Monday, March 8, 2010 03:09 PM
The Take
 by Fëanor

Fëanor's (semi-)weekly comic book review post.

This post covers new releases from the week of 3/3, which was sadly the worst week for comics in recent memory. Beware spoilers! And bitterness!

New releases
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season Eight #33
It's an interesting moment when the vampire slayer realizes that, metaphorically at least, she has now become a vampire herself. But this is followed up by a patented Scooby gang pep talk from Xander, and Buffy's soon up and fighting again. There's a weird thing that only lasts a handful of panels where Andrew somehow gets his hands on a whole bunch of geeky gear and uses it to try to fight Twilight. I don't know where that came from or how it makes sense.

Of course, the big deal about this issue is that it includes the long-awaited reveal of Twilight's secret identity, a reveal that fails entirely to have any power or suspense because anybody who goes online has known the secret for weeks now, thanks to Dark Horse doing a really poor job on information control. Twilight's true identity originally leaked thanks to the cover art for a future issue hitting the internet too early. I'd forgive them that - who can keep stuff like that from leaking out these days? - except that they then assumed that everyone knew the secret, and started talking about it openly on Twitter and Facebook, thus ruining it for everyone else, including people like myself who hadn't even known anything about the leaked cover, and wouldn't have looked at it even if they had. Sigh.

But anyway, the point is, the reveal doesn't make a lot of sense, even in context. I don't see why this character would become a villain all of the sudden, and his explanation of why he let a bunch of innocent people die is not sufficient. I just don't see him ever doing the kinds of things that Twilight has done. Buffy's reaction to the reveal doesn't make any sense, either. I mean, she's made poor decisions as far as romance is concerned as long as we've known her, but to stop in the middle of a fight and just start having sex with someone who is essentially a mass murderer? Really? And what the hell is with her and Twilight glowing, and Twilight talking about them being some kind of fated pair, and Giles being all doom and gloom? Meltzer has some serious explaining to do in the next couple issues!
Thumbs Sideways

First Wave #1
All the prequels and previews of this series that I've seen so far have been crappy, but I decided to give this first issue a try anyway, maybe because there were so few other interesting books on the stands this week. Unsurprisingly, it's mediocre. There's way too much narration, none of which is terribly well written, and none of the subplots that get initiated here are really grabbing me. Boring characters, boring dialog, boring, boring, boring.
Thumbs Sideways

Girl Comics #1
This is the first of a three-issue anthology miniseries from Marvel consisting of short stories by all women comic book creators. It's all part of the company's new "Women of Marvel" initiative, highlighting and celebrating all the female talent in the field. It's a cool idea, but as with most anthology books, this one is really hit-and-miss - mostly miss. The introductory bit by Colleen Coover is cute and inspiring, but the Cabaret-style Nightcrawler story is a real yawner (even if the art is intriguing and unique). Trina Robbins' Venus short is perhaps even more dull. Interspersed with the stories are "spotlight" prose pieces which consist of short bios of particularly important women in the comics field. These are a nice idea, and are reasonably interesting. Valerie D'Orazio's Punisher story is pretty amusing, even if, as others have pointed out, the ending is a foregone conclusion from page one. The She-Hulk pin-up is nice. The goofy Doctor Octopus two-pager is probably my favorite story in here, because it's just pure cutesy fun. Robyn Furth and Agnes Garbowska's fairy tale-inspired Franklin & Valeria Richards' story is interminable, and packed full of completely unnecessary text. You should never need this many words to tell a story in a visual medium like comic books, especially when the words are this boring. "Head Space," which focuses on the complex Cyclops-Jean Grey-Wolverine love triangle, has a fascinatingly surreal story-telling format, but it's not saying anything we haven't already heard a million times before. I doubt I'll pick up another issue of this book, unless something really sticks out when I flip through it in the store.
Thumbs Sideways

Green Hornet #1
I realized after his latest Batman series that I really disliked the way Kevin Smith writes comics, but I was interested enough in this Green Hornet comic that I decided to give it a chance anyway. Mistake! It's terrible. Seriously. So formulaic and awful. All the characters speak that same Kevin Smith language we all know so well, but Smith is even less inspired here than usual, and is just churning out all the usual stereotypical junk. The jokes are incredibly cheesy and cliche and unfunny. The characters are all smug and unlikable. There's even a slacker whose girlfriend leaves him because he's so much of a lazy, uncaring jerk. It's pretty hard to blame her.

The comic is full of ads for the seemingly hundreds of other Green Hornet-related series that Dynamite is launching, but after reading this example of their work, I think I'll skip the rest.
Thumbs Down

Ultimate Avengers #5
It feels like I may have missed an issue of this, but maybe the mild confusion I'm feeling as to why all these people are where they are, and what it is exactly that they're talking about, has more to do with how long it's been since I read the previous issue. Anyway, the series is getting really... Millary now. I find that with pretty much all of Mark Millar's stuff, eventually it crosses a line and I stop liking it. It just gets too dark and thoughtless and disgusting and offensive and I lose my taste for it. I think this series might have hit that point for me now. The Ultimate Red Skull is just such a ridiculously awful creature, what with the baby-killing and the gang-raping. And there's a scene in here where poor Nerd Hulk vomits just because Millar thinks it'd be funny for that character to vomit and be shamed in front of the other characters. And you know what? Not funny. Then Millar makes fun of the French for no real good reason, and that's not particularly funny either; it's just a boring cliche. And there's plenty more lame dialog where that came from. Yeah, I think I'm done with this book.
Thumbs Sideways
Tagged (?): Avengers (Not), Buffy (Not), Comic books (Not), Joss Whedon (Not), Kevin Smith (Not), Mark Millar (Not), The Take (Not), Ultimate Comics (Not)

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Welcome to the blog of Jim Genzano, writer, web developer, husband, father, and enjoyer of things like the internet, movies, music, games, and books. For a more detailed run-down of who I am and what goes on here, read this.

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