Sunday, June 10, 2007

Bite-sized comic reviews :

Some of these are a week late, as I missed the weekly visit to Comics R Us last week due to commitments to the Smurfette's family.

Black Summer #0 - This $0.99US introductory comic by Warren Ellis probes the logical extension of superheroes existing in a world with corrupt, venal leaders : removal of democratically elected leaders and imposition of a new order. This is certainly fertile ground, and it has been covered in numerous series, including the famous Watchmen, and also the original Squadron Supreme. Ellis doesn't waste any time, and I enjoyed the main hero's matter-of-fact description of what is no more than a super-powered coup. This issue succeeded in sucking me in, and I'll check out at least the first full-sized issue of this series.

The Boys #7 - This series finally finds its new home at Dynamite, after being rejected by DC Comics for content issues. The content certainly continues on its full-frontal way, with this issue having Tek-Knight, a clear Iron Man analogue, confessing to an uncontrollable desire to screw all people, animals and things within his range of sight. Wee Hughie and his crew also visit The Legend, a wizened old man who resides within the basement of a comic book store. The conceit of comic books being a highly sanitized version of the 'real' adventures of heroes in this world is a clever one, and Darick Robertson's art continues to impress. Count me in for The Boys at their new home.

Spider-Man Fairy Tales #1 - This 'alternate world' re-telling of the Spider-Man legend as a Little Red Riding Hood story is cute but ultimately brings nothing really new to the table. The art style of Ricardo Fercio is a little 'junior' and stylistic for my taste, and I won't be getting the remainder of the series. Props to Mitchell and Mark at Comics R Us for getting a copy from another branch for me, though.

Countdown #48 and Countdown #47 - I'll review these two together, as the new weekly series from DC continues. Jimmy Olsen continues to experience new and weird powers. The fact that he isn't consulting with Superman about these powers is getting weirder by the issue, and I have absolutely no idea what's going on with Jason Todd / Red Hood. Is it common knowledge that those two people are one and the same, or what? And what's the story with these Monitors anyway? I'll stick with the series, but the word on many web-pages is that readers are dropping like flies. If that continues, DC may need to re-evaluate their editorial policy of having Countdown tie into so many titles.

Lone Ranger #6 - The long-delayed conclusion of the origin arc is here, and I continue to be pleasantly surprised by this series. The splashy art makes for quick reading, but I'm impressed by the way that all the classic elements of the story have been welded into this origin. Of course, now that the pleasant tingle of nostalgia has been exploited to the full, in subsequent arcs the challenge will be constructing compelling stories given what is in some ways a fairly hackneyed set-up. I like the fact that Tonto has an independent personality and sense of humour, and I hope that the delay to issue #7 is much less than the wait for this one.

Justice Society of America #6 - I continue to be bewildered by the intimate knowledge of continuity required for this series. I have a fairly good knowledge of the DC Universe, but I continue to be stumped by many of Brad Meltzer's obscure references. The annotations as www.eyeoncomics.com have provide invaluable in this regard. Anyway, this is the penultimate chapter in the story, and I really struggle with conjuring any real sense of urgency. One part to go, and the Justice League will hopefully resume suitably world-beating adventures.

New Avengers : Illuminati #3 - My previous comments regarding the knowledge of continuity required go double for this issue. Do people really care this much about material from so long ago?

Daredevil #97 - This is more like it. Be it his work on Captain America, or his wonderful noir series Criminal, Ed Brubaker can't put a foot wrong at the moment. His run on Daredevil builds on the strengths of Bendis' lengthy time at the helm, and he writes compelling interactions between Matt, Milla, Foggy and the Gladiator. Issue #100 (Vol. 2) is approaching, but I don't really feel that I need an 'anniversary' issue to keep my interest. Bravo and well done to all.

Ultimate Fantastic Four #42 - Well, in a shocking coincidence, as the premiere of Fantastic Four 2 approaches, Ultimate Fantastic Four commences a story-arc featuring the Silver Surfer. Pasqual Ferry's art continues to annoy, and the end is hardly a shock when the Surfer is in the title and on the front cover. The interactions between the characters are well-written though.

Review of Action Comics #850 to come later.

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