Comics Ate My Brain

June 3, 2006

New comics 6/1/06

Filed under: 52, fantastic four, hero squared, justice league, spectre, superman, weekly roundups — Tom Bondurant @ 8:41 pm
Superman/Batman #26 is a fine tribute to the late Sam Loeb, Jeph Loeb’s teenage son. Sam plotted the issue, which was finished by a whole gang of comics creators. It still holds together well with regard to both words and pictures, and it’s both fun and touching.

Action Comics #839 (written by Geoff Johns and Kurt Busiek, drawn by Renato Guedes) is Part 6 of “Up, Up and Away!,” in which Luthor’s scheme finally ripens and Supes gets to test his fully-restored powers. While I liked it generally, a few things did start to bother me. First, as is clear from the cover, Luthor is in control of some decidedly movie-esque Kryptonian technology. Aside from this being the third (right?) iteration of Krypto-tech in the past twenty years, doesn’t the way Luthor uses it remind anyone of the Superman Returns trailers? I hope this storyline doesn’t look like the movie, or vice versa, not because either are bad, just … vive la difference, I guess. Second, some familiar major-league urban carnage breaks out this issue, with buildings being destroyed and whatnot; and maybe the start of hurricane season has put it further forward in my mind, but who’s going to rebuild Metropolis when this is over? (Who rebuilds it now? Are construction costs through the roof because of insurance, or are they ridiculously cheap because of economies of scale?) Finally, midway through the issue, Supes pauses to reflect on how he’s really an outsider, yadda yadda yadda, and it’s probably not too out of line, but having just come off a couple of years of angsty Superman, let’s have this be the last gasp for a while, okay? “UU&A!” has been great fun so far, and I’d like that trend to continue.

JLA Classified #21 concludes “The Hypothetical Woman” (written by Gail Simone, pencilled by Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, inked by Sean Phillips) pretty well, with the highlight being Wonder Woman’s explanation of the League’s “Fox Defense.” Yes, we all saw it coming, and it’s nice to have it acknowledged for once. J’Onn’s “cure” for the Starro disease is a bit on the macabre side, but it works; and Batman gets the last word. I may come back to this arc in a later post.

The Spectre #1 (written by Will Pfeifer, drawn by Cliff Chiang) was a good reintroduction to both Crispus Allen and the Spectre. It’s a meditation on why God allows bad things to happen/evil to go unpunished, but the Spectre gets in a zinger at the end that puts the ball back in Allen’s court. Story and art are both very good, although this issue seems to contradict the Spectre/Allen merger shown in Infinite Crisis. Also, still not used to the Spectre having facial hair.

52 #4 (written by John, Paul, George, and Ringo, breakdowns by Pete Best, pencilled by Joe Bennett, inked by Jack Jadson) is mostly a Montoya spotlight, featuring her official job for/with the Question. Having just finished “The Rockford Files” Season 1 on DVD, I can say with confidence that her $200-a-day-plus-expenses rate has to be a shout-out. We also check in with Ralph Dibny and the Superboy cult, John Henry Irons and his hallucinations, Booster Gold and Fire, and the recovery of the Rann-Thanagar War survivors. There doesn’t seem to be much of a rhythm to the various plots’ appearances, but maybe that’s to keep us readers picking up every issue. (When I watched “Days Of Our Lives,” I soon learned that some plots were Monday/Wednesday/Friday, and some were Tuesday/Thursday, and nothing of note happened except on Fridays and Mondays, when the cliffhangers were set up and resolved.) Anyway, this issue ends on a cliffhanger that pretty much demands to be addressed, if not resolved, next issue, so good thing I only have a few more days to wait.

While I’ve enjoyed The Thing (#7, written by Dan Slott, drawn by Kieron Dwyer), and am sorry to see it go, I have to say this was one of the weaker issues. The big joke’s punchline is telegraphed from the first page, and Ben’s actions in trying to get used to Alicia’s relationship just seem kind of desperate. Still, the joke on the last page works, and the shenanigans leading up to it are fun enough.

Finally, the third first issue of Hero Squared (written by Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis, drawn by Joe Abraham) actually kicks off the ongoing series, so that’s good news. The whole thing is a verbal dance in the manner of Aaron Sorkin, which all parties pull off handsomely. This series has gone beyond the bwah-ha-ha antics of previous efforts, evolving into a more fully formed superhero sitcom. I’m now curious to see how it could handle more familiar superhero adventure, but I’d be just as happy with talkier relationship-oriented issues like this one.

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