Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Wed. Is Any Day For All I Care #27

Marvel Adventures Super Heroes #8
The Phantom: Ghost Who Walks #0
Vixen: Return of the Lion #5

Marvel Adventures Super Heroes #8 (Marvel, 2009, $2.99)
Presenting two Captain America stories for all ages, the lead by Scott Gray and Craig Rousseau is a serviceable introduction to the Star-Spangled Avenger. Updated to the present, the Avengers are excised from his origin, in favor of Sharon Carter and S.H.I.E.L.D., with Hydra acting as villains. There's none of that magic that made Jeff Parker's work on Marvel Adventures Avengers, though. All the essentials are present, but it's a simplistic take, and trying to draw parallels between our current recession and the Great Depression remains hyperbolic nonsense. Rousseau's on art for the back-up, this time written by Roger Langridge, though I'm not sure who he's writing for. Set in 1942, with Cap pulling undercover work on a film set, the thin plot mostly swipes from hackneyed old farces to zero comedic effect. The coloring in all graytone, which I understand is the "in" thing with the kids nowadays. Finally, the writer wears his politics on his sleeve, with views on journalism straight out of the Bush Administration, and a sexist denouement that reads like a whitewashed take on John McCain's infamous gorilla joke. Between the mild lead and lousy back-up, the best offerings in the issue were a gag strip from Chris Giarusso and a four page preview of Wolverine: First Class #12.

The Phantom: Ghost Who Walks #0 (Moonstone, 2009, $1.99)
A brief recap of the origin of the original Phantom, followed by a two page spread involving 21 panels intended to cover as many generations of descendants, plus a final splash for the modern incarnation. The script by Mike Bullock is about as cut and dried as my terse synopsis. The art by Silvestre Szilagyi shoots for Lee Falk classicism, but lands squarely in the realm of the bland. There's also six pages of Marvel Handbook-style profile pages, which would normally ad value, but here merely reminds how dated and borderline racist this thoroughly uninspired resurrection appears to be. There's even a paper thin Osama bin Laden analogue to act as a "new" foe that's at least a half decade past his "Sell By" date. Peter Chung's Phantom 2040 is fifteen years old, but still about a half century fresher than this.

If you'd prefer to see for yourself, the complete issue is available free and authorized by the publisher at Comic Book Resources

Vixen: Return of the Lion #5 (DC, 2009, $2.99)
So, that's it, huh? There's a decent JLA battle that Vixen joins in midway. We're meant to think she can hold off Superman by assuming attributes of an armored beetle. She can fly these days, which I hate. The whole thing is wrapped up on page 14, with a lengthy denouement involving a final fight with no emotional heft and a passing nod to a missed love interest. Oh, and there's some more ominous foreshadowing at the very end, as if subplots involving Vixen's powers haven't drug out for years already. Aside from the art, including swell Josh Middleton covers and Cafu interiors, this mini-series was a waste of time and money. That Air trade paperback I ordered damned well better have a better script from G. Willow Wilson, or I'll avoid her from there onward.

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