Wednesday, May 29, 2013

New Comic-book Night - 5/29/13

It's that time of the week again - and although it's the "5th Wednesday," which often is an extra week that doesn't ship one's typical pull list items, two items that are on my "potential pull list" came out this week.  By "potential pull list," I mean that I am doing what my comic-shop owner calls "sampling." I have not committed to these titles, but have adopted a wait-and-see attitude.  This means either (1) it is simply too early to tell whether the series is good enough to get into long term (this is always true before I've read at least 3 issues, but lasted for 12 full issues with Superman recently), or (2) the series had been too mediocre to be sure I will like it long-term (but is either good enough to keep going on a month-by-month basis, or else something else is compelling me to keep giving it a chance).  The two titles that fell into these categories were +DC Comics'  Justice League of America, which just came out with #4 this month, and thus was "too early to tell," and +Marvel Entertainment's Captain America, which I started collecting because Cap is my favorite Marvel character, but which has been too strange and just plain too poorly written for me to put it on the pull list yet.

Along with these titles, I grabbed another issue of the third Supergirl series -- this was the second of two "New Krypton" crossovers for this series.  These issues appear in the 4-volume TPB Superman: New Krypton, but I have no interest in that story arc, and am only getting the Supergirl issues for completeness.  It was cheaper to just buy the two S-girl issues than to try and get the TPBs, especially since my comic shop doesn't have them (so now I'd have to pay for shipping on top of the TPB cost).

I haven't read Supergirl yet, but I have read JLA and Cap, and I've made a final "pull list decision" about one of them.

Justice League of America #4 - This series has been decent for four months, but also is slightly worrisome because it has been slowly backsliding.  I rated the first issue a 9/10, issues 2-3 8/10, and I only give this one a 7/10.  The art has deteriorated slightly, and the story is becoming tiresome.  The ending, which is supposed to be a cliffhanger, is ridiculous, because it seemingly depicts the death of a major character. This would have perhaps been suspenseful or dramatic, if not for the niggling little detail that the character depicted as dying has a series of his or her own, which is still ongoing.  Obviously this character cannot actually be dead or dying. So why am I supposed to be in suspense about this? The only question I have is how the character can look this "dead" but not actually be.  Also, again in terms of the art, the action sequences are really lame. There is no sense of kineticism or motion in the action panels. They all look like the characters paused in mid-action to pose for the camera.  Also, people's bodies are in very strange, ungainly positions.  So, this comic is staying on the "potential pull list." It hasn't been good enough, long enough, for me to commit to it.

Captain America NOW! #7 - This Marvel NOW! run of Captain America is perhaps the most disappointing series I have ever read in my life.  Captain America is the greatest superhero in the Marvel Universe.  He is one of the greatest superheroes in any universe.  He has always been one of the "weakest" in terms of power level, but that has never stopped him.  And for many years I was a huge fan of his comic, when the late, great Mark Gruenwald was writing it.  This series, however, is nothing like that wonderful run. It is without a significant supporting cast.  The plot is convoluted and strange.  Captain America is brutal and violent, and acts more like Wolverine than like Steve Rogers   His "12 year old" adopted son looks and acts like he's seven.  And the kid is so annoying that threats to him do not affect me, because I would honestly kind of prefer if this kid just died. I'd like it even better if they just retconned this whole psychedelic plot that reads like writer Rick Remender has been smoking some pretty intense hallucinogens before sitting down at his word processor.  I won't even mention the vomit-inducing art of John Romita, Jr., who has been such a horrible penciller for so many decades I cannot understand how the man still gets hired.  I rate this issue 3/10, and that's being generous.

And so with that issue, I have given up on Captain America.  Sorry, Cap. I tried. I really did.  I thought I could stick with it through this story arc and see where Remender is going. I gave it seven issues. But there's no end in sight for this thing, and I am not going to keep giving Marvel Comics money for a story that is so bad I wouldn't line a cat's litter box with it.  Perhaps the most bewildering thing is all the people writing in to say how much they love it.  I can only shake my head.  I can't imagine anyone liking this garbage. But as for me, at least, I'm definitely done.


  1. I've been getting Captain America for my 11 year old son and he's really been enjoying it. At first he liked reading the flashback scenes because he could relate more to the young, skinny and weak Steve but now he's getting bored with them. When the 'TV' got implanted into his chest, I thought for sure my son would call it 'stupid' and stop reading it. He surprised me by saying it was awesome and he can't wait to see what happens. I asked him how he thinks it'll all turn out and he seems convinced that Steve Rogers is going to die and give his shield to Ian who will eventually leave Dimension Z and be the new Captain America 'in real life'.

    I thought to myself, there's no way ANYONE would accept that fate for Cap but stranger things have happened with more positive results: Superior Spider-Man.

    So yes, my son is 11 and his experience with literature doesn't go much beyond Hunger Games and Percy Jackson, but he loves this series so far. Given that I read everything before he does, as odd a book as it's not horrible. Personally I wouldn't pull it every month but I can see how it would appeal to some.

  2. My problem with it is that this character is not Steve Rogers. There is a certain personality and behavior pattern for Steve Rogers. What we are reading in Captain America is not it. Remender either refuses to write Rogers "correctly," or else he is trying to do so and just failing utterly. If this were some Wolverine story, meh, fine. I wouldn't read it but it would work OK, perhaps. It's not my taste but OK.

    But as a Captain America/Steve Rogers story, it's horrible. This guy does not act like Steve. Not even a little bit.

    Your son may be right. In fact the more I think about it, the more I think he's got to be right - why else would they put Steve in the Dimension of Z for 12 years? But if he is right, then I'm glad I stopped now. Steve Rogers == Captain America = Steve Rogers. I would never read a "Captain America" about anyone else.

    One exception - the Mark Gruenwald storyline where Rogers gave up the Shield and Johnny Walker took over. That was acceptable to me because Steve Rogers was still in the story, in fact was the main character, as "The Captain." And he did not change his behavior. Imagine that.

    But this storyline is nothing like that. Gruenwald's writing buries Remender's.