Incorruptible 1 (December 2009)

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Is Incorruptible the worst comic book ever?

No, not by a long shot, but it’s pretty terrible. The amount of expositional dialogue alone suggests Boom!’s now paying Waid by the word. And if you want to talk about “decompressed” narrative, Waid could have fit this issue’s story into three or four pages if he were actually trying to write a comic book here, instead of just cashing in on Irredeemable‘s success.

What’s additionally lame is how it’s clearly an afterthought. This character wasn’t in the issues of Irredeemable I read. It’s a retcon after less than a year.

Boom!’s got a terrible track record with spinoffs–the Hero Squared spinoffs were atrociously bad–and Incorruptible‘s no different.

I guess the art’s okay, but the character designs are lame.

There’s a lot of illogical, nonsensical “morality” in this one. (He’s not a murderer, he’s just a killer!).

Absolute garbage.

CREDITS

Writer, Mark Waid; penciller, Jean Diaz; inker, Belardino Brabo; colorist, Andrew Dalhouse; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editor, Matt Gagnon; publisher, Boom! Studios.

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The Unknown: The Devil Made Flesh 3 (November 2009)

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It must be nice being the editor-in-chief at the company where you write comics, because then you can get away with a silly issue like this one. It’s not bad–I mean, it’s bad, but it’s not really bad–it’s not stupid, for instance, it’s just poorly handled.

Waid puts the surprise ending in the third issue instead of the fourth, then he has this strange return of a character in a manner not making any sense. He explains it and I guess it gets the reader through the twenty pages of story, but I’m sitting here now and I can’t, for the life of me, figure out how the heck it makes an iota of sense. More, it seemingly contradicts certain elements of the first series.

The big religious reveal hasn’t happened yet. I think the lack of sincerity (Waid’s not a fundie) bugs me a bit.

C- 

CREDITS

Writer, Mark Waid; artist, Minck Oosterveer; colorists, Javier Suppa and Andres Lozano; letterer, Marshall Dillon; editors, Dafna Pleban and Matt Gagnon; publisher, Boom! Studios.

The Life and Times of Savior 28 5 (August 2009)

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Looks like DeMatteis has read some Alan Moore, doesn’t it?

In this issue, DeMatteis doesn’t just pull it off, he also reveals an unreliable narrator in Dennis, who’s apparently a psychotic anti-peacenik and has been for years. It adds some layers to him, since he’s really the least fleshed out character. He’s been too busy telling the reader what he thinks about Savior 28 to tell him or her anything about himself.

But some things come through the cracks, especially at the end. He becomes a hurt child.

Having such a dynamic finale, however, seems a wee contrived, since it leaves the series with a better memory than it earned throughout. All of the politics, in the end, were a McGuffin. It’s something else all of a sudden (not to mention the change of POV in the final pages).

It’s a success, but a machinated one, rather than organic.

B+ 

CREDITS

Day Of Drums; writer, J.M. DeMatteis; artist, Mike Cavallaro; colorist, Andrew Covalt; letterer, Neil Uyetake; editor, Scott Dunbier; publisher, IDW Publishing.

The Life and Times of Savior 28 4 (July 2009)

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You know the all-action issue, where it’s just a fight scene dragged out to twenty-four story pages? This issue of Savior 28 is a mostly-torture issue. I can’t remember much of what happens except the narrator–Dennis, the government stooge–and Savior 28 finally talk. But there’s the whole backstory thing still going on, with more of Savior 28’s history.

DeMatteis likes doing this revisionist look at superheroes–he did it with Hero Squared, only comedically–but the guy’s not a hack, he’s not piggy-backing on other people’s work (with Savior 28 being a Superman and Captain America amalgam), he’s commenting on the whole superhero comic book medium. These books are a lot like Grant Morrison trying to incorporate all elements of Batman’s history, or Superman’s, into the modern version. Except Savior 28 readers aren’t going to be mainstream readers.

I hope DeMatteis finishes well.

B 

CREDITS

Enemy Combatants; writer, J.M. DeMatteis; artist, Mike Cavallaro; colorist, Andrew Covalt; letterer, Neil Uyetake; editor, Scott Dunbier; publisher, IDW Publishing.

The Life and Times of Savior 28 3 (June 2009)

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It does seem a little like the comic everyone wants to write is the one where Superman goes batshit crazy and flips out. Mark Waid’s doing it now, DC kind of did it with Superboy, I can’t think of a Marvel example, but maybe the Sentry did it during “Civil War,” but doesn’t anyone remember Superman III? Savior 28 is really flashy, but it’s more “revisionist” than a Frank Miller book. It’s a depressingly stark look at superheroes; it’s a tad much.

While it’s a good book and I can’t wait to see what DeMatteis does in the final two issues, all this “grown-up” handling of superheroes sucks the wonderment out of the genre. Psychoanalyzing their hangups, et cetera, et cetera, it’s a whole new genre on its own.

But who wants only depressing, stark superhero books? Aren’t they still escapist entertainment?

(Sorry for not talking about this issue).

B- 

CREDITS

The Whole World is Watching; writer, J.M. DeMatteis; artist, Mike Cavallaro; colorist, Andrew Covalt; letterer, Neil Uyetake; editor, Scott Dunbier; publisher, IDW Publishing.

The Life and Times of Savior 28 2 (May 2009)

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Yeah, no, DeMatteis isn’t backing down. He’s got Dick Cheney killing Captain America here or Superman (or, what is it, Super-Soldier). It’s stunning, especially given how DeMatteis has got his ultra-liberal heroine (who’s been off panel so far, at least in a speaking role) and his narrator slash murderer slash Cheney flunky commenting on her not giving anyone slightly conservative any consideration (do they really deserve any?).

Obviously, by making the neo-cons the supervillains, DeMatteis is assuring no bigger publisher is going to pick this one up (I can’t believe IDW did, do they think they’re the new Avatar or something?) and, well, it’s a crazy mix. I mean, he’s got Savior 28 breaking up Secret Wars to tell everyone involved they need to stop being so full of shit.

It’s a hell of a comic. Not sure about it dramatically, but a hell of a comic.

B+ 

CREDITS

To Be or Not to Be; writer, J.M. DeMatteis; artist, Mike Cavallaro; colorist, Andrew Covalt; letterer, Neil Uyetake; editor, Scott Dunbier; publisher, IDW Publishing.

The Life and Times of Savior 28 1 (March 2009)

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Well, yeah, I didn’t see that ending coming.

Usually 9/11 shows up as a gut shot in comics–Ex Machina, Morales’s awesome Captain America run, Conway’s recent Animal Man–but DeMatteis brings it out here front and center. I have no idea where he’s going with it but it certainly seems a heck of a lot more thoughtful than some guy throwing a soda can at Spider-Man or whatever Marvel did.

Savior 28 is a strange book–Cavallaro’s style, particularly when he’s doing the drunken, downtrodden hero, is an odd fit. Cavallaro, broadly, reminds of Kirby or Infantino, which makes Savior 28 a Silver Age visualization of a very modern story.

It’s also got no laughs in it.

DeMatteis is good at laughs (he’s also good at other stuff, but laughs were his “strong suit”) and it’s a real departure from what I was expecting.

It’s very interesting.

B+ 

CREDITS

A Kind of Eulogy; writer, J.M. DeMatteis; artist, Mike Cavallaro; colorist, Andrew Covalt; letterer, Neil Uyetake; editors, Scott Dunbier and Chris Ryall; publisher, IDW Publishing.

Sherlock Holmes 5 (September 2009)

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Oh, good grief. I almost feel silly reading it. I’m really hoping Moore and Reppion’s foreshadowing of Mycroft being Moriarty is inadvertent or just silly business instead of their actual plans for the series. I imagine it’ll be back, with more lame references to World War I possibly. The book actually saddens me a little, with the minor references to League of Extraordinary Gentlemen–it only introduces comparisons between Moore and her father and she comes up short.

I’m a little put out, given the $3.50 price tag per issue and Dynamite’s generally fine track record so far–I mean, they put out Battlefields, it’s hard to believe they’d let this nonsense out of the stable. Moore and Reppion don’t bring anything new to Sherlock Holmes, nothing movies in the 1930s weren’t already doing.

Except, I suppose, they weren’t ripping off the The Untouchables–turning Watson into an action hero.

D- 

CREDITS

The Trial Of Sherlock Holmes, Part Five: Endgame; writers, Leah Moore and John Reppion; artist, Aaron Campbell; colorist, Tony Aviña; letterer, Simon Bowland; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

Sherlock Holmes 4 (August 2009)

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This issue’s lettering has a particular understanding of punctuation. It’s rather annoying, while also being incorrect.

Worse, in a terribly paced series overall, this issue serves no purpose but to promise us the final issue–but I find it unlikely it’ll deliver the promised “Trial of Sherlock Holmes.” Instead, I’m guessing it’ll be some speedy and cute resolution.

And even though Holmes appears in more panels this issue, I think, than any other so far, he’s still a subplot in his own book. Moore and Reppion seem far more interested in their undoubtedly clever mystery than characters, but they’re also not playing fair with the mystery.

From the start, the reader hasn’t been given all the information. I’m not suggesting the reader has to be able to solve it–Conan Doyle didn’t follow that practice–but when you show Watson reading instructions and don’t reveal them?

You’re just plain cheating.

F 

CREDITS

The Trial of Sherlock Holmes, Part Four: Brought to Justice; writers, Leah Moore and John Reppion; artist, Aaron Campbell; colorist, Tony Aviña; letterer, Simon Bowland; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

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