Grotesque Anatomy
Tuesday, May 04, 2004
  DCU Quick Reviews
GOTHAM CENTRAL #18:  My first reaction was that the art looked like what happens when you squash a widescreen movie to fit a TV screen:  Everyone looked really stretched out and distorted.  My enjoyment of this story was also hindered by the fact that I'd forgotten what was going on in the previous two issues.  This is a series that I think I'll read in trades from now on, if at all.  Still, I did love the dig at Huntress' horrendous new costume.

AQUAMAN #17:  Not really interested.  Some nice art from Patrick Gleason and Christian Alamy, and I liked the bit with Aquaman using the sharks to corral the disobedient children, but why would Aquaman talk to a dolphin out loud?  (I know, I know, it's a very small nitpick, but the clunkiness of that scene really threw me out of the story.)

HERO #15: Some great art from the new art team of Dale Eaglesham and Wade Von Grawbadger.  This issue, Robby Reed meets up with Jerry Feldon (the recipient of the HERO dial from the first arc).  I'll admit, I'm actually curious to see where this is going.  I can foresee about a dozen ways Robby's dark vision of the future could go wrong but so far Pfeifer has done a good job of keeping this series on track.  Loved Robby's line to Jerry about how the heroes of his time were "more imaginative" than the stuff kids today think up.

BIRDS OF PREY #66:  Hey, where'd the Alex Toth cover go?  OK, the cover by Dan Brereton and Phil Noto isn't too shabby, but I was promised a Toth cover, dammit!  Anyway, I got this issue for the Michael Golden art and it didn't disappoint.  As for the story, it's part five of six in some larger arc, but it's still relatively self-contained as it deals with a flashback case involving the original Black Canary.  There are some interesting bits about the original Black Canary being motivated to operate as a vigilante because the Gotham police department wouldn't accept a female detective, but I still felt as though I was missing a part of the bigger picture by jumping into the story so late in the game.  (Mainly because the modern-day framing sequence makes it clear the old unsolved case still has ramifications in the present, so if I ignore that, this was actually a pretty nice stand-alone tale.)

HAWKMAN #27:  Speaking of fill-in issues for series I don't normally get, I picked up this "Past Lives" installment of Hawkman because of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips.  The story is basically more of the creepy "fated love across intertwined lives" mumbo jumbo that drove me away from the series in the first place, but here it's dressed up in noir trappings and served up stylishly by Phillips' moody art.  So:  great art but entirely passable story.

WONDER WOMAN #203:  I think just a couple months ago I was mocking those who complained that nothing ever happened in Rucka's WW series, but now I'm starting to feel the same way.  I mean, come on:  We already knew Stheno and Euryle were attempting to revive Medousa; we don't need to see every little detail of Circe's spell along the way.  And I really didn't need to listen to Batman lecture on and on about different bullet types in order to understand that he's an expert at this kind of stuff.  I think I'll be dropping this one.

ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN #627:  One of the revamped Superman titles.  I haven't been following the Superman books for years so I wasn't sure I'd be up to speed on what's going on, but it seems that the line has regressed back to the concepts I remember from when I was a kid:  Superman playing Clark Kent as a bumbling, insecure persona; Jimmy Olsen complaining that he's not treated like a "real" reporter; even Clark Kent falling out of helicopters so that he can change into Superman (although now he actually lands in a dumpster before he changes rather than making the change via superspeed in midair (à la Curt Swan)).  I'm not sure who the bad guy Replikon is (why do I want to guess that he's from the 90s and Dan Jurgens is responsible?) but I actually liked the image of a grotesquely deformed conglomerate Justice League fighting Superman.  (The mangled Hawkman wings were an especially nice touch.)
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