Friday, December 7, 2012

Just Sayin'--Seasonal Affective Backlog

 Well, I guess I let this lie longer than I thought. Once again, 'tis I, I'm back and I had two months worth of comics come in this week, so it's high time to look 'em over and see what's what.

 All except Justice League #13-14. They were a special kind of terrible that must be handled in its own very special. Really. Just . . .awful.

 Anyways--let's get down to it!

 HARBINGER #5-6: So we're getting more into the classic mode of Harbinger storytelling, as Pete Stanchek finally escapes from Harada and strikes out on his own. Out of a window.

 But before he can get too far, he's interrupted from his suicidal FU by Zephyr, and man, did I ever miss characters like Zephyr. As she was in the OG version, she's quite into the idea of being superpowered, which is good, because in this version a little leavening of the angst is always good (not that I'm complaining--one of the the things I'm enjoying about the new Harbinger is that it makes no bones about the idea that Stanchek is potentially just as bad as Harada actually is at the moment) and . . .

  . . .given that in the very next issue things are heating up plot-wise, that's a good thing. Issue #6 brings us back to Kris Hathaway, who you might remember Stanchek mind-controlling into loving him (remember how I said he was potentially a shitheel? Crap like this is why) in the original book, Kris was the glue that held the team together (in ways both overt and covert, but no reason to be beholden to comics more than twenty years old now) In the new version, Stanchek, guilty about manipulating her, offers to let her kill him.

  Kris sees right through it, of course--he's giving her permission, and that's bullshit. It's a good scene, and Dysart really does well with the implications of everything, and as much as I like Zephyr, I really came around to Kris this issue. While, yeah, it took them six issues to get where the original got at by issue four, I don't mind decompression if you use it like this: wherein a character in the story encapsulates what the book is really about: who has power, how do they use it, and what about the people who get caught up in their wake.

 I'm really enjoying this book.

 GLORY #29-30 Speaking of books I enjoy (gonna be sad when this one finishes soon) Glory's quest to deal with her father enters its final act, but before then, she's got to swing by Paris to enlist her sister, Nanaja, who curses up a storm and, it must be said, is more than a bit murder-happy. That works OK for this book, as it's an excuse for Ross Campbell to draw some ultra-violence (in addition to drawing woman who are built like brick shithouses, Campbell does a phenomenal job of drawing impacts--you can feel and see the heft and effect of every punch thrown) which, bless him he does so very well indeed.

 I enjoyed the little Fantomas bit at the opening of Issue #30--it was a good palate cleanser before the Glory/Nanaja fight, and made for a fun little contrast as well. I quite enjoyed these two issues, and I'm intrigued to see how it comes along as we go through the home stretch.

 PROPHET #30-31: I wonder if Rob Liefeld is impressed that his Captain America/Iron Man analogue, Diehard is being used in the entertainingly bizarre way he is in these stories. As much as I appreciate the bizarre imagery that's all over these two issues, I think I appreciate the meditative pace even more, as it makes the surreal images that saturate this book even more dreamlike. I have no notion of where it's going, but it's to Brandon Graham's credit that I am really enjoying the journey.

CYBERFORCE #1: Well, it was free, so there's that. I've always had a strange affection for Cyberforce, one of the vanguard of the early Image books, back when superhero comic's top-flight creators all simultaneously decided to create knockoffs of the X-Men and publish them for the purposes of making lots of monies (I kid, I kid) partly because I was at the ideal age to get fired up by those comics, and partly because this is the book that introduced the man, the myth, the legend--WARBUK to a world that had been waiting for him all their collective lives.

 Cyberforce, you might remember, was resurrected as a free comic thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign, and apparently, I'm not alone in my love for the comic.

 Unfortunately . . .this is kinda not good. It's confusing, enervating, hatefully opaque with regards to the plot, and doesn't really intrigue me enough to  think about reading more. There's none of the ferocious energy and slick action that characterized the original book, and it's not like Prophet or Glory where there's a sufficiently imaginative take on the material to offset that, and I can't really pick out any character apart from maybe three (Velocity, Ballistic, and Aphrodite IX)

 And also. . .no WARBUK.

 I think you could launch Cyberforce again in a way that would really grip one's shit, but I'm not really sure this is the way to do it.Nice to see it back for the 20th anniversary of Image tho, I reckon.

 BATWOMAN #13-14: Now how do I review this? It looks beautiful, oh my God does it ever look gorgeous. I love that J.H. Williams III is able to do these ornate spreads that are visually striking and still move the story along.

 I do, however, wish the story in question was actually interesting and hadn't been plodding along, to one extent or another in near-perfect stasis, for the past ten issues now. While I appreciate that Wonder Woman's teaming up with Batwoman (and thus giving Batwoman some legitimacy and integrating her with the DCU independent of the Batman family), and the Flamebird plot is moving forward (slowly, my God how slowly) and the various other subplots are ticking over, I find myself intensely frustrated because it's been ten fucking issues and we're just now seeing Medusa and I kind of just want it all to be over now and move on to something else that doesn't run so long and get so baroque that I don't care anymore.

So that's my comic haul. Join us next time when I rip into Justice League #13-14, featuring furry porn, every Geoff Johns tic I can't stand, plotting so static it could be late-model Claremont at his deadly worst, female characters that make the cast of Tarot seem enlightened, romance so lifeless it might as well be necrophilia, and more of the utterly god-awful "Shazam" story. If you missed the days when I would rip shit out of a comic I bitterly loathed, well, that time is now again.

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