Thursday, September 24, 2009

The List: 9/24/09

Briefish, potentially a little spoilery reactions to recently read comics. Go!

Fantastic Four #570 - A lot of people are getting too hung up on Dale Eaglesham's depiction of Reed Richards as a beefier action scientist Doc Savage/Tom Strong type and are missing the Big Point, and that is that Jonathan Hickman wrote the first chapter of what is starting off as an interesting story... an oddly mundane plan from the Wizard, the purposely unspoken fate of one of cloned offspring, the off-the-charts intelligence of young Valeria Richards, and a council of interdimensional Reed counterparts (at least three of whom take accessorizing very seriously). It's the forest, people, not the bulkier trees! This seems like it's gonna be good.

Marvel Adventures Super Heroes #14 - I was drawn to this by the sheer novelty of reading a Hawkeye story that was actually about Hawkeye (instead of Hawkeye-as-Ronin or girl Hawkeye from Young Avengers), and was utterly charmed by Paul Tobin's story about two heroes on their off-hours who still manage to get drawn into stopping crime (just don't think too hard about how or why Hawkeye and, wait for it... the Blonde Phantom, are hanging out). It's an enjoyable read, with lots of great character moments and a very clever robbery plot involving another well-known Marvel character. Always nice to see that the Marvel Adventures line is still quietly producing some of the company's best comic books.

Batman: Year One - Look, everything that can be said about this book has been said a million times over in the 22 or so years since its initial release. But after re-reading it last week, I was impressed by how well it still holds up. Once you get past the too-clipped dialogue and Miller's tendency to make every important, strong female character a prostitute, your left with what is certainly his best Batman work (I've never been the biggest Dark Knight Returns fan, I have to admit), maybe even his best writing work ever. And while I may enjoy the "everything and the kitchen sink" origin as told in, say, Wein, Byrne, and Aparo's The Untold Legend of the Batman mini-series, this is the pretty much the definitive core of the character. And Mazzuchelli's art is just gorgeous. I desperately wish he had drawn a hell of a lot more Batman stories.

The Untold Legend of the Batman - Yeah, I re-read this recently, too, and in the clipped, b&w, little mass-market paperback-sized edition I had as a kid, no less. It's certainly thorough, managing to incorporate every bit of Golden and Silver Age backstory that most people ignored or forgot until Morrison came along. Thomas Wayne as the original Bat-Man, Bruce as the original Robin, Joe Chill's mom as Bruce's foster mother, Alfred as O.S.S. operative... they didn't leave out much. As goofy and expansive as Year One is serious and succinct, but no less enjoyable an experience. Truth be told, I probably like it better.

Mr. Jigsaw #1 - Bought this, reprinting the first few original appearances of "Maine's only resident superhero," from writer Ron Fortier at BangPop! last weekend, and I'm glad I did. Fun and clever stories about a novice superhero with a funky power (he can split his body up into individually controllable pieces, sort of like the M.F. Enterprises Captain Marvel) who wisely decides he's too green to make it in the big city yet, so he decides to stick closer to home. An interesting supporting cast and the clean, simple art of Gary Kato round out the enjoyable package. This is very reminiscent of Joe Staton & Nicola Cuti's E-Man in the best of ways. This and the rest of the series thus far are available through Indy Planet, and I'll definitely be picking up the other issues soon.
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