Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Wednesday Is A Watchman Aquastorm For All I Care #152

Aquaman #8 (2012)
Aquaman #9 (2012)
Stormwatch #8 (2012)
Stormwatch #9 (2012)

Aquaman #8
(DC, 2012, $2.99)
Thirteen pages of flashbacks and several more of exposition dump makes me happy, since they involve way more storytelling than Johns musters most months. It almost makes up for the page spent watching the same house from the same perspective go through seasons (the colorist carrying three of the five static panels,) a splash page of young Aquaman splashing, a spread of the Others dashing through the snow, WAY too many silent/minimal panels, and a closing 3/4 splash Black Manta pin-up. She looks so fucking fine, but the bitch can't divide by one.

Aquaman #9
(DC, 2012, $2.99)
Speaking of which, this issue is like Forrest Gump to last issue's Rain Man. Why in the holy fuck would Manta stab a whole bunch of expendable nobodies in order to choke the one motherfucker in the building with super-powers? The harder they try to make Manta cool, the more ridiculous he becomes. The whole stealth assassin thing is undercut by wearing an enormous chrome helmet with glowing red headlights for eyes and an oxygen tank besides. Is Rick Moranis under all that shit, and can he breathe in that thing? How about those pussy wrist mounted mini-harpoons he fires with the thread attached? Is he serious with those things? I grin every time they appear. They make a little queef sound in my head.

There are so many near/silent fight pages in this goddamned thing that I don't feel like counting them all. Alright, fuck it, fourteen out of twenty. Mostly all of it that doesn't involve an elderly Asian fellow laying exposition like pipe out of a latrine. Oh, there was that one page where the jungle girl throws herself at Aquaman, and he's all "I'm involved." Sounds like a Feiffer/Wetham mash-up to me.

This issue was inked by Joe Prado, Oclair Albert and Andy Lanning. What is the deal with all the inker pile-ups these days? If there's only one pencil artist, is Ivan Reis' work so detailed that it takes more manpower to embellish? Do the pages sit in the editor's office so long that they have to be rushed out to a team for finishes? Eh, the finished product in this case is gorgeous, so who cares? Three bucks in cheap for a color portfolio, right?

Stormwatch #8 (DC, 2012, $2.99)
This book was nice both as the second half of a two-parter and as a singular unit. There's enough exposition to feel fully caught up on the story, and it carries along well from there. This is helped mightily by character moments, like Midnighter and Jenny Quantum talking about boys, as well as the Engineer "interrogating" her ship's artificial intelligence. That's clearly where the writer's heart is. Paul Jenkins works a little too hard to build up a swiftly quashed threat, but at least it rose to the power level of the team, and they looked good while dealing with it. This pair of issues were easily the best of the run to date. Ignacio Calero and Daniel Hor have complimentary enough styles that I didn't really notice the book had two pencillers. Admittedly, I just figured Calero was slacking off on the detail on some pages, but they all looked alright and flowed.

Stormwatch #9 (DC, 2012, $2.99)
Miguel Sepulveda's brief return to the book made me realize that I didn't actually miss him. It's not that the art is bad, but with all the digital effects, past swiping, and history of shortcuts, it feels a little like trying to get back with an unfaithful lover. It doesn't help that the writer of his new book just took over scripting this title, shortchanging the run from the first issue by barely pulling a shitty crossover between the two.

Peter Milligan is like the anti-Jenkins. There are quasi-character moments here, but they're all snarky and shallow and tone deaf. There's two separate threats to deal with, but neither remotely impress. Why introduce Vitruvian Man if his only impact is going to be modest property damage? What did he do to deserve having his neck twisted all the fucking way around? Why is everybody perfectly okay with Midnighter straight up executing a guy who appeared to have legitimate concerns about Stormwatch's morally questionable masters? Why spend seven pages taking down a Red Lantern who gets virtually no dialogue just to set up the arbitrary crossover into that book?

The short version is, this issue was worse than any by Cornell, and those were pretty lousy. I look forward to dropping this title post-haste.

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