Monday, November 19, 2007

What I Read This Week

Batman and the Outsiders #1 -- After all the hype, it's finally here! The new Outsiders -- Katana, Catwoman, Metamorpho, Martian Manhunter, and Grace, along with Batman back in the Batcave with Thunder -- undertake their first (second, really) mission, infiltrating Jardine Tower in Central City. But what is waiting for them inside is something none of them are prepared for. Chuck Dixon takes the team which Bedard put together and runs with them -- literally, as we have a fast paced tale here which is little more than an introduction to the team and a setup of what should be a brawl next issue. Julian Lopez's pencils are a good fit for the action-orienataion of this book, and he does facial expressions nicely as well -- what else has he worked on? I don't recognize his name, but I like his style. Dixon's script is something of a mixed bag, however. I like the pacing (no shots of Batman standing around a table!) and the dialogue rings fairly true (I hated Catwoman putting herself over on Katana... but that's how Catwoman would talk, so I can't really fault Dixon for that). But there's just not a lot of meat here. It's a fast read, and left me feeling a little let down. Hopefully the next issue will resolve that, because this is a very cool setup for the new series.

JLA Classified #46 -- Another issue of "Ghosts of Mars," another Walt Simonson cover. This one is nicely laid out, even if it doesn't match the sheer awesomeness of the previous one, which is one of my favorite covers of '07. Anyway. With Malefic using the Martian Manhunter's body to battle the Justice League, J'Onn must overcome the mental walls he is imprisoned in. But even if can regain control of his body, can he possibly hope to control his guilt and loneliness? "GoM" wraps up in satisfactory fashion here, as we get a nice psuedo-MM/JLA fight, including getting J'Onn's hilarious insight into Plastic Man. Leonardi and Phillips shine; Leonardi's pencils especially are evocative of Simonson without aping him, appropriate for the story. We also get some real character bits from Gray with J'Onn, which, while not ground breaking, are interesting and do offer a nice sense of closure. Overall a nice Martian Manhunter (woo!) story.

Wonder Woman #14 -- Hey, did you hear? Apparently Gail Simone is writing WW now. I heard something about that, I think. Heh. Anyway, Simone doesn't do anything too groundbreaking here, building on the previous stories in this volume and setting up where her Diana is going to go. Don't mistake me -- this is a good story, filled with talking apes and foreshadowing, but it's not going to blow your mind and change your conception of what the Amazon Ace is all about or anything along those lines. But the last page tease of the next chapter, coupled with the Dodson's somewhat-less-but-still-cheesecake art and the return of an old, old WW supporting player marks this issue a a good starting point for Simone and a good point to "jump back on" for those who bailed on the series.

X-Men: Die By The Sword #3 -- After the morass of last issue, things get back on track here as the Captain Britain Corps. and the Exiles go toe-to-toe with "Mad" Jim Jaspers and his newly created army of Furies in Otherworld. Claremont is in his element here, using the battles to provide insight into his cast members with some nice omniscient narration. This is further evidence to me that this series was scripted and plotted for 4 issues, but then stretched out in 5, as things move smoother here and feels a lot less padded -- you could combine this one and the previous into one issue without much loss. Still only for Claremont/Excal fans, even though Excal themselves only appear for about 2 pages within; the Exiles stuff seems a little forced into what is primarily an Excalibur tale.

The Pick of the Pile goes to Wonder Woman. None of the comics I bought this week were world-beaters, but Simone's take on Diana was interesting and the new story arc looks very promising.

So what did YOU read this week?

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