This Week In Comics: 4th of July Edition

This week in comics, America America America America!  Also, Animal Man breaks out of its slump!

Why this cover? Because I forgot to pick up Action Comics #11 this week. To be fair, my comic shop files it under S for Superman, rather than A for Action Comics, and I disagree strongly with that policy. I understand it, but still, that’s just not reasonable. I’m open to debate on that claim, though.

Animal Man #11

Finally, Lemire has gotten this book back on track.  With reference back to Morrison’s ground-breaking run, solid action and a neat twist on Animal Man’s traditional powers – made all the creepier by Pugh, though Foreman is definitely missed – Animal Man #11 is an issue that probably should have happened a good couple months back, when the book still had a solid head of steam behind it.  Still, I’m glad we’re FINALLY getting near the Swamp Thing/Animal Man team-up both books have teased for seven or eight months now.  This is a legitimately exciting issue of comics, and one that I’m eager to keep following. Now if only they could keep that energy up. (B+. DC Comics, $2.99)

Avengers Vs. X-Men #7 (of 12)

The Marvel team has finally figured out what story they want to tell, and, surprisingly, it’s a damn compelling one.  This issue isn’t as solid as the last one, which was a legitimately compelling bit of worldbuilding, but I’m glad that they’ve finally figured out how to make this arc genuinely interesting.  Black Panther and Iron Man have found a minor weakness in the Phoenix Force – a fact that comes at just the wrong time for our heroes, as Emma Frost and Namor are conspiring to undermine Cyclops’ attempt at a peaceful reign by launching an ill-conceived assault on Wakanda.  Big, fun and unpredictable, this is far from an ambitious event story, but it has finally become an enjoyable one.  (B+. Marvel Comics, $3.99)

Before Watchmen: Ozymandias #1 (of 6)

This issue had its problems. In fact, it has one particular, massive, glaring problem: Miranda.  Miranda’s brief time with Adrian just doesn’t feel right – it’s too melodramatic, too calculated a move by writer Len Wein, to feel like a legitimate part of the character’s history.  With that complaint out of the way, however, I have to say that this was a damn good issue.  Jae Lee’s art is almost impossibly gorgeous here, and Wein’s choice to do a traditional origin story for the character might fall flat if it wasn’t grounded in the lore of Alexander of Macedonia and the Pharoahs, which lend the travels a more interesting feel than they otherwise might have had.  And, again: that art…. (A-. DC Comics, $3.99)

Dial H #3

I’m still not sure how I feel about this title.  There’s a lot of stuff I like, particularly when it comes to the crazy design and bottomless pit of bizarre superpowered entities.  And Mieville did manage one legitimately chilling moment as Nelson sees the shadow on the line, a mysterious figure that draws just a little bit closer every time he uses the dial.  Actually, there’s a lot of very solid world-building in this issue, as Mieville seems to be crafting a weird, unpredictable, fairly frightening mythology for the title.  But the basic, issue-level plotting and writing just isn’t quite there yet.  This may be a title that excels in trade, but despite giving it relatively low grades for its first three issues, this is definitely a book that I’m glad to see DC publishing.  It’s like nothing else they put out. (B. DC Comics, $2.99)

Earth 2 #3

Well, I didn’t see that coming.  It seems, for every solid choice Robinson makes, such as having Alan Scott use his dead lover’s engagement ring as the focus for his powers, he makes a couple questionable ones.  This issue, probably the weakest of the three so far, features a few problems – including a truly terrible redesign and new origin for Solomon Grundy, and a plot on loan from the superior Animal Man/Swamp Thing duo – and suggests that Robinson should get on with things soon.  His greatest talent, traditionally, has been world building (Starman alone is a masterclass in creating a fictional city), and yet, despite having an entire new reality to play with, Earth 2 has felt pretty bland thus far as a setting, and it hasn’t had much action or character work to make up for it.  This is a book that seems to have learned all the wrong lessons from Johns’ Justice League. (B-. DC Comics, $2.99)

Worlds’ Finest #3

I think this is my last issue of Earth 2.  I’ve mentioned before how much I want to love this book.  I love everything about this book except for what’s actually on the page. The art, the dialogue, the plotting – it’s all loose, plain and uninspired.  This is the most average book you will find on the shelves today.  Huntress and Power Girl are two characters I have a great deal of fondness for, but this just doesn’t work. (C-. DC Comics, $2.99)

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8 Responses to This Week In Comics: 4th of July Edition

  1. YWz says:

    is dial h an ongoing

    • Ian says:

      It’s supposed to be, although I’m sure that will depend on sales.

    • Cal C. says:

      Yes, though, as Ian says, how long it lasts will depend heavily on sales. But it is written and marketed as an ongoing.

      • YWz says:

        holy crap that kinda of completely changes the way i have been thinking about it. I thought it was a mini. Yeah i don’t know how i feel about this anymore.

  2. lebeau says:

    I am really, really, really surprised to see the positive review for AVX. It’s the one book I read this week and I thought it was pretty terrible. It’s another one of those “everyone acts out of character because if anyone was even remotely reasonable there wouldn’t be a book” kind of books. This is Civil War with X-Men. It’s not good.

    • Cal C. says:

      I attribute a fair amount of that to the Phoenix Force. In fact, I actually like that Scott is successfully controlling the force while the rest of the team slowly loses it.

      But what’s more, after issue upon issue of ABSOLUTELY NOTHING HAPPENING, I’m glad that there is finally, like, a plot. Seriously. It’s low standards, but the book has frankly begged for low standards from the start. At least it is succeeding in telling a coherent story now.

      • lebeau says:

        I am not even sure I can agree with that. It’s not just the Phoenix Force acting out of character. It’s everyone. All the sudden the Avengers think it’s a good idea to prepare Hope to be the host for the Phoenix after 6 issues of fighting against that very idea? And they are harboring the Scarlet Witch who decimated mutants after invading the X-Men for harboring Hope who had done nothing? There’s a whole list of stuff that just doesn’t make any sense in this book but is necessary for an X-Men/Avengers fight to drag out 12 issues.

        Yeah, stuff is finally happening. But it’s not good stuff.

      • Cal C. says:

        To be honest, the Bendis Avengers – particularly where Scarlet Witch is concerned – has seemed ‘out of character’ to me for a looooong time, so I don’t really mind so much here.

        That said, some of that is explained in the story. The Avengers wanted Hope because the Phoenix Force was targeting her; the Avengers are harboring the Scarlet Witch because she and the Iron Fist seem to be the only two people capable of fighting the Phoenix Five.

        (ALL of this contradicts the largely solid Avengers: The Children’s Crusade series, by the way, which was a better big event that stayed truer to all the characters anyway)

        Anyway, they’re preparing Hope because Lei Kung the Thunderer says he knows what to do and because Hope is now sympathetic to the Avengers’ cause after feeling the corruption of the Phoenix Force.

        To be honest, I’d rather have a bad plot – this! – than no plot at all, which is what we had before.

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