This Week In Comics: 8/22/12

This week in comics, I finally read the newest Avengers Vs. X-Men and realize that I wish I hadn’t, Before Watchmen gets naked with Dr. Manhattan, and I, Vampire has a game-changing twelvth issue that will leave you clamoring for more.

This is what happens to people who don’t read I, Vampire.

Avengers Vs. X-Men #10 (of 12)

What happens when a group of comics finest minds get together to attempt to create the most middling, unoffensive blockbuster comic of all time?  They succeed on all accounts, of course.  Avengers vs. X-Men is a sales juggernaut that, despite a few (presumably accidental) forays into quality, has for the most part been content to wallow in mediocrity.  Even areas that should be great – this issue hands its art team multiple opportunities for some pretty bad-ass visuals, all of which are dropped – slip down into the muck. (D+. Marvel Comics, $3.99)

Batman Incorporated #3

Batman Incorporated #3 is finally here after a brief delay, and it’s another winner for the fledgling Batman book.  Burnham’s art has gone back to the crisp, Quitely-like quality of the first issue after a somewhat sloppy second issue, while Morrison’s script manages to jump between some immensely creepy moments and some Matches Malone slapstick that was genuinely pretty entertaining.  Batman’s confrontation with Leviathan grows near – this issue raises the stakes on that particularly fight immensely, while keeping the story grounded in a chilling look at Gotham’s corruption. (A-. DC Comics, $2.99)

Before Watchmen: Dr. Manhattan #1 (of 6)

It was a fun game this week: Which event comic is worse?  Aggressively bland Avengers Vs. X-Men feels almost offensively pandering. At least Dr. Manhattan at least reaches for profundity at points, even if it falls flat on its face more often than it does anything else.  And believe me – it does fall flat. Often. Painfully. Hughes turns in a solid performance, though somewhat unspectacular given how immensely talented he is, but the script doesn’t give him much to go off here.  The last page, which presumably sets up the premise of the mini-series, is somewhat promising, but it can do nothing to salvage the twentysome terrible pages that came before it.  Like much of Before Watchmen, this is a crass cash-in at its worst.  (D+. DC Comics, $3.99)

I, Vampire #12

Is it high art?  No.  The idea behind the current arc – vampires vs. zombies – is the stuff of SyFy Channel Original Movies.  But Fialkov knows how to write the hell out of this book, and with Sorrentino’s moody art enhancing every word, what you end up with is a pulpy superheroic thriller on the very edge of the DC Universe – one with more thrills, better twists, and stronger character-work than any other book DC is putting out right now.  I, Vampire #12 continues the preternaturally strong run from Fialkov with a twist you won’t see coming, a game changer of the likes that you almost never see in comics. As of right now, I, Vampire is DC’s must-read book. (A. DC Comics, $2.99)

Justice League Dark #12

After a strong early showing, Lemire’s Justice League Dark has faltered a little these last two months.  This issue gives us a little bit more information about why Dr. Mist betrayed the team – a decision I still dislike – and introduces us to the mastermind behind Faust’s scheming, but it doesn’t do a whole lot more than that.  There’s interesting things going on, but the pacing and structure of the book could use some serious work (a similar problem has been occurring in Animal Man for months now, which leads me to believe that Lemire doesn’t excel with a monthly book).  Still, Lemire definitely has an interesting team assembled, and his character work between them all is surprisingly strong for someone so new to the title.  This is enjoyable, but it may be best read in trade.  (B. DC Comics, $2.99)

The Unwritten #40

Like I, Vampire above, The Unwritten has proven to be an immensely malleable series, a comic book that started off as one thing and has slowly but surely morphed into something recognizably the same but undeniably different.  That Carey and Gross have managed to maintain the soul of The Unwritten even after some twists that would slay lesser books is not surprising; they are, after all, immensely and unimpeachably talented creators.  But what is surprising is how unpredictable and engrossing the series remains.  This issue brings “The Wound” to a close with an anti-climactic confrontation and some bizarre, fascinating revelations, but it’s all grounded in characters we know and love, with an ever-growing supporting cast that proves themselves more than capable of stepping up and leading an arc.  (A-. Vertigo, $2.99)

read/RANT

Last week in comics

4 Responses to This Week In Comics: 8/22/12

  1. wwayne says:

    I, Vampire is one of the very few DC series which are still unpublished in Italy. The others are Blue Beetle, Deathstroke, Demon Knights and Frankenstein. Blue Beetle and Deathstroke are not critically acclaimed and their sales are low, so it’s a logical choice… but what about the other 3? Frankenstein’s first arc deserves to be published only because it’s written by Lemire, while Demon Knights and I, Vampire are not a big hit from a commercial point of view, but they sell well for a “indie oriented” comic book, and have met critical success from the very first day. I hope this 5 series will be published in the future.
    I recognize a Wildstorm character in the cover of I, Vampire, and I really like this. The integration of the Wildstorm world into the DC universe has a great potential, in my opinion. The Wildstorm world has a lot of intriguing superheroes and villains who never met the DC ones, so their union is a potential goldmine of brand new stories. At present it’s not working, though: Voodoo closed, Grifter is about to close, and Stormwatch sells quite well, but is boring as all hell. I hope the potential I see will be expressed in the upcoming Team 7.

    • Cal C. says:

      Even the single issues don’t come out? That surprises me, actually – I know the demand for these titles aren’t high, but it seems like that would severely undercut your audience, to not even release them in a whole country. This is why comics piracy is so rampant…

      To my surprise, Stormwatch was actually very well written here – a bit morbid, over-eagerly violent, and a lot of fun. They’re actually written better here than in their own, current title. The Wildstorm integration was a good idea poorly executed. Like you, I hope Team 7 fixes that.

      • wwayne says:

        You could be right about Stormwatch. I read only one issue of it, the 10th: I gave it a chance because I saw “Peter Milligan” on the cover, and it was very painful to see a hugely talented and delightfully provocative writer producing a simply unreadable comic book. I had the same feeling 3 months before with Nocenti’s Green Arrow. But maybe I had the bad luck of picking up the only weak issue of the series, and all the others are worth reading. I’ll probably give Stormwatch another chance. But I won’t do the same with Green Arrow, until DC won’t decide to make him a mature man once again. That’s the request of 100 % Green Arrow fans (me included), and DC can’t ignore us forever.
        Thank you for you reply! : )

  2. read/RANT! says:

    [...] up.  Feels refreshing, and I will say that I disagree with Cal’s take on this title in his weekly review.  I’ll mostly agree with the art comment first though.  There were miss opportunities, [...]

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