Where were YOU the day Johnny Storm died?

That's right folks; this week saw the death of the next Fantastic Four. How long it sticks, only Marvel knows. Did you get a chance to read the issue? If you have any thoughts, feel free to tell me about it.

ITEM! Free Comic Book day's released their Gold titles. Check it out here. Then come back here and check out my Wednesday haul.

I got two sequential art books today. One was 3.99, and the other was 3.50. Pleasingly, neither had any advertisements.
by Dan Slott and Humberto Ramos

This issue marks the debut of Dan Slott's solo captaining of the Spidey ship. And from the 39 pages, it sounds like he's charted a course. Spidey saves the day from Doc Ock (the new maniacal one from #600) and his new Sinister Six, and the following pages are a tour of Peter's new status quo: a new job in a laboratory, a new place and a bunch of new (and old) enemies with new schemes.

The thing is mostly set-up, but it's pretty smart. Slott has a wealth of things to tell; now he just has to tell them. My favorite part is how well Slott knows the Spidey stories, and how he'll bring 'em up, like when Peter calls Randy Robertson about asking to room again. Randy brings up a certain piece of cheese, rejecting Peter. There's this great sequence where Peter's quizzed by the lab workers, and all his answers are from his struggles against supervillains.
The second one's from the Paper Doll arc, and I'm assuming the first and third are pretty generic enough to be Spidey-knowledge. Peter gets a new job, and his path there is built by his past adventures. I think this describes the issue as a whole. #648 moves Peter forward while evoking his past stories. As a spider-fan, I can't think of a better way to start a run.

#652's already been released, and the arc starting with #648 is concluded, but I'm gonna try to buy each issue week by week, provided the shop has 'em.

Because I'm a tease like that.

Usagi Yojimbo #134

by Stan Sakai

You guys know my love for talking animals (check out We3, or Howard the Duck). When I was a kid, I remembered seeing Usagi Yojimbo on an episode of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, so I figured I'd reach to a non-big 2 book.

I was lucky enough to run into this stand-alone story. Usagi runs into the fox, Kitsune, selling toad oil, which is rumored to cure any wound. Shenanigans ensue! It's a small story about a cunning fox who's out to grab her fair share. I plan on reading more.

In lieu of scans, a super-sweet 6-page preview. Have a great weekend.

Today's trade: JLA: The Lightning Saga

Are ya ready? It's time for another skull-cracking review of a collected sequential art book! I reviewed the first volume a while back, now here's its sequel:

Justice League of America vol. 2: The Lightning Saga
by Brad Meltzer, Geoff Johns, et al.

WHAT IT'S ABOUT: Collecting JLA #'s 0, 8-12 and JSA #'s 5-6. Renowned mystery novelist Brad Meltzer continues his revival of the JLA, collaborating with DC darling Geoff Johns. The first five chapters are the Lightning Saga, the next two are stand-alone stories.

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: It's always a bad sign when I start off with what I DIDN'T like. Let's start with the Lightning Saga. Each of its chapters introduces a Legionnaire (of the Legion of Superheroes fame), and has some kind of action sequence. We get practically no plot. Sure, we meet a new guy, and the other heroes do stuff, but nothing is compelling. For example, Batman and Geo-Force go to Arkham Asylum to save a Legionnaire, but I had no idea who everybody was, or why it even matters that Legionnaires are popping up in the present. Just that it's weird for them to be popping up (because they're from the future). That's all we ever know for 4 issues. I'm sorry, but that's just not good enough to drive a story! There's an enormous gravity given to the Legion, but nothing is done to support that.

Ultimately, you find out that they're in the present to bring back Flash (Wally West) from the dead. That's the last 10 pages of the whole storyarc -- why should I invest 5 issues in reading about a bunch of superheroes who aren't fleshed out attempt to bring back a hero I never read about? I thought this was the Justice League of America?

WHAT I LIKED: Aherm. Sorry 'bout that. The only worthwhile story is in JLA #11, titled "Walls." It follows Red Arrow and Vixen, after they've had a building topple on them. The panels and the art will make you feel claustrophobic -- and it's incredibly effective, given the topic.

Throughout the pages, we get this great picture of their physical and emotional journey to the surface, and the twist ending blew me away. The entire time, they thought that they had to dig up, but they were positioned upside down, and couldn't tell, because they were so jarred! Words can't describe it; check it out for yourself.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Overall, I had a bad taste after The Lightning Saga, but there were a few nice tidbits. In the first review, I talked about Meltzer getting in time for the individual League-ers, and he continues that here, fleshing out a relationship between Hawkgirl and Red Arrow, and addressing Vixen's insecurities.

Since I haven't brought up the artists, I'll do it here: the Lightning Saga called for a total of 4 different artists in 5 chapters, which is just a shame. Ed Benes was an unfortunate choice, as he can only draw two body types (man and woman). As a whole, the art was average at best. I don't recommend vol. 2 under any circumstances.

Trade for today: Superman: Birthright

Guess who's back -- back again. chezkevin's back -- tell your friends!

That's right guys, with the new year, I am getting back into blogging. I haven't bought a comic book in a while, but hey, you know me, I just paid a visit to my local library. And guess what, just because I like you guys, I also brought Superman with me.

Superman: Birthright
by Mark Waid and Leinil Yu

WHAT IT'S ABOUT: Three years after 9/11 and the premiere of Smallville, it was time to retell the origin of Superman. Birthright is that origin. Aside from the usual, Waid includes sentiments of the cultural legacy of Krypton, Lex and Clark as childhood friends, and a carefully woven allegory to post-9/11 fear.

WHAT I LIKED: This would be "just another Superman origin story" if not for Waid's direction. The way he weaves fear into Metropolis, as terrorism has in America, is masterful. In fact, Clark Kent's first lines as Superman are, "Don't be afraid," a call to the Metropolitans as well as the readers. Other small touches include the re-emphasis on the S-shield. There's a chilling scene in the first issue, where Jor-El, Superman's original father laments that no one will ever remember Krypton.

The S-shield doesn't just represent the heroics of Superman, a beacon of light for those around him. It also represents Clark's heritage, his birthright if you will, and the heights that his race achieved. By wearing that shield, Superman pays homage to his family and his culture.

Not only that, we get a treat of a pre-Secret Invasion Leinil Yu. His style is very consistent, and spanning the story into 12 issues really allows the guy to get in these majestic splash pages. It's absolutely beautiful.

EXTRAS?: Intro by Alice Gough and Miles Millar (producers of Smallville), cover gallery, story notes from Waid on his vision for Birthright and sketch art from Yu. The notes are the most interesting part, but even then, they're not much to write home about.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Birthright replaced John Byrne's Man of Steel as a canonical origin for Superman. I've never read Man of Steel before, so I can't say much about that, but Birthright is one heck of an story that fills in a lot of interesting blanks in Superman's story that I hadn't thought of before (ie, Lex Luthor's brief childhood residence in Smallville).

It's too bad that it too was replaced by Geoff Johns's Superman: Secret Origin in 2009. Which, eh, I also haven't read. So sue me. For this reason, I only recommend Birthright if you're invested in the many origin stories of Superman.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Stats a-go-go