Recent Comic Reviews 4/22/07

JLA #8 Wow. I must admit that, outside of the Giffen/DeMatteis version, I've never been that interested in the JLA, but this issue made me a believer. Part one of a crossover with the JSA has the two teams interacting and sparring like the good old days. It's fun, interesting, and provides a nice slice of characterization for 20+ characters. Color me on board. All Star Superman #7 As a kid, Bizarro was always my favorite Superman villian, mainly because he was more of a freak than an actual bad guy. All the revisions of Bizarro since the Eighties have been less than interesting to me, and Morrison's take is nothing special either. Nevetheless, the over-the-top mania makes it a reasonably good issue---although making it a 2-parter in a comic that only comes out twice a year is a bit disappointing. Quitely's art is great, although it's always been a bit too creepy for me. But it seems to work for Bizarro.

Shadowpact #12 This is kind of a ho-hum issue as we learn a bit about Nightmaster's past and his heretofore unknown abilities. His secret power seems a little close to Dreadstar or Katana, but maybe it'll add some depth to an otherwise straightforward hero. Willingham is doing a good job of fleshing out his characters, but Shadowpact still isn't really a team book. On the plus side, the art also seems to be leveling out as this makes several months in a row with the same team of Derenick and Faucher.

She-Hulk #17 So the post-Civil War status still seems wrong, but She-Hulk as agent of SHIELD is growing on me. And seeing as Slott (w) hasn't completely forgotten her old life (and the old humor), I guessing I can live with it. It's funny (and a little depressing) to see She-Hulk take down old Hulk villains in a panel or two, but the "electronic gadgets go wild" story has always annoyed me. Kudos also to this book stabilizing it's art, as Burchett continues to do a fine job.

Ex-Machina #27 Vaughn (w) and Harris (a) turn in another entertaining issue as Mayor Hundred and the Gang deal with the East Coast blackout of 2003; but given the relative infrequency of this "monthly" title, I don't know why DC/Wildstorm doesn't just go straight to TPB. I think this title has the audience it's going to get, and it'd be nice to read a complete storyline in one sitting (rather than stretched out over forgetful months).

Green Arrow #73 I think I read GA for what it could be rather than what it is. One year after One Year Later began, Ollie's term as mayor is almost over, and we've seen almost nothing of it. I was hoping that GA would be another take on the Ex-Machina theme, but instead of a "GA fights bureaucrats by day and supervillains by night" we've had 4 months of Terminator (which wasn't too bad), 4 months on a desert island, and 4 months of Batman. It seems clear that Winnick (w) would rather be writing any hero other than GA. When we do see the tough-as-nails liberal Ollie, he's well done; but we just never see him.

And now a note about word balloons. I realize that lettering is a dying art, what with all the new kids using computer fonts and such. But this week's books struck me as particularly lacking in the area of reader-friendliness. It's not that the balloon placement was especially terrible, but it was simply ill-considered in numerous places. Look, how hard is to place balloons so that we read them in the right order? Left to right, up to down. Balloon #2 should always be lower and to the right of Balloon #1. I know that sometimes the artist is at fault, and the letterer tries to preserve the artwork by not placing a balloon over an important image. But that wasn't the case this week as I saw example after example of simply poor decisions (or thoughtlessness).