Okay, at this point this is last week’s haul, but I’ve been a little busy!
- 52 #36 of 52 (DC)
- Justice Society of America #2 (DC)
- Manhunter: Trial by Fire vol. 2 (DC)
- Rex Mundi: The River Underground vol. 2 (Dark Horse)
- Jack Staff: Echoes of Tomorrow vol. 3 (Image)
I think Graeme McMillan’s review of JSA #2 (scroll down a bit on the other side of the link to find it) says everything I could say about it, and more succinctly.
I’m only halfway through the second Manhunter volume, which is (or at least starts with) one extended story. It’s pretty good, better than the first volume. The characterization is still not too deep, but the book as a whole is feeling more fully-realized.
I mentioned Jack Staff last week in connection with Paul Grist’s other series, Kane. Thumbing through this one again, I notice just how disconnected so much of the story is: Threads which seem barely connected, extremely nonlinear storytelling, etc. While I enjoy Grist’s sense of humor, I wish he could streamline his storytelling somewhat. Characterization really suffers, and it becomes difficult to care about all the little plot threads.
I think the fundamental problem with Jack Staff, though, is that its lead character is a World War II superhero (who resembles Marvel’s Union Jack). He’s very long-lived, his secret identity is a general contractor, and his motives and personality are really basically unknown. I keep expecting all of this backstory to go somewhere, but it never really does. I think that’s what makes Kane the better series: Despite being similarly disjointed, Kane is haunted by his past, and it colors everything he does in the present, and therefore despite all the side issues, it works as a portrait of a man trying to overcome the demons of his past (made all the harder by the fact that he feels his actions were justified, even if others don’t). Jack Staff is just this quirky enigma of a superhero.
Either that or I’m really missing something. (If it’s just supposed to be a loving tribute to some old British comic book characters then, well, shrug.)