Friday, February 02, 2007

Weekly comic book reviews -- January 31st, 2007 SPOILERS

Only two books up for review this week: Ultimate Civil War: Spider-Ham #1 (featuring Wolver-Ham) and Elephantmen #6. So let's get right to it...

Elephantmen #6 -- So we're back to the split book with this issue. After reading one story you flip the book over to read a second one. I'm not sure in what order they should be read or if it even matters. My first thought while reading the book was that the two stories could have been merged but after finishing it I don't think they could have been. It would have shifted focus too much and taken away from the impact of both. So in this instance, the split book didn't detract from the issue as much as previous splits (in my opinion at least). The shorter story, "The Last Thing I Remember", was a pretty disturbing flashback to Sahara's mother. Though in some ways I found this story a little hard to follow at the beginning that may have just been symbolic of the chaos of the moment as it seems to settle in as the story progresses (or I might just be reading too much into it). The story gives some more insight into Sahara and her early life which I won't go into. It's an emotional tale that almost seemed to end too quickly as you want more closure. Fortunately, you know this wasn't the end of the story as much of the continuation we've already seen in the Hip Flask books or previous Elephantmen issues. For the second story, "Abandoned by God", we have Obediah Horn (the Rhino) and Sahara doing an interview after announcing their plans to marry. I really enjoyed this story as you see the two very different personalities of Obediah and Sahara yet both seem to share a love for one another. When I decided to pick up this series just on a whim I had low expectations. I didn't expect to become so connected with the character and the story. But I've gushed enough about this series. Let's just say it's very high on my recommended reading list and leave it at that.

Ultimate Civil War: Spider-Ham (featuring Wolver-Ham) #1 -- And that will be the last time I type in that title (why I didn't just copy and paste is beyond me at the moment). This one is going to be a tough one to review. I mean, can you really critique a Spider-Ham book with a straight face? Well, I'm going to try. I remember collecting Spider-Ham's series as a young kid but to tell the truth, I can't remember much of the stories. It's not like I go back and re-read them. But this book wasn't what I was expecting. In this book Spider-Ham is on a quest to discover where his thought balloons have gone (they've been replaced with narrative boxes). For long time readers of comics you know this is reflective of Marvel because thought balloons have been replaced with narrative boxes in a majority of their books. And that was my first let down, it almost seemed like a story that the people working at Marvel thought was funny because they're in on the joke and deal with this sort of thing all the time. From the readers' perspective it just doesn't seem as funny. There are a few punchlines from the beginning centered around Civil War and the superhero "merchandising" act as opposed to the "registration" act. But then the book quickly goes to pin-ups. The pictures are pretty well done (the Wolver-Ham may be the weakest of the bunch for me) but they almost seem like a waste to just flip through a few pages of full page pin-ups. And then we get the "moral" of the story at the end. All in all, it actually seemed like a disappointment. I enjoyed the Civil War: Howard the Duck story more than this. But perhaps I was expecting too much.

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