5 Stars: WARNING: Bruce Lee Level Kung Fu
4 Stars: Jackie Chan Level Kung Fu
3 Stars: David Carradine Level Kung Fu
2 Stars: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Level Kung Fu
1 Star: Steven Segal Level Kung Fu
Iron Fist # 13 (****)
I love this book, and really, I shouldn’t. Two writers. Multiple artists every issue. A book about ancient cities in heaven mixed with Kung Fu. Cheesy dialogue and even cheesier plots. And worst of all… starring IRON FIST?!?! WTF? And yet, all the elements add up to awesome. I don’t know how to review this book, the current years long plot is coming to a head, and its strands are so disparate, I have trouble nailing it all down in a cohesive way. But none of that matters. It’s been a long, strange trip and I’ve loved every minute of it. Shockingly, a few days ago Fraction and Brubaker announced they were leaving the book soon. No matter who they get to replace them, I doubt the magic will hold. This book is just too fucking ridiculous and its success has little to nothing to do with the Iron Fist character, it’s all about the writers. Once they leave, this book will no doubt turn to shit. Mark my words. On his mailing list, Warren Ellis expressed surprise at the fan reaction to this news. He said something like, “no creator is going to stay married to a character or book he doesn’t own. It’s silly to believe otherwise.” He’s right. I know he’s right, but it doesn’t make it any less disappointing. Sad, sad times ahead. Enjoy the good times while they last.
Project Superpowers #2 (**1/2)
I really, really and for truly want to love this book… but I don’t. I’m up for anything Ross and Krueger create together and have been following their collaborations since the seminal “Earth X”. But this, it’s only “so-so” so far. I like the ideas they present, I just find the execution lacking. The design for the American Spirit is very cool, but the rest of these golden age rejects look fairly ridiculous. And not the good kind of ridiculous like Iron Fist. Yeah, we know that’s all window dressing, but the plot doesn’t work either. All this magic garbage makes me gag. That’s the main difference between this book and the superior “return from the Golden Age” book by JMS, The Twelve. I buy the “science” of that book… the science of this book is just lame. “I sucked all the heroes into this crazy magic urn thing cus the spirit of a dead relative told me that doing so would trap all the evil in the world! Years later I find out that I made a mistake. Crap.” See what I mean? Give me Nazi cryo-frozen heroes any day of the week over that dreck.
Spawn #176 (***)
Spawn keeps holding on, man. It’s the book that just won’t die. I don’t actually understand it, why keep publishing this book? Does it show that much of a profit? It can’t just be a marketing device for the Mac toy line, that thing sells itself now, if it sells at all. The stories have gotten better, no doubt, and the art is pretty. Top notch. But the character of Spawn just can’t help but feel dated. Whenever he shows up on-panel, I cringe, reminded of the super lameness of 90’s Image Comics. Actually, the plots are better when he doesn’t show up at all. Can this book survive without a Spawn in it? I think so. Will that happen? No way in hell. Too much ego attached… and really, that’s got to be the major reason MacFarlane still publishes this monthly. Ego, pure and simple.
Superman/Batman Annual #2 (*****)
This book put a smile on my face. 1) Joe Kelly writing Superman. 2) It was so much damn fun. Kelly and Kollins re-imagine an old Golden Age Superman/Batman team-up where Superman loses his powers and Batman almost goes insane. Of course, Kelly does a lot of work to flesh out the story, toss some meat on its bones and give the tale a modern feel, but it still has that “anything can happen” old school feel to it. Rachelle, over at “Living Between Wednesdays”, said they should just let Kelly take over the Superman/Batman monthly so he can do these “re-imaginings” every month. Totally agree. The least DC could do is give this man a damn Superman book already. We got Morrison, Johns and now Robinson (Busiek too if you count Trinity)… okay, so the dance card is currently full. Maybe it’s time to go back to four Super books a month? Huh? YEAH?
• Birds of Prey #116 (***1/2): Not as good as last issue, but only a slight drop off. I don’t like how the Black Alice plot resolved but the Queen Shark one was satisfying… I also like how Simone is running these subplots. Good stuff so far.
• Ghost Rider #21 (**): OMG-LAME-EXPO! Two entire pages of bad exposition. For your viewing pleasure: Exhibit A. Exhibit B. LEARN THE CRAFT, AARON!!! Last issue was great, but it seems Aaron has given me something to complain about earlier than expected.
• New Warriors #10 (-): I’ve completely given up on this book. I can’t even give it a single star. I’ve stopped ordering it, so this should be one of the last times I get this pile.
• She-Hulk #27 (*): I think I’m dropping this… it’s gotten so terrible since David took over. The best thing about these gave been the covers.
• Teen Titans #57 (*): Another book I’m dropping. This makes me really sad, because it used to be a 5-star book back in the day when Johns was still attached.