Thursday, June 30, 2011

Rant-Reviews--What does it mean when I enjoyed the $2.99 comics more than the $3.99 and $4.99?

Alright, so I read Deadpool #39 and Mystery Men #2 which are $2.99 and enjoyed them a fair amount. Then Wolverine #11 is interesting and chock-full of allusions to other stories that would make a trivia geek go wild, but I just don't have as much fun as I would like--and it costs $3.99 for the standard 22 pages. Then I get the, "Double-Sized Special" of Thunderbolts #159 and other than the first story by the guy who normally writes the series, I'm left feeling pretty cold for my nearly-five-bucks. What does it mean when the cheaper comics are more fun than the comic that costs a dollar more but adds nothing, and a lot more enjoyable than the comic packed with substandard content? I guess it brings a new twist to the phrase, "Getting your money's worth." Let's break down why I feel how I do about these comics.

Deadpool #39
Deadpool makes the Hulk incredibly angry to try and achieve his goal of finally dying. Poor Wade Wilson, he seems to get the goal but just won't stay dead at the end of the comic (not a spoiler, I mean, you know another issue comes out next month so he can't be dead). This is funny, has a lot of action, and makes you kind of feel some genuine pity for Deadpool. It should be interesting what happens next issue when he has to face his own psychological issues at a mental institution.
4 out of 5 stars.

Mystery Men #2
The plot jumps more sharply into focus, we learn something shocking about one of our main characters, "The Operator," and most important of all, these new pulp-inspired characters are creative and fun enough that I like reading about them, so my hat off to David Liss for making something new while also having the classic elements of pulp in place. With this being the modern-day, Liss can also address the racism and sexism that existed at that time so that element being introduced is quite cool too. Yeah, this is a pretty nice read.
4 out of 5 stars.

Wolverine #11
Wolverine fights another weird member of the Red Right Hand, a group that wants him dead. We see a flashback of another character who hates our protagonist, and notes scrabbled on walls give so many story hints and allusions to other tales that it is quite why didn't I like this more? Perhaps I just think eleven issues of being told this group has some master plan without actually seeing the plan is a bit much, or a part of me is so used to Logan going up against some big, scary threat, that I just can't view this group as being any more of a danger than say, some of his old foes. Whatever the case, this is a quality comic being turned in by Jason Aaron, I'm just not feeling it as much as I was a bit ago. The great story-hints bump up the score some for someone who loves a good continuity tying-together though.
3 out of 5 stars.

Thunderbolts #159
Four different stories all taking place during the madness at the blown-up prison of The Raft during Fear Itself, and I only cared for the first tale by the regular writer of this comic, Jeff Parker. The 2nd bit with Moonstone was way too reliant on puns and catchphrases so that just annoyed me, and the 3rd story about warden Walker and Ghost was just the usual, "people can surprise you in a good way," moral. The last one with Crossbones seemed interesting with his character maybe growing some, but it ended with just the usual, "Crossbones is a horrible person who screws everyone over," closing that always happens with Crossbones. That is the problem with the character, he is just a terrible human being and you can't do much with someone who is pure evil and hate. Basically, the first tale is above-average but everything else just drags this down.

I would have been okay with this being a regular-sized issue and costing me the standard $2.99 (or more annoying $3.99) and if they really wanted there could have been a one-shot with some of these tales or something so I could have skipped it--because this is pretty much pointless. I don't mean pointless in that it doesn't advance the plot--a great story that moves the plot zilch would be fine. I mean pointless in that it just is purely disposable and not entertaining beyond the first story. Then again, Fear Itself seems to be acting as a kind of poison to any series that ties-in, making them lower in quality, so maybe I shouldn't be surprised. Actually, that isn't fair, because Jeff Parker does a decent job with what he is given, and the other writers are the ones who bury this in mediocrity. Look, my point is you can read the first 12 pages at the store then put this comic down and buy something else.
2 out of 5 stars.

I suppose the message you can take away from this is to buy more $2.99 comics, but then again there are plenty of those that are awful so perhaps we didn't learn anything at all.

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