Friday, March 8, 2013

Comic Book Weekly Reflection 3/8/13

Well I’m disappointed this week.  I had plans on reading My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic #4, Lost Vegas #1, Ame-Comi Girls #1, and Age of Ultron #1.  I couldn’t get my hands on a copy whether it be at the stores or borrowing one from my friend!  I was really looking forward to reading these ones.  Oh well, still had some good stuff this week. 
Be warned, there will be spoilers below!
Animal Man #18: Buddy Baker has finally gotten out of Rotworld and return back to the present time, just before Maxine is corrupted by the Rot.  He goes in and saves her and his family as well from the Hunters 3 (well two since one is dead).  He and Maxine team up, crushing the monsters and strangely revealing them to be not former corrupted Avatars of the Red, but normal people who were apart of Project Taproot (related to Black Orchid?).  However, before the family can truly relax, Buddy’s son, Cliff, is killed protecting him from William Arcane.
It took a long, long, LONG time to get here after several months of a crossover event that went on and on.  I didn’t mind it honestly, but the quality wasn’t that great and sort of petered out towards the end.  With this issue, writer Jeff Lemire really brought back that great quality from the earlier issues that I’ve been missing.  Great characters moments, solid action, good family dynamics and drama, hints of intriguing story arcs yet to come, and tragedy.  Most importantly, to me at least, there was only one artist drawing this book so it managed to keep a consistent feel throughout it for once.  It was all here and it was great, but also heartbreaking as well.
I do sort of wish it ended better for Buddy and his family, especially considering everything dark and tragic thing that has been happening to them since the very beginning.  However, I can move past it and hope for the best for them as story continues to move forward.  There’s a lot of promise I find coming soon, with the return of the movie from issue 7 to exploring more about the mysterious Black Orchid and her powers.  It was a good ending to this long arc and I hope it can keep up with quality as the next arc begins.
Avengers #7: Okay, this wasn’t one of the good stuff I mentioned.  There really isn’t much for me to say in terms in the plot here since barely anything happened.  It was mostly setup with Nightmask constantly repeating something about White Event (hence why I constantly repeated those words throughout my reaction), the Avengers standing around and discussing what to do, cutting back to scenes at this random college somewhere, and then it abruptly ends with us meeting someone whose probably important.
Now people complained about my thoughts on this comic or pointed out that not getting it, not realizing what Hickman is doing, his own writing style, his use of big ideas, such and such.  Well I’m sorry.  I’m sorry that I found this comic completely dull and lifeless.  I’m sorry that I found the pacing abysmal.  I’m sorry that I found the characters to be uninteresting, irritating, clich├ęd, or forgettable.  I’m sorry that dialogue is flat.  I’m sorry I found the repetition to be really annoying and worthy of mocking.  I know Warren Ellis did it with New Universal, where a lot of this comic is apparently coming from, but that doesn’t mean it’s actually good.  I’m just sorry that I don’t like it as much as you do.
Yes, Hickman has a very large and probably epic plan in mind for this comic and yes, this comic will probably read better in trade format.  But you know what?  Does that excuse this pacing?  Does that excuse how uninteresting or forgettable the Avengers themselves are?  Worst of all, this doesn’t excuse the fact that this doesn’t at all feel like a team book!  Outside of kicking their asses kicked back in the first arc and deus ex machina saving their asses as well, what have they done as a team instead of just standing around and talking!?  This is an Avengers book!  DO SOMETHING!!!  It’s like Hickman is more interested in everything else but the Avengers themselves.
The art is great though.  I’ll give that it, but I just wish there was something interesting to look at.  You could say that I should just give up and wait to read that in trades, but that honestly doesn’t make this a better comic, especially with a price of 4 to 8 bucks a month.  I don’t mind setup issues (Sword of Sorcery has been nothing but setup and world building), but dammit, put in characterization, good dialogue, or even some action.  Just something to make this comic exciting, because I refuse to give up!
Detective Comics #18: After the Penguin leaves Arkham Asylum after the whole Joker incident; he discovers that he is completely penniless.  His old assistant, Ogilvy, has taken over all of his holdings and crime organization, establishing himself as the Emperor Penguin.  When trying to attack him, Batman arrives and takes down the Penguin, which gives Ogilvy just what he wanted.  With one of his obstacles out of the picture, Ogilvy turns his attention to taking out Batman with his new secret weapon, the Manbat serum.
This was a good issue and I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t nearly as interesting as the issues that came before it.  It’s hard to nail down the exact problem I had with it, I just feel that it didn’t interest me as much before.  Though, I can definitely point out that I really did not care for the tie in to the Death of Robin thing in this comic.  It only lasted a page and half (probably not even that), but it felt so crowbarred in and pointless to the main story.
Not really much to say about this issue sadly, but it was definitely good and if you have been reading it so far, you won’t be disappointed.
Green Arrow #18: After being saved the mysterious Magus, Oliver Queen needs to figure out what the hell is going on and why Komodo is trying to kill him.  Meanwhile, we learn more about Komodo, who seems to be a business man and have his own daughter.  He also apparently did not kill Jax and Naomi, instead kidnapping them to work for him.  Oliver returns back to the crime scene where Emerson was killed and discovers a secret room in it that houses many different treasures and weapons.  When leaving, he tries to zip line out of the area, but Komodo, who tracked him down, incredibly shots the rope and causes Oliver to start falling.
Man, I couldn’t even cover most of the stuff in this issue with a simple one paragraph summary.  We were introduced to new characters and mysteries; we got hints of what is to come in the future, and surprising revelations as well!  So much packed into one issue that I’m just pumped and excited as all hell to know where this will be going.  Throw in some characterization, humor, amazing art (that shot of the helicopters was fantastic), and tense moments and you got a great issue right here.
Lemire was on fire this week and I am so glad I decided to read this comic when he came aboard.  What once was a terrible comic, is now becoming a must read that everyone should check out.  That means you audience!
Sex #1: Simon Cook was once a superhero (I think) in Saturn City, who had given up the job after a love one passed away.  He has returned to the place and his huge company several months later, learning about how things have gotten worse, though we don’t see it particularly.  He seems pretty out of it from what I can tell, masking his true feelings around friends and coworkers.  However, things may change for him when he runs into an old flame called Shadow Lynx, who runs in a sex shop in one of the sleazier parts of the city.
Now going into this comic, I didn’t really have a good feeling about it.  I mean with a title like that and the writer himself describing this comic as Batman meets 50 Shades of Gray, who wouldn’t be skeptical about this one?  To my surprise, it wasn’t really that bad.  This comic is really good when you think it would have no right to be.  The main character is interesting, the plot threads that are building have my attention, the dialogue is engaging, and the artwork [especially the great coloring] is fantastic.  It really brings this world to life and makes it look so eye catching.
But despite that, I have two problems with this comic.  The first and biggest one that stands out to me the most and certainly will to you if you read it, is this weird word highlighting going on.  In the word balloons and panels, certain words look like someone used a highlighter on them.  It’s really confusing and distracting.  The other problem I have here is the sex itself in the comic.  I was expecting it, but I found it so awkwardly placed in the comic.  The main character goes to this sex shop at the end and starts watching these girls go at it, but mixed into it is this flashback scene with this woman dying and telling him to give up.  It’s so weird and with both of these things going at the same time, I’m not sure how to feel at all.
It’s a well written comic with great art, but some weird problems to it that could possibly get worse if they keep persisting.  I’m not sure if I’ll return to this comic in the future, but I don’t regret reading it at least.  For the much older readers out there, this could be for you.
Swamp Thing #18: Alec Holland, aka Swamp Thing, has returned back to the present to before the love of his life, Abby Arcane, is slaughtered by her evil uncle Aton.  He manages to save her and stop his present form, but she tells him that he’ll just keep coming back.  As such, the only way to do so is for her to accept her destiny as the Avatar of the Rot and must die in order to do so.  Tragically, Alec is forced to kill her and she takes on her new duties, finally putting down Aton for good.  Swamp Thing returns to the Parliament of Trees, not sure what to do next.  Abby shows up there and they share a final kiss before they go their separate ways, never again able to be together.  The comic ends with Swamp Thing thinking about the future and being ready to take on whatever comes his way.
It took many months, an annual, and a zero issue but the Rotworld arc and also Scott Synder’s run on Swamp Thing comes to an end.  After a horrendously bad last issue, I wasn’t expecting much from this issue and just hoping it ends somewhat well.  Thankfully, it ends just perfectly I feel.  It wrapped up everything in the story, it had fantastic characterization, the action was brutal, the imagery was phenomenal (I love how Abby’s new form is reminiscent of that creepy alien creature she was back in issue 8 and 9), and the ending was both hopeful but sad as well.  I describe it as: Beautifully tragic.
I especially liked how the ending title for this comic: Lay Down Them Bones, with returns back to the first issue’s title: Rise Them Bones.  Really makes gives that feeling of completion in my mind.
Scott Snyder’s Swamp Thing has been slow (VERY slow) at points; but has also been horrifying, tragic, and yet touching as well with Alec and Abby trying to escape their inescapable fates and be together.  I was truly absorbed and drawn in from the first issue of this series and I am completely happy and satisfied with how it all ended this issue.  I hope for the best with the new writer taking over next month, because it’s going to be hard to get me this emotional over a comic like this again.  Ultimately, Swamp Thing #18 is my pick of the week and if you were thinking of giving up after that piss poor issue last month, do yourself a favor and read this.  You’ll be glad you did.

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