I haven't written any substantial comics posts in a while, but the last two weeks were so good that I've gotta do it.
DC's Secret Six is now at #3 and it is so good. Gail Simone is just a top writer, and giving her a sandbox of tertiary characters lets her skills shine. In three issues she has introduced an intriguing new villain and a major new artifact to the DCU.
And Nicola Scott's artwork is absolutely perfect. Her pencils are realistic in proportion and presentation, finely detailed, and full of animation and expression. I like super-stylized stuff (like, say, Pat Gleason on Green Lantern Corps), but a gimmicky style is also usually used to disguise weaknesses in the forms... there is none of that here. Her stuff is real. It is a pleasure to pick up a book that both looks and reads this well (Yes, I know that the inker and colorist have a lot to do with this too!)
But I think DC needs to figure out what's up with Cheetah's costume. If her skin is colored like a cheetah's, does this mean I'm looking at her naked ass here?
Jonah Hex #37 features the rare instance of Hex having sex; I guess Palmiotti and Gray decided to give the poor guy a break! It's also a return issue for artist Jordi Bernet, whom I've lauded before. It's like John Severin meets Bruce Timm in as European comic strip... that's how his style reads to me.
Huge revelation in JSA #20: Starman's costume is actually a map of the Multiverse. Why wasn't this book given the "Sightings" tag? Plus there's a nice splash page with an Idiot's Guide to Crisis on Infinite Earths / Infinite Crisis. It's been so great to follow this book, as Geoff Johns has been playing chess with these characters since issue one. I'm sure I've mentioned this before as well, but having Dale Eaglesham do the art for the New Earth sequences and then switch to Jerry Ordway's classic lines for the Earth-2 bits is brilliant.
And Mr. Terrific. Again and again you prove to be one of my favorites. I am deeply ashamed that I didn't follow you into Checkmate.
And tying all of this into Kingdom Come? But without bastardizing or selling out the Kingdom Come original? So well done.
Speaking of that, it was nice to see Alex Ross again return to Kingdom Come in the JSA tie-in Kingdom Come Special: Superman. Although a little Alex Ross goes a long way. Yes, he is incredibly talented, but the more of his art that you see, you more you realize that he relies on the same poses and expressions.
Still, it was great to get some additional in-canon material for the Kingdom Come characters (which, really, is over a decade old now). The meeting between "our" Lois Lane and the Kingdom Come Superman was beautiful.
I really enjoyed Marvel Apes, and I am on board for any future Apes projects. (Especially if Marvel allows the cute cliffhanger ending of issue four to be played out!) Here's hoping that Marvel doesn't waste this world in some ill-conceived Apes vs. Zombies garbage. And that it doesn't follow the Marvel Zombies arc of going from really good to really shitty inside of two miniseries.
Does anybody not see the Guardians heading for a HUGE fall soon? In Green Lantern Corps #30, not only does that messed-up scarface Guardian try to intimidate the Zamarons into bowing out of the Lantern arms race (Really? She thought that would work?), and secretly instruct Yat to destroy the entire Zamaron planet should she give the signal, but then she outlaws love in the Corps. Just as several groups of married and involved Lanterns have been chasing that monster Kryb across the cosmos. Asshat.
At least we now know what happened to Fatality and that crazy ghost dog lady from Sinestro Corps. Pink uniforms all around! And let's drop the silly "Fatality" codename while we're at it.
DC, I'm ready for a third Lantern book. Although it's been a while since John and Guy had their own books, I'm thinking more along the lines of a full-on alien series... focusing on the non-human members of the Corps. Like a new Tales of the GLC, or GLC Quarterly, to name-drop titles from once upon a time. Heck, drop the "Green" from the title so we can get stories about Lanterns of every color.
Booster Gold #14, still one of the most fun books on the racks. I fear for the day that somebody decides Booster needs to be a serious book and they kill the mojo. "Thank you, magic hand!"
Was it a good idea to do Trinity right alongside Final Crisis? Because I regularly get confused, between the two of those and the JSA Kingdom Come storyline. All three are sort of covering similar ground, with plenty of alternate universes and timelines. The last few issues of Trinity have been really good, as we see what the DCU could be like without Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. It's been a great payoff to the first fifteen issues being mainly about mysterious strangers pickpocketing the three of them. I have got to sit down and re-read this in one sitting, because it is better than 52 and way better than Countdown.
There was more of my man Mr. Terrific in Final Crisis: Resist. Once again, it's great to see DC let a smart guy just be a smart guy. I hope his decisions here in Resist become an important point back in the core Final Crisis series.
I also liked casting Justin Long as Snapper Carr.
Carrying out the weaker end of two week's serialized entertainment are Titans #7 and Batman: Cacophony #1. I'm in Titans because I like Wally, I like Nightwing, and I like the made-by-marketing idea of melding the original Teen Titans lineup with the animated Teen Titans lineup. But there's a lot of Titans backstory I'm not getting, even though I did do a few years of New Titans and Young Justice not that long ago. I will say that I greatly prefer Julian Lopez's art to whoever did the first few issues of this series.
Cacophony is the big new miniseries written by Kevin Smith... so I expect to enjoy the words, but not so much the art, which is by Smith pal Walt Flanagan. Walt needs some anatomy lessons pronto. I'm assuming he and Smith worked on the layouts together, and there is some nice work there (like when Joker peeks over his copy of "The Fountainhead," which they managed to do without resorting to the modern comic artist's crutch of photocopying panels! Although there is a lousy copy job near the end.), but most of the book looks like awkward fan art. Looks like the guy could develop a definite style, he just needs the proper training.
I don't know whether to applaud DC for not blowing out Kevin Smith's name on the cover, or chastise them for not blowing out Kevin Smith's name on the cover. I mean, you have to get really close to find that the guy wrote this book; casual fans are going to completely miss it. It also doesn't help that the cover (NOT by Walt Flanagan, but instead a generic Adam Kubert piece) is all red and black and therefore almost invisible on the shelves.