Worst to first: 1/24/07

A pretty strong week, though very top heavy. The stuff at the bottom, well, ugh. Three of the worst books I’ve read in months came along this week, which made it all the easier to appreciate that which didn’t totally blow. To the books…

Seven: The Goon Noir #3

After wholly disappointing me in 2006, The Goon is off to a terrible start in 2007 with this latest issue of “Dwight T. Albatross’s Goon Noir.” As far as I can tell, the Albatross is the degenerate pal of Goon creator Eric Powell. And this just smacks of one of those instances when a guy finds some manner of success and builds a nice life for himself with a nice job and family, but he still has his old retard of a friend tagging along and pretending like the dipshit days never ended. Well, most people in such a situation don’t give their dumbass friend any manner of control in their job, for fear that the idiot will bring them down.

Needless to say, I will not forget again to remove The Goon from my pull list.

Six: Civil War: The Return

I can’t say anything here that wasn’t already stated quite well. Oh, wait, there is one thing: I’m glad I just read this one in the store.

Five: Wolverine #50

Consider this the tipping point. Everything previous is utter trash. Everything yet to come is quite good. So, to which side does Wolverine vs. Sabretooth fall?

To find out, come back to the LoD on Saturday, for this is our latest choice for the Book of Doom.

Four: 52 #38

After several great breakneck issues, we were bound to have a little lull in the 52 action. Throughout the series, the writers have maintained a pretty steady cycle of thrills and plot development. The difference between now (when I’m digging the series) and then (when I dropped it to an occasional purchase) is that the thrills are bigger now, to the point that even the slow issues such as this contain some pretty wild material.

As Doom DeLuise recounted in his weekly roundup, this week saw some big happenings, with the release of the Horsemen and the Question’s apparent demise. Yet, it was a slow week. Not bad, DC. Not bad.

Three: Crossing Midnight #3

We see a big improvement in Mike Carey’s latest issue of the horror/fantasy series set in Japan. In a way, it reminds me of Pan’s Labyrinth, because both the “real world” and “fantasy world” are so dark. But, unlike that flick, in Crossing Midnight the worlds overlap in very strange ways. In this issue, the main characters fall a whole lot deeper into weirdness, and we possibly have some zombie action looming for next issue.

Jim Fern’s art also takes a step up. There are some well crafted spots. Still, it’s not my cup of tea. One problem is that it’s terribly two dimensional, with such weak shading in most places to make things look like a brochure. Even worse though is the stiff linework sucks any movement from the pages, detracting from any flow Carey tries to develop.

Two: Doctor Strange: The Oath #4

I like this book. A lot. It’s been at or near the top of the list every week. It’s just another example of how great a writer Brian K. Vaughn is, because he leaves little footprint, instead letting the story roll along as a pretty basic (but sharply crafted) homage to the Doc’s better years. And the art is right up there with anything coming out.

Still, this was probably the weakest of the issues so far, with a whole lot of “villain talking to much to fill in necessary exposition” going on. But Vaughn manages to make even that would-be-negative into a subtly self referential joke.

One: X-Factor #15

At this point, I’m almost afraid every time I pick up an issue of X-Factor. It’s been so good for every issue of the relaunch, it just seems like things can’t keep rolling like they are. For at least another week, though, Peter David’s bunch are the best superheroes on the shelves. Monet and Siryn go to Paris, where they face anti-mutant crowds, and Madrox has been kidnapped by Hydra and is taken to a secret base for programming.

It seems like a promising setup to me, but I suppose it could be seen as nothing too exciting. At least, that’s what the geniuses over at IGN thought. What makes David such a special writer is how he takes the expectations readers have for those kinds of setups and twists them around.

I don’t want to give anything much away, but this issue sees both Madrox and the female leads pushed into tough situations and turning to serious depths to handle the challenges. Both plots seem ho-hum until these moments, when David lights the fuse and we realize how many possibilities lie ahead. In short, this is the best-written series out there.