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What Looks Good - Week One

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Welcome to a little column that I like to call simply What Looks Good, or WLG for short.

I, like you, am I comic book geek.

Oh, stop that, you are too, otherwise why are you at a comic news site to begin with? I'm a geek, and so are you, just be proud of it and deal already.

Being a geek there are a few things I do every morning Monday morning. One of which is to check out the shipping list over at the Diamond Comics web site to see what is shipping this week. I read so much about comics that I always see stuff that I think that I should pick up later, and then promptly forget about it. I check out the week's shipping list to remind me what I need to get.

THIS IS NOT A CALL TO ACTION.

In other words, this is just my opinion. This is my own money I am spending, none of what I am recommending is comped to me by anyone. If I mention a comic here it's my scrilla on the line, not some freebie that a company sent my way hoping for some good press.

Everybody straight now?

So, what looks good...

DC COMICS

HUMAN DEFENSE CORPS #1 (Of 6) $2.50

OK, I think the premise sounds cool on this one. In case you missed it, it is a highly trained military team tasked to take on super-powered threats, or DC's version of StormWatch, which, uh, is, well, owned by DC as well.

Wha?!?

OK, maybe not directly, StormWatch is a WildStorm book, and WildStorm IS owned by DC.

I really like the current version of StormWatch and I hope it does well, so for a brief moment I thought about NOT getting this comic to show my support for that book. Solidarity, brother!

But then I thought about. StormWatch is a mature readers title, Human Defense Corps isn't. Plus, the concept isn't all that original either, I mean, StormWatch is not the only time someone has thought about creating a military team to deal with super powered beings. Isn't SHIELD over at Marvel basically the same thing as well, just underused? Besides, people thought that there wouldn't be room for TWO meteor/comet striking the earth movies a few summers back and both Deep Impact and Armageddon did well.

All that to say that yes, I plan on checking this out.

STORMWATCH TEAM ACHILLES #11 (MR) $2.95

Now we come to the other book about a military team taking on super powered beings. According to the solicitation on this book Whilce Portacio is only doing the cover. I really can't say that I'm sad about that.

Don't get me wrong, I have thoroughly enjoyed Portacio's work in the past on other titles. I especially liked his work when he was on The Punisher (about 10+ years ago, and yes, I am dating myself with that one). However, his work on StormWatch, though capable, has been lackluster. His people just look...I don't know, off, wrong. That, and I can't really tell the difference between some of the various characters. The only saving grace has been Micah Wight's writing which helped me to differentiate who is who. Left with just Portacio's art I would have never be able to figure it out.

Enough about that. This issue is the beginning of a new arc which makes this a good issue for new readers to jump on board.

Wight and team have created a version of StormWatch that is vastly different from what Ellis and co. had envisioned. I admit that it was not what I had expected initially, but 11 issues in now I have to say that I am sold.

IMAGE

POWERS #31 (MR) $2.95

Seriously, where in the heck does Bendis come up with this stuff? How many cliffhangers and total surprise endings can one writer put into a series and still have them, well, surprise.

A couple of arcs back he ended with one of the leads leaving the force and showing him a few months later. I had no idea how Bendis and Oeming were going to take the story, but they ran with it and kept me highly entertained. The just ended with the last arc with the revelation that it was now illegal to exhibit super powers. For a comic about cops that work the "powers" cases, super powered homicides, this totally changes the direction of the book. With a less capable creative team I might be worried, but seeing as they have been able to take these twists and turns with ease and turn them into great story-telling I think I will just hold my breath, hang on, and enjoy the rise.

Oh yeah, a new arc starts here as well, so again, if you've been wondering what the big deal is with Powers here is an opportunity to jump on a moving train that has slowed down JUST enough for you to get on.

Hang on.

MARVEL

DOMINO #1 $2.50

A Domino mini-series? I vaguely remembering hearing something about this. What's up with that? How could I have dropped the ball?

A quick check of the Marvel website reminds me that this is a mini-series written by Joe Pruett and drawn by Brian Stelfreeze. I am not all that familiar with either of their work, but I do know that what I have seen of Stelfreeze's work I have liked. Couple that with the fact that I am an X-beeaaatch and will buy just about any X-book that comes out means that I will pick this up as well, at least the first issue.

Yes, folks, I am part of the problem, not the solution. In my defense I do offer that I did not buy the last two Wolverine mini-series (Xisle or something, nor that Hulk/Wolverine thing), so just because it has something to do with X doesn't guarantee that I will buy it, though I admit that it is more likely.

Anyhow, about the comic...well, that's about all the Marvel has to say about the book. It's Domino, and the last we saw her that I know of was in the New X-Men Annual last year. Though brief, I liked Morrison's take on her (calm, deadly, efficient, likes "friends with benefits"), so if the creative team builds upon that it should be cool.

PUNISHER #26 $2.99

Ahhh....another heaping of pain and violence served by Ennis and...Mandrake? OK, so it is true that Dillon is not doing the art on this issue, but don't go running off yet. Mandrake is doing a fine job and Dillon will be back before you know it.

This is a continuation of "The Hidden" story line where some mental deficient living under the New York subway system finds comfort resting under a mass of decomposing bodies because as a child his morbidly obese mother choked to death and in the process nearly smothered him to death. Oh, and he commands bums to kill people for some unknown-as-of-yet goal somehow crossing paths with the Punisher.

Yep, sounds like an Ennis book.

My big question here is whether or not Frank Castle, a.k.a. The Punisher, once faced with the sad and contemptible story of the villain will find the will to kill.

Yeah, right.

Bang.

X-MEN UNLIMITED #46 $2.50

When this book first came out it was supposed to be a quarterly book, which means about every 3 months or so. I realize that they got behind, but what is with this coming out what seems like every other/every third week now? Are they trying to catch up or something?

Anyway, it's an X-book, so yes, I buy it. This issue shows features a story from "the past" featuring Psylocke. Hmmmm....Claremont mentioned that he had always intended to bring her back before Marvel instituted their "dead is dead" policy, and rumor has it that Claremont is looking for a way around that policy. Admittedly, it wouldn't be THAT hard to explain away, all Psylocke as to do is to have her consciousness transferred somehow, which has been done before. Could this be set-up for that? Mind you, the issue is by Adam Warren, not Claremont, so I could be WAY off on that one, but still, like every other fan I like to speculate.

There's also a Cyclops story, but being that I have yet to read a Cyclops story that was excellent my initial reaction is that this is just filler for a chronically late book that is trying to get back on schedule. Let's hope John Layman and Dan Norton prove me wrong.

At least it looks like they dropped the price a bit.

CGE

SIGIL #36 KEY ISSUE PI

I got this book initially for the art by the Lai brother hoping for some kind of space adventure in the vein of Alien Legion (yep, that's twice I've dated myself).

That's not what I got.

The brothers Lai left the book and it dragged on. I almost dropped it when out of the blue word came Mark Waid was taking over. I stayed, but again, it wasn't all that, and Waid left. I prepared to drop the book again when it was announced Chuck Dixon was taking over. Wait...Chuck Dixon wrote Alien Legion, maybe he could make me care about this book as well.

He did, just barely, and now we're getting a new artist and a jumping on point in the form of one of CGE's "Key Issues." I'm intrigued, but overall this book has not been that great. There have been good moments and decent moments, but nothing that has really been impressive. How did I get 36 issues into this series?

With more and more comics clamoring for my comic dollar it is getting harder for me to justify this book, so I think I will give it one more chance.

SOJOURN #23 $2.95

I love this book, I admit it. Ron Marz and Greg Land have done a great job, though I admit that the pacing is rather slow. This slow pace makes this book ideal for trades, which I have and adore. However, I still can't miss an issue. That says a lot coming from me because I don't like fantasy comics.

And now Marz is leaving. I hear Ian Edginton is coming on board which could be good or bad. I was one of the few people that bought AND enjoyed The Establishment, the book he did for WildStorm, but that is my only exposure to Edginton's writing. I simply don't know how he will do on a book that is so radically different is style, though pace-wise I think they were about the same.

Of course, Land's art is so wonderful to look at just about anyone could write it and it would take a while before I noticed any change as I became lost in the art. Sigh...

Did I mention this book is about a quest to find 5 relics to bring down a nearly omnipotent tyrant? Oops, I didn't mean to get lost in the particulars!

That's it for this week. More of the same next week as I again decide which comics get my $$$.

- Michael Diaz


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