Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Three 10/19 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.

X-Men/Power Pack #1, Robin #143 and Star Wars: Republic #78 Spoilers Ahead!

X-Men/Power Pack #1

Here's the main reason why I enjoy Marc Sumerak's Power Pack work so much. He is essentially the anti-Brad Meltzer. Brad Meltzer looked at DC's older stories and felt that he needed to apologize for them. That was silly, because they were good stories that did not need to be apologized for. That is a point many writers (to move away from incessantly picking on Mr. Meltzer) fall afoul of. They look at the Silver Age as the time of "goofy comics." Well, they weren't MEANT to be "goofy." They were just meant to be good stories that would appeal to their readers. Meanwhile, that has been Sumerak's saving grace with Power Pack. He does not feel the need to APOLOGIZE for these characters. He has not tried to change Louise Simonson's fine work. He is not ashamed of her stories. He has, instead, EMBRACED them. And as a result, we have in his work the same thing we had in Simonson's original work - GOOD comic stories.

This story depicts the Power Pack going to a Halloween costume party, and Jack thinks he will win with his Wolverine costume. Except, well, Wolverine is quite a popular costume theme...hehe. Gotta give it up for Gurihiru, for depicting pretty much EVERY Wolverine costume, and I do not think even duplicating any!!!

There is some nice interaction with Jack and Katie, although I think Jack is a bit too harsh on her.

The Wolverine and Sabretooth fights are done well, although, I have to admit, Gurihiru's art is a bit less suited for action scenes. Still, Sumerak comes up with a nice plan for the Pack and Wolverine to defeat Sabretooh. Good stuff.

And the ending was quite nice.


Robin #143

This is probably one of the better Willingham issues of Robin in recent months. It was also the best issue, art-wise, from Scott McDaniel. This issue depicts Johnny Warlock, Robin's nemesis (if Willingham has his way) and Darla, the girl that Johnny revived from the dead to kill Robin, because Johnny has a confidence problem with Robin.

Meanwhile, Willingham basically duplicates the OMAC scenes from Infinite Crisis, although I think Willingham does a better job, as he shows small-town hoods attempt to escape from the stupid OMAC things.

We also see the archer lady (from a previous issue) show up with great success against the OMACs, which makes sense, as she, too, is a Willingham creation, so you know he will be making her super competent.

However, the Archer lady's scenes show her interacting with TARANTULA. The whole point of the end of Grayson's Nightwing #100 is that Dick Grayson gets Tarantula locked up, and now, here she is, free as a bird! Oh well, at least Willingham followed Grayson's lead and made sure to have Tarantula say a couple of things in Spanish, just so you know she is Hispanic, natch.

Soon, the other new Willingham characters (wow, this almost seems like Robin is guest-starring in his own book, taking a backseat to all these "neat" Willingham creations) show up to fight the OMACs. The Veteran and his crew make short work of the stupid OMAC things, which only makes sense, as Willingham created them and he is writing the book, so stupid OMAC things should be no problem for them.

Rocket Red?


Willingham creations?

No problem.

Eventually, though, even Willingham lets his creations fall victim to the stupid OMAC things, until the super plot device occurs (the end of OMAC Project #6), and all the stupid OMAC things disappear.

Then we have a silly scene where Robin bets his life that Johnny's magic won't work against him. It works, but it seems like a dumb bet to risk your LIFE on.

So they win, and finally, speaking of Willingham creations, the Shadowpact shows up to give an assist to Robin!

McDaniel drew the action scenes well in this issue, and some of them were even interesting.

Overall, though?

Not Recommended!

Star Wars: Republic #78

I do not know if John Ostrander is happy to finally move beyond the "lead up to the first Trilogy" or not, but I know I sure am. It is comics like THIS one that I have been waiting for Ostrander to write, and he does not let me down.

This is the kind of comic I am sure Ostrander would have written had he been the writer on the original Marvel Star Wars title back in the 80s. It is a story about an Imperial Officer who is on the run from the Empire, as they deem him expendable (the story opens with a great line about how an officer is now the hero of a great battle. He says, "No, a Jedi was the hero," and he is told, no, now YOU are the hero of the battle. Great stuff there).

The whole story is about the man on the run from Vader, but also about Vader coming to terms with his change in status. He is new to his role as Darth Vader, so he instinctively wants to chase the man down himself. Instead, we see the first sign of Vader turning to bounty hunters to capture his prey.

Our hero, Sagoro Autem, is a cool character to follow, and the twist at the end was just right.

For the art side of the comic, Luke Ross "drew" the comic, but really, Jason Keith's colors are the star of this book (if you liked the art, that is), as he makes everything much more vibrant, and does to Ross' pencils what Dave Stewart does to Cary Nord's Conan pencils, which is enfuses them with life. Good stuff.


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:

Night Mary #4

Battle Hymn #4

Deadworld #2


Read More


Blogger Nimbus said...

Special All-Infinite Crisis Edition!


So it's true! The Multiple Earths are back. And it sounds like there are a few new ones as well. Like Earth-Marvel and Earth-SW. Wow!

On a slightly more relevant note, regarding Battle Hymn - is this series any good? In general I mean, not just issue 4.

10/26/2005 07:57:00 AM  
Blogger Michael said...

I have a sneaking suspicion that Johnny Warlock will never be seen or heard from again after Willingham eventually leaves Robin,

10/26/2005 08:18:00 AM  
Blogger Mo Soar said...

Mmm, you picked two books I like quite well in your "missed out on" list.

Here's my little "mini opinion" from MW:
Night Mary #3 (Remender/Dwyer; IDW). A deliciously creepy look inside the dream plane as Mary, a "lucid dreamer" able to enter the dreams of her psychiatrist father's patients, has discovered that there is something lurking out there. This issue amps up the creepiness factor as one of the patients loses the distinction between waking and dreaming and decided to take things into his own hands. Dwyer's art and colors on this are astonishing. If you haven’t read this yet, pick up a copy and just leaf through it for the art. The blue pages, with charcoals, chalk and ink, are her drab "real" life and the brightly-colored pages are the dream plane.

The art is absolutely fascinating - it's not just that the color schemes change between "waking" and "dreaming" - everything changes. The style, the line weights - it's just gorgeous.

Re: Battle Hymn - female though I am, I am a complete sucker for WW2 stories. B. Clay Moore's 5-part miniseries about superheroes in WW2 is less a "rock 'em sock 'em" story and more an exploration of how superheroes might have been used - PR, "troop morale rallying," strategic weapons. The heroes here aren't always particularly heroic, but they are very human - especially considering that a couple of them AREN'T actually human - with all the glory and ugliness that entails. Jeremy Haun's art is gorgeous, very good at picking up the period details and the muted, sepia-based colors add an extra kick of "place and time."

10/26/2005 11:05:00 AM  
Blogger kelvingreen said...

Brad Meltzer looked at DC's older stories and felt that he needed to apologize for them. That was silly, because they were good stories that did not need to be apologized for.
Not any more! In the dvd-style extras in the back of the Identity Crisis hardback (because we're so proud of our medium we want to make it like another), Meltzer actually says, no doubt in response to this kind of criticism, that IC isn't an apology for the goofiness of the older comics after all, but a celebration of them! Now don't you feel silly? :)

10/26/2005 05:18:00 PM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

Thanks, Kelvin.

I am VERY pleased to hear Meltzer has backed off his "We're saving the Silver Age" comments.

10/26/2005 06:11:00 PM  
Blogger kelvingreen said...

Except now he's saying IdC is a celebration of the Silver Age, and I'm a bit baffled by that too...

10/27/2005 02:45:00 AM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

One step at a time, Kelvin!

One step at a time!

11/01/2005 02:10:00 AM  

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