January 9, 2009

A Slow Friday Night

The Girl went to a friend's house for a girls' night last Friday, so I took advantage and hung out at Barnes & Noble...'cause I'm awesome...I'm going to go with general impressions, not always fully fleshed out details...

Red Hulk
  • fun read
  • entertaining gags like Rulk hitting a Watcher
  • after World War Hulk kind of anticlimactic...seems to power down the Hulk himself to a far weaker version than WWH had
  • does continue to show Hulk as force of nature, someone that nearly every Marvel character has to be afraid of and plan for
  • the new Red Hulk character is interesting, a calculating Hulk willing to use stealth as well as brute strength, destruction of Hellicarrier without even seeing Red Hulk is an interesting but unsatisfying take
  • kind of a mystery story in terms of who the Red Hulk is - clear hints but no revelation in this volume
  • but in the end, it's ultimately unsatisfying because the Hulk just beats the Red Hulk in the end but doesn't kill him...meh
Justice League of America: Injustice League
  • neat intro scenes mimicking Superman, Batman, WW with Luthor, Joker, Cheetah
  • seriously? Cheetah is your token female villain to run the thing? weak
  • overall dumb story with a few interesting scenes here and there
  • the whole "we're just making Superman mad" bit from Luthor is lame
  • why not just kill a superhero instead of beating the crap out of them to make him mad - wouldn't killing one of them make him even madder?
  • the idea of kryptonite paint from Joker being sprayed into Superman's face is kind of fun
  • the villains lose...again...no shock there...
  • the touch of having Amanda Waller show up to arrest the villains and send them to Salvation Run which was epicly boring and bad
  • see the full Injustice League lineup here
  • spot-on review over at Collected Editions
Ultimate X-Men: Absolute Power
  • I'm predisposed to love just about any Marvel Ultimate book
  • reading them in the episodic format of trade paperbacks only does make it tough to remember which X-group (Earth-616 or Ultimate) is doing what
  • fascinating to see where each character is taken in the Ultimate world - sometimes in similar ways and with similar story tropes but going in totally different directions as what Earth-616 did
  • the Colossus-Northstar relationship is interesting
  • tertiary mutations and the Alpha Flight team also interesting
  • allegory to steroid usage a bit forced
  • I dig the interconnectedness of the whole Ultimate universe - heroes constantly discussing each other...seems like a much smaller world
  • the origins of the banshee drug from Logan/Wolverine bring us that much closer to Ultimatum which has me kinda excited
  • the Phoenix turn is being dragged out much longer than the original saga did, and it's very hard to follow just what's happening in the Ultimate world versus in Jean's head
Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
  • I'm furious that I mistakenly picked up and listened to the abridged version of this one - gotta pay more attention to things in the future
  • enjoyed what I got to listen to
  • wondered why the story seemed so jumpy, but that explains a lot of it
  • still annoyed that I got the abridged version
  • love the sense of family that develops throughout the book
  • the parallels to real comic book history - Siegel & Shuster, Jack Kirby - are fascinating for somebody who knows at least some of that history
  • makes me want to get all of Chabon's books and work through each of them
Superman/Batman: The Search for Kryptonite
  • this is why I love DC comics...great ongoing series
  • haven't read Torment yet, so Supes's comment about being drugged by Scarecrow surprised me
  • love the continuing use of the new Toyman and his obsession with Power Girl
  • don't know how I feel about Lana Lang's part here - seems to go fully against everything that we know about her...saw an interview with the writers that they're going to explain that, and they'd better
  • final page of Batman kind of undermines what we'd gotten to along the way, but it fits with the character
  • great artwork, great characterization (love the Batman scene in the volcano)
  • absolutely worth buying
Batman & the Outsiders: The Chrysalis
  • sucks
  • no, really...this sucks
  • I thought Batman was back into the mode of working with others, trusting people...this one flies entirely in the face of that development
  • I've seen this a half dozen times - Batman doesn't trust the people he has working for him, thinks he's better than them, knows more than them - leads to distrust
  • reuniting Geo-Force, Metamorpho, Black Lightning, Katana is a nice nod to the old fans like me
  • Katana looks like a stupid tramp in this one...keeps running around in a bustier
  • too many heroes being added then subtracted, too many bad guys jumping in and out - no coherence, no characterization
  • back to the bastard Batman, which I don't enjoy
Ultimate Spider Man: And His Amazing Friends
  • This should be required reading for every teen trying to find their way in the world - gorgeous depiction of teens solving problems and talking their way through them - and the problems are always worse than real life ones
  • revelation of another of Peter's friends as a mutant - the first three issues of this collection - is marvelously well done
  • the whole five issues explore the community of friends that Spidey has built up around him at the school that he attends
  • there might not be a better choice for entry-level comic readers (especially teens) than this series
  • the final issue (the worst day in Peter Parker's life is also surprisingly moving
  • the series balances teen angst and humor brilliantly
Ultimate Iron Man II
  • the freaky bit about Tony Stark regenerating like a lizard is very weird but it works for me
  • Obadiah Stane is a very weird kid
  • I wish I'd read this one sooner after reading the first one
  • love the computer-aided artwork
  • Tony's life is amazingly messed up, and the main villain in the book (once eventually revealed) had fingers in a whole lot of Tony-related pies
  • I enjoy not having Tony as a part of SHIELD/Civil War again
  • the nanites that Tony uses in this volume are a bit of a cure-all / magic for him...kinda neat
  • I hope they continue this series from time to time
  • I like the idea of treating comic series like seasons on a tv show...tell your story, get out...done
X-Men: Messiah Complex
  • finally, an X-Men story that I can mostly follow
  • interesting that Astonishing isn't a part of the cross-over - wonder if that's because of the various delays on that title
  • there's a whole lot of history behind this story, but I think I actually get a fair bit of it - having read Astonishing actually helped that a lot
  • the X-Men's penchant for time travel - to the alternate future that might or might not happen - tends to leave me cold, but this one kind of held together
  • the entirety of the cross-over seems written by one author rather than outlined and then filled in by the authors on each series
  • the various artwork from different artists, however, was very different but was okay - the main series' better than the Young X-Men artwork, however
  • there are a whole lot of players in this play...be sure you can keep track of them
  • as the X-Men stories become more and more involved, more and move self-contained, I would imagine that regular Marvel readers have to sort of decide whether they're following the Marvel-616 universe or whether they're following the X-Men...more and more rarely do the two interact even though they're supposedly in the same world
  • I prefer the Ultimate Marvel world where everybody clearly is in the same world
Tell Tale Signs
  • one cd for free on NPR, two cds for $18.99, three cds for $129.99 - wow...just...wow
  • continuing the Bootleg Series now on eight volumes and about a dozen discs
  • great review at ew.com
  • the liner notes are hilariously overblown and way too self-important - including one point where a song is praised by saying "here's a prime example of how an artist's first instincts are usually correct" and the next song by saying that "it's always wonderful to hear early takes and see how a song evolves under Dylan's tutelage" - for all future music writers out there, at least wait a few lines before contradicting yourself
  • all songs focused on the time since (and including) Oh Mercy - surprisingly fertile times for Dylan in his late career
  • very interesting to get demo-ish versions of songs like "Dignity", "Most of the Time", "Series of Dreams", "Mississippi"
  • I'm currently downloading the torrent of the third disc because the library (appropriately) didn't buy the three-disc version
  • I'll be making a bootleg copy of that third disc and sending it to The Mother when I'm all done - she's kinda a big fan of Jack Frost
  • too many reviews point out that Dylan was the first artist to be widely bootleged via the Great White Wonders
  • EW's comparison of the Beatles' Anthology where the boys were always looking for the perfect version of each song versus Dylan's Bootleg Series where Dylan is showing that there are dozens of different versions of every song - all of which are equally good/valid/worthwhile - is an interesting and very much spot-on comparison
  • this one's for the completistst, but I do very much enjoy it...one of the most enjoyable Bootleg Series entries since the first three-disc one


joey said...

that dylan pricing scheme just asks for piracy. stupid.

PHSChemGuy said...

Agreed...and I usually try to be decent about buying things instead of stealing them...

but here, I went full torrent

achilles3 said...

abridged!!!!!! that's gross
I read a The Yiddish Policeman's Union by Chabon and it's awesome too.