So we have 4 reviews this week plus Death Note Volume 2 and The Best of the Spirit. The 4 books I picked up this week were She-Hulk #17, The Great and Secret Show #11, White Tiger #5, and courtesy of my friends at the local comic shop The Spirit #2 (which they were able to track down for me). So let's get to it shall we.
She-Hulk #17 -- NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! Shulkie, how could you??? I'm still in denial of the whole "sleeping with Juggernaut" thing (just as she seems to be) but .... but... Tony Stark???? NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!! Ok, let's get rational here. She-Hulk has had some questionable flings in the past and Dan Slott has continued it. Sometimes she seems to regret them, sometimes she seems to be in denial, and after this little excursion with Tony it seems she's okay with herself for doing it. She even brings up the whole "Why can Tony Stark do it and be respected as a lady's man while I'm considered a skank?" thing. So maybe that's where Slott is going with this, I just don't know. Though it's kinda funny that she would bring up that double standard as well as the whole "Tony gets to put on his armour while I'm stuck in my underwear" thing. Bringing up the double standard and such while also following it. And I know, my current feelings towards Tony Stark make this one as tough to swallow as the Juggernaut episode. Okay, getting past that now. The art stinks. Yeah, I gotta say it. I can't stand the art. It's not really improving that much and it's just annoying me more than anything. Characters look stretched, distorted and weird. Sometimes they look like 2-D cardboard cut outs and other times they just look awful. Really, the artist is bringing this book down for me. We get to see a bit more of "Project Achilles" (it seems to be some weapon for bringing down some pretty powerful people like the Abomination, Vector, IronClad, Wendigo, etc.) and we get to see SHIELD and Tony's overconfidence nearly cost them as Zzzax almost takes out a SHIELD hellicarrier (and almost gets control of Iron Man's suit but She-Hulk saved his butt). But then there's the big finale, the Nick Fury LMDs that were out of control and attacking She-Hulk were blurting out lines from various storylines that they've appeared in and sure enough the head that She-Hulk was carrying decides to blurt out the lines he said to the Hulk/Bruce Banner as they launched him in to space. And now the muck is about to hit the fan as She-Hulk is about to discover the truth about where exactly her cousin is. And oh yeah, they do have a few pages of Mallory and the others back at the law offices that are somewhat interesting (the first page of the issue is good for a chuckle) but that's not nearly as fun to talk about (yet it probably was more fun to read than She-Hulk's little adventure). Overall, not a bad issue but not the greatest. And the book needs a new artist and fast.
White Tiger #5 -- I enjoyed this issue a bit more than previous ones as there seemed to be a slightly better flow to it and it covered things pretty well. I do kinda wonder about some scenes though. Like right off the bat the Tiger awakens to see her legs invisible (all of her was before she woke up, it's a long story so just read the book) and for the next few panels she's standing around with her legs still invisible. When Daredevil/Danny Rand says she was invisible she makes a comment that it wasn't just her seeing things that her legs were invisible when she regained consciousness. That seemed kinda weird considering it's not like they became visible right away, they seemed to stay invisible for the first half of their conversation. It just seemed odd. I also found it odd that her costume (that I didn't think was linked to her powers) becomes invisible too yet later she discovers her regular clothes don't. And then you get yet another appearance from yet another character, Deadpool. I read they are trying to push the idea of the superhero community and them running into each in such close proximity but I don't know, it just seems so out of place to have Deadpool appear, mistake White Tiger for Black Cat and then take off just as quickly. Having said all that negative stuff, the art actually seemed better and I had fewer issues with it though there were times that characters were drawn in ways that meant the letter balloons had to stretch and contort to point out who's talking while at the same time making it clear the order of dialogue. And the story seems to be coming together a bit better in this issue. And I'm happy with that as we head in to the final issue next month.
The Great and Secret Show #11 -- Another solid issue. It was a little "quiet" as the tension builds for the final issue but that's just the way the story goes. You get a little bit of a calm before the storm. And this calm was well done. Well drawn, well written. Though I do still think the series would be better appreciated (at least by me) if you wait until the series is done and read it in its entirety instead of waiting a month between issues (so you can lose track of all the characters).
The Spirit #2 -- Another fun filled issue. This series is a nice throwback to old-style comics with fun and interesting characters, each with a complex past. Yet it's not so overwhelmingly dark as some comics have gotten. They do a great job of capturing some of the essence of Eisner's work and his characters and it's a solid overall story with great storytelling. I only hope that the movie captures the same essence but I have my fears knowing that Frank Miller is the man behind it. I guess we'll have to wait and see.
The Best of the Spirit -- Having read none of the Spirit archives or anything, this was my first foray into Eisner's work. Wow! I really shouldn't have waited so long. It really is true, this guy was doing work in the 40's that many comic writers/artists couldn't match today. At a time when comics had even less recognition as an art form than they do today, Eisner's The Spirity really is a beacon to what comics could strive to. The stories are short and to the point and maybe one or two of them could benefit from being fleshed out a bit more but all in all, they are great little shorts. Characters are different and unique. So many stories have so many messages to them. I don't know if Eisner really gets the recognition he deserves from the younger (and even some older) comic enthusiasts, he really was one of (if not the) greatest storyteller in the business. I've also picked up his A Contract With God Trilogy and have started reading it as of last night. Eisner is truly a great storyteller and you would be doing yourself a huge favour by setting aside some time to read the Best of the Spirit and truly appreciating what he's done here. I might not be eager to put down the money for the Archive books but this one was well worth it.
Death Note Volume 2 -- I got this volume in the mail on Tuesday when I got home from work. After a trip to the gym, a shower, and some dinner I decided I had to take a break from reading the Best of the Spirit to see what happens next in this story. Well, I couldn't put it down. I finished the volume later that evening (though it didn't take all that long) and was even more eager to get volume 3. The tension builds between Light and L as their little cat and mouse game continues. Though who is the cat and who is the mouse is open for debate. It was interesting that at times I found myself pushing for Light to figure his way out of some situations and it took me a minute to remember that he is killing people, and not just bad people, to achieve his goal. His charm seems to not only work on the characters in the book, but on the reader. Where as L is a little harder to get into. He's secretive and rather weird so I don't really find myself connecting with him that much yet he really is the hero here (in my mind at least). And it's an interesting twist to the characters. And although some of the throw away characters are pretty one dimensional you do get some of the secondary characters that really shine. And you do find yourself being engaged in knowing their fates as well. All in all, I'm really loving this series. So much so that I've ordered the next 5 volumes already. And hopefully I'll have caught up in time to read the final volume (#12) when it comes out.