Thursday, April 26, 2007

Fast Thoughts - The Week of 4/25/07

52 WEEK #51: And we get back to the high quality moment here as we enter the home stretch. A lot of good character moments here, but if I had to pick a top five...

5. "Can we keep her?" as Starfire collapses on Animal Man's porch after saving him and his family from a group of alien assassins. Because honestly, what preteen boy wouldn't want his very own amazon space princess?
4. Buddy Baker's Homecoming. The perfect mix of silly and touching, especially the line about "He's got a hair-piece, I just flew across galaxies to get to you. I don't think there's any contest."
3. The explanation for Robin's new red and black costume - to honor Superboy, as those were his colors.
2. Clark's comment on Diana's new look in her new secret identity - "I like the glasses."
1. The return of Lobo as we know (and some of us love) him, making up for a year of almost complete pacifism in the only way possible - by killing a god.

AMAZONS ATTACK #1: You know, apart from one scene we really didn't need this book with Wonder Woman #9 out this week. But given the poor quality of Jodi Picoult's run on the book so far (more on that in a moment), I prefer to think that we really don't need that book compared to this one.

Why? Because the idea of the Amazons invading Washington DC - even without a single named character to latch onto as a focal point in the narrative - is infinitely more interesting than watching Wonder Woman and Nemesis banter back and forth during an ill-conceived jailbreak only to notice "Oh wow... Amazons invading Washington DC..."

Still, Hippolyta is back so that's worth something. Especially if we can get her back into the JSA. Yes, I know that's highly unlikely given that she's just tried conquering America, even if she has been doing it at Circe's whim. I'm just saying I miss having her in the JSA.

BRAVE AND THE BOLD #3: I missed this one last week and for the first time I don't feel like I missed much as this was the weakest issue of the series so far. Maybe it's because I'm so disinterested in the new Blue Beetle, but I kept bearing through those scenes hoping for a continuation of the Supergirl storyline. Thankfully, I wasn't disappointed and we do get a quick preview of next month's promised team-up between Lobo and Kara.

By the way, Mr. Mark Waid and Mr. George Perez? If you read this, I just want you two to know something. Regarding the scene with Kara showing Lobo something that she thinks is good for credit on paying him for a ride? The one with the leather coat that completely covers her costume? And the panel where it looks like she's not wearing anything under said coat as she undoes it and we see Lobo looking shocked?

You are bad, bad men. And God bless you both for it. :)

CONNOR HAWKE DRAGONS BLOOD #6: The mini-series ends and without any further disturbing (or if you're Judd Winick, incestuous) scenes of Shado playing kissy-face with Connor but with a whole lot of last-chapter "What the-" exposition.

Seems that the whole plan to summon and kill a dragon had nothing to do with saving China and everything to do with creating a fountain of dragon blood that makes anyone who bathes in it faster, stronger and immortal. The whole thing falls apart if you think about it a bit. But this is good fun action, which is all you can really ask of a Chuck Dixon Book.

DAREDEVIL #96: Okay, this is officially the best book being published by Marvel Comics and one of the best books published anywhere right now. And I'm not just saying that because it's up for a well-deserved Eisner as is its' author. My one complaint is that I really don't want this story to be heading where I think it is heading.

Melvin Potter was a rarity in Marvel and indeed all of comics: a former bad guy who was trying to get help for his condition. Now, as someone who has had friends with mental health problems, most of whom have been more successful than not - I kinda like the idea of seeing one character in comics who beat the odds and didn't stay like Joker or Two-Face. Someone who was a sweet and basically innocent guy who had some issues, worked through them and was now redeeming his past.

Of course the writer in me knows that the drama behind taking such a character and reverting him back to his old ways is irresistible. And I'm fairly certain that Brubaker has a few twists left so that it will turn out that this isn't what it looks like. Still, I worry about the character. And that is what makes this book so great - that I enjoy the story even though the story itself has me annoyed and worried about what may happen to one of the characters.

DORK TOWER #36: Give John Kovalic credit: he does not got halfway on the drama. Which is kinda funny when you consider that this is supposed to be "a funny book". But between Igor planning a convention that promises to be a total disaster, Matt's last-minute attempt to get his comic ready to sell at said convention and Ken's relationship with Sujata falling apart after she panics when he proposes, there is enough drama here for one of those serious relationship comics.

And that, in itself, is pretty funny. Funny "makes you think", not Funny "ha-ha".

Sure, this comic has laughs a plenty. But what it does better than any other gaming-related comic anywhere is show that underneath the somewhat silly exterior of people who CosPlay, LARP or go to Renn Fests, they are still people. People who are not the least bit different than the so-called "normal" people who don't have "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" memorized and who are stunned to know there are dice made with more than six sides.

JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA #5: I loved this issue, plain and simple.

Was it the presence of Doctor Destiny? Yes.

Is it the fact that all the old-school Legion stuff is now cannon again? Yes.

Was it all the Sandman References? Yes.

Was it Batman having to fight nightmare versions of himself, plucked from the dreams of Arkham Asylum inmates? Yes.

Was it finally getting to see Sanderson "Sandy" Hawkins in a story ever since he changed costumes and started calling himself Sandman instead of Sand? Hell yes!

The one downside? That this has to get tied into the lackluster JLA issues dealing with the same plot. Geoff Johns can rock a story line this. Brad Meltzer can't.

NIGHTWING ANNUAL #2:Another one that I missed last week, this time intentionally. My thanks to all of you, who through LJ and e-mail, let me know that my query last week about "And when are they going to explain when Babs and Dick broke their engagement?!?!?"

Well, the answers are here. And I loved this story. And I think that - Marv Wolfman, be damned - we need to Marc Andreyko writing the monthly title ASAP.

You don't want to get spoiled, don't read any further.

I have to agree with Mark Poa. "Dick Grayson is a dick."

Honestly, all you people who are complaining about the Green Arrow/Black Canary engagement and how Oliver Queen is the filthiest, lying dog cheater on the planet? Read this issue and get back to me on that.

Dick Grayson hasn't been one of my favorite characters in a while, but he was in my top 5 back when Chuck Dixon was still writing the book. Still, it's a bit disturbing to me that Dick and Barbara's "first time" came six months after her accident and how it was a spur-of-the-moment thing that happened as Dick was coming to give Babs an invitation to his wedding.

I'm not saying that I can't see it happening and that something like this isn't in character for Dick. He's had spur of the moment romances before. I'm just saying that I'm still disturbed by it given the long romance between the two. Thankfully, this issue does explain just why things never quite reached that point until then as well as the Wuthering Heights-style chain of events that kept them apart as well as what point they are at now.

Incidentally, am I the only one amused that Starfire's "lounging around the house after a night of loving" clothes actually cover more than her regular costume?

Despite the infidelity all over the place, this was a very cute and surprisingly sweet issue. There's a lot of touching moments along with some laugh-out-loud comedy involving Dick having the natural reaction to being locked in close-quarters (i.e. a safe) with Batgirl and trying to disguise that fact afterwards by walking hunched over once he gets out. Can you say "doing math problems at the chalkboard"? :)

I recommend it to all of you old-school Nightwing fans who, like me, had been steering clear of the title since the dark days of Devin Grayon's run.

WONDER WOMAN #8: I had one of my local Comic Shop Guys ask me, as I was telling him about how badly Jodi Picoult's has been received and how all the fans on the web are clamoring for Gail Simone to take over sooner than Issue #13 say "She's a published novelist so she must be a good writer."

Now, I haven't ready any of Jodi Picoulet's books, admittedly. I can't say one way or another if she can write a good novel with original characters or not. I suspect, however, that she may be a writer who can do good work with original characters, but can't change their own style or internal speech-patterns when writing an established one. That's the only reason I can think of why Wonder Woman, in these last three issues, has sounded and acted like a Cybil Shepherd to Nemesis' Bruce Willis.

I think Ragnell nailed this last week when she said that the greatest part of Diana's personality is confidence. No matter where she is or what she is doing, she does not back down from her right to be there or to do what she thinks is right. She should not sound like a confused sorority girl, worrying about how popular she is, what people think of her or any of the normal things that female characters in modern literature obsess over.

And on a personal note: Wonder Woman should not ever call anyone a pervert.


  1. After reading your fast reviews for the last several months, I've come to the conclusion that we don't read anything the other reads. hehe I've still got 52 on my sub but I haven't read it in a while. So, there's not even that. ;)

  2. Well, I am more of a DC guy than you are.
    Still, I thought you'd be reading Hellblazer what with the new writer writing half the cool stuff at Vertigo in the last five years.

  3. Yeah, I haven't picked up much DC recently. I had been during the Crisis but a lot of post Crisis stuff has left me saying "meh". Particularly Shadowpact. I really enjoyed their uphill battle to stop the Spectre. But once they got their own series -- ouch.

  4. Well, Countdown is good so far. At the very least, I'm intrigued by the fact that they are bringing back the Flash Rogues Gallery.