A whopping 3 books to review this week but I don't expect any to be as long winded as my Ultimates review from last week. And I haven't come up with my rating system quite yet, maybe by next week I'll have something creative. This week we have She-Hulk #18, Elephantmen #9, and The Spirit #6. So let's get to it.
She-Hulk #18 -- In an interview on Newsarama Dan Slott tried to convince readers that the issue was worth reading even though the delay meant the story was already spoiled by the Incredible Hulk #106. To some degree he may be right but with the big finale of She-Hulk being depowered by Iron Man already being revealed, the book just seemed to take a long time getting to a place we already knew it was going. Sure, there was a few things of interest like the Hulkbusters (sans She-Hulk) taking out the Leader. Seriously, this team of four individuals are taking out everyone who has given the Hulk a problem in the past, how sad is that? I've always hoped for writers to do more with the Leader but he continues to seem like just a joke. It makes me appreciate Peter David's run on the Hulk that much more. And getting nitpicky now, why did they need the U-Foes for their nano-technology? I had thought they were using gamma-powered individuals to develop it but the U-Foes are, like the FF, cosmic ray based. So it seems odd that they would hold the key to depowering gamma-powered people. But I guess She-Hulk line about needing "Hulk level threats" and developing a system to take them out (and the Hulk in particular) is supposed to cover that. Which seems odd, you would think a system to neutralize powers would be more based on how the powers act than on the person's "threat level". And why only Hulk foes then? Other characters and teams have taken on powerhouses. I guess the system is designed for the Hulk so it might make a bit of sense but in the same way, it seems rather forced. Oh yeah, and we get "Agent Beefcake" to counter "Agent Cheesecake" and take a wink at the double standard in comics... oops, I mean "SHIELD". I don't know what it is, whether it's trying to shove a bunch of World War Hulk stuff before the big story hits or Dan Slott trying to tie up as much as he can before he leaves the book but I just haven't been liking this series as much as of late. And the art just isn't helping. To be honest, I'd probably drop the series with this issue if I didn't know Slott was bringing things to an end and someone else was coming in. I'm eager to see who this someone is so I can decide if I want to keep going. But having said all that, She-Hulk's comments towards Tony and her comparing his actions to Dr Doom did make me feel at least somewhat good as was the pounding she gave him before being depowered. Almost forgot, the "Mission Accomplished" scene/banner, I did chuckle slightly but at the same time I kinda groaned. So in the end, I can't really recommend this book. Amazing how the mighty have fallen here.
Elephantmen #9 -- It seems like it's been a while since I last read an issue of this series. Again, we get the split book and again, we get two character-driven short stories. Now both are really well done. We have Hip on a grocery trip with his broken leg and it's a nice character piece. A few more details about MAPPO and the state of the world are outlined and taken on its own it's a nice little piece of storytelling with solid art. On the down side, it almost seems like this series is relying only on these. The narrative talking about how Hip was built for taking lives, the hardship he went through to be rehabilitated, and the extra "friendly" female acquaintance just seems to have been done already in this series. At this point I'd actually be happy with less "character" and more story. Fortunately, the conclusion of this mini-story seems to be the start of something and I'm kinda hoping it's not another character piece. The second story gives us an adventure of "The Silencer", a hitman sent out by Serengheti to take care of an ex-employee currently under police protection. A somewhat neat feature is that there's no dialogue to this story so it's just the art telling the story. Which matches the character. It's very short (and very quick to read considering the lack of dialogue) but you get a bit more of a sense of the character. Actually, it's done well enough that you can even sense a bit of Lieutenant Trench's character traits despite not actually getting the dialogue attached to him. So it was good little add on to a main story if the book had a main story. This issue still makes it to my recommended reading list but I can understand if some people are looking for a little more meat to the story.
The Spirit #6 -- We get another decent little story albeit a somewhat predictable one. It's weird for me, the characters are all distinct and interesting. The stories aren't really bad or anything. And the art, a somewhat cartoon style that matches the book well, is solid. But in the end, something is missing for me. It just doesn't feel very "fresh" or new. It's not a bad little story to read through but I guess I'm just too used to something different. As much as I like the characters, I'd like a little more character development of some sort. Instead, we get unique characters that will appear in this issue but we'll never see again. And I guess that's the downfall of each issue being a confined story, it's great for anyone who is interested in picking the series up at any point in time as nothing really relies on knowledge of the previous issue. But at the same time, it somewhat limits you that you can't develop something a bit more. I almost felt the same way when reading Eisner's original Spirit. The stories seemed interesting albeit done before. The problem there was that I was reading them as though they were written now when in fact, at the time the stories were written they were new and fresh for the world of comics. So it was a testament to the stories that they still seemed relevant. Here, it just seems they are going for that same feel and to some degree they are succeeding. But it's just not what I'm looking for. So unfortunately, this will be my last issue of the Spirit. I'd recommend reading it for yourself to see if it suits you but unfortunately, it just doesn't suit me.
Wow, it seems like a really down week or something with those reviews. Oh well, I'm still making my way through "From Hell" so there's always that.