Hey Kids! Comics!! 02-15-07

We had a nasty snowstorm here in the Northeast this week so I got my comics a day late. After this weeks pathetically small haul, I just should've waited.

Astonishing X-Men #20

Astonishing X-Men #20The best X book continues to impress. Joss Whedon and John Cassady sure do take their time but the quality and care shines through. The pace of Whedon's story is deliberate but never boring. Every event and plot point is somehow important to the story or characters. And there are very few working artists today who draw as good as Cassady. I don't think he's capable of crapping out a job. The current storyline revolves around Colossus. Seems this alien race thinks he's going to destroy their world, so they try to kill him and the rest of the X-Men. Yeah, right. Now the X-men have traveled to the alien's world where much mutant ass-kicking is sure to ensue. I'm enjoying it so far, though it's torture having to wait two months for the next issue. As I said last time, this is one of the best superhero books currently being produced. It's definitely worth your hard earned bucks so pick it up.

The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Born #1 (of 7)

The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Born #1 (of 7)I've always found Stephen King to be a bit of an enigma. As the preeminent best selling author on the planet for the past 30 years, it's pretty clear the guy knows how to write a novel that always pleases fans and even, occasionally, critics. Why is it, then, that the majority of his other work, such as movies, TV and comics, sucks ass? Since his novels or short stories are the source material for all that awful crap, one has to assume the germ of the idea is at least decent. Still, I can count the number of truly excellent outside projects based on King's work on one hand. I have no concrete proof of this (perhaps in another blog) but it seems the more King himself is involved, the worse the project turns out. Most fans agree that the worst King-related project ever was Maximum Overdrive, the Emilio Estevez abortion about trucks that conquer the world. King himself directed that shitstain. Projects where he's had no creative involvement, such as Carrie and The Shining have been critical and financial successes. With this supposition put forth, I can only assume King wrote, drew, colored, lettered, edited and printed The Gunslinger Born. This book plain sucks donkey dick. On the surface, it sounds like a can't miss proposition: Peter David, one of fandom's best writers and Jae Lee, one of the most talented artists around ably embellished and painted by Richard Isanove, teaming up to tell the origin of one of King's more celebrated recent characters: Roland Daschain, the gunslinger from his epic, The Dark Tower. So what went wrong? For one thing the story, for another the dialogue and storytelling. Now, having enjoyed the past work of all the parties involved, I can only assume King Inc. had way too much input into too many aspects of this book. The story begins as Roland is being trained to become a gunslinger by mastering the art of falconry. FALCONRY? What does that have to do with guns? It's never explained and really, what's the difference anyway? Eventually, Roland gets pissed off because his Mom's a whore and is getting fucked/abused by some guy who may or may not be Roland's current and future sworn enemy. This is never made clear, but I assume he's evil because he has a mustache. Anyway, Roland wants revenge, again I'm not sure why or against whom, but the only way to get this is to best his teacher in combat so he can take his guns. Apparently, there's only two guns in town. He meets teacher in a duel to the death where they get to choose their weapons. Roland, having only received training in falconry, chooses....drumroll.... FALCONRY!! Ta da!! For some stupid fucking reason, everyone in the story is surprised by this. His teacher, master of all weapons and professional dealer-of-death, chooses some evil-looking blade weapon. Finally, something makes sense. Everyone thinks Roland is gonna get killed, and if this story were any good, he would be, just for being such a stupid little shit who would presume to kill a blade-weilding weapons master with a bird. Anyway, Roland wins because his master/teacher forgets to cover his eyes, which happen to be the one place Roland's bird can realistically do any damage. How fucking convenient. And idiotic. Based on my earlier theories, I really don't blame the creative team, and David specifically, for this idiocy. He probably cringed when he received script changes from King Inc. I find it hard to believe he wrote lines like this:
"Perhaps he reasons that only a man may kill another man...and to be truly a man, one must learn to wield all weapons of manhood, including the weapon that god gives man at birth"
It takes special talent to write that badly. And who describes a cock like that? Stephen King (or one of his assistants) when he's trying too hard, I guess. He used the word "man" five times in one sentence, for gods sake! Jae Lee turns in his usual professional work. Most artists would be thrilled to come close to his level of skill even when he's only half interested. It's not bad, and Isanove's coloring is very well done. There's just no love there. Not that I'll begrudge anyone doing anything for a payday, but it seems as if Lee didn't put as much thought into this project as he would have if he'd actually cared. Of course, if I liked the story, I'd probably like the art a whole lot more, also. Anyway, Roland then gets to carry guns, get laid and meet his long lost pa. Woo hoo. The end. At least until next issue, but it's the end for me, as I'll actively be avoiding any future adventures of the Gunslinger. This book wins this weeks coveted Crapola award! At the end of the year, we'll have an awards ceremony and hand out no-prizes (hows that for geekery, fanboys?).

Green Lantern Corps #9

Green Lantern Corps #9After last issue's mess, I said I'd give this current creative team one more chance to hook me and sadly, though not surprisingly, that hasn't happened. Apparently, Guy Gardner has been recruited for some Green Lantern Black Ops Team. Why the Corps needs black operations is beyond me. Guess I'm not "with it". So anyway, this is the last of a three parter that has to do with The Dominators, who never seem to dominate anything, and a Super Dominator who's more evil than all the other Dominators put together. You can tell he's evil because he has big, sharp teeth. Anyways, the Black Ops team wins in the end and kills the evildoer. This doesn't jibe well with Guy Gardner who, despite being an alleged tough-guy-bad-ass, doesn't believe in killing. Whatever. Green Lantern Corps was so much better when Dave Gibbons was writing it. Currently, the writing, art and storytelling rates average at best. I'm done with this book.

Superman and Batman Vs Aliens and Predator #2 (of 2)

Superman and Batman Vs Aliens and Predator #2 (of 2)So endeth the highest of high concept books before anyone had a chance to get bored. Probably a smart move. This book is fine. The art's fine. The writing's fine. Everything's dandy. It's like chinese food. In an hour, I'll be hungry again and will have forgotten what I ate, or in this case, read. If you like the characters and the concept, buy it. Or don't. Your life won't change one way or the other, anyway. The only question I have is since when did the Fortress of Solitude become Dr. Who's Tardis? I kept expecting Supes to don a 15-foot-long scarf and jump out of a police box. Guess I must've missed some big change in the Superman mythos over the past bunch of years. Oh well...

Fables Volume 7: Arabian Nights (And Days)

Fables Volume 7: Arabian Nights (And Days)In this installment, the Fables try to forge an alliance with the soon to be conquered Arabian and Middle Eastern fables. Naturally, no one trusts anyone else and much back stabbing and political intrigue ensue. It also turns out that Genie's are really dangerous and look nothing like Barbara Eden. There's also a backup story about two of Geppetto's wooden soldiers who fall in love that was way more interesting than it had any right to be. If, after six previous reviews of the earlier Fables volumes, you haven't gotten the idea that this series is too cool for school, you're clearly a moron. While not quite reaching the awesomeness of the previous volume, Homelands, this one still continues the stupid-high level of excellence writer Bill Willingham established from the beginning. For corn's sake, just buy it already. Also, Jared decided to stop being a lazy sod and finally posted some new reviews of his own. Go give him a piece of your mind...


Jared said...

Nice reviews. This line caught my eye "Carrie and The Shining have been critical and financial successes." only because it amazes me how "The Shinning" (the movie) has somehow gained in critical praise over the years. When it was released it was pretty well written off as mediocre especially when compared to the book which was widely considered King's best at the time. Jack's over the top performance was the only thing of note in the movie. Now it is considered a classic by a lot of people. I still think it's mediocre. The book was a thousand times scarier. It's just not in the public consciousness like it once was and I think this has helped the movie gain in critical success. It's IMDB rating is an 8.4! If IMDB was around in 1980 I bet the Shining's rating would be a 7.1! Still not a really bad rating. How's that for an aside?

Bunche said...

Two things:

I don't know if you've read any of King's DARK TOWER horseshit, but it's boring to the point of sending me into a near torpor. The comic was doomed to fail because the source material ate ass from the get-go.

And as for the film of THE SHINING, Jared and I are frequently at odds on most things, but I have to agree with him 100% on that non-scary borefest. Seriously, stick with the book.

Oh, and Whedon only has one "e".

John Bligh said...

I never read the Dark Tower. I've only read 4 or 5 King books at all. So I guess I'm a casual fan, but I'll take your word about the suckiness of the Dark Tower. It never interested me. It smacks of Kings idea of Lord of the Rings in the old west.

And as far as the Shining goes, you're both wrong. That movie drips with atmosphere and it is creepy at the right times. Guess I'm just a die-hard Kubrick fan.

And I fixed Whedon's name. Is it my fault he spells his name wrong?

Bunche said...

And speaking of misspellings, considering that you're a Doctor Who fan I'm shocked that you don't know how to spell Tardis.

John Bligh said...

Oh yeah... I'm a moron. I'm a freakin' moron.

Greg said...

Regarding The Shining, Two words: Stanley Fucking Kubrick. Without getting into the pointless debate of the novel or the film being better, (it's a pretty creepy/good film though), I'll say that Kubrick is one of the few filmmakers whose work stands the test of time. Most of his stuff holds up really well after multiple viewings. There's often something new to appreciate when seeing it again. Maybe that's why it's popularity has grown.

Nice reviews John.