The Avengers #4
I picked this as one of my last comics to review for Cleaning the Plate because The Avengers has been my oldest team book I remember reading. Back in the days before Hank Pym was even Yellow Jacket or a wife beater, back when Clint was Giant Man and Tony and Steve got along. This issue is okay for what it is, but I'm not a fan of this artist at all and I never have been. I remember his days back in Uncanny X-Men (before art was that important to me) and even then it kind of turned me off. The story is typical Bendis with some okay ideas and dialogue that just doesn't appeal to me. I will have to say that the reveal at the end wasn't that big of a surprise and a bit of a let-down. Now had they revealed it to be Iron Lad... THAT would have been cool and something totally unexpected. All in all, this entire book – just like New Avengers - makes me long for the days when the title was amazing. Still, we have Secret Avengers which reads more like The Mighty Avengers of days gone by so that's a plus. My grade on this is low, but not so much for the story or dialogue but the art... it's just two square and plain for me. My Score: C-
Justice League of America #48
I still say this was a shaky arc for me, but the conclusion was well done. I may actually grow to like this team, including Mikhal and the gorilla dude. The more I read about Dick, Donna and Supergirl the more I find this team to be intriguing. I also think James Robinson is finally getting his footing here. Best line in any book this week comes from Wildcat Jr. "Dad, does every team have a talking animal." Here's my biggest concern about this team at the moment. I'm going to end up loving some of these guys (Dick and Donna especially) and when I do, they are going to be demoted again. That would REALLY piss me off! The ending with Supergirl was perfect and I home James doesn't wait too long to address this again. In the end, though, I'm happy to see that Alan, Jade, and Obsidian got such a great (if not a bit uneven) storyline of their own. Now I'd really love to see this new team tackle a classic enemy like Despero or Amazo or some other villain ending in 'O'. My Score: B+
At this point the four of you who read this have to be wondering why I'm still buying a book that I obviously can't stand. It's easy... Grant can't be on it forever and since I've collected this title since the 200's, I'm not stopping now. When it comes to filling in those missing pieces of explanation with R.I.P and Final Crisis, Grant comes up really short. I'm going to give this half a grade higher than I want because I realize that I just don't care about Bruce Wayne while Grant is writing him, but even with that full on admission, the end of this story just left me as confused and disgusted as almost everything else he has been writing for this character. I seriously don't know if I'm just getting to old to follow his crap, if I'm just that stupid or maybe just too lazy at this point. Either way, I do like Tony Daniels art and these pictures are pretty, but it's just not enough for me to give it a higher grade. My Score: D
Teen Titans #86
This is another title that I remember buying even before the legendary Wolfman/Perez years. I've seen it go through more ups and downs than the bed springs of a ten dollar whore. This issue just proves what I've been saying for the last couple years – kill it and put it out of its misery! Dear Lord this story is the most boring thing I've read in ages. In many ways this is almost (almost!) as painful as reading Nightwing back in the Grayson/Jones days. I can only hope that the next writer can work some major magic here because this title should have been buried ages ago. Raven and her ever expanding family is just mind numbingly done to death. Beast Boy needs to grow the fuck up and move on! And how young does Raven have to be de-aged before even Gar begins to think it's getting creepy. After the Wolfman team it has been hit or miss with me up until Tim, Conner Bart and Cassie originally joined, but even these guys can't save this ship. Come on DC, I'm beginning to wonder if the iceberg was just too much for the book. My Score: E-
And so my time with this column ends with a review that is even more so. It is a tribute to one Outhouse poster's all-time favorite hero: Punchy. As the story continues and Diana finds her way in a present that is not quite hers, Starczynski is pulling out all the stops to make this an adventure like no other in Wonder Woman history. With the story well on its way to being a classic, the new costume not only makes sense, but has become attractive and likable. What Don Kramer is a perfect match for the writer with pencils that give us both the visual emotions on the characters faces as well as some truly beautiful action sequences that shows us without one word why Diana is THE Queen of the Super-Hero world. The addition of the sword and the shield is a terrific return to a more battle oriented heroine... the side of her that I enjoy the most. Simone was good, Rucka was great, but J. Michael has a shot at getting as close to the Perez era as anyone I've seen so far. My Score: A
And so it goes, folks. Thank you so much for allowing me this column for the last couple of years. Thanks to Lord Simian for letting me play in this wonderful sandbox. Thanks to GEHRU and ElTopo for giving me the idea to plagiarize the video review concept. A big thank you to Chap22 and DeadFett for being partners at one time or another; you guys are great. But most of all a huge thank you to Misac, my Editor, for all the help. I really couldn't have done it without you.
But this is not the end. Oh no... for the four of you who read this there' something far worse just over the horizon... mwahahaha*cough cough cough*hahaha.....