The Shopping List 12-22-10

Look who’s updating on Monday! The day I always want to update on! Woot.

Small week this week, but some of my favorite book next week : Flash, Captain America and new additions like Detective Comics and Spider-Girl. And if you’ve got any questions or recommendations, drop a comment. They’re always appreciated. See you later!

Zoe Can't Hardly Wait

Invincible Iron Man #33Invincible Iron Man #33 by Matt Fraction and Salvador Larroca **

I was all excited last month when Tony left Pepper and Rhodey behind to save the day by himself. I was wrong. He was just running away so Maria Hill and General Babbage (who?) could save the day. It’s an idiot plot (if Stark wasn’t an idiot and accepted help, this could have been wrapped up issues ago) but that’s the point. Stark’s insistence of having everything on his shoulders is getting him into trouble. I can’t wait for it to bite him in the ass.

When “Stark Resilient” was first being discussed, Matt Fraction said it was going to be an eight-issue arc. This is part nine. And it shows; not enough happens in this issue. It opens with an exciting Tony and Detroit Steel chase scene through Seattle, but the narration needlessly recaps the last eight issues. Then we get the Hill/Babbage anti-climax. After that’s wrapped up, Rhodey gets a promotion (Iron Man 2.0 in stores soon!). Then it takes four pages to get Zeke Stane out of jail. Then we get a commercial for Stark Resilient. The events aren’t connected enough, so it feels like Fraction is setting things up and treading water before next month’s issue #500 rather than a telling real story.

There’s no closure here, but that doesn’t mean it’s not interesting. Detroit Steel is rendered useless by bureaucracy, but ther will have to be a showdown soon. Stane is released from jail and reunited with girlfriend Sasha Hammer, who introduces her father, The Mandarin (Whaaaa?). I already mentioned the plug for the upcoming War Machine book. This is one of the best books month to month, so I’m excited to keep reading, but after nine months, I want to feel like something has been accomplished.

The silver lining on the issue is the Jamie McKelvie drawn “Good Morning, Tony.” Stark lives a busy life and we see it here from sunup to sundown. Like the “Wolf Like Me” issue of Phonogram 2: The Singles Club, it’s told without dialogue. Jamie McKelvie is love.

Morning Glories #5Morning Glories #5 by Nick Spencer and Joe Eisma ***

Issue five opens with a new administrator, a Mr. Gribbs, giving one of the students (the person is hidden) a speech about youth, the school, their destiny, all kinds of stuff. It’s a good monologue, deepening the mystery of the academy, while illustrating the level of their belief and their cruelty. Speaking of deepening mysteries, Spencer acts as if it’s no thing, but Casey’s level of planning and contingency planning hints at a past much deeper than her blonde bombshell looks suggest.

Each issue, the events Joe Eisma draws get stranger and stranger. This month, a ghost presses his hand through a man’s head. As strange as things get, his art is always good enough that we understand what’s happening. His panel layouts also demonstrate the proximity of danger. Like a spidey-sense tingling, panels lose their 90ยบ angles as danger approaches. It’s a nice, almost subliminal touch.

Issue six will wrap up the fist storyline for Morning Glories. The next month will bring the first trade and issue #7 at a reduced price point. Seems like the perfect time to jump on doesn’t it?

Zatanna #8Zatanna #8 by Paul Dini and Cliff Chiang ****

I like Paul Dini. His Detective Comics run was a good read and Batman: The Animated Series is a feat yet to be duplicated.

I like Zatanna. Her conflicts since Identity Crisis have been very interesting. Her Seven Soldiers series was one of the weakest, but still, good character.

I love Cliff Chiang. He does some of the best convention sketches out there. He drew one of J. Micheal Stracynski’s most memorable (and problematic) issues of The Brave and The Bold.

So when these three things came together in the perfect storm of Zatanna #8, I had to give it a shot. I’m glad I did. Part one of “Pupaphobia” is a great read. For reference, pupaphobia is the fear of puppets, not … that.

Chiang’s art is a little choppier than usual, but his framing, emotion, personality, and detail are all there. He does some incredible work with body language here. When Zatanna takes no less than six poses on her therapists couch, we see how uncomfortable she is discussing her history with puppets. He also realizes that people don’t all wear plain t-shirts and jeans. From Z’s bunny slippers to Jana’s necklace, his characters’ wardrobes show their personalities. So yeah, Cliff Chiang. Thumbs up!

Not that it’s hard to make puppets creepy, but Dini does not disappoint either. Zatanna is rarely a star player, but he gives her some believable backstory from which this plot can grow. This is my first issue of Zatanna, but between Jana, Mikey, and the magic community, I believe and appreciate her supporting cast. It’s nice to be able to drop in this late in the game and not feel lost.

I’ll definitely be back for the rest of the story, but Dini does have some work to do to keep me interested once Cliff Chiang moves on.

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