Saturday, October 22, 2005

This week in comics. 

(I live again.)

Got a few things percolating in my head, but two of them aren't quite ready yet... and so I warm up with the third thing. I know the blogosphere has been missing it.

She-Hulk #1 (Dan Slott, Juan Bobilo) - The surprisingly vibrant, surprisingly funny, surprisingly playful Marvel title returns, and I find myself a little alarmingly lukewarm on it. There's not as much bounce here as before; perhaps there's been enough backstory now for Dread Continuity to take over, and I admit I balk at any recognition of Lame Publisher-Decreed Crossover Events in titles I felt were doing just fine on their fucking own, thank you very much. Dread Continuity demands Dread Plot, the kind of draconian master to which characterization and organic storytelling are constant enemies. Say it ain't so, Slott.

The Intimates #12 (Joe Casey, Alé Garza) - In the "ticker" of pages two and three are the following question and answer: "What do you do when you want to buck trends and sell books...?" "You create a teen superhero book where nothing much is meant to happen." To which I can only say: so it wasn't just me, then. Though I'm generally fond of Casey's work, I think he gravely miscalculates what got this book its initial critical boost (of which I was an enthusiastic part.) People came for the style and energy, not to watch a title slowly collapse in on itself. I'm not about to suggest that what The Intimates needed to stay vital was the aforementioned Dread Plot, but any sense of direction at all would have been a welcome change from basic aimlessness. Also: the ticker, while an interesting and refreshing idea, really slowed the reading of this book down to a crawl. Fatal for a book that already has problems with momentum.

303 #6 (Garth Ennis, Jacen Burrows) - Ahh, the fetishization of weaponry as the wheels of turning history. This is Ennis-porn, plain and simple, so I suppose it's fitting that it appears on Avatar. While Ennis manages to pull off a shocker of a conclusion that wouldn't have gotten a green light at the Big Two publishers, the book's lackadaisical release schedule and suffocatingly reverent tone bogged down any true sense of momentum. Perhaps this one'll read better collected.

Supreme Power: Hyperion #2 (J. Michael Stracyzskzninzsinszki, Dan Jurgens) - Klaus Janson really is an overwhelming inker, isn't he? Entertaining enough, I guess, if nakedly paint-by-numbers. This one's getting dumped in favor of the far superior Nighthawk mini by Daniel Way and Steve Dillon.

Runaways #8 (Brian K. Vaughan, Adrian Alphona) - I'm actually a little embarassed to admit I still buy this, but the title these days inspires such lethargy I can't even muster the energy to get it off my pull list. "Treading water" would be a kind assessment, and crossovers and guest appearances of old characters always strikes me as, editor mandate or not, the sign of tired ideas.

Manhunter #15 (Various) - Filler issue, relating the sordid tale of how Kate Spencer assembled her Manhunter costume. I could not possibly care less. This title, originally so promising, is beginning to get mired down in characters and convoluted situations rather fast: its original leanness and rather refreshing sly savagery is getting dumped out the side, and that's too damn bad. Here's hoping for a turnaround... and it's always nice to see Sean Phillips art.

Birds of Prey #87 (Gail Simone, Ed Bennett) - DC titles are no less susceptible to Lame Publisher-Decreed Crossover Events, and said Events do have an annoying tendency to creep into titles that don't need the intrusion. It's odd, really, watching Simone step out from what she's known for into what is turning out to be a very conventional superhero team comic. Doubtless, she has strengths in the field: her team dynamics are solid, though I'd like a little less characterization-by-proxy. (Canary, please stop telling us about this or that trait possessed by Oracle or Huntress; let's just fucking see it in action already.) In a bit of a lull, but every issue is a uniformly strong showing.

The Walking Dead #22 (Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard) - Right. They're trapped in a prison, see, both of a physical and social making. We get it already. It's a cute metaphor, really, but this title was much more interesting when the characters were on the road. Societal Microcosm Breaking Down Under Zombie Siege is, shall we say, a little played out.

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