Monday, October 3, 2005

Looking To The Stars: Whole Bunches Of Reviews!

This past week was, according to many sources, the biggest week for new comic releases in the past two years. Now, I know a lot of us didn’t have the time or the money to pick up everything and not everyone is as fortunate as I am to work in a comic shop where I get a chance to browse through almost everything on a weekly basis. So in order to keep you all in the know, here’s some quick thoughts on what comics were worth getting and what comics should be avoided at all cost.

Action Philosophers #3
One book everyone should be reading that has, thankfully, been renewed past its’ initial four-issue engagement. This is the “Self Help for Stupid Ugly Losers” issue, detailing the lives of psychological philosophers such as Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell. You can read some free previews at
Score: 8 out of 10.

Adventures of Superman #644
Superman and Zatanna team up to take on Toyman, whom it turns out was also altered by Zatanna’s magic when the League was “fixing” villains. Not essential to the on-going plot of Infinite Crisis, but a good story nonetheless.
Score: 6 out of 10.

Amazing Spider-Man #524
A Spider-Man comic with very little Spider-Man, we take a break from the action to set-up the next big storyline and resolve the plot with Mary Jane making the tabloids. JMS continues to be the only writer on a regular monthly title who seems to have ANY idea of how to write Peter Parker in the wake of his joining The Avengers.
Score: 8 out of 10.

Batman #645
Okay. So Leslie Thompkins is a murderer. Alfred has apparently been killing people for years to protect his young master’s secret. Dick Grayson has gone to the dark side in a rather vague timeline that continues to defy easy classification. Hush was teamed with a brand new Clayface. And Jason Todd is back from the dead. Is there any way the Bat books could become any more convoluted? I’ll save you the money on this one: Jason Todd was never apparently buried in the first place. Drawn out, pointless and more confusing than Chinese algebra.
Score: 4 out of 10, and that’s only for the art.

Daredevil #77
Ever read Stan Lee’s Spider-Man? How about Frank Miller’s Daredevil, particularly “Born Again”? Apparently, Brian Michael Bendis hasn’t. Spare you the fine details but the plot in the book right now handily ignores a good deal of back story involving The Kingpin and his criminal record and is pushing the idea that despite countless people who could easily send Wilson Fisk up the river, the Feds have NOTHING on him and are ready to set him free so they can put away Matt Murdock for vigilantism.
Score: 3 out of 10, again only for the art.

Defenders #3
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Hulk am… exhausted! Starman am… amused!
Score: 8 out of 10.

Fantastic Four #531
Scratch my earlier statement. JMS is the only writer on a monthly title at Marvel who seems to have any idea of how to characterize ANYONE.
Score: 8 out of 10.

Flash #226
I miss Geoff Johns already. Blah on all fronts.
Score: 3 out of 10.

JLA #119
Leave it to Geoff Johns to be the one writer to come up with a truly credible reason why Batman would fly totally off the handle regarding the JLA dabbling with mind-alteration outside of the generic “I am the dark and moody knight” spiel that keeps getting hammered and hammered and hammered into us. The secret ingredient is love, kids!
Score: 9 out of 10.

JLA Classified #12
Worst book all week. The art’s crap and Warren Ellis either has no clue how to write the Justice League or has no interest in doing so properly. The whole thing reads like a rejected Authority script with all the personality and humor sucked out, which, given that Ellis reportedly had more than a few of his scripts rejected during his run, is not too far out a suggestion.
Score: 0 out of 10.

Legion of Superheroes #10
The plot thickens. A generation unites. And a Legionnaire dies! The best Legion in years.
Score: 8 out of 10.

Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere #4
With Mirrormask out in theaters this Friday and the new book Anansi Boys also out, it would be easy for this Mike Carey adaptation of the famous Neil Gaiman TV series to get missed. That would be a crime, because even if the master didn’t pen this one himself, it is a worthy tribute to the original.
Score: 7 out of 10.

New Avengers #11
Aside from one page of artwork suggesting that somebody with a MAJOR father complex (wink wink) is the mystery ninja, there is nothing to suggest that the mystery ninja is anyone BUT the person that we all knew the mystery ninja was supposed to be. Either way, I can’t be bothered to care. Go reread the first few issues of The Tick instead of this “Ronin” storyline. At least that one was MEANT to be cheesy and funny.
Score: 2 out of 10.

OMAC Project #6
A rushed, clichéd sci-fi cop-out ending. So we’re supposed to believe that when they were designing the OMACs, it never occurred to anyone to make the Nanites EMP proof? Given the number of heroes who could generate an EMP that seems a little unlikely. Then again, so has most of this series. Still, we get to see Hal Jordan verbally pimp-slap Batman again, so it’s not totally worthless.
Score: 4 out of 10.

Plastic Man #18
The greatest book in the world that nobody is reading. Shame really, as this issue boasts one of the best bits of superhero satire in months. Pick it up before it disappears.
Score: 8 out of 10.

Red Sonja #2
The only book to come out this week that was over a month late and worth the wait, if only for the expanded page-count. I’d gladly sacrifice the alternate covers (a gimmick this book does not need) in order to get this out on a more regular basis. Incidentally, for the intellectual sorts out there who refuse to buy any book with multiple-covers of pin-up art? Don’t judge a book by its’ cover; this book is a fitting companion to Dark Horse’s Conan book.
Score: 9 out of 10.

Sentry #1
While Romita Jr.’s art continues to degenerate into a dark sloppy parody of Frank Miller, at least we can depend on Paul Jenkins to write a decent script. I wasn’t a big fan of the original Sentry series well written though it was, but at least this book stays true to the form of the original.
Score: 6 out of 10.

Spider-Man:House of M #4
I’m still not sure what the heck happened to Peter in this book, but I still think this is one of the better things to come out of House of M. And I love the irony that Peter’s alternate life is being saved by the three people whose lives he failed to save.
Score: 6 out of 10.

Superman/Batman #22
Me am so not confused by Bizzaro and Batzarro dialogue. Me am not loving shameless mockery of team who is NOT The Ultimates.
Score: 7 out of 10.

Ultimate Iron Man #4
You know, as charming as Orson Scott Card’s soap opera villains were when I was a kid reading Ender’s Game, they just don’t do anything in a book that is aimed at older readers.
Score: 4 out of 10.

Ultimate Secret #3
What if they threw an alien invasion and nobody cared? Saved from being the most pointless book of the week by two things; the decent art and the fact that as boring as this book is, at least everyone sounds somewhat in character as they sit around talking and not doing anything. Well, everyone except Thor who is now buying beer for minors and talking about the true warrior spirit despite being a peace-loving hippie in the Ultimate universe.
Score: 3 out of 10.

Finally, if you haven’t seen Serenity yet, go forth and do so! I was just introduced to the amazing universe of Firefly this weekend by some friends and this sci-fi movie is (for once) actually accessible to someone who knows NOTHING about the TV series. So you have no excuses, apart from not being able to afford the ticket, to not give this movie a shot.

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