After the colossal suck that was last week's batch of comics, I approached this week's batch somewhat trepidatiously.
And guess what?
This week's batch sucks, too.
This piece a crap here is leading the way.
This is not that. This is a comic that is failed utterly by bad art. A few weeks ago, I was complaining about how Alex Maleev -- allegedly a talented professional artist -- had botched the design and depiction of the slow mutants. In that case, I could theoretically have just been responding to Maleev not drawing the characters the way I see them in my head (thanks to my previous familiarity with the story). If someone accused me of that, I'd shrug and admit that they could possibly be right.
Not so this time out. Here, I am prepared to say that what Maleev is doing in this issue is simply not good art. Is it good compared to what I could do? Good lord, yes. Is it good compared to what one ought to expect from a Marvel comic? It is not. Not in my opinion.
Now, my inclination is to cut the entire comic apart panel by panel and explain to you in excruciating detail why I think this issue is a load of poo-doo. Life's too short for that. Instead, a few examples:
|Is that a mouth, or does Jake have a massive black handlebar mustache?!?|
|Is Roland a squirrel? It looks like he's hiding nuts in his cheeks so that he can bury them for the winter!|
|Is that a shadow over Roland's eyes, or is he wearing Bono-style sunglasses?|
|Jake looks like he has an IQ of approximately 36.|
|Here, not only does Jake look like Haley Joel Osment circa The Sixth Sense, but he appears to be bending an invisible steel bar. In reality, he's about to fall off the bridge, but it looks more like he's holding an invisible Easter basket.|
I could go on. Why bother?
Before Watchmen wasn't too bad this week. It was certainly a step up over the lousy Comedian issue we got last week. I enjoyed the flirtatious relationship J. Michael Straczynski wrote between Nite Owl and whassername on the cover there. Andy Kubert's art anoys me in places, but there are just as many places where I think it's really good.
Overall, there's nothing particularly bad in this issue (except, maybe, for the big reveal -- which is Rorschach-centric and has nothing to do with Nite Owl! -- that comes toward the end), but there's also nothing particularly inspiring.
Only one issue remains in the Nite Owl miniseries, and to be honest, I just don't care about it at all. And apart from The Minutemen and Silk Spectre (both of which I would be happy to keep right on reading past the ends of their respective runs), I just don't care about Before Watchmen very much. It's good enough that my moral outrage over it has abated, but not good enough to (with those stated exceptions) actually interest me in what's going on.
I'll be glad when it's done, frankly.
Speaking of which...
Spider-Men, the big crossover between original-universe Peter Parker and Ultimate Universe replacement Spidey Miles Morales, comes to an end with a lame issue in which there is a lot of standing around talking near a purple rift between universes. Mysterio is there, too.
At some point, I'm going to need somebody to explain to me why, exactly, this miniseries sucked as bad as it did. Issue #4 was great; otherwise, it was a near-complete dud. I still have no clue where this is supposed to fall in Miles' chronology, either.
The only good thing that happens here is also a bad thing, because it teases a direction for a possible sequel. I like that notion, but frankly, I'm not going to be happy if I have to buy a sequel to this and it ends up sucking as bad as this one sucked.
You may have noted I said "have to buy" there. About that...
Fact is, as long as Brian Michael Bendis is writing the tales of Miles Morales, you can count me in. Every single issue of the main Miles comic has been good, and some -- including this one -- have been great. Yeah, sure, I thought Spider-Men sucked; so what? I'm going to choose to chalk it up to Bendis being forced by Marvel to do something he didn't want to do. (There's no evidence of that being the case; it just makes me feel better.)
In this issue, we get a lot of Miles out of the suit, which is fine by me; a lot of the issue involves him being questioned by Maria Hill, who suspects he might know something about his Uncle Aaron's exploits as The Prowler. Not, apparently, in the "she thinks he's the new Spider-Man" sense, but in the regular old "this kid was close to his uncle and may have overheard something" sense. It's a logical subplot, and the fruit it bears -- Miles finding out that he was not responsible for his uncle's death (it was shoddy tech's fault) -- is an excellent bit of character development.
Still, I suspect we haven't seen the last of this subplot.
Elsewhere, Miles decides -- at Ganke's suggestion -- to go and join the Ultimates. This doesn't go as well as they might hope.
Good stuff. Well done, Bryant 2011, for deciding to start buying this to see what a legacy take on Spidey could be like! I, Bryant 2012, applaud your foresight!
I liked the first issue of this a lot.
I liked the second issue a lot less. It's not bad, but I was hoping for scads more of Spike on a spaceship; if the whole thing had somehow turned to a Spike version of Farscape, I'd've been okay with that.
Sadly, it quickly becomes Earthbound again. But that's not to say it's bad; it just doesn't go where I was hoping for. The dialogue continues to be good, as does the art, which includes way more giant-demon-frog tongue-severings than any comic I've ever read before. Granted, that only adds up to 1, but still...
I now have no clue where the remainder of the miniseries is going, but that's fine; I'm along for the ride any way, and it's been enjoyable so far.
Finally, a brief bit of comic-scented news to pass along:
Yesterday, Alan Moore made a rare convention appearance in his native Northampton, The entire panel's audio can be heard here, and there's also a few videos on that page. Or if you like, there's a write-up of the thing to be had here.
Most pertinent to our immediate interests was the announcement that Moore has written a follow-up to Neonomicon, which is called Providence. It sounds like it won't be a sequel, but will instead be a take on Lovecraft himself. Frankly, I don't give a shit what it's about. Alan Moore = Bryant buys with enthusiasm, and Alan Moore + H.P. Lovecraft = Bryant buys with even more than the normal amount of enthusiasm.
No word yet on when Providence will come out, but you can rely on reading about it here.