Friday, June 22, 2012

Week in Review 6/22/12

Saga #4
Writer: Brian K. Vaughan
Artist: Fiona Staples
Company: Image Comics
The Naughty has been released! Sex, relationships, and humanity, those are the items that are on the docket for this fourth issue of BKV's new series. Each one, approached and expressed in his keen and conversational style, shines in its own way. Staples' vision of the Sextillion, a place of business where, "Whatever and whoever you desire," is probably a catchphrase that gets thrown around alot, runs the gamut between sexy and creepy. Her colors are beautiful and evocative and the cover, with its sunshine-y yellow brightness just begs to be picked up. The alien-ness of the place in question though is what rings so true and how Vaughan weaves in more information about The Will as we delve through the levels of debauchery makes for a very enjoyable read. Also, the humor between Marko and Alana and the book's newest member, Izabel, is a constant source of entertainment. That they feel like "real" people is such an achievement, yet it shouldn't be a surprise, considering that's what BKV does every time he puts pen to paper. Or maybe it's keystroke to computer at this point. Who knows? I only know that every issue is better than the previous one.

Wonder Woman #10
Writer: Brian Azzarello
Artists: Tony Akins & Kano 
Company: DC Comics
One of, if not the, most enjoyable issue of Wonder Woman so far. Not only do we get the completion of the Wonder Woman tying the not with Hades story line, hip deep in weird and gore and skin crawl moments, but there's something else in these waters: A definition of who Wonder Woman is. A lot of friends who've read the first collection of the run have told me that this book, while good, doesn't feel like a Wonder Woman comic. That it feels more like a God book that happens to have Wonder Woman in it. I could see the complaint, but the way Azzarello defines her, done so simply, helps make a lot of what has happened make sense. The art, while not Cliff Chiang, continues to be rather nice. Akins' storytelling continues to grow and be much more in the moment and less inducing of puzzlement. Giant monsters leap off the page and towers of blood look to seep into your dreams. It all carries a very otherworldly presence and that is exactly the kind of thing that you need. And talk about endings. The aim is indeed true here on just about every level. 

Catwoman #10
Writer: Judd Winick
Artist: Guillem March
Company: DC Comics
A more middle of the road outing for the Catwoman team, though I am liking the progression of her character and the way that Winick is focusing on the split that she's having in her brain. Is she a bad girl or a good girl or a bad girl with good tendencies. We've seen it before, but it's well illustrated here and the fact that Winick likes to throw in copious amounts of action doesn't seem to hurt things. Guillem March continues to prove that he draws the sexy ladies like no other. Not just that though, he's a talented all around artist and the focus and energy that he brings with him in the lines that he draws boosts the enjoyment factor into the red. His rendition of a gun battle in an urban environment here was especially exciting. I was certainly sad to see that March was perhaps leaving Catwoman to move on to the recently announced Talon ongoing, but I imagine the work there will be just as good. All in all, this issue moves the plot forward a bit, reveals a few things that we didn't know before, but it's the focus on our heroine and her state of mind that stand out the most.

Avengers Academy #32
Writer: Christos Gage
Artist: Timothy Green II
Company: Marvel Comics
While the majority of the Avengers vs X-Men tie-ins have felt a little flat or just ho-hum, Christos Gage's work on Avengers Academy is entirely the opposite. He gets the idea of a team book like few do and has the chops to pull all of the varying characters and their baggage and tell such a fun story. That they're kids, which are generally some of the hardest characters to get right and pull off without it seeming forced, only adds to his esteem. That Gage uses off beat characters such as Juston and his friend, the Sentinel, and is able to really tackle X-23's cold blooded attitude while still making her seem human, all in the midst of one of the Phoenix 5 showing up and forcing them to choose sides...Well, it's a whopper of an issue, let's keep it at that. Green's artwork is right there too. There are a few inconsistencies here and there, but he reminds me of an early era Chris Bachalo, minus the muddiness.  It's clean, has great impact, and gels with the youthful tale being told. 

Birds of Prey #10
Writer: Duane Swierczynski
Artist: Travel Foreman
Company: DC Comics
On a mission to revitalize a Poison Ivy Popsicle, the Birds run afoul of something much larger which sends them scattering into the jungle. While I do think that Swierczynski is peppering the book with some interesting ideas, there's not a lot of meat here to chew on. The issue reads rather quickly and doesn't deliver as much punch as you'd like. I do like the ambiguity of the team and I still think this version of Katana, with her Husband-Soul Sword in tow, is the best we've seen in awhile. The other characters though don't have too much in the way of eye catching character. Foreman, who really made a name for himself on Animal Man before he switched over to Birds of Prey, turns in some decent work. His plant monsters look like something out of The Rot and not something that seems to gel with the characters in question, though with Ivy there, I guess it makes sense. The action however is definitely his strong suit. The ninja antics and the punching and stabbing is about as cool as you can get, with his lithe lines and fluid motion. Still, a disappointing outing. I want to like this book, but it's a little too much like a yo-yo. One moment its good and the other it dips into blah-land.

DC Universe Presents #10
Writer: James Robinson
Artist: Bernard Chang
Company: DC Comics
Silence of the Lambs, the DCU remake. Well, that's at least where the first issue of this three part story seemed to be going. The similarities continue with this one, but Robinson changes things up with how he plays up the relationship between Father and Daughter. It has its creepy factor, most definitely, but the way he writes Savage, with his blase attitude towards the human race, is where the fun lays. That sequence of back and forth dialogue is snappy and smacks of sizzle pop. The kidnapping and the case that is being explored by our "heroes" is really just a backdrop, a way to put the characters in the spotlight. I will say that the book isn't without its problems. The pacing, which initially I thought would be great with this being a small series, seems to be a bit of a detriment. It's moving too fast and where it feels that things have just gotten started, they're already about to end. Also, the notion of allowing a serial killer of such monstrous proportions out of prison is a hard pill to swallow, but its a comic and it's needed for the story, so I can roll with it. Chang's artwork bobbles a bit. It's fine in areas but it isn't perfect. I do like his action though and that he's able to replicate cool looking weapons and vehicles. I harp on that kind of thing, but it adds so much and I appreciate it. The Savage story is a bit bumpy at the moment, but the character bits are the glue that holds it all together.

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