Phil's Reviews — Stuff I Read and Put Back #18

Hack/Slash #1 — Writer: Tim Seeley; Art: Emily Stone
She’s a goth girl whose mom was a serial killer. He’s a dim but big-hearted lug who dresses like a cross between Jason and Leatherface . Together, they fight crime — specifically, slashers, of which there are apparently a lot. The villain is a guy with his face ripped off who cuts off two of her toes before the big lug slashes off both his arms in a climactic full-page splash. Oh, and there’s a page of (fully clothed) goth girl pinup photos in the back.
This is a comic made for 14-year-old boys. There isn’t anything wrong with that; it just explains why I’m not buying it. However, there’s a trace of 14-year-old boy in all of us, so if the ad in the back about a new Toxic Avenger comic quickens your pulse, this book is for you.

Ghost Rider #11 — Writer: Daniel Way; Breakdowns: Javier Saltares; Finishes: Mark Texiera
Another comic for 14-year-old boys; we seem to have a theme developing. The storytelling sometimes isn’t clear — I had to read the second page three times to figure out the sequence of events it was trying to communicate — but it’s a guy with a flaming skull head fighting a guy with a flaming pumpkin head — at night. With zombies. And exploding pumpkin bombs. If you’re thinking “How can that not be cool?”, you should buy this book; you won’t be disappointed.

Amazing Spider-Girl #8 — Writer: Tom Defalco; Pencils: Ron Frenz; Inks: Sal Buscema
… and, finally, a comic for 14-year-old girls, with an easy competence, smooth storytelling, and a clear affection for the characters and their world, crafted by a creative team that’s been telling their stories for years. It’s no wonder this book has such rabid fans — it does what it does very well.

Green Arrow #74 — Writer: Judd Winick; Penciller: Scott McDaniel; Inker: Andy Owens
Penultimate issue, so Black Canary comes back, romance ensues, Ollie’s become a better man, etc. Breezy and entertaining, and it treats the characters with respect (a welcome trend from DC; I’m still happy about the one-page shot of “The Dibneys, Ghost Detectives” from last week’s 52). There’s not a lot of heft to it, though — competent-but-not-always-compelling has often been the problem with this series.

Gen 13 #8 — Writer: Gail Simone; Penciler: Carlo Barberi; Inker: Drew Geraci
Perfectly OK — the notion that the group is slowly making their way to the town of Tranquility, and the appearance by the Authority (with Midnighter’s sensing of a kindrid spirit in Rozanne) all work, and show Simone’s easy grasp of the characters. One of those quiet little character-building stories, where nothing much happens but it’s still fun to read. Maybe I should start picking this up….

Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four #2 (of 4) — Writer: Jeff Parker; Penciler: Mike Wieringo; Inker: Wade von Grawbadger (with Andy Lanning)
Most of the world’s getting possessed/taken over by aliens, and the FF and Spidey together try to stop it. They can’t, so Reed goes off on an interstellar quest to find an invasion-stopping thingamajig, while the others play 1984 with the new alien-imposed Earth society. Pleasant enough — Wieringo’s art is OK (he’s certainly had enough experience drawing the FF), but it’s a little too simple for the all-encompassing changes that he’s supposed to be showing. Too, it’s always hard to take these big plots seriously, when we know that no other Marvel book or title will ever mention that, you know, the Earth got taken over and possessed by aliens that one time.

Black Panther #27 — Writer: Reginald Hudlin; Pencils: Francis Portela; Inks: Victor Olazaba
I’m not liking this issue as much as the last one — the whole bug-from-the-Negative-Zone-in-the-Baxter-Building bit was done already done back in the Waid/Wieringo FF (except that here no one seems to notice that the “bug” is carrying two swords, so is obviously intelligent and ought to be communicated with). Having a dimension-hopping magic artifact is just asking for trouble, too, as becomes apparent on the last page, when our team runs into…. nah, I’m not going to say, but suffice it that it’s a “group” that’s rapidly becoming more over-exposed than Wolverine.

Punisher War Journal #7 — Writer: Matt Fraction; Artist: Ariel Olivetti
The storytelling technique — wrap about five minutes of real-time action around a bunch of flashbacks — makes it hard to get into the flow of the narrative, and white supremacists on the border are just, frankly, kind of sad and corny. There’s no actual Punisher-as-Cap so far, either, although maybe that’s a good thing. Olivetti’s semi-painted-looking art is interesting sometimes — but the main bad guy wears a half-face mask (like Cap’s) so you can’t tell who he is, except that he’s got this stupid-looking soul-patch beard that would make him stand out in any crowd anyway, and that’s indicative of the general OK-but-only-if-you-don’t-stop-to-think-about-it level of the proceedings here.

Wolverine: Origins #14 — Writer: Daniel Way; Artist: Steve Dillon
Professionally done and all, but it takes about five minutes in real time (it’s the definition of decompressed storytelling), and it seems like this story’s been going on all year. Another of those it’ll-probably-read-better-in-the-trade comics, but these individual issues just don’t seem to provide much value for our $3.00.

Phil Mateer

About Phil

With 40 years of experience in comic reading, collecting and reviewing, English Professor Phil Mateer has an encyclopedic mind for comics. Feel free to ask Phil about storylines, characters, artists or for that matter, any comic book trivia. He will post your questions and answers on the AABC blog. His knowledge is unparalleled! He is also our warehouse manager, so if you are looking for that hard to find comic book, ask Phil!
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