- Posted by Johanna on January 26, 2008 at 1:17 pm
- Category: Superhero Reviews
- PUBLISHER: Marvel
I have never figured out why, when there’s only a few comics I enjoy from a particular publisher, they all come out on the same week. I’d rather spread out my entertainment (and costs) over a longer period (and I would think retailers would like me coming into their store more often, with the chance of buying more on different trips). Ah, well, just one of those comic industry vagaries, I guess. And what I think of as good comics aren’t necessarily agreed upon by others. Anyway, here’s what I enjoyed reading this week.
The Order #7
Namor is threatening to drown San Francisco with a wall of water, so he and Anthem (leader of the team) sit down to negotiate. This is the best superhero team book out today, so of course it’s ending with issue #10. In the meantime, I’ll enjoy the blend of characterization, stunning art, and action. Heck, just in density (the amount of what happens and what we learn), it’s tops of the pack.
The two men go back over Namor’s history while the team on the ground tries to deal with rising panic and riots. I like the way parts of Namor’s speech can be interpreted on multiple levels. “You think you’ll last? Come back to me in forty–in four–years and tell me I’m wrong.” It’s an immortal monarch talking to the new kid on the block… and the established character pointing out how the new ones can’t get the foothold they need to last. Under the superheroics, this issue is a sophisticated exploration of how you draw the line between what’s good and bad, what’s useful and what’s expedient and what’s effective. How “terrorism” is defined by perspective and the nature of superheroes in today’s world. Kudos to Matt Fraction, Barry Kitson, and Jon Sibal.
X-Men First Class #8
The team fights Man-Thing after investigating a swamp time warp that leads to alternate realities, which allows for clever references to well-known other versions of some of the characters. Eric Nguyen’s sketchy art (reproed from pencils?) works well for the more horror-influenced tale that explores the nature of fear. I so admire writer Jeff Parker for doing single-issue stories that have meaning to them.
Young Avengers Presents Patriot #1
Eli Bradley, Patriot, struggles with what patriotism means while adventuring with Hawkeye Kate and following the Winter Soldier (Bucky). A thought-provoking book — the series has yet to really start, but Ed Brubaker sets up the history and motivation of the character in preparation, and it’s inspiring to see heroes acknowledge America’s problems while still trying to live up to the ideal.
The Twelve #1
Surprisingly good! And even more interesting, put in conjunction with the previous, since they both explore the nature of loyalty to one’s country in a time of war. J. Michael Straczynski postulates a group of costumed heroes frozen at the end of World War II as a last-ditch Nazi scheme and awoken today. There’s a strong guy, the token female, and a lot of mystery men with only masks, trenchcoats, and snappy monikers.
Chris Weston and Garry Leach do a great job of building modern, detailed pages with an old-fashioned approach to figures and story-telling. It’s not faux-old comics, but it has an antique feel, especially in body shape (an important factor for authenticity of an earlier period).
I hope the book, in future issues, explores culture clash in depth. My favorite page of this issue was the one where the defrosted reporter (there’s always a reporter secret ID) is figuring out he’s not still in the 40s from the little things he observes. I love that kind of stuff!
Then there were some not so enjoyable ones this week.
Iron Fist #12
I don’t care about the never-ending mystical tournament, and there’s too much macho “what it means to be a man and a fighter” in between. Dropped.
Boring. Jen and Skrull Girl argue about identity and what it means to be a hero. Not funny, not exciting. Still dropped. There are also a couple of backups to make this oversized and justify the extra dollar on the price. I was mildly amused by the one where Jen attacks the Marvel offices. It’s a cliched story, especially for this character, but the style fits better, in my opinion, than the lead moroseness. Even if it’s another example of writer Peter David responding to other writers’ stories by fiat. (This one deals with the question of whether did she/didn’t she with the Juggernaut.)
Astonishing X-Men #24
I gave up on this a long while back. John Cassaday’s art is as lovely as ever and I like most of Joss Whedon’s projects, but I couldn’t keep track of the space opera, and the whole thing seemed written for long-time fans with its air of “remember why they’re so great?” I mention it only because I laughed at the idea of Whedon getting a year’s worth of issues (that took longer to come out) and still not being able to make the planned schedule. The story doesn’t end here, instead needing an upcoming annual for its conclusion.