Saturday, December 03, 2005

New comics 11/30/05

Adventures of Superman #646 (written by Greg Rucka, pencilled by Karl Kerschl, inked by Wayne Faucher) was a really good issue, and possibly Rucka's best single issue on the book. Although many writers, including Rucka, have played Mxyzptlk as a buffoon, here he really jerks at the ol' heartstrings, showing Mxy stripped of his powers and much of his faculties. The confrontation with Ruin also hearkens back nicely to the beginning of Marv Wolfman's run on Adventures, almost twenty years ago. What works about this issue is its uncomplicated nature. Superman, Mxy, and Ruin are all laid out in simple terms, and after months of everything tying into something else, it's a nice change. (There is a bit of crossover business with Lois and her shooter, which is good and doesn't distract.) Now clap your hands, kids, if you want the imp to get his powers back....

Rucka's other book this week, Wonder Woman #223 (pencilled by Rags Morales and Cliff Richards, inked mostly by Ray Snyder), was also in last-stand mode. It may be just a coincidence, but the pre-Crisis WW title ended with a siege of Paradise Island by shadow-demons. Substitute OMACs for the demons and here we are again. Rucka does a good job building suspense about who lives and who dies, and naturally Wonder Woman gets a chance to be hardcore. The art is a little too busy, though, such that it's hard to tell who's fragging who. As carnage-filled as the issue is supposed to be, I don't think that was the desired effect.

Since reading last week's Captain America, Batman #647 (written by Judd Winick, pencilled by Doug Mahnke, inked by Dustin Nguyen) can only suffer in comparison. The comparison itself may be a little unfair, since Batman and the Red Hood are ostensibly working together and Cap and the Winter Soldier aren't, but as you might expect, Batman betrays very little of the emotion here that Cap did last week. The story itself is a straight-up superhero fight involving C-list villains sent by the Secret Society to take out the Hood, and on those terms it's pretty entertaining. I will say, though, that Winick's use of first-person narration is another strike against it. He starts off with Alfred and switches to Batman, and back to Alfred again. While it's not like I expect to be spoon-fed, I think he could have accomplished the same thing by using a third-person narrator. He is still no Jeph Loeb, thank goodness.

JLA Classified #14 (written by Warren Ellis, art by Butch Guice) also trod familiar ground, this time the old "your fears will destroy you" dodge. The art is good, and the story holds some surprises, but not many.

Finally, the first year of Waid and Kitson's Legion of Superheroes (#12) ends with an all-action issue finding the Legion fighting on three fronts. It's pretty good, espeically if you don't mind a couple of the surprises to be reveals of familiar Legionnaires. Still, every time Waid mentions "Terror Firma," I think of "Terror Incognita," the better pun which he used in JLA. The issue also features a Lightning Lad/Saturn Girl backup, by Stuart Moore and Ken Lashley, which was clever but probably makes more sense in the context of the larger story.

2 comments:

Alex said...

Hey Tom! Great stuff, as always. It's actually TOM Nguyen that inks Mahnke and Batman, not Dustin.

Drop me an e-mail when you get the chance.

Tom Bondurant said...

Thanks for the correction, Alex! Sorry for the confusion, Messrs. Nguyen.