Thursday, March 26, 2009

Buy Pile Report

When is DC going to realize how big they are screwing up what really should be its flagship book? Justice League of America #31 is a disgrace. Right from the first page, with artist Shane Davis drawing Wonder Woman when he clearly was supposed to be drawing Black Canary -- and no editor caught it -- things started bad and just got worse.

The bulk of the issue deals with the fact that Hal Jordan and Oliver Queen have started a splinter Justice League... the only problem is, they haven't done that yet and won't until the start of the "Justice League: A Call for Justice" mini-series launches in July. Meaning, if you haven't been keeping an eye on DC's news releases and convention panels, you won't have a clue what Black Canary is so mad about. Heck, I'm waiting eagerly for the crossover and I was confused for a good deal of time. Further, I don't buy the whole "splinter group" angle in the first place. With Hal and Ollie's relationship with Dinah, I was picturing a much more amicable relationship between the two leagues. It felt very forced, in an effort to artificially back Dinah into a corner, as did the higher-than-thou attitude shown by Superman and Wonder Woman.

The worst part was, given that this was supposed to be a "Final Crisis" aftermath issue, the group should have had legitimate concerns and problems to deal with, not this artificial Dwayne McDuffie-induced crap. This could have been a story of the League showing their resolve and rebounding stronger than ever. Supes, WW and Flash could have all taken their leave with much less fanfare, and we could have all could have happily moved on. Instead, we get more of this mediocre junk. Who else is finally dropping JLA next month?

Of course, speaking of the impending James Robinson-penned JLA mini-series, I am quickly losing what little enthusiasm I had left for Mr. Robinson. For as fantastic as the Superman family of titles has been, he has unquestionably provided the weakest material. Case in point, Superman #686. Didn't we already get this issue already? Superman said his farewells, he put Mon-El in charge, he left the planet -- did we really need to watch Superman say goodbye to EVERYONE in Metropolis? This issue could have been four pages long! Mon-El met the Guardian and Steel, then we saw where he will be working. THE END. And, given how horribly decompressed Robinson's last main arc was, a four-issue long fist fight between Supes and Atlas, I am not optimistic for the scribe's ability to use his space.

For once, DC was the disappointing company. Marvel, in fact, was fairly strong this week.

Captain America #48 was more of the same from Ed Brubaker -- and that's not a bad thing. I've said it before, I'll say it again, I love Bucky Barnes' character, and I love the Black Widow in relation to him. Add that to an enraged Namor and you have the makings of a good final part to this three-issue arc. These past three issues have been a clinic in the art of writing good comics that don't have to have "end of the world" ramifications.

Another satisfying conclusion came in X-Men: Kingbreaker #4 (of 4). While we didn't quite get a resolution out of this mini-series (I get the feeling "War of Kings" robbed this mini of it's true intentions), we did get a high-powered final issue with a decisive rumble between Havok and Vulcan ... even if that whole "absorbing a star" thing was kind of questionable. What was nice to see was, finally, Vulcan was treated as a beatable villain. Yes, I know, we all want our villains to be an unbeatable threat, but Vulcan is simply a Summers brother. He should be powerful, but not so powerful. Finally here, Havok put the youngster in his place. And, of course, it all filtered nicely into "War of Kings." The only real question left was... where did the phoenix go?

And before we get off conclusions... X-Infernus #4 concluded one of the worst mini-series since "X4." Remember that? It was disgusting. "X-Infernus" was a step better. I'd rather not discuss it further because I am trying to erase it from my memory already.

It's OK, though, because X-Force/Cable: Messiah War Prologue #1 was a thing of beauty. A thousand-year-old Deadpool? A pact between Stryfe and Bishop? Could this crossover event have started out any better? It was no big-bang "Sinestro Corps." opening, but the table is certainly set for a good time. Again, I implore you all to go back and read the first 12 issues of "Cable" to get the full story on his and Hope Summers' travel through time, but if you haven't read it and don't plan on it, this special one-shot does fill you in on plenty of the details nicely, without turning the whole issue into a retrospective. Clearly, Craig Kyle and Chris Yost packed the Travel Connect 4 for this one.

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