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.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

The New 52 Weeks Later, Pt. 3

In part 2 of the New 52 Weeks Later posts there were a lot of 0 issues worth talking about at some length.  Not so much in the third batch...

Frankenstein: Agent of Shade started out scripted by Jeff Lemire as intriguingly weird thing, with some intriguingly weird art.  But it quickly got too weird and not near as intriguing, and soon had a new writer in Matt Kindt.  There's still some nice Alberto Ponticelli and Wayne Faucher art, and a script that's just a very prosaic origin that still leaves things weird.  I think I may bow out of this one, once and for all.

Green Lantern: New Guardians #0 by Tony Bedard, Aaron Kuder and Andrei Bressan doesn't drown in continuity, it's half of a good comic book.  But eventually it harkens back to this thing that previously happened and that thing that previously happened and isn't very interesting to me.  So the 0 issues got me to give it a second try, but haven't converted me.

Nor did Catwoman, which I skipped at the start of New 52, sampled a bit as the year progressed, and am sampling with the 0 issue.  But the story jumps around, it doesn't make me care all that much about Selina Kyle or Catwoman.  The art isn't bad, but the story is just too flat.

And Superboy has had its moments, but #0 doesn't have anything in it that's interesting, or at least which isn't (a) interesting and (b) not hinted at in the 12 issues that have come before.  I don't think this book has lived up to its potential over the last 12 months.

Team 7 is the first issue of a new team-up book by Justin Jordan and Jesus Merino.  Maybe...  I like that there are characters like Grifter whom I've been lukewarm to in their current adventures who may have more interesting stuff in the past that's represented by the Team 7 team-up book.  The origin covers a lot of ground pretty efficiently, in that regard Justin Jordan is off to a better start than Geoff Johns has been.  I'll keep with this and see where it goes.

Nightwing has had its ups and downs, but on balance has been a consistently solid part of the New 52, not as many wrong turns as some of the other series, but on the other hand I keep thinking there's some interesting stuff going on in the background that ought to be in the foreground, and which isn't as the book keeps drifting to be a superhero book instead of grappling with a potentially interesting character.  #0 is all of that in a nutshell.  It goes a little further back for its original than a lot of the other #0 issues, and it finds some real emotional heart in the Nightwing character and the Robin that he once was.  But toward the end, it drifts away from the good parts of the issue in order to drag in the necessary character background for a future story arc that seems skippable.  

The best of this batch is Sword and Sorcery #0 featuring Amethyst.  There are two "A" characters that DC introduced a while back, Arion and Amethyst, and I have fond memories of both, but especially of Amethyst: Princess of Gemworld.   I can still see bits and pieces of the Ernie Colon artwork that was fresh and distinct and creative, especially for its day, little gems speckled throughout.  So I was quite happy to hear that Amethyst would be returning in September as part of the "third wave" of New 52 titles.  And happier still to report that it's a successful return.  Christy Marx is the writer, Aaron Lopresti the art.  The story they've come up with isn't new.  Definitely not.  In fact, it's a distaff version of Rick Shelley's Varayan Memoir.  Girl's been promised on her 17th birthday that she's going to get to go home, find out where her father's buried.  Home is an alternate world.  Which is a fantasy trope that I've seen plenty of in my life.  But familiar doesn't mean bad.  Marx's script does a good job of establishing the character of Amy on Earth, a bit of a loner, strong mental compass, being trained without quite knowing it for a battle she doesn't know is hers to have to fight.  We get just enough on the gemworld to find out what the stakes are for Amy, but only that, so the story can focus on the development of our lead character.  Aaron Lopresti's art isn't always good technically, look as an example at the top panel of page 5, with its somewhat stilted poses.  However, if the characters aren't always well drawn technically, the storytelling and flow of the art from panel to panel and across the page doesn't falter.  The characters have facial expressions, ones that actually help tell the story and are worth looking at.  There's something going on in the background.  The most annoying thing about Sword and Sorcery is that it's rounded out with an entirely disposable back-up story, a retelling of Beowulf.  It doesn't add anything to my enjoyment of the book, it does add to the price tag.  It's an average of 7 or 8 minutes for me to read a comic book, paying $3.99 for that instead of $2.99 doesn't delight.

It's not a bad batch when there are two "first issues" for Amethyst and Team 7 that have me interested in seeing the next.  If I'm not otherwise going to add one of the established New 52 titles to my list based on the 0 issues, I'm game for the two, Superboy and Nightwing, that I've been reading.

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