Monday, July 13, 2009

What I Read This Week

Green Lantern #43 -- Blackest Night has begun!  And if this comic is any indication, we are in all in it deep!  Meet The Black Hand -- the creepiest villian this side of a King novel -- and learn what has turned him into this death-obsessed lunatic.  Johns and Mahnke are a great team, as they turn in an issue that is one part Rogue Profile and one part Big Event Prologue, and works completely on both levels.  Great job also by DC to put this issue out the week before Blackest Night#1 bows, because now I am super-psyched.

House of Mystery #15 -- The Thinking Man's Army is bearing down on the House, just as Harry Bailey has discovered who he really is, and Rina finds herself back at her old digs.  It all comes together in a really bad, bad way.  All this plus "Jordan's Movie Idea with the Gorillas and Sh*t."  "The Space Between" had a lot of reveals and information, but ultimately was not as sastisfying as the previous storyline -- although the last page reveal has the potential for all sorts of goodness, so I am still deeply entrenched.

Red Robin #2 -- Tim Wayne has had a rough couple of years -- and the death of his adoptive father may have just pushed him completely over the edge.  And the one man who may be able to help him on his quest is also the one trying to kill him, so there's that to deal with as well.  Chris Yost and Ramon Bachs continue their strong work on this title after the solid debut last time.  I never really followed Robin (either the title or the character) but this portrait of a young man pushed over the edge is very appealing to me for some reason.

Batman #688 -- Dick Grayson is Batman -- but this is not the same Batman which has stalked Gotham City for years, and some people are starting to notice.  Including Two-Face!  I am not one of the rabid Winnick-haters out there so I do not have that working against me as I approach this issue, which I enjoyed.  He has a good handle on the voices for all of the major characters, especially Alfred, who is great here.  Yeah, Dick does some whining but I didn't get removed from the story because of it -- I thought it sounded pretty natural.  Bagley is an artist I have liked since his days on Amazing Spider-Man, so seeing his take on the new Dark Knight and some of his Rogues was great fun.  I'm sticking with this story arc at a minimum and then we'll see how it goes from there.

Warlord #4 -- The new "golden god" in Skartaris has Travis Morgan and Machiste imprisoned, but not for long, while his allies try to rally support in Shamballah.  But it might all be for naught if the Minosaur has it's way!  Fantastic S&S comic, with a great combo of Grell's words and Prado's pencils really bringing the world to life.  Where this story is heading has got my eyebrows raised, but in a good way.  Definitely a title I look forward to each month.

Wednesday Comics #1 -- DC's other big summer event has bowed, and I have only one word to say about it:


Okay, I will elaborate a little bit more.  Mark Chiarello's homage to the old Sunday Comics section of yore is a success pretty much on all levels, from it's format and presentation to it's amazingly striking (and varied) visuals, to the fun selection of characters and talent.  This is outside the box thinking at it's best -- something the comics industry in this country does not do very well.  It does come with a couple of caveats, though.  First, you have to buy into the idea that this is, despite the newsprint, a prestige format project, and you are going to be pay for that.  Secondly, perhaps more importantly, you have to be familiar with how adventure comic strips work.  Yes, Virginia, you are only going to get a little bit of story in the strip.  Because more is coming next week.  That's how Prince Valiant works, that's how The Phantom works, that's how Tarzan works, and Mandrake, and Flash Gordon, and Mary Worth, and Juliet Jones, and so on and so forth.  Neither of those are hurdles for me, so this is aimed right at my gut and hits it dead-on.  The best strips were some of the more unusual ones, such as Paul Pope's pulpish Strange Adventures, or the split-page format Flash Comics (half devoted to The Flash, half to the Benday-dotted Iris Allen), or the so beautiful it's a crime Sgt. Rock.  Sadly, the only complaint I have is that the Kyle Baker Hawkman strip completely falls flat.  Otherwise, this is a blast!

War of Kings: Warriors #1 -- Two stories which originally were "online exclusives" fleshing out the War Of Kings cast somewhat.  Our first feature stars Gladiator back before the War began detailing how he achieved his position in the Imperial Guard.  The second feature (truly, these are two features, as they are the same length) showcases my man BLASTAAR and how he retook the throne on his homeworld of Balur in the Negative Zone.  Christos Gage has a good handle on both of our stars, and does a great job with both tales.  The Gladiator piece, with art by Mahmud A. Asrar (whose Dynamo 5 I have never read), is a nice flashback piece and does an admirable job of fleshing out its star, who really has come into his own in the main series.  The Blastaar feature's art is handled by Carlos Magno, and is downright awesome.  It's heavy, massive art, filled with power and Kirby dots which perfectly fit the massive and powerful character of Blastaar.  This is the story I have been waiting for since his cameo in the first Annihilation.  A great pick-up for those reading the Marvel cosmic titles.

The Pick Of The Pile is obvious for me with Wednesday Comics.  Putting that aside, I'm torn as there were lots of good comics this week, but any time Blastaar gets his own feature, I'm game, so it goes to WoK: Warriors.

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