Here we go again with CONFESSIONS OF A SPINNER RACK JUNKIE, where I opine upon comics that I have bought and/or received in the interval between July 20 and August 4, some of which may even still be on sale at finer comics selling establishments worldwide if you're lucky. Or not, as the case may be.
CAPTAIN BRITAIN AND MI 13 #15: Last issues, especially last issues in which an ambitious plotline has to be resolved to everyone's satisfaction, are rarely effective and/or tidy...and this is no exception. Still, it gets the job done quickly and efficiently, and all that's left is to shake our heads at a marketplace that can't, or won't, support a well-done comic book like this one was. The racks will be a poorer place without it. A-
GOTHAM CITY SIRENS #2: Guillem March, so good on covers, is just not impressing me all that much on interiors with his awkwardly distorted figures and not-especially-compelling layouts, negating whatever pleasure can be derived from the teaming of some fairly interesting characters. Plus, if you get that Hush character involved to the extent he is here, then that's pretty much a good sign you don't want me to read your comic. So au revoir, c'est la vie, and I miss Pfiefer's Catwoman ongoing more than ever. C-
DELPHINE #4: The conclusion of Richard Sala's latest "fever dream" doesn't make for compelling reading on its own, despite its not-so-subtle "beware of obsession" message...but when rendered by Sala's excellent linework and gorgeous sepia-tone, then it becomes worthwhile. Excellent work from one of the most distinctive stylists around, but my patience for writers who won't just say what they mean sometimes is wearing thin. A-
DETECTIVE COMICS #855: I still think Rucka was in a better groove on his first stint on this book; but that was then and this is OK for what it is- the whole mystery about what this cult wants with our fiery Bat-redhead is intriguing enough, I suppose. The main reason to buy this remains J.H. Williams III, and he continues unabated with some of the best work of his career. That said, I think I liked the villainess better when she was called the Painted Doll, and I don't really know who's at fault for that one. A-
FINAL CRISIS: LEGION OF 3 WORLDS #5: Didn't really know what to expect from this WAY overdue finale, but a kinder, gentler take on Wanted wasn't really it. All's well that ends well, I guess, unless you're a Kinetix fan, and even then we got a small sliver of hope for a revival down the road, so there's that. I guess Legion fans can be happier (they'll never be completely happy, this much I know) that we have yet another, streamlined Legion for their eventual (I presume) reading pleasure, and it's nice to know that at least one of the Archie Legion, perpetually outspoken teleporting bug Gates, is among their number. Otherwise, this is pretty much your standard issue Perez-drawn comic, with masses of bodies all flying around and pointing and swinging and hitting and shouting with gaping mouths and rubble rubble rubble and Kirby Krackle everywhere, and if this sort of thing doesn't give you a headache like it does me, then you can bump this up one letter grade. C+
GREEN LANTERN #44: One long extended fight scene between Hal, the Barry Allen Flash, and the Black Lantern-fied Martian Manhunter, impeccably drawn of course but rather routine otherwise. A functional chapter in a multi-issue crossover thing that I am following out of idle curiosity, if nothing else. B
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #16: It's 1976 all over again as we get the original Gerber/Stern/Milgrom era Guardians, minus Nikki (grumble grumble, why does Marvel and DC conspire to keep me from the comics women I love?) in a odd little story that finds part of the current team encountering the old-school GotG in the Avengers Mansion, and fighting off the Badoon before all reality comes to an end or something like that. It shouldn't make a lick of sense, but DnA pull it off thanks to the well-earned familiarity we have with the current team and how they play off their predecessors, and only the lack of Nikki makes me grade it no higher than a B+. Well, that and the earnest but not-great art.
HELLBLAZER #257: In a plot which might have been better served in a romance comic, John realizes he's not done such a good thing by giving Miss Right Now the love potion mickey given to him by the standard issue creepy demon in a kid's body...but wait, maybe it's all a scheme to get out of the s.i.c.d.i.a.k.b's pocket (the scab curse and its eradication, remember?) , and for some reason that I really can't articulate, that little wrinkle makes this more interesting somehow. So good for Milligan and good for us. B+
HEROGASM #3: More superguys behaving badly, ad infinitum. Fortunately, done with good humor and a tolerable amount of cynical snarkiness, Ennis' stock in trade. This issue's Fantastic Four satire reminded me of a sour Not Brand Echh, and I'm not sure that's what Garth intends. McCrea's on autopilot, but he's telling the story well enough. If I damn with faint praise, so be it- this is worthwhile if you like The Boys; all others stay far away. B-
IMMORTAL WEAPONS #1: It's Kung Fu Panda meets Hero meets Forrest Gump, filtered through the Marvel Comicsverse, as the first spotlight falls on the gargantuan Weapon Fat Cobra. It rambles a bit, but there are some funny lines (from a writer, Jason Aaron,who generally doesn't bring the funny all that often) and the artist does a nice job on FC's expressions as he runs the emotional gamut while listening to his life story (which he's conveniently forgotten), related by a writer he hired to help him fill in the blanks for his memoirs. In addition to the main narrative, a bevy of other artists do the flashbacks; Mike Lark's is the best, but the others, including Khari Evans and Stefano Gaudiano aren't bad at all. The backup story is an Iron Fist proper tale which pretty much picks up the dangling threads from the latest (to date) issue of Immortal Iron Fist, by the same writer- and I thought it was fine, with Swierczynski, Foreman, aided by that Gaudiano guy again, doing a better job than the previous one. B+
INCREDIBLE HERCULES #131: Been kinda hard to put a finger on it, but recent issues of this still-enjoyable title just haven't been quite as...well, enjoyable. Not bad, just not all that great either and certainly not as enjoyable as previous epic story arcs. Maybe it's the lack of a major threat, with inter-family squabbling taking its place, maybe it's the lack of an artist with a dynamic style, who knows. Still a pleasant enough read, but I hold out hope that the upcoming Thorcules business will pick up the pace a bit. B+
JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA #29: The post-Johns era begins with some new, and rather generic members, one of which is quite surly, and a big superheroes vs. supervillains group throwdown culminating in the somewhat surprising brutal stabbing of one of the good guys. In short, pretty much your standard DC comic these days. C+
MADAME XANADU #13: The Thirties era storyline continues, and unsurprisingly since the same person wrote both this and that, it will appeal mostly to those who really miss Sandman Mystery Theatre. For those of us who like Madame X, fear not, she's still the most prominent character in this pulpish tale of a demonic being who is driving his business associates to an untimely end. For those of us who revere Mike Kaluta, the news is not as good- he seems a bit rusty when it comes to this sort of extended sequential storytelling, and awkward anatomy and unsuccessful perspectives abound. That said, I'll take lesser Kaluta over the best efforts of many artists any day of the week. B+
PHONOGRAM 2: SINGLES CLUB #4: In which we spend some time with DJs Seth Bingo and the Silent Girl, and what it lacks in narrative clarity it makes up with nifty character moments (love the Blondie tribute), sort of shorthand for this entire series so far, both this and its predecessor. McKelvie has improved a lot since the beginning, though (or maybe I've just gotten used to his style), and this series is really humming, boogieing, choogling, whatever you want to call it, now. It also benefits from the backups by David LaFuente and Charity Larrison, which are nicely done. A-
POWER GIRL #3: PG turns the tables on the Humanite, escapes bondage, and with the help of (good to see her again) Terra saves New York in credibility-stretching, but still convincingly done, fashion. I hope you don't consider this a spoiler. Lighter in tone than the two previous issues, hence a lot more enjoyable and Amanda Conner is aces on art as always. A-
THUNDERBOLTS #134: If I only knew then what I know now about the big revelation this issue, then I wouldn't have bothered. Still, storywise OK, artwise as inconsistent as ever. Docked a notch for getting my hopes up. C+
WEDNESDAY COMICS #4: Pretty much everything I said in my review a week or so ago still applies; whaddaya say I check back in on this series after I've read #'s 5 and 6, and then after #9, and at the end with #12? Until then, incomplete.