Weekly Awards For The Comic Books From April 29, 2009

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:

Green Lantern #40
Nova #24

The Winner: Nova #24

Last week’s batch of comic books did not live up to my expectations. I was not really impressed with most of the issues I got. The two that I enjoyed the most were Green Lantern #40 and Nova #24. I had to give the Che for the best read of the week to Nova #24. The fact is that the pacing on Green Lantern #40 is just way too slow. I refuse to reward Johns when he seems to be ignoring his weekly readers and focusing on writing with the trade format in mind.

Nova #24

Creative Team
Writers: Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning
Artist: Andrea Divito

Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10

I went ahead and gave the Che to Nova #24. DnA continue to do a great job on this title. Nova #24 was a lively-paced read that offers the reader an excellent combination of rocking action scenes, solid character work, and several stunning twists and turns that leave the reader’s head spinning and wondering what is the next curve ball that DnA is going to throw at them.

Nova #24 basically affirms all of Richard’s greatest fears about Worldmind building the Nova Corps up way too quickly by using inexperienced members. And the result is that an entire team of Nova Corps members gets slaughtered once they tangle with the Shi’ar’s Imperial Guard. DnA show the reader that Richard was not being jealous or paranoid in his disagreement with Worldmind over the decision to hastily re-build the Nova Corps.  And that Richard was right to worry about Worldmind quickly throwing the new Corpsmen into battle without the proper training and seasoning.

DnA keeps the roller coaster ride going as we see Richard now wearing Quasar‘s quantum bands and sporting Quasar’s outfit while Wendell Vaughn’s spirit rides shotgun in Richard’s head.

DnA end Nova #24 with Richard flying inside of Ego the Living Planet‘s brain. There Richard discovers that Worldmind is not in control of Ego. In fact, the opposite is true as we see that Ego has taken over Worldmind. What an absolutely fantastic hook ending. This is a stunning twist that gets the reader anxious and looking forward to the next issue of Nova.

Nova #24 was a well-written issue. I am continually impressed with DnA’s ability to consistently crank out such finely crafted and well-balanced reads. DnA are as adept at writing character-heavy scenes with captivating dialogue as well as delivering wild and furious action scenes. DnA also deftly juggle the various characters and plotlines in this title. This title continues to be a well-plotted title that moves with a direction and purpose.

Nova #24 was well-paced as DnA know how to ease on and off the gas pedal at just the right times. The fact is that Nova #24 is simply a fun read. And that is what comic books should be about. This title offers the reader well-crafted escapism that takes place in an exciting cosmic setting. If you enjoy Sci-Fi stories then you absolutely should give Nova #24 a chance. This issue offers plenty of entertainment and is well worth the cover price.

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

Justice Society of America #26
Uncanny X-Men #509

The Winner: Uncanny X-Men #509

Justice Society of America #26

Creative Team
Writer: Geoff Johns
Pencils: Dale Eaglesham
Inks: Nathan Massengill

Story Rating: 4 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10

I am in the extreme minority with Justice Society of America #26. Everyone I know really enjoyed this issue. Almost everyone thought this was a great way for Johns to close out his run on the Justice Society of America.

Personally, I absolutely hated this nauseatingly saccharine sweet and schmaltzy issue. Of course, it probably does not help that I despise Stargirl and wish to see her killed in the most brutal fashion by someone like Killer Croc or Solomon Grundy. I guess I am just a bitter and mean person and I cannot appreciate the kindness and joy of Justice Society of America #26.

Since it is clearly just a “me” problem with Justice Society of America #26, it would be wrong of me to award the Sequential Methadone award to it. Johns clearly delivered a “touching” and “sweet” story that is technically well crafted. And I would recommend Justice Society of America #26 to most people who aren’t unrepentantly misanthropic like I am. Justice Society of America #26 will certainly appeal to almost all JSA readers.

Uncanny X-Men #509

Creative Team
Writer: Matt Fraction
Pencils: Greg Land
Inks: Jay Leisten

Story Rating: 3 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10

I went ahead and gave the Sequential Methadone Award to Uncanny X-Men #509. Fellow Revolutionary Shawn succinctly summed up Uncanny X-Men #509 when he stated “When Greg Land’s facial expressions are better than the writing, you know you are in trouble.” Zing. I have to agree with Shawn.

Jim already posted a review for Uncanny X-Men #509, but I figured that I would chime in as well.  The first five pages of this issue were pure filler and served no purpose at all. I’m a very moderate person, but these first five pages read like generic preaching from a stereotypical “enlightened” and “ahead of our time” elitist from northern California.

It is the type of attitude that South Park lampooned in their episode entitled “Smug Alert.” In that episode, a smug alert was issued for South Park and San Francisco due to all the elitist people driving models of the hybrid car called the Toyanda Pious.

There is a cloudy layer hanging in the atmosphere of both towns. The clouds aren’t smog. Rather the clouds consist of the smug from the self-satisfied garbage the citizens have been spewing into the air. And, evidently, too much smug in the air leads to “global laming.”

In this episode, South Park becomes the second smuggiest city in the United States while San Francisco is the number one smuggiest city. It is a great episode. You can watch it for free on South Park Studios.

Anyway, Fraction has already taken the “San Francisco is clearly more evolved than the rest of the world” theme and absolutely run it into the ground. Fraction has beaten this horse to the point where it is just a bottle of Elmer’s glue.

Move on already. Readers don’t have the minds of chipmunks. We all get the point already. The rest of the world consists of nothing but knuckle-dragging troglodytes compared to the higher-evolved elitists of San Francisco.

The first five pages just read like cheap soapboxing. I would much rather see Fraction just concentrate and try to focus on delivering a good story instead of constantly prattling on like a sycophant.

Fraction then wastes another two pages with a dull and boring interview with Northstar that simply re-hashes the same dialogue that we got from him in the last issue. So, we are now seven pages into a twenty-four-page story and have gotten nothing but filler.

The X-Men’s reaction to Proposition X just seemed way too overly dramatic.  Would the X-Men be angry over this legislation? Of course, but Fraction has them acting as if they have never been discriminated against before.

Honestly, a more realistic reaction would have been for characters like Wolverine and Scott to say “Been there, done that.” That the X-Men would be mad, but they would remind themselves that this is nothing new and that they have been down this road before and that they will once again fight the good fight.

The entire plotline involving Madelyne Pryor is mind-numbingly unoriginal and uninteresting. Oh boy, does this mean we get to exhume Jean Grey’s tired character once again? Does this mean that Scott will have to fight an evil version of the love of his life once again?

Wow, this is so fresh. So original. The Pryor plotline is such a tired and dull plotline. This plotline has already been done before and in a much better fashion than what Fraction is giving us.

The three-page scene with Pixie and Scott was another time waster. It was just Fraction showing how “cool” and “hip” the younger X-Men are. They go out and party and get drunk. At worst, this scene added nothing of substance to the story. At best, this scene was a shallow attempt at character work. I guess if I was thirteen years old then I would have found this scene endlessly entertaining and quite cool.

The final couple of pages with Pryor and her ladies attacking the X-Men did little for me. This was your standard issue and hackneyed move of the villains showing up and quickly subduing the whole team with relative ease. And so much for Fraction spending an inordinate amount of time talking about how the X-Men’s new facility was going to be impenetrable to any attacks. It has only taken several issues for this new facility to be as vulnerable to attack as the old X-Mansion.

The only interesting aspect to Uncanny X-Men #509 was the three-page scene with the scientists. Fraction does a great job with the dialogue in this scene. Fraction also whips up some great chemistry between the scientists. The idea to travel back in time to study Dr. Nemesis’ parents is a pretty wild idea that has the potential to be a fun story.

Yes, it is incredibly convenient that the first mutant just happens to be Dr. Nemesis. But, this plotline is still more interesting than anything else going on in this title.

From a technical standpoint, Uncanny X-Men #509 was a poorly written issue. Fraction has a few neat ideas for this title.  However, the execution is just awful.

Fraction continues with the increasingly annoying smart-alecky character identification boxes for the various X-Men. This was a marginally cute idea when Fraction first used it. However, at this point, this technique has long overstayed its welcome and now only serves to break the flow of the issue and pull the reader out of the story.

The dialogue is stiff as all of the characters possess generic voices. The narration is unbelievably cheesy and melodramatic. It is so overwrought that it makes the reader chuckle when they are not supposed to. And it pulls the reader out of the story since it is so poorly written.

The character work is non-existent outside of how Fraction writes the scientists. This issue is all tell and no show. Fraction is amateurishly unsubtle with the various plotlines and themes and he spoon-feeds the reader throughout the issue.

The plotting is atrocious as plotlines seem to randomly come and go with no coherent blueprint in mind. The pacing is poor as the story creeps along at a slow crawl. The framework of this issue is clunky and the story has no flow at all. Uncanny X-Men #509 reads like a rough draft and the editor didn’t even glance at what Fraction gave him before sending this story out to be published.

So congrats to Nova #24 for winning The Che Award of the week and “congrats” to Uncanny X-Men #509 for winning the Sequential Methadone Award for the week.