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Tuesday, December 22, 2009 12:31 PM
The Take
 by Fëanor

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

This post covers new releases from the week of 12/16. Beware spoilers!

New releases
Astonishing X-Men #33
This issue opens with Brand dumping a load of exposition and backstory on us while the X-Men reminisce. Then, giant hideous monster! Enormous aircraft! Crazy ideas involving zombies! Insane action! More reminiscing!

A rather strange issue, all-in-all. But we're getting closer to whoever the Big Bad is this time. Maybe it'll be... Forge's twin brother! From a parallel Earth's future! Or something.

There are some funny bits here, like when everybody's ragging on Wolverine. But hey, when did Cyclops get so incredibly powerful?

Not sure how to feel about the issue, really. It's all right, I guess.
Thumbs Sideways

The Authority: The Lost Year #4
This is the continuation of Grant Morrison's Authority storyline, which he started about a year ago, did two issues of, and then never finished. Keith Giffen has taken over the writing duties. I started collecting the original miniseries and was a bit disappointed when it didn't go anywhere, so I thought I'd pick this up and see where it takes the story. Apparently I missed #3, and apparently there are going to be a total of 12 issues. I don't think I need to see any more, though. The writing is melodramatic and overwrought, and the story, while epic and apocalyptic, still manages to be a bit dull. I love The Authority, so I keep wishing somebody would write a good story about them again one of these days. Sadly, this isn't it.
Thumbs Sideways

Captain America: Reborn #5
There are lots of great ideas in this issue. Steve is imprisoned inside a horrible Nazi-controlled alternate history America, designed by Zola and placed inside of the Red Skull's mind, which itself is now inside of Steve's skull. But still Steve finds a way to fight back, because he's just that bad-ass. Good old Steve. In the outside world, the Red Skull unleashes the awesome and insane Super-M.O.D.O.K. Squadron on Steve's friends. Meanwhile, Steve's friends are finding it pretty hard to fight back against him, even knowing that it's the Red Skull who's running the show. It doesn't look good! But I suspect everything will turn out right in the end, especially considering I've already seen Steve walking around in his own body in other comics set after this. Anyway, loved this issue. Extremely fun concepts and action, and just crazy enough to keep things interesting.
Thumbs Up

The Complete Alice in Wonderland #1
I love Lewis Carroll's Alice stories, and I find it hard to resist at least glancing at nearly every adaptation of them. And this book has a snazzy die-cut cover by John Cassaday, which made it doubly hard to resist. Overall it's pretty good, but also a bit disappointing. I hadn't thought much about creating my own comics in the past, but this comic made me think about it a lot, although sadly not in a "I'm inspired by how awesome this is" way. It was more of a "I really think I could have done this better" kind of way. The biggest problem I have is with the pacing. The whole thing feels incredibly rushed. Probably they had a strict issue- and page-limit staring them down, but I really think they needed to give certain sequences more time and space. It might even have been worth it to cut less important parts of the story out just to give the important things their due. But then I guess it wouldn't be "The Complete Alice in Wonderland" anymore. An example: in one panel near the beginning, Alice is crawling along a tunnel, and in the next panel she's already halfway down the rabbit hole, surrounded by weird stuff floating in the air. It's a jarring jump, and takes away the power and shock of the fall. I think we needed one very big panel devoted to the tumble into the rabbit hole. Then you move on to the slow fall and the stuff floating by, maybe on the next page. The sequence where Alice enters the White Rabbit's house, grows very large, kicks Bill out of the chimney, and then shrinks and escapes, is also horribly collapsed and rushed. We hardly get to see Bill at all, and barely understand what's going on before it's over. I also am not a huge fan of the manga-y representation of Alice, or the rather boring conception of the caterpillar (I much prefer Cassaday's versions of Alice and the caterpillar on the cover).

It's not a horrible comic. Some sequences are pretty well done visually and pacing-wise. But all the same, I don't think I'll bother picking up another issue.
Thumbs Sideways

Dark Avengers #12
In this comic, Bendis comes up with an excuse to strip Victoria Hand to her underwear. And I can't say I don't appreciate it on some level, but still. C'mon, man. Anyway, this issue ultimately turns into the war of the super-powered crazy people, and the upshot is that the Sentry becomes aware of the true nature and depth of his power, and Osborn gets a little closer to his inevitable breakdown. Still not sure I really like where Bendis is taking the Sentry as a character, but we'll see.
Thumbs Sideways

Incorruptible #1
Mark Waid's Irredeemable is going well, so now he's started a new series set in the same universe, but looking at the other side of the coin: instead of a God-like superhero turning evil, now we've got a bad-ass supervillain going straight. This first issue is intriguing and fun, with some good dark humor. I'm amused by the underage sidekick named Jailbait, and the slightly corrupted version of Jim Gordon. Looking forward to seeing where this goes.

In the back there's an excerpt from The Unknown, another Mark Waid comic, this one about a paranormal detective. I was thinking of trying this out, and now I'm glad I didn't. Looks pretty dumb.
Thumbs Up

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine #1
I was a pretty big fan of DS9 (until it went off the rails somewhere around the last season), and this comic reminds me why. It reintroduces you to all the recurring characters of the series in a very warm, nostalgic way, and even brings back a weird-looking alien background character and continues the running gag about him from the show (you never get to hear him speak, but there's the constant suggestion that he talks all the time whenever you aren't watching). The plot is an intriguing mystery about a sudden influx of visitors to the station. It's fun stuff. I'll be picking up the next issue to see where it goes.
Thumbs Up
Tagged (?): Authority (Not), Avengers (Not), Brian Michael Bendis (Not), Captain America (Not), Comic books (Not), Ed Brubaker (Not), John Cassaday (Not), Mark Waid (Not), Star Trek (Not), The Take (Not), Warren Ellis (Not), Wonderland (Not), X-Men (Not)
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