couple back issues such as Booster Gold #1, Freddy vs Jason vs Ash #1, and Green Lantern #25 as it was the conclusion to the Sinestro Corps Wars. Even if I don't follow a mini-series or event all the way through, I will often buy the first and last issues of it. I haven't read anything yet, but I have a fun stack of books this week.

Matthew J. Brady said...

I mostly agree with you on Runaways, Geoff. I feel like it would have been entertaining and interesting enough if it had come out on a regular schedule, but the lateness just highlights the flaws. Since it's only one more issue, I'll keep going, but then I'm planning on dropping the book and maybe catching up when the next trade (which will be by Terry Moore and Humberto Ramos) is collected. It's a bummer; it used to be one of my favorite series, and I don't dislike Whedon's work on it, but any energy it once had has pretty much been sapped away.

I did like that big fight splash page though.

As for Umbrella Academy, I loved the ending, but maybe it was just because of Ba's artwork. That deadpan "BOOM." was a great moment. I don't know if the solution was random, really. It had been shown that Vanya had daddy issues and was really just trying to get her father to acknowledge her like he did the others. Maybe if more work had been done with The Seance in previous issues; he seems to take center stage here, and we don't really know that much about him, since the other parts of the series focused on Spaceboy, number 00.05, and The Kraken (and maybe The Rumor, to a lesser extent). But the whole thing was so exuberant and crazy; I enjoyed the hell out of it, and I can't wait for the next part of the story.

Geoff Klock said...

CM -- it is not awful. It is just standard. It comes out every month and does not suck. Thank for the rec on the other stuff.

Streebo -- I got the first vol of the Senestro Corp War trade. I may review it later.

MB -- I was refering to the random "Seance has telekenisis" thing. But I did enjoy the book and would get more as long as Ba is involved.

James said...

geoff: Not to harp, but Ultimate Spider-Man should get points for a) being a secondary spin-off/retelling that is infinitely better than (the current incarnation of) the source title and b) having only one writer and two artists after 120 issues. This second point is what makes it a bad example of a "bog-standard month[ly that supports] the industry". Something like Batman or Uncanny X-Men might be a better fit.