Archive for July, 2011

Reblogged: DC Comics SDCC panels: uncomfortable questions about female creators/characters

Reblogged from DC Women Kicking AssThe DC Comics panels at SDCC have been filled with what I’m being told are uncomfortable and awkward moments around the issues of female creators and characters… [read more].

That’s some seriously screwed up stuff right there.  I wish I were at that panel to cheer this woman on.

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Reviews: Captain America #1, New Avengers #14

Captain America #1Captain America #1
Published by Marvel Comics
Written by Ed Brubaker
Illustrated by Steve McNiven
Price:  $3.99

 

Well now.  This is how it’s done, isn’t it?

My expectations were high for the launch of this title, and the reasons are palpable.  Ed Brubaker writing?  Check.  Steve McNiven on art?  Oh yes, that’s a big check.  A Steve Rogers, Sharon Carter, Nick Fury, and Dum Dum Dugan cast?  Here’s my $3.99, guys—sign me the heck up.

I became a Cap fan from reading various Avengers books over the years, but it wasn’t until very recently that I actually began to pay attention to his solo title(s).  The praise drummed up for Brubaker’s take on Steve and Bucky got me to give his stuff a look, and from what I’ve read so far, I can confidently say that praise is well-deserved.  So I went into this new first issue expecting Brubaker to deliver, and deliver he did.

If you’re reading Fear Itself, or even if you’re not, you likely know by now that my sweet Bucky Barnes is dead (again).  The setup has, I’m told, been long coming for Cap to take up the shield once again, and here we have that promise fulfilled.  The book begins, sadly, with a funeral—Peggy Carter’s, specifically—in an opening scene that is both poignant and purposeful.  We’re introduced to the cast, given a brief insight into the man that Steve Rogers is, and then kicked off into an action sequence that, I have to say, is delivered frigging beautifully by McNiven.  Can that man draw the heck out of a comic, or what?  The layouts are so clear; his lines are clean, and everything just looks fantastic while functioning superbly.  You’re certainly never left looking at a panel and wondering what’s happening.  I fell in love with McNiven’s work with his Civil War stuff, and I’m falling harder now.

But back to the writing.  To start off the first arc, Cap and his team find themselves facing a once-friend, now-enemy from his WWII days.  Brubaker impresses me pretty effortlessly here.  He doesn’t try too hard and he’s never too in-your-face with things.  Characterization comes across subtly and naturally, and the setting flows from one scene to another bridged through flashbacks in time.  The issue ends with the expected cliffhanger—I say “expected,” but that doesn’t make it any less effective.  In fact, I’m even more excited to read on.

Marvel, obviously, are capitalizing on the newly-released Captain America movie and using it as a way to give new readers a place to start.  I’m shocked to say they’re actually doing it right by writing Cap as he’s meant to be written and not dumbing things down for new fans.  Captain America #1 is precisely what I want from a comic, and so long as this creative teams sticks around, I anticipate fans will, too.

New Avengers #14New Avengers #14
Published by Marvel Comics
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Illustrated by Mike Deodato
Price:  $3.99

 

I tend to pick up Avengers books here and there, depending on story arc and previews that grab me.  Bendis as a writer is very hit-and-miss for me.  I generally like most of his ideas and character development, but sometimes he’ll do something that will totally stick me the wrong way (treatment of Tigra; last-minute ditch of Spider-Woman title; gag-inducing self promotion in his books), and the stereotype that he writes every character’s dialogue the same is mostly true.  Don’t get me wrong—sometimes he is just a master at light-heartedness and at getting down to who a character is through dialogue—but a lot of the time, yes, they do all quip like Spider-Man.

Those pet peeves aside, he can still spin a good yarn.  Particularly when you compare his stuff to some of the other junk that saturates the Marvel shelves.  But I digress.  Let’s talk about New Avengers #14.New Avengers #14, Page 3

Reading the Avengers off and on as I do can get understandably confusing as I attempt to fill in the gaps of things I’ve missed.  What led me to snag this issue was actually a preview page online of Mockingbird talking at the “camera.”  Apparently, in the last arc, Mockingbird was gravely injured, and in an attempt to save her life, some sort of amalgam of Super Soldier Serum was administered to her.  This summary of backstory is part of why I loved this issue.  Instead of reading some dry re-cap page, I got everything I needed to know in-story, directly from the character herself.  We’ve seen these pages a lot recently in Avengers—simple, square panel, face-forward shots of characters speaking straight to the audience—and it’s a technique that works spectacularly well.  It’s simple, effective, and refreshing.  Chris Bachalo and JR Jr. have both tried their hand at this style of storytelling for Bendis, and in this issue of New Avengers, Mike Deodato gets his turn.

He does a great job, in my opinion.  I loved Deodato’s work to kick off the Secret Avengers title, but soon got sick of the constant shadows and darkness and what became a blatantly obvious laziness.  The stuff he does here, though, looks infinitely better—partly because, yeah, he does actually draw their faces for a change—and it feels like he’s trying harder.  There’s more going on, and I largely enjoyed it.

Mockingbird is indeed the spotlight of this issue, and I’m glad of it.  It feels like Bendis is giving her character some real credit, and he ties the story into Fear Itself without actually making it a Fear Itself tie-in … if that makes any sense.  The whole Sin/hammers/destruction stuff is still there, sure, but this issue is about the Avengers and about Mockingbird specifically.  In this event-crazy medium, it’s kind of nice to have that split.  Let’s keep it going.

 


What the Blurb? Reviews!

Before I get into the reviews, let me just mention what is sure to be a fantastic new web comic, Lady Sabre & the Pirates of the Ineffable Aether by Greg Rucka and Rick Burchett.  It’s just launched this week and so far I am pretty excited.  Rucka is one of my favorite writers (and a totally cool person to boot), Burchett’s art looks lovely, and the site design is awesome.  Worth checking out and supporting, so spread the word!

Now, onto…

Avengers: Children’s Crusade #6 – Oh.  Amazing.  Just … completely wonderful.  More comics should be this.  MORE OF THIS, PLEASE, MARVEL.

Batman, Inc. #7Batman, Inc. #7 – I was ready to give up on the Batman, Inc. title after what I thought was a horrible arc in Argentina.  Morrison lost me pretty hard with some of his writing techniques and the fact that I basically had no idea what was happening for like three issues.  Then all this DC reboot stuff came up, and everyone’s all like “You have to read Batman, Inc. or the Bat books won’t make sense!”  I guess I still don’t really understand how ANYTHING’S going to make sense as far as how we can keep the continuity in this title when characters are changing in so many other titles come September, but all right, whatever—I’ll bite.  The book is ending soon, anyway—I’ll stay on for the ride and see what happens.  So then I picked up this issue and was … absolutely glued to it.  Wow.  What?  Where was THIS stuff hiding?  I truly enjoyed this issue on so many levels.  The story was meaningful, the artwork by Chris Burnham was a pleasure, the writing was clean and purposeful, and it didn’t teeter off the path or dillydally like it did in previous issues.  The story is entirely self-contained in this one issue, and it’s friggin’ fantastic.  I finished this and wondered why more Grant Morrison comics couldn’t be written in a similar manner.  Morrison takes two characters I have never read or knew of before and creates something that feels so easy and humble.  He rarely does that for me—so much of the time when I read his stories, they feel condescending or “holier-than-thou.”  This one doesn’t, and it’s perfect.  I enjoyed this issue a lot, and thus am now expectant of the remainder of the series to be the same.  Read this.  I don’t want to summarize the plot—just give it a read.

The Guild: Bladezz One-ShotThe Guild: Bladezz One-Shot – So, I’m kind of obsessed with The Guild.  If you’re a gamer and have never watched this web show, do yourself a favor and check it out, because it’s awesome and hilarious.  Watch it on the website.  Watch it on YouTube.  Netflix it.  Get the DVDs off Amazon.  Whatever—just do it.  It’s become such a hit, in fact, that Dark Horse has taken to publishing one-shot Guild comics for each member of the Knights of Good.  I’d recommend reading the short Guild miniseries that came out last year as well, as it serves as a prequel to the show and gives some more depth to the main character.  It’s also super short, inexpensive, and collected in trade for your convenience.  Anyway, tangent—Bladezz is the third one-shot to be produced, after Vork and Tinkerballa.  It’s on par with its predecessors, if not slightly better.  I have an affinity for Bladezz as a character, I think he’s pretty damn hilarious, and I found his one-shot light and funny.  The artwork isn’t really my taste, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad, and it’s basically in line with the issues before it.  So, bottom line—read Guild comics.  They’ll give you +5 to Sexterity.

Wolverine/Black Cat: Claws 2 #1 – … Are you serious right now?  Are you absolutely serious?  Reading this, I could feel a part of my brain crack apart and die.  I don’t even want to glorify it with a full review, suffice it to say Palmiotti’s writing is nothing more than fanservice and brings me to a hysterical fit of tears, and Linsner on art is eye-gouging.  Don’t go near this thing.  Just … don’t.  It’s actually worse than the first one.  If you can imagine that.