Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Comic Haul

I've been into the comics again.

Captain America #1-12: I'll freely admit that I started reading the series after the 'Death of Captain America' thing happened, mostly to satisfy my curiosity about how Brubaker was handling the character leading up to, and during, the media brouhaha surrounding #25. After the first issue, though, I was entirely hooked by the intelligent storytelling, a refreshing take on an old character, and the truly compelling and stylish artwork of Steve Epting and Michael Lark. I'm almost done the "Winter Soldier" storyline as I write this and my brain is just buzzing with what these guys have cooked up. I'm really looking forward to where this is all going.

Ultimate Fantastic Four #49: Not especially happy with where this title is going, of late. The departure of Pascual Ferry is still being felt (damn you, Orson Scott Card and your Ultimate Iron Man II) and, despite enjoying some of the relationship bits that Carey is giving us (the break-up of Reed and Sue being the primary conflict in that area) I'm not really digging this whole Red Ghost story very much. Seems a bit like filler. Killing time before hitting the big 5-0, perhaps. This book is officially on probation. If it doesn't improve soon, I think I'll need to drop it.

The Maze Agency #1: I've always meant to pick some of these up because, like everybody else, I've loved Adam Hughes since his days on Justice League and I've always heard good things about his collaboration with Mike Barr on this series. Overall, I wasn't disappointed, but I also wasn't blown away by this opening tale. I would have liked to see Barr give us a cliffhanger ending to the first issue and bring us back in #2 for the resolution, but the real reason I showed up in the first place was to see some early Hughes work, so I'm not going to be too picky. Admittedly, it was pretty neat to see some of his early layouts pre-JL just to see how he has developed as an artist over the years.

Nothing too deep but a fun read, nonetheless. I'll definitely raid the back issue bins for more Maze Agency in the future.

The Legion of Super-Heroes in the 31st Century #12: A nice little spotlight on Timber Wolf, but it's pretty clear from the last few issues of this series that nobody is quite sure what to do with this book or these characters. I think the change in direction between seasons 1 and 2 of the TV series has left the creative teams of the monthly in a bit of a lurch but, in all fairness, LOSHIT31C is not suffering as badly as some of DC's other kid-oriented books. I haven't read the latest issue yet, but I plan on hanging around for a few more before making my final decision on whether or not to keep up with this one.

Superman/Batman #37: Hey, I've said it before. Not all of the books I read are new, yo? Anyway, I picked this one up because of the writing talents of Alan Burnett who has made me very happy in the past with his work on the Batman animated series and its various spin-off films. The art of Dustin Nguyen is nothing to sneeze at either, being a fan of his stuff from back in the Wildcats 3.0 days, but in all honesty I grabbed it for Burnett, what can I say?

I may as well have grabbed it for Nguyen, though, seeing as he seems to have brought his A game to the book while Burnett just kind of spins his wheels for a couple dozen pages and leaves you with little to want to come back for. He may have been taking the advantage of the opportunity to decompress his writing since he doesn't have to wrap everything up in 22 minutes, but I'm just not sure there's enough in this issue to bring me back for #38. Maybe if I catch it in a bargain bin I'll take a chance on it and see. Until then, I'm sad to say I'll probably leave it in a holding pattern.

Hmmm, now that I've brought it up, I should go and dig out my old Casey/Nguyen Wildcats books. It's been a while since I've looked at those.

Wetworks #12: I'll grab just about anything off the shelf with J.M. DeMatteis' name on it so it's no mystery why I picked up Wetworks starting with #10, but after a couple of issues I was seriously considering dropping the book like a hot potato. The whole Mother One dies and is resurrected story had me so lost in a tangle of familiar themes but in a completely alien environment and wrapped in an impenetrable backstory with confusing layouts and characters I didn't know (not to mention covers for the three issues that have nothing to do with the interiors). DC has saved me the trouble of questioning myself in regards to continuing or not since they cancelled the series as of issue #15 (a move I'm not at all surprised by) but I will give credit to the creative team for putting together a decent little vignette of a story with #12.

I was pleasantly surprised as this was something I could follow despite my ignorance regarding who these characters were and what their place in the larger scheme of things is. This was an issue that would have kept me going for a few more months to see where J.M. was planning to take the series but, alas, the book is no more. Oh well, at least I'll have three more issues to peruse with no more obligation to buy and features J.M. teaming up once again with Keith Giffen.

How bad can it be?

That's all for now, folks. More, as usual, when the time comes.


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