- Posted by Johanna on January 19, 2007 at 11:02 pm
- Category: Superhero Reviews
A lack of superhero comics to whole-heartedly recommend means I start off with a bit of complaining.
Dwayne McDuffie starts his writing run on the series with Fantastic Four #542. I love his character work, but I regret how often it’s used to prop up pointless or badly chosen continuities. I really want to read something by him that’s not tied into a bigger, inferior story, something where the story and character work is more important than the properties or the fictional “universe”.
In this case, we get a justification for why Reed Richards would act out of character by rabidly defending the Macguffin Registration Act, even to the extent of destroying his marriage. It seems that he’s so smart that he created magic equations that predict what will happen to society, and he knows that this is the least of all evils. It’s the supersmart guy equivalent of “shut up and trust me, I know better than you do.” I don’t find it compelling, not when put up against a 40-year (in real time) love story.
It is plausible, I suppose, within the bounds of a superhero universe, unless one suspects that the choices being propped up had external reasons, and whether or not they made sense in terms of fiction was irrelevant. For instance, I get the feeling that the marriage was ended because the current powers that be like single superheroes and seem to pathologically fear married characters. And that Reed’s “side” was determined by who wanted to write him and how someone wanted to build their team, as though trading baseball cards instead of considering character history and motivation.
In short, the quality of the character work doesn’t matter when it’s being used to support something so ludicrous. (That’s Civil War in a nutshell.) Art’s by Mike McKone with inks by Andy Lanning & Cam Smith, who make Reed in sweater and fishing hat look like my dad.
No She-Hulk for me this week — she’s gone all action as an agent of SHIELD fighting Hulk’s old rogues gallery, which doesn’t interest me. Birds of Prey has Oracle quaking in fear from the Spy Smasher and Lois Lane, of all people, which didn’t sit right with me either. So what was good? As usual, books not aimed at the typical reader.
The Spirit #2 is a terrific adventure romp. Darwyn Cooke (with J. Bone inks and Dave Stewart colors, which are essential to the mood and overall outstanding package) does wonderful expression and gesture. The femme fatale P’Gell is just as seductive and slinky as she needs to be to snare a foreign prince. The Spirit has to ditch Ellen in order to attend a formal party and foil her plans.
This is high escapism in the classic mold, and Cooke is a valid choice for caretaker of the Eisner legacy. Everyone’s gorgeous, or at least gorgeously drawn. There’s exoticism and glamour and danger and tortured histories and a very handsome, rugged man in the middle of it all.
And for dessert, Marvel Adventures: The Avengers #9. You’ve likely already heard me or someone else online talking about it, because the concept — the team becomes MODOKs, giant floating heads — is just too giddy cool. The execution, by Jeff Parker, Juan Santacruz, and Raul Fernandez, lives up to the premise.
After the requisite team wisecracking (and actually funny), MODOC (this one’s for Conquest, because Killing’s bad for the kiddies) freezes the team so he can tell them his origin. That’s before his nefarious transformation plot. They all turn into big-headed floaty beings — they even get -Doc names! (Pretty cool changing machine, that even provides the flying chairs in everyone’s sizes.) Very enjoyable, even if it’s only temporary.
If you need another reason to read this, as Chris said, it’s “Nextwave for kids”.