Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Snap Judgments - Comic Reviews for 9/19/07

This week we're trying out a new format for our Snap Judgment reviews. Namely, they're way snappier. If anybody has an opinion as to which they like better let us know and we'll probably listen to you. Commence judgment!

Umbrella Academy #1

Only yesterday did I realize the comic world has been waiting with baited breath to see if Gerard Way can write as well as he can wear black eyeliner and sing about cancer. I dug out my Umbrella Academy preview from Free Comic Book day, which I had skipped over in my Owly-induced trance. Well, I loved the FCB ish and this first issue is a joyride as well. It's got a nice darkly comedic attitude, and I particularly enjoyed how the superhero team's father-figure, a wryly detached and somewhat mean-spirited old man. This makes sense because Gerard comes from the world of emo, where all authority must be distrusted and or/sneered at. I kid because I love. Gabriel Ba's art slightly recalls the cartoon-industrial feel of Mike Mignola or Duncan Rouleau, and it's bolstered by Dave Stewart's color palette, so we're talking some very pretty pictures. -AHR

The Verdict: A

The Programme #3

Another month, another recommendation from me to go out and pick up The Programme. I was surprised when I saw that this was only issue three, as the story is so dense it felt like I'd been reading it for much longer. But with this issue things are finally all starting to make sense, and even the difficult but rewarding art is getting easier to digest without losing it's heavy atmosphere. Or perhaps I'm just getting more used to it. Either way, if you aren't reading this yet I heartily recommend tracking down the first two issues and getting to it. -Albo

The Verdict: A-

Robin #166

Robin has been great throughout Adam Beechen's run, although I never got into the most recent on-going plot, namely the saga of Dodge. It's been one of those "annoying wannabe sidekick is rejected only to become an arch-enemy" stories, which can run the risk of either making the hero seem genuinely insensitive or making the sidekick annoying enough to turn off the audience. Dodge was a case of the latter, although in this issue Beechen does a good job redeeming the character, and I have to admit I got a little teary-eyed upon the issue's conclusion. One final nerdpick - in this issue we see Tim Drake cannot play tennis. Bullshit. If the Joker threw a grenade at him and he had to whack it away with a tennis racket, I don't think there would be a problem. -AHR

The Verdict: B

The Irredeemable Ant-Man #12

Last issue seemed to be a perfectly good send off for the series we loved so much. This issue serves not as a conclusion but as a segue into a new iteration of the character that will appear in other Marvel books (it would be a spoiler to say which books...). I seriously doubt I will love the character in another book as much as I liked him in this Kirkman series, so after the satisfying conclusion of last issue this one felt a little like someone resurrecting my dead grandmother and telling me she's gonna work the streets for extra zombie cash. -Albo

The Verdict: C-

SECOND OPINION: Robert Kirkman, no! You said you would never redeem your deplorable non-hero, but in this final outing Eric O'Grady appears to have had a spiritual awakening. It's as if Eric himself knew of his impending cancellation and, fearing the fires of disposed character hell, he felt he had to throw the mea culpas around to save his fictional soul. Still, a disconcerting last issue doesn't erase the fond memories of what has been my favorite Marvel book of the last year. Here's hoping he'll find new fans as a guest-star in other titles. -AHR

The Verdict: A+ for the series, a reluctant D for the issue

Batman/Lobo: Deadly Serious #2 (of 2)

After last issue's questionable merit, I was a little wary to pick this ish up. But I love Sam Keith's art and I figured it'd be worth it just for that. Unfortunately Sam phoned this baby in, with a couple interes
ting touches doing little to make up for the overwhelmingly bland (and sometimes downright ugly) visuals. The story's a total waste of time, too, so really save your six bucks if you're thinking of picking this one up. -Albo

The Verdict: D-

Green Arrow and Black Canary Wedding Special #1

There are two kinds of events in a comic book. One, the more common one, is where the universe explodes, or someone dies, or is raped, or is slowly lowered into a pit of acid. The other is where someone gets married! This means lots of in-jokes, characters getting page-time with people they'd never regularly get to hang with, and tons of in-jokes. Make the happy couple the two two horn-doggiest members of the JLA, and you also get lots TV-14 rated raunch. Judd Winick manages to keep the tone goofy and light (well, with one notable exception). Even when the requisite big fight scene starts, the madcap comedy keeps rolling right through the cartoon violence. I was disapointed not to see the actual VOWS at this freakin' wedding, but maybe that's for some sort of Green Arrow Black Canary Vow Special, soon to be followed with the Green Arrow Black Canary Feed Wedding Cake To Each Other Special, and the Green Arrow Black Canary Do The Chicken Dance Special. -AHR

The Verdict: A+

Countdown to Mystery #1

Score! I took a chance on this Countdown tie-in solely based on the fact it features Eclipso, who I like simply because the character is currently inhabiting the body of Jean Loring, Ray Palmer's brain-stomping ex who is just my kind of crazy. I didn't realize this issue features two stories, the first of which opens with a shot of the Dr. Fate helmet shooting through the stratosphere like a wayward meteorite and crashing on the Las Vegas strip. That is a good way to open a DC book, and it just gets better from there. The second shorter story is the one with Eclipso, as well as our old, dead friend from Gotham Central (and former partner to Renee Montoya)...Crispis Allen! He's the Spectre's current host (making this book all about mystical entities and the humans they glomp on to, I guess?), and we even get to see him help dole out some patented Ironic Justice. Stephen Jorge Segovia's art for this second story is outstanding, made stronger by Dan Brown's masterful colors. Some of the best art of the week right here, no kidding. -AHR

The Verdict: A

World War Hulk #4 (of 5)

I feel really bad about dishing so many negative reviews this week, but when you walk out of the shop with as many stinkers as I did you have to vent a little. I've known WWH was getting worse since the second issue, so I can't say I was surprised to find this month's installment lacking even more than last month's. The rest of the Marvel Universe has already moved on from this "Mega Event," which leaves the proceedings feeling more and more irrelevant. The stakes keep getting lower (Hulk not killing anyone showed right off the bat that he will one day rejoin the rest of the heroes without consequence), Hulk keeps getting less angry, and even Romita Jr.'s art, which I've been totally into up till now, is getting sloppy. Add to that an inevitable conclusion that has been broadcast since the first issue and you've got yourself one suckbag of a book. -Albo

The Verdict: D+

1 comment:

Great White Snark said...

Discouraging news on WWH. Just when you thought Marvel would produce an "event" that wouldn't altogether suck an egg.

That settles it. I'm off the majors. Only independents for me from now on, thanks. Walking Dead, DMZ, and Invincible are enough to sate me.