Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Short Book Reviews

The Essential Batman Encyclopedia by Robert Greenberger - A handy and good looking reference for Batman fanatics that delves pretty deep into the characters populating the Bat-books through the decades. While I've read DC comics off and on since the 60s, I'm just a casual Batman reader, but much of the content here was just over my head.

This volume is written from the contemporary DC continuity perspective, i.e. everything printed in DC comics in the Golden Age of the 40's actually happened on Earth-2; not on our Earth. I found that to be rather jarring as Earth-2 was a 1960s invention. So much of the content here is twisty revisionist. I'd prefer reading historical entries in historical context.

For example, the entry under "Supergirl" starts off talking about Kara Zor-el (Power Girl) of Earth-2 and states (mistakenly) she was introduced in All-Star Comics #57 (1951). That would be before Supergirl was introduced. As far as I know, Power Girl was introduced
in All Star Comics #58 in 1976, a couple of decades after Supergirl debuted. I looked at a few other example entries and found other similar contextual (and perhaps typographical) errors, and other entries are fine if you can get past the revisionist writing.

Maybe it's just me, but it's weird to read that the Earth-2 Catwoman debuted in 1940. There was no Earth-2 in 1940! If I can get beyond that weirdness I guess It's OK.

Short Book Reviews

Savage Sword of Conan Vol. 1 by Various - I haven't gotten much reading done with the cross country move happening, but I did take this first volume of black and white reprints from the old Conan magazine with me on the flight to Portland, OR. It was a good travel companion, though I enjoyed it more to start with than toward the end. I wouldn't exactly say if you've read one of these stories, you've read them all... but maybe if you've read a dozen or so. There's some great art here from Smith, Buscema and Acala. Good enuf for Good Fun!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Update

Whew! Moving 2,300 miles is costly and exhausting work! But I'm done with it. I didn't miss the last couple of weeks of comics and am ready to write my reviews... but I've misplaced that stack somewhere in 14 long boxes. As I like to have the books I'm reviewing in hand when I'm writing, and searching through 14 long boxes sounds quite dreadful... I'll be back to reviewing comics next time I hit the comic shop.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Comic Book Reviews This Week

Metal Men 8 of 8 - This beautiful and complex Science Fiction tale comes to an end in a satisfying conclusion. The Metal Men have never been better. Much thanks to artist/writer Duncan Rouleau. This week's lot of books had quite a few endearing moments, but this successful mini-series just makes me want to read it again. (And I very rarely re-read comics) Cheers, Best of the Week!

Tor 1 of 6 - Joe Kuberts got a new comic out! Wee-dogie! Blissed out cave man goodness. Joe Kuberts got a new comic out! I'm dizzy with happiness. Excellent!

The War that Time Forgot 1 of 12 - Woot! Yet another kick off to a new mini-series that seems to be a lot of fun so far. Neal Adams cover to boot. Tanks vs. Dinosaurs? What more do you want in a comic? Excellent!

Madman 8 - Seems to be something of a transitional issues between story lines. There's 2 stories in this issue. The first is less successful; something of a college-aged existential plot. The back up story is much more fun and very silly. Good Fun!

The All New Atom 23 - I wasn't quiet sure what to make of the first couple of issues of Remenders story, but it hits its stride in this issue where the plot lines come together in a very action packed issue. Excellent!

Supergirl 29 - I'm enjoying this storyline. It keeps getting better. The art in this issue mostly looks pretty rushed and sloppy. This book could use a new artist. It's OK.

Secret Invasion 2 of 8 - Lots of fighting in this issue. Apparently the current Hawkeye is wearing a horrible god-awful costume and calling himself Ronin. The big moment of this issue is Hawkeye's wife is back from the dead. Umm. Don't know who she is. Didn't know he was married. So that emotional impact didn't resonate for me. I'm just hoping the jolly Avengers era Beast is the real deal. They should get rid of the brooding cat-man Beast that is running around.
I still don't get how all these Skrulls have super-powers on top of shape-shifting. But maybe that will be explained at some point. It's OK.

Countdown to Mystery 7 of 8 - It seems like it's been a long time since the last issue. This one's pretty fun and I enjoyed the new artist on the Spectre segment. Good Fun!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Comic Book Reviews This Week

Action Comics 864 - A nice epilogue to the Legion/Superman crossover and as a prologue for the upcoming Legion of Three Worlds mini series. It also ties up a couple of loose ends from the apparently awful Countdown series. There's a fill in artist here that just awful. (Any artist that gives Batman the pointy under the cape shoulder pads rates as awful in my book.) Much more successful than the DC Universe 0 from this week at tidying up the DC storylines and teasing for what's to come. Cheers, Best of Week!

DC Universe 0 - Ummm. Totally not what I expected from this book. There's no story and no jumping on place for new readers, so in that sense this book's a great disaster. It's basically a series of ads for several mini-series from DC. Marvel did a much better job with something like this with the freebie intro to the Secret Invasion. I must admit however that most of the mini's advertised here look pretty good. The last few pages seem to imply that Barry Allen is making a return, which pleases me. It's taken way to long for that to happen, and I for one will be glad to have him back. But paying for ads? Really? That pretty much Stinks!

Legion of Super Heroes 41 - Another solid issue in the continuing storyline. Tho, already I'm getting pretty sick of the silly made up future language slang. It's overdone. C'mon Jim Shooter, you're old enough to use your grown up words. That minor complaint aside, it's still Good Fun!

JSA Classified 37 - OK maybe this should be my pick of the week. It's certainly got the best art/story/color/inking combo of this weeks lot. And is certainly one of my favorite little storylines of this year so far. I'm a fan of the Golden Age homage style story and this here's been a beautiful example featuring Wildcat. This 3 parter is a lovely example of super hero storytelling at it's very best. Beyond Highly Recommended.

Green Lantern 30 -
So I was pretty unimpressed with the previous issue of the Secret Origin, but this issue more than makes up for it. More great story from Johns and artist Reis seems to be getting better and better. Looks like this is going to be a great arc. Excellent!

Teen Titans Year One 4 - The fun continues in this nifty mini. I sure think it would be cool if these Teen Titans had their own regular series. Perhaps I'm stuck in the past but I'd sure like to see the whole Titans franchise get reset. Why is it this is the only DC property that's never been reset? Good Fun!

Thor Ages of Thunder One Shot - Looks pretty but is filled with stuffy staid narration. Eh, It's OK.