Best Shots: Rapid Fire 11-12-09
Brought to you by Newsarama's Best Shots Team and ShotgunReviews.com; your host: Troy Brownfield
Welcome back to our range of immediate reactions. For the record, there was discussion of a name change last week. However, since approximately 10 million other outlets use variations on “Rapid Fire”, we’re just going to stick with it. We’re going to get started with a slightly longer reaction to the latest Booster Gold by the writer of Blog@’s “Gold Exchange” interview series, Russ Burlingame.
Booster Gold #26 (DC Comics; review by Russ Burlingame): When all the dead superheroes and supervillains started crawling out of the woodwork during the “Blackest Night” crossover event, one of the first questions to spring to many fans’ minds was whether or not Ted Kord would appear in Booster Gold. Of course, he did—and this is one of those issues that feels like it took a long time to get to the front cover.
Full of some great character moments—particularly where Booster (not yet aware of the events of “Blackest Night”) travels back in time to visit Ted’s funeral and watch himself implode while trying to summon the strength to eulogize his friend—the story makes a lot of nods toward resolving some of the dangling threads of the series, including whatever happened to Booster’s twin sister, Michelle, after she went missing in time (the events of the “Day of Death” story that just ended kind of distracted both the readers and the characters from that plot beat) and what’s going on with Daniel Carter, Booster’s Pittsburgh-based descendant, and his soulmate-to-be, Rose. While “JSA All-Stars” scribe Matt Sturges takes a break from writing the Blue Beetle backup in this issue, Jaime isn’t completely ignored while the “other” Blue Beetle steps into the spotlight for a couple of months.
Instead, Jaime’s story is shoehorned into Booster’s pages and he ends up fighting Black Lantern Ted Kord along with Supernova and Skeets in Pittsburgh, before Booster finally shows up in the correct time and place, setting the stage for the big showdown we’ve all been waiting for next issue. The cover, though, is literally reflected (excuse the pun) in the final panel of this issue, giving readers a real sense that, while the origin recap at the beginning of this issue will be a great opening chapter to the next Booster Gold graphic novel when it’s collected, the “Blackest Night” tie-in we’ve all been waiting for is really only beginning.
And now, a cavalcade of Rapid Fire pellets.
Uncanny X-Men First Class #5 (Marvel; review by Lan Pitts): I've been loving this book for a while now. It's hard to top the feel of it because of how it channels X-Men of ye olde 70's era. I do prefer Roger Cruz's style to Neslon Decastro's, I will give credit for Decastro's use of facial expressions, but panel construction isn't the strongest and some action poses look a bit awkward and stiff. Of course it carries on the tradition of character-oriented stories that Scott Gray has done before and it excels greatly at that. With crossovers getting in the way at times, it can be confusing for new readers. This is why this book is invaluable.
Tank Girl: Skidmarks #1 (of 4) (Titan Books; Review by Henry Chamberlain):
This is rollicking good fun. Tank Girl's writer/artist team of Alan Martin and Rufus Dayglo really know how to harness the juvenile and serve it up with style. The story is all-out action. One of the best characters is Booga, a foul mouthed kangaroo/man who always has Tank Girl's back.
Red Herring #4 (Wildstorm; Review by Henry Chamberlain): Very nice to see that this title hasn't lost a bit of steam. The main character, Maggie MacGuffin, is coming into her own, although she remains quite vulnerable. In a conspiracy-laden story, with the threat of aliens lurking about, it is one young human woman that steals the show.
Comic Book Comics #4 (Evil Twin Comics; Review by Henry Chamberlain): The writer/artist team of Fred Van Lente and Ryan Dunlavey continue to do for the history of comics what they've done for the history of philosophy. The best feature is probably the ins and outs of what Stan Lee helped set into motion at Marvel Comics and the controversies that arose over who should be credited for what.
Strange Tales #3 (of 3) (Marvel Comics: Review by Henry Chamberlain): In this rounding out of the indie cartoonists-meet-Marvel super-heroes series, there's a lot to love, including a wonderful piece by Stan Sakai with his take on The Hulk. And there's a raucous mix of club kids that is a visual treat, with story and art by Corey Lewis and dazzling colors by Dylan McCrae. We also get the final installment of Peter Bagge's Hulk tribute, which proves to be masterful.
Sky Doll #1 (of 2) (Marvel Comics; Review by Henry Chamberlain): DC Comics presented Euro comics awhile back and now it's Marvel's turn with this translation of Sky Doll originally published in France by Soleil and in the US by Heavy Metal. The story and art, focusing on a young woman android that must discover her true destiny, is very engaging. This comic also includes a substantial section on the making of the full length graphic novel, "The Yellow City."
Batman and Robin #6 (Published by DC Comics; Review by David Pepose): Red Hood, Flamingo, Batman and Robin -- fight! I don't know how much more this issue was trying to say in its storyline, with it being largely a battle royale. Still, Morrison hints at a surprising possible twist for the rest of the series that is either completely awesome, or extremely infuriating for not having happened as soon as Bruce Wayne was killed in action. Phillip Tan's art, though, isn't just hit or miss: it fluctuates visually because of the inking. Some images, like Batman and the Red Hood standing together, look great, and other images, like Batman and Robin escaping, look rushed. The message and vision may have been muddled, but it's looking like the next arc of Batman and Robin is going to be cranking Grant Morrison's ingenuity back to 11.
The Shield #3 (Published by DC Comics; Review by David Pepose): Endings mean a lot in my book, and I don't know if the final part of this arc necessarily sticks the landing -- things come together a little too pat, and I wish Eric Trautmann had given us a little bit more in the way of characterization for the Shield. There's a great moment when the Shield realizes all his friends are being controlled telepathically: "Lieutenant Joe Higgins: Welcome to the suck." Artist Marcos Rudy has some fantastic images -- like the Shield breaking Gorilla Grodd's arm with some krav maga -- but other sequences, such as a fistfight with Magog himself, are drawn so small it really kills the weight. This story -- 20 pages, with a 10-page back-up with Inferno -- I think really could have used the extra two pages to really shine. Either which way, this is a book with some serious potential, and I'm excited to see where they go next.
The Walking Dead #67 (Image; review by Troy): Last issue’s revelation earns some early discussion here, as Rick and Carl have a weighty father and son talk. That’s soon eclipsed by a more startling revelation that has serious emotional consequences for a couple of members of the group. With food running out and Washington D.C. ahead of them, the cast nevertheless finds one more shock on the final page. Kirkman and company keep cranking out the solid issues, and the looming status quo change only has me more intrigued.
Supergod #1 (Avatar; review by Troy): Genetic engineering, unlocking the potential of godhood, and global destruction. It’s a typical day in the mind of Warren Ellis. This first issue roars to life, built on fantastic art by Garrie Gastonny. Ellis tries something different in the storytelling here, largely supplanting dialogue with narration that’s obviously only one side of a conversation. That builds the suspense in an interesting way and makes this story of science and faith gone wild that much more compelling.
Black Terror #5 (Dynamite; review by Troy): Black Terror’s earlier mini becomes an ongoing, and the breakout personality of “Project SuperPowers” finds himself confronted with some very familiar foes. The art is strong and Phil Hester tries to say some interesting things about loyalty, duty and, in flashback, the role that African-American soldiers played in World War II. It’s an offbeat, politically aware super-hero title, and it could be a sleeper for Dynamite.
Batman/Doc Savage Special #1 (DC; review by Troy): Yeah, I wrote a longer review of this for the site that you’ll see later today. However, it bears repeating: This. Is. Good.