Comics Ate My Brain

November 25, 2004

New comics 11/24/04

Filed under: adam strange, batman, crisis, flash, green lantern, superman, weekly roundups — Tom Bondurant @ 3:57 am
No clunkers this week. Even Superman #211 was decent. I can’t quite explain it, but I feel almost that this storyline might start to make some sense after all. Don’t quote me; I want to go back and read the other issues, but stranger things have happened. The issue itself is a fight between Supes and Wonder Woman which comes off about as well as the Supes-Batman fight in “Hush.” In other words, pretty exciting, but still a plot stunt. I wish the script lived up to the art. Here’s an excerpt from page 5.

SUPERMAN: …Forgive me. I told you a lie.
PRIEST: Sure. I absolve you in the name of —
PRIEST: Well, most confessions are just that. You’re getting more human by the minute.

I’m guessing Brian Azzarello meant to convey that the priest wasn’t going to give Superman the full confession liturgy, since “forgive me” was sufficient, but that still felt awkward. Azzarello also has Supes crash a manned helicopter into the Fortress of Solitude, which obviously seems excessive and unnecessary (not the least of which because it’s his own Fortress). One last thing about the art — this is the first issue of a comic I can remember in a while where the center two pages aren’t an ad; and it would have been the perfect opportunity for a two-page spread, but no such luck. DC probably doesn’t care in the long run, because two-page spreads all look the same in the collected edition no matter where they appear. By my count there are still 5 more chapters in “For Tomorrow,” so we’ll see if Azarello and Jim Lee can pull it all together.

Batman #634 was a real winner. Don’t believe the cover — it’s written by Andersen Gabrych and drawn by Paul Lee and Brian Horton, not the Judd Winick/Doug Mahnke regular team that starts next issue. Anyway, it’s Bruce Wayne, Dick Grayson, and Alfred Pennyworth winding down from “War Games.” Appropriately titled “Decompression,” it’s a lot of sitting, talking, and exposition, broken up with action scenes involving Batman and Onyx. Oh, if only Mr. Gabrych could have written more of “WG….” I’m not familiar with the art team, but they deliver a suitably moody issue — lots of blacks and thick lines, like Tommy Lee Edwards. Hopefully these guys will get more Bat-work in the near future.

Flash #216 continues the Identity Crisis dovetailing, as Wally and Zatanna confront the Top. There’s some fighting and a neat bit of misdirection towards the end, so this was one of the book’s better issues. The last panel conveys Wally’s giddy happiness, but if you’re not charitably inclined, it just looks goofy. I think that sums up how I feel about this whole storyline — it’s competently done, but there’s enough to pick apart if you want to. Case in point: for the fan-turned-writer Geoff Johns, making a new story out of old continuity is apparently a big deal; but he doesn’t try to reconcile the Marv Wolfman view of Wally’s parents (they made the Cleavers look like the Bundys) with the Bill Messner-Loebs view (dad was evil and mom was intrusive). There are fewer scenes which try to establish the Rogues as refugees from a Tarantino movie, which is nice; and I like Howard Porter’s art. Maybe after Johns’ long-promised “Rogue War” story is over, the title will find its sense of fun again.

Adam Strange #3 found Andy Diggle and Pascal Ferry embracing the character’s pulp sci-fi roots, as Adam is captured by Thanagarians. Ferry gives the hawkpeople a more armored, less exhibitionist look that I haven’t quite seen before, but which is instantly recognizable apart from the big wings and bird-symbols. While the plot isn’t overly surprising, it’s managed with ease and style. What a fun miniseries!

Finally, Green Lantern Rebirth #2 takes the reintroduction of the GL Corps in an unexpected direction. I expected Geoff Johns to have done a lot of homework for this book, and he seems to have put some rather disparate pieces together. The issue suggests that the green Oan energy has metaphysical, dark-side/light-side underpinnings which affect those who can feel fear differently from those (like old-school GLs) who couldn’t. Ethan van Sciver and Prentis Rollins’ art is still as detailed as it was last time, but somehow it’s not as precise. Not to say it’s not good, just that issue #1 was better. The highlight for me was a yooge fanboy moment towards the end. Even as someone who thought Hal has been managed poorly over the past 10 years, I was approaching this miniseries with trepidation. Thus, while Johns has exceeded my lowered expectations so far, he’s done so to such a degree that he may well have produced a classic of continuity-based reinvention. Don’t worry, these are all compliments.

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