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The Shopping List 8-4-10

08/05/2010

The Shopping List is exactly what it sounds like: a list of books I bought that week. I’ll post thoughts and give a score. Like many reviewers I read, I’ll probably be more story-focused. I was always good in English, not art. I prefer reviews that actually talk about the book, so spoilers will abound.

I rank books the way Netflix ranks movies. I usually find it too positive-heavy, but if a book is that bad, I shouldn’t be buying it anyway.
***** = Loved It
**** = Really Liked It
*** = Liked It
** = Didn’t Like It
* = Hated It

Shadowland #2Shadowland #2 by Andy Diggle and Billy Tan **

Problems. Not just for Daredevil, but for us too. I almost wrote that Matt Murdock had problems, but that’s just it. This story is too much about Daredevil and not enough about Matt Murdock.

Miller’s DD run was great because it was about Matt Murdock. It was about his girlfriend Elektra. It was about his life being destroyed by the Kingpin. Bendis’s run was great because it was about Matt Murdock. It was about his girlfriend and later wife, Milla. It was about his life being destroyed when his identity was outed. Diggle’s run has been too about the superhero and not enough about the man. Some people may welcome this after Brubaker’s very Matt-centric run, but without a private life, the book never gets grounded in a problem readers can relate to.

I understand and appreciate Marvel’s desire to bring their street-level heroes together, but Kingpin summoning Ghost Rider seemed a little out there for me; “honest businessman” my ass.

Billy Tan fares better this issue, but maybe only because his terrible rendition of Iron Man didn’t show up.

Young Allies 3Young Allies #3 by Sean McKeever and David Baldeón ****

Tom Brevoort described this book as “what you wanted Sean’s Teen Titans run to be“. And it is. Young heroes, going though their teen drama and trying to stop some bad guys. Operative word “trying.” They’re still fresh. They make mistakes. They trust too easily. Therein lies the fun. No need for retreads of three-year-old storylines or dogs mauling their owners.

Too many writers rely on fights for conflict. McKeever, as he did in The Waiting Place, let’s his characters be themselves and the conflict comes naturally: disagreements over how to deal with a threat, the sadness of having a deadbeat dad. One page of fighting, 22 pages of drama. Well done Mr. McKeever.

Captain America 608Captain America #608 by Ed Brubaker and Butch Guice ***

Nevermind Hawkeye and Mockingbird, the superspy couple I want to read about is Cap and Black Widow. (Nice idea for when Widow’s solo book gets canceled. [I like that book a lot, but don’t hold out much hope.]) A superhero being outed is interesting. I just hope Bru can do something different than Bendis did on Daredevil. The next arc is called “The Trial of Captain America.” I remember DD being arrested, but I don’t remember a trial. *Fingers crossed.*

Since issue #1, Captain America’s art, whether by Epting, Perkins, Luke Ross or Butch Guice has been the pinnacle of consistency. But this issue, with two inkers and three colorists, breaks the tradition. Line thickness is too irregular, colors are too bright. It just doesn’t fit.

The Nomad backup continues telling good, if short, stories. The cliffhanger of Steve telling Rikki she can drop the mantle feels like false stakes. She’s got an ongoing series, plus an appearance on a new team. It’s not going to happen.

Felipe Andrade’s art is a downgrade from David Baldeon, but I think most artists would be. He has a style that I don’t hate, but his storytelling isn’t great. The man with a gun to Rikki’s head doesn’t get hit by a fist; he gets hit by … nothing. And she would never exit the booth in the direction she does if she wanted to hug Steve. A different angle could have solved that problem. Am I being picky? Sure, but if someone’s making their debut to most people, (his only other ComicBookDB listing is for the recent X-23 one-shot), there is no reason to have such easily solved problems.

Secret Six #24Secret Six #24 by Gail Simone and J. Calafiore ****

This was unexpected. I’m sure I read the solicit three months ago, but I was surprised by this wild west Elseworlds story. Simone takes some of the current Six, some old favorites and tells a fun, exciting story. It’s nice to see characters repurposed and even nicer when their new roles make sense, like Scandal as Sheriff (Leader) and Bane as Native American muscle (Brazilian muscle). My favorite part has to be the ending. Elseworlds, What If?s, etc. can have finales that would never happen in their regular universes and Simone takes advantage. Highly recommended.

Come back next week, ya hear?

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