Stewart R: I’m going to head back to 18th Century France and I’m going to drag two titles with me and shove them in front of the guillotine as some poor grubby peasant or deposed King has 10 or 11 inches ‘taken off the top’ as a warning that they’d better up their game this week as I flick through their pages, I’m serious! (Note: Stewart R lacks the most rudimentary of time travel devices and so his chronological posturing is simply for effect - thank you for your continued patience, normal service will resume shortly)
The two titles in question happen to both be DC titles and fairly prominent ones they are too. Since J. Michael Straczynski’s announced that he’s had enough of this monthly comic lark and is jumping off of Superman I’m going to make a last minute decision as to whether I even bother to pick up #705. I personally think it’s a pretty damn poor show that he’s not going to be seeing the full 12-issue run out on a so-called important story like ‘Grounded’ that was supposed to allow Superman to regain the high profile that he once held. While another writer coming in may well do a good job, the issues released so far have underwhelmed and have left me doubting the ability of anyone to turn the story into a winner. Tell you what, I can’t find much in the way of positives to write about this title and the promise of another instalment so it’s gone, off the list with you!
The other book is Green Lantern Corps #54 and while #53 was quite the picturesque affair I had some concerns about the way in which Tony Bedard was depicting Kyle Rayner. I think I will pick this up simply to see how the inevitable clash between Rayner and Sinestro is played out and how the writing of the various characters feels. I’m still thinking that this is now the third string title in the Lanternverse but if this chapter is an improvement it may find itself with a stay of execution for another month. Certainly Green Lantern #59 has no such problems as I’ve been getting a real kick out of Geoff Johns’ work on this title following the Blackest Night and the constant inclusion of Larfleeze at the moment is always a grin-inducing ingredient. It looks like we’ll finally get a peek at what the Indigo Tribe have been “nokking” about with Black Hand since Nekron was defeated and that’s certainly one of the more interesting things to have spun out of DC’s big event since it ended at the beginning of the year.
A few people out there may well say to me “Aren’t you going to be mentioning or picking up Batman Incorporated #1?” And I will answer “No, no I am not, I’ve called a taxi for the workings of Mr Morrison and we won’t be seeing each other for a little while.”
As for the workings of Jeff Parker... gimme gimme gimme! Oh yes, Tom P has worked his salesman-like skills and managed to convince me that a comic starring Thadeus ‘Thunderbolt’ Ross is really worth picking up. So Hulk #27 is a lock in for my pull-list now after a delayed purchase of the previous two issues, a thoroughly enjoyable quarter of an hour read and eventual thirst for more. I really didn’t get on with Jeff Loeb’s work earlier on in the title mostly due to the constant mystery over who the Red Hulk actually was and repetitive, gratuitous scraps with Marvel heavy-hitters. To be honest I had no real love for where the Hulk world seemed to be heading but Parker is a man who manages to combine character, comedy and spectacle so damn well and I really shouldn’t be surprised that he’s won me over yet again. Gabriel Hardman has been producing some impeccable work on this book already and he really is one of the publishers’ shining lights when it comes to raw artistic talent.
Of course this is the week where we get to see another of those bright beacons return to a title after the swiftest of interludes as Kev Walker’s pencils make their reappearance in Thunderbolts #150. Jeff Parker gets yet another opportunity to show off his uncanny ability to make cross-overs and team guest appearances work as he brings three of the most famous Avengers into the fold for some tense entertainment. We’re into bumper territory for this milestone issue with a 40-page lead story which sees Thor, Iron Man and Steve Rogers taking a visit to the Raft, coming face to face with some of their former deadliest foes in the process... who are of course the good guys now - well most of the time! We’re also promised some extras like character bios and key reprints in a 96-page book for a price tag of $4.99 but I’m expecting something a little more exciting than filler about Ghost, Moonstone and company in a book that I’m shelling out that amount of shynola for.
There are two comics out this week that both dealt with disabled characters becoming super-powered heroes in their first issues and it’ll be interesting to see whether either of them pack enough punch in their second episodes. Mark Millar’s Superior #2 flies onto shelves and I’m intrigued to see where the big ideas man takes things this time. He’s certainly one of the more unpredictable writers out there today and you can quickly end up loving or hating his works early in a run because of that constant need to shake things up for the sake of shaking. It also gets a little vomit inducing the number of times that outlandish and self-indulgent statements and claims get plastered upon his comics and it appears that this issue is going to be no exception to that nauseating rule.
Certainly the other comic, Soldier Zero #2 from BOOM! Studios will sink or swim not based on smilin’ Stan Lee’s idea, which is simple and promising enough, but instead upon Paul Cornell’s ability to turn it into a working, emotion-and-character-driven story. I’m yet to really get into Cornell’s writing style having left Action Comics behind and I may not be able to give him long to wedge this comic firmly enough into my pull-list to prevent it ending up face down over a basket with the slight glint of the sun upon razor sharp steel in its peripheral vision.