Sunday, June 11, 2006

New Comic Reviews:
Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man,
Ion, Wonder Woman


Musical artists continues over at X-Factor, with Denis Calero yielding to Ariel Olivetti for issue 7. Calero will be back, but someone at the top over at Marvel needs to decide on a permanent artist, like now. For the first time, the lack of a steady hand has really, really hurt the book.
The problem with this issue is that Olivetti doesn't appear to have any clear style to speak of. At different times he appears to be attempting to channel Rags Morales, Terry Dodson, Frank Cho, former X-Factor artist Ryan Sook, or a hundred other current pencillers par-excellence. But he fails. Let me tell you something about our man Peter David:he needs to work with talented artists because he is wordy as fuck, and in the hands of amateurs his pages can be stilted and boring. That, unfortunately, is what we've got going on here.
There is a nice story here, as Syrin deals (or doesn't deal) with her father's death. There is the all-important continuation of the Singularity storyline.
But the composition of the issue is so dreadfully boring that the words have no time to sink in. Needless to say, Olivetti does not have my vote as full-time penciller. I have a newfound appreciation for Calero. He may have been imprecise, and at times ugly, but he was never this boring, a far greater sin.

Next time in X-Factor, Civil War comes to Mutant Town, and the great Ryan Sook returns for one issue.
Say, Jamie, do you think maybe Ryan can put aside whatever personal issues he's got going on, come onto the title again and make this the classic X-book it always should have been?Yeah, that's what I thought.



I know that saying a Peter David comic is self-indulgent is like saying John Wayne Gacy had a thing for clowns: a massive understatement.
But no other words come to mind to describe the messy, pointless ninth issue of Friendly Neighborhood, a title that started out strong, but is treading water right now. All the expository hoop-a-joop in the world isn't gonna make this storyline any more plausible or any more interesting. The revelation that The 'Hobgoblin of 2211' is the daughter of that timeline's Spidey is a great big who cares, and the costume they give to that Spidey is so ridiculous as to be distracting to what is, ostensibly, a dramatic story.
There's some lovely art here; Mike Weiringo brings his A-Game as usual, but this issue is dead from page one, and our own Spidey doesn't make his first appearance until the very end of the book, and then mainly used as a kind of un-funny comic relief. One of the things I like best about David, his corniness, derails here.
Fonzie is circling the shark, baby, and he looks ready to jump.


ION #1

This book is over a month old now, but I had made a note to check it out when I had spare time (and money), and when I did I was pleasantly surprised.
Kyle Rayner is my favorite of the many Green Lanterns. Yes, Hal is the classic, John Stewart is the moral center, and Killowog would look great on a Burger King glass; but Kyle stands out for me. I especially enjoyed Geoff John's treatment of him in Green Lantern:Rebirth. I like the concept of Kyle being the strongest Lantern because he is the only one to know fear. He's the Frodo of the DCU.

In the fall out of the Rann-Thanagar War, Kyle is now Ion, but we (and Kyle) are not exactly sure what that means yet. What we do see is that Kyle's self-doubt makes him eternally, violently unstable. And with great power comes, well, the ability to wipe out entire galaxies. Ion, it seems, is the DCU's Dark Phoenix.
What is causing this instability? And why doesn't Kyle remember any of it? Writer Ron Marz isn't tipping his hand yet. What I really loved about this issue, though, was the impressionistic, sketch-like art work of Greg Tocchini. His work in this issue reminded me of those 70's life-drawing instruction books, and I mean that as high praise. All the more appropriate because Kyle is an artist, the style of the book mirrors the unpredictability of its central character.This book was far better than I'd hoped it would be.

ION #1: B+


When 52 was first announced and the news came out that DC's Holy Trinity, Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman were going to be leaving the scene for a full year, it was speculated that their respective partners or former partners: Conner Kent, either Dick Grayson or Tim Drake, and Donna Troy were going to step in and fill their shoes.
I thought this was a great idea, it seemed like the perfect way to breathe a little more life into both sets of characters, young and old.
Conner's death in Infinite Crisis slammed the door on that fascinating concept, but look:Donna Troy does get to play at being Wonder Woman for awhile. And, thanks to Terry and Rachel Dodson, she looks perfectly adorable while she does it. Yes, the Dodsons are known for their gorgeous women, but they (unlike, say, Frank Cho) understand how to make a comic page feel vibrant, not just scandalous.
I don't know a damn thing, really, about Wonder Woman's history. In fact, this is the very first Wonder Woman comic that I have ever picked up and read, cover to back, in my life.
But this is good: a fine re-launch and an inviting introduction to her world.
I was skeptical about Allan Heinberg's ability to write an engaging comic, since I'd not read Young Avengers and I absolutely loathe Sex in the City, but he has a great deal of fun with a sixty-year old concept that never really got off the ground (invisible plane, my ass).
Moreover, the art and the writing are so complementary that it feels like this creative team has been together for years, not that this is their first issue. Heinberg has found a way to make Wonder Woman interesting without breaking anybody's neck, and that's no small feat.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Some people love it, a lot of people hate it, but you gotta give Dennis Callero one thing: he's committed to doing something different which is more than you can say for 99% of the artists out there who break in to the biz just aping someone else. I mean, no one is a total original but who, if anyone, is Callero copying? And I mean that in a good way. Besides, I think the color sucks. Callero has black and whites on his website and they look 100% better.