Comics Ate My Brain

March 21, 2007

New comics 3/14/07

Filed under: 52, dr 13, green lantern, justice league, spectre, superman, weekly roundups, wonder woman — Tom Bondurant @ 1:40 am
We begin this week with 52 #45 (written by JMRW, breakdowns by Keith Giffen, pencils by Chris Batista and Jamal Igle, inks by Rodney Ramos). It’s Week Three of the Black Adam World Tour, and for all the people who complained about too much time spent on the Space Heroes storyline, I think the Black Adam story suffers from the same problem. It’s marginally better because Black Adam going nuts can be justified as the most important thing that happened this week. However, it strikes me — the guy who only yodels about comics, I freely admit — that there’s a right way and a wrong way for 52 to present this.

The right way, I submit, is to take a step back and present this not quite clinically, but perhaps more through the reactions of various other countries, the Great Ten, Montoya, etc. In other words, everyone but Adam. That way, the implication of Adam’s destructive rampage is arguably more powerful. Instead, 52 puts more focus on Adam, because we’re supposed to feel sorry for him and his losses. Unfortunately, the nature of 52, plus the necessity of rehabilitating Adam as an anti-hero as opposed to just a straight-up villain, means that I for one did not find myself getting all that close to Adam over these past forty-odd weeks. Therefore, this issue left me kind of cold. Also, I thought the art was a little stiff, and that surprised me because I really like Jamal Igle and I usually like Chris Batista.

More carnage is on display in Tales of the Unexpected #6‘s Spectre story (written by David Lapham, drawn by Tom Mandrake), and it’s all deliberately unsettling and frustrating. Diametrically opposed is the very witty Dr. 13 backup (written by Brian Azzarello, drawn by Cliff Chiang), in which I believe Azzarello recycles his Mount Rushmore Monster from “For Tomorrow.” Oh my goodness, this is a fun story. When the Mount Rushmore Monster is used to poke fun at the 52 writers, that’s comedy gold.

JLA Classified #36 (plotted by Dan Slott, scripted and pencilled by Dan Jurgens, finished by Steve Scott) presents yet more carnage in the service of an even dumber story. The whole alternative-timeline framework of the story needs to be handled pretty delicately in order to avoid it collapsing under its own weight, and here it’s not. The internal rules are ultimately so haphazard that what should be an “aha!” moment ends up coming out of left field. Oh, and that’s not even the worst part. Another key element hinges on Plastic Man impersonating a piece of furniture, as it were, but we don’t know because the furniture isn’t red and yellow. Jurgens and Scott are solid enough artists, but Jurgens’ figures are very stiff and Scott’s finishes add a lot of Image flourishes.

I want to like Wonder Woman #5 (written by Will Pfeifer, pencilled by Geraldo Borjes & Jean Diaz, inked by Wellington Diaz), because its heart is in the right place, but it just doesn’t make a lot of sense. It tries to use WW’s traditional inspirational role as the basis for a series of self-defense domestic violence stories, which makes sense, and it incorporates a super-guy’s psychosexual issues, which is appropriate, but it doesn’t bear too close scrutiny. It’s fairly predictable; the art is decent; and like I say it tries hard, but it’s a fill-in story that comes at possibly the worst possible time for a fill-in, ever.

Green Lantern Corps #10 (written and pencilled by Dave Gibbons, additional pencils by Patrick Gleason, inked by Gibbons and Christian Alamy) was a pretty darn good issue focusing on two GLs. Soranik Natu tries to practice guerilla medicine on Korugar, while Guy links up with two rookie GLs who end up not respecting his authority. Gibbons draws the Guy pages and Gleason and Alamy draw the Korugar scenes. For once I don’t have a problem with Gleason and Alamy, and I continue to like Soranik Natu, so everybody’s happy.

Finally, I know I am not the first to compare Superman #660 (written by Kurt Busiek, drawn by Mike Manley and Bret Blevins) to an Astro City story, but I think it’s appropriate. It’s a good little “criminal with style and honor” tale about the Prankster teaching the value of presentation to a poseur supervillain. Superman’s not in it a lot, but that’s OK. I can’t argue with Manley and Blevins, two artists who don’t get enough work lately, maybe because they are working more in animation. Busiek is such a good fit for Superman.

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