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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.

Friday, October 21, 2011

the 4th week of the New 52

The 4th week of DC's New 52 was the one week when I was interested enough of the 13 issues to buy a full bundle at a 25% discount being offers by Midtown Comics.  This meant I was getting some comics i had no particular interest in, but I wasn't paying any more for them  

So I guess it's no surprise that there are foru books that I just didn't like very much at all, and won't discuss at any length.  Those are Blackhawks #1, Justice League Dark #1, and Batman: The Dark Knight.  And I Vampire, which I don't remember if I'd actually wanted or not.

I don't know what to say about my relationship with Jonah Hex.  I read this book for a good long time in my earlier comics days, maybe when Gerry Conway was writing it, but I bowed out of the new series that started several years back by Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti.  I didn't dislike it, per se, but there was something missing that kept me from ever exactly warming to it.  Still, I wanted to see what they were up to with All Star Western #1, art by Moritat, which put Jonah Hex into an urban Gotham City environment.  Nice idea, but same result.  I can't point to anything that's exactly wrong with the issue, but it's very wordy, it reads like work, there's just something about it where I'm admiring it but not really getting any entertainment value out of it.  These writers must be doing something right, their last run on Hex was running well beyond any over/under I would have put on a revival of the character in the current day and age.  This is an interesting idea on putting Hex into the thick of the DCU.  This will do well, my hat's off, but I won't be part of the crowd.

I'm not sure I'd have purchased Green Lantern: New Guardians outside of the bundle, I didn't get any of the other GL books in the New 52, so it was a pleasant surprise.  I've always kind of liked the Kyle Rayner character as much or more than any of the non-Hal Jordan GLs (the DC Retroactive with Jon Stewart was a good argument for him, though, I have to say).  This story is probably, like a lot of these, a little attenuated, not exactly 20 pages, but it led to a fun place.  Power rings from all over the galaxy are making their way to Kyle, and shortly after the rings their former bearers are looking to get their property back.  I'm wanting to see how he deals with this. Written by Tony Bedard, art by Tyler Kirkham and Batt.  The art isn't great storytelling, but it isn't pin-ups either.  Even though it's not exactly what I look for, I would say it more added than subtracted to my enjoyment of the yarn.

The Savage Hawkman is a book I wouldn't at all have expected to want, I've never been a particularly big Hawkman fan, he's one of those DCU characters who's just kind of around and you put up with on occasion.   But a quick browse at the store suggested I give it a try, and I was glad I did.  Written by Tony Daniel, it introduces a Carter Hall who is kind of the reluctant Hawkman, trying without success to get rid of the get-up, soon facing supernatural baddie.  The art by Philip Tan works well for this book.  It's a little rough, shades over clean lines, and if the storytelling is a bit rough as well -- well, I'm always impressed when I find myself not minding the kinds of things I always mind.  It works.  Be back for more.

With all the New 52 excitement, I've forgotten to track down the Teen Titans graphic novel by Wolfman and Perez.  But let's just say that the new Teen Titans, written by Scott Lobdell with art by Brett Booth and Norm Rapmund, won't be confused with Wolfman/Perez, and I mean that in a good way.  There's an undercurrent of humor to the script and the art both, that isn't like anything we'd remember from the back then version of the Titans.  But it's good stuff.  There's some great art, pages 5-7 are complex but quite easily followed.  The script has a nice take on the Titans, setting the series in a world where teen heroes are the source of agita and approbation.  I'm not entirely thrilled to see the end of this issue tying into the new Superboy book, please no major crossovers, but at least here I am interested in the new Superboy book as well.

The Flash with story and art by Francis Manapul & Brian Buccellato has been getting some good buzz and deservedly so.  Great?  No.  Good?  More than.  There's a little too much Superman/Lois in the relationship between Barry Allen and Iris West, but it's an interesting and intriguing story overall, and I like how the art handles the speedstering part of the Flash persona.

Another book getting good buzz is the new Aquaman.  Geoff Johns redeems his very disappointing (to me) work on the Justice League reboot with this new take on Aquaman.  Some similarities to the "Superman on the road" thing that was going on over the last year in that book, Aquaman is on land, eating at a diner, being asked obnoxious questions while he tries to eat his chow.  But it helps more than a bit that the art by Ivan Reis and Joe Prado suggests that we're playing that for laughs some.  A bit of a high wire act, because it's clear that the menace in the book is supposed to be real.  Where are the creators planning to go with this?  Keep on the high wire and try and balance some humor with menace, or will they end up taking the more serious turn that Johns' extensive experience doing all of these major tie-in events suggests as his default?   I'll be following along to see...

George Perez is writing and doing page breakdowns for art by Jesus Merino in the new Superman.  I hear that Perez will be around only for six issues.  But I'm quite likely to be reading those six.  There's a complete separation between this and the Superman we find in Action, which is fine (and perhaps not forever, it will ultimately be a surprise not to have a story that follows the character along in the different Superman books...).  This story has elements of all kinds of Supermans past, there's the Morgan Edge from two or three decades back as media mogul, the distinction between Clark and Superman is very much something from the Richard Donner Superman movies, etc.  But definitely one to come back to.

Voodoo had such nice clean well-told art (by Sam Basri) that a casual glance said it had to be read, and it ended up being an unexpected treat.  The script by Ron Marz was a tad predictable, you could see five pages before the end where the story was going to go, though that being said I'm not sure I'd have predicted the final panels, and the final panels not what I might have expected, perhaps I can find some more surprises in issue #2.  On the other hand, this is another of the stories that seems to be taking 20 pages to tell  a story that should really needs only 12 or 15.  My tolerance for those isn't indefinite, and the final issues of DMZ are certainly straining my patience for books that feel padded. But I shouldn't quibble too much.  Good script, clean art with excellent storytelling, fun to read.  If it can keep with those virtues, I'll be able to look beyond some of the flaws.

I've been a fan of Firestorm from the first issue of the first run in the 1970s, so I saved the new Fury of Firestorm (written by Ethan Van Sciver and Gail Simone, art by Yildiray Cinar) for last. In this version Professor Martin Stein is still dead, as he was left in Flashpoint.  Ronnie Raymond is still alive, and attending the same hgh school as the newer version of Firestorm, Jason Rausch.  So far, so good, I really liked the set-up of the relationship between Raymond and Rausch, and the school scenes overall were for the 2010s what the 1970s origin from Gerry Conway and Al Milgrom was to its day.  The terrorists that cause the arrival of Firestorm here are considerably, um, updated and upgraded from the 1970s versions, no problem there.  And I'm fine with the new idea that Jason and Raymond can each become their own Firestorm.  It's not the original idea, but as variations on the theme go this one is one I can live with.  The one thing I really hate is the newly found idea that the "Fury" in Fury of Firestorm isn't an adjective, but a noun. The idea here is that the two Firestorms can merge to become Fury, when they say Fury of Firestorm they mean it in a very literal way.  And Fury looks silly, the idea overbaked.  Whatever, there's enough good here that I'm going to see where it all goes.

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