Saturday, August 12, 2006

52—Pick Up Already!

FanBoyWonder’s pics for the week of August 9 were a tad on the lackluster side.

52--Week 14

The Upshot: Steel faces a turning point, and Montoya and the Question go international!

Given the description of the issue and that Steel is featured on the cover, we don’t think we could be blamed for thinking that Week 14 would center around John Henry Irons.

Since John’s niece turned her back on him in act of selfishness and betrayal and defected to Lex Luthor, we’ve been eager for this storyline to unfold, even as we are curious to find out the origin of his mysteriously developed metal skin.

Unfortunately, all we got were three pages of the Steel story, with the much of the rest of the issue centered around The Question and Renee Montoya and their travel undercover tourist class to Black Adam’s country of Kahndaq.

We’re still not sure what exactly it is they have been investigating as the mystery itself hasn’t been that compelling and we have been enjoying Greg Rucka’s “buddy cop” banter between the Question and Renee but this story line….nearly all of the story lines of 52 hardly feel like they are going anywhere.

Not that we care too much because we never really figured out what they were doing in space to begin with but what’s going on with Starfire, Adam Strange and Animal Man? That story thread hasn’t been pulled in weeks.

The Doc Magnus interludes as he visits the once-imprisoned T.O. Morrow has been a yawner, the Booster Gold segment had us then lost us and it’s only been a week but we’ve already forgotten what’s going on with Elongated Man.

This story centrifuge is spinning around so much that we can barely focus all of the plot threads which makes it that much harder to hold our interest or attention.

We get the sense that the 52 writers are afraid the step on the gas get things moving for fear they will run out of weeks before they run out of story but if this car moves any slower, it’s headed for a stall. Pick up the pace fellas.

Secret Six #3

The upshot from DC: The Six learn who has been hiring assassins to take them out, while tensions flare among the group!

Following last year’s surprisingly strong Villains United limited series, writer Gail Simone performed the no-so-easy task of making bad guys not just believable protagonists but characters the reader could sympathize and even root for in spite of (or perhaps because of) their “evil” tendencies.

This year’s follow up, The Secret Six, has been a disappointment. Simone’s story and scripting, while still sharp, simply hasn’t been able to replicate the same urgent magic of last year. Helping things not at all is the art by Brad Walker and Jimmy Palmiotti.

Issue two was all but unreadable and while this issue is a slight improvement but it’s cartoony in the worst sense of the word. The “long shots” of the layout look out of focus or unfinished, the action sequences are confused and jumbled and they keep drawing Deadshot/Floyd Lawton looking like a chimp—and not even in the same consistent way—one panel he’s got big dumbo ears the next it’s a sloped forehead and walrus mustache.

There’s a lot of room for improvement with this series but just three issues left.

JSA Classified # 15

The upshot: In Part 2 of the 3-part "Double Trouble!", Star Girl, Vixen and Gypsy attempt to raise the stakes, but they find themselves at the mangling paws of a Wildcat gone mad! Can these three fare any better than the rest of the JSA, or will Amos Fortune and the Gambler succeed in cashing in the young heroines' chips?

Who cares???? This issue and this story arc screams “filler.” It is completely forgettable and barely entertaining. It’s only redeeming quality is that it’s keeping the JSA in the monthly line up…keeping the proverbial seat warm…until the re-launch of Justice Society of America #1 in December.

Since the story isn’t work talking about, let’s take this time to bemoan the wasted opportunity for DC to be using JSA classified to prime the pump in anticipation for the new JSA main title.

This title should be setting the scene, introducing or reintroducing us to the new JSA members or spotlighting individual characters for further development—Hourman is set to be featured in a couple of issues time but instead of this lame-ass three issue cross-over with the old JLA Detroit, Doctor Mid-Nite could have gotten a much deserved close up for example.

Heck, even a flashback story of JSA past would have been better than this lame-ass story. Is it December yet?

Justice Society TPB Vol. 1

The upshot: Collecting ALL-STAR COMICS #58-67, plus the origin of the JSA from DC SPECIAL #29! Witness the continuing adventures of The Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkman, Dr. Fate, Wildcat and the rest as they are joined by younger heroes Robin, Power Girl and Star-Spangled Kid!

If you can’t wait until December for some good JSA, pick up this trade paper back of the Justice Society from the 1970s when they enjoyed their own adventures in their own book. It not only features the secret origin of the JSA but see the debut of Power Girl as well as the Earth-2 Robin and Earth-2 Superman in action.

Despite some ‘70s cheese, many of these old stories stand up three decades later. What we love about this series was that it was the first time since the early 1950s that the Justice Society had its own book which allowed for some much deserved character development. Check it out.

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