Saturday, July 23, 2005

New comics 7/20

Astonishing X-Men #11 (Joss Whedon/John Cassaday, Marvel)
My excitement over this series has definitely waned, and the delays have certainly not helped. I remain relatively unimpressed with the plot, but Whedon does offer up a really nice scene between Kitty Pryde and Colossus, and makes good use of disparate continuity elements. Cassaday's art again looks a little rushed in parts, although his depiction of the reconstituted Sentinel rising up over Genosha is pretty damn impressive.

Cable & Deadpool #17 (Fabian Nicieza/Patrick Zircher, Marvel)
Nicieza deals with House of M in his obligatory crossover issue the only sensible way: by making fun of it. The letters page even notes that the crossover will affect the title "just as much as is necessary to increase our sales." It's actually quite impressive how he seamlessly weaves this cumbersome crossover into his ongoing storyline (about Deadpool hopping around in various alternate realities searching for Cable). It works so well that even if someone reads this as part of a trade collecting this latest arc and has never heard of House of M, they should have no trouble following the action and wouldn't even notice a change. That coupled with the very funny dialogue from the suddenly super-nice Mr. Sinister make for an excellent issue, and if the crossover really does increase sales and gets more people to pick up this underrated book, it will have all been worth it.

Ex Machina #13 (Brian K. Vaughan/Tony Harris, DC/Wildstorm)
Vaughan takes the jury duty storyline in an interesting direction, turning it into a tense stand-off between Mitchell and an unstable fellow juror. It's maybe a little disappointing that the political part of this arc has been replaced with a thriller, but I thought the opportunities for political exploration were minimal anyway. The main plot follows the investigation into the Automaton (who has an awesome design courtesy of Harris), and brings up a few unanswered questions from previous arcs. Shaping up to be an interesting story after a slow start.

G.L.A. #4 (Dan Slott/Paul Pelletier, Marvel)
I was a little iffy on this book at first, but now that it's over I'm really sad to see it go. Slott seems like he's just getting warmed up telling stories with these characters, and he's managed in four issues to create a team that I'm really interested in. Pelletier's bright, clean art is perfect for this kind of fun, old-school superhero storytelling. This issue is funny but also has a certain amount of pathos, and I think this is the only time in the history of superhero comics that the hero has defeated the villain by tricking him into committing suicide. That's some pretty crazy stuff, and it's a shame we won't be seeing any more of it.

House of M #4 (Brian Michael Bendis/Olivier Coipel, Marvel)
How much of a sucker am I? Even though this entire series has been pretty much worthless and almost nothing of note has happened, I still picked it up first off of this week's stack of comics to read, in the vain hope that something interesting might be going on in this issue or that the story might move in an unexpected direction or that Bendis might do something to make me care about what's going on. Once again, the story moves at a snail's pace, and it's not even a very interesting story. We finally meet Layla Miller, the character that Bendis has been talking up forever, and she's an annoying little girl. If this were a movie, she'd be Dakota Fanning. What a waste. There is no sense that this story has any consequences, and Bendis isn't even giving us anything revealing about any of the characters to mask the thin plot. This is one of the emptiest crossover events I've ever read, and I read both The Infinity War and The Infinity Crusade. On the plus side, Coipel's art is still great; his spread of the Sentinels attacking the human resistance is just breathtaking. It's not enough to save this stupid series that I am stupidly wasting my money on, though.

The Surrogates #1 (Robert Venditti/Brett Weldele, Top Shelf)
This actually came out a couple of weeks ago, but my local store didn't get any until this week. It's definitely not the sort of thing I'd expect from Top Shelf - it's a sci-fi action story, a mini-series rather than an original graphic novel, and in full color. But it's gotten someone like me, who doesn't read much Top Shelf, to pick it up, so that's a success for them. Venditti has put together both an interesting world, in which everyone lives their lives through lifelike robot "surrogates," and an intriguing mystery. Weldele's somewhat abstract art, which reminds me a bit of Ben Templesmith, fits the moody, noir-ish story well. A successful experiment from Top Shelf, easily of the quality and also the subject matter I'd expect of something, say, from Vertigo.

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