I haven’t done new reviews in a long time, so I’m going to try and catch up here. The first four are from last week, the rest are from weeks previous. Minor spoilers ahead.Y the Last Man #36
– This whole issue is a dream sequence, and I should preface the rest of my remarks by letting you know that I hate dream sequences. I don’t even like hearing about dreams others have had from the people around me. Dreams tend to hold significance only for the dreamer; nobody else wants to hear about how you were running from a dinosaur made of carpets and then got saved by Gilligan. Not interested. The only time I ever heard a good dream story was from my friend Alvin:Alvin
: I had a dream last night that I was in a pet store and they were selling bald eagles.Davinder
: (disinterestedly) Oh yeah? Did you buy one?Alvin
: No, I bought a gorilla instead.Davinder
Gorillas and a little misdirection might save a dream story, but I don’t know that anything else will. I should point out, though, that the dream sequence in this issue of Y the Last Man is more of a series of flashbacks. The fact that we learn something about the characters may be what makes this issue passable, I just wish we’d learned more. This issues doesn’t seem to move the overall plot forward, except by increments. It’s competent work by both Vaughan and Guerra, but I’m getting restless after too many issues of events that I’m not connecting with.New Avengers #8
– Steve McNiven’s art makes me forgive a lot, and while I am enjoying this comic, it also has a lot in it that needs to be forgiven. Having Paul Jenkins appear in the book could have been clever if presented properly, but instead it seems silly and inconsequential. I’ll hold off on making a final judgment until the overall plot is revealed. The scene in which Spider-Woman talks the Wrecker down was entertaining, but I just read the same scene in the She-Hulk
tpb, where she talks down the Scorpion outside J. Jonah Jameson’s trial. The Spider-Woman scene still works, though, and really, it’s there to set up for the bit about the pheromones, which was kind of funny.
I don’t think Bendis gets Wolverine as a character, and the scene where he says he hasn’t made a good choice in fourteen years is funny, but sounds like Spider-man. Having Wolverine on the team still makes no sense story-wise, but at least an attempt is made to explain in this issue. Bendis tosses out a bunch of explanations, and the reader can choose whichever one suits. The overall composition of the team doesn’t make much sense either, I can understand putting a team together of your top sellers, but Luke Cage, Spider Woman, and the Sentry? What? However, this is a dead horse that’s been beaten in other places, so I’ll move on.Gotham Central #34
– Another strong issue in a consistently strong series. As I flip back through the issue now, I’m surprised by how many good moments are in it. The opening scene with Batman, and his reaction to being shot; the reaction of the parents when the danger of going to the media is explained to them; the stuff with the missing gun; Robin on the rooftop; and the closing scene that expands the mystery, all show the skill of the creative team on this book. Captain Sawyer’s argument with the reporter over his source was well done too, showing that in a sense both parties were right. This scene reminded me of similar interactions on The West Wing
, and highlighted what a force the media is in criminal investigations. What I like best about this arc is that it shows just how frustrating being a cop in a town with Batman would be. As readers, we generally only see the other side, but here we’re shown just how much he asks the police to trust him, while giving them very little back.
The art by new series artist Kano is good and keeps with the tone set by Michael Lark. The only part where I missed Lark was when the Titans showed up in the police station. I think Lark really would have brought that down to earth. Uncanny X-Men #463
– I don’t usually pick this comic up, but after handing in my last essay last Wednesday I felt like splurging at the comic shop. The story is average, and reminds me that while I loved Claremont’s stuff when younger, this is the reason I don’t anymore. None of the human moments in this issue seem genuine; everything seems written with the sense that “if someone was really broken up about something, this is what they’d sound like.” The fight scenes seem forced and don’t move the plot forward, and Captain Britain’s quick transition from wondering about everyone’s strange visions to deciding to go “thump some heads” makes him seem less like a king and more like an ADD kid.
The draw here, as always, is Alan Davis’s art, and he does his usual solid work. I’ve used Davis as an excuse multiple times to pick up this book, but this is his last issue, so I don’t think I’ll be back again.Astro City: The Dark Age #2
– I’m liking Busiek’s work more and more these days, as he’s blown me away on his last few projects. This one is no exception. I remember in the early issues of Astro City
I’d be more interested in stories told from the superhero characters’ points of view than the ones that had civilian characters as leads. With this story, however, I’m far more interested in what’s going on with the two brothers than with the superhero stuff going on around them. The Silver Agent plot is intriguing too, but Busiek has made me care more about the “regular” people. Brent Anderson, as always, provides strong visuals and solid storytelling.Runaways #6
– Read this on the beach and now the bag has sand in it. Another one I’ve got to stop buying. A couple of character revelations this issue, one surprising, one not. Both were interesting, but I’m not connecting with this series anymore. Competent work by everyone, all around, but I don’t think I’ll pick up any more.Action Comics #829
– Part of the larger “Sacrifice” cross-over, but this was the only issue I picked up. I thought that based on the strength of the earlier Gail Simone issues that I’d be okay, but I had very little clue what was going on. A disappointing read, and it makes me reluctant to pick up more issues, which is the exact opposite of what a cross-over is supposed to do.Ultimates Vol.2 #7
– A few neat little character moments. The conversation between Jan and Hank was interesting, both for the fact that it was happening and also because it shows how shallow the two are. The Thor and Stark conversation was well done because both characters’ frustration made sense. The scene at Hawkeye’s place made me wonder whether Marvel had a vendetta on the character. The stuff with the cutlery was cool, though. I’m intrigued by the mystery of the traitor: we can rule out Jan and Hank, and Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch don’t seem important enough (though if they were acting for Magneto, that would be interesting). I think the best reveal would be Captain America, but I’m leaning towards Iron Man (that might just be because I’m reading Watchmen
again right now, and I see shades of Ozymandias). Black Widow seems possible, but too obvious. Regardless, I’m sticking around. All Star Batman & Robin #1
– I remember when Frank Miller used to write human beings. Is it like Chris Claremont, where my favourite writers from the 80s eventually degrade? The worst part is that this story would have worked if Miller had drawn it; I would have been able to excuse all the awkward narration and the clunky dialogue (“Go back to your newspaper, sexpot.”) as part of the atmosphere. I’ll probably pick up another issue or two- it’s Frank Miller on Batman, how can I not?- but I won’t be around for much longer.Desolation Jones #2
– So very good. This is how you write humans. Jones should be almost an alien to the reader, but he’s very relatable, despite his messed up past. The scenes with the girl that scares people with her pheromones were surprisingly touching, coming from a writer known mainly for his cynicism. J.H. Williams kills on the art, which is no surprise, and Ellis has said that issues #4 and beyond were written with Williams in mind, so I’m only expecting this book to get better. Astonishing X-Men #11
– Joe Quesada and Brian Bendis said in a Newsarama interview that this book was as good as the X-Men had ever been, and that Astonishing
was the Watchmen
of X-Men comics. Joe Quesada and Brian Bendis are on crack. They seem like decent guys, those two, and I like their work, but I hate when they say stupid things like that. This book is entertaining, but that's the extent of it.
The Professor versus the Danger Room come to life, in a fight that does nothing new. How is the Professor talking telepathically with a machine? I never thought of it before, but telepathy assumes contact between two organic brains doesn’t it? There’s no reason it has to, but this issue doesn’t explain why human to machine would work. The only scene that really shone was the conversation between Kitty and Peter in the middle; that bit was good writing. Cassaday shines and keeps me coming back.
How did I come to be buying so many books mainly for the art? It’s like I’m fifteen again.Daredevil #75
– The last part of Decalogue. I remember when this team was making this one of the most exciting superhero books on the stands, and it seems like long, long ago. I may be wrong, but I don’t think anything new for the character came out of this arc. It was an acceptable read, but I’m wondering what we’re left with. I’m looking forward to the Brubaker/ Lark run very much.