Wednesday, January 2, 2008

What I Read This Week

Iron Man #24 -- Fitted with a dampener device which prevents him from using his Extremis powers, and officially told by the CSA that his investigation in Omaha is finished, what is Tony Stark to do? The same thing as you or I -- fake an exotic vacation while smuggling in the classic Red-And-Gold armor in order to dig deeper. But the Mandarin does not approve of snooping from his Western enemy! A nice mix of action and machinations this time out, as about half the page count is devoted to a struggle between Iron Man, Captain Ultra, Doc Samson, and Mandarin's super-powered goon, and the other half fleshes out not only what Mandy is doing, but Tony's realization about how he is tied into all of this. The Knauf's continue to examine not only the poltical ramifications of Tony's position, but the pyschological effect it is starting to have on him -- and it doesn't look like things will be letting up for the Golden Avenger any time soon. Abd what can I say about Butch Guice, who continues to offer an off-beat but very raw and powerful rendition of Iron Man. Fans may be turned off to the character but should give this series a shot, because I can't imagine anyone not being impressed with this story. Also, the cover features a cute homage to two Shellhead creators on a t-shirt I am considering screening.

Flash #235 -- In the frontend, Wally West leads a trio of Justice Leaguers (Wonder Woman, GL John Stewart, and Black Lightning) to the home planet of the undersea invaders who have been plaguing Keystone City. But it seems that not all is as it seems for the Scarlet Speedster! The backup story features Wally and Impulse visiting the Flash planet, where Bart apparently saves the day and dooms tomorrow at the same time. Williams' art remains bright and interesting, with a sort of Kollins vibe to it, but Waid's work in the features is lacking. This is a filler piece, designed to push "The Wild Wests" to 6 parts. It's draggy and uninspired. The backup is better, with Rogers tapping into (ironically) Waid's work from the 90s in writing Impulse, and Braithwaite's lush pencils, which remind me in their style of Alex Ross. Mediocre issue all around.

Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash #3 -- The biggest horror crossover in the history of New Line Cinema rumbles towards the halfway point as Ash and Jason come into conflict, and then S-Mart becomes a slaughterhouse. Freddy gets what he wants, but how will this effect Mr.s Voorhees' baby boy? Suffers from being part of the middle act -- there's a good set piece in S-Mart, but we know the result of it because it's a predictable twist required for the story. More disappointing is the art -- I'm not sure if Jason Craig just did layouts and someone else finished, or what, but the art takes a noticeable downturn this time out, and looks all herky-jerky and with none of the smooth linework of the last two issues. The story is still involving for a horror fan, but the art was a major turn off for me. Bleah!

The Pick Of The Pile is an easy choice this week. Iron Man has been a very strong title since the end of Civil War and that does not change any here. Intrigue, mystery, action, and a bigger plot all combine to make a very enjoyable modern superhero comic book story.

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