COMICS: John’s Wednesday Winners for 4/29/09

Astute readers may have noticed that I skipped last week.  This was done for two reasons: 1) I only picked up four comics, and 2) I didn’t have the time to post before Saturday.  So this week will also include last week’s books along with this week’s.  That means new issues of Amber Atoms, Angel, Avengers/Invaders, Ignition City, Mr. Stuffins, The Muppet Show, No Hero, Runaways, Sherlock Holmes and Astonishing X-Men.  As if I wasn’t plunking enough money down at my LCS this week,  there were two excellent trades hitting shelves as well: Red 5’s Neozoic and Top Cow’s phonebook-sized Rising Stars Compendium.  The only thing missing was the new issue of Atomic Robo, which I’ll have to wait till next week for.  Curse you, Diamond!!!

Amber Atoms #3

Amber Atoms #3

Looking back, I’m pretty sure that I missed the second issue of Amber Atoms, but it was easy enough to jump back into the story with issue #3.  In fact, it was a bit too easy.  While Kelly Yates’s art is fantastic in that animated series-friendly sort of way, and Michael Wiggam’s colors really help every page pop, the story is just too cliche to be enjoyable.  It all just feels as though it’s going through the Star Wars-meets-Flash Gordon motions without any of the charm of either franchise.  I had really hoped that the first issue was just a rocky start for this series, but it looks like it may take until the second arc for any sort of originality or cleverness to manifest itself.  Sure is pretty, though.

Angel #20 (Cover A)

Angel #20 (Cover A)

Kick-tastic cover aside, #20 was a pretty lackluster issue of Angel.  I was willing to give new creators Kelley Armstrong and Dave Ross a chance after Lynch and Urru departed, but so far they really seem to be unable to find the series’ voice.  Even the characters’ looks are starting to become unrecognizable on some pages.  For me, the highlight of the issue was reading new girl Dez’s spell incantation in Spanish and actually being able to understand it (it only took four years of Spanish classes in middle school and three in high school to do it!)  Beyond that, there was little to offer.  The good news is that Lynch is returning to the series soon!  Hooray!

Avengers/Invaders #10

Avengers/Invaders #10

In a move that seems like it’s been ripped from two separate Alex Ross series (specifically Justice and Project: Superpowers) and stitched together, Avengers/Invaders #10 has the time-displaced modern age Marvel heroes masquerading as Golden Age Marvel heroes while battling Red Skull’s Nazi empire.  Unfortunately, both the Avengers and American Invaders are saddled with boring expository and fan-service scenes that fail to get off the ground.  Thankfully, the show is stolen by the Marvel UK team of Spitfire and Union Jack, who hog all the best action beats and manage to be funny, endearing and occasionally morbid.  The issue is worth picking up just for them, though not by much (but I have  a sneaking suspicion that this series, like other Krueger/Ross collaborations, will read better as a collected edition.)

Ignition City #2 (wraparound)

Ignition City #2 (wraparound)

Contrary to what you’ve read so far, not every comic I purchased this week was disappointing.  Warren Ellis’s Ignition City #2 is an excellent follow-up to the first issue, continuing to flesh out this factory-punk sci-fi landscape in a way that makes it feel similar to (yet also entirely different from) a blend of Ellis’s own Ministry of Space and the first episode of Firefly, before the networks made Joss Whedon lighten the atmosphere.  The issue is light on action and heavy on dialogue, but everything makes sense with relation to the story, which is taking its time to build suspense, intrigue and excitement. It also thankfully ends less abruptly than #1, which should make the wait between issues far less aggravating.

Mr. Stuffins #1

Mr. Stuffins #1

Awwww!  Lookit the wittle teddy bear dressed up in a suit!  He’s soooo cute!  BOOM! Studios is pulling out all the stops with its kids line of comics, including the use of secret agent teddy bears in Mr. Stuffins #1.  It may be a predictable blend of the kid-needs-superpowered-bodyguard and toys-come-to-life subgenres of children’s stories, but Andrew Cosby and Johanna Stokes approach the story with enough wit an charm to not make it feel like more of the same.  It had more heart than I was expecting it to, and that combined with the fantastic cover by David Petersen (of Mouse Guard fame) made it well worth the #3.99 price tag.

The Muppet Show #2

The Muppet Show #2

The laughs and kid-friendliness continue with The Muppet Show #2, also published by BOOM! Studios.  Roger Langridge does a competent job of finding the voices of the Muppet Show cast, but his over-arching plots tend to be less enjoyable than his single-page “sketches.”  This is to be expected, I suppose, since the original TV show relied on celebrity guests for its larger plots (something that wouldn’t really make sense in a comic.)  Classic sketches  as Pigs In Space, Muppet Labs, and Veterinarian’s Hospital (once called E-I-E-I-O-R, if I remember my Muppets Tonight episodes correctly) make this issue worth picking up, though diehard Fozzie Bear fans might find some enjoyment in his quest to regain his comedic mojo.

No Hero #5

No Hero #5

No Hero #5: Man, this series just keeps getting more and more unsettling.  Warren Ellis is certainly delivering on his premise (showing the lengths people will go to in order to become heroes) but it’s not a happy or pleasant ride.  In this issue, new (and newly skinless) hero Revere dons his protective uniform again and takes to the streets in order to recover the public’s trust and admiration, and ends up having to save an out-of-control airplane from crashing into downtown San Francisco.  This sequence is the highlight of the issue, as it shows just how difficult it is to “catch” an airplane, even with super-strength.  There’s a twist at the end that I won’t spoil, but it makes what was already an uncomfortable story even more uncomfortable, yet still compelling.  Juan Jose Ryp’s art still has to be seen to be believed, and the plane rescue sequence is visually stunning.  This may have been the best single issue of the week.

Runaways #9

Runaways #9

For the conclusion to a major story arc, Runaways #9 had fewer entertaining action beats than it did enjoyable character moments.  The zombies are defeated in a rather predictable way (though Molly shows a bit of uncharacteristic ingenuity,) Nico finally figures out what’s wrong with her spells, and Chase is unfortunately out of a job.  Terry Moore finally shows a bit more understanding of the characters … just in time to depart the series.  Here’s hoping that Kathryn Immonen is able to hit the ground running with next month’s issue.

Sherlock Holmes #1

Sherlock Holmes #1

Leah Moore, John Reppion and Aaron Campbell’s Sherlock Holmes #1 is an interesting exercise in adapting a mystery story of the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle variety to comic form.  It slavishly adheres to Doyle’s style of storytelling, resulting in a first issue that, while probably rife with clues, fails to engage the reader until it is nearly over.  More modern storytellers would likely have told the same story in 12 pages as a #0 issue, but the subtlety and layered mystery would doubtless have been lost.  Without the subsequent issues, it is difficult to tell if these problems are isolated or systemic.  This may be a perfect example of a series that would have done better as an original graphic novel.  Time will tell…

Astonishing X-Men #29

Astonishing X-Men #29

It’s taken a very long time, but Warren Ellis has finally hit his X-storytelling stride with Astonishing X-Men #29.  After the big revelation last issue, the team searches for Forge to find out more about these invading mutants from parallel earths.  It may be dipping slightly into Planetary or other Ellis-penned Wildstorm Universe territory, but there’s nothing wrong with that.  And while Ellis may have gotten off to a shaky start plot-wise, Simone Bianchi has been turning out absolutely entrancing artwork since panel 1.  He really does bring the same fantastic quality of work to each page as he does to his much-celebrated covers elsewhere.  It may be a long wait between issues, but this team’s output is worth it.

That’s the week!  Warren Ellis continues to turn out quality work, Terry Moore’s Runaways continues to disappoint (though slightly less), a few other titles fall flat (Angel, Amber Atoms) while others pleasantly surprise (Mr. Stuffins, the Muppet Show.)  Tune in next week for a special look at this year’s Free Comic Book Day offerings (and remember, Free Comic Book Day is THIS SATURDAY, MAY 2ND! Be sure to stop by your local comic shop and pick up some great free stuff!)

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2 Responses

  1. […] “It had more heart than I was expecting it to, and that combined with the fantastic cover by David Pe….” — Wit War SHARETHIS.addEntry({ title: “MR. STUFFINS #1: “wit and charm””, url: “http://blog.boom-studios.net/2009/04/mr-stuffins-1-wit-and-charm/” }); Posted in Reviews […]

  2. […] “It had more heart than I was expecting it to, and that combined with the fantastic cover by David Pe….” — Wit War SHARETHIS.addEntry({ title: “MR. STUFFINS #1: “wit and charm””, url: “http://blog.boom-studios.net/2009/04/mr-stuffins-1-wit-and-charm/” }); Posted in Reviews […]

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