IMJ Capsule Reviews™ – All New Comic Book Reviews for the Week of 8.29.12!

Long time readers and fans of Mr. Melendez will fondly remember his old Capsule Reviews columns on the old CCW Blog. It was a place true comic fans could come and get honest views from other fans… Reviews that mattered.
Ever since we started Inveterate Media Junkies, we’ve been soclose to bringing this column back. The logo you see above was actually created by the IMJ Logo Monkeys™ over a year ago. First, Insideman started to revive the column with short HC/GN reviews– but then his Insideman’s Pull List took off. Then Jose and Ian were going to do the column together– each reading the same four or five comics every week. As luck would have it, we picked a particular week where every single one of the comics were so bad, we both said, “Screw It.” Yes, they were that depressing.
But sometimes, good things actually do come to those who wait.
We hope you enjoy the All New, Slightly Different IMJ Capsule Reviews™ column. With two more stellar reviewers in the house– aCBL’s Tommy Devine and novelist, comic fan and IMJ’s own Screen Burn TV columnist W.D. Prescott– we know we’re ready for anything… And we hope you all become very vocal with your opinions as well.

SPACEMAN #9
Red Crater
Writer: Brian Azzarello
Art: Eduardo Risso

This is the final book in the Spaceman miniseries, and I’m glad it’s done. It’s not been bad by any means… But it was a story that could have been told in 6 issues.

Once you get past to the dialogue (a terrible version of English), the comic is actually interesting. Spaceman revolves around a dystopian future with smart Space Monkeys from Mars, odd Skype-using Prostitutes, super Heroin-like drugs, Money(creds), crazy Reality TV, and a giant gap between the rich and poor. The story follows Orson, a huge Space Monkey protecting a little girl. In this final issue, the adventure ends in a way I didn’t see coming– but one I really liked. And before I forget, Risso’s art was outstanding in every issue of this book. – Tom Devine

Angel & Faith #13
Family Reunion Part 3
Writer: Christos Gage
Art: Rebekah Isaacs

Things were looking pretty bad for Buffy The Vampire Slayer at the end of the train-wreck that was the comic series called Buffy Season 8.

And while Buffy’s Season 9 book– and its spinoff Angel & Faith both have to deal with the repercussions of a world where magic no longer exists… It seems Angel & Faith was saddled with the biggest slap to the face BTVSS8 handed out to Buffy fans: The death of Buffy’s former Watcher and mentor Rupert Giles (mainly since it was Angel who killed him).

Despite all that baggage, Angel & Faith is still the most consistent, entertaining and enjoyable read in the American comic industry. In hindsight, I’m not at all surprised by how much I like this series. I knew almost instantly I would when I heard writer Christos Gage and artist Rebekah Isaacs were working on it. I rank both of these talented individuals as two of the most underrated creators in comics today.

Gage obviously knows the Buffyverse characters inside and out. Their voices are as distinct as they were on their television shows. The continuity tying Gage’s story arcs together is also consistently flawless (just like his Marvel Comics work), and most importantly– does the Angel Television Series justice. His storytelling is just as solid too. Substantial themes, excellent characterization, varied plot development and scenes of concrete resolution are all present here– in spades.

Rebekah Isaacs’ art is nothing short of amazing. The level of detail on every page– especially in her backgrounds– puts most of the Big Two’s efforts to shame. She does take a much deserved break between each 4-issue story arc, but when you have artists like Phil Noto and Chris Samnee ready to fill in, the quality of the art never suffers. Isaacs has pencilled and inked a monumental 11 out of the 13 issues published so far. In today’s comic world, where several artists can be hired to work (or re-work) a single issue, this is impressive. If only all current creators had the work ethic exemplified by Gage and Isaacs… I know we all would be enjoying better comics.

Angel & Faith #13 is the third part of a current 4-part story arc called Family Reunion.It has plenty of all-out action, with a couple of “Holy Shit!” moments for good measure. Like all the preceding issues, there’s plenty of great dialogue and entertaining interior monologues interspersed throughout. While interactions between Angel and Faith are usually the high points of these comics, there is a scene toward the end of issue #13 (where Angel gives Willow a much-needed pep talk) that turns out to be the true issue highlight.

For those of you who don’t read the book (and especially those who have never watched an episode of Angel or Buffy), I know it may be hard to believe that a comic book can reach the same heights as two of the most well-regarded geek/cult television shows of all time… But trust me when I say this comic is telling a great story.

Christos Gage also attempts to make every issue as new reader friendly as possible. Characters quickly and unobtrusively recap what and why they are doing what they are doing… And names are spoken so new readers can instantly discern who all the players are. While it is understandably next to impossible for a new fans to understand absolutely everything that is going on, Gage puts more effort into making each issue of this comic more accessible than most writers do for entire series… And that is always a very good thing. – Jose Melendez

Superman Annual #1
Protector Of The People
Writers: Scott Lobdell, Fabian Nicieza
Artists: Pascal Alixe, Marco Rudy, Tom Raney, Elizabeth Torque, Mico Suayan

Superman has been getting the shaft since the New 52. Veteran writer Dan Jurgens took over the Superman comic from issues #7-12, and while they weren’t outstanding… They were the easily the only comics to come close to the essence of Superman since the reboot of the DC Universe.

Unfortunately, Jurgens is no longer part of the creative team and we’re left to the mercy of Scott Lobdell. You can tell Lobdell also writes the Superboy comic– because that’s exactly what I felt I was reading when I read this annual. This is not the Superman Jurgens left him.

In a quick aside related to Justice League #12: In the entire New 52 Superman series– including the intro to this story– Superman pines for Lois Lane… Yet he has no trouble kissing Wonder Woman in JL. Stay Classy, DC!

Overall, this comic was pointless. It much reminded me of the recent Animal Man Annual which featured a simplistic, incidental story told by one of the supporting characters. Superman does so little in this book, it feels like the story doesn’t need the Man of Steel at all. Random appearances by Grifter, Martian Manhunter and Starfire (still unashamedly gratuitous eye candy) make no sense either. The art was all over the place– with various styles seemingly mashed together. If this is a look at the future of Lobdell’s Superman, I may have to drop this title until a new writer replaces him. – W.D. Prescott

FF #21
Ronance
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Art: Nick Dragotta

I am a sucker for the Inhuman named Crystal. Always have been. It could be because she’s as gorgeous as any Marvel Woman (full red hair with distinctive black markings only a master like Jack Kirby could conceive)… Or, more likely, my attraction could come from Crystal being a strong, decisive woman who refuses to blindly side with the desire her fellow Inhumans— just because they are her people.

It’s that wild, independent streak that has always drawn me in. I like a firebrand—a person you can always count on to stand up for what they believe in.

And now you can kiss that Crystal goodbye.

Thank you so damn much, Jonathan Hickman. Thanks for turning yet another strong female example in the Marvel Universe into an acquiescing, sobbing, quivering mess… Who accepts her latest rotten fate… By fainting.

As is the case with most current comics, FF #21 was not written for anyone other than regular, committed readers. It jumps around from past to present several times, with little sense of drama or connective tissue… As we finally discern that Black Bolt (leader of the Inhumans) has brokered a peace with the Kree’s resurrected Supreme Intelligence by agreeing to banish Ronan the Accuser… Effectively ceding Ronan to Kree control.

This also effectively kills the marriage between Crystal and Ronan… And Hickman decimates Crystal’s resolve and position of strength one step further—by making her the one who must tell Ronan he is no longer welcome among the Inhumans.

Crystal would never allow this… Ever. She would have fought Black Bolt, defied his decree and figured out a workaround. If Crystal’s love for Ronan was as strong as Hickman attempts to convince us it is, she would have forsaken her Inhuman family altogether. (She’s done it before, when comic writers had a sense of dramatic reality and a pair of balls). Adding further insult to injury, Hickman has the FF’s Sue Storm convince Crystal that duty trumps love and responsibility. WTF?

So much for female empowerment… Ain’t none of that here.

As poorly as the comic is written, the art by Nick Dragotta is even more mundane. He leaves filling in most backgrounds to the color artist… So scenes that should pop amongst the great technology and pageantry of these wondrous otherworldly beings always falls flat. Dragotta has a perfectly fine style, but his simple lines and composition would be better suited to a “reality based” comic strip like Mary Worth or Judge Parker. (Does Judge Parker even still exist?) Lots and lots of talking heads here… And really, really boring.

I find it hard to understand how Marvel can even release shit like this with a straight face. Coasting doesn’t even begin to characterize the efforts of the professionals involved.

Total Waste of Money would be a more apt comparison. – Ian MacMillan

Phantom Lady and Doll Man #1
Chasing Shadows
Writers: Justin Gray & Jimmy Palmiotti
Artists: Cat Staggs & Tom Derenick

I’ll freely admit that I am not always the most conscientious consumer. I don’t fully scrutinize my purchases—mainly because I don’t want to know too much about something I’m buying… As not to ruin the surprise. I like to experience my stuff on a visceral level… Without preconceptions or condemnations shading the purchase in advance. This is true of Novels, Movies, Music CDs, Video Games and, yes… Even Comics.

So imagine my surprise when I discovered Amanda Conner (who delivers a kick ass cover in her usual inimitable style) was not the penciler of this book. This misconception/revelation was no one’s fault but my own, of course. But having recently enjoyed the Gray/Palmiotti/Conner Power Girl (I’m often a way behind trade waiter… So shoot me), I was really looking forward to the rematch.

Anyway, I didn’t get it.

What I did get, was a very competent re-imagining of Phantom Lady— whose original Golden Age outfit (barely covering her, um, prodigious assets) made her a favorite target of anti-comic crusader, all around judgmental asshole, Dr. Frederic Wertham. Back in the 50s, Frederic couldn’t handle Phantom Lady’s awesome rack and he went to great lengths to paint anyone who did (or, more importantly, anyone who kept drawing and publishing Phantom Lady comics) as major league pervs.

So, given these supposedly more enlightened times, I was a little taken aback when I saw Phantom Lady’s new costume. While it most definitely is still a curve hugging delight, it doesn’t even come close to the cool sexiness of the more PC friendly DC Comics version from just a few years ago.

Good thing Gray and Palmiotti’s story makes up for this woeful lack of skin. They give us a snappy, peppy reintroduction to the character— admirably complimented by strong art from Cat Staggs and Tom Derenick.

Any FIRST ISSUE of a new comic is like the pilot episode of a TV series. (You can’t really compare either to, say, the first movie in a film franchise– because screenwriters have much more time to flesh out their premise and characters.) Writers of new comics– much like scriptwriters of new TV shows– only have a short amount of space or time to work everything they want into their first impressions… And when you throw in the specific needs of a first issue (introduction of all prominent characters, explanation of power sets, setting up the world they operate in), it is almost an impossible task to fit it all into a 20 page comic book.

And remember, Gray/Palmiotti were charged with introducing TWO main characters here, plus build the world, define the supporting players and… Well, you get it the idea. And they do it well, giving us (dare I say it) a comic book that harkens back to the escapist entertainment of old. Most fans age 30 (or so) miss the comics that used to delight and amaze them—rather than ones that repulse and depress.

DC needs to wake up, understand the talent they have with Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti and give them more work than they can handle. And they need to double Amanda Conner’s page rate so she’ll be forced to draw regularly for them too. Until then, I’ll enjoy Phantom Lady and Doll Man just as much as I did Power Girl… Hoping comics like this become more the norm again.
– Ian MacMillan

Justice League #12
Rescue From Within
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artists: Jim Lee, Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, David Finch

DC started up the hype machine for this comic early last week. Why is this comic so important? Because this is where Wonder Woman and Superman kiss… This is where they come to a mutual understanding of one another… This is where they begin a romantic relationship.

And this… Has all been done before… Yet I can’t remember of a single instance where this particular plot development has been told in such a painfully incompetent manner.

I would think with all press this issue has been getting, DC is hoping to a) Sell a fuck-ton of copies, and b) Maybe, just maybe, bring some new readers to the industry. Well, I certainly hope this issue makes them a lot of money… Because one thing’s for sure– this comic will not be bringing any new readers into the fold… Thanks mainly to a completely incomprehensible plot. Sure, some of this comic will make perfect sense to monthly readers of this title… But where’s the hook for first-time/new readers? Forget about it. I’ve been reading comics for over 25 years and not even I could get a handle on what was going on for almost half the book.

Reading this comic was such a miserable experience.

This could be some of the worst Jim Lee art ever published… And it sure didn’t help that there were NINE inkers and FIVE colorists. If I didn’t know any better, I could swear that Lee only did some very rough layouts while all the inkers/colorists were required to do the real heavy lifting. That does not lead to a very consistent looking book.

But you know what? The art was not the worst thing about this issue.

It’s been very sad to watch how much Geoff John’s writing has devolved during the past few years. It’s been all downhill since around the middle of Blackest Night. I can’t tell if he’s just become a bad writer or if he’s purposefully writing to the lowest common denominator. The only emotions the characters expressed in JL #12 were anger, sorrow (oh, so much sorrow) and complete passiveness– all while heaping on a healthy dose of angst and the grim n’ gritty. Each character is so unlikable, I can’t help but loath every single one of them… And that’s where my biggest problem with this comic lies.

I thought it was near impossible for me to dislike any interpretation of Wonder Woman… But Johns has succeeded in making me do just that. His Wonder Woman is a character devoid of compassion, love and empathy– with no core of inner strength. Instead, she is shallow, rude, depressingly lonely and kinda whiny. This does absolutely no favors for a character that is already misunderstood and unjustly disliked by most fanboys.

If Justice League is the only place where comic readers are exposed to Wonder Woman, I can understand why a lot don’t care for her. And while she is certainly not the only character who doesn’t behave like themselves in this comic, her characterization is the one I am most insulted by.

I also want to mention that Jim Lee always draws WW with a costume 3 sizes too small— making sure her boobs pop out over the top. Since he’s DC’s Co-Publisher, Lee may want to take a quick look at how Cliff Chiang draws Princess Diana in her monthly comic. Chiang’s interpretation of the same costume is at least 100 times more respectable. Then again, maybe Lee and Johns want her to look like a prostitute… Cause, you know, that’s what the fanboyz get off on. If so, they’re succeeding.

Which brings me to the kiss between Wonder Woman and Superman… And the fact that it has all of the emotional gravitas of a romantic scene written by a middle school student.

Their tryst goes a little something like this:

WW: I was always taught that men and women were at war while living on Paradise Island… But here men and women are in relationships. I don’t get it. What’s up with that?

SUPES: Ya, man… Relationships are, like, so complicated. I have another identity and need to keep secrets from everybody. I can’t get close to anyone. Life is hard.

WW: We are not Gods but we are also not human. Nobody understands us. I’m so lonely. Are you lonely?

SUPES: I sure am.

And then they smooch. Wow… It’s shit like this that makes Twilight seem like Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights. – Jose Melendez

Justice League #12
Rescue From Within
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artists: Jim Lee, Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, David Finch

I dropped this book about seven issues ago and reading this story reminds me why. As I struggle to get through this horrible comic, Johns continues to talk down to me as if I’m so dumb I need everything explained. Also, is Superman and Wonder Woman kissing that big of a deal? The answer is no.This book is full of played out, recycled ideas. If this is the kind of book that the “industry’s top talents” can conceive, then count me out.
– Tom Devine

Justice League #12
Rescue From Within
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artists: Jim Lee, Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, David Finch

It’s no surprise that Green Lantern is about the only redeemable character by the end of JL #12 Since he’s Geoff Johns personal pet. Every other hero is either a base stereotype of their established characters or some warped revision that only exists in this comic.

Wonder Woman and Superman get the worst treatment with their “No one understands us!” kiss at the end… Nothing like turning the most powerful Man and Woman on Earth into emo tweens. And could someone tell me why Cyborg is even in this group, since he does nothing in the entire comic?

While all that should be enough to guess my rating, I need to add that I think this story– and the others leading up to next year’s events– look asinine. The world doesn’t trust the Justice League… So they recruit a more dangerous JLA? When did we go back to the 90s and channel absurd Valiant and Chaos comics? It’s insane that a flagship title contains heroes that act completely different from all the characters appearing in the other 51 comics in the same line. Looks like we need new commanders in charge here. -W.D. Prescott

Justice League #12
Rescue From Within
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artists: Jim Lee, Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, David Finch

What can I really say about this book that the other gentlemen haven’t already covered? Given their astute criticism, I won’t even try.

I’ll say this instead: This is a terrible comic. Terribly written. Terribly drawn. The story makes no sense. Period. As Jose mentioned, if you picked this book up over the brouhaha swirling around the Superman/Wonder Woman kiss, you would never buy another issue. Never.

There is no character development. No scenes or actions that ring true. This is Comics by Committee… Exactly what you would expect to get when you allow the Chief Creative Officer (Johns) and Co-Publisher (Lee) of your comic book company write and draw a book.

Who in the flying hell is going to tell these two guys their work sucks… “Co-Publisher” Dan Didio?

President of DC Entertainment Diane Nelson is certainly far too busy to read a bunch of current comics, I assure you. She’s implementing Warner Bros newly refocused corporate agenda to monetize ALL of DC’s characters in Movies, TV Shows and Merchandise. That’s a huge agenda and a big job. I can virtually guarantee she’s only read just enough comics to understand what she’s exploiting… So again, who’s going to tell two DC heavy hitters their comic sucks?

I guess we will. -Ian MacMillan

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29 Responses to IMJ Capsule Reviews™ – All New Comic Book Reviews for the Week of 8.29.12!

  1. ajjackson100 says:

    I liked Justice League #12. There was only one scene where they kissed, how do we know that there together. Once again people don’t under stand that this is a reboot. Events don’t have to play out the same way they did before. In fact they shouldn’t play out the way they did before because then there would be no reason for a reboot. I’m going to give it a chance like any other book I pick up. This version of superman and wonder woman are not the same as there previous versions, so who knows, it could work. I didn’t think I would be reading aquaman in this new 52 and its turned out to be fucking awesome. Maybe people should at least give Justice League a 2-3 issue chance on how this story is going to be written.

    • J. says:

      Ohhhh…The New 52 is a reboot? Damn, I totally didn’t get that. It all makes so much sense now…

      As for ‘how do we know that they are together’? Because Geoff Johns and Jim Lee said in interviews that they are going to be together.

      I’ve also already given Justice League more than a 3 issue chance. I knew after the first two chances that the story was going to be written like shit because Johns is no longer a decent writer.

      Believe or not, all 4 reviewers didn’t just start reading comics this week.

      • ajjackson100 says:

        No need for the sarcasm, I was just stating my opinion. As Geoff Johns saying they where going to be together I didn’t read any interviews my bad. Also I wasn’t talking about giving justice league a chance, I was talking about giving the relationship a chance. We still don’t know how that will turn out. And I think Geoff Johns isn’t a horrible writer. I’m reading aquaman right now its good. Not to say that everything he rights is good. I met no offense to the reviewers of this comic I was just stating my opinion.

        • J. says:

          Your line “Once again people don’t under stand that this is a reboot.” read like it was meant to invalidate our opinions because we just didn’t know any better. That’s why there was a need for some heavy sarcasm. And sorry, but asking me to not be sarcastic is like asking me not to breathe.

    • The other problem is that I didn’t believe that kiss, it was a contrived act to sell issues. I say this because, as I said in the review, besides Green Lantern, all the characters don’t act in JL as the do in their own titles. It you were to take Azzarello’s Wonder Woman and Jurgen’s Superman–who are supposed be in the same time frame as this arc of JL–that moment would never have happened. For a reboot that was supposed to bring a better continuity than the previous universe, it is more fragmented now than after Final Crisis.

      I get things are supposed to be different, but they also have to be believable. That was the bottom line problem, nothing was believable if you even read one issue of the JL members titles, except Green Lantern. It’s been like that since issue 1. The start of the arc in 7 was actually worse and that is why I had to stop. Nothing is different 5 months later.

      • ajjackson100 says:

        I agree about Azzarello’s Wonder Woman not being the wonder woman in justice league. The one in justice league feels too young. As for superman I’ve given up hope that superman will act like superman. DC has not defined this version of superman yet. He feels like a stranger, if that makes sense. I was just talking about the relationship not the series as a whole.

        • I agree you on Superman. The Perez run was a “written by committee’ version that had no soul. JL Superman is a line backer with heat vision–I won’t even go on how Superman is basically Cyclopes in this new universe–Morrison’s take was interesting to start off with in the homage to the the Superman of the 30’s, but it hasn’t lived up to that start. Jurgens, as I tell everyone, was made to write Superman. I think Ian mentioned how some creators just click with a character. Jurgens is a Superman writer, you can even fell it in other books when he takes them over, like Justice League International. He was able to portray that core of the Superman character that hasn’t changed since the 30’s, but let grow due to the different circumstances of the New 52 universe. I think the real problem is that there is no, as far as I can tell, top Superman writer like Snyder is with Batman.

          I also agree with you on Wonder Woman, especially when JL is now in the same time frame as all the other books but Action and Detective (I could be wrong but I’m pretty certain these are still doing stories in those intervening 5 years between the appearance of Superman/Batman/JL and all the current books). But that is also why, I think I and the others have a hard time with the relationship. Forget fanfic allusions or gender stereotypes or anything else, just look at the characters in relation to why the reboot even happened. They wanted to clean up the continuity of the DC universe, I get that, it’s not the first time it has happened. But since then, they haven’t been able to keep that continuity of the characters between books. Now, If that had been their plan all along, it would be different, but puts into question the whole “we’re doing this for continuity’s sake” argument. So I have to assume that that Wonder Woman and Superman are the same ones that exist in their own titles. And that’s why I have a hard time accepting that kiss happened. In the last year, we saw both of them go through comics about relationships, and in JL they didn’t have that same perspective as they did in their comics. So that made the kiss unrealistic and unsupported and felt like a publicity stunt rather that true storytelling. If even just that acknowledgment of the other comics was in there and they still kissed, I might have had a different view. Like you say it is a new universe and they don’t have that long of a history and office romances happen all the time. But they still have to feel like people for us as readers to connect and believe in their actions, and that’s where that kiss failed.

    • Insideman says:

      AJ,

      Personally, I’m not the LEAST BIT concerned that DC’s New 52 is a reboot. It’s not like I can jump back in time and convince the knuckleheads at DC that all they have to do is hire better storytellers and their comics will sell better… That they don’t have to destroy 70+ years of continuity for a cheap stunt to revitalize sales. I can’t do anything about the decision. It’s done. So why would I judge Justice League #12 that way?

      Like the other reviewers, I critiqued the comic on face value alone. No prejudices. No predetermined feelings.

      I think I can speak for the other three reviewers when I say that NONE of us want ANY comic to be bad. I would love it if every book I picked up was fantastic. Imagine that… A world where every comic you read was perfect for you and everybody else who read it. Wouldn’t that be as cool as almost anything?

      There’s an obvious reason DC’s New 52 has failed on many levels… In most cases, they’ve hired the exact same people to write and draw the New 52 comics that were failing to make great comics for the old DC line. Usually, you don’t suddenly switch someone to a different character/book and they instantly become a better writer or a better artist. Every once in a while, a creator proves to have an affinity for one character over another– so they can get better on a different book… But that’s really rare.

      Once a hack, usually always a hack.

      Bringing back “name” editors/writers/artists that couldn’t edit/write/draw in the 90s isn’t going to cut it either.

      If DC is hellbent on making the New 52 permanent, they need to hire different talent and especially new editors (including Top Level Personnel) who are committed to bringing out the best in the best creators than can find. I don’t care if they hire creators that have been around 30 years– as long as they are committed to quality… And not just REPEATING themselves.

      That said, there’s no way that DC isn’t going to keep repeating themselves over and over. After 70+ years of telling stories– a lot of the Batman and Superman stories that could be told have already been told. Some people wonder if the New 52 is just a smokescreen to hide the fact that the people in charge decided they had told all the stories they could possibly think to tell… And the New 52 was just their way of admitting that and their way of starting over under the guise of a New Universe– when they’ve decided to just tell all the old stories again, in a slightly different way.

      The question is: Can they up the quality… Or will they continue to pump out derivative crap that compares unfavorably with the classics that have gone before?

      JL #12, in my mind, was just not a good comic. Hell, I read it twice. If it had been great, I would have said so… And all the other reviewers would have too.

      It’s hilarious that, almost from the beginning, we’ve been accused of “hating” Marvel. Now people are jumping on us for “attacking” DC. When are some of these readers going to understand that IMJ is all about giving a truthful opinion when discussing different projects in the different entertainment mediums? We’re not haters. We just want this to be a place where people know they can rely on us to give an unvarnished opinion– not influenced by corporate ads or money.

      We don’t believe everyone should agree with us to state their opinions here. We don’t expect everyone to either. That would be boring. I’m glad you liked JL #12. For your sake as a fan and reader, for the sake of the comics industry– I hope it gets better too.

      On another note: After I published the column last night, Jose told me he saw a reviewer at CBR that seemed to dislike JL #12 but still rated it 3 out of 5 stars. You won’t get it both ways here at IMJ. If we have negative impressions, our “Star” ratings will reflect our opinions. To do otherwise would be a colossal waste of everyone’s time.

      • To add on to Ian’s point. Our reviews are what reviews used to be: critiques of a work to let people decide and discuss the merit of a thing. A lot of people will day they don’t like something, maybe soften the blow and give a lukewarm rating because they don’t want to seem like a bad guy.

        Trust me, go look at GoodReads sometimes when it’s an Author reviewing a book.

        But in the end, it does nothing to further the discussion. I’m beyond happy you enjoyed it AJ, because we can have a discussion about it. It pained me to have to give 1 star to Superman Annual, because I was really enjoying Jurgens run on the series. Lobdell, where him or because of the editorial board, like Liefeld said–Can’t believe I utter that–was messing with the story, it felt completely disconnected even from the Perez arc. Just because it is different from the previous universe doesn’t excuse lack of consistency, quality, and care for the past work of just the work that has happened since the reboot. Forget There was even a DC Comics before 2011. Sure there will be some continuty issues, but when you have Superman last month acting like an adult last month, to him acting like a disaffected youth in JL to set up a kiss with Wonder Woman, to then read him pining like Doug over Pattie Mayonnaise in the Annual, that lack of control of a character needs to be pointed out. That’s bad storytelling. Readers can’t connect to a character like that. That’s why these stories couldn’t get more than a 1 star from me.

      • ajjackson100 says:

        It was just my opinion. I understand your gripe with the reboot. Personally I’m 50/50 about it myself. Some characters have been butchered because of it, but some are doing well because of it. For example: Red Hood, Batman, Animal Man, Swamp Thing, Aquaman and most of all Wonder Woman. And I have no problem with your review of the issue. I was talking about the Possibility of the relationship.

      • ajjackson100 says:

        It was just my opinion. I understand your gripe with the reboot. Personally I’m 50/50 about it myself. Some characters have been butchered because of it, but some are doing well because of it. For example: Red Hood, Batman, Animal Man, Swamp Thing, Aquaman and most of all Wonder Woman. And I have no problem with your review of the issue. I was talking about the Possibility of the relationship.

  2. NicktheStick says:

    I like the new column guys. I only caught the end of CCW so this one is new to me.

    I just have a few questions (more just curiosity on how the new column works): How do you guys pick which comics are going to be reviewed? Is it as simple as picking a couple of things that are in each individual’s pile? And then one that you all look at? Or will there be many differences in the various weeks?

    • J. says:

      Each reviewer chooses what they want to review. They don’t need to be books we already buy. All the comics will be different though so we have a wide variety.

      There will be times where there is a “big” comic is coming out, like Justice League #12, where all of us will review it.

    • Insideman says:

      Nick,

      I personally am going to write about what comics look interesting. Since I am a Trade Waiter, I will usually pick my titles last and decide what books to review based on the other reviewer’s picks. I am going to try and pick books that haven’t got a lot of press lately too (or in some cases, no press at all).

      The only rule I’ve made for myself is not to pick a comic in the middle of a complicated story arc and review that issue as a standalone book. If I do pick a comic like that, I will often download the previous issues from Comixology– so I know what’s going on. (Even if it does disrupt my trade waiting chronology.) Sometimes I may review a book cold and from the perspective a non-regular reader who might have just picked it up off the stands because of the “pretty” cover… To see if I think it would be a satisfactory for any other new readers to jump in as well.

      In the case of “event” books like JL #12, I’m in regardless. Like Jose wrote, if a company is going to pull out all the stops promoting a book– said comic ought to at least try to be accessible for all… Especially new readers. When written for only the regular readers, a book promoted like JL #12 can actually TURN OFF more new readers than it has the ability to bring them back for more.

      At least, that’s the way I see it and the way I see my role in the column. 🙂

    • I think my reviews will be more me trying to find my place again in comics after being away from it for a few years. I came in because of the New 52, so DC comics may be in the majority of the reviews. But I’m trying to find my way back into the indie comics. Boom is becoming a company I’m really enjoying.

      I will probably hold off on doing any event books unless they start now *Cough* Rotworld *Cough* or if they are being peddled so hard that I want to see if they can get me to read the series from that point. Who knows, maybe I just might break down and get a Marvel book. I’ll leave that for you all to decide.

      But I see my role similar to Ian’s. I’ve loved comics my whole life, there are a ton of them, and not all of them can get covered so I want to share the ones I enjoy or the ones I stay away from and why.

  3. Locusmortis says:

    Top notch column guys, really excellent stuff from all involved!

    I considered getting Spaceman, almost entirely due to the beauty of the covers but what put me off is Azzarello’s patchiness as a writer. Sometimes he can be brilliant as in Wonder Woman and 100 bullets and other times he can be as dull as ditchwater as in Superman: For Tomorrow and First Wave.

    Justice League sounds as bad as I feared it would be, possibly worse even. It sounds like a surefire candidate for my corporatisation of comics. Its comics by committee, “lets hear what Phil from marketing has” etc etc. Its the type of comic where the committee says “Whats going to get us headlines in USA Today and the New York Post?” rather than an editor and writer getting together and pitching an actual good story.

    • It kinda was. Now, it might have made more sense if I read the rest of the arc, but it felt like everything in that book was made to justify the kiss at the end, even though…

      ***SPOILER WARNING******SPOILER WARNING******SPOILER WARNING***

      Green Lantern quitting the JL to be the scapegoat for humanities distrust of metahumans was down played. There were two stories and the headline maker took over and not the possible meaningful one.

      • J. says:

        GL quitting in order to take all the blame was a little too Nolan’s The Dark Knight for me. Didn’t buy it for a minute and it certainly wasn’t original. Then again, nothing in that comic was.

    • Insideman says:

      Glad you enjoyed the new column, LM!

      I am actually working on your next Previews: Hits and Misses column right now! (No rest for the weary.)

  4. Insideman says:

    On a completely different side note: Not only is Judge Parker still alive and well as a US Comic Strip– it has been drawn by a few comic artists at different times: The late, great Eduardo Barreto worked on it for many years (before his untimely death in 2011) and Graham Nolan also drew fill in strips for one week.

    Something else I didn’t know– the actual character called Judge Parker was phased out of his own strip decades ago.

  5. ed2962 says:

    I flipped through Phantom Lady at the LCS. I gotta agree with, Insideman. Cat Staggs is a good artist, but I really wish Conner had done the inside art.

    I stopped buying Batgirl early on, but I picked up #12 cuz of the Batgirl/Batwoman team up.

  6. Is the solo Wonder Woman book still good? I re-read issues 1-11 and I want to jump back on. Justice League is set in the past, isn’t it? So the JL plot threads shouldn’t sneak into the solo WW book?

    • I think it’s on par with what it set itself with the first issue. So I would say yes.

      Only the first arc of the Justice League was set in the past (5 years ago). All the other stories have be set in the current timeframe, so they could creep into the other titles. But to be honest, Justice league hasn’t cared about the other comics so far, I’m not sure why they would foist this onto the individual comics unless it is a major part of a crossover event. But then they will have a hard ass time explaining it to the readers of those series.

    • J. says:

      Yes, Wonder Woman is still good.

      • Locusmortis says:

        It certainly is.

        The other nu52 comic I’m enjoying? Rather suprisingly its Supergirl, Michael Green and Mike Johnson are telling stories that don’t ramble on and on, the recent Silver Banshee story was much better than I thought it would be. Mahmud Asrar’s art is pretty sweet too.

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