Another helping of reviews
However, despite seeing the same defects in the film we arrive at completely different conclusions. I thought that for all its faults the movie was a better interpretation of Batman than I ever thought would reach the screen, and that it had enough innovation and good parts to distract me from the bad parts, if not make up for them. Sean, though, concludes that he doesn’t like the movie and is troubled that the acclaim surrounding it will encourage the filmmakers to make another one just like it. I can understand that, I suppose, but what surprises me is that he considers the first Burton Batman a great movie. I think the Burton movie was far more flawed, on a superficial and a fundamental level (for example, when Batman detonates a bomb in a factory full of henchmen), than the new movie and I’m surprised that a Batman purist like Sean thinks otherwise.
Another relatively busy week at the comic store last week, another comic came out that we only see rarely. Between Hellboy, Astro City, and Supreme Power last week, and Planetary this week, I figure the apocalypse is clearly on the way.
Planetary #23- I want more issues of this comic to come out, and I don’t, because every issue means we’re that much closer to the end. I had mixed feelings when I realized that this issue was the origin of the Drummer, as I believe that sometimes you don’t need to know where a character comes from, but Ellis and Cassaday do such a good job with it that I can’t complain. The excesses of past issues are kept in check, and the pseudo-scientific exposition is relatively restrained, so the issue reads well and sticks to the story. Cassaday’s art is only getting better, and I particularly liked the facial expressions in this issue. I remember thinking Cassaday’s art was great when he started this series, but if you go back you can see how much he has improved. The stuff he’s doing now makes his old stuff look like chicken scratchings. DC has a PDF version of the first Planetary story that you can read for free, so you can take a look and compare.
Runaways #5- I want to like this comic, I really do, but I just don’t care anymore. Nothing in particular is wrong with this issue, or with this series, but nothing grabs me either. The revelation of Victor’s father seems to have come rather easily, and I’m not really impressed. I guess you could call that character an A- list villain, but I think you’d be reaching. I mean, he only ever fights the Avengers. I guess Kang does too, so maybe that’s not a good argument, but I just wasn’t bowled over. The revelation wasn’t the status quo change suggested by the premise. Anyways, nothing in the writing really sparks in this issue, and the absence of Alex continues to leave no entry point to the story. I’m not saying that this is a bad issue, I’m just left completely apathetic by it. I don’t think I’m going to be picking up any more.
Green Lantern #2- This issue was more interesting than the first. Pacheco’s art is better, and he seems to be clicking with the character a little more. The plot, while still moving slowly is drawing me in a little. However, while I really, really want to like this comic, a lot of little things are keeping me out. For example, I believe that the de-greying of Hal Jordan’s hair was meant to make him look less like an old man and have him be more relatable. Despite that, Hal walks around in an outdated aviator’s jacket and a tucked in shirt. And Pacheco draws Hal’s face kind of like Joe Staton does, which makes him look old and somewhat gaunt. A younger presentation of Hal would make the character more accessible.
Also, the design of the new Manhunters is quickly cast aside for a look that is indistinguishable from the old design. The choice to retain the old look seems like a wasted opportunity.
The rebuilt Coast City is another as yet missed chance, as instead of exploring the interesting setting that an empty city provides, Hal spends all his time elsewhere. Finally, Johns’s writing leaves me cold, and I’m not connecting with anyone in this book or their situations. I haven’t read anything by Johns that has bowled me over so far, but like I said, I want this book to work, so I hope he has his successes here. I’m in for a couple more issues, I think.
XIII #1- I’m loathe to buy anything that has the openly homophobic Mike S. Miller attached to it, even if only as "Executive Director" of the publisher, but somehow I justified this purchase to myself at the store. Maybe it was the 75 cent price tag added to the fact that this reprints a French comic book that as far as I know hasn’t been available in translation until now. One of my French friends raves about this book and its labyrinthine plots, and the first issue has plenty to draw the reader in. The art clearly marks this as an older comic, but the storytelling still works. I am intrigued, but I won’t be picking up any more due to the aforementioned gentleman’s involvement.
Solo #5- Ever since I first heard about Solo as a project, this is the issue I’ve been waiting for. Darwyn Cooke is one of my favourite writer/artists, and I seek out his work wherever I can find it. My response to last year’s New Frontier wasn’t as enthusiastic as everyone else’s seemed to be, but I did like that book quite a bit. This issue is the best comic I’ve bought in a while. All the stories are good, and Cooke uses a variety of drawing and colouring styles to make each one distinct. I wish we’d gotten a Catwoman story, but the Batman piece is an excellent substitute. My favourite story, though, is the Slam Bradley framing sequence. Others have mentioned how good a Slam Bradley series by Darwyn Cooke would be, and I agree; I’d buy that in a second. The only piece in here that doesn’t quite work for me is the story with the vacuum cleaner. The joke wears thin, and I lost interest way before the end. The art is still nice, though, so it’s not a complete wash. Very good, and well worth the bigger price tag.