Saturday Night’s Alright for Mini Reviews

There are few advantages to having a heavily sedated social life (which will gladly no longer be the case come September), but it does afford me the opportunity to read some books from Friday’s DCBS shipment and throw down some reviews. I’ve decided for consistency’s sake (between the work of Billy and Bruce Castle, as well as the format of the Pull List podcast that is new to Realms Radio) to switch from letter grades to a five star system. So let’s get this started.

Sky Doll #’s 1 and 2 (****1/2)

I can’t remember what exactly compelled me to order Sky Doll. It got an extra discount for the first issue, and was only a three issue mini, and despite the $6 cover price, the standard 40% off the second and third issues definitely made it seem a lot more affordable. I ordered these prior to seeing anything about them beyond the cover, and was heartened when I read the preview from the free Soleil Sampler that shipped a few months back. Well now we’re two issues in and I feel comfortable enough to take a look at what we’ve seen so far. Some background: this is the first of the books translated and reprinted by the partnership of Marvel and French comics publisher Soleil. It follows the story of Noa, one of the titular Sky Dolls (who are basically religion-based sex robots) who manages to escape her fate and go on an adventure with two emissaries of the Lodovica papal regime. Lodovica is the twin sister of Agape, who has her own set of followers and has thus let to unrest and full out religious Civil War. I am very surprised and enthused by this book. I wasn’t expecting this kind of story, rife with religious persecution and oppression framed by the desire for spiritual freedom for one that was not designed for anything of the sort. There’s a lot more going on here, but that main theme is certainly enough to keep me interested. The six dollar price tag hurts, but each book is 44 pages with no ads, so that certainly helps to cushion the financial blow. But the main reason to pick these books up is Alessandro Barbucci, the artist of the series. This is a book of ceaseless imagination, from wild cityscapes to wild characters, and Barbucci fits so much character and uniqueness to all of it that you’re seeing a world created in front of you eyes. The writing is much deeper than I was necessarily expecting, but the real draw is the art. The whole package is incredibly intriguing and imaginative, and were it not for the $6 price tag, this would be an easy five star review. Still, if you have any desire to read something entrenched far outside the box, get this. I doubt you’ll be disappointed.

Booster Gold #10 (**)

As this arc comes to a close, it really wasn’t handled well at all. This is not the case of Geoff Johns alienating me via esoteric characters and past DC events (there’s some of that in the reunion of the JLI, but I could work with it to the point of not being actively distracted), but rather the case of Johns and Katz just not writing very good comics. One of the big mysteries for this arc is why John Carter (Booster’s father and one of the two wearers of the Supernova outfit) is a member of the Time Stealers (alongside the Black Beetle, Per Degaton and Despero)) despite being a complete failure and inveterate gambler in Booster’s timeline. Well, we find out what’s going on. And it lands with the unmistakable thump of being both illogical and convenient without having the emotional weight that a reveal should have. I was surprised, but disappointed. And then things kept going aggressively downhill. There were hints along the way of this issue that led me down a path that would have blown my mind and redeemed this story arc. It would have been more logical and far more interesting than what they decided to go with. As such, I officially no longer care about this series. They had me for a while, but there was always a sense of apathy behind it all after those wonderful first issues. I would heartily recommend the first trade to any DC fan, but only the hardcore Booster Gold fans need stray any further beyond those first six issues.

Nova #14 (*****)

Yep. This arc still kicks ass. And Wellington Alves is a pretty big reason for that. I love the way that he frames the Nova/Surfer fight from the scale perspective of Galactus, so they look like insignificant flies buzzing around his massive head. And I love the way that Galactus doesn’t say a damned word to anyone because he’s GODDAMNED GALACTUS and an eternal and essential cosmic being that has no time or concern to listen to the pleas of a flea like Richard Rider. And the way that Surfer is still completely ambivalent about being a herald again as he tries to find ways to complete his task without too much collateral damage or loss of life. Or the way that the Harrow was not forgotten, as has put our boy Nova into quite a predicament for the final issue of this arc. Or the way that the central conceit of Nova and the Worldmind bickering back and forth like some deranged buddy cop movie still hasn’t gotten old after all this time. Abnett and Lanning are writing one of the best books on the shelves right now, and this arc has been masterfully executed. This is an epic scale, and that’s what is necessary. And I love every second of it.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer #15 (*****)

I haven’t really reviewed Buffy very often. Don’t really know why, but I guess it’s never really struck me as a book that requires reviewing. That’s all changed with the current arc. Drew Goddard wrote the hell out of the last fpur issues, and the climax we hit here is some whacked out crazy fun that brings me right back to the television series. This is easily the best arc of a series of good arcs from Buffy 8, and it’s amazing how much these last couple issues (more so even than the ones written by Joss) have felt like the TV show. That wonderful mix of action, ludicrous situations, drama, humor. It’s all back. And it might end up lessening my enjoyment of future issues, because I seriously doubt the quality is going to remain this high. Ah well, might as well enjoy it while I can.

The Next Nova Arc

I’m a big fan of Marvel’s Nova series. The book itself has been pretty heavily tied in with the event structure of the Marvel Universe, moving from Annihilation through The Initiative and into Annihilation: Conquest. He’s covering the B story of Conquest in his own book, and the 12th issue, which will be arriving next Friday in my DCBS shipment, and it along with Annihilation Conquest #6 (due to ship next week) will be wrapping up that storyline. So what’s next for Nova? GALACTUS. The next three issues of the Nova book will be covering a run-in between Nova, Silver Surfer and Galactus. I saw the covers in Previews, and this is probably the best work Alex Maleev has ever done on a cover. Here’s a taste. Continue reading