A Marvelous Wednesday: 08/12/09

Uncanny X-Men #514
-Fraction's run on Uncanny has a lot of detractors, or, if they aren't detractors, certainly people who think that it's astonishingly mediocre. In some ways it is (the criminal under usage of Nightcrawler, who you would think would appear more often in a comic that features him on the cast page, being a good example), but mostly it isn't, and when it suffers, it suffers mostly because Fraction is trying to do too much.

This is not a bad thing.

In fact, it's a fantastic thing, because nobody (with a few notable exceptions, like Jeff Parker) tries to do too much anymore. The vast majority of the books released by the Big Two these days are not-so-great "wide-screen comics (which, incidentally, is further proof that Warren Ellis is this generation's Alan Moore) in which not much ever happens. It's a crime that story arcs these days last as long as they do, because what most writers do in six issues, writers like Fraction can do in four.

With Utopia, Matt Fraction continues to prove that he's capable of writing exciting comics, despite the fact that the issue is dedicated mostly to tension building. In a Bendis book, this would be three pages of action and nineteen pages of characters talking at each other; here, we've got real character interaction, a sudden change without unnecessary exposition about that change AND the kind of cliffhanger that really makes me want to shell out four dollars for the next issue of Dark Avengers. Ultimately, Fraction is writing the best summer crossover I've ever read.

And that's even before we get to the art. Terry and Rachel Dodson draw the book to perfection, perfection that is made all the more brilliant by Justin Posner's fantastic coloring (has anyone else every colored Emma's diamond form like that before? If not, why not?). I'm not sure I can say anything useful beyond that; if anything, the art alone is worth a looksee.

Incredible Hercules #132
-This book is as good as everyone says it is. I couldn't tell you what's different about it now than the last time I picked the book up, but it's much, much better than I remember it being. It's possible I just didn't give a fair shake, or for whatever reason the issues I picked up (which were mostly the Secret Invasion ones) just weren't very good.

Maybe Kid Zeus makes a better foil for Herc than Amadeus Cho? The character is good enough that I certainly hope he sticks around, even when Herc and Cho reunite.

Anyway, it's good enough that I'm going to pick up the issues featuring THE SECRET ORIGIN OF AMADEAUS CHO as well as the Thor-cules ones, and hope that maybe whatever I didn't like about it before doesn't come back.

The Marvels Project #1
This is one of those books where my expectations weren't met mostly because me expectations weren't exceeded. I realize that's entirely unfair but, at this point, if Brubaker and Epting put together a comic that's anything short of mind-blowing, I'm disappointed.

With that said, this is a damn-good comic book, although it is mostly set up for what's to come. As a prologue, it's perfect; seeing as The Marvels Project is essentially a history project, I'm really glad that Brubaker decided not to start out in media res, and instead begins, as any good teacher of history, by setting up the context and the status quo.

I'm excited for what's next.

Two More Things:

Meh on B.P.R.D 1947 #2. Some interesting stuff, a whole lot of boring non-action, made worth the purchase by the great art.

Meh, too, on Fables #87. Although the issue isn't bad, it's not great either. I like the idea of the storyline, though, and there was enough going on to keep me interested in the story that I'm excited to see what happens next. The real interesting thing here, though, is the preview in the back for Jeff Lemire's Sweet Tooth. I love Lemire's work. Essex County is one of the greatest things I've ever read in comics form and, although The Nobody was ultimately disappointing, I'm excited to see where this goes. I am a little (and only a little) worried about the coloring; I'm not sure that this coloring (or any coloring, really) adds to Lemire's artwork. Still, the preview is excellent and I hope that I'm wrong about the coloring.

The Long and Shortbox of It?
Along with everything above, I also purchased Wednesday Comics #6, which may be the best yet. The Flash strip, in particular, keeps getting better and better, as do both the Adam Strange and Kamandi ones. With that, plus the three great Marvel books from above, we've got a pretty good week.

Till next time, True Believers.

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