Wednesday, May 8, 2013

NCN - 5/8/13

For New Comic-book Night, I got two new issues and an older trade paperback.  The new issues are today's releases of Justice League of America #3 (which is 2 weeks behind schedule), and Katana #4 (which is a week ahead of schedule, after being 2 weeks behind schedule last month... go figure).  I also picked up the trade paperback Supergirl: Way of the World.  This TPB collects issues 28-33 of her fourth series, which means I'm now half done with it (there were 67 issues total).

I haven't read the Supergirl TPB yet (I have one more to finish before I get to it), but I did get to both JLA and Katana tonight, so I will review them briefly.

Justice League of America #3 - This was probably the best issue of JLA to date.  Last issue we had a cliffhanger where what appeared to be Wonder Woman, Batman, and Superman of the Justice League (without the "A") were on the point of attacking the JLA.  In this issue, we discover these were robots, and the JLA handles them.  They can't find any other sign of the Secret Society of Super-Villains, who own the robots, and they still don't know what the SSSV is up to.  Therefore, because no one yet knows that Catwoman has reformed, they have her commit some pretend crimes and get thrown into Arkham Asylum to  attract the SSSV's interest.  This happens by the end of the book, and Catwoman is left tied to a chair in the SSSV base.

This story was interesting and suspenseful.  I thought Selina Kyle (Catwoman) was characterized fairly well (she is a hard character to write, and up to now only Devin Grayson in the late 90s had really done her justice). The business about Green Arrow still being rejected from the team and trying to get on it is extremely wearisome, however, especially since we already know that he is going to end up on this team. Why drag it out? It's rather pointless.  On the other hand I've already become a huge fan of Star Girl (not a character with whom I am very familiar) so far.  She's a great example of how one can do a teenage superhero without making her brooding, moody, and irresponsible.  Star Girl is a good girl, and is looked up to by just about everyone. Which I find refreshing for a change, with a teenage character. I hope they keep this up and don't ruin her.  Rating: 8/10.

Katana #4 - Katana's sword was broken by Killer Croc last issue.  This month, the souls "taken in" by the sword (with each kill) leak out and start interacting with the world.  The Creeper is freed and looks around for a body to possess.  Katana's husband chides her for not moving on after his death.  Other souls flee the area.  A dragon spirit leads Killer Croc somewhere.  Katana waits tables and looks for a substitute sword.  Her mentor tells her to find a great blacksmith in Japan and have him re-forge it.  And then Creeper shows up again and battles her, because he's afraid that if the sword is re-forged, it will trap him again.

This series has had an insane number of ups and downs for one that is only four issues long.  The first two issues were mediocre but passable. Issue 3 was exciting and definitely made me think I was going to add this series to my pull list.  Now issue 4 comes along and... wow... this is one of the worst comic-books I've ever read.  The art was indecipherable.  In many panels I had to look and look and I still could not figure out what is going on. The dialogue is equally confusing.  The story goes in four or five directions at once, none of which make any sense.  I normally like Ann Nocenti, and up until now the series was at least passable, but this issue was inexcusably bad.  The creative team has one issue to turn it around, or I'm done.

Not that I think it matters.  I keep track of my "pull list" on Comixology, and they tell you there how many pulls each title has.  Now, this isn't a statistical sample by any means, and we don't know how many people even use the service.  But when I see 2,000+ pulls for JLA this week and Earth-2 last week, and less than 400 pulls for Katana this week, that's really telling me something.  I would bet this series will not make it past issue 10 at this point.  And it certainly won't if the team keeps turning out raw sewage like they did this month.  Rating: 4/10. (And that's being generous.)

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