Joe Kubert Tarzan Vol. 1 – The first entry in this series is so good I want to lend it to my dad (he grew up reading his dad’s old copies of Tarzan and John Carter of Mars). Initially, I had a hard time getting into Kubert’s style, being so familiar with his work on war stories, but eventually I got into the groove. His line work is so dynamic it just kills me, and the Burroughs connection gets me right in whatever gland stores and distributes feelings of nostalgia. Excellent, excellent comics.
After The Cape – I am honestly unsure about this one. The plot – superhero loses everything because of drinking problem and ends up turning to crime to support his family – has potential, and there are moments of family drama and dischord that are really affecting. Reading it, though, I felt a little disconnected from it. I don’t know if it was the art, or maybe that the writing was a little stilted. It wasn’t bad. Just not great. Not sure if I am keeping it.
Unknown Soldier Vol. 1 – This series is REALLY good. It’s a cool Vertigo re-imagining of the Unknown Soldier concept: a pacifist doctor haunted by thoughts of violence that he doesn’t understand, returns to Uganda and becomes traumatized by the war there, transforming into the Unknown Soldier. It’s a good mystery story and a good horror story against the backdrop of an awful human condition. Dysart’s dialogue is great, and Ponticelli’s line is great for both the quiet and the terrible moments. A great, great series.
End League Vol. 1 – Rick Remender’s homage to/parody of the last days of DC and Marvel superhero comics. Sounds like something I’d be all over, but I was really disappointed. It read like a Mark Millar story; depressing, deconstructed, and slightly too-smart-for-its-own-good. I want to see how it ends, but I’m afraid it’s not going to be worth the effort. It’s reminding me of Wanted, and I did NOT like how that one ended. Not keeping it for a re-read.
Batman: Resurrection of Ra’s Al Ghul – Too many cooks on this project. One story spread over four different creative teams on four different titles, it’s generally not going to be as good as one singular vision. Honestly, I don’t know what the point of this story was: the Morrison stuff on Batman was cool, but the Dini stuff on Detective didn’t jive with it. Nicieza on Nightwing was good, but Milligan on Robin seemed like it was a completely different story. A mildly interesting Batman story, only worthwhile if it ties into the overarching Morrison “Batman RIP” saga. I could probably do without this on the shelf, but I might re-read it.
Superman: Strange Attractions – I’d heard a lot of lukewarm-to-negative reviews of this creative arc; how Byrne wasn’t visually interesting any more and how Simone didn’t understand how to write Superman. But when you take the fact that they were writing around Infinite Crisis plot points into account, what you actually have are a collection of cool Superman stories that really explore Superman’s relationship with the Earth in general, and Lois Lane in particular. I really liked how Simone “got” Lois & Clark’s relationship, and there was some REALLY strong John Byrne art (ably assisted by a handful of inkers) in this story. Some people won’t like it. But I think it’s a keeper.
Lone Ranger Vol. 1: Now & Forever – What a way to do an origin story! I only have the most basic knowledge of Lone Ranger lore, but the way that Brett Matthews put everything together in this story – the Ranger, Tonto, the silver bullets, Black Bart, Silver – was really engaging, and the adventure was fun and exhilarating. Great art from Sergio Cariello, with a great line and an eye for action; not a letdown at all (as it sometimes can be when you have John Cassaday covers). Well worth it.
Speak of the Devil – This was a surprise. I really like Gilbert Hernandez’s work on Love & Rockets – I actually prefer his Palomar stories to brother Jaime’s “Maggie & Hopey” stories. His stories deal with the crazy, dark stuff that happen in a small Latin American town. This, though, was a whole new level of darkness and depravity. Small-town secrets lead to a spiral of sex, death, and horror. Don’t get me wrong: it’s a good story. I just can’t say that I liked it.
Incredible Hercules: Love and Death – Yeah, still love Incredible Herc. Nice art this go-around, and I really liked the Femizon world: Pak and Van Lente obviously gave that a lot of thought, and I honestly wouldn’t mind another story set there. If Marvel did that kind of thing, I mean.
JLA/Avengers – This is the series that gave George Perez carpal tunnel syndrome because he was drawing too many characters. Yeah. It’s the most four-colour, most capes-and-cowls, most George Perez-ian comic there is. I think he drew every Justice League and Avengers character. TWICE. It’s a cool story, but mostly an exercise in fanboy over-excitement and, once again, the opportunity for Busiek and Perez to work with any and every character they ever wanted to. This is for superhero fans ONLY. Seeing as how I am a superhero fan, though, I will keep and re-read this for years to come.