samedi 26 janvier 2008

comics 23 janvier

Grendel Behold the Devil 3 is a must-read as are all Grendel tales.

2000 AD seriously lacks new ideas. The best two strips are Dredd and Strontium Dog and they are the oldest ones.

Countdown Special New Gods is just a reprint of Forever People 1, Mister Miracle 1 and New Gods 7 (The Pact). Why? Dunno.

ASM 548 continues to create a setup from 1972, with Carlie and Lily replacing Gwen and MJ and Mr. Negative replacing Dr. Octopus in his war against Hammerhead of the Maggia.

She-Hulk 25 is an anniversary issue with extras. Peter David's scripts are strong but the art is
average. I still can't understand why he doesn't get top artists.

I wasn't going to buy Young Avengers Presents until I saw it was by Brubaker and had a cover with classic Captain America shots. It's a good story with Bucky Barnes telling the new Patriot about patriotism and the first Patriot.

I hadn't read Illuminati 5 when it came out but picked it because it's part of the Skrull invasion. At least this Skrull infimtration is a good way to fix the inconsistencies and mischaracterisations that have plagued Bendis' titles but whether it does achieve that remains to be seen.

Marvel Zombies has gotten repetitive.

Iron Man 25 kicks off the celebration 45th anniversary. The main story features the classic design while the Mandarin makes his move. There is a recap of his origin by Goodwin and Colan from 1968, a feature on the film, a feature on his armors previewing future collections by Layton, a feature on the upcoming Omnibus and a preview of a story by Favreau and Adi Granov.

X-Men First Class 8 has very good art and a fair story but Dr. Conners has his two arms and he should have only one. The Man-Thing is not a contemporary of the early X-Men. Not a big deal.

Wonder Woman 16 reads well but that character lacks in interest.

X-Men 207, end of Messiah Complex.

Countdown to Mystery 5 has the kind of story only Gerber can think up, a psychoanalysis of a
character based on a comic book she wrote.

Superman Confidential 11 wraps us the story from 1-5 by Darwyn Cooke and Tim Sale.

JLA Classified 51 has a story from the Justice League of the Silver Age by Byrne and Stern.

Punisher 54 is the ultra-violent finish between Barracuda and the Punisher, the swan song by Ennis who leaves after the next storyline.

Legion of Super-Heroes 38 has a good plot and interesting dialogue and characterisation. Jim Shooter may just achieve what Mark Waid didn't.

Astonishing X-Men 24 is not the end of Whedon and Cassaday's title as the finale will be in a Giant-Size issue. Their issues are a classic and I hope they get collected in an Omnibus collection fast.

Army at Love 11 remains strong issue after issue.

Dan Dare 3 has a strong military tone, which is understandable given Ennis' liking of war stories.

Damage Control is a comedic series set in the Marvel Universe, something we should see more often.

vendredi 18 janvier 2008

comics 16 jan

American Virgin goes to its conclusion. Too bad. I think there would be still a lot of subject matter to cover but maybe it's cancelled for lack of sales.

Penance Relentless. I'm warming up to the story. Even though I am an unconditional Gulacy admirer, his work had looked unispired to me. The technogothic environment of Latveria changes my mind. The political statements give the story more depth. The Marvel Universe with its heads of state (Black Panther, Latveria, Atlantis, Subterranea, Attilan) is in the best position to spin stories taking advantage of the current political situation with the tensions between the US and Iran, Russia, Columbia, Serbia.
While these imaginary realms were once too fantastic an element, they can now be used effectively by writers as allegories.

Booster Gold 6 has that fantastic writing by Geoff Johns, as in the summary of Beetle's life. Blue Beetle is saved from death. I don't know how permanent this is after we were given to think that it was permanent. I'm hooked.

Amazing Spider-Girl in an old-style comic, more geared to younger readers. With so many internet posters claiming they discontinue ASM and will read this one, I'll look with curiosity at the sales figures.

Countdown to Final Crisis reintroduces elements from Kirby's Kamandi and O.M.A.C. I just hope DC will take the opportunity to make moe volumes of Kamandi available (a volume of OMAC is coming)

In ASM 547 Marla Madison doesn't look at all like she used to. Slott puts the story in the middle of the criminal world, which is good. Writers should go back to the Spirit influence that was shaping Ditko's vision (but do they realise that influence?).

I like Hercules 113. It has that mythical element that Walt Simonson used so well in Thor but for the Greek Gods. The enmity of Ares and Hercules is made real. Ares has his own agenda and his immortal perspective makes him dismiss current politics such as the Initiative but he still make a show of respecting the rules. Very good metaphor for current politics.

Resurrection is a new series from Marc Guggenheim telling the storis of what happens after an alien invasion. It's similar to The Walking Dead in a way. The title is not so well chosen. It starts well however.

mardi 15 janvier 2008

lundi 14 janvier 2008

comics 9 Jan

Suicide Squad is fantastic. The concept has been copied very successfully in Warren Ellis' Thunderbolts which might explain why DC relaunched the title. A Showcase Presents volume was supposed to come out but was unfortunately cancelled. The latest issue sets up all sorts of betrayals to come. I hope the series is enough of a success that it becomes regular. It reads more like a continuing than a limited series.

Amazing Spider-Man 546 was the most awaited issue after Marvel set it back to basics. It has good points: a large supporting cast, a tongue-in-cheek tone, even in the editorial, and very good art. Even the previews of the upcoming art teams are promising. The creators see to have fun and to enjoy the wider leash on creativity they have been given.

Green Lantern Corps 20 creates the new set-up for the series, apparaently now focusing on Guy Gardner and Kyle Rayner. I hope the spotlight will also be on the other members of the corps but I guess it was necessary to put recognizable names for the readership. The idea of Mongul with a yellow ring sends shudders down the spine. Given the success of the Sinestro War and the plans leading to the Blackest Night, that title will stay on my radar.

Spirit 12. Darwyn Cooke goes with a bang. The Spirit was the best new title of 2007. Taking over the character from Eisner was a daunting task. How do you take over a masterpiece? Yet, Cooke managed to update the series without violating the original.

The Simpsons Super Spectacular 6 has a crossover between the Simpsons and Radioactive Man. These stories are full of in-jokes.

Sheena Queen of the Jungle from Devid Due Publising s a guilty pleasure like most of the jungle girls we see since Frank cho brought back Marvel's Shanna.

Bat Lash is a very pleasant western. Too bad I've seen reviewers criticize it. It really deserves a look for the beautiful art of John Severin.

The Teen Titans Lost Annual is an oddity. Produced by some 60s creators like Nick Cardy, Bob Haney and Gaspar Saladino along with modern artists with a pop art sensibility, Jay Stephens, Mike and Laura Allred, it is utterly bizarre. Sixties teenage DC is dated.

Supeman 672 continues the story with the new Insect Queen.

X-Factor 27 continues Messiah Complex, the latest crossover. The title has lost its identity as it is only part of a continuing story shared with three other titles. The story feels like a wrap-up of elements introduced along the years, especially as it has the Marauders which were part of teh first crossover. Too early to tell where this is going but it was high time to get rid of all the clutter accumulated since 1987: Mr. Sinister, the people from the future, etc. Fans are fond of this stuff unfortunately.

Wolverine 61 also was coming back to its roots by gfighting Shingen Harada brought back from the dead. Chayking used the same panels as Miller with his own twist, an interesting approach.

So that's five X-Men titles who are rehashing past storylines.

Salvation Run is a disappointment. I read it expecting some of the tension inherent in having super-villains fight each other but the fantasy setting (alien planet) isn't good.

BPRD 1946 debuts this month. It seems Hellboy is such a success that Dark Horse can create spin-off after spin-off.

In spite in having an all-star lineup, Pat Mills, John Wagner and Dave Gibbons, Dor Who Classics 2 suffers from too much text and stories aimed primarily at children.

Jonah Hex 27 has great art from legendary Jordi Bernet. For a western to go on for more than two years shows how good the title is.

lundi 7 janvier 2008

super-héros en France

Panini vient de commencer la publication de Justice Society of America. Avec la Sinestro Corps War, j'espère que cela va convertir un grand nombre de fans à DC.
Pour des raisons historiques, ce sont les héros publiés par Lug qui sont le plus connus, au point que certains ne semblent jamais avoir lu la très abondante production d'Arédit mais qu'on en voit réclamer une réédition de Rom, le chevalier de l'espace (alors qu'il existe des chefs-d'oeuvre de Steve Englehart, Steve Gerber ou Don McGregor qui sont méconnus). Evidemment, la force de Lug c'était son marketing, sous la forme du courrier des lecteurs, chose que n'a jamais faite Arédit. Et alors qu'Arédit avait vendu sans mal des petits formats en noir et blanc, ils se sont conduits à la faillite quand ils ont commencé à publier en couleurs.
Pourtant leurs albums se consacraient à un héros mais la faiblesse de ce format est que les ventes chutent si la qualité d'une série baisse.
Lug a misé sur le format anthologique, ce qui a réussi jusqu'à ce que l'ensemble de la qualité Marvel baisse dans les années 90.
Arédit s'en est écarté quand ils ont écarté les petits formats et a perdu. L'influence de Lug reste primordiale puisque les choix parfois regrettables de traduction sont souvent restés: Jane (au lieu de Sue Richards, l'influence de Tarzan) le Prince des mers (beuargh). Dommage puisque le titre Sub-Mariner était un des plus populaires et durables d'Arédit, ne s'arrêtant que lorsque le matériel d'origine a été épuisé par suite d'arrêt de la série américaine. Dans les années 60 et 70 chaque titre avait sa personnalité et pouvait se lire seul. Les titres Marvel comme Sub-Mariner et Hulk étaient plus proches de la production européenne qui mettaient souvent en scène des anti-héros (Wampus, King Kong le robot).
Parfois les choix de traduction qui ont changé Serval est devenu Wolverine et "ça va chauffer" a été remplacé par le plus juste "ça va castagner" mais sans doute était-il plus dur de changer ces autres noms.

samedi 5 janvier 2008

comics 4 Jan

In Brave and he Bold, Mark Waid shows us his love for the sixties by giving us the Challengers of the Unknown, The Blackhawks and the Boy Commandos, H for Hero and the Metal Men, the new Atom and Hawkman team. George Perez does an excellent job. Too bad Waid is leaving DC.

Wonder Woman 15, in spite of its good girl art, is hard to get interested into. This is probably the main difference between DC and Marvel. Marvel never hesitated in dropping a character, no matter how popular he had been. The Sub-Mariner hasn't had a regular series. Character identification is difficult with a sovereign from an inexistent underwater nation. Wonder Woman is the same problem. These series can survive only through a supporting cast and both series have done away with theirs.

Crossing Midnight is this American comic invading manga territory, a Japanese fantasy. In spite of having the cover artist, letterer and sometimes colorist of Promethea (respectively J.H.Williams III, Todd Klein and Jose Villarrubia) Mike Carey and Jim Fern disappoint me in this one.

Thunderbolts continues to surprise. The first story arc showed the team on the side of the law attacking real heroes on the illegal side. This arc shows even more they are villains. Norman Osborn is described in his craziness, Venom is an inhuman monster. Swordsman who was rather uninteresting is suddenly the joker in the cards.

Omega the Unknown is too bizarre and I don't like the lettering. It doesn't have th epathos that Steve Gerber injected. I only hope this brings more attention to the source material.

For some real Steve Gerber we have Countdown to Mystery 4. This is a wild ride. However the other half of this anthology isn't worth it; So we have onlty 17 pages and a feeling that nothing happens. The new supporting character is interesting. Hope she'll appear again.

The Batman titles have al suffered a drop in quality with their Ra's al-Ghul crossover. Unfortunately it has sold well. This week's Detective Comics is no exception. Uninteresting story that could have been told in three pages.

Mark Texeira fits well in Moon Knight. His art even reminds me of Sienkiewicz around 1980. Suddenly the book seems better.

Annihilation Conquest continues the high action with two character deaths.

Invincible turned out to be the best super-hero book due to the lack of contenders this week.