Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Three Comics I Read So That You Do Not Have To

Once again, I do my humanitarian duty by reading comics that you might not have read last week, and tell you how they were.

Batgirl #61 - I must say, I was not a fan of Anderson Gabrych's Detective Comics run, as I honestly thought it was pretty boring. Not BAD, but not interesting. So I was very impressed to see his Batgirl run begin pretty enjoyably. Gabrych was the person DC picked to explain all the horrible nonsense that made up War Games, and while I think Gabrych ultimately failed (as it was just too much nonsense for anyone to adequately explain), he also did a remarkable attempt at explaining the nonsense. Likewise, he manages to create in Batgirl a rarity in the Bat-verse, which is a straightforward, fun comic book. In this issue, Batgirl faces off against a reconstituted Brotherhood of Evil, and it is just a fun, well told comic book. Not only is the superhero stuff handled well, but Gabrych describes Batgirl's thought process well, which other writers really did not even attempt to do sometimes (remember, this Batgirl could not even read until recently, as all she was trained to do was kill). In addition, there is a scene in the comic that almost made me laugh, as the writer set up an old fashioned sub plot. It is so long since I saw an old fashioned sub plot (someone is buying up the property in the area Batgirl has moved into...who is doing it?!?) that I had to laugh when I saw it. Finally, Ale Garza's art is restrained here from some of his crazier moments on other titles, and it works well. Good stuff.

Battle Hymn #1 is a new comic from Image, written by B. Clay Moore with art by Jeremy Haun and Ande Parks. It is basically the Invaders, only in this comic universe. A group of international superheroes come together during World War II. It is, like Batgirl, a well-told story, and should be applauded for that. It is not the most original of stories (as, like I said, it is pretty much an alternate take on the Invaders), but the art is good and the characters are still interesting enough. Plus, for a first issue "setup" issue, it has a welcome amount of action in it. The take in the first issue seemed a BIT too cynical, but that may just strictly be the first issue, and I will give them the chance to turn it around in later issues (as the heroes come together as a team, I hope that they will grow as characters, especially the Captain America analogue, who is currently more a parody than anything).

Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes #8 is the final part of Joe Casey and Scott Kolins' Avengers Year One story, telling the background of the Avengers from their formation to the point where the original Avengers leave, and the Avengers become "Cap's Kooky Quartet." I feel bad saying this about a project that ooooozes care and attention for the characters and the original stories, but, well, it just was not interesting enough. I really need something a bit more than "fill in the blanks in the original stories to explain how the Avengers got security clearance" or "how did Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch REALLY get admitted to the team?" Casey writes some awesome dialogue, while nailing each character (in my opinion) perfectly, but I think he ends up faltering where Kurt Busiek did not in Untold Tales of Spider-Man (which followed a similar pattern). In Untold Tales, Busiek made it all fit, but he gave us new, fun stories. Here, Casey made it all fit, but I do not think we got new, fun stories. We got a different take on old stories which, while well-written, just weren't FUN. The fun stuff mostly happens off-panel in this series, while we get the behind the scenes discussions. A merge of the two (behind the scenes discussions plus new action scenes) would have made this a top notch series. As it were, it still has its place in Avengers lore, but the same place that those backups in the Annuals have, where they would show us what the Avengers Charter looks like, or what an Avengers membership card looks like. I liked Scott Kolins' art a lot in the series, though.

Okay, now I will mention books that I DIDN'T read last week, and you can tell me about them so I do not have to read them:

Small Gods #7
The Ride: Foreign Parts
Escapist #5
Jingle Belle #3
Ennis & Mcreas's Dicks Winter Special
Grimjack: Killer Instincts #2
Walt Disney Comics & Stories #654


Blogger Christopher Burton said...

Regarding Battlehymn, it looks and sounds entertaining enough but...I'll wait for the trade.

3/01/2005 09:44:00 PM  
Blogger Johnny B said...

I didn't like Battle Hymn at all, but that Jingle Belle was excellent.

Yep, typical comics reader, that's me! :)

3/01/2005 10:05:00 PM  
Blogger Rick Jones, really said...

Grimjack #2 was fantastic. Orstrander and Truman coontinue to knock it out of the park. I'm really enjoying this peek at the early years of our John Gaunt.

Great, great stuff.

3/01/2005 11:08:00 PM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

Bah...I need DETAILS!

Hehe...I'm glad Jingle Belle was good Johnny. I liked the first two issues, but haven't caught the last two.

And Rick, I am such a moron, I honestly didn't know the Grimjack series had restarted! I was planning to get it, but thought I still had time before it was released! So it IS good? I guess I will actually have to read it now.

3/02/2005 12:36:00 AM  
Blogger Joe Rice said...

I tend to really like B. Clay Moore. Hawaiian Dick is pretty spot-on fun, hasn't ever let me down. But this was not his strongest work. The "twists" on the characters were a bit obvious for me in some cases. "Captain America is A DICK!" in particular. Mind you, this is a first issue. I've got enough faith in him as a writer to have a better point in mind with this.

3/02/2005 07:06:00 AM  
Blogger Greg said...

Well, I like Small Gods. It's a neat book. This particular issue suffered a little from the "middle of the arc" syndrome, in that nothing much happened to advance the story, although there was sex (off-panel) and a nifty car chase. We learn a little bit more about the main characters -- Bobby and Lucy -- but not much. It's still a beautiful book to look at, and Rand keeps things moving, but like I said -- a bit of a filler issue. There is, unfortunately, two pages in which Lucy is naked and Ferreyra has to come up with arms and elbows and backs to hide her nipples. According to the creators, cursing doesn't get you a "Mature Readers" label, but areola does. Sad statement about our country. They lowered the price on this, to $2.50 -- poor sales, or just an attempt to get more readers???

3/02/2005 02:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Brad Curran said...

I like what I've seen of the art in Battle Hymn, and I'm always partial to a WWII setting, but I'm not sure if another take on the Invaders is up my alley. Like Burton, I may pick up the trade.

3/02/2005 04:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You didn't ask about this, but JL: Elite issue 9 is a god damn cornucopia of comic goodness. I'll say this now and never again: Joe Kelly at his best is comparable to Grant Morrison, and in this series, right now, he's at his very best. There's goodness just DRIPPING off the pages.

(It's all indecipherable without the earlier parts of the story, though, but nine issues into a limited series, what do you expect?)

3/03/2005 08:03:00 AM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

That's because JLElite came out THIS week!

I wrote a whole piece on the first seven issues of JLElite a month or two ago.

You can find it here - http://goodcomics.blogspot.com/2005/01/justice-league-elite-change-in-scenery.html

3/03/2005 05:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Brad Curran said...

"I wrote a whole piece on the first seven issues of JLElite a month or two ago."

And you still haven't lived it down.

3/04/2005 02:00:00 PM  
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