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Comics: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly - Synchronicity swirls and other foolishness

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December 7th, 2007

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02:16 pm - Comics: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly
So, I went down to the local comics store and three comics were waiting in my box: the latest Buffy the Vampire Slayer (issue 9), the latest Ultimate X-Men (88), and the first issue of the new Ultimates.

The Good: I'm continuing to love the Buffy comic. The first series of 4 issues was written by Joss Whedon, this series was written by Brian K. Vaughn who is also quite talented. teaotter hated this issue because of the gratuitous last 2 pages where some unknown villain gloats about how all of the events of this series have been going exactly as he (or possibly it) planned. I definitely admit that this was impressively cheesy, but I quite liked the rest of the issue.

The Bad:The various Marvel's "Ultimates" lines are about the only marvel comics I'm reading these days. I'll definitely read X-Men when Warren Ellis starts writing it, but ever since Grant Morrison stopped writing New X-Men, I've not been able to handle the general badness that is mainstream Marvel comics. The idea of the various Ultimates lines are taking the older and more popular comics and restarting them from the beginning, in the present day, but with more grit and (thankfully and gloriously from my PoV) fewer cheesy genre conventions, more consistent characterization, and better storytelling. Warren Ellis has done a few absolutely stunning limited series in this universe, and despite being a complete and total misanthrope and not normally to my taste, Mark Millar did a wonderful job with The Ultimates (that universe's version of the Avengers). I didn't like his take on Ultimate X-Men as well, since that level of misanthropy didn't fit that comic as well as it did a more dysfunctional version of the Avengers. However, fairly early on, Brian K. Vaughn took over the comic and did an absolutely stunning job with it. More recently, Robert Kirkman, whose work I am not otherwise familiar with took over writing it, and the quality has been a bit more iffy. Also, there was a new artist, Yanick Paquette, who was also not as good. Costumes on the female characters got a bit skimpier and most of them got a bit larger chested, but there was still fairly solid storytelling. Then, there was this issue:

First we have the fact that suddenly, all of the female characters have huge chests, realistically drawn huge chests, but annoying nonetheless. Then we have panels like this impressively gratuitous panel :

Also, I've been very much liking what they've been doing with Emma Frost, making her a somewhat ambiguous teacher of mutants, and having her clothing choices be fairly reasonable. Then we have this panel:

Perhaps sales are down as they are trying to revive them with R-rated costumes. I'm giving this comic one or two more issues to see if this issue was a fluke, if not, I'm done. I wish comics had gotten over the sort of nonsense in the two panels above 20 years ago…

Meanwhile, I can't really evaluate the new series of The Ultimates, because I have great difficulty reading it. The art is simple too ugly for me to deal with. The absolute best of the panels look like this:

Meanwhile, most of them look more like this abomination:

I am utterly baffled that anyone thought that this looked like remotely acceptable artwork. It is literally (for me at least) do distractingly unappealing and ill-done that I have difficulty reading the comic, it's difficult for me to tell if I loathe the illustration or the colorwork more.

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[User Picture]
Date:December 7th, 2007 11:24 pm (UTC)
I only picked up the first volume of The Ultimates on a reccomendation, and both I and lulucthulhu -- surprisingly, have enjoyed it. I have kept away from Marvel for over a decade, but have browsed some titles as I have drifted back into comics. I did want to look at the Civil War storyline, but it was too big and virtually impossible to follow.

In the meantime, the new Buffy series is so much fun. I have bought the first collection for my daughter and hope that she will read it as a fan and as a change of pace from all that Manga she likes...

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