Foilball’s Review Roundup #37 – COMIC-CON WAS EXHAUSTING!!!

I have pictures with some HAWT-HAWT ladies that I’ll probably post up in the next few days. Panels? Panels are for suckers, fool!

Batman and the Outsiders #9 (***)

Whoa, shit just got weird. I never read the original Batman and the Outsiders series, so maybe I just don’t know any better, but does it make sense to anyone else that the plot has veered into science fiction territory? Seriously? Batman’s gonna stop an alien invasion? Really? WTF!!! Don’t get me wrong, the issue is still very well-written, because Chuck Dixon is awesome, but how the hell did we come to this? Sure, we had space shuttles and OMACs and possessed people… but there’s just something about this latest plot turn that doesn’t sit right with me. I think it just feels too “big” for a Batman and the Outsiders plot. I need “Justice League Elite” style shenanigans from my BATO, not “Authority” end of the world shenanigans. Not that any of this matters since I’ll be tossing the book after Dixon leaves.

Justice Society of America #17 (****1/2)

I really, really, really love this arc. Some of us are comparing what Johns is doing with his DC books to what Bendis is doing over at Marvel. Which is true on the surface, but there’s a subtle difference. The difference is Johns is a much more talented character writer than Bendis. Johns relies on solid scene construction and not dialogue to reveal character. Most of the time, Bendis can barely manage the dialogue, and even then he’s only hiding behind the cleverness of it. The core of the character is usually missing… the core being the meaning/message/chunk of philosophy to chew and mull over. This is why he gets slammed so much for “decompression”. When the plot is literally oozing forward at a snail’s pace, you have to rely on internal character change to move the story. Johns can do this. Bendis can not.

The Punisher #59 (****1/2)

Um, wow.

It’s all starting to make sense now. All those pages of prose from the last 5 issues, all the descriptions and explanations of how the Punisher’s birth and very existence has changed so many that knew him… it’s so obvious now that I think of it. There was really only one way this story could ever end. Of course, Colonel Howe isn’t going to use the tape. Punisher knew that. But, what the Punisher may not have known was how much the simple act of experiencing what he’s experienced would fundamentally change the Colonel. No, Howe’s not gonna release the tape to the media. It would devastate the country and cripple the military. No way in hell would a man like Howe be responsible for that. But, what he will do is this: he will dismiss his team. He will take sole responsibility for what comes next. He will help Frank Castle punish the guilty parties. Howe will become exactly like, for as long as his surely brief life lasts, The Punisher. There’s tons more to say, and tons more there that I haven’t picked up on yet, but we got to save some for next month. Powerful stuff, though. Next issue is going to be amazing!

Quick Hits:
Amazing Spider-Man #564 (***): The blurb on the cover promises the most unusual Spidey story ever… consider me underwhelmed. Roshamon Spidey anyone? Sure, good idea, guys… poor execution.
G.I. Joe #36 (***): It just didn’t do it for me. Instead of giving up a proper 3rd act, the story just kind of ended. I’m hoping the relaunch next year is awesome, and by awesome, I mean they have some top talent attached. If not, eff it, I’ll finally be done with serialized Joe fiction.
I Kill Giants #1 (***1/2): Hey kids, Joe Kelly is back! Lots of setup, it’s a first issue, but also lots of fun. I really like this little girl and the way she sees the world. And I can’t tell just yet if she’s actually crazy or the stuff she sees is real or she’s just extremely creative, but I’m more than happy to stick around and find out.
Number of the Beast #7 (**): More blatant exposition about the hokiest plot of the year. I wonder if this series would have been better served if the creators opted against revealing the (ridiculous) reasons for the WWII heroes’ incarceration. Probably. This issue slows this bullet train of a series to a crawl. Ugh.
The Boys #20 (****): Another back story issue, but just like last time, it still works. That’s probably because Ennis is such a compelling storyteller. I think that may actually the thing I like best about Ennis. I love the way he writes characters telling stories. He makes you wish you were sitting around the campfire with the characters in the book. The Boys is blossoming into a must-read book. Good times.

Foilball’s Review Roundup #33 – THE MEDIOCRES!

As promised, The Mediocres. These books weren’t great and they weren’t bad. They were workman like in their execution, filled with substance but lacking the style to put them over the top.

Batman and the Outsiders #8 (***): This issue does a fine job of wrapping up the last 7 issues worth of story without actually introducing anything new or exciting. It’s a good job, but boring.

Birds of Prey #119 (***): And, Tony Bedard is back. Okay, this was not as bad as I expected. And, Scott is still doing the art, so it’s not a total loss. The following series of panels made me laugh, and not in that good way…

Black Panther #37 (**1/2): It’s mostly filler, but the back and forth between Panther and Killmonger is semi-interesting. Next issue promises to be an all-out slugfest, but… I don’t know if I care about the Panther’s solo adventures anymore. Seems to me like Hudlin is finally running out of ideas. When he first relaunched the book, it seemed to hold so much promise. Instead of rising to the level of exciting political intrigue that Captain America has, it’s slowly fallen into petty soap opera drama. It’s just not compelling. I think after the Secret Invasion tie-in issues, I will be dropping this book.

Green Lantern #32 (***): Compared with the rest of the issues in the arc, which I loved, I was very disappointed in this issue. Not much happened. Sinestro was cool, and that Yoda shit he did with Hal’s plane was very cool, but it felt… mediocre, especially for a Johns book. I’m sure this will be the exception and next issue will see the return of the level of quality we as GL fans are used to. Oh, one more thing. This entire arc is making me so sad for Hal. Like, Carol Ferris is so awesome! A part of me has to believe that another reason for this trip down “Origin Lane” is to reintroduce the Hal/Carol love story… for future reference, of course. Maybe we’ll see more of this after “Blackest Night”? I hope so.

Guardians of the Galaxy #2 (***): Great cover. And that’s about it. Everything else is middle of the road. Vance Astro? GAWD, I’ve always hated him. They should just cap his ass and take the shield. I like the modern reintroduction of the Universal Church of Truth, but I don’t like the characterizations of the leads. Warlock doesn’t feel like Warlock, Drax doesn’t feel like Drax, etc… just about the only character that even acts/sounds like they did in Annihilation is the fricking Raccoon. It hasn’t been outright terrible, so I’ll stick with it for now and see how I feel in a couple of months.

No Hero #0 (***): Too early to tell… this could be great, but there is also the possibility that it’s just a retread of Black Summer or The Order or even Kick-Ass. When he’s on, Ellis is the man. When he’s off? You get weird shit like Anna Mercury and Strange Kiss. Oh, but I do like all the backmatter in this one. Thanks! Oh, and the art is still amazing!

Number of the Beast #6 (***): All the cards have finally been flipped (well, all the cards we know about)! Tons of exposition in this one… no wonder it read so slow. This is the nature of the beast so I can’t fault the writer too much. He’d asked so many questions in the preceding five issues that it was inevitable that he’d have to slow down and catch us all up. Like Green Lantern, I’m sure the next issue will pick right back up.

Ultimate Spider-Man #123 (***1/2): There were parts of this I really liked. I loved how Bendis kept changing “listeners” on us. “Oh, what happened to that nice old man?” Um, Venom ate him, dummy. SWEET! The problem I have with this book is that the way Bendis chose to frame this story actually robs it of any suspense. Because it’s told in flashback, we know Venom gets away safely from Silver Sable and her Wildpack. Everything else still works on a technical level, and what he tried to do was a nice experiment in storytelling, but I’m just not that excited to read the next issue. So, fail?

Ultimate X-Men #95 (**1/2): Whoa… shit just got TOO weird. Cyclops flying? WHA! Rogue knows Vindicator? Like, KNOWS knows? It’s gotta be Gambit, right? Because of the purple energy blasts… but, man, that would be stupid. Northstar dead? Colossus gonna go all roid-ragin’ now? I really liked the new direction that the last issue set up, but I feel like we’re moving too fast and heading in too many different directions. Slow down, man. You’re no Grant Morrison.

I’ll be back Tuesday with The Gooders. Monday, hopefully we’ll have our Series Review of Planetary #9 up, and if we don’t then, sorry.