This Week’s Haul

A couple of hardcover collections this week: Avengers Forever will shelve nicely next to the other collections of Kurt Busiek’s excellent Avengers run from a decade ago (although it’s not as good as the main title was, being largely of interest only to longtime Avengers wonks like myself), while Spider-Man Masterworks continues the silver age reprints of the wall-crawler, which still hold up pretty well today.

Meanwhile, on a technical note, I’ve finally switched away from ImageManager to manage images in my WordPress install, and I’ve moved to the native image management support with Scissors for some additional functionality. So far it seems to provide exactly the same look, which makes me happy; the transition ended up being really easy.

Anyway, on with the haul:

  • The Brave and the Bold #26, by John Rozum & Scott Hampton (DC)
  • Ex Machina #44, by Brian K. Vaughan & Tony Harris (DC/Wildstorm)
  • Power Girl #4, by Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti & Amanda Conner (DC)
  • Wednesday Comics #7, by many hands (DC)
  • Avengers Forever HC, by Kurt Busiek, Roger Stern, Carlos Pacheco & Jesús Merino (Marvel)
  • Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spider-Man HC vol 122, collecting The Amazing Spider-Man #100-109, by Stan Lee, Roy Thomas, Gil Kane, John Romita & Frank Giacoia (Marvel)
  • Unthinkable #4 of 5, by Mark Sable & Julian Totino Tedesco (Boom)
  • Invincible #65, by Robert Kitkman & Ryan Ottley (Image)
  • Atomic Robo: Shadow From Beyond Time #4 of 5, by Brian Clevinger, Scott Wegener & Rick Woodall (Red 5)
Power Girl #4 Bwah-hah-hah! I was chuckling through the first half of Power Girl #4, which retreats completely from the big “let’s fight the Ultra-Humanite – again” story of the first three issues, and instead gets down to Power Girl’s personal life. Power Girl takes Terra out to see a horror movie (which PG loves but Terra hates), and PG gets hit on by a character from a TV show I don’t watch. Then they have to head out to deal with an emergency, and Terra totally doesn’t get the idea of bringing her costume with her, so she heads out to fight in her regular clothes. The villain (a young woman on an excessive environmental kick and who has magical powers) refers to PG as “busty airborne lass”, and gets taken down because she’s basically too ridiculous to win against two actual heroes.

(The one awkward thing in all this, as Greg Burgas noted, is that Terra strips down to her panties to head off to fight the monsters. While one could rationalize this by Terra not really being modest due to her backstory, or taking off her pants because her costume doesn’t have legs, it’s frankly a joke that falls flat because it feels creepy. Given that the tone of the comic is light and jokey, not all the gags are going to work, but I think the editor should have talked them down from this one.)

The second half of the story focuses on PG trying to adjust to life running her new company, and finding a new apartment. It’s fairly routine soap opera stuff, but honestly, superhero comics can use some fairly routine soap opera stuff. It shouldn’t be all about the fighting, it should be about the characters. Treating PG as a real character and not just someone who goes out and punches villains is the best way to set this comic apart from all the other superhero comics out there. I’d like to think there’s space for such a comic on the shelves today, especially with Amanda Conner illustrating it.

The one sour note aside, this issue is basically what the first issue should have been, and it’s raised my enthusiasm for the series 100%. Fun stuff.

Wednesday Comics #7 We’re over the hump in Wednesday Comics this week, so the stories should be well into their second acts, with their climaxes not far off.

Doctor Fate shows up in Strange Adventures to help Adam Strange figure out how to get back to Rann. Even though I’m not a huge Paul Pope fan, I would totally buy a Paul Pope Doctor Fate comic, especially if he can write it without having to fit it into established continuity. Heck, set it in the 1940s, that would be cool!

The writing on Hawkman just gets worse and worse and worse. Who greenlighted this? I can’t figure out how the story could start with an alien invasion, end up on an island of dinosaurs, and possibly make any sense at all when it reaches the end. What’s the point?

Recent developments in both Metamorpho and Deadman are interesting, but neither one has really distinguished itself. Though both are quirkier, neither is really any better than Metal Men, which is a pretty generic strip but is enjoyable enough.

I’m perplexed by the fact that Green Lantern is written by Kurt Busiek, since it has none of the depth of characterization which is his signature. The first half was downright boring, and now that the fighting’s started, it doesn’t look like it’ll get any better.

The “big three” strips are all poor: I’m not reading Wonder Woman at all, Superman is just awful in story and artwork. Batman has little snatches of decent stuff, but it doesn’t hold together as a story, and what story there is isn’t interesting.

Flash is still the best strip in the book, but Supergirl has been looking up recently, and Strange Adventures is in that ballpark too, after a shaky start. J.D. loves Kamandi, and I think Ryan Sook’s artwork is terrific, the story is just too routine for me to care (but boy, the artwork really is gorgeous).