Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Three 10/5 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 All-Marvel Edition!

New Thunderbolts #13, Uncanny X-Men #365 and Powers #13 Spoilers Ahead!

New Thunderbolts #13

I have enjoyed this series as a whole, but I have found the last few issues to be less than stellar.

What scares me about this title is the way that it has almost become a niche comic book, a title that exists to fill in a very specific hole in the Marvel Comic Universe which is, specifically, "The comic that pays attention to continuity."

To fully appreciate this comic, you'll have had to have read the following:

1. New Thunderbolts #1 - To get the banter between Photon and Atlas

2. Steve Englehart's Avengers run (which you SHOULD read...and more news on Englehart later, by the by!) - To get why Speed Demon is familiar with Dr. Spectrum

3. Thunderbolts/Avengers and the later issues of Thunderbolts - To get the conversation between Atlas and Dallas

4. The last series of Thunderbolts - To know who the Fixer is.

5. Old issues of Avengers or Godzilla - To know who Red Ronin is.

6. That issue where Luke Cage and Atlas fought for the name Power Man - To know what they're talking about when Luke Cage and Atlas mention fighting for a name.

This would not be as much of a problem if the main story wasn't so, well, bland. In fact, every issue of this series HAS been like this, but they also managed to couple good, engaging stories along with the continuity stuff.

With that being said, I understand that this is definitely meant to be a sales boost for the title, so I can cut the book a lot of slack there.

In any event, the plot of the story is that Carol Danvers puts the squeeze on the New Thunderbolts, and enlists them to take down the New Avengers, because the government is nervous about the New Avengers, as they do not understand them.

Meanwhile, former Thunderbolt leader Mach IV is trying to recuperate and get back into the scene.

Nicieza does have a good handle on the characters, I will certainly grant that. Tom Grummett is a very capable draftsman, but I cannot say that, for this issue at least, ever goes beyond that level. Perhaps Erskine's inks are not helping the matter.

I like this title, so I hope the Avengers guest-starring will help sales, but I would just like to see some good stories as well.

Not Recommended!

Uncanny X-Men #365

SIGNS THAT YOUR ART IS PERHAPS GOING TO LOOK A BIT MURKY: You are inked, in ONE comic, by NINE different inkers!!

That was the case in Uncanny X-Men #365, as Chris Bachalo was inked by so many inkers that they could not even give their first names!!!

The story, really, is not all that bad. It is a pretty decent, straightforward action story, and Bachalo's art, while not helping to make the comic easier to understand, at least IS pretty cool to look at. Essentially, what Chris Claremont is doing is using his House of M issues of Uncanny X-Men to spotlight the characters he will be featuring in his upcoming New Excalibur comic book. This is because, due to House of M, he does not have access to the main members of the X-Men. So Captain Britain, Juggernaut, Nocturne and Pete Wisdom take center stage. Meanwhile, Claremont also has Meggan sacrifice herself - in a bold, yet ultimately kind of depressing manner. Bold, because she's been around for so long, but depressing because it seems like such a minor place to be killing her off, to "save the universe" during the middle of a SEPARATE crossover. Sorta like a superhero jumping in front of a bullet to save someone from a mugging while the Fantastic Four are currently saving the world from Galactus.

There is a lot of Claremont "Nepotistic Continuity" in this comic, as there are many allusions to comics he has done in the past, very similar to the Thunderbolts issue, but there is enough other action going on, and the action is simple enough that it is not really distracting.

At the end of the day, though, the story and the art do not, in my mind, work that well together. Bachalo's characters look cool, but I do not think he tells the story well. Meanwhile, the story that is being told is not all that great, either. So, while this was not bad or anything, I would have to say...

Not Recommended!

Powers #13

I liked thic comic, because while there were some serious flaws, they were very easily ignored, leaving room for some good comic storytelling.

This issue is about what happens when a superhero/villain is knocked down into a street. It shows the collateral damage that occurs when stuff like this happens. It gives Michael Avon Oeming (the Avon is so you don't confuse him with the many other Michael Oemings who draw comic books) a chance to draw a man being blown apart by a person falling from the sky, so that's good. He seems to like to draw stuff that an artist doesn't normally get to draw. And he is good at it.

Brian Michael Bendis (the Michael is so you don't confuse him with the many other Brian Bendises who write comic books) is big on dialogue, so this comic is good in that it gives him a chance for some nice dialogue, as lead Christian Walker has some good flirting going on with a witness. Bendis recently did a bravura job with the whole "Guy/Girl interraction" in Ultimate Spider-Man Annual #1, and he keeps it up in this issue. Good stuff.

There are also plenty of funny moments, like the banter at the police station, Deena's comments about her virginity, the weird state the victim's apartment is in. And there is a good cliffhanger, which seems to say that this will be an interesting storyline.

The big flaw was this sequence with this comedian doing some tired old routine. I get that he very well might be tied into the storyline, but man, was it painful to read. However, luckily, just skipping those panels did not seem to hurt the comic at all, so I would recommend doing that.

And I would also recommend this comic.

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:

Casefiles: Sam & Twitch #19

Grounded #3

Walt Disney Comics and Stories #661

Thanks!

Read More

6 Comments:

Blogger Rick Jones, really said...

Well, I did read Grounded. It's an okay exploration of a world that really does have super powers. My main concern with it is the whole secrecy thing. This world supposedly has super heroes and villians, but the public at large thinks they're only in comic books. The heroes talk about different battles and suchlike and I'm thinking there's no way they could keep it all secret. That part doesn't work.

This issue also seemed to suffer a bit from too much compression. It felt to me like the writer tried to cram in two issues of story into this one issue. The main, powerless character, is still at the school for the sons and daughters of the supers. However, he's decided that, after a lifetime of wanting to be one of those supposedly imaginary superheroes, he's done with the whole scene.

Then, for some reason, the school decides to finally agree with the kid that superheroes are dangerous and starts drugging the kids to take away their powers. It's at that point that all the heroes converge on the school, only to find that it's a trap by their arch enemy. And no one with powers can go into the school without it blowing up and killing all the kids.

So, of course, the only one who can save all the kids is the powerless kid we've been following during the series.

Beautiful art, lacking story.

10/12/2005 09:29:00 AM  
Blogger T. said...

Who's the guy on the last page of Thunderbolts supposed to be?

10/12/2005 10:56:00 AM  
Blogger MarkAndrew said...

Powers is the only Marvel book that I'm absolutely, positively, fo' sho' getting every issue.

Oh. Wait. Kabuki, too.

Oeming's art is a thing of beauty and wonder.

And, PS, Cronin, I lost my copy of Stray Toasters, so I can't reread it to see if it's not as brilliant as I thought it was.

(But I'm pretty sure I'm right.)

Are you in the market for a "This Comic Might Be Good" compare and contrast piece on Kirby's Eternals an' Gaiman's Sandman?

10/12/2005 12:29:00 PM  
Blogger Mo Soar said...

Who's the guy on the last page of Thunderbolts supposed to be?

Hank Pym, aka Goliath aka Giant-Man aka Ant-Man aka Yellowjacket aka Dr. Pym aka Marvel's resident "genius scientist who exists to a)be turned crazy and further a plot or b) invent robots/cyborgs, with good intent, that turn out to be a Very Bad Idea."

Sigh.

10/12/2005 12:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Dizzy said...

So they killed off Meggan.. *insert a bit of profanity here*. Damn, I used to care about the character, but all I can muster at the moment is complete apathy.

10/12/2005 02:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Prodigal said...

I can't help but wonder if, having run out ofGrant Morrison ideas to trash, Claremont decided to set his sights on Alan Moore again.

10/17/2005 04:45:00 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home