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A random collection of the thoughts of Keith Freiheit. Comics, movies, politics, and whatever else may appear here. Feel free to leave a comment here, or send me an email.

Top of the Pile – 5/7/2012

Most Wednesdays I go to lunch with a friend of mine and discuss the new comics we’ve read. Top of the Pile is meant to be a handy list of what I’ve read the night before. Sometimes, like last week, it’ll contain my thoughts on those issues. Sometimes it won’t. Feel free to comment if you’d like.

My comics came early this week. Cool.

  1. DC – Action Comics #9
  2. Marvel – The Amazing Spider-Man #685
  3. Marvel – Avengers Vs X-Men #3
  4. Marvel – Avengers Academy #29
  5. Marvel – Daredevil #12
  6. DC – Earth 2 #1
  7. DC – Worlds’ Finest #1

Spoilers after the break.

1) DC – Action Comics #9

Still can’t get used to that numbering.

This was a good issue, but I feel like it’s filler. I’d like to see some solid, single issue stories about Superman. The current Superman. I still don’t really know who he is in this New 52.

2) Marvel – The Amazing Spider-Man #685

If you’ve read my blog, you know that I made a big stink about One More Day. So why is Spider-Man once again on my reading list? The truth of the matter is, after nearly two years of not reading the book, I missed him. Do I now accept what happened in One More Day? No. It was, and is, a terrible storyline that should be fixed. But… the current Spider-Man books are pretty good.

Unfortunately I can’t really say that about the current issue. My problem with this storyline is that it’s just too big to be a comfortable fit for Spidey. He works best as a street level character and this story has him tackling a world wide menace. It’s not awful, it’s just not where I think the character should be.

3) Marvel – Avengers Vs X-Men #3

The story is interesting, but I do wish we’d get a bigger chunk of it each issue. It feels padded. I also wish the art was better. Although I like JR Sr. much more than JR Jr., I’ve grown to appreciate Jr.’s artwork. Here it feels rushed. The recap page looks like it was colored from a sketch and not a finished piece of art, and throughout the issue, Captain America just looks… wrong somehow.

4) Marvel – Avengers Academy #29

I almost dropped this book a while back. I’m glad I hung on as it got past its growing pains. It is now consistently one of the best books Marvel puts out and that goes directly to the writing of Christos Gage. In this issue I LOVED the opening sequence with Hercules explaining the history of the Olympics — while nude.

5) Marvel – Daredevil #12

Like Action Comics this week, this issue felt a bit like filler material. I would have liked to have had this issue tell more about the “Omega Drive”. I can accept this issue more than Action because I already know who this Daredevil is and it gave a bit of history to why Matt and Foggy are friends. It also gave us Matt on a date. For filler, it was pretty good.

6) DC – Earth 2 #1

I’ve been waiting for this book for some time, but with hope and fear. The original Earth 2 is one of my favorite concepts, and the characters were the original heroes of comics. I loved them from the first time I met them. Since this title was announced, each and every press release has made me LESS interested in it, so it was with a sense of dread that I read this issue.

I wish I could say that my sense of dread was misplaced, but it wasn’t. In this issue we are shown a world that is ravaged by war with Apokolips. Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman all die. It seems that there are only two other heroes that exist in this world, Robin and Supergirl aka Huntress and Power Girl, but they exit the book almost as soon as we see them. This is a very dark world indeed.

There is a small ray of hope, and that is what’s keeping me buying the book for now. It looks like Jay Garrick is about to come into his powers, and several other characters, with names that are very familiar to me, appear in small roles.

I understand the need for a writer to build his characters, and if you’re going to end up with characters as big as super-heroes it’s a lot easier if they come from a very low point, but that doesn’t mean that I have to like everything about it. This is a new world with its own history. Anything can happen here. So why the need to first insert very familiar characters only to tear them down a moment later?

My hope is that future issues will be about building the new world, and not just reshuffling the deck of worn trading cards.

7) Worlds’ Finest #1

Like Earth 2, I picked this book up with a little trepidation. For all the reasons above, plus the fact that it is Paul Levitz writing. Now don’t get me wrong, back in the day Levitz was great on the Legion, but his current work has been a little… flat. Fortunately he seems to be bringing his A game to the table here.

I liked this book much more than Earth 2. The characters felt very familiar to this pre-crisis reader, while still being different enough. The art was also good, if a little inconsistent. Perez (sorry, I don’t know how to make that little accent mark) is one of the best in the business, and the opening splash demonstrates that. A couple of the pages felt a little off though, particularly the flashback pages. They weren’t bad, but they felt like they were drawn by a different artist. It was almost like he was trying to match the style of Nicola Scott in Earth 2. If that was the case, I’d rather see him be just Perez.

That’s it for today. I’ll be back again next week.

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