Saturday, May 21, 2011

Quik Thots - Comics for the Week of May 18th

So if you know me in real-life (as I assume most of my readers do at this point), you know that I buy a lot of comics every week.  Way too many, to be honest, but every time I cut a title out, another one catches my eye.  It's a vicious cycle.

Anyways, the reason this is relevant to you, the reader, is that I've been meaning to start doing reviews of said comics for quite a while.  However, as yesterday's attempt illustrated, my turnaround on reviews is not terribly speedy at this point in time.  Thinking of ways to get around this problem, I decided to also write up short musings on the comics I read every week that I don't have time to review in full.  As the title suggests, I've decided to call these Quik Thots.

Get it?  Because they're simply short reflections on what I've read?  And they're so fast that I don't have time for proper spelling?


I'll work on the title.  I promise.

Anyways, this week was relatively light for me, meaning that there will be plenty for you to read through, should you be so inclined.  I mostly buy single issues, meaning the comic is somewhere between twenty and thirty-odd pages, and they are often part of a larger story.  These are what most people think of when they hear "comic books".  Though I am also in the habit of buying graphic novels, I won't be looking at any of those this time around, so it will only be individual issues today.

Should you want more information on any of the comics in question, I'm hyperlinking their titles to their listings online.

If you've read the comic in question, maybe it will help your own thoughts on the matter.  If you haven't, maybe it'll spur you to take a look at a comic you haven't gone through yet.  If you don't read comics at all, you should consider it, and I thank you for continuing to humour my writings on the topic.  I'll put up some other stuff at some point.


Without further ado, let's move on to those Quik Thots!

Alpha Flight #0.1
Written by Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente
Art by Ben Oliver

This comic actually took me a while to find, as I had to go to a different shop from my regular to find a copy.  Part of the reason for this is that it is the introduction issue to a new series about the eponymous Alpha Flight, which is unique for being one of the few superhero teams based in Canada and made up of Canadian characters.  So perhaps not too surprising that it was a challenge to locate at first.

Going in, I didn't know a whole lot about the characters, but the issue does a great job introducing everyone and the kind of challenges they encounter.  It was a done-in-one, or self-contained, issue, so the story points were introduced and resolved before the comic's end.

I was pleasantly surprised by this comic.  It was both a good superhero story and an undeniably Canadian story.  The story was taking place during the election (though the parties / people had different names, the wrong party still won the election), there was a lot of political unrest / action (the main villain was a terrorist protesting the current state of politics within the country), and there were a lot of smaller details throughout that really added to the narrative.  Of course, there was a lot more to the issue than mild political commentary, but it felt like a good equivalent of Canada for the Marvel Universe.

If you're interested in superheroes and you like Canada, I'd recommend giving the series a chance. As I said, this was only an introduction to the series.  The first issue actually comes out June 8th (comics are kind of weird sometimes), so you could get started with that one, if you'd like.

Amazing Spider-Man #661
Written by Christos Gage
Art by Reilly Brown

I've been following Amazing Spider-Man since Dan Slott took over writing duties earlier this year.  His run has been literally been amazing and I look forward to every issue.  The problem with this one, is that Dan Slott didn't write it.  Instead, Marvel picked Christos Gage to act as the fill-in during Slott's absence.  Gage is a fine writer, doing some good things over in his title, Avengers Academy, and he brings his series into the story, having Spider-Man act as a substitute teacher to the students of Avengers Academy.  It makes sense and makes for a decent tale, but the problem is that it is becomes Avengers Academy tale in an Amazing Spider-Man comic, which isn't what I had signed up for.

On the plus side, there was a great back-up story in this comic, depicting a "day in the life" of Peter Parker / Spider-Man.  It was quite clever, as there was no dialogue for the entire story.  Instead, Spider-Man had a "To Do" list written in his notebook, which helped tell the story of what was going on.  This device was quite effective and used to great comedic effect.  The story won't change your world, but it was a really fun comic that partially made up for having a fill-in writer.

It wasn't a bad issue, but it wasn't the issue I was hoping for.  Not having Dan Slott writing was a pretty big let down for me, though the disappointment was tempered by the great back-up story.  I'll be back, but only because I know Dan Slott will be back too.

Batman: Gates of Gotham #1
Written by Scott Snyder and Kyle Higgins
Art by Trevor McCarthy

This was another issue hurt be expectations.  I've been following Scott Snyder through his runs on American Vampire (his own creator-owned work) and Detective Comics (one of DC's main Batman books), and both of those books have been phenomenal.  Seriously, every single issue is a home run and you should be reading both of them.  Seeing as this was more Batman, I figured that it, too, would be a foregone conclusion.

While Snyder and Higgins turn in a solid issue, it isn't as spectacular as the other work Snyder has done on his own.  They present an interesting look at Gotham City, along with a new villain who is targeting the families who built Gotham.  There's a lot of cool stuff at play, but the pieces don't quite come together in a way that really grabs my attention.

I know this is all going somewhere, so I'll be back, but my return is based more on my experience with Snyder's previous work than it is on this book in particular.

Heroes for Hire #7
Written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning
Art by Tim Seely

I first encountered Abnett and Lanning's collaborations through their cosmic work for Marvel and was mighty impressed with what they did with a handful of characters that I had never heard of before.  When I heard that they were doing some street level heroes with characters I am more familiar with, I was quite excited.  Throughout the early run of Heroes for Hire, I have not been disappointed.  This issue extends that streak, continuing a team-up between Spider-Man and Paladin from last issue.

The two heroes are following some leads that have been building up throughout the series, and the book manages to skirt the line between serious and levity with great skill.  Spider-Man's dialogue is spot on, as he delivers a number of wonderful quips while battling the bad guys.  Meanwhile, Paladin has some light moments of his own, forced to take a taxi to get to where Spider-Man is busting the ne'er do wells.  It's a most excellent issue and I eagerly await conclusion to this storyline.

Power Girl 24
Written by Judd Winick
Art by Hendry Prasetya

I absolutely loved the first twelve issues of this series, but the creative team changed with issue thirteen.  That's when Judd Winick first became writer, and I did not enjoy the direction he took the story in at first.  I actually stopped buying Power Girl all together, but was eventually won back due to positive reviews I saw online.  I'm so glad I did come back, because Winick has settled into a direction that I really dig and I'm back to loving every issue.  This issue is an excellent example of that, featuring Power Girl teaming up with Batman to fight a brand-new, misunderstood villain.  It's some good stuff.

Winick's work on Power Girl is similar to what he did with the 26-issue JLA: Generation Lost: it's solid, fun storytelling that tells a complete story.  It's great stuff.  Winick's star has really risen in my mind this past year. He's upped his game to the point where I'll give a title a try based on his name alone.  Seeing how this issue is part 1 of 2, I am definitely going to be back next month for the finish.

And there we have it!  Some of my thoughts about five other comics I bought this week.  I hope you've enjoyed this installment of Quik Thots.  Assuming I continue a ridiculous number of comics every week (which seems quite likely), there will be more of these to come.

If we're lucky, I'll have figured out a better name by then.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. "All of the comics!"

    Good read. While I am also disappointed, I'm looking forward to the next issue of Gates just to see where it's going.

    also: How long do you think before DC turns Winick into a new Geoff Johns, spread too thin to be effective?

  3. I think a major difference between the two is that I don't believe Winick is a commercial success to the same degree that Johns was. As well, I think it is more dependent on Winick's personal aspirations. I kind of doubt he's planning on being promoted to management in the near future.