Weekly Hit (and Miss) List: 9/12/2011

by Ben Peirce

The Weekly Hit (and Miss) List is a rundown of the best and worst things I read this week regardless of their original publication date. It doesn’t have to be new – just new to me.


Justice League #1 | DC | Geoff Johns (w), Jim Lee (a)

Let me start by saying that this wasn’t a perfect comic. The dialogue was a little clunky, there weren’t enough characters involved, and I found it a little too written-for-the-trade to call it new-reader friendly.  But that said, there was enough to like about this issue that I can give a resounding “it’s not that bad” to the flagship offering of DC’s New 52.  This was basically a Batman and Green Lantern team-up that served up a lot of action blended with an appropriate amount of dialogue to set the stage and get everyone up to speed on where we are in the universe.  It was set “5 years ago”, which I liked because it means we can have a “getting the band together” story in this title – meanwhile, all the other books, set “now”, can jump us right into an established universe with the wheels in motion.  I’m really not digging the armor-y suits, but other than that you can’t go wrong with art by Jim Lee and for anyone who was maybe a fan during the 90’s boom and then dropped off, it will be a familiar homecoming.

Echoes | Image (Minotaur) | Joshua Hale Fialkov (w), Rahsan Ekedal (a)

This book got a lot of love from guests on our Comic Book Club episodes when it was coming out in issues (Dec. 2010 – Apr. 2011).  Now collected in a gorgeous undersized hardcover, this creepy b&w horror title finally made it’s way onto my reading pile.  The story follows a schizophrenic father-to-be who uncovers a string of grizzly murders and then, given his unraveling mental state, begins to question his connection to the crimes. What this book does exceptionally well is create a genuine, look-over-your-shoulder, sleep-with-the-lights on sense of fear, and that’s not easy to do in a comic book.  We talk a lot about what comics can do that films can’t, but the lack of sound and sudden movement puts them at a real disadvantage when it comes to horror.  This book pull it off though and literally gave me the shivers. BUY IT

Swamp Thing #1 | DC | Scott Snyder (w), Yanick Paquette (a)

Look out comics fans, Scott Snyder is for real!  Another strong debut in the first full week of the New 52 and another strong performance by the writer of American Vampire, Detective Comics and Severed.  I have no history with Swamp Thing but this first issue kicks off an interesting story with a menacing villain, and does a good job of both introducing Alec Holland/Swamp Thing and of planting (no pun intended) him back in the DC Universe where he’s been absent since Alan Moore and company annexed him to Vertigo. Yanick Paquette gets better with every issue he draws and I find myself liking his work more and more.


Detective Comics #1 | DC | Tony Daniel (w/a)

Well, you knew that at least one of the New 52 had to wind up on this half of the list and DC’s titular title is well-deserving.  Detective Comics, which enjoyed a good run for the past year under the pen of the aforementioned Scott Snyder, has been handed over to artist-turned-writer, Tony Daniel.  Now many will criticize Tony Daniel as a writer – too inexperienced to take over a marquee book like Detective.  I’ll agree that this book lacked any sense of story and managed to make the first post-Flashpoint appearance of the Joker feel completely pedestrian and uninteresting.  But my problem with Tony Daniel is, and has always been, his art.  He’s a competent draftsman in the Jim Lee, Andy Kubert mold but comicbook art is about more than pretty pictures and Daniel’s storytelling chops are WAY below par.  The progression between panels is so disjointed in places that it’s impossible to follow the action fluidly.  There are lots of extreme closeups thrown in for seemingly no reason which just make things confusing.  He also makes a habit of breaking the 180° rule, which you film buffs will know is the imaginary line that the camera should never cross so that characters and objects have a consistent orientation and the viewer isn’t confused (see a theme here?).  Well guess what?  The 180° rule applies to comics as well.  Why?  Say it with me folks – “so you don’t confuse the reader!”  C’mon Tony, help us out here!

Wow, sorry folks.  That got a little ranty there towards the end, and I don’t imagine we’ll be having Tony Daniel on the show any time soon but you the loyal listener/reader deserve good comics and it’s my job to steer you towards them.  Until next week, here’s hoping you find what you’re looking for!

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