Sunday, February 19, 2006

Catching Up On Comic Books

It's been a while since I talked about comic books. I'll try to catch up on all the major happenings in the DC and Marvel universes. I'm going to divide them into several categories since I have a lot to get into.

Must Reads

Infinite Crisis: So far the main book has not disappointed, although I am frightened for any reader who goes into this knowing nothing about DC's past and especially about the Crisis on Infinite Earths. There have been many "Holy shit!" moments in this series (Alexander Luthor from Earth-3 is a bad guy who is using the Anti-Monitor's shell and supposedly the energy still there to create the multiverse again?!?!?!?...Superboy Prime is one screwed up kid...Earth-2 Superman may or may not be in on the whole thing). We're only on book #4 (book #5 hits March 1st) and I await the next release. I'll talk more about upcoming DC events in another post since they are not out yet.

Batman: I'm talking about the main book and Gotham Knights (which I believe is ending soon). The main book has kept me glued to it with the story about Jason Todd as the Red Hood. I am really interested in seeing Batman #650 since that should bring the Jason/Joker thing to a head before One Year Later. Gotham Knights has kept me interested as well with the whole Hush thing going on. I'm still pretty sure Hush is Tommy as I would hope DC would not piss on Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale's masterpiece (in my mind at least).

X-Factor: Peter David has done it again with this title. I'm not a big fan of the X-Men titles (outside of Astonishing and when Morrison was doing New X-Men), but this is easily one of the best post-House of M titles. I loved the Madrox mini-series done last year and the whole feel of that has slipped nicely into this book.

Ultimate Fantastic Four: Ever since the "Crossover" arc (where they end up in Zombie land) this title has been hitting on all cylinders, even through the Namor arc. Now we are on the President Thor arc, but only 3 pages of the last book has anything to do with fact, Millar is building up to the Dr. Doom/Zombie Fantastic Four team-up arc coming up. And it looks like Millar is getting rid of Dr. Doom's horse legs (thank God!).

Daredevil: Bendis and Maleev finally ended their run with #81 and now Ed Brubaker (who is probably the hottest writer in comics currently) has taken up the reigns and blows up Matt Murdock's life even more with #82. If you think Bendis put Murdock through the ringer, you just wait!

Captain America: The Winter Soldier arc just ended. From my perspective I think Brubaker did an excellent job in bringing Bucky back (it's the new rave around comicdom: Bucky, Jason Todd and Donna Troy are just a few who have come back from the dead). In fact, it is probably the best back from the dead story yet (at least until the Batman annual comes out to actually explain how Jason Todd survived on March 1st). I also loved that the Red Skull is still around even though he was shot dead in #1. The Skull in Lukin's mind will be an awesome twist.

All-Star Superman: Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely have made a fantastic series set out of continuity. This is no surprise given how great We3 was from the same two people (if you haven't read that book, go out and get it!). It is kind of a bummer it comes out every two months, but it is well worth the wait.

Justice: I am a huge Alex Ross fan and think this series is just fantastic. This also comes out every other month, which is pretty good considering how much effort Ross has to put into his sketches. From my understanding each issue has been #1 for the week it came out, that's quite an accomplishment for a specialized series.

Marvel Zombies: There are only 2 issues left in the series, but it has been a hoot to read this. This series is based off of the Ultimate Fantastic Four arc I was talking about earlier. In #3 it was cool to see the zombies actually eat the Silver Surfer and it will be interesting to see what the heck happens to Galactus when he happens upon the Zombie Earth.

She-Hulk and The Thing: Dan Slott is a great writer and I hope he has long tenures on both of these titles.


The New Avengers: This book has great art, but it has the horrible pacing that Bendis is known for. He tends to string things out for longer than they should. He's also been jumping around a lot with this series and there really isn't any cohesiveness to the overall story from my perspective.

Green Lantern: Geoff Johns is writing or co-writing on a lot of books including this one and Infinite Crisis. He is probably the hardest working guy in the business. Outside of the last two issues revolving around Mongul, Jr. I've been overall unimpressed since the excellent Rebirth series. There have been some cool moments, but maybe the luster of Hal Jordan is starting to wear off again.


Spider-Man: The Other: This crossover was too long for its own good. I think it could have easily been halved and the same things could have been said. I like Straczynski as a writer, but I've always been really down on his Spider-Man stories. He likes to add new things like Ezekiel, Morlun, Gwen Stacy's children (by Norman Osborn even?!?!?!?!?), etc. instead of working new and interesting stories out of Spider-Man's usual rogues. In the end the transformation Peter goes through will mean nothing a year or so from now. He has some new powers and is getting a new costume, but even Joe Quesada has said he will be back to the old costume in time. So, what's the point?

All-Star Batman and Robin, The Boy Wonder: OK, I need to admit that Frank Miller's day has come and gone. He did superb work with Sin City, Dark Knight Returns and Daredevil, but ever since the Dark Knight sequel started he seems to be in a rut. This series has basically turned into him trying to live through the characters. Vicki Vale looking dead sexy (he even noted to the artist that he wants to see lots of skin), Batman basically being crazy and Canary being a prostitute?! What the hell are you doing to this series Frank?

JLA: Why didn't they just stop this series with the "Crisis of Consciousness" arc? Why the hell did they go on with that crappy "World Without a Justice League" arc that went nowhere and just had to put the nail in the coffin and make sure there was no Justice League from this point on...oh wait, JLA is coming back in a 4th volume soon, silly me!

That's it for now, next we'll talk about Marvel and DC's plans for the future.