From the Comics Bin/Raves and Reviews:
I've been out of the comic book reading business for a while now. With all the other mundane necessities and distractions of life somehow I just could no longer justify all the problems that came with collecting comics. Like excessive cost, poor quality, a glut of merchandise. Click here to find out how I got dragged back into the life. Click here to hear the story of the Comic book Mafia.
Now, time to check out these picks and pans of comics probably still in your local comic store. I received eleven books last week from my subscription service. It says a lot about the state of comics, that out of that eleven there were only three that I thought were worth the money, and those three winners were written by English writers. I wonder what that says about the state of American Comics, when our best writers have to be imported.
nine books that struck out were:
is producing the most comics of any comic book company. And I guess it's just a matter of percentages that they would have the most books given the thumbs down this issue.
Stars and Stripes #0- Co-Written by the usually satisfactory James Robinson this latest book in the new JSA craze is the least enjoyable. A basically empty filler story with an annoying lead character, and uninspired art. At 2.95 I honestly felt robbed. Heck at 50 cents I would have felt robbed. A very strong thumbs down. Definitely one to avoid.
Scene of the Crime #3- This Vertigo mini-series probably all together is a good book but I couldn't tell it by this issue. I was lost in the sauce and didn't care much about getting found. A long meandering story, that fails to pull in new readers, or tell a self contained story. The book isn't bad looking, acceptable pencils, inks, and colors; but I just don't care about it. They lose me from page one. Ed Brubaker needs to take lessons from Brian Bendix in making multi-part storylines, where each book still manages to stand on its own. At 2.50 I felt immediately like getting my money back.
Resurrection Man #26- This was my first time checking this book out and all I can say is thank goodness its my last. Not even worth taking the time to review. If someone offers you one of these books run don't walk to the nearest baseball bat an beat them to death. At 2.50 someone should have paid me to review this book. Puts the B in bad.
Legends of the DC Universe #18- At 1.99 the price is a little better, but still needs to be reduced by 75 cents. But even 75 cents cheaper the story is still immediately forgettable. Mark this one L for Loser.
Nightwing #33- has somehow become a cult fave of fans. Back issues going for ridiculously high prices. I picked it up and the art by Scott Mcdaniel and Karl Story is excellent, and the colors and color separation by Roberta Tewes and Jamison respectively makes the book stand out. The story by Chuck Dixon is good. But just good. This book suffers from the problem plaguing a lot of books, good when you charge $2.00 for a book is just not good enough. Where left at 15 minutes with a piece of a story, again the problem, with installment stories. I'm sure I would like the collected trade, but individual issues are too expensive and relatively threadbare. My recommendation save your money for the trade.
Only one Marvel Book came in this week, and that was one too many.
Captain America #19- Seeing that Waid, the guy who brought me back to comics, is the writer on this book and Andy Kubert as artist, might just be doing the best work of his career, I really wanted to like this book. I only have a couple of problems, I hate what they've done with Captain America. This new morphing shield... hate it! This new cosmic storyline... hate it! What they've done to the skull... that really stupid costume... Hate It!
Putting Captain America in a galactic storyline is like putting Batman in one, it is a waste of a great character. It plays away from the inherent strengths of the character. Like putting James Bond in a war movie, while interesting it ultimately obscures the strengths of the character. And like every other book, at 1.99 this one is too expensive, and hey Marvel what happened to the gate-fold cover you used to justify the increased cover price. You guys don't miss a con. All the adds in this book you know you can give this to the readers for 80 cents cheaper, and still make a profit. Greed will be the downfall of this medium.
From ONI PRESS comes VOLCANIC REVOLVER #1. The title really interested me, and the blurb seemed interesting. But the actual comic was about as interesting as watching ink dry. It was a really bad, very long foreign movie distilled to the comic page. At 2.95 its a huge waste of time. Thumbs down.
Okay enough with the losers, onto those few who earned my vote for Must Reads of the Month.
THE AUTHORITY #3- Seeing as I've been out of comics for the last few years I'm not too familiar with the work of Warren Ellis. But he seems to have made quite a reputation for himself on books like Hellraiser and Transmetropolitan. And if this book is any indication it is a well deserved reputation. Written by Warren Ellis, with rich, sumptuous art by the team of Bryan Hitch and Paul Neary and lush, vibrant colors by Laura Depuy this is just a pleasure to read. Just exquisite, effortless storytelling. And even though this is the third part of a four part storyline, I don't feel left out or lost. It's a complete story, which is what every part of a storyline should be. Strong enough to stand on its own. And the really weird thing is not much happens in this issue, it's sort of a calm before the storm; but what a calm. Ellis and crew do more with the calm in this book, than most creative teams do with a storm. Definitely going to hunt up the first two issues, and await semi-patiently for the fourth. Highly Recommended. B+.
TOM STRONG #2- I really had it in my head not to like this book. I've never been a huge fan of golden age pulp fiction, it reeks too much of the great white hunter and romanticism of bloody concepts of manifest destiny sanitized for feeding to a new generation. I had it all figured out before even opening the book, but then I made a mistake. I actually opened the book, and I find it hard to believe one character can make a book for me, the character of Tesla Strong did just that. From the first panel of page 4 on I was hooked. To borrow a line from the comic itself, she was "totally buff", and her mom was pretty buff too.
Always when I think I've got Alan Moore's subversion down pact he twist it in upon itself, and it becomes something else. Something large and strange and infinitely fascinating. This issue of TOM STRONG gets a solid B+. The highest praise I can give is to say that ten years ago Alan Moore was the best writer in comics, and ten years later Alan Moore is still the best writer. Damn don't you just hate it. But no Alan, if your reading this, keep up the excellent work, you'll get that lifetime achievement award eventually. But as far as this site goes I'm done with you, we have to let other writers get noticed you know. Now without further ado, onto our next book which just so happens to be... aww no man, don't tell me..
SUPREME: THE RETURN # 1- by Alan Moore!!! Yes, the big AM is represented twice this issue. What can I say, this book was... I'm going to have to resort to a little slang to describe it (something I of course never do, but I feel is warranted in this case), this book was the BOMB!! (for those of you slang challenged that means it was very, very good).
I've never really been a big fan of Supreme, cheap fascist Superman ripoff that he is. But I have got to tell you under Moore's direction Supreme has become more interesting than Superman has been since, heck I can't remember the last time a Superman comic was interesting. You would probably have to go all the way back to the seventies.
In SUPREME: THE RETURN Alan Moore writes, Chris Sprouse pencils (beautifully, I might add. His artwork here, as in Tom Strong, has a clean, open, crisp golden age feel that perfectly captures the sensibilities of the characters and actions portrayed) and Al Gordon inks, and together they weave a book that is a true joy to read. Alan Moore writes a very funny book, that shows off a firm mastery of the medium. I still don't like Supreme, but as long as Alan can continue writing such engaging stories for Supreme, I'll continue reading. A-.