Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Snap Judgements: Blue Beetle, Thunderbolts, and The Boys

Today on Snap Judgements, three spoiler-free quickie reviews of comics out today, June 27.

Blue Beetle #16 - The Return of Brainstomp Demonface!

Everyone's favorite wife-killer/vengeance god Jean "Eclipso" Loring is through with all that "orbiting the sun" she's back on earth, stealing magic babies! It's a DC book alright! But what does this have to do with Blue Beetle? Well, not a lot. This book deals more with Traci 13 (who?), the issue's true protagonist. She does allow Jaime to tag along for the big fight, but he's really just there to flirt with.

The verdict on Blue Beetle plus reviews of Thunderbolts #115 and The Boys #8 after the jump.

This issue's biggest miss is the constant Wheadonesque teen-snark-speak, which is usually delivered with a much keener ear by writer John Rogers. But the book is saved by some funny touches involving the always ironic rules of magic, and some very touching (though possibility invented) continuity concerning the link between Eclipso and Traci 13 (who?).

Jean "Brain Stomp" Loring + Cheesey Teen Speak = C+

Thunderbolts #115 - Smashy Smashy II

Last week, this book gave us a big long street fight that was incredibly boring, featured a bunch of bland splash pages, and generally felt like Warren Ellis decided to take a snooze in the backseat and left artist Rain Beredo to drive for a while. This week's issue at first seemed to be more of the same - the 'Bolts are still fighting some unregistered Superheroes, aaand.....they fight. BUT - in this issue, the characters say interesting things to each other while they fight, the action is much more fluid and exciting, and there are some big plot-changing reveals. Still a few too many bulked-out Venom splash panels, but at least there's some dismemberment to show for it.

Bullseye Bein' Crazy + Whiny Penance + Dismemberment = B+

The Boys #8 - Not That There's Anything Wrong With That...

From the start, this series has played fast and loose with attitudes of misogyny and homophobia. Even for a comic book. But when the TPB was released earlier this month, I gave it a chance and found that it was too funny and engaging to write-off as shock-schlock. And though last month's issue made me cringe with a page discussed here, the lead male protagonist's attitudes towards gay men are discussed directly in this issue, as our anti-heroes investigate the murder of a gay teen. As the issue begins, it seems that nice-guy Hughie has a more accepting attitude than epithet-spewing manly man Butcher, but as events move forward we're shown that the way they actually act around gay people tells a different story. All the lead characters still treat gayness as something to be tolerated and not necessarily accepted, but I suspect that since this arc will last until at least issue #10, these issues will continue to be explored. The plotting and dialogue is spot-on as always, make sure you read Butcher's dialogue like Michael Caine for maximum effect.

Casual Prejudice + Meta Commentary + Realism? - Easy Answers = B

Tune in Friday for PANEL DISCUSSION, to find out which comic panel wins the Geekanerd Award for Best Acting, Greatest Hit, and the coveted Banana Randomizer Award For Achievement in WTF.

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