Friday, September 8, 2006

Looking To The Stars - Another Week, Another Bunch of Reviews

Not much on my pull-list this week. But with one exception, everything I read this week was great.

52 Week #18
Company Name: DC Comics
Writers: Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka and Mark Waid
Art: Various

I thought it was John Constantine on the cover at first, but no – it’s Ralph Dibny in a trenchcoat. Regardless, this was one of the better issues in recent memory as we get to see the plot for Question and Montyoa move forward (finally), the possible return of a Booster Gold and…well, I won’t spoil the surprise but I don’t think anyone saw what appears to be happening in the last few pages coming by a long shot.

Grade: A

Detective Comics #823
Writer: Paul Dini
Artists: Joe Benitez and Victor Llama

It’s official. Detective Comics is my favorite post-One Year Later comic book. Dini is in fine form, adding new corners onto the regular universe while bring the unique blend of horror and comedy that made him one of the most popular writers on Batman: The Animated Series. If you haven’t started picking this title up yet, now is the time to start. Don’t worry about catching up – apart from one mention of last issue’s revelation that Riddler has gone straight and is now a detective for hire – the story is entirely self-contained.

Grade: A

Spider-Man Special: Black and Blue and Read All Over
Writer: Jim Krueger
Artists: Drew Johnson & Tom Palmer

Doth my eyes deceive me? A Marvel Comic NOT written by Dan Slott that is… fun? No Joke, True Believers! This is one of the best Spider-Man stories in recent memory – and not JUST because there is no taint of Civil War, the Iron Spider Armor or Peter not having a secret identity anymore in it. Indeed, the whole story hinges upon Peter planning to reveal his secret identity in exchange for a chance to tell his own story in The Daily Bugle. What happens next? Read it and see!

Grade: B

Savage Red Sonja: Queen of the Frozen Wastes #1
Writers: Doug Murray and Frank Cho
Artist: Homs

Frank Cho knows how to draw a pretty woman, right? And Red Sonja is a pretty woman, right? So this should be a decent looking book, right? Well, it might be except for three problems. (Four if you count the scary man-legs Sonja has on the Cho cover)

1. Cho isn’t the artist on this book. He’s the co-writer and one of the cover artists. So except for the cover, his fans are going to be disappointed.
2. His writing isn’t all that great, with Sonja sounding like a valley girl.
3. The artist, this relative newcomer Homs, draws Sonja in similar fashion, with “Ohmygod!” expressions throughout. Hardly the hardy warrior maiden we know.

But the really bad thing about this book, particularly in light of the recent Red Sonja #13, is the costuming. Now understand that unlike many critics, I have no trouble recognizing that scanty, impractical armor is a convention of the fantasy genre. (And fair being fair, Conan’s fur boxers aren’t much good for repelling swords either) I think that Mike Oeming’s explanation for Sonja’s armor (maximize agility against slower male warriors while distracting them) is actually a very good one. But the fact is that Sonja’s homeland is a desert. Most of the places we’ve seen her traveling in the monthly title were, at the very worst, of temperate climate. And now in the monthly title, when Sonja is traveling into the frozen northlands, what does she do?

She puts on several layers of fur – that’s what. Because Sonja, unlike this book, isn’t stupid.

Grade: F

Finally, on a less happy note, Killer Princess,/i> artist Lea Hernandez needs our help. Even if you aren’t a fan of her work (and I don’t know why you wouldn’t be), send what you can.

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

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