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"comics: the buy pile"
Wednesday, May 7, 2003

Every week I go to the comic book store (Comics Ink in Culver City, CA, hey Steve and Jason!) and grab a lot of comics. I sort these into two piles -- the "buy" pile (things I intend to spend money on, most often a small pile) and the "read" pile (often huge, including lots of stuff I don't actually like but wanna stay well informed about). In no particular order, here's some thoughts about all that.

Captain Marvel #9:
Nobody knows why Mar-Vell, whose kept Rick Jones a virtual prisoner in the Microverse, let Rick return to his life (and testifying in court). "He's crazy" is a good blanket explanation, and the issue forges ahead with that premise. Marv spends the issue spouting some hilarious madness while Rick frets and worries, and ends the issue on a twist similar (in tone) to the one from the last pages of issue #5. One of Marvel's finest titles.

Battle of the Planets #9:
The ending is a little bit pat and there's some showy "versus" moments which fell flat on somewhat muddled artwork, but this is still an entertaining title that hit a slight downbeat on this issue. Must be those darned Thundercats pulling some of the focus away.

Robotech #6:
The Legend of Roy Fokker is cemented with a single-handed defeat of the Anti-Unification League, a showcase of mechamorphosis in low-Earth orbit. The book closes down fast, and maybe a little too easily (the tagged on epilogue seemed inappropriate, while the twist at the end of the real story was delicious), this is still worth having after the rest of the series entertained so well.

Reload #2:
Bang! Warren Ellis crafts another short, entertaining tale. "High-octane" would be a good adjective for this book, and Ellis' tight scripting is well served by Gulacy's crisp and cinematic art, as always given a perfect sheen of polish by Jimmy Palmiotti's inks. I freakin' love this book.

Elektra #23:
Robert Rodi's debut is very entertaining, better than his sometimes goofy Crossovers and miles beyond the tepid CodenameL Knockout. This crisp and tautly told story closes in with great deliberation and delivers on every level -- writing, art, coloring. Fine, fine work and a surprise leap from nowhere, as this title isn't normally even on the read pile.

Micronauts: Karza #3:
Complicated and less than satisfying, Krueger's normal command of large events and casts slips a bit here. I hope this franchise isn't jumping the old Tiburon, if ya know what I'm saying.

Buy Pile Breakdown: Marvel shines this week with two winners, and everybody else kind of phoned it in.

Then there's the stuff on the "read pile" that I don't bring home ...

Authority Volume 2, #1
To quote Xzibit, "It's the long-awaited, anticipated ..." Robbie Morrison and crew bring back the wold's most dangerous superteam in all-new, DC-sanctioned adventures. The scale and grandeur of the book match both the old series and the backup that ran in Wildstorm titles ... but the passion, the zippiness is flat and uninspiring. Morrison is almost there, but his writing simply lacks pep and staying power. We'll have to keep watching to see if this book either shocks, awes or inspires, but as of today, it's merely a Read Pile curiosity.

Battle of the Planets/Thundercats #1:
In a crossover you'd have never expected, G-Force hops a rocket to Thundera (Third Earth) to lay the smackdown on a Mumm-ra powered, Thundrillium-stealing Spectra operation. The book borrows heavily from BOTP continuity and is serious and somber in tone. In my not-so-humble opinion, that tone robs the book of some of the possible fun. The art is done closer to the look of BOTP than Thundercats, and the terser linework and darker backgrounds rob the work of some impact as well. I got bored halfway through, so I'll have to stick to the main BOTP book for the time being.

Voltron #0:
This is an expensive bit of prelude, warming up nicely with a slightly heavy tone to introduce the five men who would pilot the giant robot lions. Still, this felt really light and fast, and wasn't worth the cash they were asking.

Venom #1:
Ever seen John Carpenter's The Thing? Or read current issues of G.I. Joe Frontline? This one is kind of a goofy take-off. Bo-ring.

Sentinel #2:
This read like uninteresting manga to me (I'm a Ranma fan, actually), and I set it down. That's all I have to say about it.

JSA All Stars #1:
A while back, DC did a very lame crossover stunt called Green Lantern: Circle of Fire. It had two bookend issues and a bunch of tight focus stories. This feels exactly like that start of Circle of Fire, and bored not just me but my comics pusher Steve as well. Another forgettable stunt storyline.

100 Bullets #44:
I wrote down one word "intense." This storyline is interesting, and I'm watching where it goes.

Clockmaker #3:
I've now read three issues of this book, and thet all seem to have the same boring conversation. I so wish this book was more interesting.

First #31:
"Soapy" is the word I used, an issue low on action and high on dramatic conversations.

Alias #22:
Jessica had a crush on Peter Parker, pre-spider-bite. Then, shortly after, an accident killed her family and gave her super powers. That's about all of interest that happened. I wanna read this issue -- which had a good piece of nuance and characterization -- with its successor and see if it goes better.

Way of the Rat #13:
Magic spells are cast and much hilarity ensues. This issue spends its time cleaning up some of the mess from the last storyline and setting up ghostly fun for next issue, but doesn't do much on its own. I hate that.

Read Pile Roundup: A week of tantalizing disappointments and lackluster storytelling that deserved to stay in the store.

I'm gonna call this a bad overall week because of so much mediocrity and so little to really excite me.

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