Saturday, March 14, 2015

Monthly Dose: February 2015 (Super Belated)

Monthly Dose is a semi-regular column where I read one issue each month of long-completed series.

100 Bullets #28: A fairly dull, slow-moving change in setting and introduction to a new character, Wylie, and his world. Wylie is presented as a pretty uninteresting slacker, not happy but not necessarily upset about having a dead-end job in a tiny town where nothing ever happens. He's realistic about it and seems determined to make his peace with that life. He's not a bad character, likable and intelligent and mostly honest, but there's nothing that grabs me about him. Meanwhile, Dizzy and Shepherd arrive in town, and at the end we're told unsurprisingly that they're there for Wylie, though we don't know why yet. It's a safe (and correct) assumption that he's a Minuteman at this point, because if he reminds me of any other character from when we first met them, it's Cole Burns. This means things are bound to get more exciting, and the fact that Wylie gets pulled into some kind of mysterious criminal enterprise promises the same, but this issue I was mostly bored. Also, Dizzy's outfit seemed needlessly skimpy. Though the setting was definitely hot, nobody else was falling out of their tops, and it didn't seem as though seducing Wylie was her endgame, nor does that feel like her style. Megan toyed with Benito on purpose, so at least her oversexualization served some narrative purpose, but in this issue Dizzy is dressed in almost nothing for no obvious reason. Eduardo Risso didn't focus on her body for more than a few of the panels she was in, but there were those few, and none of it added up. A subpar issue in the midst of a weaker streak for this title, but as I said, Wylie's life is bound to get more complicated and compelling very soon.

Automtic Kafka #4: I actually wrote a whole Cheese Stands Alone piece about this issue way back when. I stand by what I said there, except for getting Charles and Lucy's marriage status wrong, which was corrected for me in the comments. Anyway, that post is more words than these paragraphs ever are, so go ahead and check that out for my thoughts. For the record, though, I did reread this when I read the other two comic for this Monthly Dose.

X-Force (vol. 1) #28: This was one of those big fight comics where everybody talks their mouths off even though they are supposed to be in the middle of combat. Some of the lines are simply too long to have been spoken in the same time as the action seen in their corresponding panels. It's frustrating, both because of the lack of believability and the lack of necessity. Plus it gets in the way of the action. I liked Antonio Daniel's art, his blocky Cable especially, but Fabian Nicieza's words didn't fit it, and broke the rhythm of it more than once. So that was all disappointing. The cast gets a shake-up in the end, though, which is interesting, and there is something conceptually appealing about X-Force only barely pulling off a mission nobody else wanted them to complete, including the guy they rescued, and then having all their efforts be for naught in the end. There's been a consistent level of bleakness in this book, and that fits right in, as did Feral leaving the team. I doubt if her departure will stick for long, but it's a significant loss for the team, and Nicieza makes it natural enough to feel in-character but still be a surprise. Daniel handled the issue-long battle well, and made everyone on both sides look cool at some point (except maybe Reaper, but he was on his way out already when the issue began). The broad strokes of the issue were good, I guess, but the ultimate execution fell short. It wasn't just the number of words, either, it was that characters were largely repeating points that have been made before, sometimes even having the same conversation multiple times in this very issue. Feral and Gyrich go back and forth about three times too many over whether or not she's going to kill him or free him. It's maddening. It's been sort of a long time now since this book really impressed me. I feel like when Capullo showed up it looked good, like it was headed for change, but lately it's just Cable and his kids fighting bad mutants again, and that's not as enjoyable a read.

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