Friday, April 23, 2010

This Week's Comics: Brave and the Bold, Supergirl, R.E.B.E.L.S., Justice League of America, The Spirit, Power Girl, Superman/Batman, et. al.

Also: Batman: Streets of Gotham City, The Amazing Spider-man, Deadpool, She-Buccaneer, Kato - Origins, American Vampire.

The Brave and the Bold No. 33 written by J. Michael Straczynski, illustrated by Cliff Chiang. This comic made me cry. It started out, and I was thinking, "goddamn this is stupid. What the hell is going on? Why am I reading this? Why is any of this happening?" And then, bam. I realised that this was Barbara Gordon's last night, and I just cried and cried. The dialogue is kind of poorly written, much of it is sort of boring, the artwork is acceptable if a little blocky, but goddamn is it good.

Supergirl No. 52 written by Sterling Gates illustrated by Ivan Rodriguez. This, however, is not good. Jesus Christ, this book has what must be the worst written accidentally-revealing-that-you-knew-something-that-you-said-you-didn't-know I have ever read. When Brainiac 5 says, "There's no possibility we've met before, Kara. In fact, records of you don't even exist in my time. I'd never even heard of you before I got here an hour ago. You're just little Linda Lang, Superman's forgotten cousin," it is actually ridiculous. Why is he saying all of this? I mean, I could buy one of these slips of the toungue. Calling her Kara, or Linda Lang, or mentioning that she's Superman's cousin, but all three? Seriously? We are seriously meant to believe that Brainiac 5, one of the smartest characters in all of D.C. comics, is stupid enough to make the exact same mistake three times in ridiiculously rapid succession? Why? Why was this so stupidly done? It makes no sense. Was it meant as a brief explanation as to Supergirl's origins for people reading Last Stand Of New Krypton? Why not just have a description of her in a narration form, oh wait you do already on the fucking title page! Goddamnit this comic is stupid.

R.E.B.E.L.S. No. 15 written by Tony Bedard illustrated by Cluade St. Aubin. I have no fucking idea what is going on here, and frankly I don't really care. Some of the artwork is nice (although the overuse of cross-hatching on people's faces is quite ugly) but apart from the whole Dick Grayson thing, I had no fucking clue what was going on. This is the first issue of R.E.B.E.L.S. I have read, and I read it because I wanted to see what was happening with Starfire (a character I've always liked) but I honestly couldn't tell you what the fuck was going on. TZhere was some guy who everyone wanted to kill? And he had a starfish drawn on his face? And some random people were calling him the Master? But then saying that the Master was someone else? I've got no fucking clue.

Justice League of America no. 44 written by James Robinson, illustrated by Mark Bagley. I quite liked this book, the Justice League beginning to work as a team and so forth, but it still doesn't properly answer the question - why the fuck has the Justice League been so reduced? Why is the only A-Grade Superhero still there Batman, and even then he's not the original one. Who's idea was it to trivialise the Justice League like this? It has worked better than it should have, but it is still a dumbassed idea. Also, Etrigan is a stupid bullshit character, so it was good to see people trying to beat the shit out of him.

The Spirit No. 1 written by Mark Schultz, illustrated by Moritat. Ugh. Is it some sort of editorial mandate that these First Wave books look like shit? Why the hell are they so ugly? First Doc Savage, and now this? Jesus Christ, did Mark Schultz ever even read any of the original (and excellent) Will Eisner The Spirit comics? Or did he even to bother to read Darwyne Cook's (pretty good) revamps? It seems to me that his entire fucking knowledge of the character comes from that godawful Frank Miller movie, where Miller seemed to think that he was supposed to be making an awful Batman movie, but accidentally inserted the Spirit. The Spirit isn't brooding, guys! The Spirit is a happy-go-lucky kind of guy! Why do you keep doing this to him? Why do you have him walking away from an explosion without looking behind him? That isn't The Spirit! The Spirit is awesome, and would marvel in the awesomeness of the explosion! Fuck you Mark Schulta, and fuck you Moritat!

Power Girl No. 11 written by Justin Gray, illustrated by Jimmy Palmiotti. This was really good. Great artwork, good story, nice conclusion (?) to the Ultra-Humanite plotline, and I laughed quite a lot when Power Girl just lasered Satanna's arm clean off. Genius. And her replacement arm is great looking. I'm really looking forward to seeing where this goes.

Super/Batman No. 71 written by Joe Casey, illustrated by Joshua Williamson. This was okay, but it wasn't great or anything. This series just sort of plods along, going from over-long fight scene to over-long fight scene, never really having anything interesting happening, but never being really terrible either. Everything about it is just sort of uninteresting.

Batman: Streets of Gotham City No. 11 written by Paul Dini, illustrated by Dustin Nguyen. There are two plotlines that every superhero comic or action show eventually do, and they are both always the worst episodes of the show: the waking-up-in-a-mental-institution-and-being-told-that-the-rest-of-the-show-was-all-a-delusion plot (which is supposed to raise questions about the nature of reality and fantasy, but doesn't), and the Gladiator plot, which is supposed to raise pertinant questions about the nature of vicariously enjoying violence, but doesn't. The Gladiator plot goes like this: main character is kidnapped, and forced to fight other people with similar abilities to them, for the enjoyment of rich people. They rebel against being slaves, and lead all of the fighters the show arbitrarily decided we should like in an uprising against their rich supressors. It is just such an awful idea to do this - why would you question vicarious violence when that is EXACTLY WHAT YOU ARE PROVIDING FOR THE AUDIENCE! It makes no sense. We tune in to watch some mindless violence, and instead get some stupid, cliched polemic about how we shouldn't be enjoying mindless violence. Why? Why shouldn't I be enjoying mindless violence? Obviously I am against slavery, but that is not really what these episodes are ever about. They are about how disgusting those rich people are, paying to see other people's torment. Well, fuck you, t.v. show or comic, I'm gonna enjoy the violence anyway. That said, even though this comic was a Gladiator plot, it didn't suck as much as some Gladiator plots I've read or seen. That isn't a compliment, for it is still a stupid goddamn idea, and kind of a dumb comic, but it isn't as bad as it could have been.

The Amazing Spider-Man No. 628 written by Roger Stern, illustrated by Lee Weeks. I'm not normally a Marvel reader, mainly because most of their books are X-Men related, and if you haven't been reading every single one of the X-Men books for the last fifteen years it is impossible to understand what the hell is going on at any point, but I've decided to give some of their other books a look. And I've gotta say, I was pretty impressed. This was a very entertaining comic. And, it was quite easy to follow. And, something I didn't know, it actually has a sort of 'previously on' at the start of the comic. Huh. That was actually useful. Why the hell don't D.C. have 'previously ons' at the start of their books? I may have been able to understand at least some of R.E.B.E.L.S. if there had been a 'previously on,' and that was a far, far more confusing story than the one in this Spider-Man comic. Also-Letters to the Editor. How come D.C. stopped with the letters to the Editor? I mean, come on, man, it's comics. You are supposed to have a Letters to the Editor. It's fucking tradition, or something.So, huh. Maybe I'll start reading Marvel again.

Deadpool No. 10 written by Victor Gischler, illustrated by Bong Dazo. Huh. This was also pretty good. I mean, quite violent, and the Marvel Zombies idea is getting old, but still. This was pretty entertaining. Funny, exciting, and probably the best artwork out of anything I read this week. So, Marvel, I apologise. I stopped reading you when Civil War became interminably tedious, but now I am back, at least probationarily.

The Voyages of She-Buccaneer No. 7 written and illustrated by Heidi & Will. I hadn't read any of the other She-Buccaneer comics, but this one said that it was an 'origin story' on the front, and, I mean, well, lady pirates. How could I not read this? I was expecting it to be shit, but surprisingly it wasn't. It was actually pretty entertaining, it moved at a nice pace, the artwork was good, the villains were villainous, the heroes were dashing and heroic. The dialogue is kind of shitty at times, trying to be all 'pirate-y' and coming off as pretty-near incomprehensible, and I don't really understand what was up with the mystical dagger thing, but those are minor quibbles. Really. The only major quibble I have is that the fucking thing is aparrently moving to 'digital format' next issue. Fuck that.

Kato - Origins No. 1 written by Jai Nitz, illustrated by Colton Worley. This comic is alright, but hopefully it gets better after this issue. This whole thing is mostly setup, so the next few issues are hopefully payoff. It certainly wasn't bad, though.

American Vampire No. 2 written by Scott Snyder, illustrated by Rafael Albuquerque. It's like True Blood, but in comic form! And shitty! So much tedious exposition, so much boring dialogue. The artwork is really good, but the writing is so boring and annoying that it hardly matters. And the whole two stories thing was annoying. You know what, it reminded me of Bite Club. Man, I didn't give a shit about Bite Club either. I'll maybe read another issue or two, mainly for the artwork, but if it doesn't get better, I'll be dropping this book like, errr... something you drop fast.

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