Friday, February 10, 2017

What I Bought 2/8/2017 - Part 1

It was going to be a big week in theory, six comics, but I was only able to find three of them. Might as well start with the two first issues of the bunch, although spoiler, neither one knocked my socks off.

Justice League of America #1, by Steve Orlando (writer), Ivan Reis (penciler), Joe Prado and Oclair Albert (inkers), Marcelo Maiolo (colorist), Clayton Cowles (letterer) - If Batman has figured out how to transport people around inside his cape, that would be really handy. Although I weep for the rest of the team being trapped in there with Lobo. The smell cannot be pleasant.

It's a getting the team together issue. One at a time, we see Batman recruit the people he wants, often bringing along the last person he signed up to help convince the next person. Except he sends Black Canary alone (to get Lobo), and Ryan Choi alone (to get the Ray). Curious if that means something. I could see him not going to get Lobo because he figures their personalities will clash, although why recruit someone you know is going to be a problem? But sending someone Ray has never heard of to tell him Batman wants him on a team seems like a bad idea. A suspicious person would suspect a trap. Fortunately, Ray isn't any brighter (heh) in this universe than he was pre-Flashpoint.

There are things here I could see being interesting. The last page preview of what's to come - and what are the odds we ever see that stuff? Those preview pages rarely pay off - suggests Ray and Lobo are continuing their conflict from the earlier universe. But it seems like same old Batman. I feel there's a disconnect between telling Canary he wants someone who speaks her mind to keep them honest, and two panels previous where he dismisses her concerns about Killer Frost with, 'I trust her. That's all you need to know.' What if that isn't all Canary feels she needs to know? Is Batsy going to offer more, or be his usual closed off asshole self? Although he let Lobo put Choi on the team, so I don't know. Mixed signals.

Batman does seem to spend most of the issue scowling and looking unfriendly (except with Vixen), which isn't much of a recruiting pitch. I was hoping, given he's picking his roster, he'd be a little happier about it. Don't love the redesign on Ray's costume. The helmet not going below the tops of the ears around the back, so the white collar of the shirt/tights goes up the back of his head to meet it. Awful. Maybe that call was made independent of Reis, don't know. I tend to like Reis' work fine, and Ray's costume aside, there's nothing wrong with it here, other than his Batman is reminding me of David Finch's artwork, which is not a good thing. I feel like Maiolo could brighten the colors a bit, perhaps, but that's a nitpick. It's pretty easy to follow what's going on in the book, so no complaints there.

But I still don't think I want to read them fighting the Extremists.

Steven Universe #1, by Melanie Gillman (writer), Katy Farina (illustrator), Whitney Cogar (colorist), Mike Fiorentino (letterer) - Oh Steven, are you floating in the depths of space inside a bubble again? Did last time's near-death experience teach you nothing?

Steven's at the barn, showing off some new game on his phone, when they find a baby bird that has fallen from its nest. A nest they can't find. Steven tries following the advice of a doctor at a wildlife rehab center, but despairs of leaving the bird outside in bad weather. So he, Lapis, and Peridot take care of the bird themselves. Eventually it grows big enough, and they release it to find others of its species.

First obvious point: The book is aimed at a much younger audience than my old butt. That's fine, just should have considered that possibility from the start, rather than being all, "Whee, more Steven Universe!". I didn't say "whee", but you get the idea. There's a fair amount of things in here I enjoyed. Lapis being willing to help Steven, both because she considers him a friend, and because he helped her when she was lost and alone. Peridot only really getting into the idea once she realized some baby birds grow up to be big, powerful birds, like eagles. But not realizing that not all baby birds do that. Because gems do work that way. In theory, if you are a Peridot, you look basically like this one. Rubies look mostly alike, Amethysts, and so on. So she figures Birds also work like that.

And there was Steven's moment of terror when he worried they broke the law by deciding to care for the baby themselves. I might honestly expect that more from Connie, but she'd be more worried about germs.

I will say, if you didn't know anything about Steven Universe prior to reading this, I'm not sure you would have any more idea of what it is after. I mean, you can get a fair idea of the three characters' personalities from this, Lapis being a mixture of easygoing and straightforward, Peridot being more manic, but I don't think you'd have any idea what they are, or why they're hanging around this seemingly ordinary young boy. I don't know if that would be a problem if you were considering buying this for yourself or someone else, but I figured it was worth mentioning.

Cogar's colors are very bright, which matches the show, and creates a mostly warm, pleasant feel. Even the scene at night, when Steven is worried about the bird out in the storm, the colors aren't that dark. But they aren't going to leave it out there to fend for itself, so that makes sense. Farina keeps the characters on model, and getting to look at the barn in still images, I got to notice some of the modifications Peridot and Lapis made I never had before. Which isn't a huge deal, but was still nice. The montage of them caring for the bird, showcasing their different methods was a cute sequence.

I think the book did what it set out to do, but it may simply be a case of I'm not the target audience. But I'm game to give it a little longer before I decide. I've given much worse books a much longer leash.


SallyP said...

More and more, I find myself actively despising Batman. I like his supporting cast, but frankly... he's a dick.

CalvinPitt said...

I've had that same feeling for awhile. He's got a lot of cool characters around him - from his various proteges, to Gordon and his cops - but that Bat himself is just too much of a pill.