Friday, October 19, 2007

Snap Judgments - Mighty Avengers #5, The Umbrella Academy #2, The Sword #1, The Programme #4

Mighty Avengers #5
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by Frank Cho, Colors by Jason Keith
Gets an A- from Albo

As much as I want to give this book a negative review for being so late all the time, I can't resist its charms. Cho's art is so clean and clever and beautiful (helped immensely by Jason Keith's colors) I'm tempted to take the book apart and hang the individual pages on my wall. The panels alone tell the story, Bendis' words are just icing on the cake. Flavor text, if you will. I will give Bendis credit for making Thor-lite B-stringer Ares into a really fun character. The problem here is that the first issue came out almost eight months ago and this is only the fifth issue, and only a couple of hours have passed in the story. It's slowww going. Cho has announced he's leaving after issue six, which makes me really sad because this book won't be nearly as good with Ultimate Spiderman's (gag! spat! yak!) Mark Bagley behind the reigns. But considering that the next arc has to do with the symbiote invasion that is happening RIGHT NOW in New Avengers, I guess things have to get moving.

The Umbrella Academy #2 and The Programme #4, after the jump...

The Umbrella Academy #2
Written by Gerard Way
Art by Gabriel Ba, Colors by Dave Stewart
Gets an A from AHR

Some people, both on the internet and amongst the Geekanerd staff, have complained that this book is hard to follow. The script has an unrefined energy of a writer not too concerned with three act structures, but this is more a strength than a weakness. Judging from these first two issues, The Umbrella Academy is a book about ideas. Ideas about violin-based superpowers, highly destructive robots that look like Weebles, and the perils of underage time travel. Gripping stuff, and it would be a shame to lose any of it for simplicity's sake. Besides, all the plot threads are wrapped up pretty neatly by the last page, setting the stage for a big old fight scene in issue three. Be there or be square.

The Sword #1
By The Luna Brothers

Gets a C from AHR

You know how trailers for thriller movies always start out with syrupy music and a shot of a the lead actor lifting his four-year-old into the air..."James Roman had the perfect life." The first half of this issue is like that. Protagonist Dara is a handicapable young art student, with a ridiculously happy home life that includes the sort of pleasant family dinner conversations that only occur right before tragedy strikes. So of course tragedy does strike, and while it's suitably upsetting (particularly due to the Lunas ability to capture subtle, realistic facial expressions), it's also very well worn territory. The bad guys are typically cold and nasty, and Dara comes off as a typically nice, innocent, heroine who reluctantly receives the call to adventure. Where's the hook?

The Programme #4
Written by Peter Milligan
Art by CP Smith, Colors by Jonny Rench
Gets a C from Albo

I guess my love affair with the book that no one else is talking about couldn't last forever. I've been on board for the first three issues because the story felt like it was building towards something big and the art had such a unique mood to it I couldn't resist it. But now it appears the story isn't going anywhere fast, and this issue's art lacked a certain spark the past issues had. In fact, it comes off looking sparse and extremely confusing. It was fun while it lasted, Programme. Best of luck to you.