Tuesday, December 29, 2009 05:41 PM
The Take
 by Fëanor

Fëanor's (semi-)weekly comic book review post.

This post covers new releases from the week of 12/23. Beware spoilers!

New releases
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season Eight - Willow
This entry in Dark Horse's One-shot Wonders series is a flashback story written by Joss himself, and focuses on what Willow was up to before the events of Season Eight. Turns out she left Kennedy behind and went on a mystical journey - a sort of witch's walkabout, to gain knowledge of herself and learn how to deal with the enormous amounts of power she has. The journey is full of guides and dangers and magic and fascinating metaphors. The math goddess gets all emotional for some reason. Then Willow gets naked and wet and chooses the sexy snake-lady trickster for her guide. Okay then. It's a pretty neat story, with some moving character development and some imaginative moments, even if it does get a bit cheesy at points.
Thumbs Up

Captain America: Who Will Wield the Shield? #1
Due to Marvel's delayed publishing schedule and screwed up chronology, this one-shot, self-described as "The Stunning Aftermath of Captain America: Reborn," has been released before Captain America: Reborn is over! Also, it's not particularly stunning. D'oh! Still, it's not much of a spoiler to learn that Steve Rogers regains control of his body and our main characters survive. I think we all knew that was going to happen. There's a brief action scene, but this comic focuses mostly on thinking and talking, as Steve and Bucky discuss... well, the question asked by the subtitle of the comic (which is incredibly cheesy, by the way). It ends up being reasonably emotionally effective, and true to the characters. But it's also slightly underwhelming, as there's very little drama or conflict, and the outcome is pretty clear from the beginning. The bit with the President at the end is a little corny, too. And there's a weird moment between Steve and Sharon just before that that's oddly creepy, and I don't think it was meant to be creepy, but I'm not sure, so it kind of threw me off. I blame the artist.
Thumbs Sideways

Criminal: The Sinners #3
Tracy gets closer than he realizes to the solution to the murder mystery, then gets himself involved in a whole new kind of trouble (the Triads), while finally becoming aware of the other kinds of trouble he's already in. Poor bastard. It's just another tense, exciting issue of Criminal. The essay in the back, by Tom Piccirilli, is not my favorite - the writing is a bit clumsy - but I appreciate the attempt to bring attention to Korean crime thrillers, as I'm a fan of the genre myself. I'm particularly happy that The Chaser got mentioned, since I really enjoyed that film. Well, "enjoyed" is perhaps not the right word, but it's a great movie.
Thumbs Up

Green Lantern #49
This issue turns the focus on John Stewart and what he's been experiencing on the planet Xanshi. Interestingly, he meets a character there named Driq, who seems to be both a Green Lantern and a Black Lantern at the same time. He also does some relatively bad-ass stuff and has an important character moment. Then there's a separate short story where some Black Lantern tells Ray Palmer Nekron's origin story. Yawn. Yeah, overall, another mediocre issue of Green Lantern, with Johns' usual lame dialog and overdone narration. I'm seriously thinking about dropping this book. I still kind of want to know how this story is going to play out, but I'm not sure it's worth slogging through all this disappointing writing.
Thumbs Sideways

Hellboy: The Bride of Hell
Another entry in Dark Horse's One-shot Wonders series, this is one of the more difficult Hellboy comics I've read, not because the plot is complex, but because the moral and ethical issues are. It starts out looking like a typical, straight-up, Hellboy-saves-an-innocent-girl-from-an-evil-demon story, but the sect of knights who work for God and who are thus theoretically the "good guys" turn out to be pretty rigid, heartless, and bloodthirsty, while the demon and his servants turn out to be funny and sympathetic. It's a powerful, thought-provoking story that takes some really unexpected turns. I'm so pleased that Mignola can still surprise and delight me with stories about this character and his world.
Thumbs Up

Irredeemable #9
All kinds of exciting stuff goes down in this issue. Looks like The Plutonian is about to be replaced by someone even worse. And then there's Project Ultimatum, which is a crazy and fantastic addition to the story. And meanwhile, we've finally found out where Modeus is. Interesting! The only thing I don't like about this comic is how short each issue is. I just want to keep reading it and reading it.
Thumbs Up

The New Avengers #60
I gotta admit, this is a pretty great issue. Lovely art from Stuart Immonen, with beautiful colors by Dave McCaig, and a fun story in which Norman Osborn mistakenly blows up his own house, and Bullseye just laughs at him. Also, Pym and Strange take a magical, scientific, Fantastic Voyage inside of Luke Cage. And a dude's head gets blown up with a magic bullet. Good stuff.
Thumbs Up

New Mutants #8
Defeating the cat lady by tossing her own arm out the window and telling her to fetch it was cold - and awesome. Also, Magma is hot (literally!), the scene with the missiles is kind of sweet and sad, and it's great having Doug and Warlock back. I still refuse to read anymore of this Necrosha crap, though.
Thumbs Up
Tagged (?): Avengers (Not), Blackest Night (Not), Brian Michael Bendis (Not), Buffy (Not), Captain America (Not), Comic books (Not), Criminal (Not), Ed Brubaker (Not), Geoff Johns (Not), Green Lantern (Not), Hellboy (Not), Joss Whedon (Not), Mark Waid (Not), Mike Mignola (Not), The Take (Not)

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Welcome to the blog of Jim Genzano, writer, web developer, husband, father, and enjoyer of things like the internet, movies, music, games, and books. For a more detailed run-down of who I am and what goes on here, read this.

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