Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Wednesday Is Any Day For All I Care #34

Aliens #1 (2009)
Power Girl #1 (2009)
Rapture #1
The Unwritten #1

Aliens #1 (Dark Horse, 2009, $3.50)
First off, I kept waiting for the preview pages from Free Comic Book Day: Aliens/Predator to come into play here, but it was not to be. Instead, there's a cryptic opening, followed by familiar sights from the franchise and heaps of exposition. Nothing much of interest happens until a violent twist in the last few pages. I found the change-up intriguing, but there was so much set up and so little pay off I don't care enough to follow beyond this point. Very attractive art by Zach Howard though, among the best seen in the decades Dark Horse has held this license. I don't recall enjoying looking at an Alien comic so much since the days when Kelly Jones and Jackson Guice were doing them.

Power Girl #1 (DC, 2009, $2.99)
I was just thinking about the lackluster Power Girl mini-series from the mid-80s, and it occurs to me that this relaunch isn't much different. Power Girl is once and again a Supergirl from a parallel universe, as spelled out in brief here and ad nauseum in the JSA Classified story arc from a few years back that served as a backdoor pilot. She has also resumed the identity of Karen Starr, buying back a technology company she's too dim to understand intimately through monies of unexplained origin. The rest of the story is spent demolishing robots and battling an old Golden Age foe, really bringing to the fore the utter pointlessness and lack of consideration involved with the return of this title.

Back in the '70s, Power Girl was a brash feminist who refused to disown her sexuality, a Betty Dobson in cavalier boots. The "girl" in her name was downright satirical, as her voluptuous figure was nothing if not womanly. The character shifted a good deal in the late '80s, when Power Girl lost much of her girl power, and sought to compensate through an abrasive personality. Now spiritually closer to Andrea Dworkin, this Power Girl was largely sexless, even adopting a rather masculine musculature. For all the hullabaloo surrounding the character today, she's very nearly dead center in the spectrum, a perfectly generic super-heroine in the homogenized DC manner. Aside from her prominent breasts, this PG is thoroughly PG-rated, another in the long line of curveless models that have invaded modern media. Where once she might have paralleled Kim Kardashian in build and the attitude of Alicia Keys, she now might as well be a co-star on a CW teen drama. At least Loeb/Turner/Churchill Supergirl was controversial enough to warrant ire. This Power Girl just induces yawns.

Rapture #1 (Dark Horse, 2009, $2.99)
So what we have here is another pseudo-sequel to Kingdom Come; Armageddon by way of departing super-heroes and their impact on society. Unfortunately, it's infested with emo bullshit, wanting also to be a new Y: The Last Man for the smeared eyeliner crowd. The art is "indie," but the story reeks of '80s cheese like Red Dawn and The Hills Have Eyes, Part 2. I actively dislike the unmotivated "protagonists," and I've seen everything here done better.

The Unwritten #1 (Vertigo, 2009, $1.00)
I hate when a publisher goes through the trouble of offering me a low introductory price to sample middling shit, like Dynamite and DDP are wont to do. After a week as barren as this, it's all the more ironic when the buck book is far and away the best read of the lot, a triumphant return to quality for Vertigo. Mike Carey and Peter Gross ponder "what if Harry Potter came to live in the real world after his last novel was published." Wouldn't he also find his fantastic childhood gives way to booze, bills, and the other soul draining distractions of adulthood, like the rest of us? But then, what happens if Lord Voldemort also made his way out of fiction, not to mention the cast of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and so on. A complete and satisfying yarn unfolds over 32 pages, with enough threads left over to make clear this is the start of something with legs. Definitely recommended.

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