Supergirl #2: Supergirl #2 is the terrible step-sibling of Justice League #2, a novel book where superheroes actually talk out their differences. Here they fight, and fight, and fight, and fight, and just when you think maybe some sanity has come to the book, they fight again! Does anyone (outside writers Michael Green and Mike Johnson) actually think this is interesting?
Do we want to see a whole issue of Supergirl and Superman beating each other up? Because I think that’s lame, and kind of uncomfortable. Additionally, the book’s major pacing problems from issue #1 continue in a big way here; other than some flashbacks and the ominous last few pages these books cover, what, 20 minutes real time? That’s 30 seconds per page of comic. Yikes. Additionally, while I really like Mahmud Asrar’s art in the first book, here I think it takes a dive, looking dirtier, sloppier and less befitting of a series starring a teenage girl. While I do think Green and Johnson have something resembling an interesting idea for Kara Zor-el, and it could be fun to stick around and see what she does in her civilian identity, this issue is just too poor in quality to justify reading any further. DROP IT. D+
Batman #2: One of the best titles in the New 52 only gets better as Batman investigates a mysterious killer with ties to Gotham’s past. Folks, there is nothing in this book that’s bad. In fact, in my opinion Greg Capullo’s art has improved marginally from issue #1, only because Batman’s square chin isn’t so pronounced (which, while minor, was the only real complaint I had about this book’s first installment). As far as the story goes, it’s Scott Snyder — what do you expect? Maybe my favorite thing about this series is how much good stuff Snyder packs into every issue. There’s a badass action scene, a further look into Bruce’s cool new gadgets, great interaction between members of the Bat-family, a nice lesson on Gotham’s history and a sharp eye on the future of the title. It’s the kind of book that doesn’t seem like it’s 20 pages long, and I really appreciate how much Snyder invests into making this the best read it can be. When a creator puts that much care into a title, how can readers do anything but follow? And clearly follow they have, since Batman was the best-selling comic book this September. As long as issues keep up this quality, I can’t imagine that changing any time soon. A
Star Trek/Legion of Super-Heroes #1: With these crossovers, you always have to ask yourself how serious they’re going to be. Sometimes I think it’s better for writers to forego any notion of a real plot and just let the craziness get underway as quickly as possible. That’s not the approach writer Chris Roberson takes here, setting up a pretty grave alternate-universe tale involving characters from both universes who work together to conquer “strange new worlds” under the umbrella of the Imperial Planets. His attention to detail and strong dramatic structure produce a set-up that totally works, though. Unfortunately, this whole issue is just that: set-up. The Legion and Trek characters we know and love don’t actually ever meet in this first issue, nor does the ultimate conflict that will in theory drive the series become clear. We have shadowy suggestions of antagonists, but that’s it. This book struck me more as a prologue than a first issue, and while I like it enough to keep reading, I really think that when you’ve got a four-issue mini-series you ought to spell out the conflict pretty clearly in the first one. Anyway. Jeffrey Moy’s art is pretty strong; it’s not super-detailed, but it’s clear enough to convey the iconic looks of these characters; it’s also expressive and allows for swift action when the story calls for it. All in all the premise of this book was far more impressive than I thought it would be… I just wish there was more to it than that. B-
Transformers #28: I have lost all patience for Livio Ramondelli’s art. His style, while striking and powerful, is totally wrong for a monthly comic book where you need to be able to see what’s happening. Every single dramatic moment in this book is completely muted by his shadowy, nondescript figures. Two-page spreads meant to bring menace only confuse, huge action scenes that should explode off the page only frustrate. And that’s really too bad, because Mike Costa’s script here is top-notch. As one can usually expect with Costa, there are so, so many good ideas packed into this comic, including a totally amazing showdown between two “crippled” Transformers that explores ground the property has not before covered. In particular, the visual of Devastator saddled with a dead limb should shock us, but to do so it needs to be comprehensible. This is doubly frustrating because “Chaos” is meant to be the culmination of all of IDW’s Transformers stories, but it’s far too hard to make any sense of it when it looks like this. D+
My Best of 2012 Playlist by Eric Garneau
After being inspired by some friends, for the past few years I’ve been really into documenting my musical exploration with year-end mixes. I realize this is not a particularly novel thing to do, but hey, who has original ideas any more? Anyway, this has gotten even easier to do thanks to new technology like Spotify. read more