Thursday, October 09, 2008

Snap Judgments: Reviews for Crossed, Detective Comics, Final Crisis and More

Short comic reviews based on initial, lizard-brain opinions. Arranged from BEST to WORST. Beware some potential spoilers.

Detective Comics #849 gets an A+ from Degan and an A from AHR
Man, Dini knows how to write a Batman story. Despite having the least to do with the "overall" (if there is one) R.I.P. story, this has been favorite of the bunch. Breathing life into a dull, manufactured character, Dini has not just made Hush tolerable, but actually intriguing. And Nguyen is quickly becoming one of my favorite current artists. To top it all off, the story ends with one of the most genuine "hows-he-gonna-get-outta-this-one" cliffhangers I've read in a while. -Degan

I continue to love this series. Hush's backstory gets more satisfying with every issue, and the extent to which this issue connects to long past issues in Dini's run of Detective is spellbinding. There's also a ridiculously cracked out Joker scene, even if it only amounts to a cameo. Teaser: Batman busts into Joker's cell at Arkham, pushes him on to the bed and handcuffs him to a pipe. I think I read a fanfic like that once. Um, just kidding? Sorry everyone, but they say context is for the weak. Anyway. This is a great issue in a great story, and it's going to make an even better trade. Can't wait for the conclusion. -AHR

Reviews for Pulp Tales, Crossed, Final Crisis Revelations, Green Arrow and Black Canary, Walking Dead and Young Liars after the jump...

Pulp Tales: Josh Medor Benefit Comic
gets an A from Albo
Pulp adventure for those with short attention spans, this book is made up of five four-page standalone stories. And they are tasty little nuggets of pulpy goodness for sure. I want to read more from every one of these universes. The real crown jewel here, though (and the reason I picked the book up in the first place), is a short story by Steve Niles that has more meat than the others. Because while they say a picture is worth a thousand words, four pages of prose sure can pack in a lot more story than four pages of comics.

Green Arrow and Black Canary #13
gets an A- from Degan
This book has been one of my surprise favorites from the start. Each week I'm pleasantly surprised-and this issue is no exception. It does suffer from the usual cathartic first-issue-after-major-story-arc problems... but even then the catharsis was well deserved and well appreciated. Winick continues to make the bizarre arrow family humorously dysfunctional-and this issue even has an "I have HIV" moment that doesn't come off too very-special-episode.


Final Crisis Revelations #3
gets a B from Degan and a B from AHR
Like almost all of these Final Crisis books, I like this story-but it leaves me with no understanding of what's actually happening in the crisis. Like the other titles, this book seems to make reference to events from other titles... but for the life of me I don't know when and where they happened! And I've been reading every Final Crisis title! WTF?! To make matters worse, the art was downright confusing at times, leaving me to carefully analyze certain panels to understand what happened. Aside from all that (like that's not a big deal) I actually really like this story-the Spectre, the Question, Vandal Savage as Cain... pretty awesome story. Too bad there doesn't seem to be a bigger picture.
-Degan

This book is loco! Speaking as one who ISN'T reading any other Final Crisis titles, I can just about understand what's going on, despite Rucka's best attempts to confuse me by loading the story up with scripture (both biblical and imagined) at every turn. But despite some mildly heavy-handed theologizing, for the most part this look at the nature of God's mercy through the eyes of a bunch of DC supes is genuinely interesting, and a little heart-wrenching if you were a fan of Gotham Central and the old MCU team. I can't imagine how this book ties into the DC universe at large, since it's basically suggesting the entire world except Montoya and three nun-killers have become scary anti-life demons, but continuity aside, it's heady apocalyptic fun. -AHR

The Man Who Loved Breasts gets a B from Albo
Three short comics from Robert Goodin, the first about a man in the 50s who was told to "do what he loves" so he becomes a custom brassiere maker. Things take a turn for the worse in the 60s, unfortunately. The second is about a guy trying to tactfully ask for amputee porn at a sperm bank, and the last is a conversation between a modern day geek and King Arthur. The last is a great little idea that I've pondered before--if I went back in time, I could tell all the people about all the wonderful things to come, but could I replicate them? Or even explain them? No way! As much as they'd love to hear about cars or gunpowder or antibiotics or radio, it would all be a bunch of talk. Goodin proves he's a skilled cartoonist and an excellent storyteller with this little book.

Walking Dead #53 gets a B from AHR
Wow, something actually happened in this book! I hate to be one of those fans who complains about the slower issues used to build dramatic tension but...I was really starting to get a little tired of the lonely adventures of Sick Depressed Man and Son. Here Rick meets up with old friends, and realizes a major decision he made in his self-proclaimed role as leader was majorly wrong. I've always felt a little antagonistic towards Rick; decent as he is, his alpha-maleness always seemed to come too easy. It's a great choice to take him out of his role as leader, if only for a little while.

Crossed #1 gets a C from Albo
Is there room for another zombie book on the shelves when Kirkman's Walking Dead is still so good? Moments of extreme shock value are the only thing that make this book stand out.

Young Liars #8 gets a D from Albo
I stood by you for eight issues, David Lapham, but I can't do a ninth. I still just don't care what happens to these people, due in no small part to the scattered storytelling style you've slapped on the book. Please go back to Stray Bullets!

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