Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Three 9/21 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.

Special "I Was Surprised To Like This As Much As I Did" Edition!

Manhunter #14, Black Panther #8 and Green Lantern: Recharge #1 Spoilers Ahead!

Manhunter #14

I was really unprepared for how good that this issue was, as I was not a fan of the previous issues of this storyline, which consisted of killing off all the other people named Manhunter (including one character that Kurt Busiek was currently in plans to do a one-shot on while the character was being killed in this title). I was irritated by the killing off of cool characters, but I also did not think that the story was progressing all that well. In addition, it had plenty of STUPID OMAC THINGS!

Well, this issue was a very nice change of pace, and I liked it even though it still had a healthy dose of STUPID OMAC THINGS in it.

Javier Pina continues to do an excellent job of filling in for Jesus Saiz (who is amazing), so the art was not a problem. The story, on the other hand, was much more coherent and the dialogue was improved.

One of the best characters in this book, and for many issues, one of the main highlights for me, has been the character of Dylan, the former member of Super Villain gangs who now works for Manhunter as her tech advisor and, well, pretty much only close friend (although she will never admit that). Dylan has a lot of funny exchanges in the issue with Cameron Chase, the second-coolest character in this book, the former star of the acclaimed (but sadly short-lived) series Chase. Chase, an agent for the Department of Extranormal Operations, is investigating the Manhunter murders, and her investigation leads her directly to Manhunter (Kate Spencer) and the former Manhunter, Mark Shaw, who apparently went nuts.

In this issue, they free Shaw of his madness, and in a nice twist, it is Shaw himself who does it. That was a bold move by Andreyko, allowing Shaw to save himself. Kate still has some good, heroic moments in the issue.

Ultimately, this comic was a nice action-packed issue with a lot of good dialogue and characterization. So, well, I liked it a lot.

I still think there is something wrong with the idea that I liked Kate less than three other characters, but hey, you can't have everything. And I don't like the romance sub-plot with her and her ex-husband, but, hey, you can't have everything.

All in all, I would have to say...


Black Panther #8

Count me as one of the many folks who had some issues with the first story arc from Reginald Hudlin's Black Panther. Forgetting the continuity problems, I just did not think it was all that good of a story (I liked one or two of the issues, though, by themselves). Paul O'Brien wrote an interesting piece, and I especially agree with one of his points where he talks about how writers like to be able to "write off" criticism. I saw a lot of that in Hudlin's reactions to criticisms of Black Panther.

In any event, I thought Milligan's first part to this crossover was fun, so I was fretting what would occur in this issue, but, really, Hudlin got the X-Men down, I think.

So I was pleased with that.

The parts I did NOT like was some of the sillier aspects of the comic, like Storm stripping her clothes off to be a goddess again to the Africans. It was quite weird.

Beyond that, it was a pretty standard action issue. Not great dialogue, and not much characterization.

David Yardin's art was quite good, with able inks from Jay Leisten.

This issue did not ruin Milligan's momentum in the story, but nor did it ADD anything, I do not think.

Not Recommended!

Green Lantern: Recharge #1

Right off the bat, please let me tell you, I don't know for sure what work Geoff Johns did on this comic book.

For all I know, he might have plotted the entire thing, and let Dave Gibbons just script it.

I honestly do NOT know.

However, from reading it, it APPEARS to be mostly Gibbons writing the comic (some Johns-ian lines stick out, like "Lanterns and Batman don't mix"), with assistance from Johns in keeping the comic "in line" with Johns' vision of the DC Universe (now a trademarked term).

So, in that case, what I am about to say may be based on a totally false presumption.

Please let Dave Gibbons write all Green Lantern comics!!

This comic was really quite good! And don't get me wrong, I may be totally over-rating it because I was so unprepared to read a GOOD Green Lantern comic that I am reacting like this was a GREAT Green Lantern comic. It really was not. But it WAS good, and that was more that I could have hoped to expect.

I am already a big Patrick Gleason fan, so I was expecting the art to look good, and I was not disappointed at ALL. The art was dynamite! Now if we could only allow Gleason to redesign Kyle's fugly Jim Lee designed outfit, we'd be perfect.

This comic is the standard "collecting heroes" idea that has been done to death, but it really is a neccessary evil, and I cannot recall the last time I saw the collection done as well as it was in this comic. There were three really well done collection scenes in a row, from a doctor who doesn't WANT the ring, but must accept it to save a patient's life, a soldier who wants the ring to kill his enemies and a condemned man, who uses the ring to save HIS life....all of them were very nice character studies, all in a couple of pages each.

Guy Gardner and Killowog are handled well in the comic, I thought. Kyle is a bit bland, but with the amount of personality involved in the comic, I can forgive that.

There is a real nice sense of forebodding in the comic as well, the sort of sense that a good writer just lets settle in, and doesn't bang you over the head with it. Except for one line at the end, that is exactly what this comic does. It allows us to figure stuff out for ourselves. I like that. Johns is always overexplaining stuff. This comic didn't do that, and I am thankful for that.

So if this is an indication of how Dave Gibbons would write a Green Lantern series, then I want him on every Green Lantern series!

Recommended (and I am so happy to be able to say that)!

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:

Human Race #7

Lucifer #66


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Anonymous Dave (ED) said...

LUCIFER #66 was, well . . . Faust, basically. A sorceror summons the most powerful demon in Hell, hoping to sell his soul. Unfortunately, Hell is mostly empty right now thanks to a war in Heaven, so the sorceror gets the fallen cherub Gaudium. Hijinks ensue.

The main draw, though, is 100% Kaluta art.

9/28/2005 10:31:00 AM  
Anonymous red_ricky said...

Green Lantern: Recharge #1So if this is an indication of how Dave Gibbons would write a Green Lantern series, then I want him on every Green Lantern series!

Recommended (and I am so happy to be able to say that)!

Okay Cronin, I'm taking your word for it and buying this comic. It better not be bad!

9/28/2005 10:57:00 AM  
Blogger Lex said...

I enjoyed GLC and Manhunter too.

It's a good thing that Gibbons and Gleason will be continuing their good stuff for a GLC ongoing next year (I think I heard that somewhere). So we're sure to get some good Green Lanterns stuff every month.

I wish Kyle would get a new costume too. I remember hearing that George Perez will be doing a lot of design work for DC, so I hope that means new costumes for characters who desperately need it... pretty much anyone Jim Lee redesigned.

9/28/2005 06:20:00 PM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said... funny would THAT be?

The only other artist as bad as a designer as Lee, George Perez, and he might be the one doing the redesigning!!

That is hilarious!

And yeah, Gibbons and Gleason on the ongoing = coolness.

9/28/2005 07:44:00 PM  

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