The Week In Ink: 4-25-07
Hello again, folks, and welcome to what may well be the last post you read on this blog.
Originally, my plan was to just go ahead and leave my introduction at that, but at the risk of scaring away what little readership I've managed to build over the past couple of years--or get anyone concerned about my whereabouts--I'll explain a little: After tonight's post, I'm taking a few days off to recharge, and while the ISB as you know it may never return, I'll be back Next Thursday night with a surprise that will crack the comics blogger internet in half. Or the parts that revolve exclusively around the eternal conflict of Man vs. Bear, anyway.
Change is in the air, friends. Of course...
...some things will never change.
Yes, come rain or shine, hell or high water, success or utter oblivion, it's Thursday night, and that means it's time for another round of the Internet's Most Final Comics Reviews! Here's what I snagged at the shop yesterday...
...And here's what I thought about it!
52: Week 51: I actually ended up enjoying 52 #50 quite a bit, but after the unmitigated disaster that hit the shelves alongside it last week, I've been getting the feeling that two weeks from the finish line, 52 has officially run out of steam. It could just be my disappointment with World War III creeping over, but this week's installment just felt like a bunch of stuff that toed the line between being sorta-neat and sorta-awful.
The high point, of course, was Animal Man coming back home to Ellen, and the low point was the reveal of Mr. Mind's amazingly goofy new look (which pretty much ignores the fact that being a weird little worm with a radio around his neck is 90% of what people actually like about the guy), and everything in the middle just sort of lays there like a stack of bad pancakes. I mean really: Robin's line about the reason for his new costume was a nice touch, but where exactly does he get off lecturing the Ravager about not knowing who Terra and Young Frankenstein were when he's the guy who hasn't mentioned them once in the stories that take place one week later and who seems to be perfectly content to let their killer wander around trying to think up a new magic word?
Which, for the record, is "Snausages."
Amazons Attack! #1: I'll be honest with you guys: Besides the obvious, I have no idea what is going on in this comic. Admittedly, there's a footnote in there specifically for folks like me that advises us to check out recent issues of Wonder Woman for the backstory, but since doing that would involve, y'know, actually reading recent issues of Wonder Woman, I think I'm just going to go ahead and pass on that little offer.
Anyway, from what I gather just from this one, Hippolyta's the latest beneficiary of a the completely unnecessary return from the dead, and for some reason, she is very, very angry at Abraham Lincoln. Other than that, I got nothin'. I don't know why she's back, but considering that she's an ancient magical Amazon queen who fought Nazis and then got killed during an intergalactic war in outer spaaaaace, I think it's safe to say that there aren't a whole heck of a lot of explanations that could make less sense then what we're already working with. Me, I'm just reading it because I'm hoping to pick up some tips in my own war with the sinister gynocracy. Vive Le Resistance!
Blue Beetle #14: Last month, I made the offhand comment that over the past year, Blue Beetle's managed to bounce back from a rocky start to become a fun, solid, character-driven title that I look forward to reading every time it comes out, and I was pretty surprised to find that a lot of you guys out there agreed with me. Not that I should've been: John Rogers and Rafael Albuquerque have really hit their stride over the past few months, and are doing a better job putting a fresh spin on the reluctant teen hero than I've seen in a long while, and this issue shows exactly why. Heck, it even makes me actually sorta like Guy Gardner, and I didn't even like that guy during JLI.
Of course, the fact that he and the Beetle team up to fight a transgendered Nazi gorilla at the South Pole doesn't really hurt matters, but the point stands: If you've often found yourself lamenting the precarious state of solid DC Universe titles like Manhunter and Catwoman, then this is one you should definitely be checking out.
Catwoman #66: For those of you who were wondering why I picked up Amazons Attack! given my comments on the current state of Wonder Woman, look no further. I've been singing the praises of Will Pfeifer's work alongside David Lopez on this title almost every month since the OYL jump, and with good reason: This comic is nothing but fun.
Admittedly, this particular issue's probably more suited to my tastes than anything to come out since Nextwave ended, what with the fact that the major plot point of the issue is a fight scene where Holly picks up a chair and drops the hardest hit since New Jack on Blitzkrieg, a new villain who blows things up and dresses like a photo-negative version of the St. Pauli Girl, but while my love of a well-constructed fight scene is pretty well-known, it goes a little further than that.
Even with the rest of the great stuff that happens in this issue, those three pages where Holly throws down on Blitzkrieg stand as one of the best, most satisfying fight scenes DC's had in a long while, and they're a reminder that solid fights with some actual emotional content don't involve characters casually punching people's hearts out or ripping their arms off.
They involve pretty girls hitting each other with furniture, and damn it, there's a difference.
Firestorm: The Nuclear Man #35: One of the most frustrating things to deal with for a comic book reader is when a series meets its untimely end not just while it's on an upswing, but when the axe falls right in the middle of a story, and that's exactly what we've got here. I mean, it's bad enough for a series to end with Martin Stein lost to the clutches of Darksied--although what the almighty Lord of Apokalips could possibly want with a third-rate physicist who couldn't even get a job outside of the fast food industry in 1988 is well beyond me--but when the last page is Firestorm charging through a Boom Tube swearing vengeance, with no clue as to if and when this story's actually going to finish?
It hurts, Dwayne McDuffie. It hurts my heart.
Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes #29: I'm generally pretty favorable towards Tony Bedard given what I've read of his work on Exiles and some of the latter-era CrossGen stuff, but man, this is the first issue of Legion of Super-Heroes that I've read in two years that I consider to be completely skippable, and that includes the entire twelve-volume set of Archives.
I'm not even saying it's Bedard's fault; from all appearances it looks like he was handed the bum job of scripting the issue that "explains" everything--including the relatively limited and generally pretty pointless return of the multiverse--and ties into 52, and to his credit, he handles it better than most. The problem, I think, is that I just re-read the shockingly underrated INVASION! mini-series a couple of months ago where the same themes with the Dominators were done in the mildly magnificent Mantlo manner, and when coupled with the fact that this issue ends with virtually the same shot as the last, it all feels warmed-over and repetitive. Here's hoping this won't be the issue that sets the tone for the rest of Bedard's run.
X-Men: First Class #8: I can't really speak for anyone else on this, but back when First Class started, I honestly didn't expect anything out of it, but here we are eight months later, and I've come to think of this book as a great kind of success story for everyone involved. Admittedly, it might not be that hard to get people to read something that has the word "X-Men" right there in the title, but with every issue, Jeff Parker and Roger Cruz have gone beyond just doing an all-ages book about the original X-Men into a title that's closer in tone to the classic Untold Tales of Spider-Man, leading to a giant-sized special next month and an ongoing series after that.
That, my friends, is the power of putting talking monkeys in your comic.
Agents of Atlas HC: As my recent eBaying will attest, I'm trying to avoid buying stuff in trade that I already have the issues for, but with this thing, I'm making an exception. And it's not just because Jeff Parker and Leonard Kirk did one of the best Marvel mini-series of the year in a story that taps into an often-ignored segment of the company's history, although that's a big part of it. The love that Parker has for these characters is almost tangible when you read through it, and the fact that he seems to have spent the months since working them into any other place he can--like the upcoming Marvel Adventures Avengers Special with Kirk or Gorilla Man's appearance in X-Men: First Class above--comes as no surprise when you see how much he manages to do with them in the six issues that ostensibly just serve to get the team back together. All that's nice, don't get me wrong, but it's nothing I didn't already get out of the issues.
No, this thing does one better, and includes, along with a bunch of other bonus features, the seldom-reprinted first apperances of all these characters from the Golden Age and the What If story that has them teamed up as the '50s Avengers, which practically doubles the size of the book. The main story alone would almost be worth shelling out $24.99 for, but with that stuff thrown in? It's a no-brainer, and if you haven't read it already, it's less than seventeen bucks on Amazon, and well worth it.
Degrassi Extra Credit v.3: At this point, I realize that the amount of people who care about my affection for Canada's finest high school melodrama can be summed up as, well, me and any teenage girls who stumble across my blog while trying to find kickass MySpace layouts, but some things have to be said. So if you guys could allow me to just put this out there for J. Torres:
I'd just like to say thank you for using Spinner's sister Kendra, who, if memory serves, showed up for one episode, became Toby's girlfriend, and then vanished into the aether, never to be heard from again. I always wondered what the heck happened to her.
And that's the week. As always, if you have any questions or comments about something I read, passed up, didn't mention, or you just want to talk about how Black Panther riding the Silver Surfer's board through space in a battle to save a giant floating head is pretty much everything we all love about Marvel Comics, feel free to leave a comment.
Until next week, though, it looks like this is...
...or is it?