Sunday, September 11, 2011

New Comics! (HERE BE SPOILERS!)

Captain America #2:  Brubaker and McNiven deliver a great issue here.  Although the story is a little "Inception"-esque at points, I thought Brubaker was ingenious in using the dream dimension as a vehicle for creating a villain who was Cap's contemporary during the war but who also hasn't aged.  Bravo could really turn into a great new Cap villain, given that he's got all the hallmarks of an arch-nemesis (personal grudge, romantic competition, competing abilities).  It also helps that McNiven's amazingly crisp artwork helped really sell the sense that the dream world was just as real as the real world.  I'm not sure if the huge Captain America that attacks our Captain America is Bravo, but I'm excited to see!  Brubaker seems to have quickly moved past the occasionally awkward character-introduction moments we saw in the first issue and is now going full throttle into this new chapter.  Despite how I feel about the unceremonious dumping of Bucky, I'm glad to see Brubaker get to stretch his creative muscles and focus on stories about Steve.  It's been a while, and I'm hoping it'll have been worth the wait.  So far, so good. 

Captain America and Bucky #621:  Well, I guess if I can't have an adult Bucky, the kid version isn't bad.  I thoroughly enjoyed the wise-cracking Bucky we got in this issue.  He manages to balance out Steve's "goody two-shoe"-ness, giving the partnership an edge and, in fact, even convincing Steve to act uncharacteristically brash.  (Flirting!  Actual flirting!)  As a result, it's a fun issue, even as the authors begin to address larger issues, like Bucky beginning to realize the consequences of killing.  It's an interesting place to start, given that we know Bucky will do all the killing in his burgeoning partnership with Cap, one of the darker aspects of their relationship that is rarely noted.  It'll be interesting to see where Brubaker goes with this story, particularly given the excellent work he did in focusing on Bucky's brutal past as a killer when he was writing about Bucky's transition to becoming Cap.  At any rate, the combo of humor and seriousness made for excellent reading and I'm becoming increasingly more excited about this series. 

Dungeons and Dragons #10:  OK, I admit to being confused about what, exactly, is happening here.  Last I remember, Fell's Five went to Al'Bihel and discovered that Thrumbolg -- the cyclops from issue #5 who was trying to invade our dimension by using world keys to open a dimensional gate -- stole the Guide of Gates.  Cool, I get that.  As such, Fell's Five go to Thrumbolg's stronghold to steal back the Guide.  Right, makes sense.  I even get that they cleverly pull a bait-and-switch ploy by trying to convince Thrombolg's Seneschal that they're merely the planned distraction and, in exchange for information on the main attack, they get to be sent home and to see the Guide.  Cool.  But, the problem is that the "guy" the Seneschal consults in deciding whether to accept the deal is NOT Thrombolg.  Thrombolg is a "crazy one-eyed giant," to use Adric's description.  The "guy" the Seneschal approaches not only has two eyes but is definitely more than a crazy giant.  So, does Thrombolg work for him?  Does anyone know of the "guy's" existence?  Confusing.  Rogers still has an issue left in this arc to reveal the truth (and to sort out the revelation that Trasgar from the original Feywild adventure survived).  He's pretty good at pulling these sorts of rabbits from his hat, so we shall see.

Superboy #11:  Um, yeah.  Although I enjoyed last issue, this issue is, I'm sad to say, a return to form.  It's all a series of deus ex machinas, from the Phantom Stranger revealing he gave Conner a figurine imbued with his powers, to Simon magically having a death-ray visor, to Phantom Stranger "helping" Psion Lad return the souls of Smallville's population to their bodies.  Moreover, the plot is even further muddied since Lemire is forced to abandon the "Simon as future bad guy" sub-plot as a result of the impending reboot.  Looking over these issues, I think my greatest problem with Lemire is that he just can't write dialogue that doesn't sound wooden to me.  The conversation between the four teens at the end feels totally forced; you don't get any sense that they have any affection for each other, despite the fact that we're supposed to believe that Lori, Psion, and Simon make Smallville home for Conner.  Finally, the less said about Gallo, the better.  In the end, this series is the one I'm most excited to see rebooted.

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