Monday, September 11, 2006

New comics 9/7

I'm short on time this week, so I'm sticking to the highlights.

The Cross Bronx #1 (Michael Avon Oeming with Ivan Brandon, Image)
There was a lot of pre-release hype on this book, and I like Oeming's art on Powers (although I haven't read anything he's written), so it seemed worth a look. And it's okay, but it didn't really grab me enough to want to read the rest of the mini-series. Brandon was the co-creator of the rather bland NYC Mech, and here what we've got is a semi-interesting mystery story with some rather stock characters, including the burnout cop who can't talk to his wife and is overwhelmed by the misery he deals with on the job. The plotting is a little choppy, and what's meant to be mysterious came off to me mostly as confusing. I'm not sure if they're going for a straight crime angle or something more supernatural, but neither one struck me as particularly worthwhile anyway.

X-Men: Phoenix - Warsong #1 (Greg Pak/Tyler Kirkham, Marvel)
Pak's Phoenix mini-series Endsong started out really strongly and then sort of petered out, but I think he's got a good handle on how to tell new stories about the X-Men that are rooted in past continuity, and here he does a good job forwarding the mythology of the Phoenix Force without resurrecting Jean Grey. He's taking some of the characters from Grant Morrison's New X-Men and fleshing them out, and really this is a story about the Stepford Cuckoos and, presumably, Quentin Quire, as much as at is about the main X-Men. Since I haven't been reading the core X-books in a while, it's nice to get a strong story with all the familiar characters, but this also builds on more recent developments, which is important to keep the franchise from stagnating. Kirkham's art is a little too cartoony and stiff, very much in the Top Cow house style, and all the female characters look like 14-year-old girls (I realize that some of them actually are, but not all of them). I maybe even preferred Greg Land's stiff, photo-realistic art on Endsong, but I suppose this is acceptable.

Also out this week: Agents of Atlas #2, which continues Jeff Parker's fun romp through obscure Marvel continuity and turns explaining said continuity into a solid basis for storytelling; The All-New Atom #3, which again strikes a balance between Grant Morrison-style weirdness and straightforward superheroics, and remains interesting if not spectacular; The Exterminators #9, which returns to the bug storyline with mixed results, although with plenty of offbeat humor along the way; Noble Causes #23, which features one really awful panel by Jon Bosco that makes it look like Liz's face has come off - the more I see of it, the more I really dislike the guy's art overall; Savage Dragon #128, pointlessly featuring Mark Millar's Wanted characters and way too many alternate-universe versions of various people; and Y the Last Man #49, starting off a new story arc with some great character development, a slam-bang cliffhanger and the triumphant return of regular penciler Pia Guerra.

Whew. What a crowded week to run out of time to comment.

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