Monday, September 05, 2005

New comics 8/31

Astro City: The Dark Age #3 (Kurt Busiek/Brent Anderson, DC/Wildstorm)
I like that Busiek seems to be telling a complete story in the first book of this series, rather than just a piece of the big 16-part puzzle (although it's no doubt that as well). I wonder where he'll be going once some of this Silver Agent stuff wraps up next issue, but at the same time I'm glad that the different volumes won't just be arbitrary stopping points. This is my first time reading a big Astro City epic in individual issues rather than a trade, so I'm a little concerned about the story retaining momentum when it goes on hiatus for a while, but so far it's been an exciting read.

Powers #12 (Brian Michael Bendis/Michael Avon Oeming, Marvel/Icon)
The 50th issue, if you add together both volumes, so it's a big anniversary blow-out. This means a longer story which feels a little padded with a lengthy flashback, an extensive and mostly interesting interview with Bendis and Oeming, and an annoying extended letters page with comedians Patton Oswalt and Brian Posehn (whom I normally find funny) answering the letters. After a couple of letters I just skimmed it, because it was repetitive and unfunny. The story wraps up the Blackguard storyline, but it keeps Deena's secret as an ongoing subplot, which I liked. The Blackguard resolution was a little underwhelming, and the flashback sometimes felt like filler, but what Bendis is doing with Deena is really interesting and I trust that all the extra stuff will be leading somewhere eventually.

Runaways #7 (Brian K. Vaughan/Takeshi Miyazawa, Marvel)
This is a decided change of pace from the epic six-parter that opened the new volume, which was serious and had far-reaching consequences. I like that Vaughan spends more time just fleshing out the characters, and the twist at the end is more amusing and low key than the heavy stuff that was going on in the last arc, and probably dragged on a little longer than necessary. I'm glad that this is just a two-parter, and I hope Vaughan holds off a bit on doing another six-part opus. Miyazawa's light, cartoony art is a good fit for this story, but I still prefer Adrian Alphona's work (which I assume returns after this arc).

Silent Dragon #2 (Andy Diggle/Leinil Francis Yu, DC/Wildstorm)
This is a definite improvement over last issue for one main reason: It makes sense and I can follow the story. It also makes better use of the futuristic setting, and gives Yu some cool high-tech stuff to draw. I'm still not entirely sure what the overall story is about, or how some of the things from last issue relate to this issue, but at least I have some idea of what's going on.

Young Avengers #6 (Allan Heinberg/Jim Cheung, Marvel)
Like Runaways, this series has opened with an epic, serious arc that dragged on a little too long, especially when this issue reveals that it was all a set-up to get the real team together and ready to go. But also like Runaways, it's got great dialogue and well-drawn characters and a breezy sense of old-school superhero fun, and the two books are still neck and neck as the best things Marvel's publishing. I'm glad to see that it's also following up the first arc with a two-parter, because that should give the series a better sense of momentum. This issue wraps up the Kang storyline a little confusingly, but it leaves room for it to be revisited at a later time. It also replaces some of the characters' crappy codenames with...different crappy codenames. That's a minor issue, though, and if they remain interesting characters, I don't really care that their names are dumb.

Also out this week: A bunch of stuff that I wanted to get, including Astonishing X-Men #12, Ex Machina #14, Revelations #1 and The Expatriate #3, which they didn't have at my local store for some reason. Hopefully I'll be able to pick them up next week.

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