- Countdown to Final Crisis #25 of 52 (backwards) by Paul Dini, Adam Beechen, Keith Giffen, Ron Lim, Jimmy Palmiotti & John Stanisci (DC)
- Metal Men #4 of 8, by Duncan Rouleau (DC)
- Annihilation Conquest: Starlord #4 of 4, by Keith Giffen, Timothy Green II & Victor Olazaba (Marvel)
- Annihilation: Conquest #1 of 6, by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, Tom Raney & Scott Hanna (Marvel)
- Fantastic Four #551, by Dwayne McDuffie, Paul Pelletier & Rick Magyar (Marvel)
- Hellboy: Darkness Calls #6 of 6, by Mike Mignola & Duncan Fegredo (Dark Horse)
- Lobster Johnson: The Iron Prometheus #3 of 5, by Mike Mignola & Jason Armstrong (Dark Horse)
- The Perhapanauts: Second Chances TPB vol 2, by Todd Dezago & Craig Rousseau (Dark Horse)
- Boneyard TPB vol 6, by Richard Moore (NBM)
|Countdown to Final Crisis this week features the pencils of Ron Lim. I remember when Lim fist turned up 20 years ago pencilling the sorta-kinda-parody comic Ex-Mutants. Since then he’s had a long career with an art style reminiscent of George Pérez and Dan Jurgens, although without either of their senses of form or attention to detail. I guess he’s been kicking around for a while drawing books I don’t read, but it’s interesting that he’s one of the guys DC’s hauling in to contribute to Countdown, since I wouldn’t call him an A-list artist. His artwork here is serviceable, but it felt like a rush job.|
Annihilation: Conquest picks up where the three mini-series (plus the Nova tie-in) ended. Quasar and Adam Warlock are obviously going to be the protagonists here, with Starlord, the Super-Skrull, Wraith and Ronan in supporting roles. I think it’ll be fun, and Tom Raney’s artwork is pretty good. The reveal of the villain at the end is a bit of a letdown – few characters have been quite as overused in a cliché manner as this one – but you can’t have everything.
Of the mini-series, the Quasar and Wraith ones were the best. Starlord was pretty good – with very good artwork – but didn’t really go anywhere. The Nova tie-in was entirely superfluous, as I mentioned a few weeks ago.
I’ve been reading the original Annihilation series as the trade paperbacks come out, and it’s much better than Conquest. But they’re certainly trying really hard in this follow-up.
I’m a sucker for this sort of thing: Fantastic Four is kicking off a new story titled “Epilogue”, whose first chapter is “The Beginning of the End”, in which Doctor Doom and two other characters come back from 75 years in the future to warn the FF that Reed is about to make an error which is going to have grave consequences for the future. It ends with a sudden shock and a cliffhanger. It also fortunately completely ignores the after-effects of the Civil War, thank goodness, although I suppose the story might be intended to explain some things about the Civil War. I dunno – I’m just as happy to forget all about it.
I’m not at all familiar with Dwayne McDuffie’s work, but this is a promising start, with a neat revelation about how Reed works when he’s on his own. Paul Pelletier’s pencils reminds me a little of Paul Ryan, although his approach to faces is weirdly fluid and results in some odd, unsettling effects (Sue often looks like she’s had some unfortunate plastic surgery).
It seems like the problem with the FF these days is that they’re not treated as much of a family, and that Reed always seems to be very distant and too analytical, which not only is No Fun but undercuts the theme of the series: Four adventurers against all the evil in the world. Reed still comes across as too analytical here, but it’s a step in the right direction.
|The second volume of Perhapanauts picks up where the first one left off, and it’s more of the same. There’s a nifty time travel angle in the first story, and a different (but more mundane) time travel angle in the second story, which has a bittersweet ending. There are some loose ends, which is frustrating, although not as much so in the first volume. While the book is rather fun, it feels too light for me to commit to following it when it kicks off a regular series sometime next year. I just don’t feel hooked by the characters or the scenario, a problem I also had with Noble Causes a while back, which is a book with a similar feel and which has received similar acclaim. Maybe just chalk it up to “not my cup of tea”.|