Worst to First: 4/18/07

Obviously, World War III is going to dominate the comics front this week. But since we’ve already covered that quite thoroughly, I’m going to limit this little misadventure in reviewing to the non-WW3 books of the week. Yeah, some other stuff came out. Who knew?

Worst: JLA #8

Maybe I drank too much Identity Crisis Kool-Aid back in the day, but it’s taken me way too long to realize that this series is a pile. I still like Brad Meltzer as a writer, but through eight issues, we’re all still waiting for something to happen. Well, aside from chess. And a game of capture the flag that should’ve been much cooler than it was. I’m really wondering if a lot of the problem is Meltzer’s continued insistence to tell several stories all at once. Or maybe I just can’t love anything wrapped in a Michael Turner turdball. Whichever.

I also continue to not have any interest in the JSA, which means this book is dropped until further signs of ineptitude.

Consistently worthwhile: Robin #161

Not much new to say here. Lots of fighting, good dialogue, pacing, etc. A worse week would’ve seen this much higher on the list.

Subversive: The Spirit #5

Nice how they allude back to the Mortez storyline. And since we’re not there yet, a fun little whirl of social commentary. Darwyn Cooke lets us know that children are dumb, so are parents and advertising types have no qualms about taking advantage of those lackings. It’s a bit of a smack over the top of the head in the obviousness department. The highlight, then, is this fetishist Carrion and his apparent romantic tinglings with Julia, a vulture. Weird.

Really subversive: Army@Love #2

The cover shows a busty army chick in a sexy pose in a prison, and she’s holding a poodle that’s dyed pink. You want your commentary dished up in the form of a shovel to the head? This is your book. But writer Rick Veitch manages to make the story interesting enough that it carried the oh-so-obvious metaphors. I even didn’t mind (too much) the painfully obvious bit of exposition. Maybe the most frightening thing about the book is that as you’re reading it you almost start to think, “You know, if the army was like that, I might enlist.”

1+1=Fun: The Brave and the Bold #3

I’m really, really, really enjoying this series. One of the great things in superhero comics is when very different characters interact, and Mark Waid creates some perfect combos here. In only a few pages, Supergirl and Lobo do the Perfect Strangers routine. And in the book’s primary team-up, the young Blue Beetle acts like you would expect a teenager to act when working with Batman — he’s completely nervous and awestruck. His screw-ups despite this fancy suit just go to show how skilled and experienced Batman is. But, at the same time, it shows a lot about the new Beetle’s character that he tries so hard to learn from a great hero. This is close to a great issue, minus some chaotic (in the bad sense) fighting.

A very long engagement: Nightwing Annual #2

More than at any moment post-Crisis, this issue made me like Dick Grayson and be glad he survived his apparent demise. Will that eclipse how much of a cock-knocker he’s been over the past year? I don’t know. I suppose it’s really up to Marv Wolfman to crank up the Nightwing series into something special (which I say hasn’t happened yet). But, so far, this was the best resolution of the OYL questions.

To see what a couple of idiots with a microphone said on the issue, check out the latest Podcast of Doom.

Best (again): X-Factor #18

Maybe I should rename this “Worst to X-Factor,” given how often Peter David’s series takes the top spot. There is just A TON going right in this issue, compensating for a ho-hum art effort. I still can’t believe how effectively David has taken House-of-M-deus-ex-machina Layla Miller and created a great character. She almost serves as David’s proxy in the story, pulling the strings that put the characters in just the right place. It’s elaborate and clever and just damned entertaining.

Throw in another fun pop culture reference and (finally) some real fallout from M-Day and you’ve easily got the cherry to a very fine week in comics.