Saturday, October 11, 2003

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What I bought and what I thought, week of October 1

H-E-R-O 9
The H-dial ends up in the hands of a perpetually behind-the-eightball Gotham City second story man this time out, and it's a well-written and illustrated study of a fellow who's been given a golden ticket and is determined not to foul up again. Whether or not he manages to pull this off remains to be seen, but I really enjoyed the character interaction that was the core of this particular issue of this recently underachieving series. A

JLA 88
You know, Joe Kelly writes a damn good Plastic Man. If I was in charge of DC, I think I'd just pay Kyle Baker to do a one-shot special and turn the ongoing Plas book over to Joe K. Formerly Known as the Justice League has all the laughs, but those guys don't have anything on Kelly, Doug Mahnke and Tom Nguyen, especially on page 16. I dare say that this title, right now, is about as good as it gets for mainstream superheroics these days, and am gratified to see my faith in Kelly through several lackluster story arcs has not gone unrequited. I've always had the utmost faith in Mahnke and Nguyen. A

100 BULLETS 47
In which we catch up with the homicidal heroin addict from a year or so ago, and find out what he's been up to with his briefcase full of the titular ammo. After a long Batman-assignment inspired wait, what we have here is the introductory chapter of another longish arc, and a somewhat confusing ending, which I'm sure will be cleared up eventually. Still first rate, but the jury's out until the story's farther along. A-

Hey, I didn't know this was a weekly! But it's OK, because despite my unfamiliarity with Bendis' Ultimate Spider-Man (Pete's not so much of a genius there, I take it?) I'm really enjoying the dramatics. Great back-and-forth between Nick Fury and Pete, and Tony Stark cracks me up (himself, too). Hairsine and Miki are getting more comfortable with their Hitch-isms. All good so far. A-

The story meanders, and perhaps it was a bit soon to go back to the flashback well after The Last Castle...but Linda Medley was born to do this sort of thing and she brings her Castle Waiting style to great effect. I wouldn't mind seeing her do more fill-ins in the future, for sure, and the cover by James Jean is one of the best I've seen in a while. B+

This ambitious, but convoluted and dull multi-issue multi-dimensional multi-time period extravaganza is finally, and thankfully, over. Actually, this chapter was a bit livelier than the previous ones, mostly thanks to Jerry Ordway- who's not a favorite of mine but did a solid job for the most part in his stolid, competent style. As with last issue, the Chris Sprouse cover homage, this time a swipe of Crisis On Infinite Earths, is the highlight. C+

1602 3
I just don't think Gaiman has his heart in this, which only partially explains how this can be so overwritten and underwritten at the same time. Maybe he just doesn't get the same thrill poking around in Marvel's trash pile as he did when it came to his own creations in Sandman... anyway, this, to me, comes across as journeyman and uninspired, almost like someone's ghosting it for him, and Andy Kubert's trying really hard to animate it all, but that Isanove fella's relentless Photoshopping saps all the life out of his art- making it blurry and hard to focus upon. A perfect example of a C grade comic if I ever saw one. Not a complete disaster, though- I liked this issue's cover. C