November 26, 2014

A whole lot of comics and one crappy Lego book

Really good things I've read lately
  • Flash: Rogues Revolution (vol 2) and Gorilla Warfare (vol 3) (new 52) - The relaunch of Flash is working really well. I dig the artwork; I dig the change of romantic interest from Iris Allen to Patty Spivot, a crime scene investigator and Barry Allen's professional equal. I dig the redesign of the Glider from stupid, golden skater to mostly intangible astral projection. I dig the idea of Speed Force as being a weird dimension.

    I really, really dig the artwork.

    Sadly I couldn't read the first volume as the library copy I checked out had a bunch of pages ripped out. Stupid teenagers

Good things I've read lately
  • Action Comics: Superman and the Men of Steel (vol 1), Bulletproof (vol 2), and At the End of Days (vol 3) (new 52) - I haven't been a huge fan of Grant Morrison's writing, finding Batman (Black Glove, et al) and Final Crisis needlessly complicated, hard to follow, and difficult to understand. There are time-jumps a plenty, multidimensional villains, and attacks that aren't even remotely what they appear to be. These stories work only on the very, very long term, rewarding readers for paying attention to and remembering story breadcrumbs laid down years previously.

    Here, it actually kind of works. Admittedly, though, the three-volume storyline is far greater than the individual issue parts are on their own. In fact, at times, the individual issues were somewhat confusing, jumping from past to future, new 52 universe to an Earth-23's President Black Superman. In the end, though, Morrison actually brings things together to a satisfying wrap-up.
  • Invincible Ultimate Collection Volume 9 -  Admittedly, there's a bit of save-the-world fatigue at this point in Invincible because the world has been nearly destroyed dozens and dozens of times, the Viltrumites have fought again and again, and Mark has been left for dead dozens of times.

    But it just keeps working.

    Every time I think the series's gone too far, I keep wanting to read more. The cliffhanger at the end of this volume - with Mark trapped in another dimension - has me biting my nails again. Nice job, Kirkman.
  • Fairest: Of Men and Mice - Cinderella takes the series for a run here with something that certainly would have fit in tidely in the main series. In fact, much of the storyline ties in neatly to the building tension of the main series's impending wrap-up as we find in the end that a plot set into running by Brandish (now trying to redeem himself in Rose Red's army of hope) is nearly seen to fruition by an Leigh who ends this volume practically laughing maniacally and rubbing her hands together.

    The actual plot sees Cindy quelling an assassination attempt against her and Snow White, attempts involving hundreds of rat-human hybrids of varying levels of ratness and humanness (yes, humanness, shut up). The plotline wraps up neatly enough and isn't much more than an unnecessary sideline from the main series's continuing march toward the inevitable. Let's get back to the main tale, shall we?
  • X-Men Legacy (vol 1-4) - This exploration of Legion (Prof X's son) mental illness and attempts to right his world and control his powers is surprisingly interesting. Definitely worth a try.

Passable things I've read lately
  • How to Fake a Moon Landing -  I really wanted to like this one. It's a graphic novel/comic book/picture story that points out that science disbelievers are misguided. The book tackles moon landing disbelievers, autism-vaccine linkers, homeopath purveyors, and all sorts of other mistaken folks.

    I wanted to like it, but I just didn't. It's too one-note, too pedantic, lacking any subtlety whatsoever. Maybe younger readers might be more willing to read through this lack of subtlety, but I only made it through about half the book before I sent it back to PLCH.
  • Batgirl: Knightfall Descends (vol 2) and Death of the Family (vol 3) (new 52) - First off, I was embarrassed to even pick up vol Knightfall Descends because of the horrible cover. Apparently the artist was trying to come up with a horrifically sexist cover showing off Batgirl's apparently massive quads and a spandex-covered view of the holiest of holies. I couldn't carry the comic around without covering it up with another book. Good lord, folks. (Check out the image to the right to make it larger)

    The continued exploration of the after effects of Barbara Gordon's shooting and temporary paralysis at the hands of the Joker (in the still kind of in-continuity Killing Joke) is an interesting and likely necessary choice if they're going to keep Barbara Gordon's past in continuity. The girl Talon, continuing the Court of Owls crossover is happily passed by quickly. The weird, girl version of Jean-Paul Valley/Azrael named Knightfall here (referencing the broken-back storyline from the old 52) comes next...meh. The best part of the Batgirl series so far has been the search of Batgirl to find independence, finding her own apartment, making a new friend with her roommate. The villains here are forgettable.

    Then comes the crapfest that is Death of the Family. CRAPfest...the face ripped off and stapled back on Joker is a whole bunch of horrible ideas, as is the 'Joker wants to marry Batgirl'. Even worse is the introduction of Barbara's brother James, Jr as a horribly psychotic, disastrous badguy who knows Barbara is Batgirl. Bad, bad, bad idea and execution.
  • Superman: Fury at World's End (new 52) - Meh...Superman and Wonder Woman hide their relationship from fellow heroes...the biggest threat (another Kryptonian but with super science ability and superpowers that Superman and Supergirl don't have) ever to Earth to the whole solar system EVER...zzzzz

    Yes, the sight of Clark Kent talking to Lois Lane while thinking about Wonder Woman followed immediately with Supergirl barging into Clark's apartment - which Lois dismisses as Clark doing 'blog interviews with comely cosplayers.'

    And the entertaining prison traps built around Lex Luthor - traps which only Superman can break through when he needs to talk to Luthor - are pretty fun.

    But the actual plotline isn't very interesting.

Awful things I've read lately
  • Brick Flicks -  Good lord is this stupid. It's a collection of film photos or posters recreated in the medium of Lego. There is almost no Lego-related information - no discussion of the Lego techniques involved, a very few wordless photography building instructions (which alternate between ridiculously, pointlessly simplistic and ridiculously hard to follow due to the gigantic jumps made between steps), just a few paragraphs of tepid movie summaries with a cute closing sentence.

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