Comics Ate My Brain

July 21, 2008

New comics 7/16/08

Filed under: birds of prey, captain america, flash, justice league, weekly roundups — Tom Bondurant @ 4:05 pm
We begin with Birds Of Prey #120 (written by Tony Bedard, pencilled by Michael O’Hare, inked by John Floyd), the first issue in a lonnnnng time neither written by Gail Simone nor pencilled by Nicola Scott. However, it’s also continued directly from #119, so I’m guessing that the departure of Scott and inker Doug Hazlewood wasn’t going to come at a clean break.

Anyway, it focuses on Infinity, a character new to me who’s basically invisible, immaterial, and electronically undetectable. While she sneaks into a bad guy’s lab, Black Canary and Oracle have the awkward beginnings of a conversation about the death of BC’s daughter. That’s over pretty quickly, though, and the rest of the issue involves Infinity’s escape and the surprise appearance of a Major Villain.

Since Bedard’s been writing BOP for a few issues now, the big news this month is the art. O’Hara and Floyd’s work reminds me of a more sedate Ed Benes — scratchy lines, but no radical departures, and fairly functional. Fight choreography is fine (although there’s a bit of a narrative gap — no pun intended — between pages 1 and 2) and expressions are decent. I’ll stick with the book until this arc ends and evaluate the new creative team then.

The first few issues of Tangent: Superman’s Reign were enjoyable, but tentative, steps establishing the parallel Earth and its stable of characters. With issue #5 (written by Dan Jurgens, pencilled by Jamal Igle, inked by Robin Riggs), the plot starts to lurch forward. The good guys’ forces must retreat from Tangent-Powergirl, and Tangent-Superman gets more proactive with regard to his DC-Earth counterparts. There’s not much technically wrong with the issue, although it’s not clear what happens to Hal Jordan after the first few pages. Actually, one of this issue’s highlights is the history of Tangent-Joker (written by Ron Marz, pencilled by Fernando Pasarin, inked by Matt Banning), augmented by playful poses of the character. Overall, still a fine Justice League story, and I hope it picks up steam.

The Flash #242 (written by Tom Peyer, drawn by Freddie Williams II) finds the Wests in Gorilla City looking for a cure for Iris’ condition. I view the West twins with a mix of affection and cynicism: affection because I think they’re good characters, cynicism over the fact that they could literally die whenever the story requires it. In other words, they’re around for exactly as long as DC considers them viable, and if getting rid of them means a bump in sales, well….

Still, this is a my-kid’s-gonna-die story, so its success depends upon whether Peyer and Williams can generate sympathy for a character who the audience has known for only a year. Call me a sap, but I got invested in Iris’ well-being. Williams’ expressive faces do much of the work, but Peyer’s dialogue keeps Iris’ mental age consistent even as her body grows older. Good work from all corners, and I’ll be waiting for next issue’s conclusion.

Captain America #40 (written by Ed Brubaker) features the return of artist Steve Epting for the big Cap vs. Cap fight (and Sharon vs. Sin on the undercard). Since it’s pretty much 22 pages of combat, I don’t feel bad about saying simply that it’s nicely choreographed. It should go without saying by now that Captain America is a mighty fine superhero comic which inspires multiple readings from issue #1 forward, but some months I just get tired of typing all that.

And on that tired-of-typing note, I will once again record my weekly purchase of Trinity (#7), observing merely that it too was reliably good.

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