Thursday, March 30, 2006

Looking To The Stars - Looking To The Reviews!

A word of warning: Here Be SPOILERS! Turn back, lest ye learn more than ye ever wanted ta be knowing.

Action Comics #837
Company Name: DC Comics
Writers: Geoff Johns & Kurt Busiek
Art: Pete Woods

I wasn’t much of a Superman reader before but damn me if Johns and Busiek haven’t succeeded where lesser writers failed in making the mysteries of this book seem more like invitations than a device to keep us reading just to figure out what is going on. How did Superman loses his powers? Who is this new Toyman who looks like The Animated Series version as opposed to a creepy old man? When did Metallo regain a more human body? And what the heck is Lex Luthor up to anyway? These are questions this author will stick around to find out the answers to.

Grade: A

All-Star Superman #3
Company Name: DC Comics
Writer: Grant Morrison
Art: Frank Quietly

Grant Morrison once said (and I am paraphrasing here) that he wishes he could be half as crazy as everyone thinks he is because only some of the great minds of the Silver Age could come up with the ideas that they did. With tongue NOT in cheek, Grant borrows one of the more infamously ludicrous classic Superman stories to create this – a story of Lois Lane’s birthday where Samson, Atlas and Superman compete for the pleasure of her company. If that last sentence didn’t make you smile a bit, not even a little inside, then you may as well skip this book; there is nothing for you here. But for those of us who still believe that a man can fly, this is one heck of a good read.

Grade: A

Fantastic Four #536
Company Name: Marvel Comics
Writer: J. Michael Straczynski
Art: Mike McKone & Andy Lanning

Despite the cover, this is not truly an Illuminati tie-in. And thank goodness for it, because I’d much rather see a good-ol-fashioned Doombot smackdown in this title than another issue of Bendis’ Talking Heads Theater. JMS, rather infamous for his own grasp of flowery dialogue, knows when to let his characters talk and when to let the action and the concept speak for itself. And when you are dealing with a concept such as Dr. Doom making a bid to get the Hammer of Thor and wield it, there is preciously little else to say except “That is cool!” Sadly, we don’t actually get to see the good Doctor wield the hammer this issue… merely his declaration of intent to Reed Richards. Such is the power of Doom that he can monologue BEFORE securing ultimate power – he is that good.

Grade: B

Green Lantern #10
Company Name: DC Comics
Writer: Geoff Johns
Art: Ivan Reis and Marc Campos

This title was a little slow to get started but now that the framework is laid, Johns is bringing up the subplots full-tilt. One Year Later, we find that Hal Jordan’s relationship with the Green Lanterns is as strained as ever, he’s in hot water with the global superhero community on Earth and even Ollie Queen is accusing him of being a dangerous maverick. If nothing else, I love this book for the irony and perfect portrayal of the Hal/Ollie dynamic – that the eternal iconoclast is now in a position of authority and the good soldier is now rebelling against authority in the name of a higher cause. All this, and the creation of The Sinestro Corps.

Grade: A

Lucifer #72
Company Name: Vertigo Comics
Writer: Mike Carey
Artists: Peter Gross and Aaron Alexovich

Reviewing this book seems a tad pointless now. With the final issue months away and the current storyline being devoted to summation and tying up loose ends, there is not much for me to say. Except that if you were a fan of the old Sandman series or like mature magical comics, start tracking down the Trades or the old back issues of this series. Lucifer is as worthy a successor and sequel to Sandman as if Neil Gaiman had penned it himself, and this author will sorely miss it once it is gone.

Grade: A

New Avengers – Illuminati #1
Company Name: Marvel Comics
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Art: Alex Maleev

Against my better judgment, I read this book in the store. And I learned nothing except that Tony Stark is a jerk. A real jerk. Everyone says Superman is a jerk but he should take lessons from Tony Stark. You know he’s a jerk because Namor tells him he’s a jerk (not in so many words) and when Namor says someone is being a jerk, then you know it MUST be bad. And I’m not saying this because he spurred the creation of the secret He-Man Girl-Haters Club For Jerks. Not because he is so ready to sell out the vast majority of the superhero population to save his own butt. No – it’s because he gives away the whole plot of Civil War (such as it is) under the guise of “seeing-the-future”. Because only a jerk would give away the plot of a story without warning. That is why Tony Stark, and Brian Michael Bendis by extension, are jerks.

Grade: D

Superman/Batman #24
Company Name: DC Comics
Writer: Jeph Loeb
Art: Ed McGuinness & Dexter Vines

Me am enlightened by this comic. Me think it make lots of sense. Me think it confusing now we know Joker am not behind whole thing. Me not wondering at all why Bizzaro am involved. Me think this comic not make more sense in one sitting, in kept hardback. Like comic am on time for three months now. Still, while Darkman am liking unconfused writing, he am hating cartoonish artwork. He am hating it so much on serious, dark book like this one he want to hurt it very much.

Grade: C

Tune in next week. Same Matt time. Same Matt website.

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