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The Rest of the Stack: Action Comics, Red Robin, and Radical

I’m finding that I’m more and more dissatisfied with the Superman books. While I’ve not entirely enjoyed the stories (the writing’s been good, though), the art on the various books have really put me off. As such, I haven’t paid much attention to details, as I just try to enjoy what I can of the stories.

This past week’s Action Comics issue presents Flamebird and Nightwing in new costumes, it seems–the duo having given up the “Iron Man meets Sandman” getups for a more super-heroic look. The next sleeper they’re tracking has also been revealed, AND we see Chris age yet again, providing a fairly worrisome cliffhanger.

Though I’m interested in what happens, and find the stories to be well-written (if not likeably-illustrated)…my interest on the whole continues to decline.

Also, while this week’s Booster Gold issue brought Blue Beetle into the main story (foregoing the backup/”Second Feature” status of BB) quite effectively, I doubt this title will do that anywhere near as effectively with Captain Atom, whose “Second Feature” story seems to have brought him into the current status quo.

I have particularly mixed feelings on the Red Robin title–the sole Bat-title I’m continuing with at present. This latest issue has some nice imagery (the cover resembles that Jim Lee cover of Batman on the Gargoyle, overlooking the city, giving Tim Drake a similar “iconic” image).

Yost continues to add a bit of depth to the League of Assassins, and seems to be telling a very capable tale of Tim Drake and his journey to find Bruce Wayne. I also appreciated the acknowledgement of the Blackest Night: Batman mini and Tim’s “break” to go back to Gotham and having faced the Black Lanterns.

Unfortunately–for the title, if a single reader matters–I’ve been losing interest overall. With rumours out there that Bruce will be brought back as early as Summer 2010, I’m hesitant to “invest” in this title not knowing if it can survive long-term…but I’m banking on payoff in the form of this being where any “Return of Bruce Wayne” story might kick off.

Both Action Comics and Red Robin faced stiff competition this week, with 3 Blackest Night issues out, and two Deadpool-related issues. I’m rather disappointed to say that Action Comics actually earned the “Bottom of the Stack” status this week–though I chose to buy it, the issue went straight to the bottom when I was sorting comics by order I planned to read. (Booster Gold #26 was top of the stack).

The fact that both these titles went to the bottom in deference to the Blackest Night and Deadpool issues out of hand rather than winding up there by necessity of SOMETHING being at the bottom gives me something to think about in terms of buying vs. not-buying.

On another note, Radical Comics had a preview book out this week. My local comic shop was giving it away “free” with any $5 purchase. I nearly didn’t grab it, but figured I was already buying at least $5 in product, so might as well take a look-see.

This book is basically a bunch of double-page ads for various upcoming titles Radical is putting out. The art has its merit with all of these, putting a great foot forward. Each title has a premise given with the art as well as the creative/writing talent behind ’em. Most of these seem pretty interesting in concept…but I’m not willing to–at $2.99 or more per issue–invest in these mini-series.

I find that for the most part (Blackest Night stuff being an exception offhand) I have near-zero interest these days in any mini-series. The projects put forth in this preview all read like something I’d be MOST interested in reading in their “graphic novel” or “collected volume” format. That way, even if there’ll be ongoing/serialized minis, I’d be assured a more full story.

On the other hand, an anthology with a few pages of each of these stories per “issue” might be something I’d be interested in giving a try. As-is, I get the impression that Radical‘s output is largely to “sell” the concepts as movies moreso than any ongoing story universe, which adds to my disinterest in any single-issues they might put out, at least while I have no real track record to follow by way of their past output.

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