Sunday, January 29, 2006

Comics Recap: Mostly Marvel Edition

Catwoman #51
One of the main appeals of this issue is of course the cover, because not only is it one of the best comics covers in general, it's one of the best Catowman covers. And in the lofty catalog of illustrator Adam Hughes, it's one of his best covers, too. It's a striking image-- it tells a very clear story and has the fantastic additive of being goddamn sexy. Nice cover.

Perhaps the only flaw is that in this time of illustration over content (as far as comic book covers are concerned) the cover does not relate to the story within the book. It may have, I'm not a regular reader of Catwoman so I don't know if she was in fact arrested, but she is not arrested in this issue. But it's still a good issue. I love the work of Pete Woods, he draws a very real and very attractive Catwoman. His character work in general is strong and he fills pages with alot of panels and detail. The colors are outstanding, Brad Anderson does a bulk of the work here since Woods' linework is so open; nearly every light source in any given scene is determined by color. The book's story by Will Pfeifer continues some ongoing Catwoman arcs and ties heavily into events with Identity Crisis, that being of Selina Kyle/Catwoman's mind being altered by Zatana and Catwoman confronting Bruce Wayne about just that. Catwoman's confrontation with Zatana happened last issue, and suddenly with an intriguing story and wonderful art Catwoman has become a book I'm interested in.

New Avengers #15
Look, Frank Cho can draw. He can draw like a motherfucker. The colorist has alot to live up to, Jason Keith in this case, and does a good job. It's alot of bold colors, not much subtlety, tho I must say some nice skin rendering especially noticeable in Cho's frequent close-ups. The story is standard Bendis, lots of conversation and personal interaction. Oh, I'd like to point out that the comics narrative caption has been replaced by a feakin' "blog entry." Way to keep your finger on the pulse of today, Bendis. Carol Danvers plays a role that is at times nice to be reading again and also damn weird. What was up with all those references to "House of M?" I've always liked the character, as Ms. Marvel, as Warbird, she's not exactly A-list but has a surprising weight in regards to Marvel continuity. Back in the day she was a raging alcoholic, whatever happened with that? And I've always wondered about the rumor of Bendis' Alias series. The rumor being that the main character was initially written as Carol Danvers-- she is easily interchangeable with the actual lead Jessica Jones. However the other rumor was that Jessica Jones was originally going to be Jessica Drew... Spider-Woman! That's all neither here not there, because Frank Cho can draw.

Spider-Man/Black Cat #6
Well it's finally over, what was that, four years? I don't remember anymore. I wish I could say it was worth the wait, Terry Dodson or no. It appears Felicia Hardy was indeed a victim of rape back in her college days, and that was the catalyst for her becoming Black Cat. Despite her father being a career criminal, it was the traumatic event and subsequent death of her rapist-- robbing Felecia of her chance for revenge ala Jennifer Lopez in "Enough"-- that lead her to a life of crime. It's not that Kevin Smith writes it poorly, it's just... so Lifetime Movie of the Week. Can't Felicia just be a bad seed? Why does she have to be a victim of a sexual assault to turn into a criminal? I find the psychological reasoning of a daughter trying to impress/live up to her father's image more likely than the former. There's all kinds of touchy-feely dialogue about talking about the problem and getting help and not being a victim, and I guess on some level this is constructive. I just can't figure out the audience Smith was writing to. The main problem here is mine: that I'm a guy in his 30's reading a Spider-Man comic. However, I don't know of many
young women privy to Felicia's unfortunate situation that read Spider-Man, either.

Back in the McFarlane days of Spider-Man, Black Cat had an nasty run in with Venom. As far as I know he didn't rape her, he just beat the shit out of her. Man, roles for women in comics suck.

X-Statix: Dead Gril #1
Well maybe things are looking up for chicks in comics, at least the dead ones. This book is awesome. A little blurry, but awesome. There's no mistaking the unique Allred visuals of which I will forever be a fan, even if it takes Nick Dragotta to help get it done (but you'd never know). Peter Milligan brings us a damn fine story in that great X-Statix fashion centered around none other than Dr. Strange. In fact the titular character isn't even in the book! That takes some balls, people. Well she does show up-- partially--on the last page. But what a last page... it's just sweet.

Uncanny X-Men #468
I love Chris Bachalo's art, but seriously, what the fuck is going on in this book? Call me jaded but back in the good 'ol days at least Chris Claremont was readable. This stuff is damn near indecipherable!

Hey, a couple issues ago, 'Ol Clever Claremont used the title, "Last Night I had the Strangest Dream." Was it a reference to Simon and Garfunkle's hippy folk song (plausible) or Frank Black's ode to the Powerpuff Girls (unlikely)? Or something else X-related (who knows). Just something that caught my eye.

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