Weekly Awards For The Comic Books From August 27, 2008

Due to it being Labor Day weekend and the fact that an unusually large shipment of comic books flooded the Bunker, I did not have time to post the reader polls for the weekly awards. They shall return this week.

All right, let’s go ahead and dish out The Revolution’s weekly awards.
The nominees for the Che for the best read of the week:

DCU: Last Will and Testament
Final Crisis: Superman Beyond #1
Final Crisis: Rogues’ Revenge #2
Justice Society of America #18
Kick-Ass #4
Legion of Super Heroes #45
Wolverine #68
Wolverine: First Class #6

The Winner: Wolverine #68

This week was insane. Not only did we get a massive shipment of comic books last week, but we also got an incredibly strong selection of comic books as well. I was so impressed with last week’s mix of comic books. I love weeks like this when DC and Marvel absolutely spoil us with so many quality reads. Awarding the Che is going to be difficult since all of the nominees this week were wonderful reads and each one was deserving of the Che.

I enjoyed DCU: Last Will and Testament. I already have praised this issue in my review. However, this issue did not win the Che due to the fact that it was not terribly new reader friendly and was a bit slow.

I completely adored Final Crisis: Superman Beyond #1. And I raved about this issue in my review. But, I could not give this issue the Che because despite how much I loved the issue, the fact remains that Final Crisis: Superman Beyond #1 probably had limited appeal to your average comic book reader.

While I was tickled pink to see the return of Comic Book Limbo from Morrison’s run on Animal Man, the vast majority of readers getting Final Crisis: Superman Beyond #1 have never read Morrison’s Animal Man and much of the impact of Limbo’s appearance was probably lost on them. Also, Morrison got incredibly metaphysical with this issue which also limits the appeal that this issue will have with your average comic book reader.

I gave a glowing review to Final Crisis: Rogues’ Revenge #2. I found this to be an absolute gem of a read. Still, I could not award this issue the Che because once again this is an issue that probably has limited appeal to your average comic book reader. To be sure, Flash fans will probably think that this issue deserves to win the Che this week.

Justice Society of America #18 was another strong issue by Johns. This title is so dependable as Johns continually cranks out a consistently good read on the JSA each and every month. However, as much as I enjoyed this issue, it was a bit too slow and not quite good enough to beat out some of the other nominees for the Che.

Millar serves up another wild read with Kick-Ass #4. This title has been an absolute blast to read. And Kick-Ass #4 is a loud and outrageous issue. I dig the over the top violence and the vulgar dialogue. To be sure, Kick-Ass is definitely not for readers who are easily offended. This is a mature readers only comic book. Still, Millar is delivering what is one of the most unique and interesting takes on the super hero genre that I have read in a long time.

Thom praised Legion of Super Heroes #45 in his review and I completely agree with him. This was an absolutely fantastic issue from Shooter. I have been enjoying Shooter’s run so far, but this issue was my favorite one up to now. Shooter simply gets the various Legionaries better than any other writer since Levitz left the title. Shooter has managed to craft numerous intriguing plotlines and has effortlessly juggled the large case of characters that overwhelms most writers.

What has been most enjoyable about Shooter’ Legion has been how much detail and story he is able to cram into each issue. Seriously, for comic book readers who are turned off by decompression and thin stories that are ruling the modern day comic book world then Shooter’s Legion is definitely for you. Shooter keeps the stories moving and does his best to stuff as many details into each issue as possible. Shooter does not waste a single panel in Legion of Super Heroes #45.

And to top it all off, Legion of Super Heroes #45 is well balanced as Shooter delivers a story that has action, adventure, mystery, drama and sex. And, yeah, the sex part is important. Shooter understands that the Legionnaires are basically college students living in a giant dorm. And it is to be expected for them to act in the appropriate manner.

Wolverine: First Class #6 was another entertaining issue. Fred Van Lente has done a fantastic job on this title. Van Lente has captured the essence of the old school Wolverine and Kitty Pryde combination that was so much fun to read back on Claremont’s first run on Uncanny X-Men. Van Lente provides for plenty of solid character work and nice dialogue. And this issue had a great balance of action and drama as well as some humor.

And what is great about Wolverine: First Class is that Van Lente serves up stories that are either one-shots or at the most two issue stories. This title is certainly made for readers who are tired of decompression storytelling that unnecessarily drags story arcs over multiple issues. If you enjoy being able to pick up an issue and getting a nice well crafted one-shot story then you should certainly give Wolverine: First Class a try. Van Lente does deliver a story that is all-ages friendly. So, readers who prefer more mature titles will probably not enjoy that aspect of Wolverine: First Class.

However, in the end I had to give The Che award for the best read of the week to Wolverine #68. Again, Thom did a great job reviewing this issue and I completely agree with Thom. Millar’s Wolverine has been spectacular. Wolverine #68 was no exception. I have been absolutely fascinated with Millar’s apocalyptic version of the 616 universe. And I am completely intrigued with old man Logan and his vow of non-violence.

I enjoyed seeing Hawkeye kick plenty of ass in Wolverine #68. Millar has done such an impressive job writing Hawkeye’s character in this story. And the ending to Wolverine #68 was perfect. I got goose bumps and the hair stood up on the back of my neck as we see Logan about to break his vow of non-violence.

McNiven deserves plenty of praise for brining Millar’s story to life in such a breathtaking and powerful manner. McNiven perfectly captures Logan’s age and both the physical and mental wear-and-tear on Logan’s body.

And now the nominees for the Sequential Methadone Award for the worst read of the week:

Amazing Spider-Man #569
Mighty Avengers #17
Teen Titans #62

The Winner: Teen Titans #62

As always, Amazing Spider-Man #569 was less than impressive. I am not going to bother wasting any more time discussing this title.

I was summarily unimpressed with Mighty Avengers #17. Thom was nicer to this issue in his review than I would have been. I appreciated the fact that Bendis gave a bit of love to Henry Pym in that Pym’s basically good heroic nature kept surfacing in the various Skrulls that were tasked with impersonating Pym. But, other than that, this was a largely pointless issue that just read like filler. The artwork was a total miss with me. I have always disliked Pham’s sketchy, rough and sloppy pencils and I have rarely enjoyed Miki’s inks.

Bendis’ Secret Invasion tie-in issues on New Avengers and Mighty Avengers started out like a ball of fire and they were some fantastic reads. However, they have steadily declined in quality and have become more like filler stories designed to fluff up the thin Secret Invasion story and to stretch the Secret Invasion story out as long as possible. There was nothing about Mighty Avengers #17 that added anything of real substance to the Secret Invasion event or that increased my enjoyment of the main story over on Secret Invasion.

Much like was the case with Countdown; it is becoming apparent that Bendis simply does not have enough material to fill up Secret Invasion itself let alone the endless amount of Secret invasion tie-in issues that we have gotten on the two Avengers titles. At this point, I am rapidly beginning to lose interest in this seemingly never ending Secret Invasion story that seems to be lacking any real purpose.

However, in the end I had to give the Sequential Methadone Award of the week to Teen Titans #62. This issue was flat out hideous. This title has been steadily doing downhill ever since Johns left. But Teen Titans #62 was just unacceptable. This issue read like a cheap and cheesy teen-age slasher flick.

The introduction of Wonder Dog just to reveal him to be a monster and have him kill Marvin and Wendy was incredibly lame. Yeah, I get it, Wonder Dog was the loveable dog from the Superfriends cartoon. And McKeever has now taken an innocent and loveable character in Wonder Dog and flipped it into this monstrous version that kills his owners from the old Superfriends cartoon. It is the type of unoriginal and sophomoric writing that I would expect in a creative writing class at a community college.

Teen Titans #62 was an excellent example of weak writing. First, deaths in general have been so overused in the world of comic books that they have been drained of any real impact on the reader. Readers are completely desensitized to death in comic books. So, if McKeever’s intent was to “shock” the reader then Marvin and Wendy’s deaths failed miserably.

Second, if a writer is going to kill off a couple of characters then it is incumbent upon the writer to actually make the reader care about the characters or become emotionally invested in the characters. In the case of Marvin and Wendy, the reader has barely seen these two characters. Ever since they first appeared after the One Year Later event I think they have had maybe a total of five lines of dialogue each. The reader has barely seen these two characters. They have gotten no panel time and received zero character work. So, McKeever ends up slaughtering two characters that the reader has no attachment to at all. Therefore, the deaths have absolutely no impact on the reader.

Third, a character’s death should always serve a purpose. Otherwise, it is nothing more than the comic book equivalent of a snuff film. In this present case, Marvin and Wendy’s death served absolutely no purpose whatsoever. And introducing a villain by having him slaughter a few characters in order to make him seem “evil” or “deadly” is just plain lazy and unoriginal.

On top of that, the character work has been practically non-existent and the dialogue has been average at best. This title has just become practically unreadable. The artwork has been the only aspect of Teen Titans #62 that I enjoyed. I am a huge fan of both Eddy Barrows and Ruy Jose. Barrows and Jose combine to deliver a nice looking issue. Too bad it gets wasted on such a pathetic story.

So congrats to Wolverine #68 for winning The Che Award of the week and “congrats” to Teen Titans #62 for winning the Sequential Methadone Award for the week.

1 Comments

  1. man, i loved wolverine first class, all that stuff about the stanley cup finals was hilarious, i think that that is exactly how i would react if someone fell through the ceiling and disconnected my t.v. in game 7 in 2004 when the flames took it to game 7 against the lightning. The flames are my team and therefore can identify with the rage that logan feels. Old Man Logan was freakin good this week too. X-force was suprisingly good, with a shocking turn from wolfsbane, The initiative was probably the best avengers title on the shelves this week, as i didnt particularily like NA or MA. Nova took a dip in quality (probably due to tie-in-itis). Also, i think i am going to drop jack of fables, i have never really enjoyed that title or that character but i continue to buy it for no apparant reason.
    -hobosk8er

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