- Booster Gold #7, by Geoff Johns, Jeff Katz, Dan Jurgens & Norm Rapmund (DC)
- Countdown to Final Crisis #7 of 52 (backwards), by Paul Dini, Adam Beechen, Keith Giffen, Tom Derenick & Wayne Faucher (DC)
- Countdown to Mystery #6 of 8, by Matthew Sturges & Stephen Jorge Segova, and Steve Gerber, Justiniano & Walden Wong (DC)
- Salvation Run #5 of 7, by Matthew Sturges, Joe Bennett & Belardo Brabo (DC)
- Suicide Squad: Raise the Flag #7 of 8, by John Ostrander, Javier Pina & Robin Riggs (DC)
- Annihilation Conquest #5 of 6, by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, Tom Raney & Scott Hanna (Marvel)
- Nova #11, by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, Paul Pelletier & Rick Magyar (Marvel)
- B.P.R.D.: 1946 #3 of 5, by Mike Mignola, Joshua Dysart & Paul Azaceta (Dark Horse)
- Locke & Key #2 of 6, by Joe Hill & Gabriel Rodriguez (IDW)
- Atomic Robo #6 of 6, by Brian Clevinger, Scott Wegener & Nic Klein (Red 5)
Booster Gold has been pretty well received by the comics blogosphere. Although it’s a continuity-obsessed time travel yarn, it works because of its solid characterization – you know who all the characters are and they all feel distinct – and Dan Jurgens’ always-clean artwork. That said, being a continuity-obsessed time travel yarn does rather drag it down. Currently the story is wrapped up in the events of Infinite Crisis from a couple years ago, specifically the Maxwell Lord/OMAC stuff which I neither know much about, nor care. It’s the sort of book I enjoy as light reading: It doesn’t insult my intelligence, it’s basically fun, and it feels like it’s going somewhere. In a sense it’s like Geoff Johns bucking to become the new Mark Gruenwald.
This may seem like faint praise, but given the legions of crappy books out there, you could do a whole lot worse.
By the way, if you enjoy Booster Gold, I highly recommend you week out Justice League America #72-75, from Jurgens’ run on JLA in the “post-bwah-hah-hah” era. It’s one of the best alternate timeline stories in JLA history.
|Speaking of doing worse, Salvation Run has turned over its creative team since the first issue: Bill Willingham left after #2, turning the book over to his Jack of Fables co-writer Matthew Sturges (note: I stopped buying Jack of Fables after a year), and now Sean Chen – the reason I bought the book in the first place – has been replaced by Joe Bennett. Remarkably, the story is still fairly cohesive. Pedestrian, but cohesive. Of all the mini-series which have come out during Countdown to Final Crisis, this one’s probably the least essential.|
Speaking of Sean Chen and creative turnover, Chen was the original artist on Nova, which was awesome, but the replacements since he left have been pretty good, too. Now Paul Pelletier takes over as penciller with #11. I was a bit worried about this, since I wasn’t impressed with his work on Fantastic Four, finding it rather under-rendered, and with the impression that he took some shortcuts in drawing the faces and expressions (his Invisible Woman looked downright weird, for instance).
But his art here is better than I’d feared; a little soft in the backgrounds maybe, but the figures are quite good. I suspect inker Rick Magyar has something to do with that, as he tends to bring a good feeling of texture and shading to everyone he inks, but it looks like Pelletier will be okay. Maybe he was just mailing it in on FF.
Meanwhile, the current story is coming to a head, and I suspect that next issue may be the big climax. Stay tuned!
And as for something that has nothing to do with any of that, Atomic Robo wraps up his first mini-series this month (a second one is being advertised for later this year). Having now read the whole thing, I can definitely say that this falls into the category of “pulp-oriented action-adventure, Hellboy sub-category”, which is to say, if you like Hellboy and B.P.R.D. (or, for that matter, The Perhapanauts), then you’ll like this, as it has a very similar tone and style. Even though Robo is science-based, he’s the same sort of powerful, unique smartass that Hellboy is. I imagine the creators might be a bit tired of being compared to Hellboy, but the similarity is so strong that it’s unavoidable.
This issue does tie the series back to its first issue, so it wasn’t quite a series of vignettes, but it’s not a fully cohesive whole. And it’s clearly a broad instruction to the character, who’s been around for 80 years and thus has a lot of history. Although my feeling is that they could have led with a stronger, more hard-hitting story as the opener, I can live with this.
I do like Scott Wegener’s artwork, though. It reminds me of Mike Mignola, but also of Michael Avon Oeming, yet it seems cleaner and more dynamic and either. If the human characters’ faces were a little more nuanced, then I could really groove on it. (Wegener seems to go for the “a few broad strokes” approach to faces.)
Anyway, I’ll have higher expectations for the sequel, that it will be more than just a pulpish adventure yarn, since as I’ve said recently I’m getting kind of tired of pulpish adventure yarns. Showing how Robo has changed the world – and how the world has changed Robo – ought to be one of the central facets of a series like this. I hope the future holds some character development.