Wednesday, September 12, 2007

This Week's Haul: MBA vs JLA

I really love Wednesdays.

I started the MBA program this week, and let me tell you, that is a lot of dry reading. Especially for someone who pretty much exclusively reads things featuring no less than three kinds of superpowers. Accounting and statistics textbooks offer no superpowers, or epic battles, or triumphs over evil, or cliffhangers. After getting my stupid school readings done, I was very happy to dive into a big stack of new comics. An added bonus was that this was a very good week for comics. Let's have a look:

Wonder Girl #1

Man, I am always happy when a good comic comes out about a teen superhero. And this is a really good comic.

So the Amazons have finished attacking, and there are a lot of dangerous mythical beasts strewn about the greater D.C. area since the Amazons were all zapped away. Someone has to clean them up, and that someone is Wonder Girl!

So here's what I liked about this comic: it gives a very brief and enjoyable overview of the character for new readers; it is very funny and entertaining to read; it has great artwork by Sanford Green; it's all-ages appropriate; it ties in to larger DC events without being confusing to people who haven't read the other comics; it gives us a little bit of the aftermath of Robin and Wonder Girl's near-kiss from Teen Titans #50; Wonder Girl is an awesome character who is feeling very sad and alone but is dealing with it by going out and helping the very people that hate her. She's a tough girl. It's rad.

And she totally goes Street Fighter Bonus Level on a military jeep!


Booster Gold #2

And speaking of perfect, I really could not possibly love this comic more than I do. Is anyone else just grinning like an idiot while reading each and every page? It's just so much fun!

I can't even write a paragraph about what I loved. I have to do it in point form:

- Booster's ultimatum: bring Ted back or I quit.
- Booster having to prevent Guy Gardner from becoming the greatest Green Lantern
- Sad Guy Gardner and his dying father
- Skeets using Sinestro's weakness to yellow to his advantage:

- Booster stopping Sinestro by stroking his ego:

- Sinestro twirling his moustache:

- Booster having a drink and a chat with Guy:

- Everything about Rip Hunter
- Jonah Hex!

Seriously. This comic is so fantastic.

Batman Confidential #9

The word 'terrible' gets thrown around a lot these days, but I think it can accurately describe the contents of the current arc on this series. And the one before this one. But especially this one.

This series has almost replaced All-Star Batman and Robin as my favourite terrible comic. I love reading it because it's so jaw-droppingly bad. Now, I don't like to be really negative on this blog. I'm not out to hurt anyone's feelings or whatever, but this comic is just really, really bad. In ways I can't even wrap my mind around. At least with ASB&R it's just Frank Miller being a jerk and writing a purposely bad comic for his own amusement. With this series it's more depressing because what we have is a television writer who had an idea for a Batman story and no one had the heart to explain to him that it's stupid. At least that's what I assume.

I'm not completely against playing with the origin of iconic characters, but I am against making those origin stories much, much worse. It's very stupid to write a story where the Joker gets his deformed mouth when Batman throws two batarangs at his face. It's stupider to write a story in which Batman orders a hit on the Joker. It's stupider still when the Joker is not even the Joker yet. He's just some crazy guy who robs and kills people with no gimmick. And Batman knows his name, meaning he's gonna know who the Joker is. Add to this some very clunky writing that implies the author only has the most tenuous grasp of the characters involved, and that perhaps the research ended with a viewing of Tim Burton's Batman movie ten years ago. What you have is a bad comic. With a glossy cover.

On the plus side, it gives me hope that perhaps I could one day write a Batman comic.

Justice League of America Wedding Special

Now let's get back to awesome comics.

I really liked this. Perhaps because it had very little to do with weddings and more to do with DWAYNE McDUFFIE WRITING JLA! WOOT!

It also featured awesome things like the Injustice League, Firestorm being awesome, and Hal Jordan trying to quietly get rid of some strippers he hired:

Man, that's good stuff.

I love Batman and Hal. Hal's the cool guy who hates having to ask for help, especially from annoying nerdy weirdos. And Batman is an annoying nerdy weirdo who talks all cryptic instead of just giving a straight answer because it annoys the hell out of the cool guy.

You know what else I loved? Bachelorette party at a gay bar. And, y'know, everything else.

But I do have one question. Who is this?:

What Aquaman is that? The same one I'm reading about in Aquaman right now? The ending of the last issue of JLA confused me so much.

The New Avengers #34

Is this still "new"? Can we start calling it The Avengers soon? Please?

All that I have to say about this is that I liked the little scene where Dr Strange did that spell that revealed everyone's true selves. Especially Hawkeye (or Ronin, or whatever).

Y'know, I've read pretty much this entire Avengers series and I conclude that these guys don't really do much. We've had, what, three or four issues now where they just lounge around and talk about who's a Skrull? Aren't there Hulks to stop? And aunts to save? (Actually, I'm very glad they aren't dealing with the Aunt May thing in Avengers).

Oh! Wolverine got his junk ripped off in this issue. That was neat.

Countdown Presents The Search for Ray Palmer: Wildstorm

Well this was pointless.

Seriously. I was interested in this series. I was at least curious. There's nothing terrible about the idea of crossing over DC and Wildstorm per se. It's at least interesting. But when it's as rushed as this was (and by that I mean the story was rushed along due to space restraints. I don't know how long it took to write this), it's just a jumbled mess with no purpose. This did not introduce the Wildstorm characters in any way that would make someone want to explore them more. Pages were wasted on an undeveloped and uninteresting love triangle between Kyle, Jason and Donna (Donna being the apex, sadly. If everyone was fighting over Kyle, I'd be a lot more on board).

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes. Pointless. And weird. And really just awkward. I think I'll give the rest of these a miss. I think they are basically just ads for Elseworld re-prints anyway. Like, do I need to read a story about Donna Troy, Jason Todd, Kyle Rayner and some Monitor wandering around Gotham By Gaslight? No, I don't. I'm jumping off this crazy train before they get to planet Thrillkiller. Or Planet In Darkest Knight.

Black Adam #2

And this would be what we call a good tie-in. I was surprised by how much I liked the first issue of this series, and I liked this one even more. It's decidedly not appropriate for all ages, and that's nice from time to time.

I think my favourite page was this one, which shows Adam in various locations obsessively trying out different random words in hopes of landing on his unknown magic word:

I also really like Black Adam in a Red Sox hat. I'm glad he keeps it for a couple more pages.

I also really liked seeing Ralph Dibny again, even if it was just his rotting corpse. It's just good that someone is talking about him. Where the hell is that guy's funeral?

This is just a really good comic. It's compelling, and it looks great. The 52 tie-ins are kicking the Countdown tie-ins all over the place.

Daredevil #100

One of the best comics out there gets a nice anniversary treatment this month. The story has been really exciting lately, what with Milla accidentally murdering a man, and Daredevil facing Mr Fear. This comic was as good as all Brubaker Daredevil comics, with the added bonus of having some guest artists contribute short sequences throughout. Lee Bermejo, John Romita Sr, Bill Sienkiewicz, Alex Maleev, Marko Djurdjevic and Gene Colan join Michael Lark and Stefano Gaudiano to make a really excellent-looking comic book.

It's a nice thick comic, but that's mostly due to a re-print of Daredevil #90 in its entirety. I was more excited about the page evolution stuff at the back, showing script, pencil, and ink pages from the different artists.

They didn't show the evolution of the Turner variant cover, which is good because it kinda looks like he just barfed it out. (Man, I am really mean today).

Superman #667

And Camelot Falls is almost done. I feel like I've been reading this storyline for about two years. How long has it actually been?

Not that I mind, because I've enjoyed this arc a lot. I was moved a surprising amount by Subjekt-17's confrontation with Superman. He argues that humans imprisoned and tortured him, and are therefore evil and shouldn't be protected by Superman. It's actually a pretty compelling and emotional argument, which ends in a fight between the two of them and some really heartbreaking panels:

I'm gonna miss Pacheco's art on this series.

Justice Society of America #9

First of all, awesome cover.

Secondly, I really loved the whole fire department-fundraiser pancake breakfast thing that the JSA was participating in.

And then they all go fight a fire, resulting in an awesome double-page spread:

I think JSA strikes the perfect balance between:

- the personal lives of the heroes and their interactions with each other;
- fighting evil and rescuing people;
- larger DCU events.

Now we get to see Kingdom Come Superman join the team for a couple of issues. I'm interested in seeing how this goes.

Green Lantern #23

Again, awesome cover.

I read three comics by Geoff Johns this week and they were all excellent. Just sayin'. Props.

Also, in two of those comics (this one and Booster Gold) we had Guy Gardner mentioning his abusive alcoholic father. Kinda interesting. And sad. Poor Guy.

I love Sinestro Corps. It's just so exciting. Now the lanterns have been given the ability to use lethal force! Crazy! And the battle is coming to Earth!

Alright, back to the accounting and statistics. Ehn. Maybe it will help me keep track of the multiverse.


John Foley said...

Pachecho has really turned into a fantastic artist, hasn't he? Guy used to just be a mediocre Alan Davis clone. Now he's something else entirely. Really good stuff.
He needs to cool it with Zatanna's breasts though. Seriously. It's one thing to draw the character as buxom and sexy, it's another thing altogether to draw her wearing a costume that we've never seen before just so you can show some cleavage.

Caleb said...

I love that guy talking to Aquaman you posted from JLoAWS. Like, I just stared at it imagining what the hell they were talking about (Actually, I did that with all of the party panels, like the one where Beast Boy's like, "Jesus J'onn! You're head!!!"). I don't think Guy's threatening to punch him, but just telling a story about punching someone, and Aquaman's all trying to pretend like he knows who Guy is and what the hell he's talking about.

That is, if that's Aquaman II, which I think it is. I THINK Benes just drew the wrong Aquaman in JLoA #12 because he didn't know that Meltzer didn't know the other one died, like, weeks ago. And because no one edits JLoA.

Shelly said...

I loved Booster Gold and the JLA Wedding Special. I still have to read GL. I think there's something up with Aquaman and until they end the storyline in the Aquaman book, who knows who really will end up in the costume, so it's no surprise there's confusion.

rachelle said...

John - I agree with you on Zatanna's breasts. They were way out of control.

Caleb - Yeah, it totally looks like Guy is gonna punch Aquaman, and Aquaman doesn't even care because he is probably really bored at that party.

Shelly - I'm glad I'm not the only confused person.

Daniel said...

Power Girl needs a boyfriend.

Gloria said...

I just lolled at the stripper/"I'm BATMAN" pages. Gold.

FoldedSoup said...

No Suicide Squad? That was my second favorite this week, aside from Booster. But.. there were a lot of good issues. Good week!

daniel: Power Girl needs a boyfriend.

Though it may cause me irreparable pelvic injury... throw her number my way. I, for one, can die happy by Snu-Snu.

Oh, and Rachelle? Getting your junk ripped off is never "neat." Even reading about it. We males all collectively clinched up during that panel. Trust me.

Good luck with the MBA!

rachelle said...

I did read Suicide Squad, and I did like it. I just couldn't think of anything intelligent to say about it, so I decided to leave it off this week's reviews. I just re-read Villains United, so I'm on a real Deadshot kick.

I will say this: Don't you think 'Raise the Flag' would have been a more clever title than 'Raise the Dead'? I feel like they really missed something obvious there.

I like seeing Amanda Waller again. Being all hardcore and blowing up heads. Good stuff.

I have a question about Boomerang, though - I thought he was American. Wasn't Cap. Boomerang's son American? Is this the same guy? I missed something somewhere.

FoldedSoup said...

Come to think of it, Yeah, "Raise the Flag" would've been great. Nail it before a Captain America writer gets to it.

And .. apparently this was a retro Suicide Sq. catch-up ep. Takes place before all the infinite crossover shenanigans. That's the old Boomer. Old Bronze Tiger. Far as I can tell. But, hey! I'm still stuck in the 80s.

I don't know where he's going with it, but.. it's a damn fine retro spy super-hero comic. Glad to be reading it.

But, that was *definitely* old school Aussie Boomer.

thedeadpenguin said...

About that Guy/Aquaman II conversation - Guy's *totally* embellishing his Giffen-era "fight" with Batman to the new kid.

rachelle said...

And Batman's in the background watching and rolling his eyes.

Grebok said...

Cassie and Tim already kissed, like, a year ago. And again at the end of Amazons Attack. Their recent near-kiss was the third in a very drug-out installment.

It's cute in its way, but I'd really like Cassie back. Maybe this series will help.

Boomer's son was born and raised in America. Digger Harkness Sr. was all Aussie all the time.

the2scoops said...

I'm looking forward to Duffie's run on JLA - one issue and we already have action, characterization, motivation. It accomplished in one issue what Meltzer did in five issues. And Jon Stewart and Firestorm on the same team is going to be coolio. Between JLA (don't know why they didn't do this in the regular series as opposed to a one-shot), Booster, Suicide Squad, and Green Lantern, it's a good week to be a DC fan.

Good luck with the MBA.

thedeadpenguin said...

Even if I wasn't already excited about McDuffie's JLA, the fact that he brought Mr. Terrible back into play would clinch it. He's quite possibly the best evil opposite character concept ever :)

Tiina said...

I like how totally messed up Daredevil looks in that panel. Poor guy.

SallyP said...

This was really an amazing week for books.

Booster Gold is fat becoming one of my main favorites, if only for the mustache twirling moment with Sinestro. SOOOOOO Snidely Whiplash! And seeing Booster try and deal with a non-braindead Guy was a treat.

As for the Justice League Wedding Special, I did think it a little odd that Black Canary was only in it for ONE panel, but the story was so good, that I managed to get past it. Oh, and the line about being a "Prius-driving granola eater" should actually have been Roy's line, not Ollie's. But Cest la Vie.

The JSA was simply sensational, I may have to print out the firetruck scene for my husband's screen-saver.

And Green Lantern is just getting better all the time. Too bad about Ke'haan though.

Reno Dakota said...

Technically, the new Suicide Squad mini *is* titled Suicide Squad: Raise the Flag - which for some reason didn't make it onto the cover. Hopefully they'll correct that in future issues.

Also, did someone just mention that one of the Aquamans died? Really?

rachelle said...

Yeah, that messed up speech bubble in the JLA Wedding special was really confusing. I had to read that panel like four times before I got what happened. I was like "Why is Oliver calling Roy a child of the sixties?"

I was going to mention the return of Mr Terrible and I forgot! Very awesome.

zc said...

The two page spread at the end of Green Lantern 23 was awesome.

Just sayin'.

zc said...


I knew McDuffie's run on JLoA was gonna be awesome from that very first page where he does the chest-thing with the villains.

I dunno why but I love stuff like that.

(Also: Lex Luthor. "You mean portentousness.")

Chance said...

You have the most entertaining comics reviews on the Intertubes. Yes, I will try Wonder Girl now. I love that bored look on her face as she kicks the tank.

BradyDale said...

P.S. Did Peter ever actually have a mustache?

Viagra said...

This was a great Booster Gold issue. It kind of left me confused a bit with him making a deal with Siniestro but things are turning out just fine.