The Weekly Haul: Comics Reviews for July 30
A pretty slow week in comics, as everyone’s still gasping for breath post Comic-Con (including me, even though I stayed at home this year). Not even a dozen books worth reading this week, and I somehow missed the JSA annual. Still, some interesting stuff, with a strong DC showing.
Book of the Week: Blue Beetle #29 — This was a really strong debut issue from Matthew Sturges, which makes it all the more unfortunate that the finished cover (not the same as the image at right) lists the writer as "Rogers," meaning the departed writer, I imagine.
There’s also a bizarre bit of text added that says: "No trespassing: Violators will be Prosecuted." Except the last word is crossed out and "Persecuted" is written over it. Meaningless fluff that distracts from an attractive bit of art.
Like I said, though, the issue is good stuff aside from a few minor awkwardnesses as Sturges warms up to the series. Jaime keeps on adventuring, though he’s falling into a big mess involving Intergang and smugglers.
Sturges uses that to create a nice dynamic, as Jaime is forced to take a side in the immigration debate. This is a really good jumping-on point, if you’ve been thinking of giving the series a try.
Green Lantern #33 — Geoff Johns keeps working his magic, digging through the unexplored patches of DC lore for this tale of Hal and Sinestro’s first teamup. It’s a very Obi and Anakin scenario, except if Obi was the one who turned evil.
Johns uses subtlety in examining the reasons Sinestro went mad with power, and the prophecy of the Blackest Night finally is starting to be revealed.
Thor #10 — Not a lot to say here, just another issue that somehow makes believable the idea of Valhalla appearing over the U.S. Reality and myth mingle, and the seduction of Balder deepens. Great stuff.
Madame Xanadu #2 — This is turning into a fantastical retellilng of the origins of some B-list DC characters, and the creative team is having a lot of fun with the concept. No real central plot has developed, though, and it’d be nice to know where the ride is headed even in a general sense.
Northlanders #8 — Brian Wood wraps up his Vertigo vikings series (the first volume, at least), with an unexpected move for such a violent book. To say more is to spoil things, but it’s a typically atypical and predictably smart conclusion from Wood, who earns his keep on defying expectations. Looking back on the series as a whole, I found myself thinking of it as "pretty," which is an odd thing to say about a story filled with ugliness.
Locke & Key #6 — Joe Hill’s IDW miniseries concludes, though another series apparently featuring the same characters is on the way. Much like Hill’s novel Heart-Shaped Box, this story starts out with a head of steam but doesn’t effectively let it out.
Reign in Hell #1 — There’s a certain kind of reader who’s going to lap this stuff up, as it’s very well done for what it is. But I’ve never been able to surmount the ridiculousness of Hell literally existing in comics (just look at Satan’s stupid involvement with Spider-Man last year). So this one gets a pass from me.
Wolverine #67 — The second part of Mark Millar’s future Wolverine story, and the adventure continues with all sorts of cutesy in-jokes. Millar shoots for tongue-in-cheek, but it’s more foot-in-mouth as the story devolves into the narrative equivalent of a pun.
Van Jensen is a former crime reporter turned comic book journalist. Every Wednesday, he braves Atlanta traffic to visit Oxford Comics, where he reads a whole mess of books for his weekly reviews. Van’s blog can be found at graphicfiction.wordpress.com.
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