What I Read This Week – 1/11/12

FRANKENSTEIN, AGENT OF S.H.A.D.E. #5

Well telling the same story twice from slightly different perspectives is one way to save time while scripting a crossover, I guess. Mark me up as disappointed because I was definitely expecting more insane burly-monster-on-burly-monster action.

STORMWATCH #5

This incarnation of Stormwatch is a little lacking in the transgressive quality that made the original Stormwatch fun, but it’s still a good read. Apollo and Midnighter are just so cute together. They even finish each other’s sentences! Admittedly that’s because Midnighter is such an advanced human being he can calculate peoples’ behavior, but still, I look forward to them again becoming comics’ cutest/most hyperviolent couple.

DEMON KNIGHTS #5

Every time I read this series I realize man, is it good! Definitely at the top of the fun scale. Cornell is sort of the best writer of fast-paced high camp team superhero books, which is an oddly specific niche but a niche I enjoy. Also it took me until THIS ISSUE to realize that Horsewoman is kind of a medieval Oracle, which everybody else apparently knew before the series even came out.

BATWOMAN #5

Batwoman’s always been a book where the art far outshines the writing. Not that the writing’s bad, it’s just, the art is completely transcendent and the story here is a little on the cliche side. Needs more of Kate Kane being a damaged person who isn’t good at human relationships, and less of angsty ghosts.

LOBSTER JOHNSON: THE BURNING HAND #1

Somehow there’s two pulp/noir pastiche comics out this week. This one’s by far the best, dig that snappy dialogue and sassy gal reporter. I always did like Lobster Johnson though.

JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #633

Okay, Journey Into Mystery is only the SECOND best Marvel book (for first see Daredevil), but it’s still excellent and continues to be so. Also it’s rather narration-heavy which seems unusual for a comic book these days but is something I wouldn’t mind seeing more of when it’s done well, after all, comics are both words and pictures and you can tilt the balance either way. This book features the old superhero trope of two characters meeting and fighting each other due to Misunderstandings which might actually be obligatory to the genre. I’m sure it makes superhero parties rather awkward at times.

THE SHADE #4

Darwyn Cooke is of course the number one choice when it comes to retro stylings and he does a damn fine job here, but this issue never really pushes itself very much and just kind of reminded me of The Rocketeer only less pulpy. Rumor has it this series might not get to finish all 12 issues and that would be sad.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #677

Continuing Dan Slott’s streak of writing stories that land solidly between “acceptable” and “pretty fun.” I do really enjoy the chemistry between Black Cat and Spider-Man, and it’s nice to see a superhero relationship that is neither a serious drama-filled long-term relationship nor trashy and sleazy, just nice, fun casual sex. Plus Daredevil is also here now. I’d love to see a book with all the witty acrobatic characters in one place, maybe those three plus Nightcrawler and Longshot, ideally with Marcos Martin to draw it.

SECRET AVENGERS #21

This is kind of BPRD in the Marvel U, isn’t it? Except all the characters are really generic? Like the inimitable David Brothers points out Captain America isn’t really being very Captain America, but then, none of the characters are really anybody, they’re just disposable action figures. Probably Rick Remender will fix that when he comes on.

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2 Comments on “What I Read This Week – 1/11/12”

  1. Alex says:

    For your information, having a supernatural villain is what makes Batwoman a non-cliche book. Did you even read it? The way she defeats the weeping woman, by forgiving herself and declaring that she has become a better person as a result of her struggles, is what makes her such an awesome character that the world needs to see more of.

    But, I could be wrong, maybe another stereotypical lesbian who is “damaged” is what comics need.

  2. phmrel says:

    Actually I find the supernatural part of Batwoman really compelling, the backstory with her evil twin sister is just a bit too over-the-top for me. And I think having her work out her inner troubles by having her fight an overtly symbolic monster is kind of cheap. I’d rather see her work through her issues by dealing with the people in her lives and by changing her own behavior instead of just going through a dream sequence and declaring that everything’s better now.

    I agree, I think she’s awesome, and I definitely don’t want to see her stay self-destructive and angsty forever, but I think she’s got an interesting redemptive arc in her that I’d rather not have wrapped up too soon.


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