Friday, February 15, 2013

Comic Book Weekly Reflection 2/15/13

Our first week of the blog has come to a close, so let me actually reflect back and actually talk a little bit more about the comics I read this week and truly give you what I thought of them.
Be warned, there will be spoilers below!
Ame-Comi Girls Featuring Supergirl #5: This was the wrap up to the first arc of Ame-Comi Girls, with Brainiac finally attacking Earth; with only Supergirl, Power Girl, and a couple of Manhunter robots to stop everything.  There wasn’t much in the way of character development this time around, so we really don’t have too much of an idea of what Supergirl is like, unlike the rest of the main cast we got to know so far.  It also doesn’t really end the Brainiac storyline, just of letting it bleed into the main series, starting next month.
What I do say what was actually good about it was that the action was great; the humor and banter between characters was enjoyable as always (Robin and Jesse Quick were the biggest treat in that department); I do like some of the interesting changes they made for this universe, like the true reason Krypton was destroyed or how Brainiac found its planets to devour; and I also really enjoyed the art on this, with its manga-ish style and colors.
The comic was really a lot of fun to me and something I hope continues to be this good when the main series truly begins next month like I mention.  Despite the other comics I read this week, which certainly are better written or drawn, this was my favorite comic of the week.
Batman #17: Probably the most controversial title of this week, Scott Snyder brought an end to his Death of the Family storyline.  Here, we finally see what Joker was planning this entire time, what truly happened to Alfred, and what this “death” would be for everyone.  And what happened was actually nothing.  Nothing at all.  Alfred was “jokerized” but none worse for wear, the Bat-Family members all survived, and Joker was defeated in a mind game and fell once again down something very tall.  Well actually, in a bit of reversal, Batman actually wants to bring the family a bit closer after these events, but instead, they want some distance from him.  Don’t see that often, so perhaps that’s our symbolic death.  A fracture in trust and family bonds between allies.
Lots of people heaped praises (IGN in particular slapping this comic with a 10 out of 10) and some others called for Snyder’s head after this ending.  I think both wrong in particular regarding this finale.  I found it actually pretty good, since I actually would believe the Joker would do something like this.  I mean, it’s not like he hasn’t pulled a bait and switch before on Batman, like in the opening of Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth.  However, it can feel a bit cheap to have nothing, outside of some distrust between heroes, so I can see where people are coming from even if I perfectly fine with this ending.    I’m also not sold on the overabundance of dialogue in this comic, when the art (which is just beautiful and amazing) can perfectly tell and give the emotion of some scenes just fine.
It’s not a perfect issue like people claim, but it’s neither as horrific as others make it out to be.  I’m thinking after all this emotion and hype settles down, people should come back to this comic and reread it.  Should give people a better perspective and thought on this comic after all of this craziness.  For me, I’ll do just the same, but I still believe I will enjoy later down the line.
Katana #1: Okay, I’m not kidding when I say this: I had no idea what is going on in this comic.
Seriously, I couldn’t tell you what the plot of this comic is at all.  Katana has come to Japantown in some city in California to… work on her sword skills or hunt down some evil people?   I don’t know!  It’s so disjointed and poorly told that I can’t make heads or tails of what the purpose of anything is!  You’ll just have to read the comic and see if you can understand what the hell is going on in it.
Then as you’ll read it, you’ll see the other problems with this comic, besides the lack of a goal.  The pacing is bad, character motivation is extremely vague, and the dialogue is terrible.  Then there is the art itself.  It is so bad.  Everyone is completely scary looking from their freaky facial structures to their dead and soulless eyes.  The buildings are poorly drawn, the action is clunky or stiff, and the coloring makes it really dull.  There’s also no inking, which is personally something that bothers me more than others, but it actually makes some of the work look unfinished, especially when you look at people’s faces.
So, with all of my complaints, you may recall that I gave this comic a meh instead of a nay, which is when I completely dismiss a comic.  To be perfectly honest, this comic is hilarious in how bad it is.  That dialogue I mentioned?  It’s a laugh riot with the clich├ęs, silly monologues, and dumb banter and talking between characters.  I was really cracking up while reading this.  Then there are points with the art where Katana actually makes these goofy battle cry faces where her mouth is twisted open in an extremely goofy manner.  It’s all just so bad.
On a positive note, I will say Katana is an interesting character from what is presented and eluded during the comic.  This mysterious past, her combat expertise, the conversations she carries on with her dead husband’s soul trapped inside of her sword, and her drive all add up to a good start for her.  Perhaps as the series goes on and her inclusion with Justice League of America (we’ll get to that when it actually comes out), she could develop into a really great character.
It’s really hard to say that you should check this comic out since it’s really not that good, but I would be lying if didn’t enjoy it to some degree.  I also seen and heard from people who do enjoy it and see things in it that I don’t, so maybe this could appeal to you more than it did me.  So what I’m saying is, if you see it in the stores, maybe flip through it and see what you think.
Saucer Country #12: With this series sadly approaching its conclusion (April is when the last issue hits) and knowing full well that it won’t wrap up without answering every question, reading this issue was rather sad for me.  In the story, the election night is closely approaching and Arcadia and her team try to win some last minute points with people.  Meanwhile, we have a bombshell dropped on us when we learn the Vice President candidate that Arcadia elected turns out to have been also abducted by aliens in the past while the issue ends with Professor Kidd about to hang himself.  Lots of things went on in this issue besides that, but it was also really good as well.
The writing was as good as always, with great dialogue scenes and character moments.  The art was also just as good with Ryan Kelly, a really underrated artist from what I find, bringing these characters to life with their facial expressions and body language.  It’s all so really good, but it’s almost all over as well.
I know that the writer, Paul Cornell, has said that he plans on continuing this series when the rights return back to him, so not everything is completely lost.  Still, I am going to miss it for the months it’ll be gone.
Team 7 #5: Speaking of comics getting cancelled and coming to a close, Team 7 will also be getting canned as well.  You know what truly stinks about that though?  The comic has actually started getting good again.  After a brief flash forward to the future where we see Deathstroke confronting his old team member Lynch, we find the team resting up after the whole Eclipso mission back at base.  Dinah Lance confronts Lynch back then about the true purpose of the team, Fairchild and Deathstroke have a good character moment, and we also see a lot of cameos and references of important things to come (Hank Hensaw who is future Cyborg Superman, Ladytron, Majestic, and the Spartan program).  Lots of great things and great hook at the end with cyborgs/robots rising up in the past while Majestic mysteriously reappearing in the present.
And all of this stinks for me with this comic getting cancelled in May.  All of the interesting plot development, the introduction or reintroduction of characters from the past or Wildstorm universe (who I really don’t know of, but will certainly make fans smile), the great characterization and good moments between others, and potential of great future storylines really just disappoint me that all of it will probably not be fully explored!
While I certainly didn’t have as much fun with this comic as I did with others this week, I’ll still miss it when it’s gone. It’s also a bit of a shame for the writer, Justin Jordan, in a way, since both books he was working on at the time (this and Deathstroke) both got cancelled together.  Sure he got Superboy to write now, but still.  Hopefully his final issues for this comic will at least bring this comic to a satisfying conclusion.
Uncanny X-Men #1: The only Marvel book I checked out this week, this was pretty good.  A mysterious individual (who turns out to be Magento in the end) turns himself into S.H.I.E.L.D. custody and offers Agent Maria Hill a chance to ruin Cyclops, the new big face of the Mutant Revolution.  We don’t know what the plan is, but it certainly won’t be good I can tell you that.  Also during the comic, we have a flashback scene where Cyclops and his crew recruit in a new mutant with… bubble/ball/spherical abilities?  I have no idea what his powers are.
For a first issue, I think the plot is laid out well enough and the hook at the end with Magento being the one who wants S.H.I.E.L.D. to take down Cyclops was actually pretty surprising.  There’s tons of potential here for me to be interested in checking out the next issue and the character motivation for why Magento wants to do this is pretty good (Is it consistent with his past appearances in other comics?  I have no idea).  The action was also pretty good in the fight scene, showing off everybody’s powers quite well and what each of them brings to the table.
On the flipside, I’m not sure why I should like any of these characters.  From what I was given and shown in this comic, no one seems particularly likeable (or interesting, maybe, but likeable?) or has given me a reason why I should care about them.  Maybe future issues will do that, but I need something like that for a first issue.  Then there is also the art.  I’m a bit mixed on it.  I like the art’s style, but I’m sure if his cartoony visuals are best for this comic.  The characters are also occasionally hard to tell who they are.  I wasn’t able to identify who Magik, Emma, or Magento (in nonflashback form) was from looking at them.  Finally, the coloring done for the stuff in the present was fine, but I found the colors used to illustrate the flashback to be rather dull.
Still, I did come away liking this comic and interested in seeing where it would be going in the future.  I like All New X-Men the better of the two X-Men comics Brian Michael Bendis is writing, but this was fine as well.  Maybe a different artist and some better character writing could fix this up to a must read new Marvel Now title.

1 comment:

  1. As regards the Uncanny book, I'm so tired of SHIELD being front and centre in the regular Marvel Universe these days. Remember when heroes and villains didn't have to be given assignments by them, or ask for their help? SHIELD is rubbish and should stick to running barber shops.