Wednesday Comics 12 (23 September 2009

One should never hope for too much from finales. Especially not from an extremely uneven anthology series like Wednesday Comics. Batman’s bad. Kamadi flops. Superman apparently only remembered after twelve installments he had a wife at home. Deadman is okay. One of the better mediocre strips. Green Lantern is bad. Metamorpho is lacking; Gaiman tries too hard for nostalgia. Teen Titans is awful, Adam Strange is great. Supergirl is cute again, but Metal Men goes out too dreary. I still have no idea what story Caldwell told with Wonder Woman. Sgt. Rock’s lame again, but in a syrupy way now. … Continue reading Wednesday Comics 12 (23 September 2009

Wednesday Comics 11 (16 September 2009)

Azzarello writes Batman as a rube while Risso tries to ape Sin City as a Batman. Gibbons once again summarizes the action too much on Kamandi. Sook’s barely got anything to do. Superman is bad. As usual. Deadman’s okay, Green Lantern’s awful. Ditto, respectively, for Metamorpho and Teen Titans. Hope respectively, in that sense, means Titans is the awful one. Good (not great) Adam Strange. Poor (not terrible) Supergirl. For the first time, Garcia-Lopez is too busy on Metal Men. All the large scale action hurts it. And Caldwell breaks out of his little panels for Wonder Woman. It’s a … Continue reading Wednesday Comics 11 (16 September 2009)

Wednesday Comics 10 (9 September 2009)

Batman versus dogs, Azzarello’s inspired and Risso can’t even draw a cool Batmobile. Kamandi comes back a little; there’s a big battle scene, lots of panels. Arcudi misses a great Superman: The Movie homage on his dumb Superman strip. Deadman’s okay, though all the action seems inappropriate. Green Lantern is lame; Busiek doesn’t understand weekly one page pacing. Metamorpho is competent but lame. Teen Titans is awful. Galloway’s a terrible writer. Pope’s Adam Strange rocks. He’s clearly wrapping it up. Supergirl’s weak again. Too much plot, not enough cute. The Metal Men has some great art and a touching final … Continue reading Wednesday Comics 10 (9 September 2009)

Wednesday Comics 9 (2 September 2009)

The art on Batman’s good. Risso’s aping Frank Miller, but it’s a stylish fight regardless. Kamandi continues to have story problems and poor Sook has nothing active to draw. Crap Superman. Nice Deadman. It might be Comics’s underdog strip. It’s the best Green Lantern, which says little for the strip. Metamorpho‘s periodic table gimmick is so tired in its second week, Gaiman’s even bored writing it. I think someone told Berganza he was writing a kids’ cartoon for Titans, not a comic strip. Good Adam Strange. Pope hasn’t topped his Earthbound Adam development so it’s kind of underwhelming. Lame Supergirl … Continue reading Wednesday Comics 9 (2 September 2009)

Wednesday Comics 8 (25 August 2009)

Batman’s bad; Azzarello’s desperate to make it a noir and he just can’t. Kamandi’s mediocre. Still nice art but the story’s stalling. Superman has no story and is bad too. Deadman’s got some great art. Oh, Green Lantern. It’s weak again. Metamorpho’s fun, with a periodic table gag, but there’s no story. Teen Titans is inexplicable and bad. Adam Strange is confusing and fantastic. Supergirl’s tiresome. Very nice art on Metal Men from Garcia-Lopez, even if Didio’s run out of character moments. Wonder Woman’s nearly comprehensible, even if Caldwell wastes most of his page. Sgt. Rock’s lame but not bad, … Continue reading Wednesday Comics 8 (25 August 2009)

Wednesday Comics 7 (19 August 2009)

Batman is a little better than usual. Not the art, but at least Azzarello writes two scenes. On the flip, this Kamandi strip is probably the weakest. Still good, but pointless. Superman’s crap, Deadman’s pretty but slight, the Green Lantern is pointless. The Metamorpho, however, is weird in a good way. Crappy Teen Titans, but amusing–Berganza says Starfire is almost seven feet tall, Galloway draws her shorter than Robin. Great Adam Strange. Pope has really made the strip his own thing. Supergirl–with the Aquaman guest appearance–is weak again. The Metal Men strip is still charming, but it’s starting to drag … Continue reading Wednesday Comics 7 (19 August 2009)

Wednesday Comics 6 (12 August 2009)

Let’s get started. Batman–Risso’s artwork is weak. It’s loose when it needs to be strong and vice versa. Fun Kamandi but Gibbons isn’t giving Sook enough room for the content. Superman’s the opposite. Too much room, too little content. Deadman’s mediocre, probably its worst strip (it’s a wee trite). Green Lantern’s continuing to sink too. Busiek’s Hal is an unlikable narrator. Gaiman and Allred cheat on Metamorpho–half the page is a board game. It’s cute, but clearly there’s not much story. Oh, Berganza’s Teen Titans. He gives Blue Beetle the internal monologue of the Taco Bell chihuahua. It’s offensive in … Continue reading Wednesday Comics 6 (12 August 2009)

Wednesday Comics 5 (5 August 2009)

Lame Batman, good Kamandi (Sook does a good Planet of the Apes), lame Superman (though Bermejo’s a little better), okay Deadman (one of the book’s steadiest strips), lame Green Lantern (after always being mediocre before)…. I’m trying something different since these comics usually provide so little to really talk about. Metamorpho’s a little better, Teen Titans is a little worse. Great Adam Strange, just featuring Alanna. Pope gives her a nice strip to herself. And Supergirl’s turning into one of the better strips in the series overall. Palmiotti’s tone for it is perfect and Conner’s art is engaging. Another good … Continue reading Wednesday Comics 5 (5 August 2009)

Wednesday Comics 4 (29 July 2009)

Baker gets awkwardly jokey on the Hawkman, which is otherwise all right. He’s got a great looking space battle involving the JLA satellite. Speaking of art, Bermejo’s Superman is particularly awful this issue. He’s apparently incapable of drawing Ma Kent. He draws her for three or four panels, each worse than the last. Metamorpho makes a slight recovery; at least Gaiman’s got actual panels and something of a narrative. It’s all a tease, but it’s better than it has been. The most reliable strips are Pope’s Adam Strange, Bullock and Heuck’s Deadman (it’s never great, but always decent), Gibbons and … Continue reading Wednesday Comics 4 (29 July 2009)

Wednesday Comics 3 (22 July 2009)

This issue has even less good strips than before. Sgt. Rock in particular falls off, with Joe Kubert’s art getting way too loose. Gaiman and Allred’s Metamorpho doesn’t recover either. In other words, at issue three, Wednesday Comics is already downhill. Azzarello and Risso’s Batman manages to be worse, as does Arcudi and Bermejo’s Superman. Kamadi by Gibbons and Sook, however, is awesome. It’s perfect as a comic strip. Nice Adam Strange by Pope, nice Metal Men by Didio and Garcia-Lopez. Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner’s Supergirl is rather cute; being well-intentioned and competent compensates for its lack of ambition. … Continue reading Wednesday Comics 3 (22 July 2009)

Wednesday Comics 2 (15 July 2009)

So even some of the better ones from the previous issue are losers this week. Specifically Neil Gaiman and Mike Allred’s Metamorpho. They flop on the format. Still strong are Pope’s Adam Strange, Baker’s Hawkman, Dan Didio and Jose Luís Garcia-Lopez’s Metal Men (no, really) and Catwoman by Walt Simonson and Brian Stelfreeze. Oh, and Kamandi by Dave Gibbons and Ryan Sook. The biggest surprise has got to be The Flash from Brendan Fletcher and Karl Kerschl. They split it between Iris and Barry and have a very unexpected, but fun, twist. Deadman, from Vinton Heuck and Dave Bullock, is … Continue reading Wednesday Comics 2 (15 July 2009)

Wednesday Comics 1 (8 July 2009)

Wednesday Comics really needs a stronger editorial hand. While some of the creators get the concept, others completely fumble it. The successes (and the mediocrities) make up for the bad patches. In the “no idea how to do the format” section, the issue has Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso on Batman, John Arcudi and Lee Bermejo on Superman (thumbs down to Bermejo’s interpretation too), Eddie Berganza and Sean Galloway on Teen Titans (Galloway’s art is atrocious) and the Kuberts on Sgt. Rock. At least the art’s good on Rock from Joe. The best entries are–no shock–Paul Pope and Kyle Baker’s. … Continue reading Wednesday Comics 1 (8 July 2009)

Superman 3 (January 2012)

Perez spends the first three or four pages recapping Action Comics. Because it seems likely someone buying Superman isn’t buying Action. Yeah, sure. But then Perez fills the issue with content–Superman’s big action sequence isn’t even until the second half–and Nicola Scott isn’t up to the detail. Overall, the art isn’t bad. When reading a page, it seems completely passable and occasionally good. But on any closer examination, the problems become clear. And Trevor Scott’s inks seem way too sharp for this comic. With the two Scotts on art… Superman loses its previous retro vibe. And that retro vibe was … Continue reading Superman 3 (January 2012)

Action Comics 3 (January 2012)

Almost nothing happens this issue. Clark has a nightmare of Krypton (where we learn of some new menace who can follow him to Earth), he argues with the cops and then Lois. He’s got a “Deep Throat” source too. It’s kind of hilarious how Morrison writes a thirties crusading reporter in the modern newspaper age. It’s less realistic than the flying alien. And then the bad guys show up at the end and Lex wants to get busy with them. Get busy in the supervillain team-up sense. Somehow, it’s Morrison’s best issue of Action even without the action. He’s finally … Continue reading Action Comics 3 (January 2012)

Superman 2 (December 2011)

What is the deal with Merino’s Clark Kent… and, to a lesser degree, his Superman? Clark looks like an eighties beach bum with the bouffant hairdo and then Superman looks like he’s fourteen. I know the new DC Universe is younger and hipper… but Superman should at least be old enough for a cigarette. And bouffant hair hasn’t made a comeback…. Has it? Other than those art details, I can’t come up with an actual complaint about Perez and Merino’s Superman. Sure, it’s retro. It reads like an idealized version of a seventies or eighties issue, but Perez’s writing is … Continue reading Superman 2 (December 2011)

Action Comics 2 (December 2011)

Oh, good grief. Really, all Grant Morrison can come up with is Lex Luthor unknowingly working with Brainiac? Did he even come up with it, or did he just watch the pilot to “Superman: The Animated Series?” I’m trying to be open minded about Action, especially with Brent Anderson coming onboard as Morales falls behind, but really…. I already read Geoff Johns’s Superman origin story. I don’t need to read it again. I also find it a little hard to believe Lois Lane’s all right with her father being a monster. I mean, she’s generally okay with him torturing people? … Continue reading Action Comics 2 (December 2011)

Superman 1 (November 2011)

The “Ultimatizing” of the DC relaunch continues… with Samuel L. Jackson as the new Morgan Edge. Sorry, cheap shot, but Superman is the first book where there’s an effort to make the DCU more diverse. I was looking forward to this comic because I figured George Perez could write a decent Superman comic and he does. There are some problems with the newspaper copy he uses as a narrative device (it’s a poorly written newspaper article) and then there’s the art, but otherwise, it’s good. The art isn’t Perez’s fault. While he gets the breakdown credit, Jesus Merino handles the … Continue reading Superman 1 (November 2011)

Action Comics 1 (November 2011)

Well, this one is certainly disappointing. Morrison’s fresh take on Superman—a young Superman, so young he’s practically just Superboy without Krypto—is problematic. But it’s the first issue and one would usually give Morrison time to get things sorted. But Action doesn’t remind of All-Star or anything good Morrison’s written. In fact, it doesn’t remind of Morrison at all. It reads like a politically minded Geoff Johns comic book, down to Morrison regurgitating Johns’s Superman: Secret Origin with General Lane stepping in for Thunderbolt Ross. I think Lane’s in the new movie as a bad guy… one can feel the corporate … Continue reading Action Comics 1 (November 2011)

DC Retroactive: Superman – The ’90s 1 (October 2011)

I didn’t even know Louise Simonson wrote Superman in the nineties because, as I understood it, Superman was awful in the nineties until the late nineties. If this Retroactive issue is any indication, Simonson’s Superman is pretty miserable. Forgetting about how stupid a bunch of the details are—Cadmus Project, Underworlders, I mean… come on, Superman needs a supporting cast but not a silly one with a bunch of complicated mythology—Simonson relies almost entirely on expository dialogue. Simonson’s writing is slow, pointless and mercilessly dense. But the writing isn’t even the issue’s worst part—Jon Bogdanove’s art is atrocious. While his layouts … Continue reading DC Retroactive: Superman – The ’90s 1 (October 2011)

DC Retroactive: Superman – The ’80s 1 (October 2011)

What a terrible comic book. Marv Wolfman’s writing is so lame, I’ll never even have time to mention how Sergio Cariello isn’t a particularly good artist. So, if you’re unaware, Crisis on Infinite Earths is the most important thing in the world and Wolfman wrote it. If you are unaware, this comic will let you know. Not only is it the most important thing, nothing about Superman himself is particularly important. He gets visited by the Ghost of Christmas Future, who shows him every major DC event in the next twenty years. It means Wolfman doesn’t have to write an … Continue reading DC Retroactive: Superman – The ’80s 1 (October 2011)

DC Retroactive: Superman – The ’70s 1 (September 2011)

Martin Pasko knows how to write a good Superman story. Again, not up enough on seventies Superman to know how accurate a flashback issue he writes, but it’s a darn good comic anyway. Pasko brings humanity to the all-powerful character, both in the plot and how he ties it to Superman’s actions. The stuff with Lois Lane–they’re dating somewhat steady here, but on unstable ground–is absolutely fantastic. Pasko’s dialogue and pacing are also particularly impressive. He fits a lot into the pages, sometimes so much penciller Eduardo Barreto has trouble fitting it all in. Now, I’m generally familiar with Barreto … Continue reading DC Retroactive: Superman – The ’70s 1 (September 2011)

Marvel Treasury Edition 28 (July 1981)

Was Jim Shooter paying himself by the word, because I don’t think I’ve ever read more exposition in a comic book. It’s terrible exposition too, but I suppose the sentences are grammatically correct. For the most part. But what I can’t figure out is the artwork. The combination of John Buscema on pencils and Joe Sinnott on inks produces one of the worst eighties comic books I can remember seeing. Superman’s figure is strangely bulky, with a little head. But the facial features on everyone are awful. It’s a hideous thing to read. The story concerns Dr. Doom trying again … Continue reading Marvel Treasury Edition 28 (July 1981)

Superman vs. the Amazing Spider-Man (January 1976)

It’s too bad this one doesn’t work out better, but at least it fails in an interesting way. Superman and Spider-Man simply can’t work together. It’s not so much the problems with them not matching powers—Lex Luthor zaps Spidey with some red Kryptonite powers to even the odds at one point—it’s the characters themselves, they’re too different. The comic’s split into four parts. First is a Superman prologue, then a Spidey, then Doctor Octopus and Lex teaming up before the culminating team-up between Spidey and Superman. The first three parts work great. The fourth part barely works at all. Peter … Continue reading Superman vs. the Amazing Spider-Man (January 1976)

Superman: Last Stand of New Krypton 1 (May 2010)

Does DC have any ideas? I mean, any whatsoever? Reading this comic, it seems like the last three crises were just used—as far as Superman is concerned—to reboot Zod as a villain. I mean, he’s a psycho bad guy again here. It’s so incredibly tired at this point, who do they think cares? Even when the mystery supervillain shows up at the end, it’s another “who cares” moment. I know James Robinson gets geek cred for Starman and Golden Age but he’s the guy who wrote The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen movie. Maybe he’s past his prime. Speaking of past … Continue reading Superman: Last Stand of New Krypton 1 (May 2010)

Superman/Batman 75 (October 2010)

Levitz wraps up the arc with a Legion of Super-Heroes story guest starring Batman. Superman’s in a panel or two. Lex’s planet has paid-off (in the future), with a Kryptonite-infused Lex clone going through history after Superman (and Superboy). The story’s unpredictable and funny. And Ordway’s mostly just drawing, not trying to look painted, so the art’s much better. The rest of the issue is two-page anniversary stories. Seagle and Kristiansen’s is pointless self-indulgence. Tucci’s actually funny. Hughes does a poster; great art, of course. The big surprise is the Krul one (with Manapul on the art). The writing’s actually … Continue reading Superman/Batman 75 (October 2010)

Superman/Batman 74 (September 2010)

Ordway tones down the new style here a little and this issue has the best art of the arc. Levitz also changes gears, totally removing Lois Lane and revealing why Lex is so important. Well, actually, he already revealed Lex’s importance, he just didn’t reveal the connection. This issue doesn’t help in that regard. While Lex did bankroll the people to kidnap Lois, apparently he didn’t want them to burn her alive. And then he’s messing around a lot in Gotham…. The issue ends with Lex revealed (mostly) and Superman and Batman both giving him a stern talking to. Levitz … Continue reading Superman/Batman 74 (September 2010)

Superman/Batman 73 (August 2010)

Just like last issue, Levitz has a perfectly good handle on all the narration (it’s Superman, Lois and Batman again). Unfortunately, the plot doesn’t make any sense. Apparently, Lex Luthor is funding the Superman cult in order to get them to kill Lois Lane, but only if they get caught. Somehow, all of that business also has to do with Lex wanting to inspire an alien planet to worship him as a god. What’s not clear is why the comic needs Lex Luthor at all. Levitz could have filled his pages with almost any other subplot (like the one he … Continue reading Superman/Batman 73 (August 2010)