Thursday, May 3, 2007

The week in review

I've been hesitant to do this, since being on the other side of the world means the comics here come out a week late, and while being fashionably late is one thing, a whole week late is another. But screw it, I'm gonna start covering what I buy each week, including back issues. And just because I can, I may occassionally cover recent music purchases, because more people need to listen to metal, and I like talking about it :p Anyway, on with the show:

52: week 51
I have to put my hand up and label myself an idiot, because it only just occurred to me this week that Grant Morrison was writing some of this stuff. I mean, I knew he was on the team, but the Animal Man/ Grant Morrison connection was something my brain had totally missed. Heh. Anyway, the Animal Man homecoming was really sweet, I loved his wife's reaction.

Sitting down on the grass to just stare at her returned husband just seems like a logical and natural reaction to things. The dog is adorable too.

Fantastic Four #545
Weeee, a Silver Surfer appearance. I'm actually pretty sure I'm going to give the up-coming SS mini a miss, because who really needs to see a storyline where he supposedly "dies". It's not going to be permanent, and anyway he's died before. Get an original idea. Anyway, I appreciated seeing the Surfer on the cover, since I knew to buy a book I wouldn't normally pick up.
There are many things I could rave about. Thing vs Surfer is always fun, and the current lineup of the F4 is interesting, Reed and Sue being replaced by Storm and Black Panther. It was those 2 that had the best of the issue.

Black Panther on the board!
Storm squares off against the shiny one. How can her powers function in a vaccum? In her words:
"Currently, I'm gathering stray hydrogen atoms and drawing them to this area of space. You're in the middle of a five-yard sphere of relatively dense hydrogen. My appologies, but I do my best work in an atmosphere"
Comic book science at it's best, courtesy of Dwayne McDuffie.
Then Storm has to go and ask the Surfer if he's ready to concede. Great reply:

Then she zaps him with lightening, but you know that's not going to work.
Stardust shows up later on to back up SS. I really like the idea of the Heralds being a loose-knit group of sorts, that will join together when needed (see also Annihilation). Marvel totally needs to do a Heralds of Galactus teamup book.

Firestorm #35
McDuffie was on fire this month with both the F4, and this issue. So many great lines I could basically scan half the issue and put it up here. I'll restrain myself though, and just post the ending:

Darkseid ripping Prof. Stein out of the matrix? Holy shit!
Finally, Gehenna merges with Jason, which is very overdue. It just really sucks that now the series has ended, and we don't get to see how that works out. Firestorm with teleportation powers! The ending sucks, since it has Firestorm charging off to rescue the Prof, when who knows when/if we'll see that. Also an odd place to leave it, since Dwayne was brought in specifically to wrap up the title. Odd, but then the editor let McDuffie have Firestorm become intangible over the last 3 issues, which is something he's no longer capable of, and hasn't been for about 30 issues. I wouldn't expect a writer coming in to wrap things up to know that, but I would expect the editor to.

Justice Society of America #5
I may have little interest in his work outside this title, but there is one big reason why I love Geoff Johns with the JSA. The humanity he brings the characters is brilliant.

Cyclone may've irked a few people, but I find her really cute. The way she put her foot in her mouth while talking to Red Tornado, and sheepishly tried to get out of it was really, well, cute. Her reactions to that, and the above panels, are totally believeable. Props to Fernando Pasarin on the art too, those moments wouldn't have worked without someone who could pull off the facial expressions.

Blue Beetle #14
Like Firestorm this month, I could post half the comic here to show the cool bits. I'll leave it at this though:

Guy's speech at the end was awesome. Such a good title.

This week at the CD store (yes, I pay for music, I'm strange that way):

Within Temptation: The Heart Of Everything
Best reference point for the uninitiated would be Evanescence. Only not as whiny, and with a shade more depth. And not numetal, or whatever you want to classify that other band as. Where Evanescence occassionally play around with a few classical touches here and there on their new album, Within Temptation have full orchestra and choir on pretty much every track, as they have on their last 3 albums.
This album is much stronger that their previous, The Silent Force. The songs are a bit more epic, not quite reaching the scale of their excellent 'Mother Earth' album, but it makes things interesting. Things lose momentum towards the end of the album, but overall this is really good stuff. Sharon (the vocalist) is sometimes quite hit-or-miss with her delivery. Her high register has always been weak, yet she insists on using it. Not so on this album. She sticks almost exclusively to her mid and low range, which is strong.
The heavyness of the guitars isn't set to crush your skull, but they've reintroduced a bit of melody to the riffs which harkens a little back to their old Doom Metal roots, whereas the last album saw things getting a bit commercial and simplistic. So yeah, I guess I'd sum this album up as a return to form for a band that, when they get it right, are pretty darn good.

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