New comics I bought this week:
America’s Got Powers #1 - I’m finding it hard not to be cynical about this series. All of Bryan Hitch’s realistic superhero costume designs look just like those he’d been drawing in The Ultimates, which I find distracting, and the whole reality show element feels pretty played out at this point (not just in comics, but in pop culture in general). The art as a whole is good though, and I’d like to think that Jonathan Ross has something a little more interesting up his sleeve than he’s letting on, so I’ll stick with this series for the rest of it’s run.
Avenging Spiderman #6 - I’ve become a fan of Marco Checchetto’s over the past year or two. I like his style, but there are a few things that bug me about his art. In this issue particularly, I noticed an instance of him re-using a drawing that wasn’t meant to be a stat panel. Then there are the instances where you can tell that he drew something full size and then shrunk it down to fit into a panel. This isn’t a big deal, but you can see the difference in quality between a small figure inserted into a book this way and one that’s just drawn small on the page. Call me picky, but those things bug me. Otherwise, I love his fine linework and attention to detail, so I was pretty excited to hear about this 3-part Punisher/Daredevil/Spiderman crossover drawn entirely by him. The story thus far is standard, but I’m looking forward to part 2 in the next issue of Punisher.
Batwoman #8 - Okay, does anyone have any idea what the hell this story is about? Because I sure don’t. I can’t remember who half of the characters are and I’m not entirely convinced that that’s because I haven’t been paying enough attention. Also, there is bad art and then there is sloppy art. Amy Reeder’s art on this book is sloppy. It looks like she’s spending about half as long as she should be on it either because of deadlines or because she just doesn’t care about the subject matter she’s working on. Maybe I’m full of shit, but I sometimes feel that you can tell how much an artist cares about the book they’re working on by looking at their art on said title. In this case, it looks like Amy would rather be doing anything other than drawing Batwoman. Again, maybe I don’t know what I’m talking about, but I have a sneaking suspicion that I do.
Conan The Barbarian #3 - I am in love with this book. The writing, the art, the colors, the whole package. I was sad to hear that Becky Cloonan was leaving the title, but according to the backmatter in this issue, she’s coming back on #7! In the meantime, I’m sure that James Harren is going to kick this book’s ass. Seriously, Conan The Barbarian has become one of my runaway favorite comics in 3 short issues. Read this damned book!
Crossed: Badlands #3 - Why, oh why isn’t Garth Ennis writing every issue of this new ongoing Crossed series instead of a rotating group of writers?! In my book, this 3-issue arc has been one of the most well-written comics of the past year. Nobody writes inner dialogue better than Ennis and his over-the-top scenes of violence and vulgarity feel earned, whereas David Lapham’s felt like shock for the sake of shock. Maybe I sound insane trying to justify the validity of a fat, hairy female zombie squatting over a guy’s face and yelling “Eat me!”, but when Ennis writes it, it feels wrong…in all the right ways.
Glory #24 (2nd Printing) - I decided to buy a second copy of this issue because of the appearance of my character: Man-Gull. Thanks again to Ross Campbell for that!
Glory #25 - I would buy every issue of this book until the end of time just to see Ross Campbell’s artwork, but with this issue I finally feel that the story is beginning to reach the heights of quality that the art has been at since the series began (or came back, or whatever…weird numbering…). I LOVED seeing Ross draw the sequences on Mars 500+ years from now with all of the alien races and cool landscapes. If the book keeps getting better from here, it’s going to be a serious force to be reckoned with on the comic racks every month.
Haunt #23 - After reading the last issue I was willing to accept that this series might be on the path to winning me over. After reading this issue I can tell you that I’m looking forward to the next. I’m still not really sure what most of the characters’ motives are or why I should care, but Nathan Fox’s art hasn’t disappointed, I love the book’s colors by Ivan Plascencia, and Joe Casey’s dialogue doesn’t hurt the proceedings. I’m excited to see Haunt go toe to to with whatever the hell that giant fiery monster is in #24.
Saga #2 - I wasn’t blown away by Saga #1. Similarly, I wasn’t blown away by Saga #2. I fear that the art style simply isn’t for me, but I’m willing to give the story plenty of time to work itself out. I owe Brian K. Vaughan that much for providing me with such excellent past reading experiences as The Runaways, Y: The Last Man, and Ex Machina. Right now I’m just along for the ride.
Saucer Country #2 - For the first time since Scalped, I think I’m hooked on a new ongoing Vertigo series. With that said, I’m not sure how much of my interest in the book is the actual book itself and how much of it is just my desire to keep Vertigo in my regular reading routine. I know, that’s a back-handed compliment if I’ve ever heard one, but it’s true. For now though, regardless of what the reasoning is, I’m happy to have Saucer Country on my pull list.
Secret Avengers #25 - How is it that I enjoyed Venom’s meager appearance in this issue of Secret Avengers more than I did when I was reading his own series for 5 or 6 issues? Both booksare written by Rick Remender! I was once again impressed by how Remender kept the story moving and understandable despite the constant jumping around from character to character. This may not be one of the most amazing superhero stories I’ve ever read, but it was a good time to be sure.
The Secret Service #1 - My least favorite thing about Mark Millar’s Kick-Ass comics is the constant referencing of pop culture. One issue in, that is also proving to be my least favorite thing about The Secret Service. I like the overall premise thus far, and the Uncle Jack character is interesting. I just hope that Mark Millar doesn’t get too carried away being…well…Mark Millar. I feel like he’s had more misses than hits lately, but you can never take The Authority, Ultimate X-Men, The Ultimates, or Civil War away from him. Because of those 4 books I will probably continue to at least try any series he writes for the remainder of his career. My fingers are simply crossed that he drops some of the pop culture nonsense and focuses on telling a good story, which I can see the beginnings of somewhere in this issue.
Winter Soldier #4 - While I like Butch Guice’s style, there are still some things that annoy me about his work on this series. Those scenes in the Latverian Alps, for example, look like grainy photos because, I’m sure, they’re just some form of rendered photos. That kind of stuff bugs me. As for the story itself, this has been a pretty standard Cap-verse Brubaker book. I always enjoy them while I’m reading them, but they tend to be kind of forgettable. Lots of semi-interesting espionage and baddies with names like Professor “insert-generic-German-surname-here” and Baron “some-name-that-sounds-foreign-and-evil”. Seriously…I read all 50+ issues of Brubaker’s initial Captain America run and all I can tell you about it is that Bucky came back as Winter Soldier and Cap died for a while beginning with issue #25. I don’t want to give up this series because I like Brubaker, but in hindsight it hardly feels worth it to spend money on a title every month that I can hardly remember a few days after reading it. *sigh*…
Some older stuff I snagged from the store this week:
Justice League International Vol. 5 TPB - I’ve been collecting the Justice League International hardcovers for a while because I love Kevin Maguire’s art and the comedic take on the team courtesy of Kieth Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis. What bugs me is that after 4 volumes of hardcovers, volumes 5 and 6 were only released as softcovers. I was holding out on picking up volume 5 because of this, and because I bought the first 4 volumes at comic shows and got got Kevin Maguire to sign them, which is a trend I wanted to continue, but when a damned-near new copy popped up in the store for 50% off and I realized that Maguire (unfortunately) doesn’t even have any art in this volume, I decided to go ahead and pull the trigger on it. It’s just a shame that it won’t look uniform on my shelf next to all of the hardcovers…yeah, I know…”first world problems”…