Comics Reviews (October 30th, 2014)
As ever, ranked from least enjoyed to most, with everything being a book I was willing to spend money on.
All-New X-Men #33
The original X-Men touring the Ultimate Universe is proving a bit sloppy. Too many characters split up into too many storylines emphasizes one of Bendis’s weak spots, which is that an issue can pass without a sense that much has happened. Split that over four plots and you run into issues where not a lot actually does happen. A promising cliffhanger, but aren’t they all?
The Massive #28
The six-part structure of the final arc turns out to be at least slightly artificial, with this very much being the start of a new three-part arc. But I suspect calling it a six-part arc was wise, as there’s a real flagging in the momentum here. This is not unusual for this book, which has always disappointed a bit. Not bad, but I’m not going to miss this much when it’s over.
Guardians of the Galaxy #20
Hm? Oh. Yes. This plot. The death of Richard Ryder, and all that. It wraps up pretty well. I’m not sure it was three issues of story, and certainly not sure it was worth pausing the actual Guardians for three months, but fair enough. It wasn’t half bad. Glad to be moving on though.
Doctor Who: The Eleventh Doctor #4
I admit, this threw me for a bit of a loop, just because I’d gotten used to done-in-ones, and really wasn’t expecting a multipart story, which in turn made the pacing feel weird throughout. Rereading it, it’s a nice setup for a story. Alice, in particular, gets some excellent material here, as she and the Doctor come into a subtle sort of conflict. This fits into Eleven’s overall story arc quite well, and into the way the nature of the companion has evolved over the Moffat era. Good fun, this. Still highly recommended.
Wonder Woman #35
And so the Azzarello run ends. The rest of the New 52 did away with this book’s ability to actually define a new generation’s Wonder Woman, but it soldiered on and at least provided an interesting vision of her that was consistently one of the few books in the New 52’s first three years capable of being interesting. Here it ends, with some nice callbacks to Marston and the book’s legacy. There’s even talk of submission. There’s little to be excited about in the next phase of Wonder Woman. This, at least, was a book you could be proud of. Good for it.
Is it possible to write a bad comic with a Lying Cat splash page? No. It probably is not. I should really archive binge this in the gap months to actually get up to speed on the plots and characters, because it’s self-evidently an absolutely brilliant comic. Apparently there’s a nice oversized hardcover of the first eighteen issues coming out. Lovely Christmas present, that.
The stuff this book is doing with war comics is absolutely fascinating. Body horror bleeds into depictions of the basic cruelty of war, which bleeds in turn into discussions of racism. It’s not a book you feel happy about, but it’s one of the best and most important comics being published right now, and I’ll keep banging the drum for it.
October 30, 2014 @ 12:47 am
I just finished your Wonder Woman book, and your Wonder Woman review brings up an issue with it: since the foundation of the Justice League, her most prominent role in popular culture has usually been as a member of the JLA and Super Friends. Certainly JLA has always outsold Wonder Woman. But these texts are almost absent from your otherwise excellent look at the character, despite them being almost certainly the defining texts for the majority of readers. Why did you choose to not put a focus on them?
October 30, 2014 @ 6:55 am
Relatedly — Dwight Garner's NYT's review of Jill Lapore's Wonder Woman book: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/24/books/the-secret-history-of-wonder-woman-by-jill-lepore.html?ref=books&_r=0
October 30, 2014 @ 12:53 pm
brownstudy: Here's another review of Jill Lepore's book http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2014/nov/20/wonder-woman-weird-true-story/
Philip: I'm happy that you again mention "Uber" because I've been thinking a lot about the series. Recently, I read all of its issues within a couple of days so at least as a page-turner it is a success. Mr. Gillen seems to have his heart in the right place and his afterwords are always compelling, especially when he's writing about his own doubts in regards to the project. I never thought that he and his collaborators are engaging in nefarious propaganda but still the book's lovingly depicted "body horrors", not to forget Avatar Press' marketing (the variant covers), leave me puzzled whether the enterprise is not very misguided, frivolous, and exploitive. Do those dismemberments and flying intestines really have any "enlightening" value or are they not genre accoutrements which lead to emotional blunting and not sensitization? It's also funny that "Uber" so far only got coy at one occasion, when two German "battleships" were having sex and shadows had to be strategically employed. Issues 13 and 18 are great because they use more refined narrative strategies — I immediately felt excited and some faith in "Uber's" humanistic potential was restored.
October 31, 2014 @ 3:54 am
Uber is the only Gillen book I just can't get into whatsoever.