Schachat prefers the Uruguayan Wax.
Jason Schachat's Weekly Breakdown
July 12, 2004
week, Jason Schachat takes you along for his ride on the
four-colored pulp pony. Feed the addiction, and the addiction
Free Comic Book Day come and gone, another holiday causing
everything to ship late… Still, not a bad week in
comics, if I do say so myself.
ago, Detective Comics was being handled by Ed Brubaker
with back-up story by Judd Winick -- a formidable team.
In this month’s issue (#796! So close to the big ocho…),
the whole thing is once again penned by Andersen Gabrych,
and it’s still a damn fine read. His handling of the
new female Robin (Tim Drake’s girlfriend Stephanie)
pushes all the right buttons with tomboyish flair substituting
for boyish bravado. But the story also gains a bit from
the “red-shirted Ensign” feeling looming around
Stephanie. The development of Bats’ tendency to always
lose maturing male protégés while retaining
female ones also makes you feel there’s some primal
logic at work, here; like the balance kept in a pride of
lions. Eerie, but pretty cool.
the eerie changes we’ve seen in Fantastic Four’s
creative team aren’t so cool. Co-written by Mark Waid
and Karl Kesel, the return of a new and improved Frightful
Four in issue #515 just seems like a watered-down take on
Waid’s usual adventures (all the more painful since
the last arc, “Spider Sense," was a hilarious
instant classic). Paco Medina’s art is passable, but
his character designs just don’t suit the book. Of
course, I’m a bit biased since I thought Mike Wieringo’s
style complemented Waid’s writing perfectly - but,
dammit, that doesn’t mean I’m not right!
#3 continues another “taking up the mantle”
story with the slow but enjoyable rise of the new nuclear
man. I’m liking the way Dan Jolley and Chris Cross
are handling this, but the plot is moving along so gradually
it can be a bit nerve-wracking at times. That said, fans
of books like Ultimate Spider-Man should feel right
at home watching the origin of the latest Firestorm unfold.
If nothing else, you have to love the way these guys redefine
#1 left me with far more questions than answers; like why
Marvel chose to make it. If the whole thing is just an excuse
to showcase (and tell me this doesn’t sound like an
anagram) Esad Ribic’s painting, more power to ‘em.
But there really isn’t much story going on here. Robert
Rodi’s a competent scribe, but this tale falls flat
and doesn’t really go anywhere. Thor fans and anyone
who loves painted comics should give it a look, but the
rest of us can pass.
New Invaders #0? Unless you want a load of boring,
witless Chuck Austen dialogue and not a lot of action (furthering
my new theory that Chuckles just doesn’t like taking
an action sequence more than two panels), pass and pass
to admit I’m still confused over the intent behind
the Marvel Age comics. If Marvel Age Spider-Man
#7 is supposed to be aimed at kids, why’s it such
a wordy adaptation (and are nerds in school these days really
getting beat up by clean-cut jocks in letterman jackets?)?
As a book for teens, it’s weak compared to Ultimate
Spider-Man. As a nostalgia trip for old-schoolers,
it’s a downright painful. What once was dubious science
fiction has become ridiculous in the attempt to modernize,
but it’s still not out there enough to have the bizarre
appeal of something like Dragonball Z.
years late, but still awesome as ever, Powers returns
with a new #1 and a new publisher: Marvel’s new creator-owned
Icon line. The story picks up where we left off more than
a year ago but immediately heads off in the bold new direction
Bendis promised. It makes for both a good jumping-on point
and continuation, refreshing loyalists’ memories while
allowing newbies to catch up. Most of the issue establishes
the new world of Powers for us, yet the end leaves
us with more than enough intrigue to come back next month.
I can definitely recommend it.
say the same for Starjammers #1. The plot is the
same “ship transporting precious cargo and emissaries;
swashbucklers attack” story we’ve seen copied
out of Ye Olde Booke O’ Tired Pirate Tales a thousand
times before. Kevin J. Anderson sets the stage with the
court intrigue and political wheedling he put in his Dune
prequels, and the humans vs. aliens conflict comes straight
out of the Star Wars Universe. In fact, there are a few
highly recognizable Star Wars ripoffs here. Still, the issue
manages to achieve a certain level of mediocrity, so I can’t
firmly say it’s something to avoid.
Supreme Power #11 is a must-buy, this week. Great
art, as always, but the story behind Power Princess and
Hyperion grows dramatically, Nighthawk comes back in a big
way, and (joy) a creepy new threat arises. The kind of electricity
felt in both Alan Moore’s Miracleman and
Watchmen runs through the entire issue. Straczynski,
however, has moved beyond the mere de-construction of superheroes;
this sh*t is exciting! Are they superheroes? Arguable. Are
they a super team? Good god, no! Is this a JLA ripoff? Friends,
JLA only wishes it were this good.
Thing #5 answers a lot of the questions it’s
brought up over the last five months, but the result is
a bit less than stellar, and the money-shot here comes off
a bit goofy. Enrique Breccia’s art is odd and disturbing,
which should work for a horror comic, but the strangeness
of his human characters makes Swampy seem mundane in comparison
(even with all his wacky elemental forms).
Andy Diggle was
right to take the franchise back to its horror roots, dragging
John Constantine back into the mix, at least for the time
being. Sometimes the feel of the book is a bit off, though.
Constantine is undeniably the most interesting character
in here, and it’s hard to imagine the series being
so entertaining without him. Maybe Vertigo could have him
do double duty like Marvel does with Wolverine.
of which, Uncanny X-Men #446 keeps on keeping on
this week with an old-school Claremont “intruder”
story, showing just what we were missing when Austen turned
the series into dull soap opera. Alan Davis’ pencilling
is icing on the cake, but some of the paneling might feel
a bit dated, even if the art is timeless. I’m also
having trouble with all these characters being in multiple
titles at the exact same (Wolverine in every X-book and
then some, Bishop in this and District X, etc.),
but, if Marvel can stay clear of any X-crossovers for a
good long time, it won’t be a hard adjustment to make.
there’s Witches. What the hell were they
thinking when they pitched this book? “It’s
like a mystic Charlie’s Angels with Dr. Strange as
Bosley!” More like expensive birdcage lining. What
does it say about a four part mini when the whole thing’s
spent forming a team of characters we JUST DON’T CARE
ABOUT while Doc Strange bumbles around and STILL seems like
a more appropriate star hero? Best guess is someone in the
real world signed a deal with the Devil, ‘cause issue
#3 takes us nowhere in a hurry.
duties are given to Will Conrad this time around (not necessarily
a good sign when you can’t keep the artist for a four-parter),
and he gives new meaning to the term “low-riding jeans."
Does the same for skirts and leather pants, too. And I know
the eye candy’s supposed to be something they’re
pushing here, but, for god’s sake man, when you can
tell every woman in this book has a Brazilian wax-job, you’re
going too far.
last arc of Y: The Last Man ended perfectly, and
you got the feeling we were in for some exciting new developments,
but issue #24 gives us a cold start and takes a while to
warm up. After the possibilities that came swarming into
my head a month ago, it’s a little disappointing to
not see Hero leap out of the bushes or something. Still,
it presents us with an interesting and important quandary,
hilarious dialogue, promises a swift two-issue arc, AND
gives us the return of penciller Pia Guerra. What’s
not to love?
Predictions for Next Week: Captain America #29,
District X #3, Fables #27, Love Fights #11, and She-Hulk