Jude Terror reviews Batgirl #17, X-Men Forever 2 #15, Deadpool #31, and Casanova: Gula #1!
After a little break for the holidays, I'm back with another edition of my exciting column that allows me to review comics in a much more lazy fashion than devoting an entire review to just one of them! This week, I decided to review some titles I haven't covered in the column yet, including one of my favorite series, X-Men Forever. I also threw in a fourth review this time, since I had to do Casanova: Gula for the Review Group anyway. Without any further ado...
Written by BRYAN Q. MILLER
Art by PERE PEREZ
Cover by DUSTIN NGUYEN
Batgirl has been given her first sanctioned Batman Incorporated assignment solving a series of high-profile kidnappings, and she's thrilled! Well, she was - until Damian Wayne decided to ride shotgun. Can the Dysfunctional Duo stop fighting long enough to save the children of Gotham City's elite?
Batgirl has been on my pull list since Batgirl #8, where it crossed over with Red Robin. Since then, this is the first issue I've read. Yeah. I have a sickness.
In any case, it looks like this was a good place to jump on, because we've got a done-in-one story here, wherein Batgirl teams up with Robin to bust up a child kidnapping run. The story is fun and well-written, nailing the characterization of Stephanie and Damien in a story where the plot is background to the characters. Pere Perez is impressive here, showing an old school flair for characters and faces, a modern understanding of panel design, and complete competence in conveying action. I'll definitely be looking out for more of his work.
I should point out that I've skipped Morrison's entire Batman run since Damien's first appearance, so his guest appearances in books like this or Red Robin remain novel to me, which allows him to seem less obnoxious than I found him when he first appeared. The theme of this issue is Damien's lost childhood, as Stephanie, observing him on the job and in interaction with other kids his age, feels bad for him, noting that he "doesn't know how to play." If this description makes the story sound melodramatic and serious, I apologize, because it's actually lighthearted and fun.
There are small quirks that bothered me, such as a little bit of too-obvious exposition - "Workin' class folk'll do whatever it takes to get their kids back," says a kidnapper to his victims - and the fact that Damien seems a little loose-tongued about clues to his identity in front of a suspect, but I can easily overlook these in favor of perfectly done one-shot story with excellent art. Extra points to Miller for doing this in one story, as other writers who shall not be named would have been happy to drag this story out to five unnecessarily.
X-Men Forever #15
WRITER: Chris Claremont
PENCILS: Andy Smith
SERIES FINALE! A PERFECT STORM concludes with a battle royal in the heart of Wakanda...and all bets are off! Will your favorite X-Man make it out of the rubble alive? Only X-legend Chris Claremont knows!! It's the mutant super-team vs. Earth's Mightiest Heroes!!
It's no secret that X-Men Forever has been one of my favorite books since it first hit the stands. Chris Claremont's original Uncanny X-Men run was certainly one of, if not the, greatest of all time, and having him pick up where he left off is a fanboy's wet dream, or at least it would be if cynicism didn't prevent so many people from giving the book a fair chance. In this issue, events come to a head as the X-Men face off with the Avengers and Evil Storm over the fate of the nation of Wakanda.
This is the penultimate issue of this volume, and that means it's the climax, not only of the current storyline, but, in typical Claremont fashion, forty issues worth of story-lines. The ability to weave so many plot threads together into one seamless ongoing story is one of Claremont's greatest strengths, and it's thoroughly on display here. There is also a very old-school excitement to the match-ups and confrontations between the various members of the X-Men and the Avengers, Not one page is wasted, as scene after scene advances plot after plot, giving this issue a truly epic feel that is lacking in many books today that are written for the trade and focus on one story at a time, completely missing the advantages of a serial medium.
However, the art in this issue is abysmal. I understand that Tom Grummett, reasonably enough, cannot keep up with a bi-weekly schedule, but Andy Smith's art in this issue is amateurish. He makes some very odd choices in panel design, distorts anatomy, fails to convey motion properly, and draws ugly, inconsistent faces. It's really a shame, because this is such an important issue to the series, and so well written, that the reader will feel a bit robbed of a chance to experience the payoff to this series they deserve.
WRITER: Daniel Way
PENCILS: Bong Dazo
COVER BY: Dave Johnson
"I Rule, You Suck," Part 2 (of 2)
These Draculas just don't know when to quit! Deadpool's already shown them they're no match for his kill-skills, yet they continue to step to him. Are they just suckers for punishment, or are they setting him up? Silly draculas...tricks are for Deadpool!
If you're still reading this book after 31 issues, it's not because you're expecting anything of literary merit. Hell, after typing that sentence, I'm surprised I've been reading for 31 issues, based purely on the merit of the Cable and Deadpool series that came before it. Sometimes funny, always mediocre, this is the core Deadpool book that has inexplicably catapulted the character to Wolverine and Batman levels of popularity.
This issue is the second part of a two part Curse of the Mutants tie-in, wherein Deadpool is hired by a group of good vampires to protect them from a bunch of bad vampires, and no, the story really doesn't deserve any more attention to detail than that.
The good points: Deadpool calling the all the vampires "Draculas" is kind of funny. The short Twilight dream sequence is pretty funny.
The bad points: The story is meaningless. Deadpool hasn't developed as a character in 31 issues. Those multiple personality caption boxes are one of the worst gimmicks in comics history.
If you're still reading this book after 31 issues, you'll keep buying it, like me, for reasons unknown. If you're not reading it, there's nothing to be gained from starting now.
Casanova: Gula #1
WRITER: Matt Fraction
PENCILS: Fabio Moon
COVER BY: Fabio Moon
CASANOVA is back. Or is he? Actually Casanova is gone. Gone from space, gone from time. The burning question WHEN IS CASANOVA QUINN hangs over the entire world as E.M.P.I.R.E. and W.A.S.T.E. alike race toward the horrible, inevitable, answer...The second staggering volume of CASANOVA starts here by the Eisner-laden team of Matt Fraction (THOR, UNCANNY X-MEN, THE INVINCIBLE IRON MAN) and Fabio Moon (DAYTRIPPER, SUGARSHOCK) taking over art duties. Never before collected! Never before reprinted! Never before understood! In gorgeous full 4-D psychocolor! Worth a million in prizes! Change your shorts, change your life, change into a nine-year-old Hindu boy! Guaranteed!* *not actually guaranteed
Casanova is an awesome fucking comic book. It exudes sleaze and filth endearingly like a rock star. Lesser comics, in attempting the sort of vibe that Casanova naturally achieves, can die by the terminal disease of "trying-too-hard-itis," but Matt Fraction and the brothers Ba and Moon somehow manage to take a whole lot of counter-culture weirdness, alternate timeline sci-fi, and espionage action and turn it into a neat, organic package.
Gula #1 picks up where Luxuria left off, this time with Fabio Moon on art chores. Casanova Quinn is no longer under the control of Newman Xeno and W.A.S.T.E., and on the side of the angels (E.M.P.I.R.E.), but he doesn't get to enjoy his new found freedom very long as he mysteriously disappears in the first few pages, leaving his friends, family, and a blue-skinned femme fatale from the future named Sasa Lisi, agent of M.O.T.T., all of them asking the question: when is Casanova Quinn?
Well, who the fuck knows, but I'm sure it will be an wild ride. Casanova's storytelling is a little bit insane, in a good way It leaves you wondering what the fuck is going on, but not feeling lost: a perfect amount of absurdity. If you haven't read this series yet, pick up the Luxuria trade and this issue. If you've read the Image version, pick it up again anyway to get ready for the third volume of all new stories that should be on it's way when this reprinting wraps up.
Quick and Dirty Comic Reviews are quick takes on the comic books I read each week. These aren't the hottest or most important issues of the week, but they are what I'm reading on a regular basis. You might find more in depth reviews of some of these books here in our reviews section. There are no scores - just a quick overview of what I thought of the books. This column may have the occasional guest reviewer. If you are a creator that has a book you would like to see reviewed by me or one of the other Outhouse staff writers, please contact us here.