Hello, everybody. This week is the first week where we’ve decided to change the format of the weekly Book of Doom. It used to be that, each week, one of us members of the Legion would choose a book, we’d all read it, and, each Saturday, the original chooser would post a collection of each of our reviews of said book. It rarely turned out that we all enjoyed a book on any given week, so our reviews were mostly negative. But not anymore! Under our new format, each Saturday, one of us will post a compilation of each of our favorite issues from the week’s haul. Not only will there be multiple reviews of multiple books each week, but, hopefully, each review will be mostly positive. And isn’t that just a lot more fun to read? Well, let’s hope so. And, hey, if you disagree with us and think that something we don’t mention is the best book of the week, well, by all means, feel free to leave a comment or two.
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get things rolling!
Fin Fang Doom:
As Doominator put it so eloquently about a week ago, “Holy crap! Messiah Complex is awesome!” That’s why New X-Men #45, the eighth part of said storyline, is my Book of Doom pick this week.
The thing I like about this crossover so much is that while the major storyline runs through each of the four series, the character moments always take place in the books they would normally take place in. Part 7 took place in X-Factor, and we learned a lot about Lyla Miller. This issue, there’s a nice moment between Surge and Emma Frost.
Too often in these maga-crossovers someone makes a drastic change to a character they don’t have to write for when everything is said and done. When Mark Millar unmasked Spider-Man in Civil War, he didn’t have to deal with the consequences. J. Michael Stracynski, Peter David and Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, the writers of the Spider-Man books at the time, had to alter their stories to deal with this major status quo change.
That hasn’t been the case in the two best crossovers this year, Messiah Complex and The Sinestro Corps War. In each case, the guys who normally write the characters were involved in the project They got to write an epic story without sidetracking the character development they had began before the crossover and planned to continue after the crossover ended. A story just doesn’t have the impact it could have when that emotional connection is missing.
It’s probably more what this issue represents than the actual issue itself that made me want to write about New X-Men #45 this week. If it wasn’t for Messiah Complex, I wouldn’t even be reading New X-Men. I guess that’s a testament to how good of a job they’re doing on this one.
My choice for the Book of Doom is a series I never really read. Exiles #100 surpassed the newest installment of “Messiah Complex” to take the top seat.
I’m always a fan of the epilogue. Going out with a bang is just fine, but sometimes, you need to see the real ending, not just the action packed one. Hearken back to my post about Uncanny X-Men #337.
I realized in reading it that this was a series I shouldn’t have glazed over so easily. Maybe I did it to spite Fin Fang Doom, who I recall is a fan of the series. Regardless, in an issue where very little happens, I was more excited than the X-Men storyline where everything was happening but it was done in all grunts. It’ll be interesting to see an alternate version of Sabretooth lead a team into a new frontier. I may not have read the old book, but I might have to go back to it. Somehow, the end was the jumping on point for me, and the new series is something I’ll have to pick up, and the old series is something I’ll have to catch up on.
Grendel: Behold the Devil #2
I think part of what makes this series so enjoyable so far is how it’s pretty straight-forward, but it’s an example of how you don’t really need gimmicks to tell a decent story. You can just put one foot in front of the other, and if you know where you’re going, you can get there.
There are little tricks, like the detached narration, that let the reader know this is in the past and there is already a conclusion. But given that the main tension in this series is Grendel feeling paranoid and losing his grip a little, the observer just gives the story a sense of having a foregone conclusion, which only amps up the tension.
I think Matt Wagner might be an acquired visual taste, because again, his art is simple and often times borderline amateurish, yet at the same time, it’s perfect. Being his creation, he understands the little nuances necessary to push his story where he wants it to go.
It was a tough week for me, since mostly everything I bought was pretty much garbage. I, obviously, continue to enjoy the Messiah Complex, and I, even more obviously, continue to hate everything related to Countdown. Thankfully, DC has been publishing a little mini-series crossover that hasn’t touched Countdown, and that’s the Resurrection of Ra’s al Ghul, with the conclusion coming this week in Detective Comics #839, my choice for the Book of Doom.
As a conclusion, it was satisfying, yet it leaves open the door for many more future storylines, and I think that’s something that any good crossover is supposed to do (unless it’s Identity Crisis, in which case I’ve always felt of those possibilities as loose ends that detract from the overall story). The moments between Ra’s and his son are especially well done, and it’s just nice to see a big fight involving all of Batman’s “family” against a bunch of ninjas. Although, now that I think about it, boy, am I sick and tired of ninjas at this point. That’s all this crossover was, really, aside from some really nice interplay between Nightwing and Robin.
In the end, though, I was happy with the finished project and am looking forward to what comes next. Can’t ask for much more.