Oct 18, 2005

more comic reviews

Absolute Batman: Hush
Writer - Jeph Loeb
Publisher - DC Comics
I splurged on this one. Absolute here refers to the packaging DC Comics uses. Absolute editions are hardcover compilations with extra attention paid to the graphic reproduction as well as 'extras' like interviews, pencil sketches, etc. A better name for this comic would be Lush. The graphics are gorgeous. Jim Lee is the sketch artist in this case and is well known for his work with Frank Miller. My only issue with Mr. Lee is that his superheros sometimes become too muscular. Batman's pinkie in most cases shows more muscle development than most body builders. It's really a little over the top at times. Nevertheless the scenery and the sense of motion all add to the story of Mr. Loeb. It's a fairly standard superhero story - villain tries to bring down Batman. But there is a little more to the setup than most and you get the added bonus of Catwoman and Batman becoming a little less repressed about their feelings for each other (much to the chagrin of Battie fans). If you want to drop some bones on one comic to try out the genre I would pick this one. Not for the storyline but rather how the graphics and the storyline can work together well. Amazon has it at a decent price. And if you hate it you can give it to your kids.

Infinite Crisis

Publisher - DC Comics
I mentioned Infinite Crisis a while back based on the awful Prelude to Infinite Crisis. One might ask what on earth I'm doing here reviewing it. Well I'm not exactly. Rather I am pitching it because of it's redemption by way of a few other "pre-comics" that came out. The word "crisis" is the term DC Comics uses to describe some universe-wide, character-wide apocalypse. The first crisis was done to trim some characters and establish some sense of continuity to the DC stories. There is a wonderful explanation of what happened during the first crisis - Crisis on Infinite Earths - right here. That writer by the way has some awesome Comics 101 articles (full list here). I suspect Infinite Crisis has also been set up to allow DC to again rejigger the universe to allow them to refocus their set of characters, storylines, etc.

The reason I'm pitching it is that the first one went on sale this week. There has been a bit of a lead up including a number of well written pre-crisis stories. Much of it begins with Identity Crisis which just went on sale in compilation form. This was written in 2004. This is an excellent book. There were also two Infinite Crisis lead-ins - the aforementioned awful Prelude to Infinite Crisis and the extremely good Countdown to Infinite Crisis. Prelude is basically a culling of comic book segments from individual comics. There's really no cohesion to the whole thing. Countdown on the other hand is brilliant. The lead character - Blue Beetle - is a second rate superhero. Because of this he is fascinating. His investigations into something odd help set up much of the crisis. And then just ending recently were 4 mini-series that will be coming out in compilation format in January - Rann-Thanagar War, Villains United, The OMAC Project, and Day of Vengeance. Most of these did not get good reviews. I have not read them yet because I've purchased a few other tie-ins and need to read those first.

Astonishing X-men Vol 1
Writer - Joss Whedon
Publisher - Marvel
Finally I tried out an X-men comic. My sense was that this was always the most popular comic series next to Batman. And since Mr. Whedon was writing it, I found the temptation a little irresistible. It's quite good. It's standard Whedon. Some serious storyline peppered with humorous banter between the lead characters. He also uses his standard vehicle of characters that you don't quite like and don't quite hate. They vacillate like real people do. Volume 2 is out I think and I'll be picking that one up for sure.

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