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The Rest of the Stack: Week of October 19, 2011


The Rest of the Stack is my general mini-review coverage of new comics for any given week. It’s in addition to (or in place of) full-size individual reviews. It’s far less formal, and more off-the-top-of-my head thoughts on the given comics than it is detailed reviews.


fearitself007Spoilers ahead. When? When am I going to learn that Marvel does not ever, Ever, EVER actually END an event? It’s just the attempting “hook” of the next thing. This issue hardly made any sense. More posturing. More glowy/Tron Legacy-style characters, more magical weapons transforming characters into weird alternate-version-action-figures of themselves. And just a couple years after all the hoopla over JMS having an interesting story to bring Thor back? Hey, let’s kill him off. AGAIN. And let’s just have all these vague little “moments” to spin off into other stuff. The story ends way early, but wait–there’s more! There are these multiple “epilogues” that REALLY are PROLOGUES to other series and such that Marvel wants you to go out there and buy. And of course, like a complete sucker, I fell in for it. And at $4.99 for this issue. Pretty sure that means I was hoodwinked into paying for those prologues. And the Hulk stuff makes no sense.


fearitself007aYeah, in writing this, if you think *I* am being choppy, well…I’m just emulating what I read. I was almost content to not even buy this issue, but figured no, I’ll finish the series, finish the event. But it doesn’t even truly end, it just sets you up for these other spin-off series, and these .1/.2/.3 issues (aka Fear Itself #7.1, #7.2, #7.3 so they can claim you don’t have to buy ANOTHER mini-series to make sense of this one, nor have to admit this series is now 10 issues instead of the originally stated 7). And you know what? I barely paid attention to the art here. Maybe it was ok, maybe it just wasn’t horrible, but I was trying to follow the story, and neither story nor art nor the combination really made things make the sort of sense they were surely going for. I may sound cliche, but fired up as I am at this, and seeing this as being another of Marvel‘s “core” things…well, chance after chance after chance, but I’m sorry, I just am not interested in more than the concepts. The actual stories, the actual execution of whatever ideas…there just isn’t any satisfaction to whatever payoff there is. Very dissatisfied with this issue, this series, and I’m voting with my wallet. I’m out. (2/10)


invincibleironman509My 10th issue post-500 (counting that 5xx.1 issue)…and yeah, I’m done. Modified my pull list recently, and told my comic shop I’d finish out Fear Itself and Iron Man, but none of the follow-ups. None of the spin-offs. Maybe I’m just out of touch with Marvel, but whatever potential there was here is squandered. Surfacey plan on Tony’s drinking. Whatever this Asgardian armor thing is, he looks like the Destroyer or whatever that robot with the visor is–but no one says anything about it, nor do I get what its properties are, whether this is a quasi-permanent thing or not. There’s some interaction between Tony and a dwarf that could set up stuff for down the road, but time alone will tell on that. Pepper’s situation is “conveniently” dealt with, squandering tension from the previous issue. And much as I loved Fraction‘s first 24-some issues in particular–it’s what got me buying this in the first place–all that goodwill has pretty much been crapped away–though I mainly blame Marvel in general and these darned event-after-event-after-Event-after-EVENT thing they’ve been doing. Art’s the usual for this title. Story’s probably not bad once it gets explained by those more patient than me, or in the collected volume (maybe with some tie-ins thrown in for better flavoring). Again…voting with my wallet. I’m done. This isn’t worth $3.99/issue, I’m caught up, and I’m choosing not to keep buying a title on the offchance it’ll get better “next month” or have an epiphany-type moment. (5/10)


justiceleague002If I’m paying $3.99, it’s for extra pages of story. If you want to–on top of a full issue at $2.99–give me extra pages of text or prose or whatever to add to the worldbuilding, sure, great. But if I’m paying for it? No. Not my cup of tea. 22 pages of story for $3.99, with some supplemental stuff. The Superman and Batman design pages were semi-interesting, because I’d listened to an interview weeks ago with Mr. Hamner discussing having been hired to do these guides. But the Steve Trevor transcript segments did nothing for me. Somehow I’m not quite AS fired up about this as I was about practically the same thing happening with Action Comics #2…but the mood I’m in having read this week’s comics, and being so freaking tired of comics’ prices, their VALUE these days, this title’s on my chopping block. Like Action…maybe I’ll enjoy it more in a collected volume, from Amazon, bundled with something else for free shipping, to justify whatever the cost. Get the whole story in one go so it feels like an actual story instead of a segment, and not have it broken up by the same old useless ads and such, and hopefully without stupid PAID backmatter clogging things up. The story–this feels like just another segment of something much bigger, that is INTENDED for a single story, which it will achieve in collected-edition format. The art’s good–it’s Jim Lee, after all–but even some of that seems to be posturing, and doesn’t really “do” anything for me. At $3.99 and not being significantly longer (remember, Superman #1 was what–25 pages for $2.99???) than anything else…you’re probably best off waiting for the graphic novel. (6/10)


batman002Best of the week. Which isn’t saying much. Well, I suppose moreso, it doesn’t take much. This has Batman, and Bruce, Dick shows up and we see that this isn’t gonna be some dumb cliche thing. We jump right into the action, then flash back to pick up where #1 left off and resolve things and head to that opening action, and then wrap up from there. Though this is part of a continuing story, we get a functional beginning-middle-end that works, and I’m interested in coming back for the next issue. The art’s good overall, though I don’t much care for some of the panels that just seem…”off.” All in all, solid story and solid art, doing what a single issue should. Also potentially fortuitous that this came out the day after the Batman: Year One animated film, and that I read this issue shortly after watching an interview “extra” on the B:YO disc with Snyder and others talking about Batman. (8.5/10)

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