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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Comic Reviews -- Week of June 16th


Shuddertown #3: So far, Shuddertown is a good enough crime comic about a drugged-out detective trying to solve a string of murders, murders that were seemingly perpetrated by dead people. While I like Shuddertown well enough, there's honestly not a lot to compel me to keep reading, and it's irregular release schedule is not helping. I’m not one to bitch too much about shipping schedules as it doesn't pertain to the quality of a comic, but when it comes to books that depend largely on a character-heavy mystery, a regular schedule does matter. It's hard to enjoy a story when you have to try and remember what happened a month or two ago before giving in and digging out the previous issues (Oni's Stumptown is plagued by this problem as well). When you can’t remember what happened in the last issue (or the one before that), you're less inclined to stick with a story. David Lynch movies aside, it's hard to be both confused and entertained at the same time. Unfortunately, I’m worried that by the time the next issue of Shuddertown hits the stands, I’ll no longer give a sh*t about the mystery, which is really the heart of the book. At least Adam Green's atmospheric art is pretty, although quite obviously modeled on specific people. If you buy Shuddertown #3, don't be surprised to find yourself staring James Gandolfini in the face.


Amazing Spider-Man #633: In an what was an otherwise ho-hum week for comics, Amazing Spider-Man #633 was probably the only comic that really delivered on all levels. First off, Chris Bachalo is an incredible artist. He manages to strike a perfect balance between chaos and control, infusing a manic urgency into his otherwise characteristically cartoon style. The resulting pencil-work lies somewhere between Ralph Steadman and Genndy Tartakovsky. It’s perfect for Amazing Spider-Man, making any arc that Bachalo draws an instant favorite. In this final “Gauntlet” offshoot arc, “Shed,” the Lizard returns to prove once again that he is one of Spider-Man’s most dangerous enemies, and not just because he can murder a lot of people (his own son included); it’s clear that more than any other villain, the underlying conflict between the Lizard and Spider-Man stems from Spidey's unrelenting hope that he can rehabilitate the scaly scientist. After the events of "Shed," it's abundantly clear that even he can't save Curt Conners. The Lizard has always been a favorite villain of mine, and to see him come back in such a horrifically monstrous fashion is really what I was hoping to get out of his appearance in “the Gauntlet.” I’m not so sure about his new “Lizard-people-control” powers, but I’ll save that discussion for another day. All-in-all, something tells me that this shockingly bleak Lizard story will ultimately overshadow the long-hyped “Grim Hunt.”

New Avengers #1: Ok New Avengers. I came back. I came back to your party. I know, I know. I said I wouldn’t. But I’m here. Unshowered, unshaven, ready to give us another shot. So whaddya got for me?

A possessed Dr. Strange you say? Alright, so far I’m on board, that sounds fun...oh...oh wait, what’s that? Page upon page of superhero banter? The same banter we've been reading for years? Luke Cage/Danny Rand banter. Luke Cage/Wolverine banter. Luke Cage/the Thing banter. Luke Cage/Wolverine/Victoria Hand banter. What's Wolverine doing on this team again? Banter banter Hawkeye is back in his costummmzzzzzzz*snort*hmmmmegamancupcakesandicecreamvideogameszzzz*zzzzzzz....

Whahuh? Oh sorry. Passed out for a second there. Are they still bantering? Oh the bantering is over. Whew. Wait, now they're spelling out their motivations for us? As part of a conversation? Again? As if we hadn't been following them for years? Alright well, I'm gonna go now, but do me a favor and let me know when Remender's Doctor Voodoo comes back. Until then, hand me that bottle of tequila. I'm just gonna go stretch out under this blanket.


  1. Y'know, I picked up and read some new comics yesterday and I couldn't believe how much conversational exposition there was! I'm looking at you Green Arrow. As Mamet says, two people talking about a third is shit, but I'd like to extend it to two people talking about the plot should NEVER HAPPEN!

  2. Yeah! And Bendis even just interviewed/tongue-coddled Mamet over on CBR, you think he'd be better. It drives me bonkers that he mainly gets praised for his dialogue. Yeah, I guess of course he does; after all, the only thing going on in most Bendis-books is TALKING, followed by more talking, followed by talking during a fight, followed by talking about the fight.

    They read like radio scripts. And as Denny O'Neil sez, "COMICS AIN'T RADIO!"

  3. Morrison seems to do it right, but almost too right. He'll tends to only use dialogue to explain something the reader can't see, but it's annoying because then it takes me EXTRA long to read and understand a freakin' Batman comic.

  4. Jon -- love your ASM review. Bachalo made that arc. I love your phrasing of a "balance between chaos and control" because that's how I felt too. The secondary artist doesn't deliver nearly anywhere as good as Bachalo does. Plus, the Lizard taking full control of Connors and killing his kid? Master stroke. I think you're right: of all the arcs in The Gauntlet, this is by far the best one.

    Oh and I haven't even touched my copy of New Avengers for that same fact. On cursory glance, I saw a lot of bubbles. Sigh. I just hope Bendis doesn't go the way of Millar. Then we'd have a real shitstorm on our hands.

  5. Every time I strut into a comic shop I flirt with buying this new Shed series. Is it just a mini series that I can pick up in trade soon enough? Or an on going arc that I better jump into now?

    Also, has anydude read and reviewed Greendale, the Neil Young adapt-comic in this forum?

  6. Ah! Shed will probably be out in a trade soon enough. And as far as Greendale is concerned, I've got it at home at the top of my "To Read" pile. So once I have, it will be read, reviewed, and spewed.