Your Home for Toy News and Action Figure Discussion!

From the Hoss’ Mouth 12/13/06

Ah the holiday season, a time for holiday parties.  My comic shop, Bedrock City, had a huge holiday party.  It was sweet, I ate a sandwich and my girlfriend won a Wonder Woman T-shirt.  It’s also the reason why the reviews are late this week.  Excuses, excuses…rabble rabble rabble.

This week I post my thoughts on Wonder Man, the Infinite Holiday Special, X-23, Sandman Mystery Theater, Martian Manhunter, and a metric ton of others.

Happy Holidays!

Full Reviews:

Wonder Man: My Fair Superhero #1
Writer: Peter David
Pencils: Andrew Currie

I almost passed over this but then a familiar name caught my attention: Peter David.  I just can’t resist a PAD book.  This one’s a five part mini so you don’t have to worry about a heavy investment.  The series starts off with a future Wonder Man reminiscing about his past life and times, of which one in particular stands out.  We then cut back to the modern era to relive this fleeting moment.  Simon’s got a meeting with his agent, there’s some small talk and the usual PAD quips, but ultimately the conversation turns to a discussion about the inherent nature of humanity.  What makes us who we are and are we capable of change?  A touchy subject for one Simon Williams, especially when you note that he used to have romantic entanglings with the Scarlet Witch.

Being a first issue this setup sequence is rather important as well as moving.  PAD knows how to work the “destiny” angle and he does a great job of crafting it here.  Ultimately as the story progresses, a test in the form of one teenage assassin presents itself and as the mini progresses we’re going to find out if you can spit in the face of destiny and get away with it.  Good concept, fun story, and a nice use of a great character to approach it all.

The art is cartoony, for lack of a better word, with exaggerated features all over the place.  I have a bit of an issue with this because despite the PAD factor the book’s fairly serious overall while the art tries its hardest to take away from that tone.  It seems like maybe an artist was picked for this job based on David’s past work and not on the current plot.  I know not every PAD story is funny, but still I think there was a stereotypical approach here when the artist was chosen.  That being said it does provide a very unique look to the story though one that I personally dislike.

Before I forget, there’s also a pretty neat fight sequence too, so all of you out there right now imaging this book to be a bunch of jibber jabber should take note that it’s got jibber jabber AND superhero action.

Verdict: A great start by a great writer for what looks to be a very entertaining mini. Highly Recommended.

Quick Reviews:

DCU Infinite Holiday Special:  They changed the name at the sake of the original joke, but oh well, no matter what name you would have placed on this title it still wouldn’t be worth the $4.99 price tag.  Seven stories encompass this holiday special.  “A Hector Hammond Christmas” is a bust being both boring and not in the Christmas spirit.  Shadowpact star in “Christmas Spirits” which turned out to be the best story in this lot as well as the funniest. Supergirl learns about second chances in “All I want for Christmas”, speaking of which, all I want for Christmas is a good Christmas special at a decent price.  “Gift of the Magi” ties in to Trials of Shazam fairly well though its importance in that maxi series won’t matter in the long run.  “Father Christmas” is a(nother) redemption tale but this time with the Flash.  Batwoman celebrates Hanukkah in the terribly confusing “Lights”.  The last story is an Elseworlds tale called “Yes, Tyrone, there is a Santa Clause” in the vein of golden age style Superman & Batman.  Overall the art’s pretty sound throughout but even though some stories do turn out well, the $2 extra price tag makes this whole book seem like a rip.

Verdict: Too much money for a book just looking to cash in on the good will this holiday season. Pass.

X-23: Target X #1: Right away the art on this book immediately stands out as the best part.  The Top Cow crossover really seems to be working in Marvels favor here as the addition of Mike Choi and Sonia Oback pays off huge.  Before X-23 joined the “New X-Men…Academy” this story happened.  It’s an expanded origin story showcasing the finer details of her early creation as well as her forging the life she has now.  The actual text is few and far between as most of the story chores are handled entirely by the art crew; which is not a bad thing when you’ve got such good artists.  A shifting, somewhat confusing opening shot that is beautiful and entertaining.  Also on a side note, our Miss Little X dons a Texas jersey…but not just any jersey, it’s number 10’s, Houston’s very own superstar son Vince Young.  Now knowing that X-23 is a Vince fan, Marvel can rest assured I will be buying the rest of this series as well as future installments.

Verdict: Vince! Vince! Vince!…wait… I mean X-23! X-23! X-23! Recommended.

Sandman Mystery Theater: Sleep of Reason #1: Being a fan of the previous series, I had to grab this new mini which supposedly will seek to place a new character in the Sandman role.  Taking place in the modern era unlike the older series, a war reporter finds himself at odds with terrorists meanwhile the original Sandman Dodds and his wife/fellow adventurer Dian face kidnappers (which may also be the same terrorists).  A confusing confounding mess of a first issue, DC should consider themselves lucky I’m patient enough to stick around to see how #2 plays out.  Overall I couldn’t make out heads or tails of what’s actually happening but the pictures are nice to look at.

Verdict: Definitely look it over at the store first, but as a general recommendation I say pass.

The Loser of the Week:

Martian Manhunter #5: Though it shows improvement over the early issues, I’m still of the opinion that there’s no one at DC right now who can write J’onn anymore.  A sad opinion to hold, but one that I feel is true.  J’onn stumbles through an overly complicated plot complete with adjunct misunderstandings and bumbling heroics all in his overzealous fury to save the last of his kind.  These new Martians anger and confuse Hoss.  Hoss mad now.  BLARGH!  Seriously, just kill them and get back to basics, namely J’onn in a leadership role kicking ass somewhere.

Verdict: Laughably passable.

The Rundown:

Notable notables a.k.a. the “Must Buys” for this week:

X-Factor: One hilarious encounter in a bar between Madrox and Rictor that makes this book worth the $2.99 price tag all by itself.

Green Lantern Corps: This series really picked up with this issue and exposes some of the dark side of the corps and the Guardians.  Best one yet.

Exiles Annual: Although nothing permanent and grand (not a pun) occurs, seeing some old faces again brightened my entire day.

Justice League of America: Finally this story picks up and despite my new favorite villain Dr. Impossible getting taken out like a chump….by a chump (easy now Arsenal fans) this was a great story.

Wonder Man: Covered

The Good:

Robin: Cat-sitting, entertaining yet nothing special, but the last minute appearance by Klarion has this one looking up.

The Trials of Shazam: Still not buying the new role of magic or its deities in the DCU but I did have some fun with this.

Ghost Rider: The best GR story yet, but the fill-in art by Corben kills me and keeps this one from being something great.

New X-Men: Standard New X-Men fare, those kids just can’t stay out of trouble can they?

X-Men: Phoenix Warsong: A bit of a jumble but the art’s fantastic (another Top Cow crossover).

Green Arrow: Ollie extending the olive branch is fun and the emergence of Deathstroke looks promising.

Firestorm: Surprisingly Professor Stein’s nagging sold this story for me.  Also keep an eye out for a double Infinite Crisis and Civil War slam by the Pionic Man.

52 Week 32:  Ho-Hum stuff.  A decent week for 52.

Wolverine: Not really worth the $1 extra but I just can’t get enough of these typical Wolverine stories.  Same thing as every Wolvie story, $hit happens and he cleans it up. 

The Spectre: Does a remorseful killer get off the hook?  Will the Spectre show mercy?  That would be telling.  Pretty fun overall.

Street Fighter Legends: Sakura: A great ending in a very funny series.

X-23: Covered

The Filler:

Batman: I expected better from this fill-in crew, unfortunately with their second story I can tell it’s not going to happen.

DCU Infinite Holiday Special: Covered

Martian Manhunter: Covered

Sandman Mystery Theater: Covered, but be aware this could still get good later.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *