Every week I do a column full of comic book reviews as I've done since March 2003 and currently published at Comic Book Resources. Then, after the reviews post, I try to come over to Komplicated and expand on the thoughts and ideas listed there. Why talk about stuff at some other site? Oh, like you've never done any private projects when you're at work! Sometimes things get profound, sometimes it's gibberish, but it's always about comics … let's see what we get this week!
What? This week's reviews …
DON'T CALL IT A COMEBACK: I haven't written a commentary track for my Buy Pile review column since … heck, before we launched Komplicated on May 1st. Why? You ever start a new business? Ramp up to deal with new contributors? Learn video software when you're primarily an audio guy? The learning curve has been ugly, but a lot's … you know what? You don't care. This is about comics. Lemme stay focused, I can blog at my own website.
SPECTACLE IS NOT STORYTELLING: a lot of "big" stories of late — Flashpoint, Fear Itself, War of the Green Lanterns that mistake "stuff happening" for "plot." The two things can be the same thing, but they don't have to be. For example: as fascinating as The Outsider is, he doesn't seem remotely connected to Eobard Thawne, Barry Allen or any other recognized DC element. I'd argue that you could drop the same character in any superhero universe — Love & Capes, Noble Causes, Marvel or even Wildstorm — and it wouldn't make much difference. As well, and sorry if this is a [SPOILER] …
… but John Stewart whacking another planet didn't advance the plot any more than 7,200 Norse hammers falling on Earth-616 do. "Stuff blows up" is Michael Bay plotting. Not the same as storytelling.
Also, note, I like much of Matt Fraction's work and I may even have a crush on the Outsider. If I'm willing to say this about stuff I'm in favor of, that doesn't speak well for the larger goals of the crossover, does it? #justsayin
TV GOOD: I like watching TV, because it entertains me and I mostly don't have to do much to enjoy it. There are very few TV shows that command the entirety of my attention — Community leaps to mind — so I can absorb the basics of White Collar, Covert Affairs, The Colbert Report, The Daily Show, The Big Bang Theory and so on while typing or updating playlists. In the same way that I enjoy those properties and wouldn't pay for them (thanks to Hulu and CBS.com), I feel the same way about some comics that are out, like the Godzilla books, Executive Assistant Iris, Starborn, Traveler, Witch Doctor, Witch and maybe a few others I can't remember off the top of my head. I'm happy to endure ads or whatever — that's only fair, and sometimes I find things I need, like non-stick foil (how did we ever survive without that?) or Febreze — but the value of, say V.I.P. or Thunderbolts is not worth more energy than moving my eyeballs. Not to me anyway. So that's a little fill in on what "TV good" means.
THE CUSP OF GREATNESS: Kieron Gillen's got a great grasp of Loki's character, and honestly, I'm a little sad that it's too late to see a team up with Greg Pak's juvenile Zeus). Loki's earnestness, how he wants the approval of those around him and how he buckles down to do whatever he needs to do, enjoying the naughtiness but trying to be "good," it's well played. Many of the other Norse gods need some fleshing out, which keeps Journey Into Mystery just below the level of true excellence, but I do love to watch Loki do his thing.
Kirby Genesis could be completely ridiculous or truly amazing, there's almost no middle ground. The last unmined ideas from the King easily have room to be something — his all-female army could explore emotional ground like 50 Girls 50 (that's what it's called, right?) for example — so I think that qualifies. Plus, there's a sense of wonder jammed into the DNA of the concepts that's enjoyable.
The "Cobra Civil War" playing out in the G.I. Joe books at IDW is considerably more civil than Serpentor and Cobra Commander going all out on Cobra Island, and the modern, savvy character of these stories is very intriguing. Unfortunately, the creative and editorial team hasn't found the right way to balance and fit enough plot points into each issue — either it's too many or too few (mostly the latter), and that keeps this from being legendary. Honestly, I do believe the trade treatment will help with that a lot.
The simplicity in Super Dinosaur is really fun for an all-ages audience while never dumbing down the material. It's a cut above TV good based on the strength of its leads, but not far enough that I'd run out for each issue. I am considering a trade for my seven-year-old, despite its rather homogenous cast. I like a confectionary book now and then — I was a long-time supporter of Noble Causes despite never getting the Frost t-shirt I kept demanding of Jay Faerber — but this needs a few more calories, if you grok my meaning.
I've been a fan of Xombi since its late lamented Milestone run, so it's a no brainer to pick it up now, even though honestly only the nuns and Catholic Girl are memorable. Honestly, the main character has become something of a cipher recently, with his own memorable elements falling by the wayside based on the plot's requirements. It's still super entertaining because the ideas are so wild, but it's a teensy point that could use some spicing up.
These are the books I feel are right there on the edge, waiting for something to boost them into legendary status.
ERRATA: I made a mistake in my review of Love & Capes #5, believing that a character was new when I just didn't connect him to previous issues because prior to that point, this character never stood out to me. My bad. Just wanted to set the record straight and apologize to creator Thomas Zahler for the mix-up.
BU-BU-BU-BUT WAIT, IT GETS WORSE: I have a lot more, but I'm gonna stick it in next week's commentary track because I wanna get these on time again.
Playing (Music): "Grace Kelly" by the Whiffenpoofs
[Source: Comic Book Resources]