Thursday, April 28, 2011

Yesterday's Comics Reviewed

Ruse #2:

This comic is fantastic. I've long known Mark Waid was a man of great talent and sensibility, but I once believed his keen insight was solely directed at the world of superheroes.

How satisfying to be proved ignorant. This title, his characters, are so enjoyable I plan on tracking own Waid's original CrossGen run, whatever the older art style may be.

Archer Can't Swim

Waid takes the best of the Sherlock Holmes archetypes (genius, energy, inhuman focus) and adds a more common and continuous sense of humor. Putting Simon Archer in a fast paced Victorian mystery is reason enough to buy Ruse, but then there's Emma Bishop, Archers assistant or partner (depending on which one of them you ask.) In effect his better half, Emma provides muscle, common sense, more humor and a strict adherence to the details Archer overlooks (eating, swimming, compassion, etc.)

Together they make a dynamic, eminently readable team. This title MUST be made into an ongoing series, and quickly.

Best Line: "Simon's doing what he always does when he's faced with a problem he can't solve: He tackles one he can." Pure Sherlock.

FF#2 and Amazing Spider-Man #659:

Despite the different tones, these titles can be combined for obvious reasons; namely, the perfect chemistry that Spidey has with Reed, Ben and Sue, and even with Valeria and the rest of the Future Foundation.

FF focuses first on Ben's reactions to Doom joining the team (hint: they're negative) and then on the brilliant minds of the FF (basically everyone except Ben and Sue who instead go have a drink at a bar) working to restore Doom's injured mind.

Clearly I've been out of the loop pre-Johnny Storm's death, but I had no idea Victor had become mentally retarded (apparently it happened during the unread Doomwar series.) Nor can I see the benefit of fixing him, though it seems Val (man I love her) has some deep plans for him. In the end, another solid Hickman issue, beautiful as always, though rather less dramatic and eventful than usual.

The Spidey issue hearkened back to an oldschool Fantastic Four romp and is a comic of adventure and hilarity as the team faced pirates, zombies, pirate zombies, and the dangers of cosplay. Full of action, humor, great dialogue, a solid climactic twist and that pitch-perfect Spidey team chemistry, it seems I owe Dan Slott more chops as a great writer than I've given him. Not only does he know Spidey through and through, he knows how to make a comic full of joy.

Best Line: (Ben attempting to Blackbeard) "Oi, what's all this then? Why are ye botherin' these fancy pants blokes when we should be having a tot o' rum and chasin' birds?"

New Mutants #24:

Age of X concludes here, and it went out in style, if a little predictably. But shock value is overrated and this was a solid story. Ambitious, beautifully drawn, and very tightly paced (three months to tell a six-part story? Unheard of) Mike Carey's mini-crossover can be considered a great success.

Last Stand

While nothing very new was revealed in this final chapter, the crux of the story having been hinted at and discovered previously, we still got some satisfying closure to this world and some very promising dangling plot threads to be explored in the future. (Frenzy and Scott, Pixie as Nightmare--dear God do I hope they retain their memories a bit longer.)

Best Line: (Emma Frost to Scott, after his post-return liplock with Frenzy) "Not to be completely forgettable has always been an ambition of mine." Carey's got her snark down pat. He should write Emma more often.

The Walking Dead #84:

The No Way Out arc ended here. Fortunately Rick didn't die, but Carl's future remains uncertain (one doesn't need ALL of one's head intact to live...right?) Kirkman shows us yet again why his titles endure so long, despite often heavy-handed dialogue.

In the midst of his greatest turmoil and fear, Rick has an epiphany. A clever, simple twist of perspective that casts this Zombie world into a new light. The benefits of organized manpower. Miraculously the survivors manage to destroy the entire enormous herd of Walkers, though in the end it seems like common sense that they should do so.


I didn't like this arc at first, and certainly didn't appreciate another widescreen tragic gore splash page from last months issue, but this issue redeems it with a new insight on this long-running comic. Kudos. I look forward to seeing Rick put his new ideas into action.

Best Line: "After everything we've been through, all the people we've lost...I suddenly find myself overcome withs something I thought we'd lost...Hope."

Brightest Day #24:

Another series comes to its end, and this final issue has been a year in the making. However, I don't feel psychologically ready to discuss. I was perfectly willing to accept all of Geoff Johns' new mythology, the return of swamp thing, the white light and traces of Nekron, elemental heroes, the resuscitation of Captain Boomerang for yet another murderous action, but then Johns hits me with a cliche that I hate.

He gives Dove and Boston Brand true love, has them finally admit it out loud, and then kills Boston, though returning him in his ghost form, fulfilling all tired, tragic love dramas. Frankly it felt embarrassing, and I almost put down the comic (I've grown fond of Dove, and Boston, turns out, is super handsome when not wearing that creepy white skull mask.) I'll revisit the issue in awhile, but for now, can't get over that cheap, obvious, and not even well-executed emotional manipulation.

Best Line: "I'm...I'm sorry." (I read that as Johns speaking directly to the reader.)

There are more to review, such as the new Batman, Inc. But I got a page into it when that trademark Grant-Morrison headache kicked in, so I think I'll put it off another day.


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