Out The Gate
Let's review some comics, starting and the best and going to the least enjoyable: Fatale #6, Venom #19, Justice League#10, Justice League International #10.
As we start our 2nd arc of the story things get even weirder, with a washed-up actor, a mysterious film, and that strange woman who continues to stay young and hold a magic sway over men. Also we get more of the story in the, "present," and see that whatever evil plagued the past hasn't stopped yet. Brubaker is juggling so many plot points and mysteries its amazing he is able to keep things going smoothly and everything hasn't just collapsed into an utter mess.
Then again, Brubaker does some of his best work with collaborator Sean Philips, who makes art that causes me to want to cry--but in a good way. I cry because it looks so good, and many mainstream comics these days resemble something hideous and hastily-drawn to a point where you can barley tell what is supposed to be going on. In this case Brubaker mentions in the backmatter how Philips got a little extra time to do the issue and damn it, you don't rush something this nice. Criminal may not have gotten huge yet, and Incognito is a bit popular (both published under the creator-owned subprint of Marvel, Icon, and interestingly Fatale is from Dark Horse), but I'm pleased Fatale is becoming a huge hit for these two as they work hard and deserve something for sheer beauty.
4.5 out of 5 stars.
Remender is going to be handing the reins of this book over to Cullen Bunn and they are working together on this issue. I'm not sure who put in more work, but it is clear metaphorical decks are being cleared for something fresh after Cullen takes over the book solo. People are getting killed off (it appears), long-simmering plot-lines are crashing to the fore and man is it dark (to think that villain used his acid saliva to eat an old woman is just...yeesh).
This book has always been quirky, but right now its just dark and twisted...and it kind of works. I'm interested to see where Bunn goes once Remender is done with Venom completely, but right now as everything comes to a close in a way that is really not good for our hero I'm thinking perhaps we will have a comic without the requisite happy-ending--if Remender keeps things going the way they are. I'd like his run to end on a downer with Venom uttery defeated and Bunn building him back up. It beats the, "hero comes back at the last minute," schlock that stops being surprising after the 50th time it looks like Superman is down for the count but somehow finds the energy to win the day.
3.5 out of 5 stars.
Justice League #10
A guy who wrote a book about the league is fighting them, there is lots of talking, it's kind of dull but looks pretty with Jim Lee's art. In the end its still dull even if it looks nice. This all is disappointing as this arc started out in a way that looked somewhat promising with the Justice League as heroes who the government didn't trust but were too powerful to do anything about--a kind of "The Authority" vibe, really. There was also some hinted intrigue with the Martian Manhunter, Green Arrow, and all these other little plots that seem to have been dropped for some supposed-to-be-imposing-looking-bad-guy, who in order to convince us he is a the real deal writer Geoff Johns let's him take out the whole league without breaking a sweat. Trying to make us think your character is badass by having them beat up a bunch of heroes is just played out, kind of like having a villain talk about how they are going to not just kill a hero but kill their family too...which our new villain did in issue #9 as I recall. Yeah.
2 out of 5 stars.
Justice League International #10
A villain who looks like Spawn but breaks things down at the molecular level and his fellow baddies spout off vaguely occupy-wall-street/tea party jargon about taking the country back (it seems more to make the liberals look bad with its comment about CEOS, you know how much liberals apparently hate CEOS and business). The Justice League International fights them, and spouts off corny dialogue, but appears defeated at the issue's end. Before that we get attempts at heart-touching moments in a hospital with various hurt heroes but it all falls flat.
There, I just summed up the comic for you and now you don't have to read it. I guess the message is if you don't like big business and CEOS you might as well join terrorist super-villains to destroy America, because you're already hurting our nation by not supporting big oil, big tobacco, and big-whatever.
1.5 out of 5 stars.
Crashing Into The Finish
There we go, from noir-ish horror to ham-fisted politics. Comics can run the gamut in quality and we sure ran that wheel of life today.