Friday, July 13, 2007

Hoopla! - Episode 27: They're Baaack!

Hello and welcome back to Hoopla!, the (sometimes) weekly column that (occasionally) features comic-book reviews and comic-book related chitter-chatter!

Well, I hope y'all enjoyed your two week vacation from Hoopla! as much as I enjoyed not having to think about it for a couple of weeks... I love writing this column, I love comics, and--most of all!--I love you, personally. Just the same, it was nice being able to focus on other stuff for a little while.

Now, however, I'm back and full of comic-book mania which I am ready to share with you in large heaping portions...

Let's plunge right into some comic-book reviews, shall we...?

The All-New Atom #12
Written by Gail Simone
Art by Mike Norton and Dan Green
Published by DC

All-New Atom has been pretty hit-or-miss for me thus far... I really enjoyed the first few issues, with art by John Byrne, but found later issues to be more irritating then anything else. I don't really like all the caption-box-quotations (if you're read any issues, you know what I'm talking about) and sometimes the series tends to get a little too 'wacky' for its own good.

Some wackiness is good. Too much, however, is... not so good.

Anyway, I figured I'd give the series another try because they've finally got a regular artist (Mike Norton, that is) and his art fits very nicely with this series. So, that's a plus.

Ostensibly, at least, this issue begins the Search for Ray Palmer (he's the previous Atom) but I don't actually care about that, particularly since that storyline will also be taking place in Countdown, DC's dreary sequel-of-sorts to 52, as well as in an 8-issue limited series titled Countdown: The Search for Ray Palmer, which stars Donna Troy, Jason Todd, and Kyle Rayner.

[There's a very brief interview with Ron Marz about that limited series here and, frankly, it sounds awful. If nothing else, it really drives home the point that Ron Marz, who's writing the first issue of the mini-series, has absolutely no idea who Donna Troy is at this point or how to write her.]

[And who can blame him, really?]

Also, it sounds like he's going to try to create a 'love triangle' with the three characters, which is about the most obvious and uninteresting approach he could possibly take. Beyond that, it's just plain weird, considering Jason Todd (post-death and nonsensical resurrection) is supposed to be a psychotic killer. But, I guess they're retro-adjusting that so that now he's more of a Wolverine-type good-guy-with-a-dark-side.


I really don't care about Jason Todd. Or Donna Troy. Or that mini-series.

My point is this... All-New Atom #12? Damn good comic. Entertaining, funny (very!), nice art, good last-page reveal...

I liked it quite a lot.

So, I'm just going to ignore Countdown and Countdown: The Search for Ray Palmer and not worry about the larger continuity-driven crap that DC is currently indulging in. The DC universe is a mighty dull and and convoluted place, these days, but there are still a handful of really good titles that are being published by them anyway, and All-New Atom is one of them.

So there.

Captain America #27
Written by Ed Brubaker
Art by Steve Epting and Mike Perkins
Published by Marvel

Oooh! Good stuff...

Captain America is still dead, the Winter Soldier has decided to kill Tony Stark (Iron Man, director of S.H.I.E.L.D., and all-around schmuck), Sharon Carter is being driven insane, and there's some great back-story about Winter Soldier and Black Widow, back in the day when both were working for the Soviet Union.

This is a great comic.

As a matter of fact, I'll even say it a second time, just to show I mean it...

This is a great comic.

Brubaker is doing a lot of excellent work, these days, but I think Captain America is his best title at the moment. It's got tons of good, emotion-twisting moments that make you go "Daaamn."

Highly recommended.

New Warriors #1
Written by Kevin Grevioux
Art by Paco Medina
Published by Marvel

...And then there's this.

I wanted to include at least one negative review this week, just so y'all don't think I'm going soft.

And what better place to start on the negativity than with New Warriors #1? The only other comic I've read in the past month that really compares with it for sheer crappiness would be Iron Man: Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. #18, which I'm sure I'll be covering later this month.

What makes New Warriors so very, very bad?

Well, the premise itself isn't so awful. Basically, a group of teenage ex-mutants have formed together to antagonize Iron Man and all of the pro-Registration forces in the Marvel Universe by fighting crime and doing good deeds but not registering, as required, and leaving graffiti messages that say things like The New Warriors Were Here.

Okay, so it's not a brilliant premise, but it's workable.

In this issue, a young woman named Sofia wanders around the city and bemoans the loss of her mutant powers. I think she's someone we're supposed to recognize from earlier X-Men comics, but I have absolutely no idea who she is, so that part didn't work so well for me.

Anyway, a lot of the story is just her daily life which, as it turns out, consists of poorly written dialogue and cliche characters and situations.

For example, there is the old-but-wise homeless guy who exchanges witty banter with her as she heads to work. This guy isn't like any homeless person I've ever met... he's more like a Disney version of a homeless guy.

Here's a sample of the dialogue...

Sofia: Sammy Sam! How you doin'? You eat today?
Sam [homeless guy]: I had a little sumthin' sumthin'... you know how it is.
Sofia: You need to come by and see me. Get a hot meal and a cup o' joe to go. We can't have you wastin' away on us, now.
Sam: You're my guardian angel, you know that?
Sofia: What can I say? We all gotta be somethin', right?

This is dialogue as written by someone who's never had an actual conversation but has learned about them from watching TV. Bad TV at that.
Or, consider this exchange between two cops (?) as they survey a crime scene...

Granville: Sykes, Givens, I was wondering when you guys would show. The Feds finally let you out of the big house?
Givens: Granville. As I live and spit. Solve any Easter Egg hunts lately?
Granville: As a matter of fact, I found a trail of shells leading to some house the bunny's been creepin' to. Apparently, he's been seein' some loose broad named Mrs. Givens.

Sykes: Alright boys. Put 'em back in.

And, not to belabor the point, but here's someone complaining about Tony Stark...

Unnamed Character: Super hero turned politician. Smells like something I pinched after my wife's salisbury steak last night.


What does that even mean?

This is followed by a two-page sequence of Sofia making playful banter with her boss about the fact that she's always late and he's a bad cook.

Sort of like watching old re-runs of Alice, for those of you old enough and unfortunate enough to remember that show.

Anyway, I could go on and on about how awful this comic is, but I think you get the point.

Utter crap.

That's the point.

Anyway, that's all we have time for this week. In the weeks to come we'll be looking at some comics that'll be coming out in August and September, finally doing that column about tips for motivating your employees, finally doing those reviews of Republican presidential candidates, looking at some more comic-book reviews, featuring an extra-special review of Kalahari, and God only knows what else.
A little song?
A little dance?
All things are possible...
Until next week, here's hoping that you don't smell like something someone pinched after their wife's salisbury steak last night.
Cause that doesn't sound like any fun at all...
- Paul

1 comment:

M said...

looking forward to the Kalahari review. It had to be done.