the first few reviews for this week? Click
writer: Joe Kelly
artists: Doug Mahnke, Yvel Guichet,
Darryl Banks and Dietrich Smith
conclusions go, this one could not help but be anti-climactic.
Thanks to a dutiful marketing department, the surprise ending
for Aquamn got telegraphed in preview pages three weeks ago.
And of course, you knew the JLA couldn't really be
dead. They still have endorsement deals.
as it may, overall The Obsidian Age has proven itself
a really solid JLA adventure. Kelly mixed the big idea
elements so crucial to the book with the difficult task of
tying up a company-wide crossover in a way that wouldn't seem
Gamemnae, Kelly also paid homage to the rich background work
done by Peter David on Atlantis. With this issue, he continues
characterizing Aquaman in a way that makes the prospect of
his own book interesting again. King Orin is noble, heroic,
and definitely flawed, but then, so are his subjects.
of interesting points get dropped, but hopefully will get
explored in future issues. Maybe I didn't notice before, but
Gamemnae alludes to The Golem having even more in common with
Superman than vague appearance. And Plastic Man has extremely
little to do, which should provide friction.
there's no friction among the art team. Melding two teams
together works seamlessly. This may not be the absolute best
book on the stands, but it sure provides healthy competition,
being both fun and dynamic to read.
writer: Grant Morrison
artists: Keron Grant and Norm Rapmund
it's appreciated that Morrison has expanded the X-Universe
to show us its impact on the world, this issue takes some
time to really get into. (Consider it the curse of The
Invisibles.) A hip and heretofore unknown mutant gets
murdered on the streets of New York, specifically "Mutant
Town," a case with the faintest echo of Matthew Shephard.
at the Academy grieve, but except for The Midwich Cuckoos
and Martha the Brain, they're all strangers to us. That would
be fine, except it's these unknown characters with whom we're
supposed to identify.
Scott and Hank show up to investigate the murder, though Keron
Grant draws the investigation with a strange edge. The detective
assigned to the case seems too bright-eyed for things to be
on the up and up.
you get past the dazzle of the ideas (and Mutant Town is not
new; to give credit where credit is due, John Ostrander created
a similar location for DC over a decade ago in his run on
Hawkman), it's becoming uncomfortably clear that Morrison
is laying out the same old soap opera style, just with new
complications. How many issues must characters debate whether
or not The Beast is gay? Commit to something.
Parker: Spider-Man #50
writer: Paul Jenkins
artists: Mark Buckingham and Wayne Faucher
quieter, more sensitive Spider-Man book, Jenkins hasn't really
done much with the bombshells dropped by JMS. Finally, on
the eve of his leaving the title, Jenkins tackles them head
moment comes early, when May comes over after realizing that
Peter failed to save the true love of his life. (And sorry,
Mary Jane just doesn't deserve that title - it's Gwen.) Troubled
by what she still doesn't know, the formerly frail aunt demands
the whole truth. Slowly, and interspersed with his interfering
with Hammerhead's mob operations, Peter opens up.
the subplot of "protecting Aunt May" has been a wise move,
and it's good to see another writer run with it. As characterizes
the best of Jenkins' work, this issue shows sensitivity and
depth. With Buckingham and Faucher as masters of expression,
this quieter story may not quite resonate, but it does linger.
included The Mime as one of the master villains on the cover.
writer: Peter David
artists: Ed Benes and Alex Lei
every woman he draws looks like she's ready for a night on
the town, it's quite possible that Benes is the best artist
this book has had. Or he will be, if given enough time to
really develop. It helps that David seems to be writing to
the artist's strengths.
have no real explanation for the re-appearance of the girl
calling herself Kara Zor-El. My money would be on the character
from Superman vs. Aliens a few years back, but that's
pure conjecture. Instead of answers, David explores the differences
among the Superfamily's powers (Superboy guest-stars), and
throws in dinosaurs and robots, too. (Once upon a time, you'd
have known that from the cover.)
fun without being overly funny, yet more proof that David
is one of the best writers in the business, if also one of
the most strangely unsung.
Truth: Red, White & Black #1
writer: Robert Morales
artist: Kyle Baker
want to see the black Captain America, you won't find him
here. No, writer Robert Morales plans something a little more
complex than that, at least from all appearances. Although
he offers up three characters who may or not become prototype
super-soldiers, this book really isn't about that.
it is about is a slice of what life was like for African-Americans
just before World War II. A couple of stereotypes get busted
a bit, and more importantly, Morales sets the stage for why
these men just might make the choice to be guinea pigs. (Though
it remains to be seen if they actually have a choice.)
it veers into the cartoony, Kyle Baker's art is, as expected,
excellent. There's a consistency to his caricaturization,
so that somehow even in exaggeration, everybody looks real.
flaw to the artwork comes in some incorrect coloring, where
a dramatic scene gets a little undercut by having two characters
appear black at first. The Marvel Must-Have reprint edition
probably corrects this. If not, try the Dotcomic, which Marvel
on-line in its entirety.
well worth the read. My only fear is that this series will
work like Origin, raising more questions than it really
answers. But at least in this case, we went in not knowing
we wanted to ask.