Thursday, June 02, 2005

New comics 6/2/05, Part 1

Apparently, according to the owner of my LCS, the truck with the rest of this week's comics has gotten lost. Therefore, expect another set of reviews within the next few days.

Villains United #2 (written by Gail Simone, art by Dale Eaglesham and Wade von Grawbadger) was a good second issue -- better than Day of Vengeance #2 in terms of explaining what had gone before. As the Secret Sixers wonder whether their leader is actually one of them (an element common to the previous groups), this group goes on its first mission. Naturally, there are complications, but Simone did surprise me with how the mission turned out. My biggest complaint was that the middle two pages weren't stapled in, so I'll have to be more careful with this issue in the future.

Jeph Loeb has hinted for the better part of a year about his final storyline being a devastating satire on the Avengers/Ultimates. With Superman/Batman #20 (art by Ed McGuinness and Dexter Vines), that day is here, and sadly for Loeb I don't think it will reduce Quesada, Millar, or Bendis to fetal-position whimpering. Loeb does have some fun with narration, though. A Larry King-like talk show runs through much of the issue, informing readers about the "Maximums" and their role in an apparently alternate world. There's an alternate Superman and Batman too; and on top of that Bizarro and "Batzarro" (whose first-person narration is identical to his spoken dialogue -- now that was funny). The annoying dual-narration is back too, and I suppose it has to provide some counterpoint to the other techniques. However, it all seems rather broad and predictable, not to mention familiar (Warren Ellis took out an Avengers pastiche in The Authority, and Grant Morrison did a similar riff in JLA Classified); so I'm not sure what deeper message Loeb has beyond giving Marvel a black eye.

I had to look at the first page of Superman #218 (written by Mark Verheiden, drawn by Ed Benes) to make sure I hadn't already bought it. Note to DC: don't have two covers in a row (separated by two weeks, no less! Holy coin toss -- what dastardly fiend could be behind this?) where Supes uses heat vision on the reader. Anyway, this time around, Superman's public image is being tarnished not only by his failure in South America last issue, but also by a Discovery Channel-style "what if?" special speculating about the apocalyptic damage a runaway Kryptonian could cause. It's not a new plot, but Verheiden handles it well, and Benes does a fine job too.

Detective Comics #807 (written by David Lapham, with art by Ramon Bachs and Nathan Massengill) doesn't have much Batman in it. Instead, it focuses on the residents of a neighborhood Batman wants to infiltrate, who it seems have their own protector/enforcer. While careful observers will spot Batman before he's revealed, Lapham and Bachs have a good time with the locals in the meantime. Also included in this issue is the conclusion of "Regnum Defende," the Alfred short written by Scott Beatty and drawn by Jeff Parker. It goes a little out of its way to set up "Alfred Beagle's" real identity, considering that few fans today would recognize that bit of Bat-history -- but its open ending sounds like a promising future storyline.

Finally, there's Shanna The She-Devil #5 (by Frank Cho), which on its own was actually a good bit of silent storytelling. There is almost no plot beyond dinosaurs fighting and Shanna and Holy Buckets Guy coming in afterwards, but the former sets up the latter nicely. Still, it's not like this whole series hasn't set up how fricking dangerous carnivorous dinosaurs are to one schlub and his hot superhuman companion....

2 comments:

Robby Reed said...

I realize this is a bit off topic, but... Rann has dropped the CONTINUITY BOMB on Thanagar! Hawkman will never be the same! And we have the exclusive...

DIAL b for BLOG

Tom Bondurant said...

I saw that! While I haven't declared for one side or the other, to paraphrase Jose Canseco, "that animation was devastating!"