Friday, December 27, 2013

What I Bought 12/16/2013 - Part 5

Another day, another pair of comics. Today it's a first issue (zero issue, actually), and the other title is starting a new story. Too bad I've already decided to drop it in a few months.

X-Men #7, by Brian Wood (writer), Terry Dodson (penciler), Rachel Dodson (inker), Jason Keith (colorist), Joe Caramagna (letterer) - Rogue's not in the book right now, which I've heard is because Remender killed her in Uncanny Avengers. What the hell Remender? Is this because I dropped Captain America? I told you, it wasn't what I was hoping for! Don't take it out on Rogue, jeez!

So there's this young woman, Ana Cortes. her father was some big-shot, self-made tycoon, except now he's dead, and Ana's running the empire. She doesn't care about it, though. She's interested in turning herself into some ultimate techno-organic weapon, starting with inserting Lady Deathstrike's consciousness into her own brain. But that isn't enough, no, she'd like to get ahold of the Omega Sentinel as well, which means a visit to the Jean Grey School is in order. Except she finds out the former Omega Sentinel is back to being Karima Shapandar, prospective police officer, and baseline human. That's a setback, and so is the fact she ran into Monet (who's come to the school to unwind after whatever happened to her near the end of X-Factor), who saw into her mind and knows Deathstrike's in there. That's not too much worry for Ana/Yuriko, though. She has her sights set on a new prize: Arkea, and she's even brought in Typhoid Mary to help. A woman with two minds in one body, teamed up with a woman whose mind is split into multiple parts (unless all the other aspects are gone now), chasing after something I don't think they fully comprehend. That'll end well.

The Dodsons have stepped in to handle art duties, so you pretty much know what to expect. They combine for a very clean style, not a lot of excess lines, but it's hard to ignore in a book with so many female characters, how almost all of them have the same body. Jubilee and Bling would appear to be exceptions, maybe also Rachel (it's hard to tell, no more panel time than she got). Also, I have no idea what Monet did to all those Humvees. Does she have telekinesis, or is she strong enough she can flap her hands rapidly and create a shockwave? Also not sure how I feel about the new Deathstrike's claws. It's a more elegant look, to be sure, fitting with the progress the technology has made, and likely Ana's personal aesthetic. But those elongated fingernails don't look all that sharp. More like butter knives.

Wood's adding Monet to the roster for at least this story. I've never been able to really get into Monet. I can appreciate the self-confidence, but like with Emma Frost, it manifests itself in a smirking condescension I find off-putting. When villains act that way, it's fine, the arrogance is their undoing, and we aren't supposed to root for them anyway. Little trickier when it's a hero. Occasionally, you'd like to see them knocked off their pins, but they're the good guy, so that might be kind of costly. Monet seems to go out of her way to be irritating. Maybe she's the Guy Gardner/Hawkeye for this bunch. How she and Storm play off each other could be interesting. They both have this almost aristocratic air to them, but Storm's is more like she carries herself above all the petty stuff, while Monet almost revels in getting saying or doing things which demonstrate her belief she's better than other folks.

Harley Quinn #0, by Amanda Conner (writer/artist), Jimmy Palmiotti (writer), you're crazier than harley if you think I'm listing all those artists. What do you mean, I did it for Dial E? I did not! *checks review* Crap. Becky Cloonan, Tony S. Daniel & Sandu Florea, Stephane Roux, Dan Panosian, Walt Simonson, Jim Lee & Scott Williams, Bruce Timm, Charlie Adlard, Adam Hughes, Art Baltazar, Tradd Moore, Dave Johnson, Jeremy Roberts, Sam Kieth, Darwyn Cooke, Chard Hardin (artists, the lot of them!), Paul Mounts, Tomeu Morey, John Kalisz, Lovern Kindzierski, Alex Sinclair, Lee Loughridge, Dave Stewart, Alex Sollazzo (colorists), John J. Hill (letterer) - This is Harley's quest to find an artist for the comic she imagines she could star in. And is actually getting, but I'm not sure if she realizes that. By the end of the issue, she thinks she got rid of her writers, whose voices were in her head throughout the proceedings. So Harley can break the 4th wall, but only when she's daydreaming?

I'm almost certainly overthinking this. The comic is a series of largely unconnected vignettes of Harley being drawn doing various things by various artists, while she bickers with Conner and Palmiotti. I enjoyed it more than that description suggests. Some of the gags fall flat, but I laughed out loud at least three or four times. Some of it was Harley's dialogue, some of it was what the artists drew. Darwyn Cooke's depiction of Jimmy Palmiotti, for example. He looks like Fat Elvis. The bit on the Jim Lee page about the sand bags being full of Lee's royalty payments, so they'll hurt Batman a lot more got a chuckle.

I could see this getting tiring if it went on every issue, but my guess is that issue 1 had an actual plot, probably related to either the roller derby stuff depicted on the cover, or to Harley being left some real estate by a patient she once treated. So maybe it's better to treat this as a one-shot, standalone sort of thing, in which case it was fine. I do have some reservations about how Conner and Palmiotti will write Harley. There are more than a few folks on the Internet who suspect she's being positioned as the nu52's Deadpool, which if true, is sad news for Ambush Bug. Now he'll never get out of those stupid "Channel 52" things at the back of the comics. Anyway, maybe that's true, maybe it isn't. If it's done in a way that plays to some of Harley's strengths, and ways she's different from Wade Wilson, it could work. I'll have to reserve judgment for now.

I thought Dan Panosian did a good job on his page. Felt like something out of a MAD Magazine feature (intentional, I'm sure). And doing a spoof involving Harley is the only way you'd ever get me interested in Mad Men. Beyond that, I liked Walt Simonson putting her in a modified version of his Paul Kirk Manhunter outfit. Although now I'm curious who the robot guy was that she killed along with all the earlier artists. What's his story? How did he get there? Was it Geoff Johns-Bot, the organism designed only to kill characters in graphic and emotionally unsatisfying ways on pointless double-page spreads?


SallyP said...

I can't believe they killed off Rogue. Not that I think for a second that it will stick...but I share your disdain for Monet.

(But seriously, Hal is much more arrogant than Guy!)

CalvinPitt said...

Yeah, I'm pretty sure Rogue's death happened in some time travel story involving Kang. Or Apocalypse, maybe. So I'm sure it'll be undone.

I'd totally agree Hal is more arrogant than Guy, but somehow Guy seems to be the one who rubs people the wrong way more often. At least on Earth. Aliens actually seem to have less tolerance for Hal's crap than the Justice League or whoever.

I'm not sure what that says about Earthlings.