Saturday, February 15, 2003

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Finally, here are
What I bought and what I thought, week of February 12

1. DAREDEVIL 43 Talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk. Fortunately, this is well written, interesting talk. All Alex Maleev is asked to do is provide talking heads, but he does so magnificently and is rewarded with a small action scene at the end which he handles with aplomb. Also, luckily we don't get his Owlverine in this issue. Maleev's stuff is beginning to remind me of Howard Chaykin, especially in the faces. A

2. POWERS 28 Talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk. Fortunately, this is also well written, interesting talk. Think Bendis knows his strengths? Also, we get a new, interesting Jarvis-like character and the usual outstanding Avon Oeming graphics. A

3. ASTRO CITY: LOCAL HEROES 1 Talk, talk...oh, never mind. Kurt Busiek is the most maddening writer working today. When he writes standard superheroics like Thunderbolts and Avengers, he reads like any anonymous hack you can name from the last twenty years. But turn him loose in his own sandbox, and he's Alan Moore, Grant Morrison, Pete Milligan and Mike Carey all wrapped up in one. Since there hasn't been an issue of Astro City to review since I started doing this, I'll let you know up front that I don't like Brent Anderson's grubby, bland, poorly proportioned art but in the service of Busiek and his Magic City, he is most functional and doesn't detract from the story. Much. All in all, a welcome return, although this issue's merely a getting (re)acquainted issue . A-

4. GOTHAM CENTRAL 4 Ed Brubaker is, I think much more suited to this down-to-earth kind of goings-on that Greg Rucka is. I'm at a loss to explain why I like his writing so much here, while getting deathly bored with Catwoman–guess it's that superheroics are the icing on the cake, rather than the cake itself as it is in the latter. Of course, Michael Lark is outstanding, messy inking notwithstanding. A-

5. FABLES 10 Somewhat anticlimactic, but still enjoyable with several blatant Kirby swipes from the heretofore non-Kirbyish team of Buckingham and Leialoha. Cleverly written as well, as always, although I am still a little dodgy about the notion of Fable-ish reicarnation Willingham presents to us. A-

6. JSA 45 While a lot happened in this issue, I was left cold by much of it despite the unexpected return of Eclipso, sort of, and the furtherance of the Doc Fate/Dove/Mordru subplot, which is what I'm sticking around for. "Doc Fate"'s line at the end about everybody's souls burning in hell struck me as unintentionally funny. Must have been the timing, I suppose. Kirk's art is better than it was when he started, but that just means it's competent. B

7. HELLBLAZER SPECIAL: LADY CONSTANTINE 3 Let's face it- no matter how hard they try to make her interesting, Johanna Constantine just isn't, and she's nowhere near as charismatic as her male descendent. The art is passable, if a bit stiff and sloppy. I won't be sad to see this end next month. B-

8. KILLRAVEN 5 I'm trying very hard not to compare Alan Davis' vanity project with the superior McGregor/Russell (and others) 70's incarnation...but it's difficult to do. Still, on its own terms, this book has been a well drawn, shallowly scripted time-passer. The original was so much more than that. Next issue is the last, thank God, and I for one hope that Marvel lets sleeping memories lie from now on...unless they're willing to bring McGregor back. C

9. TOM STRONG'S TERRIFIC TALES 6 Outside of a couple of nice art jobs by Jerry Ordway and Arthur Adams in service of a throwaway Alan Moore script and a totally thrownaway, gratuitous T&A fest by the lesser talented Moore, this book was a waste of the paper it was printed on. When this title was announced, I had my doubts about it– it seemed like there weren't enough stories for the main book, let alone a spin-off, and so far I'm being proved right. C-