Monday, March 27, 2006

New comics 3/22

The American Way #2 (John Ridley/Georges Jeanty, DC/Wildstorm)
After giving the first issue the benefit of the doubt, I thought this issue just gave in to the all the problems I was hoping the series would avoid. The twist ending from last month turns out to be much less sinister than it appeared, and Ridley covers so much time in this issue that he's got no room for character development. There's way too much narration and not nearly enough illustrative action, and it's hard to care what happens to any of these people since even the main character is just an exposition-delivering cipher. Ridley doesn't seem to have much new to say about the turmoil of the 1960s, either, and since he's also not telling an exciting superhero story, I think I'm going to pass on seeing where things go next.

Nextwave #3 (Warren Ellis/Stuart Immonen, Marvel)
If possible, even weirder than the first two issues, with characters spouting non sequiturs presumably just because Ellis thinks they are funny, and Dirk Anger trying to kill himself with a giant inverted pistol. At the same time there is internally consistent character development and team dynamics, and it's all quite funny. The perfect antidote to endless, super-serious superhero crossovers.

Noble Causes #18 (Jay Faerber/Fran Bueno, Image)
Faerber pulls a nice switch on the expectations set up by all the promo copy promising a "devastating loss" for Race, which in light of recent events one would assume to be Liz's death. Instead, Race loses his powers, which is a more interesting twist, and the Blackthornes defeat the Nobles in a way that is perfect for this book - by turning the tide of public opinion against them. Another way that Faerber has used soap opera conventions to liven up his superhero stories. This also marks Bueno's last issue on art, and although he started out sort of shaky, he's really developed a distinct, appealing style, and while the preview art for next issue looks decent, I'll still be sad to see him go.

She-Hulk #6 (Dan Slott/Will Conrad, Marvel)
A fun little story pushing forth some subplots and making good use of Starfox, a character with whom I'm not especially familiar. Conrad's art is straightforward and somewhat generic, but serves the story better than Juan Bobillo's stylized work. What will really be exciting is when Paul Smith shows up as regular artist starting with issue 8.

X-Factor #5 (Peter David/Dennis Calero, Marvel)
The first real misstep in this series, with David doing a tired and fairly pointless riff on Misery for nearly the entire issue, not advancing any of the ongoing storylines and pushing most of the regular cast aside in favor of a lame, throwaway villain. Calero finally gets a whole issue to himself, and he does a decent enough job, but I still prefer Ryan Sook's clean, thick lines to Calero's more scratchy style.

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