About Me

A blog wherein a literary agent will sometimes discuss his business, sometimes discuss the movies he sees, the tennis he watches, or the world around him. In which he will often wish he could say more, but will be obliged by business necessity and basic politeness and simple civility to hold his tongue. Rankings are done on a scale of one to five Slithy Toads, where a 0 is a complete waste of time, a 2 is a completely innocuous way to spend your time, and a 4 is intended as a geas compelling you to make the time.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Funny Book Roundup

You know you're in trouble with a DCU Holiday Special when the best story in it is the Jonah Hex Hanukkah story. The problem here is that even within the confines of holiday themes there ought to be more room to maneuver than to decree that every story has to be some sappy attempt at jerking tears from the holiday season. And is it an improvement or not that now we get to have sappy stories for multiple denominations, not just Christmas and not just Hanukkah but the Spectre in a Persian New Year story. The Spectre in a Persian New Year story?? And Anthro in a non-denominational solstice story. Anthro? The weird juxtaposition of holiday sentiment and Jonah Hex worked for me, and the Superman story -- well, Superman lends himself to this kind of stuff and the art was nice. But let's just say this was as quick read.

I wasn't sure from a quick scan that Detective Comics Annual #12 would be for me, but I hadn't read a Batman book in so long that I decided to give it a try. Mistake. The lead story had potential. Except I don't like this Batman Incorporated thing of which this is a part. It's Batman only not entirely. So if Batman as Batman had gone to France because he had to protect a diplomat from an assassination attempt, that's a Batman story. Having Brue Wayne there but also a local franchisee of Batman Inc. I'm not sure who I'm reading about any more, so just doesn't work. The other two stories I liked less.

But I think I'm in love with the new Superboy. Issue #2 by writer Jeff Lemire and artist Pier Gallo is another delight. Sometimes Superboy is the worst looking part of the art, bit there continue to be panels that have a deceiving simplicity that makes me keep looking for more. The script has great characterization, great blend of quiet and action, an entire story in one volume with elements that Mort Weisinger would be proud of but enough foreshadowing of other things to come to provide texture for a modern comic book readership. It has been several years since a new series has had me as excited two issues in a long time

Brightest Day #16 was back to having some Firestorm, so I was happy. And the Aquaman stuff is also more interesting than some of the other character arcs in this series.

I am now officially getting upset with DMZ. Hoped after the Collective Punishment arc that we were heading into the homestretch, issue #60 is instead the first of a two-part arc set mostly near Minot AFB, Which is about as far from the DMZ as you can get without going over. Maybe it's the origin story of Paco's. bomb? Enough. I might skip the next issue just on general principle since this 72 issue run looks like it should have been 70 tops. I guess this is better assuming the purpose of these arcs is to give series co-creator Rick Burchielli time on the final run, and I guess commercially better to have an issue than to have a 6-month gap, but still...

Simpsons #173 is an OK issue where Bart becomes a one-man boy band.

Superman #706 is the second interlude, I.e. planned fill-in, in only six issues of the J. Michael Strazynski story arc, but these are at least as good as the arc itself and legitimately adding to the main story. They seem, in other words, less disposable than the time-wasting last half year of DMZ. This one, art by Amilcar Pinna from script by G. Willow Wilson, is set back in Metropolis where Perry White is struggling to keep the Daily Planet afloat while a local media muckraking blog is taking aim at the Planet. I didn't like how the artist drew Perry, and the depiction of Perry as a dinosaur man out of time who can't tell a blog from a blob is too overdone for credibility. The ending is too pat. But ya know, warts and all I liked this. It was fun, and there's nothing wrong with a little plain simple fun.

Somewhat similar in that regard was a green Lantern-Plastic Man one-shot written by Marv Wolfman and drawn by Brent Anderson. Here it was Plastic Man whose depiction was a bit too over the top for my tastes, but Wolfman gave an explanation at the end that didn't entirely work but at least gave some motive for the approach that was taken. Even on those terms, the script may have relied too much on having Plastic Man as a buffoon but I can respect the attempt.

Someone was singing praises of the artwork, by Eduardo Risso, in Jonah Hex #62, so I sampled this series form the first time in several years. Enh. I liked classic Jonah Hex, and this won't have me racing back for more of the ciurrent series written by Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti. There's something a little off, a little flat, about the scripts. They need the acrid smell of gunsmoke. That said, I have to respect the fact that these writers have kept this new Hex series going for 62 issues and counting. My over/under would have bee. 35 issues ago. It might not be working for me, but it's working for somebody.

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