Graceland Comic Reviews – 09/26/12

I’m a day late, and a temper short, but here are some comic reviews.

Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Promise: Part Three AKA Too many semicolons in this title written by Gene Luen “Never too many semicolons” Yang, and drawn by Gurihiru:

“Aw, an ax factory? Why’d it have to be an ax factory?”

Adventure Time #8  written by Ryan North and drawn  by Braden Lamb and Shelli Paroline:

“Tank legs, you make me feel like I’ve woken up after a lifetime of slumber! I’ll never forget you, tank legs.”

I wrote a few sentences about this that I deleted, because look. You guys need to just read this comic. It is incredible.

Batman Incorporated #0 scripted by Grant Morrison, plotted by Chris Burnham, drawn by Frazier Irving:

“Every time I come to England, it’s raining and someone’s dead.”

Frazier Irving’s doing some interesting stylistic techniques with his art, and while it was a little hit or miss for me in this issue, I have to appreciate the commitment to advancing one’s already distinctive art style. The hyper-neon colors and largely background-less panels accentuate the members of Batman Inc, which is after all, the point of the zero issue. It’s a “getting the gang back together” issue that, while largely unnecessary, is saved by the workmanship of the creative team. Speaking of, turns out Burnham actually plotted the comic, in conjunction with Morrison. I’d be really curious what the dividing line was in the script process; hopefully they give some details on it in the back matter of the trade (if they still even add back matter to trades next year).

The Flash #0 written by Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato, drawn by Francis Manapul, colored by Brian Buccellato:

“When you get out of here, it will be as a free man… after I prove your innocence.”

Woah, hold the fucking phone. Did Manapul and Buccellato actually get some character development for Barry “I’m so boring, none of my fans are still alive” Allen? How the hell did that happen? Anyway, I guess it did, and that makes this the best zero issue I’ve read all month. Also, while a bunch of my friends are still in the Williams III Batwoman bandwagon, Manapul is just over here quietly making some incredible page layouts of his own. When he and Buccellato get to really cut loose, it’s a hell of a comic. I kind of wish they had a creator owned thing going on at Image, since they’re clearly talented creators if they can make me, even for just one issue, care about Barry Allen, and with a creator owned comic, they wouldn’t require fill-in artists.

Fury: My War Gone By written by Garth Ennis, drawn by Goran Parlov, colored by Lee Loughridge:
“How is that poor fuck still alive?”

The Goon #42 written by Eric Powell and Tom Sniegoski, drawn by Eric Powell and Mike Buckingham:

“The creation and storage of giant killer robots in heavily populated areas is considered a misdemeanor. However, that law is rarely enforced.”

I’m always happy whenever a new issue of The Goon comes out, but I’d also really like it if we could get back to the goddamn plot. It’s been 10 issues, and something like 2 or 3 years since we had the end of the last actual story arc. Hopefully this issue, which seems like a slow return to the main plot isn’t just a red herring. But hey, if I’m complaining because a comic’s hilarious and well-drawn, instead of hilarious, well-drawn, and emotionally resonant, that’s a pretty good complaint.

Happy! #1 written by Grant Morrison, drawn by Darrick Robertson, colored by Richard P. Clark:

“Christmas came early. Santa brought you a bullet.”

This is an interesting beast. Morrison’s channeling Ennis for exactly 2 pages before he gets bored and throws in some crazy shit. Then it’s another 12 pages before Morrison throws his ideas and themes full bore into what is basically Ennis’ story playground. What’s really fascinating, though, is how rote Morrison’s impersonation is. He misses the underlying geniality of most Ennis conversations in favor of the surface level of “Fuck my fucking fucks”. Yet, in the context of the story, Morrison’s failure to properly emulate Ennis’ tone actually seems to strengthen the themes of Happy! Because right up to the reveal (which I won’t spoil), this is a drab, ultimately boring world, Morrison seems to say, and he won’t write in it without putting in something that interests him. I might be inferring too much, but then again, it’s Morrison, so I could just as easily not be inferring enough. Robertson’s art sure is the nicest work I’ve seen from him in a while, though.

The Incredible Hulk #14 written by Jason Aaron, drawn by Jefte Palo, colored by Frank Martin:

“Do you think… there’s a heaven for Doombots?”

The Invincible Iron-Man #525 written by Matt Fraction, drawn by Salvador Larocca, “colored” by Frank D’Armata:

“I’m going to crack the earth open and stab out its heart.”

Larocca’s art is a bit like a magic trick performed by an earnest and talented magician: it sure looks nice at first, but once you see how he does it, it’s impossible not to see anything but the flaws. And, unfortunately, thanks to Larocca drawing this title for… what, 5, 6 years? All I can see is flaws. He breaks panel boundries for seemingly no reason, in ways that throw off the entire flow of a page. His photo-realistic faces, all modeled after Hollywood celebrities, becomes monumentally distracting once you recognize them. And D’Armata’s coloring, which I’ve already complained about, does him no favors. This would normally be the part where I say that Fraction’s writing saves it, but it feels like he’s taking his time being rushed, if that makes sense. The Marvel NOW! thing certainly seems to, if not have thrown off his schedule completely, than forced him to abandon certain plot threads. Either way, hopefully the creative team can save the book at the end of the run, considering how well they started.

Mind MGMT #5 written and drawn by Matt Kindt:

“Imagine having the entire history of the earth recorded. But a history not written by the “winners”. Every war, murder, and death. A completely objective history. No color. No spin.”

I came very close to dropping this comic last issue just because the Kindt had seemed overly interested in the concept (which, to be fair, is awesome) to the detriment of the characters (which were very undeveloped). But now, having an entire flashback issue that the series has been building to allows Kindt to use all the world-building to focus in on 2 characters, which is exactly what this series needed. With characters established, and setting more than established, I’m very excited to see what happens next.

Prophet #29 written by Brandon Graham, drawn by Farel Dalrymple, colored by Joseph Bergin III:

“John’s thoughts remain dulled, but his devotion cuts deep.”

Fellow site contributor, Darryl Ayo, did a much more eloquent review of Prophet than I could ever do, so instead I’m just gonna say Gosh, you guys. The art in this comic is so nice.

Secret Avengers #31 written by Rick Remender, drawn by Matteo Scalera, colored by Matt Wilson:

“Charge, my insect minions! Today you die that many humans might live!”

The Shadow Annual #1 written by Tom “HA! You bought two of my comics this week!” Sniegoski, drawn by Dennis Calero:

“Evil must be killed at the root. This the Shadow knows.”

This comic made me legitimately angry. This is a whole bunch of pages for a story that’s wrapped around cliché and laughably predictable. Sure, you could say that it’s in homage to the original pulp stories, but you can do that crap without being boring. Look at Brubaker and Phillips: many of their stories are predictable, but they play with that tension using good dialogue and well-set mood. If you read the first 5 pages of this Shadow comic, I can guarantee you could tell me basically the entire rest of the story, and you would be right. And what really gets me is that I love the concept and look of The Shadow. It’s a great and flexible concept, and if Sniegoski bothered to write down anything more than his first story idea, this would have been enjoyable.

SPACE JAM OF THE WEEK

Wolverine and the X-Men #17 written by Jason Aaron, drawn by Mike Allred, colored by Laura Martin:

“He also stole much of the equipment from my fourth period chemistry lab to use in the apparent distillation of high proof alcohol in a corner of the school library.”

Hey, you guys. This is the best Wolverine/X-Men comic ever, and if it doesn’t make you laugh, I’m fairly sure you lost your soul playing poker with the devil or something. I’m not even going to review it beyond telling you that.

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