Have a drink. It might help that mortis attitude of yours.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

My pick for last week: 10/15

Before I name my comic for the week I want to give props to Richard Donner and Geoff Johns. I must admit I am not a huge fan of this trend of bringing in TV and film personalities into comic writiag. Just because you can direct a wicked X-Men action sequence doesn't make you a good choice to pen a comic arc or two. Being good at won art form doesn't equal a skill in another one. That's like saying because you can paint a picture you can sculpt. At least I think it's kind of like that. So when I heard that Donner was slipping on hiw writing shoes I was genuinely concerned. I've been digging Action and who knows what would come by bringing a non-wrtier in. I shouldn't have fretted though. It was fantastic and allowed Johns and Donner to explore a side of Kal-El we don't see often— his angry side. It was good stuff and looks like it's going to be one hell of a story arc.

However, it didn't quite reach number one. There was something just a little better. I'm talking Trials of Shazam. I, for one, have really been enjoying this world of magic gone askew. There have been great stories coming out the turbulence from Day of Vengeance— Shadowpact and Crisis Aftermath: The Spectre for example—but nothing has been enjoyable as the exploration of a universe without the protector of magic. That's right, Billy Batson has been relegated to Rock of Ages, and that means the world needs a new Captain Marvel. And it's Freddy Freeman. Formerly Captain Marvel Jr., Freddy is out for the whole shebang and he is having to earn it one lighting strike at a time.

The strength behind the writing is in the message. I'm sure by now you can tell that I prefer a story that is driven by a character's motivation and not simply a "Holy crap we need to save the world" story— though those are fun. I like stories that delve into why the characters do what they do and Trials is doing just that. It's great to watch as Freddy proves to the audience and himself why he wants to be a hero. More than that, he proves why he deserves it. The Council of Merlin is spooky; Freddy's mentor is an enjoyable supporting character and a god in the form of a hot tattoo artist… it just doesn't get much better than that.

Then you take a look at Howard Porter's art. I say art because he pulling triple duty on the comic: pencils, inks and colors. The whole visual image is just him. The result is astounding and feels different than anything else that is being done. It is just gorgeous with a watercolor or oil pastel look to it. By being so different it enhances the feeling of world of magic, there is just something fantastical to it.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Villains Unlim…*Ahem* Thunderbolts

I’ve been thinking about the new Thunderbolts since the announcement on Newsarama. After much pondering, I have decided that I am very unexcited about this change in both characters and creative team. It’s not because I hate Marvel, but because I don’t.

I have never been much of a Thunderbolts reader in any of its incarnations. I have flipped through an odd issue here and there, but overall it’s not something that I went out of my way to find. However, in the first month of Civil War (whenever that was) I made a point to pick up all the tie-ins. Of these, Thunderbolts was one of the issues I enjoyed the most. There was something about Todd Grummet’s pencils, coupled Fabian Nicieza writing that gave the comic a good, villains attempting redemption feel. I am also a huge fan of taking characters that have not been fully explored before and giving them a chance to shine. It’s cool to see Zemo, Songbird and Mach-IV get their moment—it had a kind of a Suicide Squad feel to it.

However, with Civil War #4 we see the end of these characters and a whole new roster.
Let’s look at this list.

There are some holdovers: Songbird, Radioactive Man and Swordsman. Then we have Green Goblin. Ugh. Venom. Double ugh. Bullseye. Triple ugh. A-list villains who possess no real mystery and, more importantly, A-list villains who would never be on the same team. Marvel really is going to have a lot of convincing to do if I’m going to believe that the line up is put together for any reason other than marketability. My real problem though is the motivation. Redemption is a great way to move a story. A bunch of psychos getting their jollies by hunting non-registered superheroes is not that interesting. It sounds like an excuse for Ellis to write really screwed up story lines.

I can’t say Marvel is going to lose a lot of money because I’ve never really collected Thurnderbolts but they have lost a little more of my respect.