The Avengers VS The X-Men #1
Danger Club #1
Fanboys vs. Zombies #1
Star Wars: Blood Ties-- Boba Fett is Dead #1
AVX: VS #1 (Marvel, 2012, $3.99)
So let me get this straight: a six-issue mini-series of nothing but the between panel brawls from a separate maxi-series involving members of two heroic teams paired off to rumble? That's an idea just stupid enough to work, with the right amount of talent and forethought. I had fun reading DC vs. Marvel, for instance. This one fails on format, though. There's only two matches per issue, with no real ties to a narrative. As creatively bankrupt as most modern comics are, the "talent" just wastes space instead of brain cells.
Magneto fights Iron Man for ten pages consisting of a double page spread, a six panel spread, a nine panel spread, a half splash and only three pages with greater than six panels. They're drawn by Adam Kubert, if you're into that sort of thing, but I never have been. Jason Aaron's story mistakes multiple ex machina for cleverness. It just makes me tired. The other match is the Thing versus the Sub-Mariner, as if Namor hasn't fought the entire Fantastic Four enough times over the past half-century. Four 3-panel pages, one splash, one bisected, and four of worthwhile density. It was by the Immonens, so while it was a bit more entertaining, it was still a dull match that ended in a glorified tie. Who cares; fuck this; moving on...
Danger Club #1 (Image, 2012, $2.99)
If you're looking for a pull quote, it's "Mainstreamed Brat Pack!" I refer of course to Rick Veitch's evisceration of the teen sidekick premise from the early '90s, except instead of the mentors being deviants, they're just M.I.A. This leaves the Teen Titans to play Lord of the Flies by way of Fight Club. While the premise is ugly and well-trod, Landry Q. Walker and Eric Jones salvage it through execution. After years polishing their craft on Johnny DC titles, the duo are well versed in throwing readers into a story that gets all the necessary backstory across while offering a satisfying single-serving experience. There's more gratuitous violence and too many silent action panels for my taste, as the pair are clearly working through a rebellious phase after freeing themselves from the shackles of all-ages work made for hire. Still, it was a kick, and I'd like to read more in an affordable trade paperback collection.
Fanboys vs. Zombies #1 (BOOM! Studios, 2012, $1.00)
If this comic book had a face, I'd want to kick it in that face. I'm amazed when a comic manages to evoke such strong emotions in me, and it's a shame this one comes from the dark side of the force. An entire page is wasted on establishing the setting as being the San Diego Comic-Con (although they insist on calling it Comic-Con International: San Diego, per the wishes of Comic Con officials who want to keep their location options open, and in opposition to Comic-Con International: Bismark.) They also refer to the event as "Nerd Prom," when we all know that's the White House Correspondents Dinner, so they can't even keep their geek references straight. We push-in to a group shot of the cast, who are immediately irritating, but manage to progress through the issue into outright loathsome. Maybe the point is for anti-social dorks to get off on seeing their idiot asshole buddies from the LCS getting devoured by zombie cosplayers in a supreme episode of minority self-loathing? It fails utterly even in that respect, since legit genre references are few, and the casting is straight out of 90210. These awful beings have relationships with one another that are spelled out as laboriously as possible, like that chick you can't stand from work who yammers on endlessly about a personal life you haven't the slightest interest in. Of course, they're all drawn in a romanticized manga fashion in hopes that you'll at least eye-fuck them for twenty-two pages. Hardly.
The story is that a bunch of fans who know and often hate one another manage to have a run-in at a comic convention panel just as a zombie epidemic sweeps the compound. I've been to Comicon, so I understand what an intimidating prospect that is. The place is huge and crowded, plus managing to escape the center just means you'll next contend with hotels and restaurants brimming with the undead as you try to hijack one of those bike-rickshaw things and to peddle for Mexico. The novelty of the setting is destroyed by cartoony art that fails to engage or repel, even as monsters munch on innards. There are attempts made at humor that aren't even in the same zip code as funny or insightful. In essence, it's Gakuen Mokushiroku, but with more aggravatingly flat characters, less pathos, and a near absence of sexuality. It's a painfully calculated, abysmally executed bid for schmuck dollars, and if this is any indication of the output of the suddenly hot Sam Humphries, I'll be sure to avoid his future efforts like the plague.
Star Wars: Blood Ties-- Boba Fett is Dead #1 (Dark Horse, 2012, $3.50)
Given that this book is about the relationship between long lost half-brothers by cloning in the convoluted Star Wars Universe, it was reasonably accessible. That said, it starts with Boba Fett dead, and then has a concealed figure who is almost certainly Boba Fett going all High Plains Drifter on the responsible parties. Boba's bro is imperiled by the vengeance trail, and that's about it. The book has stiff painterly art by Chris Scalf and a serviceable quarter of a story by Tom Taylor. That's all I've got.