This Week's Read Pile, or: Whedon The Astonishing Two-Trick Pony!

So! Holy my crapola, Marvel, did any trees survive the Secret Invasion? Really, none?

Hey, at least Bush doesn't need to destroy that pesky forest for oil, even though we totally don't need them if SOMETHING could get the proper resources! Oh, like all the money we're wasting on oil! Just a thought. /politico.

Onto the comics. I promise.

Trinity #4: I think it's been well-established by now that Busiek writes the why of the trinity perfectly at this point--I'm going to repeat this exact sentence later, because it's so, so true. No matter what else you might want to say about this book, the three of them are down so pat it's something kind of beautiful.

Through the eyes and dialogue of the Peepers, we can see why they're the best crime-fighting trio ever. Superman the Savior, Wonder Woman the Inspiration and Batman the Sneaky Ninja Brains (also, he scares the hell out of people). There's a cool fight, more Batman Love which I'm finding hilarious and generally really excellent, solid dialogue.

And I realized what my big problem is--it isn't the pacing of it or the writing or the art, it's the conflict. Which is really . . . kind of flat so far. Not the Peepers--them I'm enjoying immensely. Really.

Here's what I would've enjoyed more: A longer set-up. Smaller battles, just them being them and slowly stumbling onto something that wouldn't demand explaining right away. Busiek writes them just being them so goddamn well--their interactions and the whys of how they're the trinity perfectly. So maybe something that just tied in slowly, so we could get Wonder Woman and Batman and Superman being supremely awesome in their own right with now pressure. Think Monster of the Week that slowly progresses into Awesomeness.

The Joss Theory.

It's still not striking as hot with me as I wish, considering I really love the team on this book and over-all it's done awesomely--something I'm attributing to both Weekly Burnout and Not Great Insta-Conflict. I don't like Insta-Conflict anyways. I can see big, big fans with a bit of disposable income picking this one up and riding out the beginner bumps, but if that's not you, perhaps you can pick up the trade to this when it's out and there's a slow comics week.

"Tut. Such admiration in your voice once again. He is a man, Enigma. Dressed in silk and leather, armed with . . . tricks and toys."

Enigma is totally running his one-man fanboy operations for Batman in the DCU. Love it.

Ms. Marvel #28: Brian Reed's writing this one and Adriana Melo is on pencils. I've found Ms. Marvel to be kind of a joke for . . . oh, maybe ever. But this issue I picked up because I like to have some faith and it was a tie-in and the last two issues have grabbed my interest a bit.

Um. She's . . . totally bad-ass in this. I'm already bored with the gratuitous body shots, but other than that, the pencils were gorgeous and the writing . . . well, Jesus. She kicks ASS in this issue. I actually reread it twice, just because I enjoyed the hell out of watching her punch people and really enjoyed her thoughts.

The plot synopsis is such a simple formula: There's a lot of Skrulls that need Carol to beat the hell out of them. So she does. But along the way, she reflects and rediscovers and connects with herself in such a basic, honest way that I'm intensely impressed by.

Recommendation: Grab it, even if you have no idea what the hell's going on, it's really self-explanatory and a great, great Girls Solidly and Cleverly Kicking Ass read. I love it when a chick's got some muscle and uses it.

"I punch until my knuckles hurt, and then I hit a little harder"

Young Avengers Presents: Hawkeye: Matt Fraction writing, Alan Davis pencils.

So, hey, if anyone happens to talk to Matt at the upcoming con (he's headed to one, right?), how about mentioning how purely fucking awesome this comic was? And, oh, ask if I'm hallucinating the not-right-chemistry between the Hawkeyes. Thanks.

This was gold--I enjoyed the other Presents, but this is the one that I found completely excellent. Kate's terrific, I think she's how Cassie over in DC should've been and the story told is so true to that, true to the conflicts of a teenage superhero in a world that has gone beyond screwed up, with no real heroes to look up to anymore and it's just . . . just go get it. I could spend a good chunk of this post discussing spoilers, but I don't think I will. Just go grab it and enjoy the too-short great of this shot.

I have to say too, that Davis' pencils purely reflected the writing and it was just . . . a nice little symphony. Marvel, I am SHOCKED. Two in a row.

Recommendation: You're really not paying attention if you need this filled.

"Who says two buds can't just cruise in a horse-drawn carriage? Me and my boys do it all the time.

Allllllll the time.

This is how we roll."

Poor teen-aged boy.

Huntress #4: Oh, hey, another awesome Huntress issue. The plot continues--there's a great fight scene, an interesting conversation while an arrow punctures a palm, the best conversation so far in this book, a funeral and a haircut and then Helena gets let back to Gotham.

The best conversation? Her and Barbara. Totally. I would like to frame those pages for some excellent posterity--for Barbara's attempts at making a foreign friend alone, is this comic awesome. Good thing it's got a whole bunch of other awesome stuff in it.

Also featured: The Bat Family being creepy in their own home. Excellent!

Recommendation: Pick it up already!

"Can't say my name. And what would I talk about with her? That I'm increasingly favoring kevlar and body armor? I'm sure we'd have a lot in common."

Batman: Gotham After Midnight #2: Steve Niles and Kelley Jones again and God, this is extremely delicious. Batman's cape remains to be completely epic--I think Robin's trapped up in there somewhere, attempting some desperate acrobatics to get free.

The story continues from Batman being seemingly dead and the thugs cheering contentedly around his body. And then they have to go ruin Batman's plan by being stupid and trying to axe him. Literally, actually, and in comes some supremely fine Batman inner-dialogue, because we all know the crazy bastard likes to talk to himself. There's some fine punching here, as well as a nice double-page splash that shamelessly exploits his cape some more (no little green boots sighted, Robin must've shifted).

We get villain reveal (kind of) who looks nice and creepy. We get more of his normal villains acting quite strangely and more from the detective lady and more of Niles' clever writing.

Lots more and Jones' art is as much a treat. Especially that cape. Good Gods, the cape.

Recommendation: This is a complete treat that should turn into a classic Batman story in time. It isn't overly heavy or intensely-laden with an over-reaching continuity that would otherwise bog the story down. So, Batman fans, this one's for you. And fans of Steve Niles. And really great crime story fans (because hey, Niles remembered Batman's a detective--something that tends to get pushed to the side in a few other books that have him constantly punching stuff). And fans of beating people up.

And Epic Cape Fans. Definitely those.

"One thing you can always rely on with criminals is that sooner or later they will do something stupid . . ."

Runaways #30: Alright. Well, let's start this off on a great note: The cover is completely beautiful and I would really love a poster version of this. Nico's gorgeous and I think I'll dress like her for Halloween. Only, you know, I'm not a teenager--but I still can still PASS so long as people are assuming I'm a babysitter instead of a mother. It's only been . . . not even ten years yet. Shut up!

I'm segueing here, because discussing Joss Whedon being such an epic let down feels a wee bit sacrilegious. I went into this issue so exasperated with his entire run, but still expecting . . . Joss Worthy Stuff. He's delivered before and even though I didn't want to, my little fangirl heart held her breath and hoped.

And I got the two-trick pony ride, courtesy Ringmaster Joss. Also, the little fangirl heart passed out.

Here's what I'm tired of: The constant failure of relationships on an epic, heartbreaking level. Pssst, Joss: WE GET IT! FIND A NEW POINT!

I promise, the symbolism isn't lost on us! We get the rarity of a perfect relationship! We get that The World Is Fucked and finding a perfect relationship is a near impossibility! We're also starting to get that maybe-maybe you've got one card up your sleeve and it ain't the Queen of Hearts.

There was no reason for Lillie to stay in the past(present). Really. None. Here's a clue: Sixteen year-old girls to stupid, scary things for boys they're in lurve with all the time. Just look at MySpace! And sixteen year-old girls would do especially stupid, scary things for really yummy boys that adore them. Especially a girl that seems to have no real male role model (remember, this is one of your favorite things to do to all your characters)! They tend to seek stability, you know, and things that are sturdy and anchor-shaped and if it comes in a really delicious Adores Her package, you can bet your Buffy that she'll take the jump.

Really, Joss, I thought you were better than this--do you really remember nothing from Buffy? I mean . . . where's the mojo gone? 'Cause I'm looking and I'm seeing . . .

A reprint of Astonishing. Bleh.

This issue was Not Awesome and I am Disappointed. I am completely underwhelmed by the wrap-up, completely underwhelmed by the character development over all, completely tired of the Same Old Conflicts and the Same Old Heartbreaks and really, all of this has me shouting, "NO MORE!" with feeling.

Reccomendation: Man, I can't believe I'm saying this: Forget about it. Wait for Terry Moore. I'm going to go drown my sorrow in some Jaynestown now.

Final Crisis #2:
Solid. Awesome. I liked very much--I also think that unless something supremely epic happens, I'm saving my review for the next eight months and weighing in when all is said and done. (Note: OMG LAST PAGE IS AWESOME. ::cough:: That's all.)


Evie said...

I totally agree with you on everything. I mean besides Runaways, but you're still right--I just had such LOW LOW expectations that when Chase made me cry a little, I decided that was a gold medal. Young Avengers and Huntress were the complete shit all over the place. I don't care if fanboys are giving Ivory Madison crap for being a novelist and a girl and having a name like Ivory Madison--she is rocking this.

Girl Friday said...

Those fanboys can go back to asking their mom to buy more soda and chips, dammit, Ivory Madison is totally knocking it out with this and I severely hope she snags another book when Huntress YO is done.

RE: Runaways: It's raining Xavins! Best line ever--and reassuring, at least, to know that Joss still has those gems in his pocket.

Chase made me sniffle too, that page was pure gold.

Brian Meredith said...

That last page of FINAL CRISIS... I needed to change pants after reading that.

God, I am such a fan-boy sometimes...

Anonymous said...

Huntress Year One is unbelievably awesome, it cannot be denied. And Babs was just so PRETTY looking in this art. I loved it.

Runaways...love the art, but the delays have made me indifferent, especially considering how much I love this series. Hopefully the relaunch won't suck.