Comic Fodder

Tpull's Weekly DC Comics Review – Part 1

The Great Ten 3

by Tony Bedard and Scott McDaniel

Not much has changed in issue 3 of this ten-issue mini-series. The spotlight shines on Thundermind, and we will probably be introduced to these characters just enough by the time the series ends. The cartoonish art by McDaniel brings with it a silly whimsy, which on occasion complements the situations Bedard writes, such as Thundermind changing from his secret identity in a porta-potty, instead of a phone booth. For the rest of the comic, though, the art is very slap-dash and short on crispness. It robs these unfamiliar characters of the solidity they need to be properly defined.

Even with that, the story is slowly improving, with hints about their powerful opponents. There is still the problem here and there of all of these Asian characters sounding a little too much like Americans in their speech. It would be better if some creativity were shown for the mysterious alleged-deities, or if better research were done to approximate the cultural differences in speech. All in all, not bad, but it’s hard to see how they can go beyond this mini-intro without sitting around for another ten years before someone is willing to gamble on them again.

JSA All-Stars 2

by Matthew Sturges and Freddie Williams II

Wow, is the art messed up for the eyes on these characters. Freddie Williams II always seems to have his characters come across brighter, more glossy, like in a magazine, but the attempt to do his own inking always leaves me cold. The faces are way too distorted, and body proportions can be “off” in an unsettling way all too often.

The writing is much better, especially with the new artificial intelligence with the smashing sense of humor from Rex Tyler. Turn the page and be dazzled by an entire page of blank green backgrounds for art. Ptheh! We learn more about the attempt to kidnap Stargirl, but it is strange to see Power Girl on this team, especially with the known philosophy of Magog, who is willing to kill his enemy.

The second feature is written by Jen Van meter and drawn by Travis Moore. The art is better here, as Hourman and Liberty Belle team up and stumble into a murder mystery. There is a lot of exposition during the fight scenes, and the verbal sparring is a little awkward, and one of the word balloons looks to be pointed incorrectly, which stalls the reader and pulls away from the story. It ends on a note of potential, at least. It’s hard to see this title succeeding, as the art already has me questioning the purchase, and the $3.99 price is not good. The JSA brand has fallen quickly from its equally rapid rise. Even with the cast of newer characters with potential, it needs to improve fast and get us interested in more of them.

Red Robin 8

by Chris Yost and Marcus To

The saga finally has an ending, and I can’t tell if I think it’s the best part of the entire story because it’s over, or if it was actually written better than all the issues before it. The villains are identified in the beginning at least, although the idea of a villain named “Sac” strikes me as incredibly lame and unimaginative. I mean, if you were a deadly assassin, would you choose to be called Sac? It reminds me of Tarantino’s character complaining about his assigned code name in Reservoir Dogs.

Marcus To does okay with what he is given for art chores, but I can’t say there is anything remarkable here. His people do not pop off the page, and the backgrounds are mostly boring or undeveloped. There is no greatness here, not even enough of an individualized style like with Scott McDaniel, who is at least distinctive enough for me to differentiate from other artists. I would have a hard time identifying To in a line-up comparison of art from a dozen other artists.

Chris Yost reminds us that Tim Drake has had a large host of people who have helped to train him and shape him into the fighter he is today, and Tim uses every bit of that to help him win. In a convenient dues ex machine, Tim’s previous access to the League’s computer system allowed him to set up an overload of every generator in every base. So with the press of a single button, Tim manages to destroy every networked location of the League of Assassins. Way too convenient, and beyond any ability to buy into. Tim Drake is not Oracle, he is not Brainiac, etc. Another character, I might believe it, but not Tim Drake. Heck, not even Batman. For such an intelligent, resourceful group, there is just no way you can destroy every part of them with one press of a button.

The more I write up this review, the less I actually liked the issue. But still, it was a way to close down this horrible storyline, and the individual fighting between the other assassins and Red Robin was fairly good. Can we please do something better now?

Superman: World of New Krypton 11

by James Robinson, Greg Rucka, Pete Woods, and Ron Randall

Wow, has it been eleven issues already? I wondered how good this series might be, but I must admit, I would be willing to read another twelve issues of this if they were of the same caliber. The plotlines and the guest-stars have been engaging. Perhaps not the most exciting or spectacular in comicdom, but always enough to keep me interested. The art seems a little sloppy here, with some weak faces and rushed panels here and there.

Kal-el continues a murder investigation with Adam Strange by his side, and there is a feeling that they are being led by the nose a bit. They stumble onto a military holding area for aliens, just in time for General Zod to recover, and allegedly declare Kal-el demoted and a traitor! The fact that Kal-el is willing to listen to the leader of the Labor guild instead of arrest or kill him plays into Commander Gor’s hands. Tam-or is definitely being framed, but how much is Gor, and how much has been Zod all along? A fun question to be revealed in the final issue coming up. Well done!

Warlord 10

by Mike Grell and Chad Hardin

Deimos is back, but with no memory. Meanwhile, Ewan McBane attempts to do a biography on the Warlord, allowing a nice two-page spread to explain to any new reader the setup of this series. As gorgeous as some of these pages are, I can’t help but question how serviceable this is to the entire story, to devote so much time every issue to looking at the past of our hero. The interviews by McBane also give us spreads of memories past, as if Grell is certain the reader missed everything form the original series, and he really needs to show parts of it to you because it was so vital and/or good.

The result is a sense of slowness, of too little movement over the past year. Still, the method by which Deimos recovers his memory is cool, and with him back, maybe we will speed up a little. Even if the story is slow, the excellent art and clear story-telling make this a far superior book to something like Red Robin or JSA All-Stars.

Tpull is Travis Pullen. He started reading comics at 5 years old, and he can't seem to stop.