–which means, Billy is gonna be too busy enjoying the convention in San Diego to bother posting a new “Origin Stories” or “Planetary Series Review” this week, in fact, he’s almost too busy to write this Roundup! Not really, although UPS sure was cutting it close this time (stupid UPS always rescheduling my deliveries). Anyway, I got this, and then a Spoiler Review planned for tomorrow and then… I’ll see you again on Monday!
Action Comics #867 (*****)
I LOVE THIS BOOK!!!
THE ENTIRE ARC SHOULD BE FILLED WITH STUFF EXACTLY LIKE THIS.
Final Crisis: Requiem #1 (**)
The art is amazing, the story, not so much. First, let me explain that I’m not even looking at this as an FC tie-in, despite the cover treatment and what Dan Didio would have us believe. I think the only fair way to review this book is to judge it on its own merits since if we take into account the events of Final Crisis, this book is almost completely contradicted. Like I said, the art was phenomenal. LOVED IT. The story, on the other hand, was wordy and then boring as all hell. This book is really split into two chapters. The first chapter is corny/cheesy and borders on self-indulgent fan-fiction. The series of panels detailing the Martian Manhunter’s heroic efforts to thwart his death by manipulating the minds of the super-villains was silly and reeked of desperation on the writer’s part. “Oh man! How can I make Manhunter as cool as possible and satisfy the whiners?” Overwritten, overstated, overdone… my steak is burnt! If you can get past all that, and oh boy does the art help, you move into “Chapter 2” wherein the entire history of the Manhunter is read aloud by his closest friends. Um, is this what I paid for? An illustrated Wikipedia entry? No thanks. The only part of the book I liked came right at the end, what a surprise, when Batman places the choco on the Manhunter’s casket. It was an authentic moment in a book filled with posturing and simulated displays of grief. It made me smile. The rest of the book made me cringe.
The Walking Dead #50 (*****)
Five stars for Walking Dead? I must be losing my mind! Okay, allow me to ramble… so, this did not read like an issue 50, but I really, really liked it. Here’s why: Rick’s son Carl is finally, finally, finally a REAL boy! He’s got character! He’s interesting! All of a sudden! Out of the blue! But wait, not really. Kirkman’s been driving toward this all year. All that prison stuff, the carnage, death and destruction? It’s all been leading to this moment, the moment where Carl just loses his shit. Despite his gross lack of “character” talent, Kirkman manages to write a solid character piece. I know. You disagree. You think Kirkman’s strength has always been his character stuff. Well… you are wrong. His character writing has always been the weakest part of his writing. See Ultimate X-Men and previous issues of Walking Dead for ample examples. It’s in plot and storytelling that he truly excels. See final arc of Ultimate X-Men and previous issues of Walking Dead for ample examples. So, to me, this issue shows great promise for the rest of this series, or at least the next couple of issues. Kirkman has Carl react to the recent slaughter of his family in a very real/visceral/believable/relatable way. All the things that Carl expresses in this issue feels like what a kid in the real world would express if put in the exact same position. I love that Carl finally voices his doubts about his father. He doesn’t trust his father to protect him anymore. Hell, the guy’s missing a hand! And as Carl reflects, his father couldn’t protect his mother, his sister or the rest of the group since, you know, most of them are all dead now. I feel like Kirkman sat down with this script and really wrestled it into something powerful, something touching. I can imagine him agonizing over every line Carl utters, trying to figure out the best, least corny way to get across the feeling of total loss that the boy is experiencing. I loved it. It didn’t feel like an issue 50, but I still loved it. Bravo, Kirkman, but don’t get lazy. Don’t fall back into old habits. No more throwaway “hey-how-are-you’s” or runaway expository monologues. Write good dialogue and build good characters. Build on the fresh start you’ve carved out for yourself. Build the epic zombie story of awesome that you’ve always dreamed of. If you can do that, I can guarantee you at least one loyal reader for the next 50.
Oh, and not that I cared one way or the other, but the good men at DCBS thought enough of my massive ordering skills to toss me a copy of the Erik Larsen variant cover. Thanks, guys.
• Buffy the Vampire Slayer #16 (***): And then Joss Whedon returned and the book took a serious nose-dive in quality. Sad, sad times. I’m really excited about this “Fray” crossover, but after the awesomeness that was the Drew Goddard arc, the first part of this story left me cold. Like a dead body, or a recently turned suck-head. Yeah. Heh.
• Captain America: White #0 (***): I disagree with Bruce Castle’s review of this book. I thought the story provided was adequate and the extra pages, Cap sketches and an interview with the creators, were more than satisfactory. But, I’m the biggest Cap fan I know so I may be biased.
• Mighty Avengers #16 (***): This was fine, not the best SI tie-in, but fine. I have no idea what Bruce Castle was bitching about. Elektra doesn’t look old. There isn’t much dialogue, but hell, Elektra doesn’t normally say much, so, what the hell did you expect?
• Ultimate Origins #2 (***): Um, it was okay? Nothing truly memorable here, but I do think it’s one of the best retelling of the Captain America origin ever written, if that counts for anything.
• Young Liars #5 (*****): Um, Danny gets his dick sliced off?? NUFF SAID!!!