Monday, September 04, 2006

New comics 8/30

American Virgin #6 (Steven T. Seagle/Becky Cloonan, DC/Vertigo)
Although I found this book strikingly different and unpredictable at first, at this point it's just starting to seem meandering and rootless, and it's never a good sign when the cover is more exciting than the contents. I still like that Seagle is striking out in new territory, and that he respects the religion of his main character without seeming preachy or cartoonish, but now in the second part of the second arc, I still have no idea what this book is supposed to be about, and I'm starting to lose my patience a little.

The Boys #2 (Garth Ennis/Darick Robertson, DC/Wildstorm)
This is exactly what appeared to be based on the first issue two weeks ago, and thus I'm not going to bother with it anymore. As much as I'd like to check out Darick Robertson's art on a regular basis again, the writing is just a bunch of vulgar sex jokes and ultraviolence with no character development and nothing new or interesting to say. Next issue promises some actual action, but I can already imagine Ennis' tired anti-superhero tirades, and they're not original or entertaining, so I'm checking out.

Cable & Deadpool #31 (Fabian Nicieza/Staz Johnson, Marvel)
This Civil War crossover is tied far more closely to the main story than the others I've read, and consequently it's a little less interesting to me since I'm not reading the core series. Nicieza does his best to throw in some amusing Deadpool moments, but his entire fight scene with the renegade heroes feels like filler. Cable is a better fit for the crossover, given his philosophies on government, but I still can't help but feeling this is a meaningless diversion keeping the book away from its main storylines. Johnson becomes the first artist to draw two issues in a row in quite some time, and his art is perfectly fine, if a little rough sometimes. I may not love it, but I'd just be happy to have some artistic consistency on this book at some point.

Civil War: Young Avengers & Runaways #2 (Zeb Wells/Stefano Caselli, Marvel)
Despite bearing the name of the crossover in its title, this book actually ties a lot less closely to Civil War than Cable & Deadpool does. It really just uses it as a springboard to bring the two titular teams together for what is, I am sad to say, a thoroughly uninspired team-up. After having the requisite fight last issue, the two teams join forces in the face of an outside antagonist (sound familiar?). In this case, it's the Marvel Boy from Grant Morrison's mini-series of a few years back, and Wells totally mishandles him, making a weird and unique character into just another psychotic villain. Really, after the fun Wells brought to his New Warriors mini, he seemed like the perfect choice for this one, but other than finding some neat bits of continuity between the teams, he's been nothing but a pale imitation of the books' original writers, and Caselli's art is rather ugly, to boot, with too many characters who look alike. Since I really like these characters and I already bought half the series, I'll keep reading, but I don't expect much.

Fallen Angel #8 (Peter David/J.K. Woodward, IDW)
It looks like Woodward has completely given up on painting and gone with pencils and inks in his art for the foreseeable future, but since he does the colors as well the look is similar; unfortunately I'm still not that crazy about his work, although after eight issues it's tolerable. David gets us back to the present and sets things in motion again this issue, bringing back Sachs and Violens and highlighting the supporting cast in an issue in which the Angel herself doesn't even appear. I still don't quite understand how 18 years have passed and only certain characters have aged (shouldn't S&V at least be middle-aged by now?), but I'm glad to see things moving forward and I like the way this issue showcases what a rich cast of characters David has developed.

She-Hulk #11 (Dan Slott/Rick Burchett, Marvel)
Slott finally wraps up the mind-control storyline that's been going on way too long, but I'm sure we'll be seeing repercussions from it for a while, which is fine with me. And he finally makes John Jameson into an interesting character rather than a bland placeholder boyfriend for She-Hulk, which is also nice. Burchett's art is a great fit for this book, and I really hope he's sticking around for more than a couple of issues.

X-Factor #10 (Peter David/Renato Arlem & Roy Allen Martinez, Marvel)
Here's another book with huge problems with art consistency. At least the ill-suited Dennis Calero looks to be out, and Pablo Raimondi, who did great work on the Madrox mini-series that launched this book, will take over as of issue 13 (I have no idea who fills in until then). Martinez does an excellent job on a flashback sequence this issue, and I'd be happy to see more work from him. Arlem's art is a little rougher, but still palatable. David writes an excellent cliffhanger in this issue and an amusing French farce-esque bedroom sequence, although he still can't make me care about Damien Tryp, even with that whole flashback segment.


Anonymous said...

Just wanted to point out, as much as I love your blog and usually agree with you, that you are literally the last person on earth who thinks that dennis callero was ill suited for xfactor. Check out his own colors on the cover to the re-issue of 8. Gorgeous.

Anonymous said...

I gotta agree. Why are you always slamming Calero? After Sook, he totally picked up the ball and ran with it. Good on him, bad on you!

Josh said...

Wow, I never knew Dennis Calero had so many dedicated fans. All I can say is that it's my opinion - I don't think he's a bad artist, but I do think his style is a little rough around the edges and didn't quite work for X-Factor's tone. But with a little polish and on a book whose tone suits him better, he could do a great job.

Anonymous said...

Feel the compelling need to also chime in and say that I felt that after he got through the half-issue debacle, Callero (Calero?) really did do a great job and it made the book his own. I mean, I think Josh that you have a tendency in your reviews to kind of come at books with your own feeling of what it should be (SOMETIMES) and not simply reviewing it for what it is. In terms of how Peter David's words matched Callero's art, I think it was perfect and Callero brought out a lot David's humor. I also don't think his art is rough as much as much of the mainstream art in comics is overly slick and frankly, kind of inert.

Josh said...

You're certainly right that a lot of art in mainstream comics - Greg Land, for example - is overly slick and inert. And I myself am a fan of plenty of artists with rougher, sketchier styles, including Jae Lee, Sam Kieth and Michael Gaydos. But I don't think that Calero served David's humor well (nor do I think that any of those aforementioned artists would be the right choice for this book). And part of the problem certainly was all those issues he had to share with Ryan Sook, which only highlighted how much better Sook's art was for the book. Again, I think Calero shows plenty of promise and I wouldn't be averse to seeing him on something else.