Recent Comic Reviews 8/1/07

Justice League of America 11: Meltzer (w) pens an odd issue as Red Arrow and Vixen are trapped under a collapsed building. Ha's painted artwork is likewise a strange choice and seems overwrought. It's not a bad comic, but it felt a little light on story, and maybe that's just because you never really believe that these two characters won't make it. Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man 22: It's the end of an error as the Arrow/the Other saga comes to a close. This Spider-Man villain (or other self?) always seemed rather pointless at best and an outright stupid direction for SM at worst. The dialogue in this issue was especially atrocious, and Betty Brant with a gun is just wrong. Still, David's (w) handling of the supporting cast remains the strength of this title which is being cancelled (or replaced) in a few months. I feel like David never really had a chance to shine, but maybe it's jsut I remember his mid-Eighties Spidey so fondly.

Countdown 41 & 40: I'm not sure why I'm still getting this train wreck of a series. I suppose it's out of an affinity for its predecessor, 52. I just don't really care about any of the characters. I hate Tim Drake/Red Robin; I don't care about Mary Marvel; Donna Troy hasn't been handled right in twenty years; even Jimmy Olsen's story--which should be the coolest--is barely treading water. I had high hopes for the rogues' storyline, but it seems to be going nowhere. I have a feeling that DC has even less idea what it wants to do with its universe/multiverse than it did before the recent Crisis. Still, I must say that the title seems to be getting less bad with each issue, so maybe there is hope.

Army @ Love 5: Veitch (w/a) seems to be doing more to develop the characters and making the social commentary a secondary consideration---which makes sense given that this is to be a long-running series. As this title goes on, I have a sneaking suspicion that I'll need to read several issues at a time rather than one a month in order to keep the characters and stories straight. I still get a kick out of it, but there are enough moving parts that I think it'll read better as a TPB.

Crossing Midnight 9: This title is in the same boat . I am really enjoying the storyline of the twins, but keeping track of the characters and motivations is a bit difficult from month to month. It may be that Vertigo titles have reached a point of maturity where monthly publication no longer makes sense (they are selling poorly as singles anyway) and they should go straight to TPB.

Speak of the Devil 1: Gilbert Hernandez begins the story of a gymnastic teenager unhappy with her new stepmother who takes out her frustration by prowling her neighborhood at night in a devil mask. It's not bad, but it's not clear that there's much to sustiain this story for another 4 issues.

Grendel: Behold the Devil 0: After many years, Matt Wagner sets off on a new Grendel title. This fifty-cent intro to the new story arc returns us to the classic Hunter Rose, but adds a twist by having Christine Spar (Grendel II) examine what actually happened. It could be that this will be a tale of secrets and lies and the possiblility of reconstructing what happened in the past; or it may simply be another tale of the malevolent masochist crimelord. Either way, it looks promising.

MODOK's 11 #1: Van Lente (w) brings together some of Marvel's C-list and D-list villains to create a silly take on the heist of the century. This first issue is cute and shows some promise, but I'm still unconviced that eleven lame characters (actually some are cool, they've just never been written well) can add up to something greater than the sum of its parts. Nevertheless, I'll pick up issue 2.