Sunday, December 05, 2004

New comics 12/1

Captain America and the Falcon #10 (Christopher Priest/Joe Bennett, Marvel)
We're getting to the point in every Priest storyline where so many convoluted threads are coming together that I honestly have no idea what's going on. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, since part of what Priest's writing thrives on is the reader being as confused about what's going on as the characters are, letting you share their sense of disorientation. But overall I haven't been as involved in this book as I was in Black Panther, and I'll be happy to get the MODOK story out of the way and move the focus to something else.

Fallen Angel #18 (Peter David/David Lopez, DC)
Everything comes to a head in what was initially going to be the book's last issue, and while the revelations were interesting, I think this will read better in collected form. Given the two-month gap until next issue, I might go back and read all 18 issues over again, since they clearly form one very powerful story. Overall, David kept me guessing to the end, and while there was a certain sense of closure to this issue, he's set up plenty of material to work with down the line, and I hope the book sticks around past the two-issue reprieve it's gotten from DC.

Hunter-Killer #0 (Mark Waid/Marc Silvestri, Image/Top Cow)
I had no interest in this book, but it's hard to pass up a 25-cent comic, so I figured I'd give it a shot. I'm not a huge Waid fan, but I've liked some of his stuff (Kingdom Come, Empire) quite a bit, and most of his work that I don't bother with has a fairly high continuity-based barrier to entry. I've never much cared for Silvestri's work, and his recent murky art on New X-Men totally turned me off. Given those two starting points, this is pretty much what I expected: A generic action-adventure story with some above-average writing and sketchy art. Waid pulls off a nice little bit of misdirection in the opening sequence, but the concept of superhumans hunting other superhumans is totally boring. Silvestri's art is painful to look at, and the character designs are interchangeable with most Top Cow characters of the past decade. On top of that, the next issue isn't out until March, so even if someone likes this, how likely are they to remember to pick it up again three months from now? A mediocre book with a decent marketing gimmick that was bungled poorly. Overall, I'd say I got my money's worth, but nothing more.

The Monolith #10 (Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin Gray/Phil Winslade, DC)
You know, when I heard this book was getting cancelled, I was bummed, but I really haven't been enjoying it nearly as much recently, and I honestly don't think I'll miss it that much. This issue wraps up the anti-Monolith storyline rather quickly, which might just be because they want to get to the final storyline sooner, but it does feel rushed. Plus the dialogue has been reading awfully stilted lately. Tilt says, "I'd rather be protecting you and fighting this monster than the one I have inside my body!" I mean, come on. The AIDS issue of Green Arrow was pretty clumsy, and I thought Palmiotti and Gray handled Tilt's diagnosis well at first, but stuff like that makes me think that superhero comics should stay away from social issues, which of course is not the case. I still think this is a strong concept with good characters, but it just hasn't grabbed me lately.

Noble Cause #4 (Jay Faerber/Fran Bueno, Image)
I keep going back and forth on this one, and was all but ready to drop it after the second issue of this latest volume, but Faerber sort of hooked me with last issue's cliffhanger, and here he really nails the soap-opera plotting that it seemed to me he hadn't quite gotten in earlier issues. I think it takes time to build up the large cast of characters and intricate relationships that you need for that sort of plotting to have the right impact, and at this point Faerber is there. I'm still not entirely invested in all of the characters, but Faerber has achieved the one most important thing for a soap opera: He's got me dying to figure out what happens next.

Uncanny X-Men #453 (Chris Claremont/Andy Park, Marvel)
I really don't know what else to say about this book anymore. Claremont has got me considering dropping it for the first time in years. Even Chuck Austen didn't push me this far. It's pointless to go into all the nonsensical plotting and jumps in logic in this issue. It has absolutely no redeeming value as a story and Park's art, while pretty, is nothing special. I don't want to become one of those completists who just buys an issue and then puts it in a box without reading it, but I'm getting there.

Y The Last Man #29 (Brian K. Vaughan/Pia Guerra, DC/Vertigo)
Jay Faerber could take notes from Vaughan on crafting the perfect cliffhanger, which he does nearly every issue and does again here. This has been a great storyline, moving things forward while being full of insightful character moments. The reveal about what's really wrong with Yorick is handled maybe a little too patly, but given that it's followed by the superb cliffhanger ending, I don't really care. Another top-notch issue.

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