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Thursday, December 21, 2006
Best of the week: Comics bought 16 December
Okay, it was another big week for comics this week. Combine this with the last week having been pretty busy, and you get a late post. A long post, too.

So I'd better get on with it.

Previous weeks:

Cover of the week:

The Spirit #1 by Darwyn Cooke

Quote of the week:

"So what's with all your drama? I mean, the hat and mask don't hide much... Is it how you get your freak on?"
- Ginger Coffee, asking the Spirit about his "man of mystery" look

Best of the week:

Gen 13 #3
DC Comics / Wildstorm
Written by Gail Simone
Art by Talent Caldwell and Mark "Batt" Banning
Covers by Talent Caldwell and Mark "Batt" Banning; and Adam Warren

Cover by Talent Caldwell and Mark "Bat" Banning pictured

After the pace slowed down slightly with #2, I was slightly worried that Gen 13 would be losing momentum, bringing it down to the standards of some of the previous runs of the series.

By the look of the third issue, it appears that my concern was unfounded - thus far, at least. The Gen 13 kids have escaped from IO, and are on the run. And naturally, shenanigans ensue.

Add Gail Simone's gift for characterisation and humour, and you get a hell of an entertaining read. Talent Caldwell and Matt Banning's art more than suffices - while he maintains a cartoony style, he manages to capture the characters' emotions wonderfully.

Justice League of America #4
DC Comics
Written by Brad Meltzer
Art by Ed Benes and Sandra Hope
Covers by Michael Turner; and JG Jones

Cover by JG Jones pictured

Gen 13 isn't the only series which appeared to be losing steam; Justice League of America also appeared to be following the same route. Unlike Grant Morrison's huge opening arc for JLA, writer Brad Meltzer is bringing the story along slowly, building mystery and tension, with a strong focus on characterisation. It's now abundantly clear that this is a completely different beast to it's predecessor.

The team hasn't officially "formed" yet, but the action's there. Starros are attacking the heroes, as well as villains, and the issue concludes with a nice twist.

Ed Benes and Sandra Hope's art is nothing short of astounding. If they can continue to keep getting their work out on time, it could quite possibly be one of the greatest artistic runs in recent history.

The Spirit #1
DC Comics
Written by Darwyn Cooke
Art by Darwyn Cooke and J Bone
Cover by Darwyn Cooke

From my quote of the week along with my cover of the week being from this issue, it probably comes as no real surprise that this issue falls within the best of the week. A stark contrast from the terrible Jeph Loeb penned Batman/The Spirit, this issue is actually good - fucking good, to be precise!

While Loeb's introduction gave us hokey characters and a ridiculous plot, this issue manages to keep a light hearted tone, with humour that actually works. Furthermore, Darwyn Cooke has managed to bring this pulp, Golden Age hero into the 21st century, without sacrificing any of the inherent charm seen throughout Eisner's work.

Cooke's art is as beautiful as always, and presents the issue with a timeless feel. The comic is recommended for anyone who likes great comics.

X-23: Target X #1
Marvel Comics
Written by Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost
Art by Michael Choi
Cover by Michael Choi

Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost are an interesting pair of writers. On one hand, the original X-23 miniseries was brilliant stuff; but on the other, when integrating the character into New X-Men, it fell completely flat. Luckily, X-23: Target X is following the standard set by her original miniseries.

The first issue of this sequel follows X-23, shortly after the events of the previous miniseries. She's continuing her journey of self discovery, and is alone for the first time in her life.

Michael Choi's art is a departure from Billy Tan's, but the style suits the story perfectly. It's a serious take, and he manages to capture the essence of the characters - particularly the titular X-23 - excellently, as well as provides some awesome pieces of action. Excellent stuff.

It's the most wonderful time of the year...

DCU: Infinite Holiday Special
DC Comics
Written by Keith Champagne, Bill Willingham, Joe Kelly, Tony Bedard, Ian Boothby, Greg Rucka, and Kelley Puckett, with Dan DiDio
Art by John Byrne, Keith Champagne, Cory Walker, Ale Garza, Marcos Marz, Luciana Del Negro, Guiseppe Camuncoli, Lorenzo Ruggiero, Christian Alamy, and Pete Woods, with Phil Jiminez.
Cover by Howard Porter

I'll get this out of the way first. In a ridiculous display of political correctness, DC changed the title of this from Infinite Christmas to Infinite Holiday. It appears that the dreaded "C" word is still offensive, and so much so, that DC will give up the Infinite Crisis pun to not use it.

As for the comic itself, it's a mostly successful compilation of Christmas stories, briefly outlined below:
  • "A Hector Hammond Christmas" is a tale of Green Lantern giving the villain memories of Christmases in his past. A little heavy handed, but enjoyable.
  • "Christmas Spirits" is a hilarious Shadowpact story about Santa asking the Shadowpact for help from the terrorist group calling themselves the Anti-Christmas League.
  • "All I Want For Christmas..." is a take on Roger Stern's Metropolis Mailbag stories about Superman at Christmas; this time feauturing Supergirl.
  • "Gift of the Magi" is an enjoyable take on what Christmas means to the pantheon of the SHAZAM mythological gods, with some mystery and action thrown in.
  • "Father Christmas" sees the Flash helping a father make Christmas special for his daughter - and is far better than Bilson and DeMeo have accomplished on the title.
  • "Lights" is the issue's token Hanukah story; a heart-warming tale featuring Batwoman and a menorah.
  • "Yes, Tyrone, There Is a Santa Claus" is a stupid, silly, wacky Elseworlds take on Superman's plans to play Santa Claus for a kid, featuring some great moments with Batman.

I didn't read the originals:

Fallen Angel Volume 1 trade paperback
DC Comics
Written by Peter David
Art by David Lopez and Fernando Blanco
Covers by Brian Stelfreeze

This trade paperback collects the first twelve issues of Fallen Angel's critically acclaimed run at DC. The series was unceremoniously cancelled by DC, leading to IDW picking it up, and printing the fantastic run.

Having missed the DC issues, I finally grabbed this trade paperback, and to be perfectly honest, I found myself slightly disappointed. Don't get me wrong, it's good - but it's not quite up to the standard of the latter IDW issues.

I don't know if it comes down to Peter David having more freedom at IDW, or just teething issues early on, but it's just lacking the certain magic of the current run.

It's still more than worth reading, though.

The New Teen Titans: Terra Incognito trade paperback
DC Comics
Written by Marv Wolfman
Art by George Perez and Romeo Tanghal
Covers by
George Perez and Romeo Tanghal

From this trade paperback, it's easy to see why the Wolfman/Perez run on The New Teen Titans is considered a classic to this day. Sure, parts of it are dated, and by today's standards, the dialogue is dodgy, but the issues manage to cram in action, adventure, and characterisation, and have room left for humour.

This collection collects the early issues in the Terra saga, right from where Changeling rescues her for the first time. It also chronicles the tragic origin of Adrian Chase, leading to him donning the Vigilante costume.

A great read, which reminds me of just how good some of the classics are.

  • Green Lantern Corps just failed to hold my attention
  • Tales of the Unexpected has been meandering
  • Bullet Points had a terrible first issue, so I wasn't gonna stick around for more

Other bits and pieces:
  • 52 was a solid read
  • Green Arrow was enjoyable, but dropped a bit from the last couple of story arcs
  • Ghost Rider was fun, and featured great art from horror maestro Richard Corben
  • Fallen Angel was entertaining
  • Devi is spiralling down into crap very very quickly

Everything I got this week:
  • 52 Week 32
  • Batman #660
  • Dark Tower: Gunslinger Born Sketchbook
  • DCU: Infinite Holiday Special
  • Devi #6
  • Fallen Angel #11
  • Fallen Angel Volume 1 trade paperback
  • Gen 13 #3
  • Ghost Rider #6
  • Green Arrow #69
  • Justice League of America #4
  • Martian Manhunter #5
  • The New Teen Titans: Terra Incognito trade paperback
  • The Spirit #1
  • Strange Girl #12
  • Trials of Shazam #4
  • X-23: Target X #1
posted by Batmite 10:06 pm  
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