Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Fast Thoughts - The Week of 8/15/07



AMAZONS ATTACK #5 (OF 6) - Why do we always come here? I guess we'll never know. It's like a kind of torture, to have to watch this show! Or read this book.

I dunno. Is it really worth noting that Batman winds up saving the day... AGAIN, albeit it with a second-hand assist from Zatanna? Is it really worth noting that no sooner do they come up with a good background for the dull and trite character of Grace that we find out that it is all a load of bollocks and that she really is just some super-strong man-hating lesbian stereotype instead of a rogue Amazon among the rogue Amazons? Is it really worth noting that most of us are waiting for the day Gail Simone takes over Wonder Woman?

I think not.

GRADE: F


BLACK CANARY #4 (OF 4) - Mr. Bedard.

I know I haven't been a big fan of your works and I've slaughtered a lot of your work in the press before. I know my commentary on this series has been guarded at best and that the news that you were taking over Supergirl and Birds of Prey made me more nervous than hopeful. Still, I have been enjoying most of what you've been doing with this series so far. That changed with this issue.

This issue... I loved it.

You have, in four simple issues, not only managed to capture the essence of Black Canary but you also managed to explain - in terms that only the most stone-hearted of Ollie-haters could ignore - exactly what it is that Dinah Lance sees in Green Arrow. You wrote a story in which Green Arrow and Black Canary were equals even if they were not technically partners. And yes, you blew away that stupid scene with Deathstroke and the sword in Green Arrow #75 and showed that holding Black Canary hostage with a weapon near her throat is a BAD IDEA.

Enjoy this grade, Mr. Bedard. You've earned it.

GRADE: A


BRAVE AND THE BOLD #6 - What can I say about a comic where there is a scene where Supergirl uses her X-Ray vision, suped up by the three yellow suns of Rann, to read the contents of a book that can tell the future from 80 miles away, in order to tell Adam Strange where to find a time-stranded Batman, so they can hit him with a Zeta Teleportion Beam that is being boosted to travel through time by a Green Lantern wishing as hard as he can to send a beam of energy through 1000 years of time and an untold distance of space?

It is awesome.

It is also, amazingly, not the most awesome scene in the whole book. If you like comics, you should read this book. Period. End of discussion.

GRADE: A


HELLBLAZER #235 - If Andy Diggle does not get at least one Eisner nomination this year, I will be surprised.

This issue is slowed down a bit by the scenes in the middle involving the family of a hit-and-run victim and the actual hit-and-run punks. I'm sure Diggle is building to something but he writes such a good John Constantine that it's a joy to read his John in action even when what John is doing is only tangentally related to the "plot".

Of course maybe I'm alone in thinking that watching John pull rank on a group of police detectives and take command of a crime scene without ever flashing a fake police badge is more interesting than the mysterious noble who appears to be building a paradise for the victims of violent crime... but I doubt it. Still, this is a grand old read.

GRADE: B


JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #12 - Many argue that Brad Meltzer is a terrible writer. I say it depends on what kind of story you are looking for.

If you're looking for a good old-fashioned superhero dust-up with fists-flying and end-of-the-world epics every issue, then yes... Meltzer is crap on a stick. But if you don't mind a story where nothing much happens but you get a lot of nice character moments, well... he's tolerable.

Seriously, I think Meltzer is great when it comes to characters. The best scenes in Identity Crisis were the ones which featured the characters just talking in between the disasters. Green Arrow and Flash talking about the importance of masks. Starfire stopping to be with Nightwing on the day of his parent's murder. Firehawk and Elongated Man talking about how he met his wife. Great character moments all. And yet, the few action scenes in Identity Crisis were - to be fair - very contrived and overly slow.

That is much the same problem here. Meltzer gives us a lot of fine details about the characters but very little how or why behind the details we get. For example, we find out in one scene that Roy Harper and his daughter Lian both go to visit the assassin Cheshire (Lian's mom - the result of a one-night-stand with Roy) in prison.

Given that there have been entire storylines devoted to Cheshire trying to kidnap her daughter, I have to wonder why Roy would ever allow his daughter to ever get anywhere near her mass-murder mother. Did Cheshire somehow score visitation rights? Or did Roy just go to torment Cheshire with the knowledge that their daughter was growing up knowing how bad her mommy was and wanting to have nothing to do with her? The fact that Lian shows up at the JLA base wearing a miniature Speedy costume seems to suggest this and Roy certainly isn't above such childish taunting. But for all we know it could be Halloween. Or perhaps Lian just enjoys dressing like daddy? We never do get an answer.

We do, however, learn that Black Canary plays the harmonica to improve her lung capacity and breath control. We learn that Hawkgirl and Roy Harper have indeed shacked-up. We learned that GeoForce is being used as a deep-cover agent to bring in Deathstroke. And we learned that Red Tornado, somehow, seems to be losing his grip on humanity.

Which is all fine and dandy, save that this issue only serves to make one long all the more for the upcoming Dwayne McDuffie run where, no doubt, we will finally see the super-villains we have seen plotting and planning for the last year finally do something.

GRADE: C

6 comments:

  1. ... the harmonica.. really.
    enh....

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  2. Hey, it's not like she'll be accompanying Ollie performing Piano Man...
    And even if she were, I'd still rather read that story than Green Arrow/Black Canary.

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  3. This was actually the first week in forever that I went to the comic store and didn't get anything. That's always depressing. hehe

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  4. About the Piano Man or the GA/BC?

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  5. I'm shocked that you aren't getting the new Hellblazer. You'd love it. John is back to being the Spider Jerusalem before Spider Jerusalem.

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