Sunday, May 01, 2005

New comics 4/27

Day of Vengeance #1 (Bill Willingham/Justiniano, DC)
I only even bothered with this and any other Infinite Crisis stuff because it came in the mail from DC publicity. I have little to no interest in this crossover, and, since I know comparably little about DC universe minutiae, I doubt I'll get much out of it anyway. That suspicion was borne out reading Countdown and the first issue of The Omac Project, and again here. I like Bill Willingham, and I like mystical characters, but this is bogged down in obscure continuity that means nothing to me and plotting sent down from on high, so all Willingham is really doing is filling in the blanks. This apparently had roots in a supernatural team book Willingham proposed once, and as a stand-alone entity that would probably be a good read. But as a cog in a machine I already don't care about, this isn't worth my time.

Otherworld #2 (Phil Jimenez, DC/Vertigo)
I wasn't all that thrilled with Jimenez's first issue, but I figured I'd give him another chance since I got the first one free. This isn't much better, though, as I still can't tell any of the characters apart, so I don't care what happens to them, and Jimenez has failed to engage my interest in the overarching mystical plot either. His art is still wonderful, and he's still giving himself all manner of cool and weird things to draw. If this were four issues I might stick around to see how the story turns out, but I'm not reading 10 more issues just in case it might get interesting.

The Pact #1 (Jim Valentino, Image)
I'm a sucker for Image "universe" crossovers for some reason; I guess I always really liked the idea that these creator-owned characters could form their own universe like the DC and Marvel ones. I read Shattered Image, a pretty good series written by Kurt Busiek, and Valentino's own Altered Image, which wasn't nearly as good. Most of the characters involved in those series aren't at Image anymore, which illustrates one of the main problems in making a shared universe out of creator-owned properties, and the big-gun Image characters that are still at the company (Spawn, Savage Dragon, Witchblade, etc.) don't show up in this series. Instead we get a team formed with Invincible, Firebreather, Shadowhawk and Zephyr from Noble Causes. As first issues go this is okay, with a pretty generic superhero story setting up a basic team formation. Valentino does manage to get a little but of each character's unique backstory in there, and if this were a set-up for an ongoing I'd wait a little bit to see what happens. But it's actually four issues by four different creative teams (one by each of the characters' creators), so I have a feeling it will end up being four unrelated stories that are probably fun but inconsequential (like this one). I'm not really sure that's worth my money.

X-Men: Phoenix - Endsong #5 (Greg Pak/Greg Land, Marvel)
This series started out well but kind of fizzles out at the end, with the conclusion little more than a "clap if you believe in fairies" device that is hokey and anticlimactic. Still, Pak has told a story that feels more important than what's going on in any of the main books, and done so mostly with engaging writing. I found Land's artwork too stiff and airbrushed at first, but it's grown on me, and I'd be interested to see both of them tackle more X-Men stuff in the future.

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