Running almost a week late, as happens from time to time.
- The Brave and the Bold #19, by David Hine, Doug Braithwaite & Bill Reinhold (DC)
- Ex Machina #39, by Brian K. Vaughan, Tony Harris & Jim Clark (DC/Wildstorm)
- Fables: War and Pieces vol 11 TPB, by Bill Willingham, Mark Buckingham, Steve Leialoha & Niko Henrichon (DC/Vertigo)
- Justice Society of America: Kingdom Come Special: Magog #1, by Peter Tomasi, Fernando Pasarin & Mick Gray, and Geoff Johns & Scott Kolins (DC)
- Tangent: Superman’s Reign #9 of 12, by Dan Jurgens, Carlos Magno & Andi Tong, and Ron Marz, Julio Ferreira & Mark McKenna (DC)
- Terra #2 of 4, by Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray & Amanda Conner (DC)
- Avengers/Invaders #6 of 12, by Alex Ross, Jim Krueger, Steve Sadowski & Patrick Berkenkotter (Marvel)
- Marvel Masterworks: Iron Man vol 107 HC, collecting Iron Man vol 1 #2-13, by Archie Goodwin, George Tuska & Johnny Craig (Marvel)
- Castle Waiting #13, by Linda Medley (Fantagraphics)
- Invincible #55, by Robert Kirkman & Ryan Ottley (Image)
- Atomic Robo: Dogs of War #4 of 5, by Brian Clevinger, Scott Wegener, Joshua Ross & Jonathan Ross (Red 5)
Don MacPherson covers the uncomfortable opening pages of Terra in which the heroine – having been lying naked on a table while Dr. Mid-Nite examined her after she was brought in unconscious following a battle – gets dressed while arguing with him and Power Girl about her privacy being invaded. It’s a little weird that the previous thing I read by Conner – the Power Girl story in JSA Classified a few years back – also featured a sequence in which the heroine was getting dressed. It’s not clear to me why Terra was nude in the first place – it’s not like her costume covers her up very much – so it just seems gratuitous. Not that I don’t appreciate Conner’s drawings – she does draw very attractive women – but still, it feels gratuitous. (There’s another scene toward the end of the issue in which the presumptive villain is having a talk with his girlfriend while she’s showering, and it’s almost as awkward.)
Okay, that aside, Terra is taking an unusual storytelling tack: The heroine is fighting one threat after another (here we have the Silver Banshee, a random Sumerian monster, and a horde of zombies) but none of them seem related to one another. Rather, they’re a foil to explore Terra’s personality and – presumably – eventually get to her background and her seemingly self-imposed mission. It appears that she’s a clone of the original Terra, inhabited by a spirit (or something) which is using her earth-manipulation powers for good. I’m interested to see how this plays out, but overall the art is outstripping the story so far.
The fifth volume of Marvel’s Iron Man Masterworks shipped this week, and I think that’ll be it for me. Iron Man wasn’t really among Marvel’s A-list material until David Michelinie and Bob Layton took over the book in the mid-70s: It started off illustrated by Steve Ditko, followed by Don Heck, Gene Colan, and in this volume George Tuska. Colan’s run is something of a revelation, perhaps the best work I’ve ever seen by him, but Ditko seemed to be phoning it in, neither Heck nor Tuska have been among my favorites. And the stories were never that exciting, either. This volume is written by Archie Goodwin (Stan Lee wrote most of the earlier tales), who was a very good writer, but it looks like it’s another series of undistinguished adventure yarns. So I think I’ve run out of gas on this one.
At this point I’m still buying the Avengers and Spider-Man Masterworks, and I’d buy another Nick Fury one if they print it (which they really should, to get the Steranko stuff in hardcover). But I’m just about out of gas on all the others I’m buying, and a couple have basically collected all the issues I want. But after over 100 volumes, I think Marvel has just about mined their silver age catalogue for the stuff worth collecting.
It took a little while, but with this latest issue I think Atomic Robo is really coming together. And it’s mostly because of the interplay between rivals/reluctant allies Robo and the British agent The Sparrow, which not only makes the chase and fight scenes more fun, but the humor works much better with two characters invested in the action. She’s basically the first real supporting character in the series, and the series is much the better for it.
This issue just about wraps up Robo’s mission to destroy the Nazi armored battle suits in 1943, with some collateral carnage along the way. I guess next issue with be a denouement. The short back-up stories are also entertaining, although very lightweight. This series has been an improvement on the first series so far, but I’m hoping it will get weightier in future series.