Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Three 8/3 Books That I Read So That You Did Not Have To

As always, I tell you about three comics that I did not hear a lot about this week, and then I ask you all to fill me in on comics that I did not read this week.

Spoilers ahead!

Strangers in Paradise #75

This was yet another good issue of Strangers in Paradise, which is becoming more and more of an expected event rather than a pleasant surprise.

The issue is split into four different plots, all of which kept my interest.

The first, Francine's visit with her mother, who has embraced her past as a pin-up girl, and all of Francine's relatives are helping out. Really funny stuff, especially the aunt who is very upset about a certain election that she thinks MUST have been riggged....hehe...that one was particularly amusing. At the same itme, Terry Moore gives a real gentle exuberance to Francine's familial interactions. Good stuff.

The next plot is David finding out some bad news. Handled well. Short and to the point.

The Emily and Freddy plot continues to impress me. I just love how Moore has actually made Freddy an almost likable character, to the point where it does not really SHOCK us that Emily is intrigued by him. And Freddy is always good for a couple of laughs.

Katchoo's plot is basically showing what happens when she hears what she WANTS to hear...but she is not expecting it. Powerful bit there.

The art by Moore is always strong.


Marvel Team-Up #11

This was Kirkman trying to out-Giffen and DeMatteis Giffen and DeMatteis and out-Bendis Bendis.

I do not think that it ultimately WORKED, but I think it was an admirable attempt.

The plot of the issue is that Dr. Strange is forced to recruit a bunch of superheroes to fight Titanus, the big bad.

The heroes he recruits are Spider-Man, Nova, She-Hulk and Ms. Marvel, with Wolverine already being on the scene.

The exchanges between all the heroes are intended to evoke both the "just regular guys" humor of Giffen and DeMatteis as well as the "Weird things about beign a superhero" dialogue that Bendis does so often.

I think a lot of it did not ring all that true, except, I think, for some of Nova and Spider-Man's exchanges. "I thought I was OLDER than you!" Hehe.

And I liked to see Jen and Carol hang out. They seem like they would be friends.

The fight scenes were nothing to write home about.

I like Kolins' art, but I know he is an acquired taste.

So, while I admire Kirkman's INTENT, I don't think this was a complete package, so..

Not Recommended!

Superman #220

This issue was not good.

Now do not get me wrong, I understand the pressures that come with writing a DC comic book nowadays.

Nunzio DeFillippis and Christina Weir mentioned that, in their upcoming FILL-IN issue of Adventures of Superman, they had to reference OMAC, the other Superman titles, Identity Crisis, etc.

So yeah, it is hard to write a comic when you are forced to deal with the current continuity explicitly (it is almost like they are trying to force you to read all the Superman titles to get the full story...almost as if each issue had a triangle on the cover telling you what order to read them in...but no, DC thought that was a silly idea, right?), but Mark Verheiden still did a poor job with it in this issue.

Seriously, am I really supposed to dig reading a Superman comic where Superman and Superboy team up to talk about how bad their lives are? And how they are such dangers to their loved ones?

And that's basically the WHOLE issue!

Credit is due to Verheiden for doing stuff Azzarello did not, which was to pay attention to Superman comics of the past, and detail how events would affect other stories that were in place BEFORE he wrote the book, but really, all Verheiden did was bring back the Eradicator in the issue.

No one learned a lesson.

No one grew as a character.

Hell, plots were not even moved forward, really, at all.

This was just the ultimate "treading water" issue.

Tony Daniel's art was pretty good in the issue, though. I was not all that impressed with his anatomy, but he laid the book out well, I thought.

Not Recommended!

Now on to the books that I did not read, so I was hoping you might have read them and could tell me what I missed out on:

Emo Boy #2

Fat Boy and Harvey #1

Darkness #22

Son of Vulcan #3


Read More


Anonymous Jim Kosmicki said...

I've really enjoyed Son of Vulcan so far. it's slipping under people's radar, but it's a decent book. I like how they took the name of the Charlton hero, which I admit always intrigued me, and ignored everything else. You pretty much had to -- that book was wicked bad.

You have a hero worshipping kid who does the right thing and gets picked to become the sidekick of a hero nobody knows about. Then, through circumstances, he has to become the hero, even though he has no actual training yet. A bit of a cliche, but it's working so far. really good cliffhangers in each issue.

I haven't actually read #3 yet -- it won't come from mailordercomics.com until next month's box, but the first two have me in the series through the end.

8/10/2005 08:32:00 AM  
Anonymous The Eyeball Kid said...

I agree, Son of Vulcan is good fun. I enjoyed #3, although things are just getting harder and harder on the poor kid.

8/10/2005 08:44:00 AM  
Blogger Guy LeCharles Gonzalez said...

SoV is one of the more entertaining superhero comics out right now, and it's wonderfully Infinite Crisis-free! Predictably, it's not selling well, and not getting much attention from the usual suspects. I did my part this week offering free copies of the first 3 issues over at Buzzscope to the first three people saying they wanted to try something new. Hopefully DC gives the character another shot after the crossover madness is all said and done.

8/10/2005 10:10:00 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

Issue #3 of SOV:

You really have to pick this up.

That said, here's what happened.


Miguel is shot out of the Forge by Praetor as part of a self-destruct sequence meant to protect the line of Vulcan. Miguel couldn't answer any of the code-phrase questions to verify his identity. (He keeps screaming, "ASK ME AGAIN! I'LL PAY ATTENTION THIS TIME!")

John Stewart picks up the remains of Vulcan and delivers them to the JLA watchtower after a brief pissing match with the DEO.

Still mourning Erich (the previous Vulcan), Pandora returns to the Forge just in time to rescue Miguel from stillspace, the limbo-like zone where the Forge sits. As the Forge continues to crumble, she and Miguel make their way to the Vulcan-mobile.

(It's kind of sad at this point that Miguel loses his secret lair before he even knows how to use it. Imagine being Robin, and the Batcave collapses on the day you move in.)

Praetor disables Pandora, and moves in to do the same to Miguel. Miguel fights back, and Praetor takes away the Encyclopedae Vulcanis (the super-hero handbook) from him. Miguel accidentally activates the Vulcan-Mobile, and ends up... shot out into limbo again.

Finally, the thing that killed the previous Vulcan wakes up in a hospital and dies after a conversation with its mate. The mate screams with rage, and both things are revealed to be White Martians. The male wonders how he's going to incubate all his little hatchlings without a mom now, and he's not pleased.

All this happens in one issue. As opposed to say, the latest issue of New Avengers, where some guys talk. A lot.

Seriously. Pick this up. High-energy old-fashioned heroics.

8/10/2005 01:21:00 PM  
Blogger Lex said...

I agree with your assessment of Marvel Team-Up, but I'd still give it a "recommended." Just because he didn't live up to Giffen and DeMatteis doesn't mean that it was not a fun comic book.

8/10/2005 08:02:00 PM  
Blogger gschienke said...

When last was Superman, or any of the Super-titles actually good, fun, and/or interesting? Since Byrne left the books (and I am not necessarily relating quality of the titles to Byrne's run), they have been marketing concepts looking for media notice. "The Death of Superman" story may have been the single worst thing to happen to the way mainstream comic books are written.

I know that I diverge from the comic glitterati who want to keep all but a select few comics adult friendly, but I honestly believe that a mainstream comic should always be written as if an eight-year-old is going to read it. I'm not saying write them for children, but rather the writer or editor should ask "Where is the hook that will keep a kid interested?" Because the mainstream comics desperately want acceptance in the adult world, even as they market coloring books and pajamas with capes to kids, and write stories meant to be a chapter in the eventual trade paperback collection, you get things like one come devoted to Superman and Superboy talking. Gee, I can't see why a video game would be more interesting to a ten-year-old.

Even Stan Lee, who famously admitted to writing Fantastic Four as something he'd want to read, had his stories move; character development and exposition never slowed a story down. I just can't see Stan Lee giving up a splash page for a for-those-who-came-in-late page.

Also, I just want to underscore this, I am not saying all comics should follow this formula, but I do believe that the stories, and presentation of those stories, in mainstream comics are better served by including action, character, and sub-plot in each issue.

As for Son of Vulcan, I probably would have picked up the book had it been titled something else. I know nothing about the character except that I think Roy Thomas made his first professional sale with a SOV story, but I am tired of old names being attached to characters with no connection to the past. Had the book been called Son of Hephaestus I probably would have given it a chance.

8/11/2005 04:59:00 PM  
Blogger Kitty said...

Damn! I might actually take a look at *Strangers in Paradise* again. Last time I read it, it was folding back in on itself and doing the same plots over and over, but if it's highlighting good character development again, then hey. I can give it a shot.

About these "Three books I read" posts - could you put the titles in the "read more" teaser, so that we can tell which ones are going to be potentially spoiled in the reviews? Thanks!

8/11/2005 10:17:00 PM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

Fair point, Kitty!

I will do so in the future!

And yeah, I basically had lost hope of any actual forward movement on SiP, but about four issues ago, out of nowhere, BAM - plot advancement.

And it has continued since then.

8/11/2005 10:53:00 PM  
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