Friday, January 23, 2009

Comics Reading List

Hack/Slash #19 (Writer: Tim Seeley, Pencils: Kevin Mallon)
This title continues to be the only good thing coming out of Devil's Due Publishing. This issue wraps up the lingering plot thread involving Pooch, introduces a new villain, and potentially sets up a new status quo for Cassie and Vlad. One of the things that continues to impress me about Tim Seeley's writing is that, even as he utilizes longterm subplots, he's actually able to tell a full story within a 22-page periodical, a talent that most writers from DC/Marvel seem to have lossed. And I would be lying if I didn't admit to enjoying the cheesy exploitation in the story, from the slasher homages to the lesbian fanservice. Not for readers with good taste, but everyone else should give this title a try.

Battlefield: The Night Witches, Part 3 (of 3) (Writer: Garth Ennis, Pencils: Russ Braun)
This is the conclusion to the excellent short story about the Night Witches, a WWII era Soviet bomber group composed entirely of women. Garth Ennis doesn't re-invent the wheel on war comics, but he does hit all the expected marks with an unquestionable competence. There's doomed lovers, innocence lost, and a frank depiction of what war does to ordinarily decent people. Ennis brings an authenticity to the characters and the violence that is often lacking in war stories, and Russ Braun's artwork effectively captures the ugly reality of Stalingrad. Certainly worth buying if you already have the first two chapters.

100 Bullets #99 (Writer: Brian Azzarello, Pencils: Edward Risso)
I think I'll hold off discussing this until the next, and presumably final, issue comes out.

Mysterius the Unfathomable #1 (Writer: Jeff Parker, Pencils: Tom Fowler)
Jeff Parker made a name for himself at Marvel by writing kid-friendly superhero comics that kids would actually want to read. This title is his first notable shift away from superheroics, instead focusing on a mystic and his new assistant. Given that this is the first issue in a new series, it carries the burden of making a lot of introductions through a lot of expositionary dialogue. Still, Parker manages to given the reader a strong grasp of the main characters and sets up a story for next issue. Tom Fowler's artwork is very cartoony, and it works perfectly for Parker's tongue-in-cheek script.

Justice League of America #29 (Writer: Len Wein, Pencils: ChrisCross)
This was fucking terrible. I wouldn't even steal this comic, it's so bad. I would discuss why it's bad, but that would require thinking about it, and I just can't bring myself to do it.

X-Men: Kingbreaker #2 (of 4) (Writer: Chris Yost, Pencils: Dustin Weaver)
I have a soft spot for Marvel's cosmic heroes, and as a long-time X-men fan, this book would seem to be right up my alley. Unfortunately, I still can't stand the character of Vulcan, one of the most obnoxious ret-cons in comic book history. Even if Vulcan was tolerable, this story is clearly just treading water until War of Kings begins.

The Might Avengers #21 (Writer: Dan Slott, Pencils: Khoi Pham)
If you've read enough superhero comics, then you've read one of those stories where the writer tries to convince you that the weakest, most useless member of the team is, in fact, the lynchpin that holds the team together. Those stories invariably suck, for the obvious reason that nobody but the writer (and a few obsessed fanboys) actually care about the crappy character in question. So it is this weak with Hank Pym, aka the Wasp, aka Ant-Man, aka Giant Man, aka Goliath, aka Yellowjacket. Dan Slott spends the better part of an issue trying to convince the reader that Pym really isn't the C-lister that he's been for 40 years. At least the Scarlet Witch is back, and not quite as crazy as before.

Dark Avengers #1 (Writer: Brian Michael Bendis, Pencils: Mike Deodato, Jr.)
Brian Michael Bendis gets to write whatever the fuck he wants at Marvel. As with the Dark Reign one-shot, this issue is one long, tedious set-up. I could bring up how Bendis wastes an inordinate amount of space on splash pages, or how his characters say far too much and do far too little, but I'd just be spitting into the wind. The guy sells books. At least Deodato's art seems a little less porn-lite than usual, though he does work in an ass-shot or two.

No comments: