Comics I Bought 26 November 2009

After yesterday’s waffling on about a single comic book, today sees a return to more normal service, with five comics books (although I also bought Incredible Hercules #138 as well, but have yet to read all the preceding issues). On with the show.

Criminal: The Sinners #2
What can be said about Criminal that isn’t just repeating how incredibly good it is? Brubaker doesn’t waste a line of narration or dialogue, cutting his story to razor sharpness; Phillips consistently produces great art, providing the darkness for the story but also emphasising the characters, such as the single panel of Tracy Lawless giving a young man a look that is enough to scare him away (and it does look frightening). This issue sees Lawless get some advice on solving cases from a cop (who decides not to tell him a very important piece of information), dispense quick and brutal action, look after his boss’ daughter, and dispense a life lesson to a hooker. This is a damn good book.

Detective Comics #859
Another book where I’m repeating myself: Greg Rucka writes a good story but JH Williams is doing fantastic work here. The soft style for the flashback to Kate Kane leaving the army because she refused to lie about being gay, to the sharp style for the few panels of Batwoman, and the allure of Kate and Renee Montoya in their early times together, to the shadowy style for the moment when Kate first comes in contact with Batman – it’s a joy to read. I’m also enjoying the Question second feature, because Rucka is writing a story with a strong focus that is relevant and appropriate for the character. It will be interesting to see how having the Huntress in this story will affect it (although he did write a great Huntress story already – Batman and Huntress: Cry For Blood).

Fantastic Four #573
The first three-issue story by Jonathan Hickman in his Fantastic Four run was a great start to his work on the ongoing series, so it was a bit of a surprise when I read this issue. Not only does the story begin with little in the way of explanation (if I hadn’t read the Mark Millar story about Nu Earth, I would have been completely lost), but it also harks back to the rather uneven Nu Earth story – we could have gone a long time without having to revisit that place again. But even more of a shock was the art of Neil Edwards – not even comparing his work with the polished art of Dale Eaglesham on the three previous issues, but his art style seems like he’s not ready for the Premier League that is the Fantastic Four; it looks like something that would have been seen in a try-out fill-in issue of a New Universe story back in the day. It seems such a wrong-headed choice – a new writer needs to have every advantage in persuading a picky readership to stay on board, not have people turned off by art that isn’t up to the standards you would expect for one of Marvel’s big titles. It just seemed such a let down after the cracking start.

Powers #1
It’s good to have Powers back again, even if the ‘monthly’ schedule is never going to happen – it’s a book where Bendis can be himself and tell a wide variety of stories within an interesting world and not have to worry about the consequences. The concept of celebrity in Powers has always been one of the interesting draws to the book, so this story looking at the Rat Pack of superheroes in the 1950s is a great idea, and seeing Walker as the Dean Martin character is pretty damn funny. The Bendis dialogue, something I was talking about yesterday, works so much better here, and feels more natural and realistic. Mike Avon Oeming does his usual good job on art duties, but I only had one question: is it me or does the perp in the opening scene look a little like Joss Whedon?

Usagi Yojimbo #124
I’m surprised it’s taken such a long time for Stan Sakai to do his take on the Yojimbo story; here, Usagi goes to a town called Hell where two bosses are fighting each other to run the town. Usagi offers his services to each to get the best price and try to work out which would run the town better. His opposite number is another former samurai, and it’s interesting to see how they relate to each other. This shows the tough guy side to Usagi’s character, and it’s rather cool to see him play it that way. Sakai’s storytelling is excellent as always and I can’t wait to see how this turns out.

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