Friday, August 03, 2007

Snap Judgments:
Welcome To Tranquility #9, Metal Men #1, World War Hulk #3, Illuminati #4

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

These Bots Is Wacky! - Metal Men #1

The Metal Men, at least as they appear in this series, have something very important that sets them apart from the rest of the DC hero teams - naiveté. While they each come standard with over the top personalities and a range of emotions, there is a sweetness to their nature that harkens back to their Silver Age origins.

This issue is divided into three chapters, and only the second really features the Metal Men in action. As if to count for all the angst-free fun, the bookend chapters deal with the dark, ancient origins of the Metal Men, as well as a look into the past of Doc Magnus (minor art quibble; in the flashback, Doc looks like a babyfaced teen even though the story takes place only four years in the past. I guess mad science takes a toll.). These expositionary stories suffer from way too much mystic and tech jargon, which serves a purpose but is a chore to read. Still, on the whole the book benefits from the singular vision of writer-artist Duncan Rouleau, who ties his panels together with a border of gears that wind in and out of the art like strands of robo-DNA.

Robots Are Our Friends + Steampunitky Art - Slow Beginning and End = B

Reviews for Welcome to Tranquility, World War Hulk and New Avengers: Illuminati after the jump...

Zombies? Really? - Welcome To Tranquility #9

Aren't we tired of zombies by now? With The Walking Dead and Marvel Zombies readily available, I was kinda hoping this arc of Welcome To Tranquility wasn't going to be all about brain eaters. But hope is cheap. Simone even name checks Robert Kirkman in this issue, and it looks like the wall that keeps the undead hoards from the town of Tranquility has come a tumblin' down.

Feelings of zombie fatigue aside, this issue has some great moments, but the central plot feels sluggish and fails to live up to last week's superb trilogy of origin stories. We do get to see more of one of the most entertaining characterizations of the devil since Neil Gaiman's Lucifer, and the issue ends with a great mini-story that reaches an almost Frank Millerian level of pulp revenge grit.

Boring Zombies + Cool Satan + Cowboy Grit = B+

He's Going To *yawn* Kill Us All! - World War Hulk #3

Oh, man. This is over. I wish I could spoil this for you because by the end of this issue the Hulk has succumbed to one of the biggest invading villain cliches in all of comicdom. It never worked for the hundreds that came before him, yet somehow he thinks it's a good idea. Poor Hulk. Poor, stupid Hulk. If only you weren't thinking about things so much and just got really angry and smashed stuff. You'd probably have won this war by now.

In other news, this book still looks and feels great. The presentation is top notch, but it's just not enough to make up for the major story problems present. If the Hulk really wanted to kill these heroes, why hasn't he? He's beaten a bunch of them up, but hasn't dealt the final blow to anyone. The premise of this story was "Hulk Kills the Marvel Universe," but so far he's been very restrained. Add to this the fact that since issue 1 everyone's been saying "Ohh, the Sentry is the one guy that might be able to stop the Hulk" and come issue three they're still talking about him but he is just sitting in a house in Northern Vermont, biding his time. Add to that the cheesiest line of dialogue to end a comic this year, and you get a big fat turkey that's pretty to look at but taste like donkey's yonks.

Romita's Outstanding Art - Pak's Plot Holes - King of Supervillain Cliches = C-

Girl Troubles - New Avengers: Illuminati #4

Slight spoiler here, only one of the girls on this cover is actually in the comic. Because this is a comic about boys. More specifically, a comic about boys talking about stuff. In this issue, they talk about girls. Dr. Strange is upset that his lady left to rule the Dark Dimension, Tony Stark is complaining about chasing tail, Black Bolt is miming suicide in an effort to illustrate married life, and Reed Richards and Namor are having a very awkward conversation about Sue Storm. It's great! And then five pages in some superhero bullshit starts happening that nobody cares about. If anybody in the world cared about Marvel Boy (I enjoyed his series, but that's ancient history at this point), he would have been on the cover instead of these girls that aren't even in the comic. We do get some insightful words as to why Professor X doesn't just program everyone to agree with him, but other than that it's a lot of talk about some issues I didn't find myself caring about. Definitely worth picking up for the opening chit-chat, but *shhhh* word on the street is you can read that part online at Pop Culture Shock. Next issue promises "TODAY," so I expect that means we'll be coming out of the past and into the present to deal with the Hulk.

Great Man Talk Between Heroes + Wonderful Characterization - Boring Plot = B+

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