Eye on Comics

Comics criticism and commentary from Don MacPherson

Archive for February, 2012

A New 52 Review: DC Universe Presents #6

Posted by Don MacPherson on 15th February 2012

Welcome to the return of Eye on Comics‘ New 52 Review Project, as we turn our attention to the reinvention of a classic DC property and its reintroduction to its revamped continuity.

DC Universe Presents #6
“Renewal”
Writers: Dan DiDio & Jerry Ordway
Pencils: Jerry Ordway
Inks: Ray McCarthy, Andy Lanning & Marlo Alquiza
Colors: Tony Avina
Letters: Travis Lanham
Cover artist: Ryan Sook
Editor: Wil Moss
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $2.99 US

I thought the Deadman story arc that launched this title, featuring rotating creative teams and spotlighted heroes, was one of the best things to come out of DC’s New 52 relaunch. Furthermore, I’m thoroughly enjoying O.M.A.C. as well, which is co-written by Dan DiDio. So when it was announced the second arc on DC Universe Presents would be penned by DiDio, featuring characters closely associated with the late Jack Kirby as well, I looked forward to what was in store. My anticipation dissipated after just a few pages, though. DiDio’s plot and scripting for this new spin on the Challengers of the Unknown is a scattered mess. His attempt to connect the premise with reality TV is clumsy, unclear and ultimately pointless. Furthermore, there’s an unnecessarily harsh tone in some of the plotting that makes the story a poor fit for the bright, clean style of artist Jerry Ordway. This was a poor choice to follow up the strong work writer Paul Jenkins and artist Bernard Chang did on the Deadman arc, and I anticipate it’ll adversely affect the book’s already soft sales. Read the rest of this entry »

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Registering Complaints

Posted by Don MacPherson on 13th February 2012

Comic Book Men series premiere
Stars: Walter Flanagan, Bryan Johnson, Ming Chen, Mike Zapcic & Kevin Smith
Network: AMC

I love comics. I like comic-book shops. And I like a number of Kevin Smith films. With that in mind, I was looking forward to Comic Book Men. I informed my wife that whatever other plans she had in mind for the weekend, I was reserving a two-hour block Sunday night for The Walking Dead “mid-season premiere” and the debut of Comic Book Men. I enjoyed the former, but the latter was a fiasco. Apparently designed to be Pawn Stars for frat boys, Comic Book Men perpetuates stereotypes about comics fans and speciality-shop staffers, and it fails to capitalize on the lead-in that was bound to boost its premiere viewership. I suppose one could argue it’s not incumbent on Smith and his cronies to act as ambassadors for the comic-book industry, but it is their job to be entertaining. In that regard, they failed. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Reviews - Other Media | 3 Comments »

Put Up Your Dukes

Posted by Don MacPherson on 13th February 2012

My appreciation for some super-hero publishers’ event books is no secret. There was a time when my reviews were known as “Critiques on Infinite Earths,” a nod to DC’s landmark 1985 series Crisis on Infinite Earths, the first big crossover event book. Unfortunately, over the years, the crossover has, for the most part, devolved into a sales gimmick super-hero publishers — mainly Marvel and DC, though smaller publishers have taken their own stabs at the subgenre — trot out to inflate sales on waning titles and boost its bottom line. As a result, it’s become something of a dirty word among discerning comics readers and fans of good super-hero storytelling.

Still, occasionally, some interesting work can be found in such event titles. Marvel’s Civil War started off strong with its exploration of the conflict between personal liberties and security. Secret Invasion followed up on such themes by tapping into Western paranoia over terrorism and growing multicultural diversity. While many of Marvel’s more recent event titles have fizzled in the end, at least they started out being about something.

And so, that brings us to Avengers Versus X-Men. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Editorials | 5 Comments »

Book This Steal

Posted by Don MacPherson on 8th February 2012

Thief of Thieves #1
“Chapter One, The Thief and His Apprentice”
Writers: Robert Kirkman & Nick Spencer
Artist/Cover artist: Shawn Martinbrough
Colors: Felix Serrano
Letters: Rus Wooton
Editor: Sina Grace
Publisher: Image Comics/Skybound Entertainment
Price: $2.99 US

People who enjoy Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips’ various Criminal comics will enjoy Thief of Thieves. People who enjoy such titles as Who Is Jake Ellis? and The Rinse will enjoy Thief of Thieves. Here’s the thing, though: Thief of Thieves isn’t quite as good as those other book. Thief has a lot going for it, not the least of which is Shawn Martinbrough’s crisp, dark artwork and Nick Spencer’s sharp, pitter-patter scripting in the second act. Unfortunately, the big build-up to the cliffhanger moment is for naught, because it’s obvious where things are headed. Thief of Thieves is clearly taking some inspiration from some great crime and intrigue comics (and likely stories from other media), but the first issue can only purport to be good, not great. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Reviews - Image | 3 Comments »

Wound Up

Posted by Don MacPherson on 1st February 2012

I’m not looking forward to the various Before Watchmen comics DC will publish later this year. I do plan to read many of those comics, though. It’s not out of interest in the characters or out of curiosity to see into what DC is building the brand. It’s because in general, I enjoy comics by the likes of Brian Azzarello, Amanda Conner, Darwyn Cooke, J. Michael Straczynski and other creators involved in the project.

As anyone familiar with Watchmen and its history of publishing politics in the many years since its initial release in the mid 1980s knows, opinion about using the characters and concepts writer Alan Moore crafted so long ago is polarized. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Editorials | 11 Comments »