November 30, 2004

Uncanny (but Slightly More Frequent) Comic Review

Due to Holiday schedules and sheer laziness, I give you the last two weeks combined.

X-Men #164
This is it: Chuck Austen’s final issue. Yes, the man who never found a female character he could not turn into a psycho or a whore or both, the man who never found a back-story he could not make more hopelessly convoluted, the man who gave us both “The Draco” and the inexplicably popular Josh Guthrie has finally left the building.

He leaves with a bang, if by “bang” you mean “utterly incomprehensible mess”. This is the finale to his Brotherhood of (Very Evil) Mutants. One member, Avalanche, actually admits to being a super-villain. I didn’t think anybody did that anymore. After a great big fight last issue, we have a great big fight here. The new and improved Black Tom takes control over all the plants in the area (you read that right) and bitch-slaps the X-Men around some. Don’t worry, Austen comes up with a lovely deus ex machina to take care of everything. Nocturne takes control of Black Tom by phasing into his body (what?); the Cuckoo who helped Gambit previously is strong and trained enough to wipe his mind (what??); and Xorn can open up his star-head and suck them all up into a black hole (what???).

Viola! The worst regular writer on a core X-Men title is history.

X-Force #4
I really should not even admit to buying this. I really don’t know why I do. I am not a Liefield fan. I am not an X-Men completist. Maybe I have too much money. Perhaps my shop owner is drugging me.

It could be that I am just retarded. Whatever the case, every month I leave the shop at least once with a copy of X-Force. It is terrible, utterly awful junk, and I am somewhat ashamed of it. The rational behind me buying this title in the first place was twofold: I mistakenly thought Fabian Nicieza had more to do than just script, and I wanted to see what they did with Cannonball, one of my favorite X-Men. I have stuck with it almost as a test of my endurance. Only two more issues to go: Can I make it?

Captain America #1
Finally, we hit some quality. I have never been a big Cap fan, but I find myself picking up both of his weekly books. Captain America and the Falcon is an underrated gem, especially now that Bart Sears is inflicting his artwork elsewhere, and I thought I’d give this one a try too. The creative team, writer Ed Brubaker and penciler Steve Epting, is excellent, and the book is too. The story is a bit shopworn, but taut and with enough of a twist at the end to hold my interest. I have only two minor quibbles: The difference in characterization between this book and CAF are stark. Here Captain America is still traumatized over the events in the Avengers, where in CAF he is the calm voice of reason compared with the volatile Falcon. The other quibble is easy: did we REALLY need another #1 issue for this title?

Excalibur #7
I have read all seven issues of this book, and I still don’t get what it is supposed to be about. In the first issue and this most recent one, the Professor and Magneto talk about rebuilding Genosha, but they never seem to do it. Excalibur also has the dubious honor of the weakest supporting cast in comic book history. We have the two titans of the X-Men and…. Umm… Unus the Untouchable, Calisto and her tentacles, Thunderbird 2’s ex-girlfriend turned Sentinel and half-dozen awful Claremont creations, up to and including trolls that say shit like “verily”. We get the Dark Beast this issue, but heaven help you if didn’t pay attention 10 years ago when they introduced him, cuz Chris has way too much going on to clue you in on that.


Green Lantern: Rebirth #2
I enjoy this comic despite myself. I really do not like the direction this is going in. It is obvious that Geoff Johns is setting up Hal’s rampages as Parallax as a side-effect of a previously unknown impurity in the Green Lantern power rings. I can see why he is doing this, but I cannot agree with it. One of the believable things about Hal’s collapse is that he never really considered that he was doing wrong. Everything he did, from rebuilding Coast City to slaughtering his fellow Lanterns to Zero Hour, he believed was the right thing to do.

Even if I do not really agree with it, I am still enjoying this series. Rebirth is very well written, and Ethan Van Sciver’s art is the best of his career. An unexpected pleasure is the moments the other GL’s get in the series. John Stewart is in the midst of his own breakdown, Alan Scott seems to be growing sicker as this plays on, and Kyle Rayner seems to be the only Lantern who realizes what is going on and is trying to fight it. Best of all: The return of the Only True Green Lantern-Guy Gardner. During his mid-80’s heyday, Guy was the most interesting character in the DC universe. I hope they build him back up.

Posted by Frinklin at November 30, 2004 05:52 PM
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