Friday, February 22, 2013

Comic Book Weekly Reflection 2/22/13

Alright, we had a nice range of comics this week from good to bad, so there is plenty to talk about (for the most part).  I’m only sad that I was unable to read My Little Pony Micro Series: Twilight Sparkle this week.  After all these serious and dark comics, it would have been nice to sit down with something more lighthearted and upbeat.
Be warned, there will be spoilers below!
Avengers #6: The spotlight of this issue was the new Captain Universe, a character that I never realized existed until reading this comic.  What do you expect though from a guy who just started reading Marvel comics with this whole Marvel Now event?  Basically, the issue focused on this character and getting some background out of it and the person it is using as a host, a woman named Tamara.  Meanwhile, Tony Stark tries to build this translator thing to understand what the hell this character called Nightmask is saying.
If you saw my reaction to this comic, then you can probably guess how I felt about this comic.  While everyone else seems to be enjoying this comic, I am not because it’s many problems.  The slow moving plot that has barely advanced in the past few issues, the dialogue that is dull and unremarkable as hell, it constantly repeats narrative and itself every single issue (I’m not stupid writer, I remember what you said an issue or two ago), the characters aren’t really likeable this issue, the artwork is forgettable, and even the stuff with Tamara’s backstory is a bit clich├ęd.  It’s just so unrewarding!
So what prevents me from just saying nay to this comic and being done with it?  Well I think there is something worthwhile in this comic somewhere.  If this comic ever actually gets to the point and just stops repeating itself, we might get an interesting plot about the “universe” dying.  Plus this could read quite well in the trade collections.  However, as it is now, I cannot in good faith say this comic is worth the 8 bucks (it is biweekly after all) you pay every month for it.  Maybe in the future, but only then.
Batwoman #17: After a 17 issues, Batwoman finally ends its long and epic Medusa arc.  She takes on Medusa herself (defeating her quite easily); Wonder Woman takes Ceto away from Gotham so she cannot be controlled by anyone; Bette Kane officially defeats the Hook, cementing her as the new hero Hawkfire; Maro is finally free of her evil brother’s presence; Batwoman proposes to her love; and Director Bones of the DEO reveals two interesting surprises to the audience.  Can’t spoil it since you need to read it for yourself.
What can I truly say about this comic?  It is amazing from its great characters to its poetic writing.  That’s not even mention the absolutely magnificent art on display here with its panel layouts, action, and dynamic shots.  The writer and artist, J.H. Williams III, truly brought something wonderful here with this comic and I hope it keeps it up as its moves onto a new storyline next issue.
There is very little bad about this comic outside of Medusa being way too easy to defeat (so much build up and that’s all it took?) and that it is a very breezy read.  You can get through this comic in only a few minutes, so it’ll be all over before you know it.  Still, this is all nitpicks when talking about this story.  You should absolutely read it right now and enjoy what probably is one of DC’s best comics out there.
Justice League #17: With this issue, the crossover event between Justice League and Aquaman, Throne of Atlantis, comes to an end (lots of story arcs in DC’s works ended this month).  Aquaman goes to fight his brother Orm to bring an end to this war and in the process, ends up taking his place as the new king of Atlantis!  Orm ends up being sent to jail on land while Vulko, the man who started this entire war to begin with, is being brought back to Atlantis to face trial there.  Meanwhile, the Justice League decides to expand its roster now that Aquaman has left while two other leagues, one good and one evil, are about to be formed elsewhere.
This comic was just absolutely epic in every sense.  With the scale, the fighting, the changes to the status quo for both Justice League and Aquaman comics, the moments, and even the artwork.  All just epic.  The writer, Geoff Johns, has honestly been doing an average to okay job on this comic for the most part, but nothing ever really that great in my mind.  However, it’s like the guy finally woke up with this issue and brought his A-game to it.  I haven’t been this pleased or excited with Johns work since I read Blackest Night a couple of years ago.
I can’t really muster up a compliant or nitpick about this issue; I just loved it that much.  It’s frankly my pick of the week for all of the comics I read.  I’ll be sure to come back to this comic soon and read it again soon.  You should to.
Justice League of America #1: Speaking of Geoff Johns being on fire with his comic work, here’s another good example.  With the conclusion of the Throne of Atlantis arc, Amanda Waller decides it is time to finally put together her own Justice League, one that she and the U.S. government can control to combat metahumans and if need be, the Justice League itself.  Under the leadership of Steve Trevor, a government agent who use to work closely with the League and Wonder Woman herself; he’ll be training and coordinating of team of unique individuals. 
These interesting characters include: Katana (former assassin who likes to talk to her sword), Simon Baz (the newest Green Lantern and falsely accused terrorist), Hawkman (intergalactic cop), Martian Manhunter (a Martian with his own agenda), Green Arrow (former playboy and rich boy), Stargirl (a celebrity superhero with an amazing heroic track record), Catwoman (thief with possibly an identity crisis?), and Vibe (who I’ll discuss later).
This issue is mostly just setup and introduction for everyone, except Simon Baz, but it’s all good setup.  We get to know who everyone is, what they are capable of, and why they are recruited for the job; without ruining the pacing.  From the team comics I have read in the past, I always found the pacing to be problematic for a first issue where the comic tries to either rush through everyone quickly and move the plot along (Grant Morrison’s JLA) or it just moves too slowly and doesn’t introduced everyone (Geoff Johns’ Justice League).  Here, I think it was done right and quite satisfying personally.
For problems, I’m going to have to direct that towards the art itself. David Finch draws this book and his people tend to be not that good.  The guys are over muscled when they really shouldn’t and the girls all seem to be supporting double D breasts on their tiny frames.  Really looks weird and the over inking at points, really doesn’t help as well.  Though, his Martian Manhunter looks pretty good and rather imposing.
Regardless, I really liked this comic and all of the potential it has.  It’s already off to a better start than the main Justice League book and I think it has a better direction going for it already.  If this was any other week, I would have had this as my pick of the week, but the main book was just too good.
Justice League of America’s Vibe #1: Now onto that Vibe character.  He is Francisco Ramon, an 18 year old from Detroit, Michigan who has these strange vibration powers that he got during the Darkseid invasion 5 years earlier.  ARGUS, a government agency, takes quite an interest in him and the potential he has to help them with their problems.  Apparently, Detroit is a gateway for other worlds and dimensions to enter and with Ramon’s powers, he can actually help prevent anyone from entering their world.  Or at least, that’s what I got from it.
This was a very good first issue from what I found.  The plot and direction of this comic is all laid out just fine and the character work is very strong.  Ramon is a very interesting and relatable character that I instantly got attached to and liked right away.  Plus, the side characters of his brother and the agent who meet with him are also good as well.  It’s a very well put together comic and leaves off on a cliffhanger that could definitely lead to some great stories in the future.
The only problems I have with this comic was that the artwork was kind of boring.  The artist, Pete Woods, is certainly not bad, but his work here wasn’t anything overly special from what I’ve seen.  Also, the dialogue had a bit too much exposition in it and overly explained some things, which lead to a weird moment where the agent casually explains to Ramon during the middle of a fight.
I really came away liking this comic and was rather pleased with what I saw.  I wasn’t expecting much, but I was given more than enough to want to keep reading this comic.  Hopefully it remains good in the future with the upcoming writer changes (Johns was only aboard for the first issue and Andrew Kreisberg, the other writer, had to leave due to having too much on his plate).
Nova #1: A while back, DC Comics did a whole bunch of zero issues, stories that had before the main stories begins.  That’s what Nova here feels like to me, a zero issue even though it is a Marvel Now comic.
It’s hard to describe this comic since there really isn’t much of a story here.  It’s a prologue without depth to it.  We meet Sam Alexander and his family, who live in this town in the middle of nowhere, and the father seems to tell these stories of when he was a member of the Nova Corps, an intergalactic police force.  Sam doesn’t buy it, but then his dad and his space helmet disappear.  He goes out looking for them, but has a skateboard accident and ends up a three day coma.  The comic then ends with him getting a visit from two characters that were in his dad’s stories.
It’s really an uneventful first issue honestly.  Not much happens, you don’t really know what direction this comic is going in (well it’s obvious that Sam will become a Nova, but how is the real question), there’s not much character development outside of a bit of Sam, and the action is minimum and only in the flashback scenes.  It’s rather boring in a way.
I’m not sure how to feel about this main character.  On one hand, I can buy into some of the emotion he has, but on the other hand, sometimes I find him a bit too jerkish at points.  After reading Vibe, who had much better debut for a new teenage hero, I rather unimpressed here.  I’ll also point out the dialogue as well.  In my reaction, I flatly said it just exists.  That’s pretty much it when it comes to the dialogue, it really just exists.  It’s not clever, not too realistic, not funny, rather bland, and nothing really to comment on.  There’s just nothing about it that I could say.
On the flipside though, I did like the art here, especially the coloring with its bright and vibrant colors it had.  I also liked the way it ended, giving me hope that the next issue could be where things start getting good.  Overall though, I’m rather meh on this whole comic.  Check it out if you want, but I suggest holding off until you get the second issue.
Revival #7: And now a break from our superhero comics, let’s turn out attention to the latest issue of this comic.  Lots of things went on this month’s issue; we found out who the killer was, we meet these brothers with a very dark side to them, this crazy talk show guy shows up at the border around the quarantine zone and starts causing trouble with his band of overzealous fans, and a truck crash reveals a whole stash of body parts!  I’m not going to go too much into the details, since I find that you’ll truly enjoy this more if you experience it for yourself.
Not really much to comment on this issue honestly.  I enjoyed it as always, but it really hasn’t improved or changed much from issue to issue.  The story, characters, and mystery are keeping me around for sure, but it’s hard to say much about this comic without spoiling the mysteries in it or if nothing game changing went on in it.  Worth reading for sure.
Thor God of Thunder #5: Another story arc (well more of Part 1 ending) comes to a close as Thor tracks down the God Butcher to where he has been.  We also find out what exactly happened in the cave where Thor was tortured long ago in the past and what is happening in the future as well.  All I can say is that it is not good.
Again, I’m not going into details this time around and allowing you to see this for yourself.  Mysteries and reveals like this are better to experience for yourself.  What I can say was that it was another good issue for this comic, but not as great as the last four was.  I think the character work for Thor was better then and the action was also as well.  This comic, on the other hand, managed to explain Gorr, the villain’s, motivation much better and I come away from it better understanding him.
Otherwise, this was a good issue but not as great as the previous ones before it.  If you have been enjoying the run up until now, I’m pretty sure you’ll like this just fine.
Wonder Woman #17: After getting some usual info on how to find where Zola’s baby is, Wonder Woman hits up Hera for some info and gets some help from her “brother” War.  He offers to take her to Demeter’s home, who is in possession of the baby, and help her out.  However, getting there, they run into trouble when Hermes shows up and slashes the hell out of War.
Okay, this comic was… blah.  Seriously, just blah!  The story barely progressed or moved at all (this comic really likes doing that and it is always annoying), the art was ugly and some characters look horrible, a couple of pages were focusing on a different character that really isn’t that interesting or deep, Wonder Woman was unremarkable and rather weak in this issue (just going to let Orion slap your ass like that?  WEAK), and depressingly, the rest of the characters outside of Strife were just forgettable.
This comic’s quality is just all over the place, being good one second and then bad the next.  It started great, became awful the next during the horrendously long and pointless Hades arc, became great again when Wonder Woman confronted Apollo, and then nosedived again around this time.  Seriously, what’s with this comic and its mood swings?
I cannot in good faith recommend that anyone buy this issue until the trade collection comes out.  If you want to read this in the store or borrow it from a friend, go right ahead but don’t pay for it.  So not worth your time right now.

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