Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Chronic "Cut To The Chase" Reviews!

Captain America # 615.1
Ed Brubaker/Mitch Breitweiser

If you listened carefully to Chronic Insomnia # 185, you would have noticed that I promised to purchase a Marvel "point one" issue, and then film myself urinating on it.  Stopped at my local comic shop today and had two point one options: Captain America # 615.1, and Thor # 620.1...which to choose, which to choose.

I passed on Thor because it was written by Abnett & Lanning, and I just couldn't imagine the issue could be that bad.  One would think I would have similar thoughts about Ed Brubaker, but honestly, I've been underwhelmed with his recent Cap work.  And then there's the added bonus of the Sacrilege Factor.  Peeing on Captain America?  I just couldn't pass it up.

Trouble is, I just can't bring myself to take a whizz on this comic because it's actually quite good.  Does it work as a jumping on point?  I suppose, after a fashion.  Captain America is in transition, and this issue clearly points in which direction it's heading, and why.

It says something useful to reader about the characters contained therein, the story has a bit of a twist without resorting to labyrinthine confusion, and packs what ordinarily amounts to a 4 issue arc into one satisfying story chunk.  In short, Captain America 615.1 is mostly what a "point one" should be, and everything that a regular comic should strive to be.  So I can't unleash my bladder upon it.  Doh!

Supergirl # 62
James Peaty/Bernard Chang

A couple of things are pretty clear to me after reading Supergirl # 62.  Thing # 1:  this is not Nick Spencer's book, it's James Peaty's book.  The graphic on the front that says "James Peaty" on it with no mention of Spencer anywhere probably should have been a good clue, but what can I say?  I need to see it, I guess.

Thing # 2: James Peaty's work stands on its own just fine.  I think he won me over last month when he had Kara threaten those two little D-Bags on the roof.  My problem with Supergirl has been about relating to a whining little girl with an inferiority complex trying to "prove" herself.  If you like that, fine, but I don't.

Peaty's Supergirl swears in Kryptonian, makes moves, and plants bad guys onto their asses.  She might not always be right, and she's quite aware of the fact that she is not Kal El.  But this is not a mopefest or a girlie book, which probably makes it infinitely more attractive to a female audience.

I dig it.  Nice work by Bernard Chang and also Blond on colors.  That shimmering effect on the action shots?  It probably makes me an art barbarian, but I thought it was great.

Silver Surfer # 2/4
Greg Pak/Harvey Tolibao & Stephen Segovia

Norrin Radd has been de-Surferized, which should probably tell you all you need to know about the book's appeal for you.  Some people will consider that a non-Surfer story and in instant pass.  I consider it more interesting than your average Surfer story for that reason alone.

Norrin Radd is still largely boring, even in his more vulnerable state.  What's hilarious to me are the scenes were Pak implies that Radd's feeling a little stirring in his newly rediscovered loins for the technomancer helping him escape.  If you'd been trapped in that silver skin for God knows how long, you might be a little distracted with friskiness yourself!  I think it's a little obvious, but also fun.

So far I don't consider this "must reading" by any stretch, but we're not done yet, either.  If Pak can somehow get tiny little Norrin Radd to beat the High Evolutionary in a plausible manner that doesn't involve help from his big purple daddy, this might actually pay off in a big way.

Osborn # 4/5
Kelly Sue DeConnick/Emma Rios

I'm not sure what good it will do to lay any more superlatives onto this series, which has been a delightful surprise from the start.  I guess I'll lay a few more on, because I'm not noticing a great deal of buzz surrounding Osborn and can't fathom why that is.

Osborn's ego is now towering in the book, as it should be since it bears his name.  One of the many beauties of DeConnick's work in this series is that you're forced to take him seriously while recognizing his weaknesses.  Norah Winters is cool in this book, which almost seems impossible.  The spider guy is cool.  Everthing in Osborn betrays a lot of care and craft.

This might be the best thing Marvel has going outside of Hickman's Fantastic Four.  I think it's time that Kelly Sue DeConnick gets her own book, preferably a high profile one.

- Ryan

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