Pointless Nonsense

Posted in comics by Bill on September 9, 2011

Lots of new comics (most of which have previews I’ve linked to), plus one older one:

Stormwatch is the main avenue for Wildstorm characters to be introduced to the new DC universe. It’s not a bad issue but terrible as a first issue. Part of this “new 52” was supposed to be that they were jumping on points for new readers. By that measure, this is a disaster. It’s all over the place, there’s something going on in Russia, something on the moon, something in the Himalayas, and their ship. There’s a little attention paid to who the people are on the ship, what the organization is, who Apollo is and why they’re trying to recruit them, and some other stuff, but so little time is spent on each that from just this book, that if you don’t already know the characters, you’d be left wondering “who are these people and why should I care?” And n who are they in a mysterious and cool sense, just in a “why didn’t you introduce me to any characters” sense. But that complaint aside, I read Warren Ellis and Mark Millar’s runs on The Authority, so I know some of the characters pretty well, and other than Midnighter’s costume sucking, I liked the issue.
Justice League International teams up Booster Gold, Batman, Fire, Ice, and some people I don’t know (Guy Gardner also appears, and presumably will be back, but he’s not really on the team in the first issue) with what looks like a part-timer in Batman to be the UN-sanctioned answer to the non-international Justice League. A running theme in the new books is that superheroes are a new thing, and people (especially governments) are leery of them, which is a solid premise to base a superhero universe around (even if it’s been done before). It was a pretty well-written book. Lots of the characters are pushed to the background (someone named Godiva appears, and literally all I know about her is that she wants to bang Booster Gold and she’s not interested in participating in the fight against the issue’s monster thing), but it does a good job of establishing the relationship between the team and the UN, the public’s reaction to the team, Booster as a character, Guy’s relationship to Booster, and Batman’s interest in the team. The rest will come later, but I’m on board for a story arc at least.
Batgirl is one of the relaunches I thought might be the best, but it’s only ok. I still have faith in Gail Simone that it will be entertaining as hell, but I wasn’t wowed by it. Really the best part was the expression on Barbara’s face in a big splash page early on, otherwise it was pretty average.
Batwing is the African member of Batman, Inc., equipped and funded by Wayne Enterprises to fight crime in his corner of the world. It could be a nice concept, since one of the key elements of Batman is that he lives in a city so full of corruption that it needs someone operating outside the law to protect the people, and a city that corrupt is much more believable in the third world. But I couldn’t get past the art, which in its attempts to be photorealistic make everything seem frozen. I’ll take cartoonish and dynamic any day.
Action Comics #1 is the one (along with Animal Man, which I haven’t read yet) that everyone’s saying is really good. And it is. Full of action, fun, well drawn, and sets up some interesting stuff for the future. But I’m always nervous with Grant Morrison, because I do like a lot of his ideas and lose him in the execution. This issue was really well done, but I can see it turning into an unreadable mess (to me) soon.
Green Arrow is just bad. I have no attachment to the character and it was poorly written with some really hokey action dialogue that could’ve been rejected from the Commando screnplay, so I’m happy to drop it right away.
Atomic Robo and the Ghost of Station X is another volume of Atomic Robo, and, unsurprisingly, I loved it.
The Big Lie is something I wasn’t going to pick up until I saw that in addition to being about 9/11, it was about time travel. So, you know, of course I’m going to check that out. From the 9/11 premise, I was worried it was just going to be a rehash of all the popular conspiracy theories. But it turns out it was a rehash of all the popular conspiracy theories framed around a time travel story.
Wolverine: Debt of Death is written by the guy who did Stray Bullets and the second and third volumes of Crossed and drawn by the guy who did Immortal Iron Fist, so I had to check it out. It’s nothing spectacular, but it does have Wolverine killing people, Nick Fury flying a S.H.I.E.L.D. rocket ball thing, and killer robot assassins. Which is nice.
Locke & Key was a comic I always heard was good. For some reason I had it in my mind that it was an espionage thing. Possibly because the cover image with the key on it reminds me of the cover of The Key to Rebecca, a spy novel that was on my parents’ bookshelf forever. I’m not actually sure that was a spy novel, actually, but the key had a swastika on it, so that’s what I always assumed. Anyway, turns out Locke and Key is Lovecraftian stuff set in the present day, and it’s written by Stephen King’s son (who uses a pseudonym to avoid comparisons to his father, but I’ve just ruined his little plan). I’m not very far in (distracted by all these new #1’s this week), but it’s quite good so far. I’m not big on horror type things generally, but it’s very well crafted so far and is using suspense and mystery far more than shock or gore.

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