Friday, March 09, 2007

Weekly Comic Reviews -- March 7th, 2007 SPOILERS!!!

Hmm... Where to start for this week. Well, the obvious place would be the death of Captain America wouldn't it? I mean, we have major news people picking up this story including CNN and Fox News. But unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) I didn't read the book so it wouldn't be right to put my thoughts about it in with "reviews". And I don't think the Web needs any more discussion of it. So maybe I'll just direct you here since he covers a lot of how I feel about it. And I really like the discussion of telling, not showing. That notion is something I'll probably bring up over and over again in my reviews for the next little while. So let's get to my three reviews for this week, The Incredible Hulk #104, Dark Tower #2, and Marvel Zombies/Army of Darkness #1. How about that? No Civil War tie ins!!!

The Incredible Hulk #104 -- This book continues to just not flow for me. This issue had a good start and a fairly solid ending but there were a few pages in between that felt like a series of postcards. It starts off well enough with the Hulk being reminded of the video the Illuminati sent with him on the spaceship (some have said that was a stupid move on the Illuminati's part and there may be some other motive for it but I disagree, it may have been stupid to let the Hulk know they were behind it but on the other hand, Banner was friends with these people and I think despite their betrayal they probably felt obligated to explain their actions to their friend... was that a shot at the pro-ref side of Civil War???). And we already see people upset with the Hulk or not trusting him but then the Spikes get involved in the story and the postcards start. We get snapshots of the Hulk doing "something" and the same dialogue that has been going on throughout this series. One character will ask "What's he doing?" and a second character will say "Wow! He's..." and tell us what he's doing. I hate to bring out the phrase this early but I have to, it's telling the readers what's happening instead of the more natural way of showing us. Instead of having the comic show us his actions, we get a snapshot or a postcard and the other characters standing around with the task of telling us what's happening. Just like the one oblivious character we sit and wonder "What's he doing?" only to be told in the next panel. And that's what's been off about this storyline for me. It improves in the last few pages but that brings me to my other concern, Caiera. Last issue she became the Hulk's wife, this issue we learn she's now carrying his baby. Everything seems to be pointing to her becoming the next woman in the refrigerator (a woman who is killed off as a plot device). I hope I'm wrong here as the fact that this trend has a name for it shows just how overused it is. Plus, I actually like her and the idea the Hulk having someone by his side that isn't killed off like Jarella or Betty (unless Betty wasn't killed off and was in a coma and now resides on an island with Nightmare... but let's not talk about that right now) especially after just announcing her pregnancy. He has enough angst as it is, there's really no need for her death. But I guess we'll have to see how it plays out. Art-wise, the book had a couple weird points but overall it's solid looking. I'd just like to see it flow with the story more.

Marvel Zombies/Army of Darkness #1 -- C'mon! You have Ash from Army of Darkness and Spider-Man! How could this miss? And it doesn't, at least not in any major way. The dialogue is good, the story ... well, you have zombies and Ash, what more do you need? So it's a very good start but there were the hickups for me. First up, the art. Although the style is not my cup of tea I felt overall it works for the storyline but there were times that it just didn't feel right. At times, it seemed they were going over the top to make Ash look like Bruce Campbell with fancy colouring and such which made him stand out like a real person in a cartoon. And it didn't seem consistently done which seemed odd. But it's hard to combine because people do want to see Bruce Campbell so I know the issues. Then there were times where people just looked odd. Like Sentry holding up Ms Marvel, his arm seems to be coming out from the front of his chest. But it didn't really ruin the story or anything and worked okay with the overall feel of the book. There were times where I got confused with a jumpy narrative. One page we'd have Ash talking to the heroes and the next he would be elsewhere. It was meant to be a flashback but having it jump to a flashback in between pages with no warning is not a good idea in my opinion. So I looked for visual clues to let me know when it was a flashback and when not and I noticed the red borders around the panels. That seemed to work for a bit but then even regular shots had red borders. But fortunately I think the flashbacks are done for this series so I don't have to worry about that any more. They were only there to show those of us who didn't read the latest Army of Darkness books how we got to this point (but I have to say, it didn't really do a great job of doing so). Yes, I seem to have quite a few negatives about this book but overall, I'm still psyched for the rest of the series and can't wait to see more. Plus the covers are just amazing. :)

Dark Tower #2 -- As I said in my review of issue 1, Jae Lee's artwork doesn't always work for me and this issue has a bit of both. There are points where I get frustrated because I just can't understand what's going on. Some of these times is where he goes in close for an intense shot and refuses to pull out. In some ways, having such a helpful narrative (which even tells you when a character will be leaving the story for some time and not come back until later) helps guide you through the book. It might be an example of telling and not showing but in this case, you kinda know you're getting that going in. It's a mixture of showing us some parts of the story and then just giving us visual snapshots while telling us other parts. It's a different approach than what I'm used to so I'll give them props for trying it. Characters (at least some of them) continue to shine through while I found a few others missed the mark a bit. It may not have had the same impact on me as the first issue but it was a decent enough continuation of the story.

And I just added three more graphic novels to my collection and to my list of books to read/review. They are "From Hell" by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell and "Maus: A Survivor's Tale" volumes 1 and 2 by Art Spiegelman. I knew about From Hell mostly because of the movie but decided to pick it up after reading Alan Moore's other work and seeing how much I was missing by just watching the movies. Maus was something that gets mentioned over and over again in Scott McCloud's books and I finally decided I have to read it. Not sure when I will though as I still have The Life and Death of Captain Marvel to read as well.

No comments: