Saturday, May 8, 2010

Wednesday Is Any Day For All I Care #64

The Flash #1 (2010)
The Flash Secret Files and Origins 2010 #1
Invincible Returns #1
Siege: Loki #1

The Flash #1 (DC, 2010, $3.99)
Wow-- six extra pages of story and art for only a mother fucking dollar. Thank you so much, DC Comics, for enriching my life with a nine page car chase sequence involving two double page splashes not drawn by Ivan Reis, George PĂ©rez or one of the very few other artists who pack in detail enough to make the indulgence worthwhile. But no, these are by the simply okay Francis Manapul, who lulls with vague backgrounds obscured by speed lines and adequate manga-style figures.

I like Starbucks Central City alright, and having a gainfully employed hero in a professional position requiring advanced education is a damned sight better than than loser shithead Wally West of the last quarter century. Besides introducing the new supporting cast and having Barry Allen show off, there's isn't fuck all going on here. Not to spoil anything, but Geoff Johns introduces yet another alternate future version of established characters, which is getting about as tired as when Chris Claremont was doing it before Wally West started acting as a shitty Flash.

In short, this book is seriously mediocre, and I'm not sure it can afford to be. Wally West is becoming the Hal Jordan of Flashdom, in that everybody reading comics without a clear recollection of the Reagan Administration sees Barry Allen as a usurper, as if Wally's series hadn't been cocked-up for years prior. Barry Allen is indisputably the better character, but he's got a lot to prove with newer readers, and this starting point feels more like a balding retread.

The Flash Secret Files and Origins 2010 #1 (DC, 2010, $3.99)
Riddle me this: SF&O features almost twice as many extra pages as The Flash #1 for the same price, gives more insight into Barry's character, and has better art. It also features pin-ups/profile information that feels vital and reads well, not to mention offers much stronger foreshadowing of future events. Who took the shit here? It was Geoff, right?

Scott Kolins' Barry-Flash doesn't look much different from Wally-Flash, but he's arguably a better fit for plainclothes Allen. If going back to the well with Kolins after his prior years on the book didn't feel regressive, I'd recommend it. Kolins is a better storyteller with a broader range of facial types, and Allen's world fits his style cozily. Still, both Flash #1 stories feel inessential, and I figure I'll wait until a later storyline to see if they shake off this initial plodding awkwardness.

Invincible Returns #1 (Image, 2010, $3.99)
34 pages of original story and art. Suck Robert Kirkman's dick, DC. Actually, I've never been much for coming-of-age mainstream heroes, and compared to the changes seen over any one year of Walking Dead, the pacing of Invincible is almost as glacial as DC/Marvel's fare. This was Kyle Rayner/Nova shit the last time I checked in, and while this reads a lot better than some, it's Exposition City, and still not my bag. Invisible is like the "I'm With CoCo" crowd, where you're glad something is out there and support its general existence, but preferably not with your time and money. That's Robert Kirkman's/Image's shared universe in a nutshell.

Siege: Loki #1 (Marvel, 2010, $2.99)
A full length comic for less than the average burger costs? An increasingly endangered species, but then, so are all single issue comics. I guess Loki puts to mind the end of things, as the Norse god of mischief works through existential issues related to Asgard finally breaking the Ragnarok cycle and finding itself in need of a new afterlife. It's a fun, winding con game that stands on its own, excepting the text piece that explains all the nuttiness to afflict Thor's people in recent months. Jamie McKelvie transitions fairly well to heroic fantasy, though his art still seems a bit gentile for Marvel. Kieron Gillen writes the kind of conniving Loki you want to read, without turning him into John Constantine or alienating anyone not into '90s Britpop (Phonogram bashing, anyone?) The best of what I reviewed this week.

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