Friday, July 27, 2007

Weekly Comic Reviews for July 25th, 2007 -- SPOILERS

Well, it was a relatively busy week for me comics wise, or at least it was an expensive week. I picked up four regular books this week as well as Volume 2 of the Manga series, Monster. And then there was Wizard magazine. The unfortunate news is that I only had a chance to read the 4 regular books so the Monster review will have to wait.

And speaking of waiting, I'm heading off to Nova Scotia next week, Thursday to be exact. I'm hoping to pick up my comics on Wednesday after work but that might mean I won't have a chance to post my reviews of them. So if you don't hear from me next week you'll have to wait until the following week (it may be Friday, I don't get back until the following Thursday).

So back to the reviews of this week, I picked up The Incredible Hulk #108, Buffy the Vampire Slayer #5, Elephantmen #10, and Stephen Colbert's Tek Jansen. Yeah, Tek Jansen came out a couple weeks back but I missed it so I had to wait for the re-order.

The Incredible Hulk #108 -- The theme for this week definitely seemed to be character pieces. With this issue we have Rick Jones (the Hulk's first "friend" or human contact) and Miek (the Hulk's first "friend" or contact on Sakaar) going over their respective personal histories and seeing how they mirror each other. There seem to be a few inconsistencies with the main World War Hulk title or maybe I'm just remembering it incorrectly. I am pretty tired so maybe it's best for me to wait and go over the books again before going through those. Taking this book on its own, I found it well drawn for the most part (it wasn't Gary Frank drawing it), well written, but a real slowdown from the Planet Hulk and World War Hulk pace that we seem to be becoming accustomed to with the Hulk books. And again, the Hulk does not really feature very prominently in this book, at least not in the present, most of the flashbacks have the Hulk but are more about Rick or Miek. We see how each wants to help the Hulk and how each one has a different approach to doing so. And in the end, they go their separate ways to achieve that. And also, we get to see a bit more about Miek. I was getting worried about his story but what he says and does in this issue actually makes me feel better. I know some people were really let down by this issue but not so much for me. But I guess I knew this wasn't going to be a continuation of the Hulk smash stuff that's going on everywhere else, this would be the behind the scenes character book. So yeah, it makes my recommended reading list. But non-Hulk fans may be disappointed. And Hulk fans may be a little turned off by another "let's have Rick Jones narrate his Hulk story again."

Buffy the Vampire Slayer #5 -- Something about this issue just seemed off to me. Perhaps I was just tired and the time shifting nature of it had my brain trying to do leaps when it just wanted to go to sleep. And perhaps I just need to re-read it (I know I did re-read a few pages as I went through it last night). But in the end, I just didn't connect with this Buffy stand-in as much as I probably should have. I kept having the feeling I was being taken out of her story and not really getting the full effect of it. Perhaps that was intentional, that we really don't know anything about her but then the snippets we do see are already too much. So maybe it wasn't about connecting with her and the last page is supposed to make that more clear, or maybe I'm just trying to hard to make up for what this issue seemed to lack for me. With the time shifting and a few choppy moments (suddenly she goes from standing in a cave to lying naked with a slug on her? Where did that come from?) I just felt that the story wasn't flowing as it should. I don't know what would have improved it, making it two issues instead of one, less time shifting and more character moments, or a better all around flow to it. I just don't know. Even the art, it was a fill in artist and I'm not a huge fan of Jeantry at times but I found his issues 1-4 slightly more solid than this artist and I'm looking forward to his return with issue 6 (the start of the Faith arc). So for me, the book just wasn't as good as it could have been. It's like I can see where they were going and I want to get out and push it along to get there but for me, it just didn't seem to have the legs. So, although I will be putting it on my recommended reading list it's mostly because it's a Buffy book and because if you work at it, you can get a very good story out of it. But I think it requires too much work on the reader's part to really deserve a place at the top of my list.

Elephantmen #10 -- How funny. I've been saying this book has maybe focused too much on character stories and sure enough, the latest issue comes out with the last two character pieces. And what do we get? Well after having two issues tease us with a comet landing on earth we get... a character piece about Obadiah Horn. We get more flashbacks to his Mappo days and such. We get more about his views on humans and where he fits (or doesn't fit). And in seeing those we view how he sees humans as living up to everything Mappo said about them (well, except for Sahara). Don't get me wrong, it's well written, it's nicely drawn, and it's nice to see more of Horn and what he stands for and all that but I'm still yearning for a bit more of an overall story to this series. And looking at the solicit for issue 11, it doesn't look like the series will be moving away as it looks like we'll get character stories about Nikken (scientist and creator of the Elephantmen) and Serengheti ("Businessman" who hates the Elephantmen) so I guess I should just get used to it. I still can't get myself to take it off my recommended reading list but be aware that those who have felt the series hasn't really been moving anywhere and is just overrun by character pieces, this issue is no different. It's a solid piece, but still just a piece and we have yet to be shown any of the bigger picture.

Stephen Colbert's Tek Jansen #1 -- Moving away from the character pieces we'll now discuss Tek Jansen. People who don't watch the Colbert Report should probably just walk away now. Those who do watch the show probably know that Stephen Colbert plays a character on that show who in turn creates the character of Tek Jansen and written a book about him (not published) and had several animated shorts created. And now he has a 5-issue comic series. It's just goofball humour with in-jokes for all the sci-fi/comic/fantasy geeks out there. But it was enough to have me chuckling. You could almost hear Colbert's voice as you were reading Tek Jansen's lines. You could almost see his facial expressions. Though again, this is coming from someone who watches his show. The art is cartoonish to match the overall feel of the book and works well with it. Even the follow up story is a solid fun read. Though it's definitely for people with a certain sense of humour. I mean, if you don't chuckle as Tek Jansen boasts about his sexual exploits and thinks he's doing women a favour by sleeping with them (or just telling them he would sleep with him if he had the time) then maybe this isn't the book for you. Because that's what it's meant to be, it's the over the top Stephen Colbert character creating an even more over the top character in Tek Jansen. So yeah, it does make my recommended reading list but probably only for those who watch the Colbert Report or have at least seen a bit of Colbert and know/appreciate his humour.

So that's it for now. Perhaps I'll get the chance to post my review of Monster Volume 2 this weekend but I may be a little busy getting things ready for my vacation. WOOHOO! VACATION!!! :)

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