Sunday, November 7, 2010

Wednesday Is Any Day For All I Care #87

Brightest Day #11-12
Chaos War #1
Knight & Squire #1
R.E.B.E.L.S. #21 (2010)

Brightest Day #11-12 (DC, 2010, $2.99)
Are we halfway through yet? No? Fuck.

Deathstorm had better be some sort of '90s metacommentary (like Superboy Prime spoke to entitled fanboys,) because he's cheesy and irritating even in small doses. Scott Clark's art on the Firestorm feature continues to be bad, still employing low rent computer effects, now juxtaposed with poor man's Jae Lee styling. Especially disappointing is a full page money shot of Firestorm trying to be a badass, shouting his own logo '80s logo. Alex Ross lives for that kind of shot, but the execution is utter saltpeter. What isn't in awkward silhouette is chicken-scratch buried under cornball digital fire effects. The best part is a two-page satirical homage to an iconic image from last year. There's also a nice bit in the latter issue where Jason tries to sell Ronnie (and readers) on Firestorm's past glory, even if comparing rogues galleries with Batman and the Flash raises snickers.

Meanwhile, Aquaman's feature continues to be so damned pretty, but it feels like the Sea King has been fighting Black Manta for three months straight. It doesn't help that when Manta's sissybitch dartpoon finally connects with human flesh, it's Aquaman's, managing to pierce body armor when bullets were bouncing off the hero's brow months back.

D'Kay D'Razz? Fucking hell, Martian Manhunter-- can't you ever catch a break? Commander Blanx was silly as it was, and you were really pushing it with Ma'alefa'ak, but D'Kay makes Bel Juz look like Peter O'Toole. As if that wasn't laying it on thick enough, she's got the Martian equivalent of Night of the Hunter tats ('tho bitch stole her's from Sideshow Bob, guaranteed) offers a plate of Oreos at a formal dinner, plus plays the "alienated hero," "widower" and "I had your origin before you" cards? Once again, we have the Villain Sue trying much too hard to win reader approval. Worse, this feels so much like a retread of Ostrander/Mandrake, from the otherwise good artist who doesn't quite work on the character (Pat Gleason) to the writer who is set on stuffing J'Onn J'Onzz into ill-fitting molds (Peter Tomasi.)

Well, at least Deadman & Dove only polluted one page this month.

Chaos War #1 (Marvel, 2010, $3.99)
You know how DC sometimes has those "other" crossovers. Like, they decide to have one generated out of storylines from Wonder Woman or the New Gods, and nobody cares? Twenty years later, you're like, oh yeah, Genesis happened. What was that about again? Someone may try to tell you, but you kind of get lost in thought on a tangent partway through. "An event comic drawn by Cynthia Martin that was supposed to be buoyed by pin-ups from a very green Chris Spouse? Didn't that go up again The Infinity Gauntlet? Ouch."

So, yeah, Chaos War. It starts with King Chaos (really) tearing out Nightmare's heart and lopping off his head. That should get those five thousand Dr. Strange fans' blood pumping. It isn't like you could ever bring back Nightmare, who is like a more omnipotent Freddy Krueger. That'll take.

Hey, Hercules is back. From the dead or something. Yeah, something else, but like that. He's a lot more powerful and crazy now, so he starts punching out pantheons like in Lobo's Back. By the way, when the fuck is Luke Cage going to put on a fucking costume and not just be the average looking black guy with a speaking part? You know, I'm still not wild about Bucky Barnes as Captain America, but Steve Rogers' spy suit isn't too bad. The guns bother me a lot, though.

Where was I? The crossover! Right. The dialogue is actually cute, but I don't see where people who didn't read Incredible Hercules would get much out of this. Khoi Pham's art is nice, recalling guys like Mike Kaluta and Charles Vess, which most definitely is high praise. There's also a back-up story about some stuff Hercules got up to between now and his series getting canceled. Excited yet?

Knight & Squire #1 (DC, 2010, $2.99)
That was a disappointment. I'm into international heroes, so a British Batman with a Harley Quinn lookalike sidekick held some appeal for me. I also dug glimpses of the pair in JLA Classified and elsewhere. However, like Phonogram, this issue totally alienated me by being so exclusively British that it seemed more like a book length in-joke/private party than an accessible story.

Limeys love their pubs, so the whole thing is set in a bar full of super-heroes and villains magically barred from throwing down. A P.O.V. character is introduced to allow Squire to give a Moore/Ellis-style truncated pseudo-history, except the new creations are all rather stupid. When you get down to evil Ruttles analogues and heroes based on Benny Hill skits, you've scrapped through the bottom of the barrel to the floor.

Remember the part about the "magical bar," and how half the book is about how all these truces were signed under its protection. Do you see the "twist" coming, by which I mean an Alanis Morissette more than a Shyamalan, because it's totally going to rain on your wedding day?

Knight is in this a little bit, but he's as chatty as modern Batman with more of a Silver Age temperament, which is to say he's boring. The British Joker gets the best lines, which aren't worth repeating, and his personality runs its course within the one issue. The art's okay, and the package is inoffensive, but I can't see what possessed an editor to approve something so aggressively niche.

R.E.B.E.L.S. #21 (DC, 2010, $2.99)
This one was alright, offering an origin for an Okaaran rookie Green Lantern and casting Lobo in an unusually positive light. Vril Dox works his angles, Bedard's script does the same, and I continue to enjoy Claude St. Aubin's art. My only complaint is the two page spread featuring ten L.E.G.I.O.N. heroes, including four that were presented as co-stars early on, who have spent most of the series in bit parts or cameos. Outside of Dox, the title never seems content with its cast, constantly introducing new faces to be ignored within a few months.

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