A whopping three books this week with Buffy #9, World War Hulk: Aftersmash, and Ultimates 3 #1 coming out. I also decided to pick up Strangers in Paradise Volume 1 but it'll have to wait until I'm done the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (about half way through) and Stephen Colbert's "I Am America (And So Can You!)".
Buffy #9 -- Brian K. Vaughan's Faith storyline comes to an end. I really enjoyed this storyline. I didn't expect Faith and Buffy to be at such odds with each other but it made for a very compelling story. I don't really want to go into too much detail but everything just worked for me. And I find Vaughan continues to nail the character's in dialogue and attitude. He seems to have been a perfect choice for this book (which made sense after I read his Runaways series). As for the art, I was still somewhat disappointed with Faith's look but it seems to have improved with each issue (or maybe I'm just more used to it). But other than that, the art remains high quality stuff. I really can't say enough good about this book. Then there's the epilogue at the end. I had just recently looked back at the Fray TPB so it was fresh in my mind. Now it's not to say that people who haven't read Fray will be lost or anything but it was a definite nod to those who have (and I highly recommend that you do). Overall (and in keeping things short), this book continues to make my highly recommended reading list.
World War Hulk: Aftersmash -- I had pretty low expectations going into this book. Sure, Pak was writing it but I wasn't overwhelmed with his latest Incredible Hulk issue. So I was pleasantly surprised to enjoy this book. It had some interesting in depth stuff with various characters (Heroes for Hire, Tom Fowler, the Warbound) but I won't go into my Iron Man rant. And the art was pretty solid. I wouldn't consider it a "must read" for people who read World War Hulk but it seemed a better epilogue story than what we got in the Incredible Hulk book (which I suppose, to be fair, wasn't really an epilogue). So perhaps it doesn't quite make my "recommended" reading list but falls to a "suggested" reading list. Hmm.. Perhaps that's how I should rank books in the future; Recommended, suggested, take it or leave it, skip, and avoid at all cost. And I can play with stuff in between or for certain fanbases. But enough of that. Getting back to the review, one thing that I just had to laugh at (and BIG SPOILER coming up here) was Tom Fowler becoming the new Goliath. I mean really, kill off one Foster just to have another Foster step in to replace him? Are we even going to be able to tell them apart in the future? That just sums up some of the issues I have with comics as of late.
Ultimates 3 #1 -- I gotta admit, I was fairly disappointed with this book. Perhaps the shoes it had to fill were just too big or I had higher hopes for it but overall it didn't have much impact on me. First off I found the art fairly lacking. A lot of it had to do with the colouring, everything seemed to have the same fuzzy look where things just blurred into a big brown mess for me. For shots of the Ultimates sitting around the mansion I couldn't even distinguish the characters from the furniture and surroundings. I think they could have been a bit clearer here. And as the big finale comes up I had no clue what was going on, was that a magic bullet zipping around or what? And Valkyrie needs some serious support if you know what I mean. So yeah, the art didn't do it for me. Then there was the writing. Again, it just didn't seem to work. It seemed to rely on making the characters "bad-ass" and forcing "mature subject matter" in. Gratuitous shots of Tony and Natasha having sex, the "brother-sister" discussion with Cap (regarding Quicksilver and Scarlett Witch), Hawkeye's brooding comment about not calling him Clint (and threatening to kill anyone who does), Hank's overdose, etc... None of it really seemed natural and came off as forced. So by the time you get to the end and you get the big finale it just doesn't have much emotional impact on me despite the fact that it really should. I just think this was a poorly executed start. It may have been better to put the Ultimates in a more positive atmosphere and then pull the rug out. Now it just seems that there was no rug to begin with. It seems odd to me that the only thing I'm curious about is whether that doctor with the wood walking stick is who I think it is. And for an issue that seems to be pushing so many twists and turns that's probably not a good thing. Now I don't want to write off the entire series just yet and I'm hoping the story comes together better soon but for now, I have to say that this doesn't make my recommended reading list. It actually falls somewhere between suggested (as it may appeal to some) and "take it or leave it".
So that's it for this week. Have fun and drive safely. :)