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 …
OOPS: Looks like I forgot to do one of these last week. Whoops. Let's just move on like the dot org.
THE NAME IS CROSS. JAHAN CROSS: Let’s start off with the week’s biggest surprise: one amazing Star Wars comic. Proudly wearing it's influences on its sleeve, Star Wars Agent of the Empire: Iron Eclipse #1 liberally sampled most of the classic James Bond tropes — eccentric gadget maker, stone faced superior mad about the body count, tendency to switch from cover identity into eruptions of violence with little warning — and gave them a distinctively Star Wars twist. Making the droid IN-GA 44 both relentlessly useful and female formed was a nice twist, while the incorporation of canonical and extra-canonical factors (Dooku’s death, the Stark Hyperspace War, Soontir Fel, et cetera) gave this issue a fantastic grounding in a shared universe. Sure, the scene with Isard was pretty heavy with exposition, but I’d explain that away as Cross being thorough, whereas Bond would have been flippant.
I don’t know that he should be a ladies’ man (his rather clinical efficiency has an appeal) and I hope he gets one hell of a good looking ship with a cool name (as that sort of thing appeals to me from a visual design and merchandising standpoint).
After my complaints that it seemed insane that Dark Horse couldn't make a Star Wars comic that I’d want to buy, this is very, very rewarding. Yay!
IT’S JUST LIKE WHEN CHUBB ROCK JUMPED UP ON THE SCENE: As of January, I’m likely going to stop reviewing Ultimate comics from Marvel. Why? They’re all going to be polybagged. That idea is, in a word, stupid. Here’s why.
- The polybags ostensibly are being used to hold in a “digital download code,” so that the purchaser of the book can go to an app and download a copy. This seems like a means to wean the reader off of print by getting them to pay the same price (maddening) for a considerably cheaper product. “I like reading the digital version,” the reader can say, “why shlep all the way down to that nerd-packed comic book store?” This is an insult to the direct market retailers who have kept the industry alive.
- When I mentioned this plan of Marvel’s to our contributor DJ Jedi, he said, “I’m not buying a comic I can't at least leaf through.” For all the partisans who evangelize the value of the print version (which, honestly, I only buy physical pamphlets to support my retailer, as I could go digital tomorrow and be fine as long as all the files are local and it didn’t hurt someone who’s been good to me), polybags take away one of the benefits, the casual discovery of awesomeness.
- Talk of Byrne-stealing aside, nobody would think of polybagging the new Stephen King book or the latest George R.R. Martin tome (probably). Literature requires some ability of the user to examine the work — even Amazon recognized that.
This is also why Uncanny X-Force wasn’t reviewed. I get to do what I do because I serve as a publicity source for the product. The more of this, the less I talk about (unless Marvel decides to follow many other publishers and just give me review PDFs — none of which have ended up on the web, by the way, and take up way less space at my house).
We don't need the 90s back. Remember how badly that turned out? Let’s go forward with our love like our name was Sananda Francesco Maitreya.
THAT OLD FAMILIAR FEELING: Far too many comics this week felt like they were created via rote. Take The Ray for example. How does one introduce a new super hero? Show them in work surroundings. Drift past supporting characters. Drop the powers on your protagonist. Show them having powers go awry, maybe with some humor. Have them figured it out quickly. Introduce a villain, even if the two don’t meet. Almost any comics fan could have plotted that (admitting that the dialogue is much better, snappy and fun, especially with Jamal Igle's amazing artwork). By getting locked into our standards we lose the concepts of innovation. Please stop.
THAT'S THE NEWS, AND I AM OUTTA HERE: Not so sure why there were way fewer links in the reviews than when I sent them … oh well.
Playing (Music): "Don't Believe The Hype" by Public Enemy
[Source: Comic Book Resources]