Sunday, April 23, 2006

Rapid Reviews

Still trying to catch up. I'm still about a month behind. After this gets posted, I'm starting on March 29th's books. And I've got a couple more review copies I need to review, as well. AiT/Planet Lar sent me Channel Zero to review, but I've only flipped through it a couple of times, not really read it. Then Boom! Studios sent me What Were They Thinking: Some People Never Learn, which I haven't even flipped through yet. So... lots of reviewing to catch up on. Let's get started.

15 March 2006

Infinite Crisis Secret Files: Superboy Prime's punches are what have caused all the continuity errors since the Crisis? Cool, I'll buy that line. There wasn't really a whole lot more substance to the story, though. Just "let's escape" "ok" *punch* *punch* *punch* "We're free!" Certainly not enough of a story to justify the whole Secret Files treatment, I thought. Still, it adds a bit to the current crisis. 2 starfish

Birds of Prey #92: "Inseparable": One Year Later, and the Society is still around... and has gotten even stronger. Bad news for the heroes. (aside: I wonder if Aquaman will run into them again, and if King Shark is officially still on the team?) The interplay in this one is just great, from the Crime Doctor's fear to the snarky byplay during the fight. And oh, how Lady Shiva took care of the Ventriloquist! The look on his face after her rather terrifying threat was one of the best things I've seen in comics recently. That panel is just priceless. The subplot involving Black Canary was also excellent. You know, this is one of the best issues of this book I've read yet. 4 starfish

Shiva and the Ventriloquist

Green Arrow #60: "Crawling Through the Wreckage Part One: New Sheriff In Town!": Nice build-up. If the solicits hadn't given away the ending, this one would have been even better. As it was, the whole one year later thing works well with this book. There are some extremely thinly veiled references to Katrina and New Orleans, and some nice hints as to what is keeping order, such as it is, in Star City. I've been pleasantly surprised by the One Year Later books, this one might be yet another keeper. 3 starfish

Superman #650: "Mortal Men": I didn't intend to get this. I'm not into Superman. But the names on the cover... Kurt Busiek, Geoff Johns, Pete Woods... too much creatorly goodness to resist. But I absolutely will NOT get addicted to Superman stories. You hear me Kurt? You cannot lure me over. Won't. Happen. Ahem. This is good. Almost too good. The entire story, you are wondering what Clark's deal is. And that last scene in the alley tells much and makes you want to know more. Good use of the Kryptonite Man, too. Another solid one year later book. 3 starfish

Superman/Shazam: First Thunder #4: "Men and Boys! Goes and Thunder!": A nice look at the differences between Billy and Clark. There doesn't seem to be that much difference between Captain Marvel and Superman, but the differences are stark when you compare the person under the cape. I liked seeing Superman chew out Shazam, as well. A decent book. 2 1/2 starfish

JLA Classified #18: "Salvage the Steel Heart": The artwork bothered me a bit on this one, but I couldn't put my finger on what disturbed me. The story isn't bad, though it's nice to see the superheroes beating the crap out of the bad guys, I was far more interested in seeing what happened to the dictator and his zombie soldiers. I can wait for the next issue. 2 starfish

Truth, Justin & The American Way #1: Too many pop culture references to count, this one is obviously aimed at my generation. It's "Greatest American Hero" done right. Ok, I'm not a fan of the artwork, it just isn't my favorite style. I like Kurtz's art and love Aaron Williams, so I feel slightly cheated to be getting their writing and not their art on the book. But it's a snappy read, the characters are fun, and the art is really good for being in a style I don't care for. This one is worth picking up. 3 starfish

Angel: Old Friends #4: I liked this one. Nice how Angel figures out who the fake Lorne is. And the double who shows up at the end is a definite surprise. Looking forward to the finale. 2 1/2 starfish

Conan #26: "Seeds of Empire": We get back to the framing sequence, the prince and his evil-looking wazir, and for the first time get a dishonest account of Conan. I find the growth of the prince through his learning of Conan to be a great part of this book, so seeing the Wazir manipulate the stories actually upset me! The only problem I had with this issue is that the last issue left off on a bit of a cliffhanger... so we're going to have to wait for the resolution of that tale while this one is being told? I never expected to be addicted to Conan. 3 starfish

Conan: Book of Thoth #1: "The Serpent Slumbers": The very early origins of Thoth... and a neat telling of the story, too. I seem to really like origin stories. Sometimes way more than the tales that come after. This one is a good one, though the story got further along than I was expecting it to get, so I'm looking forward to seeing what the next issue covers. 3 starfish

Oz: The Manga - Epilogue: Not a lot to this one. Basically, it's Dorothy telling her aunt and uncle about her adventures in Oz. This includes some scenes from the novel that didn't make it into this adaptation in the spots they appeared in the book. It's nice to see some of those oft forgotten bits illustrated, but, like I said, there wasn't a lot to this. Still, Hutchinson makes up for it with a nice sketchbook. I would have liked to see more of Aunt Em's and Uncle Henry's reactions to Dorothy's stories, but other than that, a nice little epilogue to a great little adaptation. 3 starfish

22 March 2006

Legion of Super-Heroes #16: I was enjoying this right up until the final page. The entrance of Supergirl seemed nifty enough, but what she said just made me want to throw the book across the room. I love Kitson's art, and Waid's Legion has a snappy attitude that's fun to read. But that last bit left me cold. 2 starfish

Batman #651: "Face the Face part 2 of 8": We get to see the OYL Batman and Robin in action, along with a smatter of reaction from the people on the street who saw the bat-signal. Still not sure what's going on... but this book at least holds the promise of finding out. It doesn't seem to be assuming I'll know everything that's happened the last fifteen years. 2 1/2 starfish

JSA Classified #10: "The Rise and Fall of Vandal Savage Part One": At first I thought we were getting another origin story for good ol' Vandal. But no, this is all happening in the present. Er, One Year Later. Nice flashbacks. I like those kind of flashbacks for some reason. Pseudo-historical stuff interests me, I guess. After all is said and done, I'm enjoying this story and looking forward to seeing how it plays out. 3 starfish

Noble Causes #18: Nice twist. This is so much a soap-opera book that it's hard to say much about it without giving stuff away. Let's just say it was a nice, unexpected twist, and I'm curious to see where it leads. 2 1/2 starfish

Squadron Supreme #1: "The Pre-War Years": I didn't read the miniseries that spun out based on this book, so I apparently missed the intro of some characters. For the first issue of a team book, this wasn't too bad, at least. I do want to note that on the team two-page spread... notice anything stupid about the costumes? Like... every single guy is covered from head-to-toe, while the women are showing a whole lot of flesh? Ok, one exception on the guy's side. But no exceptions with the women. How hard would it be to design one female costume that actually covers and protects the body? I don't know if we'll be continuing with this book. 2 starfish

Alice in Wonderland #2: One of these days I'm really going to have to read the entire original novel. I've read parts of it, even whole chapters, but I've never read the entire thing cover to cover. This adaptation makes me think I ought to remedy that. I love the way the poem is told in this one. Another great issue from Rob Espinosa. 3 starfish