Friday, January 28, 2011

One-paragraph reviews: Detective, Secret Avengers, Teen Titans, Traveler

Detective Comics #873
Detective Comics #873
Written by Scott Snyder; art by Jock; DC

Another really strong issue by Snyder and Jock, which brings the first story arc to a satisfying conclusion, in spite of the reduced page count due to DC's "holding the line" initiative. Jock's art is just gorgeous. I've said it before and I'll say it again: this is the best Batman book currently on the stands. AMAZING

Secret Avengers #9 (Marvel)
Written by Ed Brubaker; art by Mike Deodato and Will Conrad; Marvel

Mike Deodato's art continues to be the best thing about this series. This is a very action-packed issue with a couple of really nicely drawn fight scenes. But I still feel like this book is lacking in characterization in a way that makes it difficult for me to get into it as a relatively new reader. People who have been reading Brubaker's long run on Captain America and who are very familiar with the other characters probably don't have this problem, but I have a hard time connecting with the characters or figuring out what their motivations are. I'm still enjoying it, though. GOOD

Teen Titans #91
Written by J.T. Krul; art by Nicola Scott, Doug Hazlewood and Scott Koblish; DC

I loved that first page, mostly because of the cool vintage clothes the boys are wearing. It makes me wish Nicola Scott could draw a coming-of-age comic book set in the 1960s about a creepy homicidal kid. I think I'd want to read that more than I want to read this Teen Titans comic. But let's make do with what we have. This is the sort-of conclusion of the first arc of Krul's run, although a lot of things are left unresolved and will obviously be revisited. It's still enjoyable and I remain onboard, even if I still think Krul's Damian Wayne is a bit out of character. Looking at the solicitations for April, it seems like Damian's going to be out of the book in a few issues anyway. OKAY (but with very GOOD art)

The Traveler #3
Written by Mark Waid; art by Chad Hardin; Boom

This is turning out to be the most frustrating and impenetrable of the three new Stan Lee-created comics Boom Studios is putting out. Three issues in and I still have no idea what the hell is going on. Mark Waid keeps dropping hints that all these random scenes and characters are neatly tied together, but it still seems like an incredibly convoluted way to tell a story. Furthermore, I don't know if this is because the art was inadequate or what, but in every fight scene the main character is constantly explaining out loud what is happening. "Watch this! I'm pressing temporal rewind on every bit of matter Mortar has generated since he attacked. All the junk he's tried to smoosh us with – and I had to wait for him to make enough – it's all rushing back to him in speed-time, i.e., in the temporal rapids, hard and fast enough to knock him unconscious, thus sending him merrily on his way!" For God's sake, haven't you ever heard of "show, don't tell"? I know that's an often abused and sometimes kind of meaningless dictum, but if there ever was a case it applied to, this is it. If the character's powers are so abstract and difficult to draw in a way that the reader can understand them visually, then he's probably just not a very good character. Or you just need a better artist. I think I'm dropping this book. DROPPED

(new rating scale)


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