Thursday, January 06, 2005

Joe Rice Media Review 1/6/05

Happy New Year, happy new media review. Happy new ability to see my floor again. Yes, I've been housecleaning. And I'll soon be housecleaning again. But even the potential wrath of the fiancee and potential disaster for an upcoming shin-dig cannot keep me away from you. I am drawn to you like writers are drawn to stupid titles. I cannot resist.

This (shame, I know, shame) was my first ever issue of Flaming Carrot Comics. It will also be my last. THAT IS UNTIL THE NEXT ONE COMES OUT! Oh, man. I so fooled you. You totally thought I didn't like it when, in fact, I did. Wonderful dada tard fun. Why I've missed it for so long I do not know. The art is primitive, but who gives a shit? It's funny and it's unique and it works. This is a good comic.

Lapham's run on Detective Comics is one of those rare comics where I can't judge it quickly. I'm not sure HOW I feel about it. Yes, it's dreadfully dark at times. But it is not without hope, not without warmth. We see sides of Batman that most hack writers out there don't dare show: compassion, weakness, humanity. The back-ups by Carey and Lucas are interesting enough to keep holding me, too. This could be something great; but I see fanboys shitting on it without hesitation. I think this is a good comic.

There's not much of note in The Spectacular Spider-man. A few decent jokes, I guess. But Sarah is drawn with too much attention on her boobs and I find myself, without JMS around, not caring about Spidey again. Eh, I tried. This is not a good comic.

So, yeah, I went ahead and tried the post-Jones Incredible Hulk. The art is OK, but seems less like Lee Weeks and more like JRjr junior. And the writing . . .it's not awful, I guess. But, for the love of shit, can author's please stop using "Tempest Fugit" or any other variation thereof as a title? Shit, people. Trying hard to be clever makes you look like a jackass. So, uh, Hulk kills a shark cause he's hanging out on the ocean babbling about Banner. We get some "interesting" (emphasis on the quotes) flashbacks about Banner's high school yearssszzzzzzzzzzzz. Oops, sorry, fell asleep looking at the comic again. Then we get a whole page of Banner explaining why the Hulk can be underwater for so long. That's very "interesting" too. Stupid self-conscious joke (from PAD?!?!? NO! I'm SHOCKED, I tell you, SHOCKED!) about blind characters and some monsters and cliffhanger. I guess, in a better-written comic I'd be interested by the cliffhanger, but I've no reason to believe the next issue will be anything but "interesting." This, by no means, is a good comic.

Deadshot tries much less hard. All this comic wants to be is a good noirish vigilante story. It's violent, it's very grim, and the world is pretty bleak. But Deadshot succeeds in its every aspiration. It is an entertaining work, full of dark cathartic action, soft, fluid art, and a bad man doing awful things to worse men. And the cliffhanger on the last page of this book DOES make me want to read more, because I'm fairly sure I'll be able to get more of the same work. This is a good comic.

In a perfect world, Jubilee would be given room to florish. It would be given proper marketing. It would be sold somewhere other than geek caves. Casey Jones would do the interiors as well as the covers. Kids would have access to it and it would be cheap enough for them to use it as disposable entertainment. The writing would be much the same. Also, in a perfect world, I would have Yoshi-san from Sushi Yasuda at my beck and call whenever I wanted. And Batman would be the president. This comic is good, if anyone cares.

Hot dippity damn, The Question is a great comic. It's interesting, it's beautiful, it's original, and it's respectful to the reader. I don't need everything spoon-fed to me. I need an engaging story that I care about. And this is it. Part of me wants to say, "Aw, man? Only six issues?" But the other part knows that ongoings get boring and get taken over by Claremonts and Dixons. If these guys have another story to tell, about any character, I'm there. This is a good comic.

The New Avengers is less bad than the last issue. That's faint praise, but it's actually decent. Things happen. The dialogue is still retarded film school sophomore year "I just saw a Mamet movie and think I get it" garbage, but the plot starts to move. But trying to curse without really cursing much leads to dumbness. "Spider-ass." Uh, OK. The ending was pretty creepy. I guess I'll give it another issue. I'm not sure if I'm ready to call this mess a good comic yet, though. I'll wait for judging it.

Some of Robert Kirkman's Marvel work, good, has failed to capture the spark of his own stuff. Fantastic Four: Foes comes much closer to getting that "Invincible" brilliance. The art is clean and crisp and not boringly realistic. The plot moves along quickly. The dialogue informs, entertains, but does not distract. And the ideas are interesting. It doesn't take itself unduly seriously, but it isn't all throw-away stuff, either. If JMS can't make the FF work after Waid's snoozer of a run, Kirkman would be worth a shot. This was a good comic.

Ultimate X-Men has never, ever worked for me. Even when Vaughn, who I like quite a bit, took it over I didn't give a shit. But this issue, the first of a new arc, starts to hit for me. I picked it up because, growing up, I loved Longshot. Just adored that stuff. So I wanted to see what he'd make of him. And so far, it's interesting. Reality TV + political oppression and the right combination of innocence and skill and, of course, luck. The characters are fun. Kitty Pryde shows me why on earth people would like her for once. This was fun, if light, superhero stuff. Good comic.

The comic I really couldn't wait to read, the one I stared in the train station, was
Captain America. Lark's bits were just beauties to behold. I wish he was the artist on the whole thing, honestly. But there's nothing awful about Epting. Brubaker's writing can overcome dull art in a heartbeat. I honestly don't know where this is heading, but it's exciting. This isn't exactly Cap in the Sleeper world. But it's a take on Cap's world we don't see that much, especially this skillfully. Hell, any comic on which Busiek and I can agree must be doing something right. This was a damn good comic.


Blogger Brian Cronin said...

Let's see....let's see.

Spectactular - Nothing to say differently, except to note the sad plight of inkers in the modern industry. With a bunch of big-time pencillers going with the "no inking" style, that leaves some big-time inkers without partners. So what happens when big-time inkers don't have partners? They GET partners. And when THAT happens, then the mid-level inkers lose their partners.

For instance, Scot Eaton was being inked by Drew Geraci. But when Cam Smith is free, how do you say no?

Flaming Carrot Comics - I didn't think it was half as clever as it thought it was. But it certainly wasn't bad.

Detective - Here, I have to differ. I was totally feeling #801. It was dark, but I felt it had a point. Now, #802? I don't see a point anywhere in sight. And the needless darkening stuff is just, well, needless.

And I'll give new writers some slack, but Lapham didn't even come NEAR Tim Drake in #802. That wasn't even CLOSE to sounding like Tim Drake. Not even CLOSE. You'd think he literally had never read a comic featuring Tim Drake before, that's how off he was.

Incredible Hulk - I think there's a blog entry somewhere in the discussion about how PAD has adapted his style to try to fit in with newer writers, by making his stuff a lot darker. Why isn't Weeks on a monthly title?

In addition, awhile back, Marvel made Hulk a Marvel Knights title, with no change in story content. People complained, saying it was just a scam to charge the extra 74 cents per issue. Marvel said no, and to prove it, they kept the book at $2.25.

Guess how much this issue cost?


Deadshot - Nothing to say differently. Except I guess to say I hate the new costume.

Jubilee - The art annoys me, but yes, this book is good.

The Question - Okay...I think this is the best work of Tommy Lee Edwards' career. I think it is THAT good. But the story? I am not as enamored with it as you are.

The New Avengers - I, too, was pleased to actually see some ACTION in the book. But yeah, the dialogue needs some work. How about Cap talking to Iron Man? "The thing is, I was heading..." Yes, that sounds just like something Cap would say.

Fantastic Four: Foes - I liked the story well enough, but I am ashamed of you, Joe. No mention of Rathburn's creepy drawings of Sue? Dude, she had freaking balloons on her chest! And she's wearing this low-cut shirt...I was like, does this artist know who he's drawing here? Or did I accidentally pick up a back issue of Penthouse Comix?

Ultimate X-Men - Very good issue. Vaughan finally did an issue that didn't read like a mid-90s issue of X-Men. I was worried about Immomen. I love his work, but I thought maybe he wouldn't be commercial enough. I was wrong. My only real complaint is the "Bruckheimer" joke. How sitcom-y was that joke?

Captain America - GREAT issue. And what struck me as amazing is the fact that it could have even been BETTER. A little more action, and this issue would have been tremendous. But still, a really good comic.

Books you didn't review...

Breach #1 - Great art, cliched story.

Flash #217 - Story improvement. I have an entry to write about the art.

Noble Causes #6 - Another fun issue.

Alpha Flight #11 - A decent enough issue.

X-Men/Fantastic Four #2 - Leap years better than the craptactular #1. Still not much going on. Really depends if you love Pat Lee's art or not.

X-Men: Phoenix: Endsong #1 - I'm surprised you didn't give this one a shot, Joe. I thought you liked Warlock. Pak isn't enough to make this a GOOD comic, but it isn't half bad.

Strangers in Paradise #70 - Omigod! Omigod! A GOOD issue of Strangers in Paradise! What is this, 1994?

Simpson Comics #101 - Worthy of being an episode, which is top praise in my book.

1/06/2005 07:16:00 PM  
Blogger Joe Rice said...

re: Lapham and Tim Drake:

I figured that was probably off. But I have no problem with a writer going for a different characterization. I know this is one place where you and I really differ. If the story works, then feel free to make Tim more teenagery. I dunno, I've found mainstream Robin to be pretty damn boring for quite a while.
re: Deadshot's costume

I remember reading it's not a real costume change, it's just what he was wearing in this neighborhood. I don't mind it. It's less silly than the big medallion look.

re: The (not in-)visible boobs

I liked the art enough otherwise that it didn't really bother me. I guess I'm a little too used to Sue being drawn that way. Who was the last artist not to vamp her up a bit? (But, yeah, those were awful boobs.)

re: Pak

I liked Warlock but I hate Jean Grey. I don't hate many characters. In fact, I'm hard-pressed to think of another one I hate. But I really hate Jean Grey.

re: gender issues

You officially are hated by Brad Meltzer now, Brian. Liking Strangers in Paradise makes you a WOMAN.

1/06/2005 07:28:00 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

"In addition, awhile back, Marvel made Hulk a Marvel Knights title, with no change in story content. People complained, saying it was just a scam to charge the extra 74 cents per issue. Marvel said no, and to prove it, they kept the book at $2.25."

And, oddly enough, no MK banner.

By the way, Joe, is there a reason you left out the fight with the giant squid? 'Cause c'mon, that was pretty cool.

1/06/2005 07:30:00 PM  
Blogger Joe Rice said...

I dunno. I just didn't see it as being any more interesting than the rest. He beat up a squid, too. All the while talking to himself about the same old shit PAD always has him talking about.

1/06/2005 07:32:00 PM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

Strangers in Paradise and my gender - I am not a woman, because I acknowledge that Moore is a bit of a wimp. If I didn't, and I thought he was the coolest...then yes, you would be correct.

Lapham's Robin - If he was writing Tim more "teenager-like," that would be one thing. But he isn't. He is writing Tim as Jason Todd. Which is just lame.

Endsong - Definitely worth a pick up.

1/06/2005 07:40:00 PM  
Blogger Joe Rice said...

What's that? I can't hear you. Your voice is so high-pitched and girlish.

1/06/2005 07:45:00 PM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

"What's that? I can't hear you. Your voice is so high-pitched and girlish."

I would cry, but I do not want to smear my mascara.

1/06/2005 07:54:00 PM  
Blogger Joe Rice said...

There, there. Let it all out, ginger.

1/06/2005 08:01:00 PM  
Blogger Dan Apodaca said...

I refuse to believe that Endsong could be anything other than SUPERCRAP.

Jean Grey is boring and cliched and Claremont's walking Oedipus complex. No way could her character ever be interesting. Even in Morrison's run (my favorite) her only good moment was when she took Xavier's consciousness into her mind, and then split it among the earth.

One good moment.

Maybe it's because Morrison was working so hard to make Cyclops good again, and Cyclops goes into idiot-boring mode whenever Jean Grey's around.

On a separate note:

I also hate fake cursing in comics. I mean, why the fuck are characters still saying, "Blast it!"?

Only retarded people and old people would say that. But not even retarded old people would. They would say, "Joogle-puppies!", because they are old and retarded.

1/07/2005 04:46:00 PM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

To be fair, Dan, I think Pak is approaching Phoenix: Endsong not as JEAN's story really, but rather, the Phoenix force.

So Jean is definitely going to be a big part of it, but not the star.

Heck, a major part of the issue is the Force trying to go after Scott! (presumably because it still loves Scott)

1/07/2005 07:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As an alternative to 'fake cussin', I give you this advice, read all of J'Onn J'Onzz' cop dialogue in 'New Frontier' aloud.

1/10/2005 03:43:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who said Flaming Carrot wasn't perfect in all ways? If you think it was fancying itself a big piece of clever I think you have missed the point, it is authentic diseased genius with no desire to practise pretty dancesteps. Ut!

Mmmm...New Frontier...

2/17/2005 09:36:00 AM  

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