Sunday, July 4, 2010

Chronic Review: The Week That Was!

It was a big week for cats, folks. I think we all know how I feel about Dex-Starr, the red lantern kitty what pukes up rage enhanced blood on folks. He's awesome. He got a back-up origin story in the latest edition of Green Lantern.

Green Lantern # 55
DC Comics

Script: Geoff Johns
Pencils: Doug Mahnke

We get the big brouhaha with Lobo that was teased last issue, of course. Now, I know on a rational level that I should really despise Lobo. He's a low rent, low brow, previously oversaturated leftover from the 1990s. What Deadpool is now? That was this bastich in the 1990s.

I know I should despise him, but I just don't. Maybe it's the Chronic Insomnia in me that wants to forgive his lowered brow. He's fun, that's it. He's a ridiculously powerful wrecking machine with no moral compass who says a lot of naughty things, and I think there's a place for that in my heart in moderation. And I don't think we're witnessing the beginning of another deluge of the "Main Man" here. It's just a fun little guest spot.

And yes, it's fun to see Lobo cop a bigger attitude and out-Sinestro Sinestro. And you know what? It's fun to watch the jerkwad whisper obscene nothings into Carol's ear. As it turns out, there's a method behind the madness, and from a source we don't expect complex machinations from. As usual, Geoff Johns does good work.

But it's the Dex-Starr origin story that really steals the show, in my opinion. The concept of a blood-puking cat as an intergalactic threat is so absurd that I just can't help but endorse it. You spend half your time thinking to yourself; "How in the world can I take any of this seriously?" You spend the other half thinking; "There's a cat wreaking havoc with it's bloody vomit. Where has this been all my life?"
Turns out that my favorite red lantern started out as baby Dexter, just a regular old kitten. Lived in a house with some folks, everything was all right....for a bit. Horrible things happen to his housemates, and then he gets kicked out into the street, kicked in the bum, and then thrown off a bridge by some guys who just want to hear him go splat. The ring finds him just before impact.

So he's pissed. Which is understandable. His main objective is to find the people who killed his people and then choke death blood on them. He keeps getting roped into side projects by Atrocitus, of course. I don't know if this is legendary as origin stories go, but the more weight they give this character, the more I like it.

Wonder Woman # 600
DC Comics

Scripts: Gail Simone, Amanda Connor, JM Straczynski, etc.

Pencils: George Perez, Amanda Connor, Eduardo Pansica, etc.

Once again we have a major revamp story for one of the DC Trinity by JMS completely trumped by a cute little story that precedes it. Last week we had the Superman overhaul overshadowed by a Dan Jurgens story about Robin.

This week the best element of Wonder Woman's much ballyhooed kick-start is an Amanda Connor story about Power Girl's cat.

Yes, I'm being completely sincere. Nothing wrong with the Gail Simone bit, to be sure. But Amanda Connor's little piece was completely charming, and the story that I'll remember when I think of this book in the future.

After knocking around some tentacled robots, Power Girl asks Wonder Woman for a favor she can't punch her way out of...her cat is unhappy. And leaving messes all over her apartment. So Diana stops by the house, gets a read off the kitty and sets her straight.

You don't own the cat, the cat owns you. Lucky for you, Power Girl, you are his favorite thing. So if you get him in a spot with a few more natural smells and spend a little more time with him, he'll stop freshening up your furniture with his urine.

If this is what Power Girl was like for the first twelve issues, I should have been picking those up.

As for the Straczynski bit that takes a bunch of dynamite to everything we know about Wonder Woman's origin....I don't know what to think about that.

On the one hand, I guess I should expect nothing less. Perhaps even more irritating is the fact the news sites are already littered with interviews that seem to suggest that none of this is likely to stick by design. Maybe I should be impressed that we're at a stage when they're being up front about the illusion of change?

But it still feels like a waste of time to me. And this whole business about an "Odyssey" to find out "who she is" again? Tell me that we didn't just go through this with Heinberg's ill-fated arc when they last re-booted with a new # 1 issue. (entitled "Who is Wonder Woman?", for God's sake) There's just nothing about this that feels like anybody has their hands on the wheel. What it looks like to me is Straczynski doing something thematically similar to what Heinberg just did three years ago, and advertising ahead of time that none of it is going to stick. How shall I get excited about that? Because she's wearing pants now?

Astonishing X-Men # 24
Marvel Comics
Script: Warren Ellis

Pencils: Phil Jimenez

I pretty much dropped this title when Whedon left. Oh, and by the way, Whedon's big swan song with the death of Kitty Pryde? Yeah, they've already erased that "impactful" nugget.

When Ellis first took over, my podcast partner diagnosed his debut as the X-Men sitting around drinking coffee for 22 pages. That was probably a little unfair, but there wasn't anything going on there that compelled me to continue with the title.

What got my attention was the cover. The first comic I ever purchased was Uncanny X-Men # 163, a brood story. So I guess I've got a soft spot in my heart for the alien bastards.

I can't say I have a full grasp on what's going on, because I'm jumping into it at the middle. What I can tell you is that there is wonderful bout of bitching between Hank and Scott that pretty much goes in the "you got served" hall of fame. Hank just verbally takes Scott over his knee and pounds that ass until it's pink. That was more than worth the price of admission right there.

I don't generally think of Phil Jimenez as a top tier artist, but everything in Astonishing # 34 sure looks purdy. The book is still at the $2.99 price point. I'm thinking about adding it back into my mix, because I'm about character interaction, and what Ellis did here was phenomenal.

- Ryan

1 comment:

Aleksandre said...

yep Thats exactly what power Girl was (but better) for the first 12 issues I realy suggest you hund down te issues or get the trades