It's been so long since I last received comics, most of the series I buy shipped twice. Most, but not all. So let's take a look at the ones that only shipped once.
Defenders #6 by, Matt Fraction (writer), Victor Ibanez (artist), Tom Palmer & Terry Pallot (finishers), Chris Sotomayor (colorist), Clayton Cowles (letterer) - My problem with this cover is it's basically a collage. A bunch of figures with nothing unifying them, other than perhaps the fact Danny, Prince of Orphans, and Fat Cobra appear to be jazzercising. I guess it does tell you pretty much exactly who's in this issue. That's something.
Fat Cobra almost dies, but tells Danny to 'shut down the engines'. It turns out three of the other Immortal Weapons are dead, and Misty gets angry at Danny because he can't explain what's happening. "Can't" as in, "the engine thing the Defenders found won't let him.", and she basically storms off in a huff. Danny figures Orson Randall's diaries might have some info, so he calls the Surfer in Oklahoma (the Surfer is a short-order cook in Oklahoma?) and asks for some help reading through them. Turns out Orson and his Confederates of the Curious found them in the past as well. Then the Prince of Orphans shows up and tries to kill Danny, only to be dumped in a volcano by the Surfer. Why John Aman thought he could fight a former Herald of Galactus. Anyway, now the team knows a place to look for another engine.
I don't know who to credit for what on the art. I'm guessing it's Ibanez that likes the occasional overlapping panel, which isn't distracting, but it doesn't really add much. I guess it's how he prefers to fit more into a page. He also tends to use uneven panels when action starts up. A panel being wider at top than bottom, or getting more narrow as you read from right to left. I'm not sure what the effect of that is supposed to be either. A focusing of attention? Maybe a sense of things speeding up, where you can't be as aware of everything around you because of the action, so perception narrows. I'm just spitballing. I'm also not sure who did what between Palmer and Pallot. There's a shift after the first flashback, where the art takes on a more simplified appearance. Less use of shadows, the linework is heavier, but a bit simpler. I think there are fewer panels on average, too. So that may be the dividing line. I don't think it's as simple as one guy finishing the stuff in the present, and the other the stuff in the past.
I wasn't totally enamored with Misty's portrayal. Maybe it was the art. I have a hard time picturing Misty Knight standing in shock with her hands over her mouth simply over someone beaten to a pulp. I'd expect to see her looking out the door to see if the attacker is following, or getting ready to perform first aid. I don't disagree with her wanting to know what's happening, but the fact she gives up so easily and resorts to ultimatums about their relationship, that felt off. I'd expect her to either keep pushing, or conversely, be understanding and tell Danny when he's ready to talk, come find her, she'd like to know. Either more interrogative, or less. This sort of middle road felt wrong. Sigh. I'm always complaining about how Fraction writes characters, aren't I? Except Iron Fist, I guess. This may not bode well for Hawkeye.
Green Arrow #9 by, Ann Nocenti (writer), Harvey Tolibao (artist), Mike Ativen (colorist, pgs. 1, 2, 8-20), Richard & Tanya Horie (colorists, pgs. 3-7), Rob Leigh (letterer) - I've given Howard Porter grief about his work on that Superman story in Batman Beyond Unlimited, but I like that cover. Course, I am a sucker for Westerns, and that's what it evokes, with the coat, and the showdown on a dusty (well, snowy) street.
Ollie and the Good Skylark manage to avoid dying from some angry locals who thought they were Leer. When they reach the town where the bear has ended up, they survive fighting with more angry locals. Arrow agrees to get read of Leer so they can have the gold in the mountains. Meanwhile, one of the other Skylarks drugs the good one, then rolls her under the bed so she can listen to Evil Skylark and Ollie fool around, though Good Skylark won't remember this when she wakes up. So it's just momentary torture. Glad I never had sisters. Evil Skylark drew Ollie a map of the secret tunnels, but he thinks Good Skylark did this, so he says hurtful things to her when it turns out to be a trap. He tries to fight Leer, gets his ass beat, blows up the mountain, though Leer escapes. Ollie is lucky that his friend Naomi came looking for him and happened to show up with a heli just in time.
Um, wow. There was a lot going on that first arc, and I find it all pretty intriguing. Whether I'll still feel that way after I reread the whole story, who knows? It may turn out none of it holds together. Hopefully that's not the case, but there are times where the answer to "What's the problem at hand?" seems to change so frequently it makes my head spin.
That may just be Tolibao's artwork, though. It's too bad, because I can look at it and see the outlines of some work I'd probably really like, but it's buried under a mess. Like the bear. When they find it, I can't tell if the grey blobs on its fur are supposed to be snow/dirt, or some evidence of the changes Leer put it through. When Ollie's fighting in the bar, he goes from having a rope around his arms and chest in one panel, to having both arms free and the rope in his hands in the next, to taking the rope off him in the panel after that. When he's fighting Leer, it seems like they're inside the mountain, but if so, how can the helicopter be there? Did the explosions blow a hole in the top of the mountain?
Even so, I'm still glad Nocenti's writing this book, and that I'm reading it. When Green Arrow popped up in Justice League last month or whenever, I saw a bunch of people on the Absorbascon going on about how they wished Johns was writing this book. Sure, because he needs another title to stuff with gratuitous splash pages and graphic violence. Keep Geoff Johns the hell away from this book!
Resurrection Man #9 by, Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning (writers), Jesus Saiz & Andres Guinaldo (art), Saiz, Mark Irwin & Christian Alamy (inks), John Kalisz (colors), Rob Leigh (letters) - Not one of Albuquerque's stronger covers. Must be the presence of the current, crappy Suicide Squad. They lower the tone, you see.
Mitch is dead. Again. Before the Squad can take advantage, the Body Doubles show up. A pissing contest ensues, until Mitch resurrects as living metal and beats everyone up. Meanwhile, Waller is chatting with Director Hooker, trying to come to an agreement. This agreement involves Kim Rebecki tricking Mitch into dropping his guard so Waller can kill him and cut off one of his hands before he resurrects. Then she lets him and Kim go, which pisses Hooker off, but oh well. Waller has one of Mitch's hands to study, and Kim has a bomb in her head.
You know, normally I think I'd be complimenting Waller on getting what she wanted, while stymieing Hooker (who she probably knows is no good). But I can't help focusing on the fact she sent the Squad after Mitch without mentioning that no only does he resurrect, he gains news powers every time he does. As Deadshot pointed out, that's potentially useful information she omitted, for no particular reason I can see. So official Reporting on Marvel and Legends' position remains that Relaunch Waller is at best, one-third as smart as Original Waller.
Jesus Saiz drew I think the first five pages or so. Up to the point it switched to Waller the first time. After that I think it's Guinaldo, who is OK, but I was kind of looking forward to Saiz' art. I don't buy Birds of Prey, but when people put his work there online for their posts, it looks really good. And what he did here was fine, except it was just people standing around talking. Oh, and pointing guns at each other. Not the most fun assignment.
Not a real great day on the art front with these issues. Tomorrow will be better though.