Worst to first: 2/21/07

I had a bit of free time, so I read a decent number of books I would’ve otherwise skipped, mostly for curiosity’s sake. This wasn’t a good week. There were some interesting items, but lots on the “brilliant failure” end of the spectrum, more than memorable successes. Mostly, this was the week that Civil War heaved to a halt. And, on that note, the reviews…

Eight: Civil War #7

Advance warning: If you’re looking for something objective, then look elsewhere. I hated Civil War from the get go. Still, I figured maybe the concluding chapter would overcome what has been a very uneven event and muster up a grand finale. Instead, we get a truly fitting book end: an issue that’s all over the place, never quite sure where it’s headed and never transcending to the level of hype, much less approaching it. I really don’t understand the continued Steve McNiven love. He’s a great artist, but is a terrible fit for this book. He can’t convey massive battles. His characters are too still, convey too little depth and motion. He frames things too tightly. And while that was a problem, the utter lack of a meaningful conclusion was much worse. So, um, Clor is the big death? Or did Reed Richards die? I’ve already forgot.

At the very least, it’ll be interesting to see Captain America in jail. Oh, wait, we already saw that premise played out in the last arc of Daredevil…

Seven: Amazing Spider-Man #538

Aunt May is dead. Again. I guess Mary Jane had to live so that she could die of radiation poisoning from Spidey’s “fluids” in Spider-Man: Reign. Hey, someone let me know when it’s safe to read Spidey books again.

Six: The Spirit #3

I understand that Cooke and crew need to do a rehash of the origin for new readers to Will Eisner’s famed hero, but this was not the right way to do it. First, I like the idea of going retro, but the artistic design of the “flashback” scenes strike me as very 1970s. And, last I checked, the Spirit debuted a few decades prior to that. Also, the origin story was diddled with needlessly in some places (why does every villain have an uzi?) and the split-narratives were just too splintered. The result was an interesting idea that completely imploded, all forewarned by the series’ first weak splash page.

If I have to say something nice (I don’t, but I will), is I really liked how Cooke added more of Ebony White to the origin. I think they could’ve used his viewpoint for the whole story and winded up with something much more effective.

Five: The Immortal Iron Fist #3

I like the creators (Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction and David Aja), I like the character and I like the idea, but so far things haven’t come together. I’m guessing the last few pages (in which the Iron Fists… Fistses… whatever… come together) will serve as a launching pad through the rest of the series. In other words, ask me next month.

Four: Birds of Prey #103

To All Comics Creators Everywhere: Having a villain who says things like, “The election’s over and everything I did was in America’s interests,” is played. Yeah, absolute power corrupts, even democracies engage in shady practices, the ends don’t justify the means, fascism is bad, etc. Kat is just the latest in a long line of bad guys (and gals) who rant this stuff and it’s taking the easy road to use that as a motivation. Gail Simone seemed like she was setting up her new villain to be a terribly complex person, then burnt it all up within a couple pages.

It’s a shame, because otherwise it was a good book. Still, if this newest Birds of Prey arc were a movie, I think everything that’s happened to now is like the cool intro at the start of a James Bond movie, where there’s lots of scattered action and you’re pretty uncertain of what’s going on. After three issues, I damn well hope we finally have reached the title sequence.

Three: Superman #659

Just a cool, pretty straightforward Superman story that didn’t try to reinvent the wheel, but still rolled along just fine. I may have to consider reading more of this book, since Action Comics is mired in Delayville.

Two: The Brave and the Bold #1

I think this is going to be our Book of Doom, so I’ll wait to post thoughts.

One: 52 #42

A nice moment with Montoya at the front, then a whole bunch of Ralph. And… wow. What a great conclusion to that piece of the story. Everyone’s favorite stretchy detective goes out on top after solving one of the biggest cases he’s come across. Sure, the conspiracy theorist inside me wishes this storyline would’ve tied into everything else going on, but I’ll take this gladly.