While having lunch with Trey Causey and Chris Sims Saturday, I was struck by the thought that perhaps I spend too much time on this blog obsessing over BAD comics and not enough time mentioning the ones I'm really enjoying. So today, I'm gonna change up my usual point of view and mention some bright spots in the world of comics right now.
Justice League - Generation Lost
I've always been a fan of the old Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis and Kevin Maguire Justice League and while the team has had a couple of mini-series in the past, those always had that Brady Bunch Reunion feel to them. You could just tell it was a temporary reunion with a certain hollowness to it that I've never been able to pinpoint. Fortunately, this series has not suffered from that same malaise. For some reason, it feels more vital and exciting than the previous reunions of the old Justice League. I think partly because the story originates from the ashes of Blackest Night, but also partly, maybe, from the addition of all people Judd Winnick.
I've never really cared for the majority of Judd Winnick's comics output, but this Giffen/Winnick combo seems to be clicking much in the same way that the old Giffen/DeMatteis used to with convincing dialogue and some nice plot twists. And while not Kevin Maguire, the art team of Fernando Dagnino and Raul Fernandez are nicely matched for this type of big team action book.
Amazing Spider-man 637
Holy crap! What's this doing on the list?!
Well, good question - like a lot of people, I had to see what was the overall point of this issue (not much as far as I was able to discern) but what I was impressed with was the fantastic art by Paolo Rivera. Normally, I find myself sort of wincing when I read modern comics as it seems so many of today's artists are too busy trying to mimic Byran Hitch or Ed Benes (or whoever the hot new artist is at the moment). These mimickers seem to have forgotten that storytelling -not pinup pages - is the ultimate goal of comic art. So, when I got to Rivera's pages in ASM 637, I was floored by how clean and fluid they were.
Check this page out...
Rivera's art is so good, I had to check 3 times to make sure the pages I was looking at were actually drawn by a modern artist. Of the new material in the comic, he was definitely the bright spot.
I dropped this title during the Warren Ellis run (I heard it finished up good, but it just wasn't my thing at the time.) However, this series went through a rebirth of sorts, and based on the sample I saw in the Heroic Age giveaway, I decided to give it a try. So far, I've been really happy with the everything Jeff Parker is doing with this comic. The dialogue is crisp and witty. The plot twists come a mile a minute and Parker has a knack for ending each issue with a cliff-hanger that keeps me coming back month after month.
It also helps that each issue has some cute ideas in it (Man-Thing as a transportation system, a part Troll, part Asgardian foundling, irradiated Terrigen crystals, etc...)
The art by Kev Walker isn't really the type of stuff I generally like, trending more towards Mike Mignola than I care for, but I'll readily admit my artistic tastes could be classified as outdated. Overall, Thunderbolts is one of the books that has a legacy of being good under Kurt Busiek and Mike Bagley, with a real focus on character dynamics, and I can say that the team of Parker and Walker are honoring that legacy in grand fashion.
The Return Of Bruce Wayne
Let me just say, if the recent Jonah Hex movie left a bad taste in your mouth, then this issue will make a great pallet cleanser. Not only is there a nice twist on the Man with No Name gimmick, but Morrison also gets bonus points for having Batman win several gunfights while still playing nice with the Caped Crusader's aversion to fire arms. (Something the people writing the First Wave books probably wouldn't understand.)
Grant Morrison is usually one of those writers whose work runs hot and cold with me. I loved his Doom Patrol and JLA from the 90's and some of his newer stuff like his DC Comics Presents homages, Seven Soldiers and WE3, but other stuff (The Filth, Infinite Crisis) hasn't really clicked with me. On the whole, he strikes me as a writer who genuinely tries to use continuity as a tool rather than as an impediment - and this mini definitely shows that side of him at its best. This series has been so good, it gives me great hopes for Thunder World his recently announced 38 page Captain Marvel story. Though I find this comment from Morrison a bit ominous:
[The story will contain] everything I wanted to say about those characters
Not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing. Guess we'll have to wait and see.
And on that note, I'll leave you with today's Free Comics - two issues of Captain Marvel Adventures from 1945.
[ Captain Marvel 46 ]
[ Captain Marvel 47 ]