Thursday, October 6, 2011

Mini-Reviews: Captain Atom, Teen Titans, Firestorm, Stormwatch

As I mentioned in the last blog I wanted to catch up with all my missed posts from the past few days.  The easiest way to do so was to write them all at once but in an abridged form.  I’ve wanted to try doing Mini-Reviews for a while now but haven’t gotten around to it.   This seems like a good time to try it though.  So these reviews will be much shorter than normal and lack a lot of the more “rant” elements my reviews tend to have, nor will they have the huge amount of information ad background I usually give; just my thoughts on what I read and what I liked and disliked.

So the reviews I’ll be doing today are Captain Atom #1, Teen Titans #1, Stormwatch #1, and The Fury of Firestorm: The Nuclear Men #1.   Check them out after the jump.



Captain Atom #1(2011)
Writer: J.T. Krul
Artist: Freddie Williams II 
Title: “Evolution

I think that this story works decently as first issue as we get action while also giving us an indication of what Captain Atom is capable of.   I suppose the biggest problem was that it sort of feels like we were dropped in the middle of everything. I really don’t understand much about the Captain’s current status quo nor who exactly the Continuum is or how they are related to him.   However despite we do gte to se the best of Nathaniel Adam here as he goes right to work on saving as many people he can knowing full well that the use of his powers could, and probably will, kill him.  He never complains, he doesn’t angst and he never second guesses himself in this decision.   That is what I want to see in a goddamn superhero.  The downside I really hated the artwork here.  Though there are good points I really didn’t like the way characters were drawn and they were a bit hideous.  Also the Captain’s new costume design is okay (An overall step down from his classic appearance) but the energy leaking from his head is straight up ridiculous.  Whoever thought that looked god in the pre-production stage may be a bit crazy.

Also I gotta say it: I wish Captain Atom was a member of the Justice League: International.  At least he’s not The Monarch anymore.

Pictured: Captain Atom's brief flirtation with omnicidal mania
 Captain Atom #1 gets 3 out 5 Adorable Pandas.

Pros 

-I really like the way Captain Atom is portrayed

Cons 

-I do not like the art at all

-I wish some time was taken to explain a bit more of what’s going o


Teen Titans #1 (2011)

Writer: Scott Lobdell
Artist: Brett Booth (Pencils), Norm Rapmund (Ink)
Title: “Teen Spirit

So this is another comic written by our friend Scott Lobdell.  I will say that this comic is 1000% better and less offensive than Red Hood and the Outlaws.   I dislike that this comic tosses out years of Teen Titans canon but there’s still some stuff to like about what we have.  I like Tim Drake’s portrayal as it meshes well with what has been established with the character in the past.  I also thought that for this comic as its own entity (As opposed to linking with decades of character development in other titles) Wonder Girl was pretty cool and an interesting foil to the straight laced and mysterious Red Robin.  The artwork was really good as well and the action scenes were done particularly well. I also like the new costumes for Wonder Girl and Red Robin (Though for him it really didn’t need to happen) except for his “wings” which look really silly.  Don’t underestimate capes, DC.  The other character designs, that we basically only see on the cover, are not very impressive and in some cases look like ’93 Image Comics rejects.  Speaking of the cover since only Tim, Cassie, and…ugh, “Kid Flash” are the only guys to have a significant role in the comic I have to wonder what the hell was the point of all these new characters who I’ve never seen and are never identified in the comic itself hanging to on the cover?  How do you do, Metal Spider Lady?  WHO THE SHIT ARE YOU?!?!?  Not to mention the large amount of continuity questions that this comic brings up that you have ignore to get through it.  How long was Tim acting as Robin and how since he retired?  Has there ever been Teen Titans before this?   Things like that.  I feel it’s too early to tell with this book.  It’s not bad at all but it suffers from the fact that if you were a fan of the team and characters beforehand it will be annoying to go through all that character development again.  But you know me; I’m not one for character development anyway. [*Rolls Eyes*]

By the way I think I hate (Bleh) Kid Flash, which is no surprise, and I dread having to read more of him.  I also have no idea who it is behind the mask.   If it’s Bart Allen then it sucks that his character has taken such a strange direction but at least Bart will be there.  However if it turns out that this guy is the missing Wally West, the One True Flash, then f**k this reboot.

Teen Titans #1 gets 3 out of 5 Adorable Pandas.


Pros

-Pretty good characterization for Red Robin and Wonder Girl

-Good artwork

-Good action

Cons 

-Raises a lot of questions of continuity

-Kid Flash sucks, surprising no one

-Want to know who those unfamiliar people on the cover are? TOO BAD, HUMPTY-DUMPTY DOO!!!


The Fury of Firestorm: The Nuclear Men #1

Writer: Ethan Van Sciver and Gail Simone
Artist: Yildiray Cinar
Title: “God Particle

I’ve said it before: Gail Simone is likely my favorite comic book writer today.  I don’t know much about Van Sciver other than he’s primarily an artist (He does the cover and I really like it).  Anyway I like how the narrative is told from both Ronnie Raymond and Jason Rusch’s point of view.  Plus I think it’s kind of cool that instead of trying to figure out who stay on as the true Firestorm in the reboot they simply made both of them Firestorm and made them co-stars in the book; I think that was a rather smart decision.  I also think the art is decent, though Fury in the book looks a lot less appealing than he does on the cover.  And frankly that’s all the good I have to say about this book.  The dialogue feels very clunky and forced all over the place.  Neither of the two main characters are very likable.   Ronnie’s a bit of a meat head but Jason is a huge asshole.  He’s both a snobby jock hating nerd (Unlike me, who’s a laid back nerd) and a black dude seems to see racism everywhere (Unlike me who only sees racism about half the time).  The whole concept of “Fury” is confusing and kind of dopey.  Too much stuff happens too quickly in the last few pages.  Frankly I’m surprised that Simone wrote something like this.   This is pretty much what we got instead of a reliance of Secret Six.  Thanks for nothing, guys.

I should also point out that I know little about Firestorm other than what I just looked up on Wikipedia, but it seems that a lot of changes were made to the nature of the character.  Were I a longtime fan of the character(s) I’d be pretty put off by DC change classic elements for seemingly no good reason.   As a non-fan I can say that what they do have isn’t exactly making me want to read anymore.   So I won’t.

Neither of these Firestorms has a middle age man talking to them in their heads
Blasphemy, I say!!
Let’s say Fury of Firestorm: The Nuclear Men gets 2 out of 5 Adorable Pandas.


Pros 

-Dual protagonist works pretty well

-The art is pretty decent

Cons 

-Said dual protagonists aren’t particularly likable

-The dialogue isn’t that good

-Has a plot that could have been stretched out over a few issues that happens all in the last few pages of this one book 

Stormwatch #1 (2011)

Writer: Paul Cornell 
Artist: Miguel Sepulveda 
Title: "The Dark Side"

Okay.  Very quickly: Stormwatch was originally one of the main titles form Jim Lee’s Wildstorm imprint during the earliest days of Image Comics.  Lee sold Wildstorm to DC some years ago when he became exclusive to them.  With this new reboot DC has decided to integrate the Wildstorm Universe into the DCU’s continuity much in the same way they did with The Question, Plastic Man, Captain Marvel and, indeed, Captain Atom long ago.  Several of the characters in this comic are associated with The Authority, a spin-off of the original Stormwatch and known for being extremely violent.  Too violent for the DCU.  The DCnU on the other hand… 

Anyway this comic feels like I’m being plopped in the middle of something and it all feels very confusing.  Whatever is the threat that’s supposed to be going on it’s all pretty unclear what exactly is happening.  Though there’s a note that implies that if I go buy Superman #1 it may make more sense.  Fantastic.  Homework.  Great.  Anyway not a whole lot happens in this issue.  A failed attempt to recruit Apollo, some dude with swords talks to a giant eyeball but gets no answers at all, and the moon looks kind of pissed.  The story is weird; not bad but I’m kind of lost.  Then again there’s something about all the characters gathered here. I’m intrigued by this new team, mainly by the characters form the Authority and the Martian Manhunter (Not crazy about the three new characters).  What I’ve seen of them implies that this will not be your ordinary superhero comic and that’s a good thing.  I find myself looking forward to the next issue mainly because I want to see them development.  The book does a pretty good job of giving us an indication of who they are and what are capable of.   I think it’s a testament to the strength of these characters that despite the comic itself not being so hot I’m extremely interested in buying more simply because of them.  This book is actually very similar to Demon Knights, also written by Cornell, but that book’s story was a bit better while this one had more interesting characters.   Both of them will need a full story arc before I can know whether it will be a truly good comic or not.

"Don't !@#$ with J'onn J'onzz, cracker-ass humans!"
I give Stormwatch #1 3 out of 5 Adorable Pandas.


Pros 

-Really interesting characters. 

Cons 

-The plot is a bit confusing 

-The art is fair, but has a few errors here and there


Final analysis on all these comics next week. Probably.

2 comments:

  1. I would have liked Fury of Firestorm more if they had played it off as a wacky, buddy-cop book. "Firestorm, you're a loose cannon! Say hello to your new partner, Firestorm. He's a twenty-year man with a clean record who plays by the rules. Now get out there and bust that cocaine ring!"

    A few general thoughts on the new 52: I know you don't read them and probably have no interest in them, but Animal Man and Swamp Thing are far and away the best titles of the current line-up. When they cross-over in a few issues, my head and my nethers may very well explode from awesome. Batwing has also been very enjoyable, and I'm glad I took a chance on it. All-Star Western was pretty bad-ass, and it's nice to know that a even a reboot can't stop Jonah Hex from being a fucking BOSS.

    This was originally going to be part of a larger post for your review of Red Hood, but since I don't feel like sitting and composing a lengthy diatribe today, I'll make it brief and (maybe) less potentially offensive (thanks for the shout-out in the review, btw. I <3 you too): Red Hood and the Outlaws was nowhere near as bad as everyone seems to be making it out to be. The new character, Essence, is rather interesting, and I'm curious to see how Jason Todd and a group of dead Tibetan mystics go together. Yes, all the characters so far are rather unlikeable, but what if that's the point? What if we're supposed to see them grow and change over the course of the book, eventually earning redemption? Growth and character development in comics? Gasp! Well, I never! As for the whole 'sexism/misogyny' thing with Starfire, I'm going with my better judgement and just biting my tongue here. I will say, however, that the issue got blown WAAAAAY out of proportion, and that because I had to sit through seven straight days of bitching and stupidity on the internet from angry feminists and white knights, not only am I going to continue to buy Red Hood and the Outlaws every month, I'm going to buy multiple copies to boost the numbers. Take that, feminism!

    - Travis 'I hate vagina' S.

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  2. That's a nice book book you've started in my comment section, Travis. Let me know when it's done.

    The Starfire thing, I suspect, is indicative of a larger problem at DC and people are losing their minds over that rather than this one issue. Which is good. Superhero comics are sexist and they really shouldn't be here in 2011.

    I too am upset about it but the thing that bothers me the most is that Starfire is basically a new character who happens to have the same name as the classic character. And yeah, I'm actually 100% sure that these characters are supposed unlikeable and will likely grow as time goes on but right now, with that one issue, I hate all three of them. Completely. Why would I want to read a comic starring characters I hate? For the hope that one day they might become decent human beings at some unspecified time in the future? I'll use my money on something other than on a serial killer and the people who hang out with him, thank you. Unless it's Dexter Morgan, I mean.

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