Saturday, February 14, 2009

This Week's Haul: I Bumped my Brain!

Well, these reviews were pretty much ready to post on Friday morning, but then I got in a car accident on the way to work. Nothing too bad, but I got a slight concussion according to the doctor. Anyway, I forgot to post these yesterday, so here they are today.

Batman #686

Neil Gaiman + Andy Kubert = $$$$

I think this was really awesome. I like to make fun of Gaiman fans because they are annoying, but this really was great. The dude can write a comic (as long as it doesn't set Marvel characters in 1602). Plus, Kubert's art looked great.

Aaaand...a Catwoman-centric story? That will always win me over. Especially one where she ties Batman up for any reason.

When I was reading Alfred's story in this issue I was wondering how many casual Batman fans who are picking up this comic will be confused and take Alfred's word as bond re: The Joker. But I think the comic was pretty clear that nothing happening in it should be taken as canon.

Calling the story "Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader" is a bit risky, as it compares it to one of the greatest comics ever written, but y'know...confidence in your product, I guess. It was a really entertaining read and I am looking forward to the next issue. Worth the extra dollar!

Plus I liked that line "I don't think Death is a person, Batman." Cute, Gaiman. Cute.

Amazing Spider-Man #586

For some reason I always save Spider-Man for the end of my comic reading each week. This week I put it near the beginning. It was the only Marvel title I picked up this week, so I kinda felt sorry for it.

I know that I have mentioned this before, particularly in my Best of 2008 post, but I am just so frigging impressed by how great Spider-Man has been since the relaunch at the beginning of last year. And the fact that it is coming out three times a month makes it that much more impressive. I think that Marvel has actually found the perfect formula for creating comic books: have a rotating team who are all in on the same story-line, but are all telling their own short stories within the larger arc. Brilliant! The way they have it set up, it avoids several problems that plague almost every title on the stands today:

1. There are no "fill-in" issues because there is no one single creative team.
2. The comics come out on time.
3. Because it's a continually rotating team, the larger story is very fluid, and doesn't change drastically when a new creative team comes on board. For most comics, when a new team takes over a book they pretty much start over with the character and story, taking the elements that they liked from the last team's efforts, and dropping the rest. Many things never get resolved, or are just forgotten.

This issue, which follows-up last week's big reveal of who the mysterious new villain, Menace, really is, is a perfect example of what Spider-Man is doing right. Menace has been showing up in Spider-Man comics since the relaunch. There were many issues that the character wasn't there, but Menace was never forgotten about. Typically, the identity of a villain like Menace would be revealed within a 6-issue story arc in most comic series. The Spider-Man format allows for this long-lasting story to exist while lots of other stories are happening. And the Menace storyline is only one of many larger storylines existing in the Spider-Man world. It's great stuff, and it really creates a more complex and vibrant universe for Spider-Man. There's a lot going on, but the writers have a great handle on it all. I never expected the title to be this well-managed when they first announced that it would be coming out so frequently. Well done, Marvel!

Booster Gold #17

How are the sales on this title? Good, I hope because I really love it and don't want it to go away. When Geoff Johns left the title I didn't think I would still be into it, but I still look forward to it ever month.

Nightwing #153

This was the final issue of Nightwing, and it was terrible.

Batman Confidential #26

This, on the other hand, was fantastic. Really, really great. It's the antidote to all this crazy, arthouse Batman that we have been getting lately. It's a straightforward story where a bizarre theme-based villain is terrorizing Gotham and Batman teams up with Jim Gordon to figure it out. Awesome right? Well add to that some AMAZING art by, wait for it, Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez and inked by Kevin Nowlan! Sometimes you just need a shot of Batman, straight up with no chaser. This is that comic.

Mini-Marvels: Secret Invasion

New Mini Marvels digest!!! Everyone should buy three of these.


Michael Rawdon said...

If you're interested in how comics are selling, you should follow The Beat, which runs down sales by the Big Two and a few other notables each month. Interesting reading.

Anyway, according to this entry, sales of Booster Gold have dropped a lot (by over 25%) since Johns & Katz left the title. I'm not sure it's quite in cancellation territory (it's selling a little worse than Nova and Guardians of the Galaxy over at Marvel), but if it doesn't stabilize soon, it might be.

I like the book too, and I don't think it's any worse since the original writers left, so I'm not sure why everyone's bailed.

Paul said...

Needs more Patsy Walker Hellcat!

Adam said...

I really liked 1602.

Anonymous said...

Paul is correct, definitely needs more Patsy Walker.


rachelle said...

Sorry guys. I forgot to read Patsy Walker this week. I guess I can blame the swelling of my brain.

I also don't mention every comic that I read when I do these reviews because I read a hell of a lot of comics each week. But, yes. Patsy Walker is a good series and I think it's going to make a great-looking trade.

rachelle said...

Oh, and as for Nightwing...

it was just...bad. Bad art. Bad writing. I dunno. I've been a big supporter of Peter Tomasi's run on Nightwing but this was a really badly written issue. And it's not really Tomasi's fault...I mean, he had a great little thing going where he had Dick Grayson all set up in Manhattan and then he was probably told "oh, by the way...Batman is gonna die or whatever, so you have to move Dick back to Gotham. And also, we are canceling the series. So wrap it up." It's too bad because I think the series was interesting for the first time...ever.

So I am going to give the writer the benefit of the doubt and say that he had the difficult and frustrating task of wrapping up a series that he had a whole grand vision for. And he probably just didn't give a damn about the issue. I mean, I wouldn't.

SallyP said...

Gadzooks! I hope that your car is ok. I hope that your BRAIN is ok!

There were some pretty good books out this week. Green Lantern Corp especially, was just phenomenal. But Booster Gold was great too. I also hope that this book survives. I can't make it without Blue Beetle, Birds of Prey AND Booster Gold!

I missed out on both of the Bat books, but they sound pretty good, so I'll have to try and pick them up this coming Wednesday.

Gary said...

Our heroine speaks about Amazing Spider-Man:
[The Amazing Spider-Man books] have a rotating team who are all in on the same story-line, but are all telling their own short stories within the larger arc. Brilliant!

Isn't this more or less the formula that worked so well for Buffy the Vampire Slayer while it was on television? I'm glad to hear someone has effectively brought that over to a new medium. I mean, I know that Buffy has a comic, but I tend to hear more complaints than positive stuff about that. Meanwhile, it seems that Amazing Spider-Man has lifted the Buffy formula, and I hear more positive stuff than complaints about that. Which is really impressive, considering that Joss Whedon didn't enrage most of his fan base to get to where Buffy is right now.

Michael Rawdon, on the other hand, has something to say about Booster Gold:
I like the book too, and I don't think it's any worse since the original writers left, so I'm not sure why everyone's bailed.

I think a lot of people bailed because Geoff Johns left. I don't think Katz was a big draw, but there are people who are fans of Geoff Johns who will go where he goes just to get his stuff. He is a hot writer, after all. I also think the book has dropped in quality since Johns and Katz left. It is not, for me, a drop so large that it would make me drop the book, but other people may have thought it was big enough to do so.

John Klein III said...

I hope you're feeling better!

Person of Consequence said...

Honestly, count me as one of the people considering leaving the good ship S. S. Booster. For me, the appeal of the character was his struggle against his insecurities and his worst nature, and coming out the better for it. Take the first issue for example: the question wasn't whether he'd give up fortune and fame for the time travel gig, but whether he'd give up the respect he'd just gained from the people who'd always looked down on him. THAT's heroism.
And my favorite part in the Joker issue was when he screams "stop laughing at me"--Joker laughs at everyone, of course, but Booster took it personally because he took his defeats personally; he thought he wasn't good enough to make the change.
And last and best: his drunken confession to Skeets that Superman said he can't handle a cape. Is there anyone else in the DC Universe who could credibly make that statement?
I don't know if it's entirely Johns' absence or not, but I don't see much of this character in the Booster Gold title right now. I see some very competent and entertaining time travel stories, and a somewhat generic hero, but not what attracted me to the title in the first place.

...So I guess I like Booster best when he's miserable. Boy, that feels like a bad thing to say.

spideyfan said...

"Mini Marvel" is an awesome hillarious book, but three copies? What an exaustion.

This new move for Spider-Man is genius, huh? Never gave it this thought, just read and enjoyed whatever good/great story released. What did you think of J.M.S's run?