Saturday, March 05, 2005

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

Here's a quick look at this week's books. There may be some spoilers mixed in here!

The Good

I really liked the first issue of Howard Chaykin and Russ Heath's Legend from Wildstorm. It was such a throwback comic, as it really read almost like a Classics Illustrated story. The comic is about a scientist who basically creates Superman. So what would Superman be like if he was created by a scientist who did not mind experimenting on his wife? And what would Superman be like if he was raised by a strict Scottish mother? And heck, what would happen if Superman was not so darn pleasant? Heath's art was impressive, and the story was good.

J. Torres has another good issue of Love As a Foreign Language with the second in a series of manga-style graphic novels from Oni Press. The story is moving very slowly, and I really did not like that we barely saw anything of the object of the hero's affection (right after basically not meeting her until the end of the first issue!), but the star of the book is interesting enough to stick around. A man teaching English in Korea, he hates it, but extended his time there to be with the shcool's new receptionist (the aforementioned person that we barely saw anything of). The protagonist here reminds me a lot of Heavy Parker from Pounded, in that, he really is not that cool of a guy, sort of a jerk, honestly. So it is a good job by Torres to make us feel for the guy, and not just hate him. In addition, Eric Kim does a good job with the art. This is a fun series.

The Bad

Age of Apocalypse One-Shot is an interesting experiment in storytelling. The entire book, save the last story, is a series of stories that fills in the blanks in the Age of Apocalypse storyline from ten years ago. Well, think about silly is that?!?! "How did Colossus come to head up Generation Next?" "How did Sabretooth meet Wild Child?" "Why do we care?" The answer to all three questions should be, "We don't/shouldn't care!" That being said, none of the stories are poorly written. They're just a waste of time. It was nice to see pin-ups from the original artists on the series, including big names such as Adam Kubert, Andy Kubert, Tony Daniel and the cover by Bryan Hitch, who has come a loooong way since then (as has Carlos Pachecho, who did not contribute anything to this issue, but it is still fun to look back and see Pachecho and Hitch working on these little X-Projects, and realize where they are today).

Ultimate Spider-Man #73 is a bit misleading, as I do not know if it really belongs in the bad column (as I am avoiding placing Ultimate Iron Man #1 here), and I probably would not have mentioned it if it were not for the fact that the issue just irked me, so I place it here. We are now on the second part of the storyline. #72 was ENTIRELY exposition and setup. Then this issue came, and it's.......(wait for it)......ENTIRELY exposition and setup!!! How do you set out to write a story like this?!!? Setup....setup.....setup.....setup.....fight....send it to the TPB department! Lame.

X-Men/Fantastic Four #4 - Is Pat Lee supposed to be a hot artist? Who likes him? I have always wondered that. In any event, forgetting whether he is a hot artist, the dude totally halfasses whatever talent he DOES have in this series. This series has got to be selling decently, right? So I would think we would be hearing more complaints about it, as the guy is clearly just halfassing his artwork here, and since I am not a fan of his work to BEGIN with, halfassed/rushed Lee work is even worse, and this is what we have here. But really, though, the bigger disappointment (as, like I said, I wasn't expecting much from Lee) is Akira Yoshida. If you read Thor: Son of Asgard, you'd know that Yoshida can tell a really good story. Here, though, Yoshida is telling pretty much fan fiction. Not good stuff. And in the same week, Yoshida also wrote the similarly poor Age of Apocalypse #1, which did not serve much to to lift my estimation of Yoshida.

The Ugly

Some various "ugly" occurances during this week of comics.

1. Chris Bachalo's art on Age of Apocalypse #1. Someone really has to demonstrate to me that Mark Buckingham's inks were not responsible for Chris Bachalo becoming such a popular artist, because the down slope of Bachalo's career has entirely matched the period since Buckingham left to become a penciller. I will believe that Bachalo has decided to make his art look like this on purpose (as we have seen people like Michael Golden make similarly odd stylistic changes), but I just want to know that he IS, indeed, doing this on purpose, and it's not just the lack of Mark Buckingham on inks. Like, has he given any interviews on the subject?

2. Sachs and Violens. I thought they were dumb when PAD first introduced them in the early 90s, and I think they're equally dumb now. The issue of Fallen Angel they appeared in was pretty good, but that was in spite of them, not because of them.

3. Brent Anderson's photo references for his Rising Stars covers (as shown in the back of the last issue of Rising Stars). It was nice of him to share, but the sight of Mr. Anderson jumping in the air amidst his daughter's toys was sooo goofy.


Blogger Michael said...

Transformers fans used to like Pat Lee, but that changed even before Dreamwave went bye-bye.

Please tell me you didn't pay money for X-Men/FF.

3/06/2005 12:26:00 AM  
Blogger alex said...

Bri-bri, you have to change the name of your weekly review. "This Week's Comics" is too close to "This Week's Funnies" and that's my thing.

I suggest:


3/06/2005 11:49:00 AM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

I'll just stick with G, B & U.

3/06/2005 12:07:00 PM  
Blogger Lyle said...

I think the problem with the first Love as a Foreign Language came down to putting the female lead on the cover. If I hadn't realized that she was going to be important to the story, I wouldn't have spent the entire first volume waiting for her to become a part of the premise. Unfortunately, the cover set my expectations ahead of the game.

3/06/2005 03:51:00 PM  
Blogger Joe Rice said...

I get "Love as a Foreign Language" for my fiancee, who's Korean, but she basically only likes it because it's a romance in Korea. The art is really weak and the story's been pretty bare so far. But, hey, if she likes it I'll keep getting it for her.

3/06/2005 09:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Brad Curran said...

"This series has got to be selling decently, right? So I would think we would be hearing more complaints about it..."

By the way, people aren't complaining about it on the X-Board?

3/06/2005 10:42:00 PM  
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I really agree with your recomendation for Legend. It looks like its going to be a very faithfull adaptation of Philip Wylie's Gladiator. Finally, one of the inspirations for Superman will be widely available in comic book form.

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