Friday, February 03, 2006

All in color for two dimes

It's a twenty cent piece, okay?If you remember this entry, I bought twenty comic books for two bucks at Forbidden Planet. That's a comic for twenty cents. Since most of 'em origi'nly cost $2.99, that''s a savings of...uh...um...well...that's a savings of a lot. (I'll get my baby sister to do the math for me later, 'kay?)

What's really important, like always, is whether or not these comics were fun! So I'm gonna review these toot-sweet, fast-fast, and grade 'em each on three points: could I follow the story even just buying one issue, were they fun or not, and were they worth 20¢. I don't wanna give away the startling shock ending of this blog entry but [SPOILER WARNING] some of these comics weren't even worth 20¢!!!

Let's get this party started!

EXILES #72:
  • Could I follow the story?: I've never read this series. I don't know much about the New Universe, which the characters visit. There's a good story synopsis on the first page, but I guess the question is more "do I care if I follow the story?" Answer: not really. I kinda just flipped through this one.
  • Was it fun?: Not really. It didn't seem to go anywhere. I think I missed the "glory years" of Exiles, if there were any. This doesn't look like it: it actually looks and reads more like the comics it's referencing, generic 1980s mid-list Marvel quickly-cancelled superhero titles.
  • Was it worth 20¢?: No.

    HAWKMAN #46
  • Could I follow the story?: Not too much problem. It's a prelude to Rann-Thanagar War so reading that helped. Lotsa weird stuff going on here and I'm sure I missed some plot points, though. Good summary of what's going on in a single dialogue bubble on page one, by the way.
  • Was it fun?: Sure. Big winged guy with a mace hittin' stuff, always decent fun to read! A little too much reference to Identity Crisis though, which is never fun. But I even liked the OMACs in this, and I haven't picked up a single OMAC Project issue.
  • Was it worth 20¢?: Yes.

    NYX #7
  • Could I follow the story?: Not really. Not for trying, though. There's a good summary of the first six issues on page one, but I think it was harder to follow because these are all characters I don't know.
  • Was it fun?: Not really. Sad, disillusioned teens having no fun at all with their superpowers. Nice art, though. Subtract points for that awful Nick Fury's Howling Commandos preview that really killed the book before it had even been published.
  • Was it worth 20¢?: Eh, just barely.

    MARVEL KNIGHTS 4 #19-22
  • Could I follow the story?: No problem at all. #19-20 was a two-part story. #21 and #22 were both done-in-ones.
  • Was it fun?: Ehhhh. Weird. To me there is at heart no more fun than the Fantastic Four, but all four of these comics seemed to have a kinda sharp, dull, very cynical edge which doesn't fit well with what I like best about the FF: the over-the-top adventure and wonder. Gorgon seems horribly out of character in the first storyline (although there's some nice bits with Franklin Richards), and Sue Richards' "girls' night out" storyline in #21 is just horribly creepy when it gets into her flashback temptations with the Black Panther. (Nothing against the Black Panther. But she loves Reed!) And there's no superhero I love more than the Thing, so #22 shoulda been a no brainer. Instead it's a sad and spooky golem story with no real satisfaction to the end. Only high spot in these four issues was a nice Kirby impression in the flashback of #21. Who drew it? Probably Ron Frenz, but who knows? There's no credits or title in the story! Bad Marvel! Bad! Bad!
  • Was it worth 20¢?: Nope. Even Stan and Jack would be bored by these four issues.

    CATWOMAN #43 and 45
  • Could I follow the story?: Sure, even though #43 was the last issue of a storyline and #45 part two of a new story. No summary page at the front, but Catwoman sums up what's goin' on so far in her internal monologue.
  • Was it fun?: I'm surprised to say yes. Together these issues had a lotta some things I don't really like in mainstream superhero comics: sexual innuendo, over-the-top brutal violence, pointless dream sequences, threatening helpless animals with violence, and most of all, Hush. (I really really don't like Hush.) But #43 had a nice "justice is served" ending and #45 had a great cliffhanger that act'lly makes me wanna seek out issue #46 and see what happened next.
  • Was it worth 20¢?: These two issues were purrrrfectly worth forty cents. Hee hee hee! That's a Catwoman pun. ... Oh, like you've never made one.

    BATMAN: GOTHAM KNIGHTS #65
  • Could I follow the story?: Oh, heck no. No idea what was going on here. Poison Ivy lost her powers or something. Who knows?
  • Was it fun?: Ick. More Hush. And looks like a major character died at the end, but I don't even have to bet that that character will be back in a few months at the most. Nice cover, though.
  • Was it worth 20¢?: No.

    BLACK WIDOW: THE THINGS THEY SAY ABOUT HER... #1
  • Could I follow the story?: Even tho' it was a #1 issue, not really! Too much depended on you having to have read the last Black Widow series.
  • Was it fun?: Not really. Too much sex talk and violence without any real forward movement of the story. (I blame Brian Michael Bendis for making stories popular in which nothing happens for several issues). Also, points subtracted for that awful, awful "Bod" ad popping up in my memory again.
  • Was it worth 20¢?: Heck no.

    THE HIRE #4
  • Could I follow the story?: Sure, no problem. It's a done-in-one story even though it's issue four. I guess this book is an anthology.
  • Was it fun?: Yes! Mysterious chauffeur in a souped-up BMW helps a tycoon evade his killers, with an escape twist at the end. It reminded me of the movie The Transporter, but no cute Shu Qi in this one! The cartoony art was an odd choice for this story, though. Bonus points for a great one-page Hellboy merchandise advertisment at the back.
  • Was it worth 20¢?: Yes. Not bad for a comic that's basically a commercial for a car company.

    THE AUTHORITY/LOBO: SPRING BREAK MASSACRE
  • Could I follow the story?: I dunno...John wouldn't let me read it! (He said "yes; it's a done-in-one.")
  • Was it fun?: John says "Nope! None of the nano-anarchy of an Authority story, too many dirty and over-the-top Lobo jokes. And if you can't make Jenny Quantum look cute, there's something very wrong with the artwork."
  • Was it worth 20¢?: John says "NO!"

    RANN-THANAGAR WAR #2-6
  • Could I follow the story?: No real problem, even though I missed the first issue and there were a million characters to keep track of. Five issues in a row helped.
  • Was it fun?: Actually, to my surprise, yes! I've been pretty much avoiding Infinite Crisis crossovers but this one was a lead-in so it didn't seem like it was dependent on a lotta the stuff I've hated seeing happen in IC (even tho' I'm not buying that series). Some cool moments, good visuals for sweeping galactic events and plenty of favorite characters in here including the Prince Gavyn Starman and a neat final issue defeat-the-villain plan. Points off for the non-conclusion at the end of issue #6: I really do think miniseries should have a definite end and not just trail off into another story. (That's the same problem I had with the Power Girl storyline in JSA Classified).
  • Was it worth 20¢?: Five-sixths of a trade paperback for a buck, and I enjoyed the story. Well worth a buck altogether.

    DAY OF VENGEANCE #4
  • Could I follow the story?: Boy howdy, I could not really figure out what was going on here at all...
  • Was it fun?: ...and yet it didn't really matter, 'coz yes, this was big, noisy, bonbastic fun. The origin of Detective Chimp? Sign me up! Big giant Captain Marvel fighting colossal Spectre throughout the landscape? I'm in the front seat for that one. Blue Devil and Rook? I'm, so there! I have no idea what's goin' on here, no idea what happened next, and I don't really care. This was sorta anarchic comics in the vein of Rob Liefeld, but hey, it was big loud dumb fun to me.
  • Was it worth 20¢?: Oooooh yeah.

    ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN #640
  • Could I follow the story?: It's the kinda-end of a storyline that I didn't even know had been going on but it's easy to follow. Knowing all the characters always helps.
  • Was it fun?: Sorta. There's some really nice quiet characters bits in here I liked a lot, and the format is kinda clever and neat without being annoying: photographs, media reports, and surveillance of Superman takes up the top two-thirds of every page, and the ongoing storyline occupies a strip at the bottom. But the ending looks like something that's been building up a long time so coming in on the middle didn't have much impact for me, and the last page is kinda sour to me: definitely an un-fun revelation. (Doesn't the DCU have enough evil POTUSs?)
  • Was it worth 20¢?: Just barely.

    So, in summary, Marshall has done the math: $54.50 worth of comics for two bucks. Out of twenty, eleven were well worth the twenty cents I paid for 'em. There's some kind of chart and graph Marshall is working up with my colored pencils and markers, but in the meantime I'll just say this: it was a great way to try a lot of different comics and get interested in some of them for just a little money. The biggest disappointment: four Fantastic Four stories that left a sour taste in my mouth. The biggest surprise: the Infinite Crisis books actually tickled me sense of fun.

    Or, to put it another way:
  • Detective Chimp sitting on a sofa: 20¢.
  • Scary giant space villain trying to enslave Thanagar: 20¢.
  • The return of Tigorr: 20¢.
  • Blackfire being as villainous as she was the first time I saw her in New Teen Titans: 20¢.
  • Learning that the Infinite Crisis lead-in comics were a lot more fun that I ever expected? Priceless.
  • 1 comment:

    Chuck T. said...

    My local comic shop (the, um, Comic Book Shop, Spokane WA) has the most consistently incredible quarter book selection in the world. Or rather it would, if I wasn't pillaging it on a regular basis.
    Recently, I came out with a great haul of DC. Well, some great. I got the new Question limited series for $1.50, like half the price of an issue! There was a mess of Blood of the Demon, Byrne's Doom Patrol, Gotham Knights, Hawkman, Aquaman, Catwoman, Legion...
    Legion was actually good enough to get me to start reading the series again. Demon, Hawkman and Catwoman were all fairly good, especially for so cheap. Gotham Knights made me wanna ask for my dollar back.