Thursday, November 26, 2009

Wednesday Is Any Day For All I Care #48

Captain Action Comics #3.5
Justice League of America #39 (2009)
The Talisman: The Road of Trials #0
Vampirella: The Second Coming #2

Captain Action Comics #3.5 (Moonstone, 2009, $1.99)
According to a text piece, the publishers of this comic were unhappy with the original third issue of this series within the context of a planned trade collection, so they decided to produce a "do over." Original writer Fabian Nicieza received a plotting credit, but this "3.5" was written by Steven Grant. That tells me a lot, as does a text synopsis shabbily pasted over a third of the story's first page, which the editors failed to adequately proof. Even then, the tale is this mise-en-scène mess that makes little sense on its own, beyond a stupid fight scene and gobs of exposition. Where the zero issue from a year and a half ago was a guilty pleasure, this was a ten page Marvel Age teaser with an additional five pages of biographies for characters that mean nothing to me based on the former. The art is still pretty but stiff photo-reference-a-palooza.

Justice League of America #39 (DC, 2009, $3.99)
I recognize this is the second part of a forced company wide crossover that is swiftly becoming stale through repetition of its initially novel aspects, so it may be too soon to declare the Robinson/Bagley run as shitty as its predecessors. However, I can declare this one issue shitty on its own demerits. Like Return of the Living Dead, the breakdancing vato zombie super-hero Vibe is risen. A page is devoted to reestablishing Paco Ramone in a modern mileau, replacing parachute pants and headbands with rottweilers and tattooed tears. In other words, Vibe can now be a dated caricature of the early '90s West Coast rap scene, instead of a timely bastardization of early '80s hip-hop culture. Another two pages are devoted to Vibe's history with "Motor City Justice League*," which despite Bagley's increasing indifference toward anatomy and inappropriately over-rendered inks by Rob Hunter, are ginchy. Robinson doesn't quite have Vibe's lingo down though, avoiding the easy comedy of lifting it directly and attempting a troubling, off-key update. Too bad about that.

Cut to the remaining members of the current League, having already openly acknowledged their suckitude, walking into a trap they know they're totally unequipped to handle. There is a clear "Saturday Chiller Theater" feel to the pacing and shadowy visuals, so that would make our "heroes" the dumb twats you're rooting for the slasher to kill. An unexpected resurrection stirred things up for a bit, but swiftly descended to irritating territory**. There's then this tedious two page sequence which, in a horror movie, would be the build-up for a jump scare. Mark Bagley's inability to draw horror, as well as the metaphoric and literal bloodlessness of what follows, guarantees a fail. Things then gallop toward inevitable cliffhangers, and since this territory has been so heavily trod recently, there's no actual suspense in any of it. Another low water mark for this misbegotten series. But hey, 30 pages of lousy story and art for only an extra dollar, plus I got a "free" dime store plastic ring with it. What a bargain!

The Talisman: The Road of Trials #0 (Del Rey Comics, 2009, $1.00)
Sixteen pages of story and art, plus editorial content, under a painted cardstock cover, all for a buck. That would damned near make it critic proof right there, but then Robin Furth and Tony Shasteen's Stephen King adaptation actual looks and reads well. It's all set-up for a graphically violent dark fantasy epic, but if you're at all curious, don't hesitate to pick this up.

Vampirella: The Second Coming #2 (Harris, 2009, $1.99)
A major improvement with this issue, as the stakes spike, and the shifting tone toward gory action and soft core eroticism better suit the art and coloring. It also plays to the prejudices of "bad girl" critics, and spins its wheels a bit, but I remain cautiously optimistic.

*That's Justice League Detroit, bitches.
** I can't believe I backwards read the whole thing.


mathematicscore said...

I cheated and bought the ring for .25. Starman had better be awe inspiring when I get around to it, or me and Mr Robinson are not going to end as friends. Like, ever. Also, J'onn wristbands = annoying as hell. Where is the quality control?

Frank Lee Delano said...

Wrist bands?!?!?! I don't understand what these artists are thinking when they do that. It looks terrible, regardless of color.

Starman is terribly overrated, but still a quality read, as is The Golden Age and some other earlier Robinson work.


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