This Week’s Haul

Comic books I bought the week of 18 April 2007.

Once again, I present last week’s haul this week:

  • Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis #51, by Tad Williams, Shawn McManus & Waldon Wong (DC)
  • The Brave and the Bold #3, by Mark Waid, George PĂ©rez & Bob Wiacek (DC)
  • Ex Machina #27, by Brian K. Vaughan, Tony Harris & Jim Clark (DC/Wildstorm)
  • World War III one-shots #1-4 (DC)
  • 52 #50 of 52 (DC)
  • Justice League of America #8, by Brad Meltzer, Shane Davis & Matt Banning (DC)
  • Invincible Ultimate Collection vol 2 HC, by Robert Kirkman & Ryan Ottley (Image)
  • Evil Inc. Annual Report vol 2 TPB, by Brad J. Guigar (Lulu Press)
  • Hero by Night #2, by D.J. Coffman & Jason Embury (Platinum Studios)

Aquaman is a little better this month than last. I still don’t think McManus’ efforts here are as strong as in days past, but they’re better; maybe he was stretched doing a double-sized issue. Maybe inker Wong is having a strong influence. I dunno.

The Brave and the Bold: Best superhero comic on the market? Maaaaybe.

Ex Machina is definitely picking up. I’m genuinely looking forward to what comes out of the current story.

52 this week is “World War III”, where Black Adam goes to war against the world and its heroes (and villains), and does a terrific amount of damage in the process. It’s not bad. That said, the four spin-off specials are not essential. DC claims they published them because the story of World War III was too big to fit into one issue of 52, and they could cover more characters and provide more context with the extra space. It’s all horse-hockey of course, but I got suckered in anyway. If you do decide to pick up the set, I suggest reading the specials before the actual issue of 52.

Has there been, in recent memory, a more cynically packaged (even “marketed” seems too kind a term) comic than the current Justice League of America series? Meltzer is another in DC’s stable of “hot” writers (who all seem interchangeable to me), the covers are provided by “hot” artist Michael Turner (the anatomical deficiencies in whose art could fill a while entry), and the series took half a dozen issues just to introduce the new team. The artwork of Shane Davis (whom I’ve never heard of before) is out of the Jim Lee/Image Comics school of pencilling, with muscular figures, generic backgrounds, and lots and lots of crosshatching. Overall, a decidedly mediocre combination.

That said, this issue is the first part of a crossover story with Justice Society of America (also not a very good comic, but at least an earnest one), which will also feature the Legion of Super-Heroes. Since the character of Starman is one of the best features of JSA, and I’m perhaps overly optimistic that a Legion/time travel story could be a lot of fun, I’m going to give it a read. The first installment suggests that Starman and Karate Kid are time-lost heroes who are part of a contingent sent back to the 20th century on some mysterious mission, and who have lost their memories. Since the story is called “The Lightning Saga”, my guess is that Lightning Lad/Lightning Lass/Lightning Lord (and maybe the Legion of Super-Villains) will figure in it, as well. Especially since this first chapter seems to be titled “Lightning Lad” (in Interlac).

(Incidentally, the idea that Batman could take down Karate Kid is fairly laughable, but that’s the conceit that DC’s built up around Bats these days.)

The second volume of Invincible seems like the almost-obligatory resting-up-from-the-first-volume/laying-the-seeds-for-the-third-volume collection. It’s still fun, but nothing like the first volume. Kirkman’s attention to the supporting cast and the increasing number of details of their lives is enjoyable, but I hope there’s a big bang in the third volume to deliver the payoff.

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