Recent Comic Reviews 1/31/07

A few semi-recent reads: Dr. Strange: The Oath #4 I'm enjoying this mini-series by Vaughn (w) and Martin (a). It's one of the better Dr. Strange stories in years (if not decades). But I'm a little disappointed in some of the cliches it dredges up. Did the villain have to be another student of the Ancient One? Wouldn't any student of magic work just as well without violating Strange's origin? Likewise, despite a very nice job by Martin on the art, I just don't think he's right for this book. Dr. Strange should be dark and sleek with some flair; and this is just a little too down-to-earth.

She-Hulk #15 This issue takes place after Marvel's Civil War (well, not really, since that debacle still hasn't ended as a result of a terrible execution of both storyline and publishing schedule) and Shulkie is now an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. tracking down the Hulk's villains while he is off the planet. The art by Burchet is still nice, but I'm not liking this new direction: it's too serious; we've lost the supporting cast (which was a big draw for me); and even Shulkie seems out of character with her "I'm not as strong as the Hulk" insecurities. I'm giving it a chance, but Slott (w) needs to prove to me quickly that this is a good route to take on what has up until now been a fun book for me.

Shadowpact #9 ...and yet another artist jumps into the mix. I've never been much of a fan of the Demon. And Willingham (w), in the space of a page, seems to undermine the last few years of this character's adventures. Which is another way of saying that he burns Byrne, which has a certain deliciousness to it, but doesn't make me any more of a fan. I was also disappointed in Shadowpacts "rules of engagement." They are appropriate enough, I suppose, but they seemed a little mundane after all the buildup. I'm enjoying this book, but it still feels like it hasn't come together yet---kind of like Byrne's Alpha Flight, as a matter of fact---and the lack of a regular artist only underscores the problem.

Y: The Last Man #53 also seems to have lost it's regular artist, but at least here, the fill-in pencillers try to keep the style consistent. This issue features a good look at a minor character that we haven't seen in awhile. And, despite my eagerness for the main storyline to wrap up, this is the kind of tale---examining the world of Y---that keeps the title fresh for me.

Lucifier: Evensong I haven't actually read this one yet, but I'm so thrilled that this last book has finally arrived. Now to sit down and read the the whole saga (Lucifer TPBs 1-11 along with the relevant Sandman TPBs: 1, 4, and 7, if I remember correctly). Even if it all falls apart at the end, it'll be a great ride.