Foilball’s Review Roundup #54 – The Final Bits… of AWESOME!

Billy Batson and The Magic of Shazam! #2 (****1/2)

This is one of my favorite new books and I don’t care that I’m just about 20 years past the target demographic. This comic rocks. It’s better than 90% of the “adult” super heroes comics being published today and here’s why: 1) It’s super fun. 2) The art is Amazo-ing. I love the whole “unfinished sketch/storyboard/panels within panels thing Mike Kunkel has going on. It’s brilliant! 3) It’s fricking cheap! $2.25! Who cares if the paper isn’t glossy!?! It’s $2.25! 4) OH! And every issue has a section in the back that’s in code and you have to use “The Monster Society Code” to break it! FUN!!! 5) And for those interested in continuity, this book is a direct sequel to last year’s Shazam!: The Monster Society of Evil mini series by Jeff Smith. I loved that book, but I have to admit, Mike Kunkel’s Shazam is miles better. No lie. Apparently, Kunkel used to do a little book called Hero Bear that I’d heard of but never read and consequently missed the boat on. Totally feel like an idiot. So, if you like fun and great art, give this book a try. If you don’t like it, then you, sir, have no taste.

Fables #75 (****)

Ah, this really hit the spot. Finally. This is the type of Fables war story I’ve been waiting for. Huge epic battles combined with intimate character moments. It took him 75 issues, but Willingham finally forced me to care about Prince Charming! And the art was also superb. Mark Buckingham grinds out another fabulous issue. What an underrated talent that guy is, right? This isn’t the final issue of the series, but it could easily have been so. My only complaint is that I kind of wish Boy Blue and Bigby had died. Boy Blue’s charm has been running thin as of late and I’m sick and tired of the “all-powerful” Bigby wolf. Like, the guy isn’t God, or Jesus, or Moses even. Get over yourself, you hairy monster.

Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds #1 (****)

Sometimes, and I may get blasted for this, but sometimes I can’t take George Perez pencils. They just… bother me. His layouts are busy and a lot of his faces start repeating. BLAH. What I’m trying to say is that this time I enjoyed his art. It was still uber-busy, of course, but somehow Geoff Johns expert dialoguing mitigated the groan factor. As far as this being a Final Crisis tie-in, I don’t know. How does this story fit exactly? Isn’t Superman zooming through the Multiverse at this point in the FC plot? And what does the Legion have to do with anything? This mini, unlike Revelations, feels like it could’ve been just as well served without the FC banner. Could I be missing the obvious link to FC? Maybe. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Green Lantern Corps #28 (***1/2)

I really want to love this issue, and this arc in general, but the art is just SOOOOO pedestrian. Boring. It feels like fill-in art on some crappy mid-90’s Marvel book. I really like this Sixth Sense character though. I bet Johns and Tomasi are gonna get a ton of mileage out of him once “Blackest Night” starts.

Spawn #182 (****)

Again, WHY? Why are they changing directions? YET! AGAIN! When the story has been so good lately! ARRGH! Admittedly, this issue was a bit of a dip in quality, mostly due to the extraneous amounts of exposition… but… it was still better than 90% of the first 100 issues. At what point do I finally cut my losses and break up with Spawn? Is it time? Yes, I think it is.

9 thoughts on “Foilball’s Review Roundup #54 – The Final Bits… of AWESOME!

  1. I obviously don’t know this for sure, but I have two theories – first, Darkseid’s fall does begin to effect ALL universes and perhaps all times, as well.

    The theory that I find more likely? Well, we still don’t know who fired that bullet from the future….

  2. I actually found Fables 75 a bit disappointing– it seemed to me that he was trying to cram two issues of material into one comic. Everything is done through exposition to save time, so I didn’t feel drawn into it. Things that deserved to be given more time– Bigby’s fight, Charming’s death, etc– were breezed past as fast as they could do them, which really robbed them of the drama they needed to have.

    Also: ARGH, why would they “forgive” Gepetto?! We’ve SEEN them execute war criminals before, so what the hell is there to gain by leaving a guy who killed untold millions of people alive? It seemed way out of character, and just feels like a phony event.

    Compare 75 to 50– 50 was a much smaller event, but it was vastly more interesting because Willingham took the time to tell the story right. 75 was an epic story, but it was being told at light speed by a person who didn’t even seem to be interested by it, so it came off kinda boring. 😦

  3. this has been my problem with Fables since Jack came out. i don’t think Willingham gives a shit anymore. he’s set the bar so low that any upward shift will illicit undeserved praise from me. 🙂

    seriously, i’ve hated this entire arc, but 75 kind of made up for it. i like that it was double-sized because i love seeing those Mark Buckingham two page spreads… it also means we don’t have to suffer through another issue of this crap. sure, we pay more, but price has never really been that great a concern for me. i love pain too much to consider the cost.

    the forgiving Gepetto thing was BLAH, but at this point, like Willingham, i don’t care what happens as long as it ends. Fables, to me, has always been a comic with great ideas and character concepts but when it comes to execution, misses more than it hits.

    at some point in the first 20 issues, Fables had the potential of a Sandman or a Preacher. today? i just don’t see it anymore.

  4. @SS: yeah, you’re right. Johns will probably tie Legion in with FC in some way that makes sense… but… dude, picture Superboy-Prime firing the “god gun”. how silly does that look? 🙂

    also, i forgot to mention this in my review, but there was one bit of the plot (the most integral part, actually) that felt totally mechanical and forced:

    “To fight SBP, we’re gonna need to recruit EXACTLY two altenrate versions of the Legion to help us.”

    what? why? huh! two? just two?! WHY!!! why those two?! this makes no sense… well, yeah, cus it’s an editorial-driven continuity fix, so sure, from the meta perspective it makes total sense, but in the story? does it make story sense? NO. HELL NO. i hope Johns fleshes this bit out, gives us some explanation for this happening the way it does.

    …double also, i just want to say that i think it makes perfect sense that Superman would suggest to his pals that they should rehabilitate Superboy-Prime. while it does make character and story sense, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to happen…

  5. Yeah. I think that L3W is the weakest of the core FC books – Revelations opened much stronger, Beyond opened spectacularly, and, though the main FC title opened rough, it’s more than made up for it. Perez’s art just feels so…plain, especially when put up against Moench, Jones, and Tan, and the same thing goes for Johns’ writing. It’s very…average, for such an epic event/conceptually epic book as L3W.

    Johns is a good writer, to be sure, but I still don’t understand the appeal of him. He basically just takes whatever book he’s on and jerks the main character off constantly – and when he’s not writing books with characters he’s loved since the seventies, he seems…pretty average. Look at his Teen Titans, for example, or Infinite Crisis.

    I’ve heard his JSA isn’t like this, so I plan on checking it out…if DC’ll ever release it in anything but hardcover.

    Plus, I just have this sneaking suspicion that L3W is going to end with him kicking the threeboot Legion to the curb, which kind of annoys me.

    Also, yeah, that plot crush with the HEY TWO OTHER LEGIONS ARE HERE! YAY! was fairly transparent, but I’m sure they’ll get around to giving us some kind of explanation. Maybe only two other universes have Legions? But then…can’t the bad guys free a bunch more villains from other universes? And can’t they have Time Trapper bring more up from the past?

  6. @Seventh: Ouch…too…much…hate! Is L3W the weakest FC mini? I don’t know. It seems like every FC tie-in surpasses my previous favorite for the most part. When I first read L3W, it only had to compete with Revelations #1 and Rogue’s revenge #1 (I don’t count that Tomasi crap), but that was my favorite FC tie-in. Then Rogue’s two came out, the Superman, then Revelations two (Though Superman was better than Revelations).

    Isn’t it a bit harsh to judge L3W, tie-in worthiness and all, by just the first issue? I’m going to wait until it’s all over. As for Perez’s art, I admit I’m not a big fan either, but his stuff looks great in L3W. Cut the old artists some slack. Most of the old legends have a dated look. To me, art in comics has never looked more diverse than it does today. All the art looked similar much like the characters acted similarly back in the day. The best art back then were the artists who could distinguish themselves like Kirby, Miller, and later Ross. An old dude that can hold his own against the new talent is John Romita Jr., but he’s altered his art over the years.

    And c’mon, you have to admire Perez for having the ability to pack tons of recognizable characters in one panel. I’m a big fan of Johns, so it’s too bad that you dislike his work. Yes, he makes you love the characters he loves, but I don’t see that as a bad thing if you end up loving those characters. You know the saying “there’s no such thing as a bad character, just a poorly written one”, Johns is proof of that. Sure, there are some writers that do it better, but Johns still does it well.

    Anyway, sorry for the long response, but I dig your opinion Seventh, which is why I feel I have to defend Johns. You know, you want the people with taste you respect to like the things you like.

    Oh, and the first JSA trade comes out in late October.

  7. i don’t think we judged it too harshly. we both spoke about how the art wasn’t to our taste and then we addressed a very apparent problem with the plot. i don’t think you need to read the rest of the series to talk about the plotting and the art of the first issue.

    of course, i reserve final judgment on the series as a whole until the last issue has shipped, but you can’t expect us NOT to comment on the first four. can you?

    also, i definitely admire and respect Perez, but that doesn’t mean i have to always love his art. it’s still a matter of taste.

    and HELL, i still gave it four stars. jeez.

  8. I said at seventh Billy, this doesn’t concern you! 🙂

    Nah man, I wasn’t trying to attack or anything. It’s so hard to tell how someone’s mood is on here you know that. I was just trying to defend L3W a little bit. I still agree with a lot of things you guys are saying. Of course we can judge the other four.

    I’m not a big fan of Perez either, but I just realized that all the old artists seem to be less impressive than the newbies right now. So I just said to cut them some slack.

    As far as the first issue goes, I’d give it a great rating just because it took me like 30 min plus to read it and I wasn’t bored. That’s something you don’t see too often today. And like I said, that’s probably the best Perez has ever looked.

    Oh, and it was cool that it was kind of a sequel to the recent Action Comics story. Actually, it’s more than that. They got Mon-El out of the phantom zone and that references an Action Comics arc too. Oh and that famous legion dude got killed too.

    See, it was epic. So calm down Billy!

    And c’mon, you have to love a story that opens with a cockroach. Between this and Wall-E, the cockroaches are getting plenty of love this year.

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