Sunday, September 11, 2005

Pull List and Reviews for 09/08

We’re gonna try something a little different this week!
Since I ACTUALLY got down to the store, and ACTUALLY had money to buy books… ta-da! Reviews of what came out this week, plus a few other things in my box and what I actually thought of them…

At Least This Week, The Books Were Late!

Pull/Review List from 09/08:

- Serenity #3 – Wash Cover!

For a book that has Wash on the cover, there was sadly little Alan Tudyk action on the inside.

This is the finale of Serenity, an series that leads right into the movie of the same name that opens at the end of the month. Based on Joss Whedon's show Firefly, if you like the show, if you’re going to see the movie, then you’ll probably like this comic. Sadly, I didn't see much in this book to draw the average comic reader towards the box-office on the 30th, as something about the show’s characterizations and pace is lost when adapted to tiny boxes. Much of that can be attributed to the truly excellent acting on the show, but also the story inside is a bit rushed, probably to get all the issues out in time for the movie. Had they given it a little more time, we could have gotten more of the people, a better set up for the villains, and perhaps a little clearer depiction of the action, which gets a little confusing as to what’s actually happening in the end of the book.

If this was your first dip into the Firefly universe, go see the movie or Netflix the show anyway. And if you’re buying it because you love the show as much as I do, hell, this review is meaningless anyway.

- Ex Machina Vol 2. – Tag;


Even in trade format, how they haunt me.

This second arc about a superhero that becomes Mayor of New York delves further into the extra-terrestrial source of Mayor Hundred’s ability to talk to machinery, and how exposure to it hasn’t affected everyone else in such a positive way. It’s a good superhero story in of itself, but that’s not REALLY what this book is about.

Vaughn uses science fiction, like any good sci-fi writer, as a springboard to discuss social issues, from School Vouchers to Same-Sex Marriage. While I don’t agree with everything said in the book, and Mayor Hundred sounds a bit pompous occasionally, I fully buy that’s how the characters would express their beliefs.

On top of that, he tackles something that I haven’t seen tried anywhere else, and that’s an Elseworlds-esque take on the bombings in New York on September 11th. In the book, the main character is an engineer, a superhero who can talk to machines. So when one plane crashes into a skyscraper in his hometown, he rockets (literally), to the towers, and commands the second plane to land, saving thousands of lives. It’s respectfully executed, realistically done, and just really bold of someone to do.

While I do tend to be a bit writer-centric, again Vaughn has found a team of artists who manage to illustrate his story stunningly. Tony Harris’ pencils manage to give ludicrous things like The Great Machine’s costume a layer of humanity on top of the fantastic, while still creating a realistic New York and it’s populous. People have different body types and are expressive, something which I appreciate more and more. Tom Feister and JD Metter on respective inks and colors bring the book alive. Applause all around.

- Gotham Central #35;

This is the best book DC or Marvel is publishing.

Another great chapter of this story of dead Robins, a concept witch was inspired to begin with.

Buy it, add it to your sub-list, order the first two trades and feverishly hunt down all of the back issues.

- Villains United #5 of 6;

People seem to be going bat-shit over this series, but to me, it’s lost some steam since the first issue. Gail Simone pulled a great slight-of-hand when the book came out, changing the focus from what people assumed was going to be the Secret Society of Super Villains and instead giving us principles like Ragdoll, Cheshire, Deadshot and Cat-Man of all people. But as of a few issues ago, we’re getting a bit too much “behind the closed doors of the society” nonsense, where instead of spending more time with the mismatched characters that make the book interesting, we get to see Lex Luthor in a meeting with Vandal Savage. While it provides for a few humorous quips, it lacks substance. Cat-Man and the rest suffer a bit, sort of just re-saying and re-doing everything they’ve been saying and doing for three issues now. Even the big, two-page “LOOKIE ALL THE VILLIANS” spread seems a bit stale five issues in.

Also of note, two characters who haven’t appeared since the first Crisis show up, something that is explained and speculated on with far more detail and expertise here, as my pre-Crisis DC lore is rusty, at best.

- Y: The Last Man #37;

I need to change my background image to one of Greg Rucka and Brian K. Vaughn skipping hand-in-hand, happy that they’re bringing good comics to me near weekly. It seems every Pull List now, I’m writing up 3 or 4 books I’m sort of lukewarm on, and then doing back flips over something put out by one of these two gentlemen. Coincidence? Fanboy over-hype? Simply good writing? I choose the later.

Yorick Brown’s story continues as he finally reaches the place he set out for in issue one – Australia. GOD, TAKE FOREVER, YORICK. So what, there were no trains to the coast! So what you couldn’t take a plane! So what you had to contend with Lesbian Pirates! Beth’s not going to wait around forever, there are other fish in the sea… oh yeah, “last man on earth.”

This ish is told from the point of view of a reporter hunting down rumors of that aforementioned last man, and it affords Vaughn the opportunity for lots of winking and nodding at the reader regarding our hero’s previous adventures, and boy does he take them! It’s still a damn good read, and with only twenty-some issues to go in the series, I hold each issue even dearer than the one before.

Also in this issue: COCK!

- Ultimate Spider-Man #82;

I don’t know what it is about the way Bagley draws Black Cat, but she reminds me of a girl i knew from high school. It’s not so much the way she looks, but it’s the black, latex cat suit.

Wait. Reverse that.

Anyway, damn. For all the nonsense Spider-Man puts up with in the Ultimate Universe, he forever out-pimps both his regular Marvel U counterpart and Luke Cage combined. He gets a new girlfriend in the Annual, and now the Black Cat comes back and all but jumps his barely post-pubescent bones. We also get a little taste of Moon-Knight who is, not suprisingly, less interesting than either Spidey, Black Cat or Elektra, also in this book. I know Marvel’s trying to re-vamp him a bit, but don’t we have team-up books or crappy, regular Marvel Universe Spider-Man books you can toss Moon Knight in? Put him in New Avengers or something, there’s enough going on in this title.

So that’s it, kind of a slow week. Tomorrow or Tuesday I’m back with some reviews of books released weeeeeks ago that I finally bought (The Sacrifice arc and it’s aftermath, mostly), as well as an article on that pesky game Animal Crossing, which has sapped most of my time for writing into it’s vortex of pretend fishing and pretend paleontology.


- One last time; For Lily.

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