Saturday, June 06, 2009

Comics review - 4 collections and 4 newbies

In this here week's installment I bring to you thoughts on the following:
Green Arrow Showcase
Doom Patrol: The Painting that ate Paris
Superman Returns: The Prequels
Midnight: Anthem
Superman 688
Teen Titans 71 (All about Rose!)
Superman World of New Krypton 4
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Tales of the Vampires one shot

(Spoilers ahead)

Green Arrow Showcase
Ludicrous. Very Silver age. Yet I did actually manage to read all of it, and I think that's the only Silver Age collection I've managed to read more than 2 stories of. Unless you count the Essential Silver Surfer. Which was goddamn awful.
GA was basically a Batman ripoff, but wearing green and using arrows. He didn't have a social conscience, well no more than any other hero did anyhow.
There are trick arrows galore. The names of some as follows: boxing glove, big ben, ricochet, ink, acetylene, grenade, flint, time-bomb, rope, umbrella, boomerang, mirror, supersonic, flare, diamond, net, handcuff, fire-foam, radio, sleep, glider, anti-missile, gelatin, acid, smokescreen and para-arrows.
I'd be really intrigued to know if they ever came up with a scientific explanation for how any of these worked.
Not surprisingly, any stories which feature a character who is not white American are horribly racist, even when they are trying to be progressive. The 3 stories that Miss Arrowette appears in are horribly sexist. The comics are a product of their time, and while that doesn't excuse their failings and bigotry, it does explain it.

Overall, if you ignore the racist/sexist stories, the rest of them are pretty good fun. There's a few team up stories -
GA and Superboy from Adventure Comics 258
Justice League of America 4: Doom of the Star Diamond
The Brave and the Bold 50: Wanted the Capsule Master! (Featuring the Martian Manhunter)
The Brave and the Bold 71: The Wrath of the Thunderbird (Featuring Batman)
The Brave and The Bold 85: The Senator's Been shot (featuring Batman and a beardy GA).

The rest are taken from World's Finest Comics and Adventure Comics and are only a few pages long. 527 pages of silver age comic action. Recommended. I only wish they could reproduce them in colour, in as cheap a manner.

Doom Patrol: The Painting that Ate Paris
Well, it's by Grant Morrison so it's a bit mental. It's also very surreal. It was however good curious fun. I've since found the Magic Bus trade, so will be reading and having a think about that soon.

Superman Returns: The Prequels
The best, and most human one, is Ma Kent's story, and Lois's. Very touching.

Midnighter: Anthem
This is my introduction to Midnighter and Anthem, chiefly bought because Midnighter is gay and because Brian K Vaughan and Keith Giffen wrote it. So you couldn't go wrong right?

The first story, by Brian K Vaughan, is told from the the wrong done way round. The first page is the finale, the second page is a minute or so before that, the this page a minute or so before that and so on, until you get to the start of the adventure. It's a really effective and engaging way to tell a story. For those that don't know much about this character, (like me), Midnighter has a form of precog where he can see the various different ways that any given situation will turn out, so he always knows exactly how it will end. the presentation of the story showed us how he sees the world and was really very very good.

The rest of it was a pile of crap. The plotline of the Giffen written part was Midnighter locating his life story from before he became a superhero (and got his mind wiped), and int eh process coming across various bad guys and killing them.
The art was rubbish, averagely drawn and averagely coloured, boring standard middle of the road rubbish. Far too many fight scenes for the sake of having a fight scene and not enough emphasis on the human angles.
With a different artist I may have thought more of it, as it is I will keep the trade but only for the Vaughan written story.

Superman 688
Mon-El discovers that his lead poisoning is not cured. The cure that was given to him is fighting against and containing the lead in his body, but his body's immune system thinks the cure is a foreign substance and is trying to get rid of it. This is why his powers are going wobbly and also means he has only 18 months to live.
Mon-El then gets cornered by the guy who owns the cafe below his apartment and through a conversation with him and a quick trip to Paris Mon realises he does want to live and is not satisfied with merely protecting Metropolis.

Oh I will be heartbroken if they kill off Mon. He's such a great character - he's naive, idealistic, earnest and not a little childlike. He's so new to this world his perspective becomes quite captivating. It will be really interesting to see how he matures and develops and becomes his own person. Up until now he's just been trying to fill Kal's shoes. He needs to find his own.

Teen Titans 71
A whole comic devoted to Rose Wilson. Ooh yeah. Ok so we knew she wasn't going to be part of the Titans again, but we'll see her in the back up feature. Makes me happy.
Rose and Eddie would make a fabulous couple - until this comic its mostly been Eddie pining over Rose, but in this issue, she makes the move. It looks like he's said no though, which is a crying shame. Rose could do with some honest (non murderous brotherly) love in her life and Eddie just seems so lonely right now. Maybe I'll try and find some fanfic. Anyone know any good Ravager fan sites?

I should also mention that this issue shows Rose relying on her adrenalin shots too much - she's close to becoming a junkie, if she's not already. She's in a pretty shit place at the moment, she's lost her brother, her former team hate her, when she forces Bombshell to demonstrate her allegiances Cassie goes nuts. I think the interactions between Cassie and Rose are very useful to show how flawed Cass can be. Not many (any?) other people can push her butons like Rose does, and in so doing we get to see the bad sides of Cass' character. making for a much more interesting read.

When are Kon and Bart coming back to the Titans? I miss them *whines*.

The art in this was rubbish. Rose and Cassie's faces change panel to panel. The penciller, Yildray Cinar, could do with some more practice. The colouring is fairly standard. Unless they get someone like Renato Guedes in the art will never be my favourite in this book, but that doesn't matter, because I love the team and the individual members.

Superman World of New Krypton 4
This issue was more about filling in the gaps of knowledge about New Krypton and setting up for the next issues where Kal has been charged with treason against New Krypton. Anyone expecting a Kal/Hal fight will be sorely disappointed. No Guy Gardener either. :(
An ok issue but rather dull.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Tales of the Vampires one shot
Good. :) New artist, i.e not Georges Jeanty who I hate. A good little story told from the perspective of a bored teenage guy in a small town America who gets turned and discovers that bloodlust can make him feel. His best friend is a slayer, whens he finds out she kills the vampire who turned him, then her former friend turns on her.

I find the whole set up of vampires known about and loved and slayers feared so bizzare but great. The boy's mum finds out he's a vampire and her reaction is to move his bedroom into the basement and warn him away from places where vampires have been killed recently. Because everyone knows about them now, thanks to Harmony and her TV show, everything about vampires is accepted, no questions asked. All they have to do is keep up the pretence that they don't kill many people.

I also love seeing how the Slayers who haven't joined Buffy's army are coping. It's astounding to me that some of them are not happy with being a Slayer - I mean, I think it's the coolest thing ever, especially now it's not just the one slayer.

A question for y'all: Has a Slayer ever been turned vampire? What would happen if she was turned? Would it be an uber vampire? Would it be subservient to it's sire?
Speculation welcomed.

(My pull list has been added to the Ch-ch-ch-check it out now links bit, plus I've added more books and resources to the Deaf issues post)

1 comment:

SallyP said...

I think that the best part of Superman: World of New Krypton had to be the Gary Frank cover, with Hal showing off his chest AND his ass.

Oh Hal.