Sunday, August 15, 2004

Quick Reviews

I'm not the sort to go in-depth with reviews, but from time-to-time I'll offer some quick observations about things I've read. Ratings are on a 5-point scale, with 1's and 5's being rare.

JSA #64
by Geoff Johns, Jerry Ordway & Prentiss Rollins
First off, I love the cover by Ethan Van Sciver, a wonderful homage to the original house ad for Sandman. Infinity, Inc. was one of my favorite comics way back when, and as much as I generally loved Sandman, I was never too happy with the way that Lyta Hall was treated. So I'm glad to see some closure to the story of Hector & Lyta, even if the events in Sandman could only be obliquely mentioned. And it was good that Jerry Ordway could be along for the ride.
Rating: 3.5 (of 5)

Chosen #3
by Mark Millar & Peter Gross
Is there anyone who didn't see the 'surprise' ending coming from a mile away? (And what is it about British comic writers and anal rape, anyway?) Still, Millar tells the story in style, and it's always good to see Peter Gross's art. But this will have to be looked on as an opportunity wasted.
Rating: 3 (of 5)

JLA #103
by Chuck Austen & Ron Garney
Apparently not content with having written the worst X-Men story ever, Austen has turned his pen to the JLA. It's not that the story is so bad, but he's now told the same basic story 3 issues in a row, with different JLA members plugged in. (A story that takes about 3 minutes to read, I might add.) We get it: It's hard to be a super-hero. Can we move on, now? Add to that Garney's phoned-in art, and we have a completely underwhelming book. If I were smart, I'd skip the three remaining Austen issues and wait for Busiek to come on board. But am I smart? Probably not.
Rating: 1.5 (of 5)

Action Comics #818
by Chuck Austen, Ivan Reis & Marc Campos
Well, Austen and company certainly make this book live up to its name: there's plenty of action in each issue, just not enough explaination of why all this action is going on. Villains appear out of the woodwork, and pummeling ensues. Thankfully, Reis & Campos deliver on the dynamic artwork, so at least it's a visually stimulating 3 minutes.
Rating: 2 (of 5)

Captain America #30
by Robert Kirkman, Scot Eaton & Drew Geraci
Kirkman packs a lot of story into 22 pages of a super-hero comic. We get plenty of action, a little bit of romance, and glimpses of a plot which might make a bit more sense if I were following all of Avengers Dissembled. Which I'm not. (And someone needs to let Marvel's cover copy writer know that 'mercí' is French for 'thank you'--the French word for 'mercy' is 'pitié'.)
Rating: 3 (of 5)

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation: Thicker Than Blood
by Jeff Mariotte, Gabriel Rodriguez & Ashley Wood
Let's face it: IDW's books are priced too expensive. Their regular comics are $4, which places them well over my $3 rule and the content is never compelling enough for me to make an exception. But, since I found this in the LCS's 3/$1 box I decided to give it a try. It's not bad, and manages to tell a complete story in 44 pages, of about the same complexity as a regular episode of the tv series. Marriotte manages to get the voices of the characters right--I could easily hear the actor's voices in my head while reading--but unfortunately much of the actual dialogue comes off as rather banal. Rodriguez provides adequate art, but Wood's bits are completely confusing and do nothing to illustrate what actually happened--the exact opposite of the nifty-cool zooming effects from the tv show.
Rating: 2.5 (of 5)

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