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Comic Reviews For 22 June

These reviews are a bit out of date, but you will have to deal with it. You are emotionally strong; I’m sure you can cope. It was quite a rush, reading all my comics in one go after so long without new comics. I felt quite the junkie, getting my fix and overdosing. I read four of them on the tube home, my eyes fizzing from graphic goodness. Here is the first batch, by week of publication (and publisher):

All Star Superman #4
Wonderfully, delightfully silly, in a good way. Jimmy Olsen as a celebrity, warcops, underverse, gypsy curse, tungsten gas lifeforms, becoming Doomsday to take down a mad, bad Superman, and a cosmetic alteration to the moon. Superhero comics should all have this joie de vivre. Simply marvelous.

Ex Machina #21
Ex Machina stories follows a pattern, of a flashback involving The Great Machine, followed by a mayoral problem of the nearer past. This isn’t a problem, as it is done well, and we learn a lot about running a city, the politics of it, with factoids presented in a non-expository manner. This time, we get nuggets about the legal system and its involvement on the drugs/race issue. Next up is the plot and subplot – a mad fireman, and a suspicious character infiltrating the Mitchell team. Finish off with a striking visual, and you have another good issue of this very enjoyable book.

Casanova #1
Fraction seems to miss the point behind the Fell format – tell a dense story in sixteen pages. Here, we get 28 pages of an essentially regular-sized comic. It is an interesting comic, a sort of ‘son of Nick Fury’ kind of thing, set in a great world (consisting of spies, alternate worlds, robots and shooting things with guns). But it isn’t the Fell format, which was supposed to be the point. Ba’s art is very funky, coming across as a looser Risso, but his art requires space, room to breathe (witness the lovely designs of the front and back covers), which would be constricted by the gridded system required to tell a good story in sixteen pages. There are some good touches to the book, demonstrating that I should have faith in the writer (such as the nice use of empty speech balloons to indicated Casanova’s state at the funeral, and the great name that is Newton Xeno), Casanova Quinn is a character I’d like to know more about, so I want to read the next issues, but I worry if Fraction can pull off the discipline required to stick to sixteen pages.

New Avengers #20
In which the Collective goes to Genosha to meet the depowered Magneto and give him his power back and try to sort out the Xorn mess that Marvel has got itself into since it decided to ignore Grant Morrison’s brilliant story about Magneto pretending to be somebody else to infiltrate the X-Men. This book looks and feels so very old-fashioned – it’s a little sad. The cluttered, over-full panels with the messy, scratchy art – it looks like a book from the late 1970s or something. These Avengers are mostly witnesses to events, making this story seem completely pointless, as well as rather woeful. I hope this is a blip from Bendis, because he can do better.

Ultimates 2 #11
The lovely, lovely art always make this worth the wait, especially in the case of this issue when we are in a holding pattern to the big fight. Therefore, it is not a completely satisfying read in of itself, even if there are some nice moments to keep us entertained (‘Relax. Room’s secure.’) and the return of the Hulk (even if it uses up a double-page spread and splash page to do it). A light read, made palatable by gorgeous art, while we wait for the big explodo next issue.

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