Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Comic Haul - 01/28/09

A bit of an early Comic Haul this week (as well as a shorter one) since I'm crazy booked up this weekend with my Father-in-Law's birthday today and the SuperBowl tomorrow with a bunch of furniture building thrown in for good measure.

Superman #684: For the record I really liked the "New Krypton" storyline that ran across the Superman books for the last couple of months, so I was a bit non-plussed after reading this "Faces of Evil" issue featuring The Parasite. For starters, The Parasite wasn't in much of the issue except for a few pages at the beginning where he wanders around Metropolis whining about how he'd like a Daxamite sandwich. Elsewhere, the Guardian takes over as leader of the Science Police and gives a speech to his crew about how he won't expect anything from them that he wouldn't do himself and Superman visits New Krypton just in time to discover who the new military leader of the Kryptonians is. Cue dramatic music. Overall, this wasn't a bad issue but the whole thing felt like hitting the pause button while you go off to take a bathroom break. There's just not that much going on here and, had this been the only book I ha to read, I would feel a little less than satisfied. Still, there are worse ways to kill 10 or 15 minutes of your day so if you're going to read this one, try it on your coffee break or a short bus ride or something.

Batman #685: Another DC book, another flagship title, another "Faces of Evil" issue, this one by the Detective Comics team of Paul Dini and Dustin Nguyen. This is the second part of two, a continuation from the aforementioned Detective where Hush finds himself in Vietnam and at the mercies of one Miss Selina Kyle. Kudos must go to Dini for making Hush, a character I never had much use for, a somewhat interesting villain for the last 6 months or so. It's likely not something that will hold for long but I'm enjoying it while it lasts. I should note that I also liked how Dini handled the Nightwing and Robin guest-appearance this issue. I actually like both of those characters more than the recent portrayal of Bruce Wayne/Batman so it was nice to see them here. I do wonder, though, does the fact that this story appears in Batman and Detective mean DC is spinning their wheels while Batman/Bruce Wayne is 'dead', filling issues with spacers until Morrison returns to maybe explain what all the R.I.P. nonsense was about? Only time will tell, I'm sure. As a simple no-frills two-parter, though, I really enjoyed this little detour with Catwoman and wish I could see more of these shorter stories from the Bat-books.

Star Wars: Legacy #32: In an attempt to do something new and continuity free with the Star Wars franchise Dark Horse launched Legacy, a series that takes place 40+ years beyond the stuff that fans are familiar with from the various films. Does it work? Sort of. Am I a fan of this? Not really. Although I do like other books from this line (Rebellion & Clone Wars to name two), I found Legacy and this issue's story to be kind of...fanfic-y. Without the usual SW touchstones or links to existing continuity, I just can't be bothered to care for these characters who have descended from the heroes we know, which really hurts a story like "Fight Another Day" because it's a very basic shoot-em-up bad guys doing evil things to the good guys yarn without a hook for a reader like me. Then again, maybe they don't want me as a reader. Anyway, not a bad comic but not really my cup-o-tea.

The Incredible Hercules #125: Everybody and their dog has reviewed this title and heaped mucho praise on the works therein so I figured I'd give it the ol' college try and see what all the hubbub was about. A few pages in I can't say that I was all that engaged, but seeing as how it was the fifth part of a five-issue story arc, I figured it would start to gel after a bit and I should just try to enjoy the story. Which, I'm surprised to say, I didn't. I just wasn't pulled in at any point. Amazons rule the world, men are second-class citizens, yadda-yadda-yadda. By the time I got to the end of the Amazon world-reshaped bit I was all ready to give the book a formal pass but the second I started reading the issue's 'epilogue' things changed. The smile started creeping in on my face and only continued to grow as I went on. All of a sudden, I wasn't drowning in the climax and resolution of a plot I had no stake in but basking in the wonderful characterizations that Pak and Van Lente have brought to bear. Hercules was never a fave character, for me, and I always just accepted him as Avengers muscle back in the day. But here, watching the bitter sting he experiences when he finds out that Namora's heart belonged to someone else is truly palpable and the line, "Ohh! Telepathy! How conveeenient!", when she gets summoned away by the Agents of Atlas, great stuff.

Welp, that looks like it for Week 2 of The Comic Haul. Since the time was a bit lite this week I may try to squeeze in a supplemental post tomorrow or the next day just to beef it up a little. There were a few more books I wanted to review but...such is life.

Oh, and before I forget, I need to come up with some kind of rating system for these things. I haven't been able to think of anything that ties into the Meanwhile... theme and I didn't want to do numbers or letters since so many other folks are doing those. Any ideas or input would be appreciated.

Until next week.



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