web page hit counter

Saturday, October 29, 2005

10/26/05 Reviews

Another round of reviews here for your reading pleasure. This time around we get our monthly fill of Bendis, the last and final book of Marvel's monster fest, and Mike Allred's Solo. Half of this week was really good. The other half? Not really good at all.

Daredevil # 78

As Bendis ends his mostly sensational(and unfortunately sometimes lackluster) run on a book that Mr. Warren Ellis himself has referred to as "such a scary gig", Bendis starts to bring the house down, with guest stars galore.

Ever since the revelation of Daredevil's secret identity by the tabloid press, which has been the real notch that Bendis has added to history of this book, its been a constant shuck-and-jive for our Man Without Fear. Using his radioactive induced powers of enhanced senses(sans the eyes, of course, because OMG! SPOILERZ! he was blinded by the very same accident which gave him his powers!), DD has managed to evade all manners of surveillance equipment, be they tele-photo lens, night vision googles, hidden cameras, satellite looking guns that hear things from afar, or white vans that pose as delivery trucks for Flower By Irene. Imagine the frustration that must come from being a detective on this case. "Dude! Matt Murdock went INTO that building and NOW Daredevil's on the roof?! Fuck! How can we not prove he's the goddamn Daredevil, huh?!? I mean- I mean, what are we using here to capture this guy?! X-RAY-FUCKING-SPEX!?!?" Frustrating to say the least. But not this time around. Oh no. We have the Kingpin himself, Wilson Fisk, ready to spill the beans. Apparently he missed being fucked with by New York's elite of super heroes and decided to bargain for his freedom so that he can resume the stranglehold he had on the criminal underworld. So what's he doing? Exchanging a dossier of info on Daredevil, aptly called the "Murdock Papers", for his freedom.

Not a bad premise, really.

Along for the ride is Ben Ulrich, doing his whole looking-down-at-you-from-behind-my-glasses-in-somewhat-disbelief schtick, as the Kingpin conducts this little bit of business. I think Mr. Fisk feels bad about that one time with that one ninja assassin and the whole sai in his chest incident so he feels that he needs to throw Mr. Ulrich a bone. Considering Mr. Ulrich's stance on giving up DD's identity [see Daredevil Vol. 2 # 34 for yourselves, Devoted Readers! - Stupendously Studly Spencer], I think he's just there because it was a Wednesday, and Matlock was that one episode that he hates hates hates, so why not hang out and see what this old fat dude is up to. Speaking of old fat dudes, let us take a walk done memory lane...

That's some swank right there. Granted, he never changed his suit much, but that was because he didn't have to. White jacket, purple pants, orange vest, white scarf, cuban cigar, and a cane that's probably got some kind of sword action hidden inside of it.

Now look at him now:

Somebody give that man an Armani suit and a hired super-villian assassin, stat!

Ok, enough of all that. Back to the comic. This was a really good issue. Its got Luke Cage and the Iron Fist safely escorting Foggy Nelson from a media circus with Mr. Cage swearing up a storm as they do it. Elektra shows up at Matt Murdock's window, launching a ridiculously unprovoked attack on her from Matt himself. Black Widow gets all sassy and tells that same harlot that showed at Matt's window that she's all lame and could probably be better with a new haircut. White Tiger shows up and asks if its ok if she can come along for the ride and throw her ex-F.B.I.-turned-super-hero into the pulp-vigilante slash resurrected-hand-ninja-assassin slash russian-super-spy mush pot. The Owl gets all "nuh uh" about Kingpin's plans from the big house. And at the end, even Bull's Eye himself shows up to get all white boy day on everyone! Who saw that coming?

Ok, he's on the cover, but I thought it was Brian K. Vaughan. I'm a little slow.

All I know, is that when I finished this issue with its cliff hanger ending that promise major ass kicking action next issue, I heard some "wah-ah-ah-ah!" ala Disturbed's style in my head.

That's what Bendis wants to think, right? That this is a movie, right? Right?

Marvel Monsters: Monsters On The Prowl # 1

The fourth and final week of Marvel's little Halloween romp, and what do we have? Steve Niles. Zzzzzzzzz. Sorry, but Steve Niles is not very good in my book. Same goes for this book, too. Instead of being a funny book with some monsters, its a monster book with a little bit of funny, but not enough. The Hulk talks dumb(but not funny dumb), Giant Man wrestles some huge monster, Beast accidentally realizes that he can contact Mr. Fantastic through the Fantasti-Flying Thingamawhatever to help them figure out a way to defeat the monsters, with Thing organizing the whole thing. Duncan Fedredo does a good job with the pencils, giving it a nice late 60s, early 70s vibe. His Hulk is especially nice. Everything else? Lame. I wanted this to be really funny, but it wasn't. What can you do? Ask for your money back?

New Avengers # 12

Once again, we are thrown into the world of a Bendis ruled 616. In theory, this should work for me, as Bendis has produced some of my favorite work in the field of sequential art as of the past few years, but it doesn't. Big time super heroes like the Avengers isn't really Bendis's strong suit. Instead of delivering an action packed book of bang up goodness, its a little awkward. Normally events start to happen that get thrown to the side to make way for his love of dialogue that really feels forced. Not this time. What we have is Captain America trying defend his sense of sarcasm while everyone is knee deep in Hand ninjas which just doesn't fit. He would be the first one to say something like "Everyone shut the hell up and hit something, please." He is the Super Soldier, not the Super Guy Who Wants To Be Cool By Making Jokes In The Middle Of A Fight Like Spiderman And Luke Cage. Instead of focusing on the awesome fight, he focuses on the "witty" dialogue during the fight. Not to say that isn't important, but it just seems out of place.

And this whole Ronin business? Bullshit. Instead of creating some suspense in the story about this character and how they are someone mysterious and radical and we should all speculate on who they are, we're TOLD to believe that this someone mysterous is awesome and we should speculate on who they are. Showing a character on the cover for 10 issues for no reason other than........yeah, I can't think of a reason other than to FORCE some kind of excitement and intrigue on us. In Bendis's defense, he has said that the covers aren't really up to him. That's good ol' Marvel for you that's forcing mysterious characters down our throat.

Its all a shame, because I really want to like this. Hydra/Hand/S.H.I.E.L.D. espionage drama? Not bad stuff. An ecclective cast of super heroes that you wouldn't think would work together doing just that? More not bad stuff. However, its not working because we have the writer that is notorious for his bad plot points on a book that should be mostly plot points. And the guy who is known for his realistic takes on dialogue gives us the lamest panel of the weak:

Yeah, its a bit weird, isn't it. And of course I being nit picky, but its comics and that's what they are there for. For me to gaze upon and nit picky over because, well....I'm a comic book nerd. Sorry, but that's how it is.

Solo # 7

Dear Mr. Allred,

You are ok in my book. I'm sorry that I never picked up Madman in its hey day. I was coming off of an Image overdose that made me pretty much give up on comics altogether. Such crazed fan boy devotion had me in its grips, and instead of maybe finding some other comics to read, I continued to read the same old tired crap done really, really bad. Its when they popped that whole x-traitor thing on us, we just HAD to stick around. I mean, who could have it been? If I knew what it would have eventually turned into, I probably would have been ok with not keeping score. And Image? Man....how could I not see what the deal was? I was in the 6th grade. All those guys rocked my world(except Valentino. He's always sucked.) And when the buzz all died down, I found myself gravitating towards Mr. Lee's Wildstorm world more than anything. I'm just a sucker for that kind of stuff, I guess. And to think it was Alan Moore's super hero gang war that sent me running from that. Isn't that a bit ironic? Yes, I was dumb, Mr. Allred. I didn't realize what this whole comic book business was about. I didn't think that the things I loved would turn their backs on me and that the one thing that would keep me stringing along was Hiroaki Samura's Blade Of The Immortal. I mean, that's Manga! That's the enemy, right? And speaking of the enemy, I'm not mad that you hang on to your silly notions of childhood nostalgia. Its ok. I do, too, I just was a child of a different time. And its ok that you're Mormon. I was once, too. Thank god for Heavy Metal. That shit saved me. But yes, its great that you're pursuing your love for the Holy Trinity by illustrating The Book Of Mormon. Maybe people can read that and hopefully stop asking me questions about special underwear and alien planets. Thank you for that. And thank you for being such an amazing illustrator. Or is it called penciller. I'm not sure, but either way, you draw some good pictures. And all this nostalgia silliness, the other Allreds do a damn fine job of not making it such a wank off spectacle. Its a little masturbatory, but not an out and out "Here's what I would have done if I wrote Silver Age comics." I never once felt like a douchebag while reading your comic because I didn't pick up something ludicrous like the Metamorpho trade. Having very little knowledge of the things you had in your issue of Solo definitely did not hamper my enjoyment of it at all. Keep up with the good work. You are definitely a person whose work I will check out more in the future. Thank you and take care.

Spencer Carnage

PS: Any chance of you doing a guest stint on New Avengers? I think it would the bestest.


Chris said...

Sweet blog! Dig the reviews, man. Keep up the good work. I'll add a link to 2 Guys Buying Comics' sidebar, if ya don't mind.

thekelvingreen said...

Damn right on Not Avengers, and it's good to see it being said. But how many voices will Marvel need to hear before they boot Bendis, or at least get him a co-plotter?

As for the Kingpin, I've got two sets of Marvel top Trumps game cards, one from 1986, and one from around 2001. The Kingpin card in both sets features that same OHOTMU image of the debonair Fisk, except in the more recent one (due to Queseda's smoking ban at Marvel, no doubt), he has no cigar, so it just looks like he's giving some kind of weird half-hearted two-fingered salute.

Spencer Carnage said...

He's flashing a "K" in gang signs maybe...?

thekelvingreen said...

That must be it. Kingpin's being all "street" in the new one. "Just call me the K-pin. Word." :)