Friday, April 08, 2005

Quick Super-Hero Reviews

Power Pack #1
by Marc Sumerak, Gurihiru, & Chris Eliopoulos
I have previously declared my love for Power Pack, so I may not be the most objective reviewer here, but this was a very fine first issue of an all-ages comic, one that met my high expectations. Katie, the youngest, has written and drawn an essay on "My Best Summer Ever," which tells the secret origin of Power Pack, and the rest of the kids have to convince her to not turn it in as her assignment at at school. Oh yes, and they have to fight a young snark too. Sumerak's story hits every note just right, and the manga-tinged art by Gurihiru is wonderful and filled with vibrant colors. The bonus back-up story (and it is a bonus, being five extra pages on top of the main story's twenty-two) features honorary Packer and Fantastic Son Franklin Richards, with Eliopoulos doing a riff on Calvin & Hobbes. This whole package is just a fun, charming comic book; buy one for the kids, and another for yourself.
Rating: 3.5 (of 5)

Seven Soldiers: Zatana #1
by Grant Morrison, Ryan Sook & Mick Gray
Zatanna by Morrison & Sook? I was sold on this as soon as it was announced, and it's just as good as I'd hoped it would be. Everyone's favorite fishnet-wearing magician has been having a tough time of it lately and has turned to a super-hero support group to deal with her self-esteem issues. I like how Morrison characterizes Z as a woman who is not quite at home as a magician or a super-hero (though maybe her self-esteem would be better if she wasn't always dressing up in fetish clothing...) Once again Morrison manages to quickly introduce us to several new characters, and he and Sook give us a wonderfully creepy Baron Winters as well. There are references to a lot of Alan Moore here, including the finale of "American Gothic" and a riff on Promethea (apt, with inker Gray along), but they never overwhelm the story. Sook turns in some great art, though at times Gray's inking is so strong that it threatens to overwhelm. This is my favorite so far of the Seven Soldiers series; the only bad thing is that we have to wait two months for the next issue.
Rating: 4 (of 5)

Superman/Batman #18
by Jeph Loeb, Carlos Pacheco & Jesús Merino
Okay, so this whole "Absolute Power" story has been just one continuity riff after the other, but darn if I didn't turn into a gibbering fanboy when a certain super-group showed up near the end. If you look at it too closely, the whole story doens't really make one lick of sense, but I was having too much fun to care, and Pacheco & Merino sure to draw some pretty art (although, given the delays on this book, I worry about the schedule for the upcoming Green Lantern series...) A big fanboy geek-fest is Superman/Batman, but sometimes we old fanboys need to geek out.
Rating: 3 (of 5)

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