Monday, August 18, 2008

FanBoyWonder’s Comic Book Consolidation Challenge Part 2

(Pictured above: Ed Benes’ rendition of Justice League of America. FanBoyWonder has dropped JLA, declaring it the worst book in the DC Universe of comics at this time.)

FanBoyWonder continues our top to bottom review of the titles on our pull list. Here in Part 2 of our Comic Book Consolidation Challenge we look at the titles published during the second half of August.

Again our verdict for each individual title will be either KEEP, DROP or ON THE BUBBLE, meaning that we’re considering dropping the book but we’re giving it one last chance.

All right, let’s get it on.

The Week of August 20th

Birds of Prey # 121

The Upshot from DC Comics: The Joker infiltrates the high-tech gang network of the Birds' new hometown, Platinum Flats! And that's going to set him up for a direct conflict with Oracle, Barbara Gordon! Written by Tony Bedard; Art by Michael O'Hare and John Floyd; Cover by Stephanie Roux. 32pg. $2.99

FanBoyWonder’s Verdict: ON THE BUBBLE.

The Why: This title has had a couple creative change ups since the great Gail Simone moved on from Birds of Prey but Tony Bedard has done an able job of maintaining the storytelling momentum but Bedard has the unfortunate cross to bear of NOT being Gail Simone.

This wouldn’t be such a bad thing except that Simone and is teaming up again with Nicola Scott, until very recently the BOP artist—for a new Secret Six series and we fear that Bedard’s Birds will pale in comparison.

All things being equal, we’d stay with the book and we’re not saying we are definitely dropping it but it comes down a money saving decision, this is a book we’ll have to look toward cutting. Sorry guys.

The Brave and The Bold #16

The Upshot: Superman and Catwoman – together at last?! This team clearly won't be held together with super-glue! Written by Mark Waid; Art and Cover by Scott Kolins DC Universe, 32pg, $2.99.

FBW’s Verdict: DROP

The Why: Mark Waid just doesn’t seem to have a very firm grasp on the DC Universe as he used to, perhaps in no small part that he is running another comic book company while freelancing titles like Brave and Bold.

This was a great book at the start and we loved the concept—team ups with different DCU characters as a way of introducing readers to characters and corners of the DCU that we wouldn’t otherwise see. Yet Waid went off the tracks with last year’s Flash/Doom Patrol team up and he never got his timing back.

Even our love for George Perez’s art couldn’t keep us fully engaged and when he fulfilled his 11 issue commitment and left, our interest seemed to follow suit. He’s off the book in a couple of issues and we’ll re-assess the new creative team but for now, we’re not going to waste our money.

Flash # 243

The Upshot: The conclusion of "Fast Money"! The Flash returns to Keystone, making some bold moves to get his life and reputation back on track – with some serious consequences for his family! Written by Tom Peyer; Art and Cover by Freddie E. Williams II. DC Universe, 32pg, $2.99.

FBW’s Verdict: DROP!

The Why: Let’s face it; we all really said good-bye to Wally West at the end of Geoff Johns run in Flash #225. After that it was a placeholder writer, then he disappeared in Infinite Crisis, then he was brought back with a family after Bart Flash imploded and now with Barry Allen being brought back to life, this title’s days are numbered. We consider it a mercy killing and see no reason to continue throw good money after bad at this title.

Justice League of America #24

The Upshot: Vixen's power issues come to the forefront as Vixen, Black Canary, Zatanna, Hal and The Flash pay a visit to Animal Man. The team must team up with Animal Man to battle a new Justice League villain – and at stake is control of the Tantu Totem! Written by Dwayne McDuffie; Art and Cover by Ed Benes. DC Universe, 32pg., $2.99.

FBW’s Verdict: DROP, DROP, DROP!!!

The Why: This book is a mess and it has been since “Issue Zero” and the subsequent 12 issues that served as little more than novelist Brad Meltzer’s exercise in fanboy fantasy baseball.

After 13 issues of Meltzer’s overblown, over-scripted, over-the-top League that was all talk, infrequent action and all self-importance, Dwayne McDuffie from Cartoon Network’s Justice League Unlimited was brought in to steady the ship.

Yet hobbled by editorial mandates and mandatory crossovers, McDuffie was at best half-a-writer on this book. We can see hints of where he wants to take the book but it’s not enough. We’re bored and out of patience.

Helping not at all is Ed Benes’ T&A visuals that are more comical than provocative and not even that much to write home about. Lately Benes has been inking his own pencils as inker Sandra Hope has apparently left the book—it’s even more apparent how much Benes is artistically coasting.

Bottom line: McDuffie’s best efforts not withstanding, Justice League of America is currently the WORST book in the DC Comics line up (these days that’s saying a lot) and we see no indication of the situation improving anytime soon. Like we said, we’re done.

The week of August 27

Green Lantern #34

The Upshot: The penultimate chapter of "Secret Origin"! Hal Jordan and Sinestro face off against Abin Sur's killer - Atrocitus! But what dark secret has Atrocitus uncovered about the impending "Blackest Night?" And what revelation will forever change the relationship between Hal and Carol Ferris? Written by Geoff Johns; Art by Ivan Reis and Oclair Albert; Cover by Ivan Reis. DC Universe, 32pg. $2.99.

FBW’s Verdict: KEEP.

The Why: While we have been absolutely bored to tears these past few months at Johns decision to tell an overblown retro-conned (while admittedly better) version of Emerald Dawn, writer Geoff Johns has a definite direction in mind for this book and for the Green Lantern franchise.

While Johns has performed something of a miracle in making Hal Jordan a decent character—a hot dog flyboy rather than a hard luck loser as he had been since the days of Hard Traveling Heroes—we’re annoyed that Green Lantern John Stewart is getting the short shrift—again.
Justice Society of America #18

The Upshot: Magog is introduced into the DC Universe in "Gog" part 3! The last god of the Third World has walked the Earth delivering good will to men wherever he goes. But out of a violent confrontation comes the birth of the one being the Kingdom Come Superman must stop: Magog! Meanwhile, Starman struggles with his new role on the team and Damage celebrates his. Plus, Power Girl's strange ordeal on Earth-2 leads her to seek out help from an unlikely source. Written by Geoff Johns and Alex Ross; Art and variant cover by Dale Eaglesham and Ruy Jose; Cover by Alex Ross. DC Universe, 32pg., $2.99.

FBW’s Verdict: KEEP!

We have always loved the Justice Society and would read it no matter what. But we’ve been very bored with this book over he past year. Yet following the events of JSA Annual #1—Justice Society Infinity—and the upcoming Kingdom specials, we’re excited again.

We think that Geoff Johns has been stretched too thin lately and this book had been suffering for it but now his focus seems to be back on JSA so things are looking up.


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