Friday, July 06, 2007

Snap Judgements:
Countdown, Welcome To Tranquility, Detective Comics, Wolf-Man, and Y: The Last Man

As always, Snap Judgements gives you Triple-S comic reviews: short, sweet, and spoiler-free.

Countdown #43: The "Other" Funeral Comic

Poor Bart Allen. First he's shot with three different laser guns, then he's beaten to death, and now he has to have his funeral on the same day as Captain America's. Kid can't catch a break. I had hoped that this sad occasion would would give the Countdown writing team a chance to leave their mark on the emotional lives of the all-star cast. Not so much. Tim Drake's eulogy comes off as stilted and almost aloof, miles away from his shattered reaction in Flash #13. The most affecting speech comes from Bart himself, speaking via videotape circa his Kid Flash days...a casual reference to Conner particularly tugs at the heartstrings. In other news, it looks like Donna Troy and Jason Todd are finally ready to DO something other than talk about the multiverse and stare down the Monitor.

Cheesey Funeral Moments - Actually Sad Funeral Momments = C

Reviews for Welcome to Tranquility, Detective Comics, Astounding Wolf-Man and Y: The Last Man after the jump...

Welcome To Tranquility #8: Origin Story Discount Blowout!

Best book of the week, but unfortunately not a great place to jump on for newcomers. This Gail Simone-penned comic is about the residents of Tranquility, a sleepy town for retired superheroes, supervillians, and their families. The first arc was a great page-turner of a murder mystery, but the second storyline has been slow to start. Last month's issue was a snooze, but #8 gives the fans what they want: ORIGIN STORIES! This issue is absolutely packed with flashbacks about two of the most interesting minor characters of the last arc, who appear to be destined for center-stage this time around. Added to the fun are elastic, cartoonier takes on the characters by Jason Pearson that still stick pretty close to the distinctive style of regular artist Neil Googe.

Emoticon Origin + Zombie Zeke Origin + The Devil = A

Detective Comics: #834: Tangent Patrol!

A rather disapointing finale to last week's excellent cliff-hanger, this issue feels in a hurry to wrap up and there's precious little time spent with Batman and Zatanna, given the depth of the problems between them. Still, even on an off-day Dini is the best Joker writer out there, and this remains a solid, enjoyable book even if it comes in a little under expectations.

I have to mention two things, though:

1. Last month I was surprised that the Joker referred to his "accident", which I took to mean this was the same Joker we had seen get shot in the head in Grant Morrisson's recent Batman storyline. In this issue, however, it turns out he had been talking about getting hit by a truck in the Christmas issue of Detective. So why, Paul Dini, is the Joker wearing a smiley-face shirt with a bullet hole in the head? As a tip of the hat to Grant, I suppose, but it still confused the hell out of me.

2: While Dini conntinues to stay true to the Detective title by giving Batman smart ways to solve the cases, did he have to make Bats solve the case in a way that not only makes the reader think about The Joker in the shower (already awful), but makes us think about BATMAN thinking about The Joker in the shower?! I may never stop throwing up.

Smart Plotting + Smart Dialouge - Hurried Pace - Ending Cribbed From One of Paul's Episodes Of Justice League = B

The Astounding Wolf-Man #2: Learning the Ropes

First off, don't read our Panel Discussion this week if you plan to pick up this book. There's some great twists that shouldn't be ruined. This issue has Gary the Gregarious Wolf covering all his New Hero bases--controlling his powers under the tutelage of Zechariah the vampire, getting fitted for a cool hero costume, explaining to his wife why he feels the need to go out every night and save people, getting into his first super fight with some new super friends, it's all there. Writer Robert Kirkman does the New Hero stuff better than anybody (Invincible, Ant-Man) and this ish is no different. The art by Jason Howard, however, is a little off-putting. It's a fairly dark book, but Howard's thick, blocky art looks more like a Saturday morning cartoon. It's possible that it'll grow on me as the series progresses, but for now it's a problem.

Hero Initiation + Fun Twists - Tough to Swallow Art = B

Y The Last Man #57: Post Coital Catchup

This book is ending in a few issues, but you wouldn't know it based on this issue. It's a very calm, low-action (unless you count the kind featured in our Panel Discussion) issue that doesn't feel like a climax is right around the corner. Recently reunited Beth and Yorick basically just have a post-coital conversation about... You know, things. But the dialogue's great, Pia Guerra's art is smooth and subtle as always, and it just feels good. Beth and Yorick are saying the things you want to hear them say, and in the end they both have some bombshells dropped on them which I'm sure will take them the rest of the series to come to terms with.

Hot Reunion Sex + Great Relationship Dynamics + Bombshells Dropped = A

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