Monday, September 05, 2016

What I Bought 8/28/2016 - Part 1

While I was visiting my dad, I took the opportunity to grab some of the comics that had come out over the previous two weeks. But I already had all of last week's posts ready to go, so we're just getting to them now. Not as though I've been on the cutting edge of reviews for a long time now.

Black Widow #6, by Mark Waid (storyteller), Chris Samnee (storyteller/artist), Matthew Wilson (colorist), Joe Caramagna (letterer) - Samnee drew an older version of the armor, but not the really early, clunky grey or gold versions. Curious.

Dr. Yinsen is the man who saved Tony Stark's life when they were held prisoner by a warlord. Natasha is the one who abducted Yinsen for that warlord. Stark is somewhat peeved, but gets duped by Natasha, who uses his equipment to find where the Weeping Lion is. Then she finds out the big guy is just the brother of the true Weeping Lion, a telepathic teen, right before she repulsor rays the kid through a window and tells him he works for her now.

I've not been a big fan of Tony Stark since oh, the last Civil War Marvel did. I think that's well established in the archives. Still, I feel conflicted about how this played out. Natasha's smile as she busted out the Iron Man gauntlet on her would-be tormentor was a nice moment, the smile Samnee gave her a nice touch, but could she have tried just asking for the stuff? Maybe Stark was too heated for that, but he isn't wrong that she is at least partially responsible for Yinsen's death (though also Stark's still being alive, since Yinsen is responsible for that). It wasn't something done of her own volition, but "I was only following orders," hasn't been an acceptable excuse for awhile now. And her explanation to Stark consists of "I was a different person then."

I'm probably just looking for a "sorry", but I think the character, and certainly the people who trained her would contend sorry doesn't matter. Doesn't fix anything (though what would she do?). But it's at least a public acknowledgment that you fucked up, you know? It was what drove me nuts about Batman for years, all his heavy-handed bull that kept blowing up in other people's faces, and never the actual admission he messed up.

Maybe if Tony hadn't come in so obviously cocky, talking about "amateur hour" they would have been able to chat.

It's another lovely issue. The flashback being colored in that pale red is a nice, vivid distinguisher, and I think Wilson darkened it just a bit on the final page, as Yinsen's being handed over. That moment of no return, when Natasha stands with her hands in her pockets and sends a man to his death without a word. And I like the last word balloon on that page being partially cut off by the panel border, I guess as Yinsen is dragged out of range of his voice, or physically silenced. Also, the two panels of Natasha stepping out of, and then back into her shoes in the cemetery, with the noticeable difference in the condition of her stockings. Very effective.

Blue Beetle Rebirth #1, by Keith Giffen (story and script), Scott Kolins (story and art), Romulo Fajardo Jr. (colors), Josh Reed (letters) - That's not the cover I wound up with, but I like it better.

Jaime is living at home, with his parents and his sister. His friends are once again, Brenda and Paco, though I don't recall them being quite this argumentative, but I came into Jaime's first series late and sporadically, anyway. Jaime's working with Ted Kord, who alerts him to a couple of somethings tearing up a coffee shop. Jaime struggles to deal with them, while Ted is being not terribly helpful in his ear, but survives the encounter with no civilian casualties. Ted's supposed to be helping Jaime get the scarab off of him, but doesn't seem to be making much progress, and along comes Dr. Fate to claim the scarab is magic, not alien science. Well, you know, sufficiently advanced technology would be indistinguishable from science, if practically every Arthur C. Clarke story I read is correct.

Looking at this as an introduction (or re-introduction of the character), I think it's very effective. Giffen and Kolins got a lot of the supporting cast in there, from Jaime's parents, to his friends, to Ted and Fate, and Brenda's aunt, who is probably still a crime boss, and maybe she's a sorcerer. Her eyes were red in one panel. Oh, I hope she doesn't turn out to be Darkseid. That would be the dirt worst. Anyway, I think they managed to give at least some idea of the various relationships between the characters, even if just a sketch outline, but that's not too bad for the ground covered.

Kolins' art is pretty much how I remember it from the last time I saw it, whenever that was. Maybe a little less busy with faces than before, which is fine. I actually thought Amparo (Brenda's aunt) looked drawn in a different style from everyone else, even smoother and more simplified, which could be something significant. Could just be my imagination. A lot of panels per page early in the issue, a some decent variety in layouts, which is a good call for extended sequences of talking. Plus, it makes the point when you turn the page and get the full page splash of Jaime in the armor more effective. I also noticed that in the panel where the armor starts to form some sort of gun, before Jaime alters its aim, the gun partially goes outside the panel borders, to that area that's full of black dots on a white background on practically every page. Again, could be something, given what Dr. Fate's selling, could be nothing.

Solid start, regardless. I'm on board for awhile.

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