Friday, April 5, 2013

Comic Book Weekly Reflection 4/5/13

With me writing for Adventures in Poor Taste now and as my college semester is coming to a close, I am sad to report that I’ll be doing less and less reaction shots each week for a while.  I still promise to hit up the big and important comics for each week, but I’ll only be doing that on Thursdays now.  Anyhow, enough about that, here’s what I read this week.
Be warned, there will be spoilers below!
Action Comics #19: I actually went over that comic on Adventures in Poor Taste, so click the link below to check it out.
Animal Man #19: This issue felt more like a true epilogue to the Rotworld then the last issue (which in turn felt more like an ending than the issue before it), dealing with the fallout after Cliff’s death.  Buddy hits an all-time low as his family cuts themselves off from him and the Avatars of the Red kick him out of their kingdom (he still works for them, but he can’t visit or talk with them unless they say so).  The whole issue is a downer if there ever was one.
There really isn’t much to say about the issue other than that.  The writing is fine, the characters and emotions are fine, and the art is fine.  However, there’s no real current direction for this comic to go now that Rotworld is over and with the family broken up.  I’m sure something will present itself, but not at this moment.  Still good, but not as last month’s issue.
Detective Comics #19: Or in reality, Detective Comics #900 if DC was still continuing with the old numbering.  Regardless, this is a meaty and packed issue with a bunch of stories written by the current writer, John Layman, and a bonus story by James Tynion IV that connects to the Talon issue this month.  The stories written by Layman all connect to a Man-Bat outbreak on the 900 Block in Gotham City in some fashion, whether seeing how Batman is dealing with or how Emperor Penguin is using the event to his advantage.  There’s too much for me to go over, but they are all pretty fun and enjoyable reads, even with a new version of the Man-Bat himself.
Every story here has a different artist drawing it and they are all pretty good looking, with maybe the exception of Jason Masters’ art for the last story, which does not fit with the tone from the rest of the book.  There’s also a couple of pin-ups from various different artists that draw Batman, which are nice and all.
While I liked this issue, it honestly does not feel like an anniversary issue to me, celebrating how long this comic has been going on for.  It feels more like a big annual, where the writer gets more room to continue his story than usual.  Also, the ending of the main story with how the Man-Bat plague is stopped is kind of anti-climatic honestly.  It does open the door for some interesting stories in the future on the flipside (honestly, a lot of the stories in the comic left groundwork for future storylines, which I do appreciate).
Not the best way to celebrate 900 issues, but still a fun and enjoyable read none the less.  I’m going to give this comic my pick of the week (a week that was honestly not as good as usual for me).
Indestructible Hulk #6: This is the start of a new arc where Bruce Banner and his scientist team heads to Jotunheim to find some rare metal that could be beneficial for their little science projects.  However, the trip takes a rather unexpected turn when Thor shows up and it’s revealed when the team traveled to the world, they also went back in time and now Thor doesn’t recognize any of them.  The issue ends with everyone getting attacked by Frost Giants, the Norse God getting knocked a couple miles away, and the Hulk picking up Thor’s hammer to fight off the monsters.
This issue was rather… average.  There’s nothing particularly bad about it, it’s not doing anything particularly special either.  The story is fine but rather slow moving, the dialogue is average (with one occasional good line), there’s not much in the way of character development outside of a very brief bit at the beginning, and the action was nothing memorable.
One thing I noticed when checking the reviews on this comic was that everyone loved the artwork, done by a comic veteran named Walter Simonson.  Honestly, I’m not seeing what the big deal is here.  His art looks rather dated with the line work and flat coloring.  It’s not all that visually appealing and makes this comic feel like a relic from the past in a way.  He’s not a bad artist, it’s just this art is just so jarring after coming off the last artist from the book, giving the book a weird inconsistent tone in a way.
I had high hopes for this comic when I first heard about and especially after reading some of Mark Waid’s Daredevil stuff.  However, this comic never seems to really ever get off the ground or truly impress me in anyway.  It’s never bad, but never amazing; especially highlighted by this issue.
Miss Fury #1: Another review done for Adventures in Poor Taste, so check out the link below to see what I had to say on this piece of crap.
Swamp Thing #19: After the event of Rotworld, Alec Holland as Swamp Thing has started doing his duties as the Avatar of the Green.  He’s going around the world protecting plants and trying to correct any problems he’s hearing about.  One particular issue he’s running into is someone called the Seeder, who is messing and exploiting the Green Kingdom for some unknown reasons.
Taking a break from his duties, he heads Metropolis to relax a bit.  There he runs into Scarecrow of all people, who is trying to harvest some flowers for his fear toxin.  When confronting him about it, Swampy gets hit by a bad dose of the toxin and starts freaking out, causing gigantic vines to grow out of the ground and cover skyscrapers.  The issue ends with Superman appearing and looking rather unamused by this turn of events.
This comic marked the beginning of a new writer and a new change of direction for the series, with the focus more on shorter stories and about Alec now as Swamp Thing.  I find it a nice change of pace and quite different from before, even noticing how new reader friendly it is.  The character stuff here is very good with Alec feeling less and less human as time goes on and starting to worry about what he is doing.  The dialogue and voice of the characters are all very good as well.  The story didn’t really progress much and kind of ends abruptly.
The artwork is also very appealing and easy on the eyes.  There’s lots of great detail, use of color, and even some subtle things that you might not notice.  My only nitpick complaint with it is that Swamp Thing at points looks a bit… silly with some of his facial expressions.
In general though, a pretty solid and good start here for this comic.  I definitely recommend this comic, especially to people who jumped off during the Rotworld arc because it was too long.  This should be more of what they are looking for now.

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