Thursday, April 9, 2009

Buy Pile Report

Oh, rarest of rare days, how I've missed you. Yes, today I picked up five titles (six if you count finally picking up last week's Irredeemable #1), and each book failed to disappoint. I don't care that this week was a lighter than average week in terms of quantity -- how often can you honestly say $20 spent at the comic shop was solid all the way through?

I began my day with the book I'd been waiting months for (yes, months, since the solicitation for this was that good), Green Lantern #39, the debut of the "Agent Orange" arc. And while I expected the Orange Lanterns to be very different in a goofy way, Geoff Johns succeeded in creating yet another well-defined and, frankly, slightly freighting Corps. The Orange Lanterns are some powerful suckas. And did I see that right -- did Mr. King Orange transport his power through his mark?

If I had one nitpick with Geoff Johns' tale, however, it would be the characterization of the Guardians. I mean, I know they have been cruising for a bruising with some horrible decisions of late, but here they made just downright fanatical decisions, between their torture of Hal Jordan and knee-jerk venture into the Vega System. It reminds me to the "X-Men" books from a couple of years ago when EVERYTHING Professor X did turned out to be in some way evil. It felt like overkill then, it feels like overkill now. I get it, the Guardians are doing everything they can to avoid facing the writing on the wall. That doesn't mean we have to be hit over the head with it in such a way as their blind interrogation of Hal. Still, great start to the arc.

Next, I went over to Gotham City for Batman: Battle of the Cowl #2, where it's quickly becoming clear writer Tony Daniel is not exactly going for the shocking conclusion. And really, would we want it that way? Personally, I love Tim Drake's character and his growth since Batman first began his fall -- but he's just not old enough or big enough for the Cape and Cowl. Dick Grayson is the only logical choice, so I am more than happy enough to let this series show his decision to step into the Pointy Ears.

In the meantime, we're getting some good badass Jason Todd action. Remember all that waffling on Jason's character? Is he a villain? Is he an anti-hero? Is he a universe-warping all-around great guy? Yes, "Countdown" sucked. Well, I have a feeling he's not coming back from all the shit he's pulling here, and it's pretty fun to watch. The only real problem I'm having with this mini is that I sincerely doubt Tony Daniel is planning on wrapping up this Black Mask stuff in one issue, meaning DC is looking for us to buy many more issues in the future.

Superman: World of Krypton #2 was likewise strong, but in a VERY different way. Writers James Robinson and Greg Rucka are moving this story along very carefully, doing their best to illustrate the social structure of Krypton while reflecting Kal-El's part in it -- and as far as I'm concerned, it worked beautifully here. While I do feel like the K-People (that's my new synonym for Kryptonians) came off looking awfully ruthless here, you have to love the subtle places where Superman's more gentle approach is making it's mark. There's a fantastic dichotomy here between how Kal handled the Thought-Beast situation and how Zod wants to handle a hostage situation, all narrated by Superman's Lieutenant Officer: "(The Thought-Beasts are) us. They're extinct. They just don't know it yet..." You can nitpick at this series' slow pace, but I for one am loving it.

Booster Gold #19 and Trinity #45 were both pretty good, but I'd rather close this post with a week-old revelation: Mark Waid's Irredeemable #1 was pretty darned good and only seems like it will get better. Maybe I just love stories with flawed heroes. Or, maybe Waid pulled no punches in showing exactly how much damage a rogue hero can do when he's pissed off. Frying a colleague, his wife and two kids. Lobotomizing a sidekick to protect secrets. Hunting former teammates like dogs. And, as I said, the best part is, this issue just makes you want to know more about the universe. What happened to make Plutonian flip out? Who are his former teammates and what could they have possibly done to piss off the big man? And, my personal favorite question which I am willing to wait as long as Waid makes me -- what happens when he does, eventually, ask to be redeemed? I can see this series going a long, long way.

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