Thursday, December 3, 2009

Thursday Is Any Eventful Day For All I Care #49

Blackest Night #5
Haunt #2
Image United #1
R.E.B.E.L.S. #10

The American holiday pushed new comics back a day. It doesn't matter, because I didn't buy anything, and all of this stuff is from last month. Did this column's title elude you?

Blackest Night #5 (DC, 2009, $3.99)
A bunch of stuff seems to happen in this book, but it rolls out so briskly, it feels like a clip show from tie-in books. Part of me feels like I'm missing something, but then my logic kicks in, and I realize all I want are the main points. Most of the tie-in books have been terribly repetitive, and I don't really want to spend more time with the rainbow of corps than I have to. There's a two page spread where each of seven different bearers of rings from a spectrum of color representing "emotions" Webster's might take issue with recite their oaths, a.k.a. juvenile copycat doggerel. Then they start relating to each other in that hackneyed, heavy-handed way 1970s writers had post-Stan Lee.

Just as I'm praying for that to end, we jump to Earth, where the innocent Silver Age Flash is given a pass on potential necrophilic rape, establishing the magnitude of the threat without losing any face. Half the creative crew just finished reestablishing Barry Allen's bonafides in a bestselling mini-series, after all. That same mini began rebuilding the redundancy of a family of super-speedsters that I guarantee will bite them on the ass, and Wally West remains the least imaginative cocksucker among the iconic super-heroes. Would it have killed him to become a revamped Max Mercury? No, just a slight variation on the shade of red and a covered nose. At least the Green Lanterns have bowl cuts and ethnicity. Wally just has the ability to drag Nightwing's not-so-distinguished name down to his sorry level.

Cue the arrival of all the goddamned super-heroes, taking their sweet ass time in variations on the exact same skirmishes with resurrected-properties-formerly-deemed-expendable. Being super-heroes, they take the fight to the zombies instead of holding up somewhere, and their initiative earns a big fat "what else is new?" The rogue Guardian finally starts to take on an interesting appearance of her own, and is promptly shuffled off in another two page spread. This is followed by a Care Bear Stare, the least convincing resurrection ever in another two-page spread, the realization these emotional "gotchas" owe a lot to the disreputable Eclipso: The Darkness Within and a final "oh shit" two page spread you really should have seen coming if you read advance solicitations.

Nicely drawn. Okay writing. Surprisingly bloodless.

Haunt #2 (Image, 2009, $2.99)
I thought Spawn was Todd McFarlane's claim to whatever intellectual property was owed him after his co-creation of Venom, but Haunt is clearly leveling damages at Marvel for the derivative work that was Carnage. Once you get past that, Haunt is pretty alright. The brothers merge into a new hero, with a peppy interior dialogue that recalls Firestorm or the movie Ghost. Despite Greg Capullo and McFarlane having art credits, Ryan Ottley clearly does all the real work. His clean style softens the edges of the heavy gore in a nostalgic way that's kinda refreshing. Despite its familiarity, the premise and entanglements here are enjoyable. Robert Kirkman's dialogue could have used an actual editor, and he's no stranger to this exact ground, but I still dig it enough that I'll seriously consider picking up the trade for the rest of this story.

Image United #1 (Image, 2009, $3.99)
I was so excited by the formation of Image Comics by many of my favorite artists, I pre-ordered everything they released in their first year or so. That did not work out well for me, as I was still dealing with putrid waste like Brigade shipping what, a year or two later? Over fifteen years since, I actively dislike several of these artists, and fanboy Robert Kirkman seems to be channeling the worst instincts of these assholes' neophyte writing efforts from back in the day. Ominous narration. Barely existent characterization. Terrible dialogue written at a junior high reading level ("Seeing Badrock in action, up close-- is something I never expected to see in my lifetime. It's amazing to see how powerful he is. He's indestructible.") Lots of fighting with no clear motivation. Have any of these characters or creators progressed since their glory days? Even the big reveal at the end of the story was ruined by marketing, so unless this becomes a deliciously metatextual train wreck like Shattered Image, there's no reason to get near this cold mess. The six page Marvel Age style primer for Haunt completely outshines the core book.

R.E.B.E.L.S. #10 (DC, 2009, $3.99)
I'm going to stop mentioning how R.E.B.E.L.S. wasn't all that great for about half of its first year, because I don't think we'll have that problem anymore. Knowing thus Darkest Night tie-in couldn't possibly sell less than many times its usual print run, Tony Bedard was smart enough to offer a solid multi-page recap of the old L.E.G.I.O.N. series to the present as relevant. Less necessary was the exposition relating to this Black Lantern shit, and appearances by them were obligatory, but they were handled far better than most I've seen. Favored elements I mourned not having initially crossed over from this book's previous incarnation are being reinstated, while late additions to the cast like the Dominator are plenty welcome. The returning Andy Clarke's art is lovely, and the last page twist made me smile. I'm still not sold on Starro the Barbarian, but otherwise, the old bad thing is the sales plunge to come with #12. Okay, I got a cheap rubber power ring out of this, but I'm not feeling the Indigo Tribe, so that was a bit of a letdown.


DamonO said...

More victims of your Bloodwynd limited series hoax:

Whew, glad I'm not the only one:)

Frank Lee Delano said...


Thank you for sending me this. I'm glad they figured it out without my input (even the re-contextualized Priest "Gunplay" interview.)


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