Friday, July 21, 2006

Weekly comic reviews -- SPOILERS

So this week I picked up 4 books, She-Hulk #9, Civil War #3, Elephantmen #1, and the Planet Hulk: Gladiator Guide (or whatever it's called). Plus, I'll touch on season 2 of 24 which I finished last night (yeah, still a ways to go before I'm caught up).

Civil War #3 MAJOR SPOILERS -- Ok, look what I did, I clearly showed that I'd be spoiling parts of the story. So why can't Marvel do the same? Now I'm not talking about saying it in a Newsarama article because that would be my own fault for reading that article. Or releasing the covers to the next issue in that same article (as again, that was my own fault) but to put the big reveal of Thor right on the cover was just plain stupid (although giving him the "secret" codename of thunderstrike or whatever it was didn't really help either). But I guess we all knew he was coming back eventually. Oh, and as for Newsarama, some people haven't got to read this issue yet so them putting the pictures of Thor on their frontpage is also stupid. I'd like to be able to read the other comic news without having that sort of stuff ruined for me. Having said that, we finally have Thor back but what exactly is going on (why he doesn't have the Odin-force, why he's working for SHIELD, etc) still isn't known. Oh yeah, I guess I should have said he's on the pro-registration side. :) I'm still into the story but it's hard to see heroes that I liked coming up on the pro-registration side. And it's really hard to see some of the heroes acting like they are (such as Reed Richards seemingly being a little less than caring when it comes to his brother-in-law the Human Torch being in a coma). And with other writers doing the regular books for those characters it's hard to keep them consistent (after all, Reed has to remain the likeable hero in his own book but has to come off as being the "bad guy" in Civil War). But wait a minute, does he really need to? I kinda wonder that. But anyways, despite how much this storyline rubs me the wrong way I still can't wait to see what happens next. And the art continues to be great. Oh, one more downside, Matt Murdoch is in jail yet someone going by the code name Daredevil is having lunch with civilian looking Herc, Cap, and Goliath. It's interesting how he's in a civilian disguise so you still don't know who it is (unless you read the Director's Cut of Civil War #1) but on a quick glance, with the brown hair you might actually think it is Matt. And now that I know who it is I can understand why he's been integrated into the heroes without question. Anywho, that "review" (or was it just a rant) was too long so let's move along. In the end, still interested in this story ... and the art continues to be great.

She-Hulk #9: She-Hulk is now married to John Jameson (they eloped to Vegas and got "Elvis" to do the ceremony) and of course J. Jonah Jameson ain't happy that his son married not only a superhero but one that is also a lawyer in the firm that sued him (on behalf of Spidey). And Pug finds "evidence" that this love affair is courtesy of Starfox's influence. This book started off well but about half way through they shift artists to Sal Buscema (and I preferred his art over the first half's artist... that one had She-Hulk looking just plain fat). So the second half had a nice classic feel to it but yet again, it takes the reader out of the story to have this shift in art. The second part then becomes a silly story about She-Hulk having a dinner with her new in-laws. JJJ snaps and gets one of his left over spider-slayers out to attack She-Hulk. A quick tussle and everyone is happy in the end. This seemed like such a waste. There's more She-Hulk story to go to yet we have half this issue being wasted on this "filler" (yet again it felt like that stuff they through in Annuals to bulk them up). So I wasn't really overwhelmed by this issue.

Elephantmen #1: So as you may recall (or most likely not), I've only been able to pick up one issue of the original Hip Flask stories so far so I was a little worried that I'd be lost. But I guess I was fortunate as this issue serves to re-introduce you to some of the back story. You don't get the full thing but you get a sense of most of it and having read the first issue I could fill in a few of the gaps already. Actually, having the two stories in this issue actually helped. You have Ebony flashing back to life before he was "rescued" from the company that made him as well as having the human response to these "Unhumans" being integrated into society from the perspective of the little girl in the Ebony story and "Joe" in the other story (and since you have to flip the book over to read the other story you aren't abruptly thrown from story to story, it actually helps the reader refocus to know that he/she has to flip the book over and basically read it as another comic). The downside to all this? Well, if you've read the original stuff then this doesn't really seem to be anything new. But given how much time occurs between issues of the original stuff readers are probably happy to see anything. And the art was enjoyable. I'm looking forward to picking up more of this book.

As for the Hulk Guidebook I mentioned, I haven't read it. I started to but it's not presented in comic form. It's written as though inhabitants of the planet are writing a guide so you have some pictures but it's mostly just writing. Full pages on the star system they are in and each planet in the system. I had complained a while back that you were thrown into this world without the background and here we get the full details. I wonder if it's too much detail now but they have to be commended for doing their homework on this. They have stuff that just couldn't be presented in comic form (like going through the powers of the various gladiators) and having it written from a different perspective makes it a little bit more interesting than just reading one of the Marvel handbooks. But it's still going to be tougher read than your standard comic. So it's not for everyone, just the Hulk fanatics who want a bit more of a backstory.

Last but not least, season 2 of 24. I now see a bit more why people started to hate Jack's daughter. Season 1 I felt for her but in this one my patience was stretched a little thin with her. It's interesting how you know that Jack will save the day somehow but other than that, all bets are off. I keep thinking about how Joss Whedon talked about the death in Serenity and how it was necessary to give the viewers that sense that anything could happen (including killing off the main characters) and that's what this show has. You get a sense of urgency because you just don't know who's going to go bye bye whether it be by death, going to the bad side, or a combination of the two. Although it makes it tough to see a character you care about go down it makes you care more about them. Now I just have to find season 3 for cheap. :)

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