Wednesday, July 16, 2014

What I Bought 7/3/2014 - Part 2

Since I'm back in a place with actual TV, I've seen a couple of commercials for the Guardians of the Galaxy movie and eeh, I grow increasingly concerned it's going to stink. A lot of things I think are meant to be funny feel like they're trying too hard, which worries me.

Captain Marvel #4, by Kelly Sue DeConnick (writer), David Lopez (art), Lee Loughridge (color art), Joe Caramagna (letterer) - That's a nice use of contrast between the red and the green. It's even set up so our eyes go from the cover and the starburst, down to her fists, which brings us to Carol's new team there in the background.

Carol meets with the representatives of all the different people who tried to make a home for themselves on Torfa. There's a lot of arguing among the species about what to do, because they're pretty set on not leaving anyone behind. It's heartening actually, unless I get cynical and see it as a competition to see who can martyr themselves the most. I think that's that stinking Support Your Local Wizard book talking. Carol suggests building large barges which could be towed by their smaller fighter craft to some other world. Except none of the fighters actually work, which leaves them helpless before the attacks of those same pirates Carol ran into on the way here. Carol does have a ship, though, so she and her little band hop in and pursue. Then they steal a bunch of stolen goods from the pirates. Meanwhile, the Spartax emperor (Star-Lord's dad) is laying down the law on the Madame Eleanides, the dragon lizard lady who's head honcho on Torfa. There will be a certain number of transports on Torfa in a few days. They will evacuate the people who aren't sick, and only those. The sick will be left to die, or everyone will be left to die.

I liked Star-Lord's dad more when he was dead. Or at least effectively dead because he wasn't appearing in any comics. He's all of Tony Stark's overbearing arrogance without any of his charm, wit, or compassion. The Avengers should have held off fighting the Builders until this guy was dead. Oh, and couple of his agents were on the planet Carol tracked those pirates to. This somehow leads us back to where we started in issue 1, them stopping on Alien Marrakesh to buy. . . something. I'm still not clear on what the thing they bought was.

Real talk? I'm considering dropping this book. It hasn't clicked for me. Not sure why; DeConnick's a fine writer, she's trying to build a supporting cast, I feel like Carol has character traits that should make her a character I'd like, Lopez' art is very pretty (we'll come back to that in a second), but. . . no. Maybe it's taking too long to get anywhere. We're just now finding out Emperor Dork of the Spartax is up to something, but no clue why. No progress on why the planet Torfa is mysteriously toxic. So the book is on the clock.

One of these days, David Lopez is going to land on a book where I'm going to unreservedly love everything about it, and I'll just enjoy his art for years. He doesn't do anything particularly wild with the layouts, but he's really good with facial expressions and body language, and I'm more interested in that stuff, anyway. It's easier for me to notice. The way that Jackie's "hair" shakes hands with Carol's hair, even as Jackie and Carol are themselves shaking hands. Also, the way that Jackie gives Carol a sly wink as she introduces herself as a goddess, leaning forward conspiratorially. Carol's posture when she asks Gil if he'd like to punch her again. It looks exactly what I figure it should look like if you lean forward mid-sentence and encourage someone to paste you one. Everything on Torfa is colored this diffuse yellow. Like it isn't overcast, but the sun's light isn't completely getting through. Or the star is dying, like the people on the planet it shines on.

Daredevil #4, by Chris Samnee and Mark Waid (storytellers), Javier Rodriguez (colorist), Joe Caramagna (letterer) -  You think there's a way Samnee could have made DD's little horns work as the owl's eyes? The way the scales of Justice worked as Matt's eyes on the previous issue's cover?

So Shroud didn't completely sell out Matt, as he makes certain the star of the book doesn't fall to a fiery death. However, while Matt's saving himself as beating up cannon fodder, the Shroud escapes with the Owl, leaving Matt to escape the Owl's compound and meet Kirsten for dinner. They chat a bit, she reveals Owlsley has been buying up Silicon Valley contracts, except one, which not only refused to sell, but also made some big breakthrough. Matt's off to their labs, and there's the Shroud and the Owl. The Owl didn't break under torture, so if Max wants to know where Julia is, he had to help the Owl get here. "Here" being a lab where they've developed a way to send information in the form of photons directly into your brain. The Owl sees it as a way to true omniscience, but he'll have to get past Daredevil first. Unless the Shroud gets in the way, and he does, which is when Matt figures out something critical about Max: That he's trying to get himself killed, which Matt, good Catholic boy he is, won't allow. But that gives Owlsley time to access the invention, though it's hard to tell what it did, other than seemingly render him catatonic for the time being. In the aftermath, Matt vows he'll find Julia, if the Shroud will cut this "death by super-villain" stuff out, and Max seems to agree. Good lick with that, Matt. I wouldn't expect him to have much patience.

Not really loving the Shroud's portrayal here. For one thing, the idea he's outclassed going up against the Owl seems ludicrous to me. Wasn't one of the Shroud's first battles against Dr. freaking Doom? I know Waid isn't a fan of Doom being presented as having any nobility or honor, but I thought he at least respected him as a serious threat. Isn't Matt the one who dismissed the Owl as dangerous, but not on Wilson Fisk's level? Didn't he also decide the Shroud was a more pressing problem than the Owl? Given all that, I'm not quite sure how he works out that the Owl is too dangerous for the Shroud. Sure, if Max really wants to die, that gives the Owl some help, but I remain unconvinced the Owl is actually beyond Max' capabilities, and it mostly just comes off like Waid and Samnee bagging on the Shroud to make Daredevil look better. I have no clear idea on why I care. I'm not a huge Shroud fan, though I like the character all right, I just feel like he's getting dissed here, made to look like a chump so Daredevil can play savior or win a game of "Who had the shittier life?"

Complaining about the Shroud aside, how was the issue? I do prefer this coldly vicious, knowledge obsessed Owl to the sadist in Superior Foes. Not sure where they plan to go with him now that he tapped into those photons. I'm guessing he'll be the Big Bad for Matt's time in San Francisco, the way Bullseye was in the prior volume. He's theoretically going to know everything, which would certainly make him capable of causing trouble, if he can harness it. I like that they're playing with Matt being a celebrity, people wanting to take pictures with him, and Matt being mostly OK with it. He's enough of a ham and showboat to get off on it. We'll see if it gets overbearing as time goes on, starts affecting his personal life or work. That might be interesting, if it isn't the super-villains knowing that makes having no secret identity a problem, but all the everyday folks that won't quit bugging you.

The art is excellent as usual. I like the brief skirmish Matt has with the Owl's goons, where they're simply dark outlines, because Matt can't see them, and it's such a perfunctory fight they don't really matter. They're just a minor obstacle. And the way their outlines form the background for the room they're in when the fight's over and Matt's the only one standing. There are a couple of things I don't know whether to credit Samnee or Javier Rodriguez. The way that when the Shroud projects his shadow field, it looks like all these little grasping hands. I'm guess that's Samnee, because I think he does a lot of the shadows on his work (which would explain why the coloring looks different from when Rodriguez draws the book, even though he's still the one coloring it), but I can't be sure. The other thing was that swirling light above the new data delivery thing. That massive white whirlpool or whatever it was. It looked really cool, but I don't know if Samnee outlined it first, or if that space was mostly blank and it was left to Rodriguez to make it look good with colors.

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