Tuesday, July 26, 2005

ScatterThoughts: The Books Of June 20th

I had planned to not get involved in the capsule review biz, but I realy can't find enough in last week's books to get anything substantial written. These won't be capsule reviews, as such, but just some thoughts. I don't relish grading someone else's work, and don't want to tell anyone how to spend your money. These are just the things that I interest me in the books shipping June 20th.

Ultimates 2 Issue 7
What I'm most enjoying is the way that Ultimates 2 out-Blockbusters the Summer Blockbuster. This is a Summer Blockbuster where you can have a true ensemble, with no real lead. It's a Summer Blockbuster where you can get past the halfway point, and still have major mysteries. It's a Summer Blockbuster where there are serious political issues raised. It's a Summer Blockbuster where not all your heroes are likable. It's a Summer Blockbuster where certain lines are crossed (on the next-to-last page) that would horrify the potential Happy Meal marketing partners.

This is not Watchmen - it's an action thriller with capes and tights. But it's also staying intelligent, and is a clear vision of what superhero comics can be at their best. I like being swept along in something big, and since it's not obeying the rules of Hollywood, I am never sure what's going to happen next.

JSA Classified Issue 1
Does it make a difference if it's a woman doing the exploiting?

I don't think it should, but I admit that if the name of the cover was Jeff McTestosterone instead of Amanda Conner (who's work I've always enjoyed), I'd probably have a different reaction to the artwork in JSA Classified #1. That's probably not fair to Jeff McTestosterone, is it? Or to Jim Lee, for that matter.

It never gets offensive, at least partially because this is Jessica Rabbit territory, and Conner seems to have a blast with it. I feel there's a knowing wink here - that Conner is exaggerating for the effect ... and that effect isn't just titillation.

The Black Diamond: On Ramp
In my quest to broaden my horizions, I picked up The Black Diamond: On Ramp, which contains extensive previews of two upcoming AIT/Planet Lar series: Smoke and Guns and The Black Diamond. There's large text pieces for eack of these, as well as more than a few sample pages. There's also a 1 page teaser for Five Fists of Science by Matt Fraction and Steven Sanders.

I think it says something about me that it's Five Fists of Science that will be getting my preorder dollar. I just don't know what that "something" is. But this description from the AIT/Planet Lar site .... well it makes my heart sing:

1899: Mark Twain decides to save the world. With the help of a terrifying invention created by millionaire playboy/scientist Nikola Telsa, the two get into the business of selling world peace. The problem? Nobody’s buying. When they run afoul of an evil science-cabal led by J.P. Morgan and Thomas Edison dedicated to infusing the Black Arts with the spirit of the Industrial Age, New York becomes the backdrop for a war over soul of man — and maybe even Earth itself.

There isn't enough steampunky western historical sci-fi. Not. Nearly. Enough.

Five Fists may partially redress that imbalance, however.


zilla said...

mark what do you think of JLA classified as a whole?

Mark Fossen said...

I haven't read much of JLA Classified. I read the opening arc by Morrison and yer man Ed McGuinness, as I love Morrison's JLA. But I skipped the next arc, because I'm not a big fan of that version of the league. I usually follow these kinds of series by the creators, and just skip who I don't like.