Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Joe Rice Media Review 12/15/04

Most of these comics were Good. That's a great week. It helps with Baker, Kirkman, and Vaughn round out the talent list for the week.

What is wrong with the people not reading Plastic Man? The answer is this: they are bad people. Here are three people that do not read Plastic Man: Osama bin Laden, Dracula, and Benedict Arnold. That proves my theory RIGHT THERE. So don't be like Osama, Dracula, and Benedict. Read Plastic Man. Why? This was another done-in-one issue filled with jokes that actually caused laughter in the reader. The art is fantastic, the plot is wild but well-structured, and it makes points without making readers fall asleep. This Comic Is Good.

Marvel Team-Up is light superhero fare. I've never had a problem with that, but I do expect it to be well done. And it is, here. The plot has thought, the dialogue serves the story and the characters while entertaining the reader, and fun things happen. Hell, there's even forshadowing. MTU gets the best of both worlds: links to successive arcs but stories that actually begin and end. I haven't ever really liked Kolins' art, but it's better here than before, even if Ben Grimm's face reminds me of Johnny Five. I was wondering what the twist was going to be at the end, I had noticed the armor. I was halfway hoping it was Midas from Marvel Boy (ACK PAIN AT REMEMBRANCE THAT THE SEQUEL WILL NEVER BE), but the actual twist was pretty damn cool, too. Robert Kirkman playing with all the Marvel toys, having fun, but not breaking anything. This Comic Is Good.

I've often found the use of sex or sexuality in superhero comics to be gratuitous, gross, and grating. But that doesn't mean it always is. In
Ultra we have a story where sexuality is one of the main driving factors of the plot (at least in this issue). But even when individual characters are being tacky about it, the book isn't. We don't get titillation as much as we get emotional realism. And that's one of the things I like about the book. It takes a fantastical, non-realistic setting and adds actual emotional realism (not to be confused with the petty cynicism of adolescent comic creators and fans). It doesn't hurt that the art is unique and attractive. I saw the twist at the end coming, but the comic didn't hinge on it being a surprise. This Comic Is Good.

The only flaw with the previous issue of Ex Machina was all the boobosity that I didn't think belonged. It's pleasantly on break this issue, making it freaking GREAT. All the plots, from the political to the mundane to the arcane twist and turn in ways that enrich them all and fuel all the great character bits. My ONLY minor complaint in this issue is the punk/fashion girl on the subway. I've lived in New York for some nine years now and I've drifted in and out of the borders of all sorts of scenes . . .and no one has even come close to this hideousness. If I saw this person in real life, she would be put on someone else's team immediately. This seemed like how awful old comics used to portray punks or thugs without ever having actually seen one. Maybe this was a private joke of Harris' . . .regardless, it's taken up way too much verbage in what is actually a glowing review. Great stuff, read. This Comic Is Good.

I'm giving Trigger a second issue for four reasons. 1. Jason Hall is a friend of a friend. 2. The art is neat. 3. I love The Long Goodbye. 4. It could end up being fun. The first issue has some heavy-handed big brother stuff, but the pulpy underpinnings interest me more. I don't yet know if this comic is good or not. Give it a shot, you may like it.

Alex pushed a copy of Identity Crisis on me, as if I needed more proof it was awful. Like I told Brian, the last issue proved all the defenders wrong and all the critics right. It made little sense, showed all the disgusting stuff to be gratuitous red herrings, and didn't even conclude with any real satisfactory ending. This is the lynchpin of the DCU. How long do I have to wait until Morrison and Quitely make Superman amazing? Ugh. This was not a good comic . . .not even close.


Blogger alex said...

The only comics this week that I really enjoyed were EX MACHINA, PLASTIC MAN, the HUTCH OWEN trade, and the new KRAZY AND IGNATZ collection.

It was a slowish week.


12/15/2004 09:31:00 PM  
Blogger Grant said...

I didn't even make it to the store today. Plan to buy some trades for the holidays...

12/15/2004 09:44:00 PM  
Blogger Paul said...

Plastic Man came out today? Fuck damn, I can't believe I missed it! Kill whoever it was that made me skip over it! KILL THEM!

12/16/2004 12:04:00 AM  
Blogger Ed Cunard said...

Crap on a stick. I'm in the same boat, Paul. I thought it was going bi-monthly, or something. It's on my short list of superhero comics that don't suck.

12/16/2004 09:26:00 AM  
Blogger Joe Rice said...

Ha ha, now I'm better than you two as well. As you know, we're elitists here and now you're less elite. STUPID FANBOYS!

12/16/2004 10:56:00 AM  
Blogger Lex said...

Plastic Man was SO awesome! Morgan's criticism of Plas' costume seemed weird, but that was my only complaint. I loved the Library scene! What fun!

And I'm glad to see you reading Marvel Team-Up, Joe. When I read #2 (which actually made me laugh aloud several times) I thought, "I bet Joe would like this book." It's one of the most fun comics I've read. #3 was awesome as well. Kirkman showed the inherent funness of the FF and I loved the shock ending.

I've been waiting for the Ex Machina trade, but the book sounds so interesting I might have to bite the bullet and get all the issues. I love political stories when they are well written, and it sounds like this is a really good one.

And I disagree with you about Identity Crisis, but that's nothing new.

Oh, and I hope that rumor about Morrison and Quitely on Superman is true too. That would be better than sleeping in and eating cheesecake at the same time!

12/16/2004 02:54:00 PM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

I really liked Plastic Man, Ex Machina and Ultra.

Didn't like MTU and Trigger that much, but both books had their moments.

12/16/2004 05:10:00 PM  
Blogger Dan Apodaca said...

I read the first issue of Marvel Team-Up.

It was really mediocre. Just completely middle of the road, nothing special. So, I guess the book got better? Maybe I'll have a re-look. I dunno, though...

Also, I can't say that Ultra really does anything for me. It felt like the expository scenes from Sex and the City, and that show was crappy on the whole. Maybe I need to start giving books a second issue of trial. Or maybe they should be good from the start...

12/16/2004 11:45:00 PM  

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