Comics Ate My Brain

February 21, 2007

New comics 2/14/07

Filed under: 52, batman, dr 13, green lantern, justice league, justice society, nextwave, spectre, weekly roundups — Tom Bondurant @ 3:36 am
Here’s the thing about Batman #663 (written by Grant Morrison; illustrations by John Van Fleet): prose Batman stories are nothing new. The difference here seems to be Morrison’s willingness to go all-out pulpy and purple, and make this more of a multimedia experience than a Big Little Book. It’s an uneven experience, because in some ways Morrison’s prose is more vivid and efficient than a page of sequential art might be. It sure doesn’t go overboard in describing every kick and punch. However, if this were supposed to be the Joker’s big 2007 flourish, prose really isn’t the way to go. Batman stories seem suited for prose because you can write a passable Batman story that’s not much more than a standard pulpish spy/crime story. Still, those stories invariably seem overwritten because they have to compensate for the lack of a tremendous visual shorthand. This story in particular cries out for more visuals than are provided, for a couple of reasons: the pictures don’t match the unsettling tone of the words, and the words just aren’t evocative enough to overcome that. Does that make sense? It does to me, but I have to live with it.

This month’s Dr. Thirteen story in Tales of the Unexpected #5 (written by Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang) really revs up the commentary, which takes the story to an even higher level, and that’s saying something. It’s basically a challenge from the characters on DC’s lower rungs that they won’t go gently into the night of big-event cannon fodder and unobjectionable Vertigo makeovers. That’s great. That is absolutely perfect. Oh, also there’s a Spectre story (written by David Lapham, pencilled by Eric Battle, inked by Prentis Rollins) about the culpability of eevil researchers, but nobody cares anymore. I will gladly subsidize these mediocre Spectre stories for as long as it takes to keep the Azzarello/Chiang Dr. Thirteen going.

When Star Trek Generations first came out, my mom asked me how it was, and I replied, “Everybody dies and the Enterprise blows up.” JLA Classified #34 (written by Dan Slott and Dan Jurgens, pencilled by Jurgens, inked by Jerry Ordway) was a lot like that. Even with a reset button, it’s an effective look at the end of the DC-Earth and the JLA’s efforts to save the planet’s population. Oh, and not all of the Leaguers make it off before the planet pulls a Krypton. Pretty good overall, and ultimately, will probably be better than Generations.

Green Lantern Corps #8 (written by Keith Champagne, pencilled by Patrick Gleason, inked by Prentis Rollins & Ray Snyder) was a decent conclusion to the Super-Skrull-Dominator/Black Ops Lantern arc, marred by some hazy choreography from Gleason in the fight scenes. A lot of people whose opinions I respect greatly, Ragnell chief among them, like Gleason. I don’t dislike him, but when Guy is fighting a wormy, vaguely-defined alien critter that can change shape, the pages could be laid out a little more clearly.

52 #41 (written by JMRW, pencilled by Giuseppe Camuncoli, inked by Rodney Ramos) was filled with nice moments, including the long-awaited Montoya vs. Richard Dragon fight, a surprise cameo, and the rescue of our remaining space travelers. It is basically a transitory issue, Part 2 of the last quarter of the series. I think it’s also the first issue to have Montoya scenes without her first-person narrative captions. Since she’s the only character in the series who gets to use those, it’s noticeable when they’re gone.

For some reason I bought Welcome To Tranquility #3 twice, which probably speaks to my affection for the series. It also means I can’t remember which books I buy week to week.

Last time I decided to drop a Justice Society book, it was because a time-traveling villain murdered a helpless family. I’m sure you’ve heard what happens to an unfortunate family pick-a-nick in Justice Society of America #3 (written by Geoff Johns, pencilled by Dale Eaglesham, inked by Ruy Jose)? I think I’m ready to drop this book already, but doggone it, I’m in through the end of the JLA crossover, so at least two more months. So, Nazis, a Special Guest Villain who crops up throughout DC history, and some more Kingdom Come references. The big two-page Avengers Assemble! spread is coming about 5/8 of the way through the story, when it probably should have happened halfway through last issue.

Finally — and, sadly, that comes with an extra layer here — we say goodbye to Nextwave #12 (written by Warren Ellis, pencilled by Stuart Immonen). I liked this book so much, I will gladly buy the oversized omnibus hardcover edition. Nothing but pure joy from beginning to (sniff!) end.

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