The Uncanny XX-Men

A while ago, my friends and I went to trivia at Pint, a bar in Jersey City, NJ. Their trivia night is hosted by Geeks Who Drink, which means each week one category or other is right up my alley. It may be naming which superhero movie a clip comes from or a set of questions where each answer is also the name of a comic book publisher. One week, the visual round was The Uncanny XX-Men, drawn by Jeremy Owen.

The Uncanny XX-MenYes, I got them all.

The discussion about treatment of women, both real and fictional, in geek circles has never been louder. It’s nice to see the imbalance being recognized, even out at the bar.

And let’s be honest, Crossplay Storm is awesome.

Library Reviews 9-17-10

Nothing too in-depth, but some quick thoughts on some books I’ve read recently.

Batman and Robin: Batman RebornBatman and Robin: Batman Reborn by Grant Morrison, Frank Quitely and Philip Tan

I do not believe this is the be-all, end-all series that some people are calling it. These are good comics, not great. Interesting is not a big enough word for Grant Morrison’s ideas, but too often, I feel he can’t follow though on them. I remember being so excited to read his New X-Men and Animal Man, but they never met my expectations. Come to think of it, only WE3 and All-Star Superman have. Here, he creates two unusual villains in Professor Pyg and the Flamingo, but very little comes of them. Both conflicts are solved by punching enough people enough times.

Since Philip Tan’s art is perfectly underwhelming, the real star here is Frank Quitely. I still don’t like his figures, but this is exemplary comics storytelling. I don’t necessarily mean his illustrated sound effects or camera angles. I mean things like showing Alfred preparing a meal in the penthouse, taking an elevator down the tower, climbing a ladder down to the batcave, and down a fight of stairs to the garage. We get a tour of the new base of operations, interactions with Dick and Damian, and a look into Alfred’s character. ALL IN ONE PAGE. Much admiration for that.

Hulk: Vs. X-ForceHulk Vs. X-Force by Jeph Loeb and Ian Chuchill with Whilce Portacio

I’m glad I didn’t pay for this, but I enjoyed reading it. It doesn’t make sense. It will not change your life or how you look at it. It’s just punchy, stabby action. It’s nice to see a cartoony take on the X-Force characters. The art on that book was always dreary or photo-realistic. Nice change-up here. The final issue in the collection, however, is the stand-out. That issue features Leonard Samson going under psychoanalysis from an unlikely doctor. That was my favorite. It was more cerebral, showing a side of Jeph Loeb I’ve always liked. This book isn’t worth buying, especially at its $4 price tag, but on a rainy day, for free, it’s worth a look.

Iron Man: Execute ProgramInvincible Iron Man: Execute Program by Daniel Knauf, Charles Knauf and Patrick Zircher

It must have been daunting to take over this book right after Warren Ellis wrote “Extremis,” but the Knaufs have nothing to be ashamed of. They write the best fun, playboy Tony Stark I’ve read, Matt Fraction’s book included. If you’re reading Iron Man with Robert Downey, Jr. in your head, this is a perfect fit. The only problem is that the story itself isn’t anything to write home about: Tony Stark loses control of his suit, blah blah blah. In fact, halfway through the book, I remembered that I read it last year or so. If that doesn’t tell you how memorable this book isn’t, nothing will.

Incorruptible, Vol. 1Incorruptible by Mark Waid and Jean Diaz

This was a cool book. Max Damage was a great superhero who decided to turn it around when his world’s greatest hero turned to evil. I’ve said before I enjoy villain books and seeing him try to do good, going as far as torching his stolen money and cars, is an interesting idea. There’s four issues here, so there’s not much more than setup, but it’s a lot of fun. I’ve never heard of Jean Diaz, but his art is impressive. Characters are larger than life and his panel layouts keep the pages interesting. I definitely plan on keeping up with this book and its sister, Irredeemable.

Justice League of America: When Worlds CollideJustice League of America: When Worlds Collide by Dwayne McDuffie and six pencilers

Six pencilers for seven issues? Really? That should show how little DC cared about making this a top-tier book. Dwayne McDuffie pulls some old Milestone characters into the DC universe and … I don’t really care. Only Hardware gets enough room to show some character, but all I can really remember is that he curses a lot. I knew I wasn’t going to enjoy this book. I don’t know why I continue reading it. “Thank you Holden Public Library. May I have another?” At least I didn’t have to pay for it.

Supergirl: CandorSupergirl: Candor by five writers and seven pencilers

With this book, DC’s trade department confused the hell out of me. Two of the stories don’t even involve Supergirl! After a cluster of four stories from around the DCU, this book collects the One-Year-Later story from Supergirl. It’s a strange tale, which desperately needs some context. Supergirl and Power Girl are stuck in the bottle city of Kandor (maybe there by choice?), fighting against the cruel dictator Kal-El. It isn’t Superman Kal-El (I think), but I never understood who he was. The last issue is outside of the bottle, but without any explanation or closure to that storyline. How did they get out? Was it a dream? Did I miss something? This book was not only bad, it was badly put together.

Superman: For TomorrowSuperman: For Tomorrow, Vol. 1 by Brian Azzarello and Jim Lee

Superman is not interesting to me when he’s facing a physical threat. He’s Superman! He will not lose! Yes, the actual conflict of this book didn’t intrigue me, but I did dig Kal debating issues with a priest. The conflict of religion and superheroics is always an interesting one. It’s moments like those that remind me of how good Azz can be. It is nice to see some Jim Lee artwork, if only to see once again how big of an influence he has had on the industry. Sadly, I have no desire to read volume 2.

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Roll of the Dice Reviews 8-22-10

To remind readers, these are books that I get from the library, and just want to get some quick ideas down.

Step 1: Read books
Step 2: Roll a six-sided die twice.
Step 3: Write a review for each book with a word count matching the numbers rolled. E.G. A 2 and a 6 means a 26-word review for each book.

This weeks rolls: 2 and 1 – 21 word reviews! Forgive me if my sentences aren’t complete thoughts.

SWORDS.W.O.R.D.: No Time To Breathe by Kieron Gillen and Steven Sanders

Disappointing. Too many new, one-dimensional characters. Many jokes don’t work. Decent art other than Chester Cheetah as Beast. Skip it.

Justice League: SanctuaryJustice League of America: Sanctuary by Dwayne McDuffie, Ed Benes and others

Walking between the continuity of a two-year-old event (Salvation Run) makes this book pointless. Too many T&A shots.

Justice League: Second ComingJustice League of America: Second Coming by Dwayne McDuffie and Ed Benes

Reads like McDuffie complaining about his DC overlords (Anansi) and their steering of a story’s direction. Too many T&A shots.

Legion: Enemy ManifestLegion of Super-Heroes: Enemy Manifest by Jim Shooter and Francis Manapul

I always enjoy Legion stories. Future cursing like “florg” is distracting. Great Manapul art. Sad that this storyline ended the series.

Batman: Battle for the CowlBatman: Battle for the Cowl by Tony Daniel

Grant Morrison skips out for one of the most important parts of his Batman epic. Daniel isn’t as good as Morrison.

Wonder Woman: Love and MurderWonder Woman: Love and Murder by Jodi Picoult, Terry Dodson and Others

Picoult doesn’t understand Wonder Woman. Dodson draws gorgeous pages. Shows DC’s terrible tendency to switch artists mid-story. Nemesis is cool.

Gotham City Sirens: UnionGotham City Sirens: Union by Paul Dini and Guillem March

This is a unique book and I really enjoyed it. March and his colorists turn in some nice stuff. Check it.

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