Saturday, March 7, 2009

Mighty Avengers, New Avengers and Batman Review (Possible spoilers)

Mighty Avengers 22
  I'm not sure how I'm liking Slott's run on Mighty. It's good to see Wanda back, I haven't seen her since Clint hunted her down some issues ago. As for the rest of the characters, I haven't been following any of them in any other respective title and I'm not sure I would.

  The dialog is solid and I like the pacing, but these characters just aren't doing it for me. I like that Slott's trying to give Pym a shot at being a leader. Pym's got to start over, not only as a hero because his face was one of the faces of the Secret Invasion, but also in as a person in response to Janet's death. US Agent is kind of a douche, who doesn't seem especially smart. How many people would attack not only Herc, but Hulk, as soon as they see them, US Agent would. And then have the nerve to try and tell other people what to do.
  I'm really liking the art from Pham and the coloring is spot on. I especially liked the scenes in the cave below Wundegore, because the magical gollums really looked like they were glowing in the dark.

  I'll wait for the arc to end before I decide whether I'm going to keep it on my pull list or wait for the trades.

New Avengers 50

  Landmark issues can be a flash back extravaganza; or a "what have we learned from every thing we've been through" retrospection; or a bunch of action sequences and a look towards the future. This issue was a mix of all of the above. I was wondering which Avengers title, New or Mighty, would have a reaction to Osborn's hand picked group and I'm glad Bendis saved it for New Avengers. Since the start of the multi-avengers titles, New Avengers has had the most well developed characters. I've gotten to the point that I have clear ideal of how they will react to things. Hearing the internal dialog for each of them was pretty damn funny. I especially liked Mockingbird's, a character I'm so glad to have back in the Marvel U, and Iron Fist's. Hearing a bit of what was going on in The Hood's and his crew's minds would have been great, but that might have given to much away.

  As for the story, I was as surprised as Luke's team to see The Hood and his crew and not the Dark Avengers show up. Osborn my be a sociopath, but he's no idiot. He can't afford to look bad in public, because if there's one thing we learned from Civil War and Secret Invasion, it's that public opinion can make or break you. This helps alleviate some fears I had for whether Osborn could sustain this "Dark Reign" for a decent amount of time.  So far, it looks like he has a clear ideal of what he wants to do.

  The art was pretty hit or miss. I'm trying to get use to Tan's art. At its best it flows well, but at its worst it reminds me of bad 90's art with weird character posses and cumbersome action sequences. I liked how specific artists worked on pages for characters they had worked on in the past. Gaydos's Jessica Jones page made me long for more Alias; Steve McNiven's page was fantastic, like all of his art; and Mike Perkins's Cap page is what I think of when I think of a Captain America comic now. The only draw back of these pages was Greg Horn's attempt at interiors. While he does a great job on various covers, this just fell flat.

 Overall, not a bad issue. I'm glad the spotlight issues ran throught the Secret Invasion arc are finally over. This appears to be setting the stage to go back to the team oriented stories that made the start of the series so good.

Batman 686

  I haven't read a Batman comic since I picked up both of the Hush trades. To be honest, the only reason I decided to pick this up was because Neil Gaimen and Andy Kubert were working on it. I just recently read all of the Sandman trades and I'm in love with Gaiman's writing and I've been a fan of Andy Kubert since his work on Origin. So, when I read in Previews that they were doing a two part Batman story, it was all I needed to know to buy it.

  I love the layers Gaiman adds to his stories. If you're a follower of a comic he's on, he adds little nods to you, like the reappearance of a background character out of nowhere; but if you're jumping on a series with that particular issue, he welcomes you and doesn't brow beat you for not being there from the beginning. Right  from the start, you know Selena is Catwoman from all the cats; Two-face from the look of the car he shows up in and how he decides to tip the guy to watch his car; and Joker's so iconic, you just know it's him by seeing him.

  As the story opens, we notice familiar characters but they're off somehow. From 40's era Catwoman to the animated versions of Harley Quinn and the Joker, you begin to wonder, which Batman are we mourning here? It reminded me a lot of the funeral for Dream in Sandman. I can't wait to read the end and find out who the female character is with Batman in the afterlife, or where ever he's at.

 Kubert's art is spot on. He moves so smoothly from genre to genre with each character rendition. I'm not sure there are many other artists who could do such a seamles
s job.