Saturday, February 14, 2004

Brainsplurge's Comic Reviews!
(Part 1 of an interminably dull series)

I've liked The Avengers ever since I was a child and read this comic reprinted in some British comic or another. They're much more appealing to me than the X-Men, or the JLA or any of the other big superhero teams. I don't know why. It's probably just because they were the first superteam I read about.
In recent months, the comic has been...well, awful is the word. Kurt Busiek's last big storyline was uninspired and confused, and Geoff Johns had no idea what he was doing. Since last month, Chuck Austen has been the regular Avengers scribe. Unfortunately, Chuck Austen has a reputation for being utterly talentless in the field of comics writing. Last issue was a typically scrappy outing for Austen, and I prepared myself for another long term of shoddy Avengers comics.
This month's issue (#78, or #493 if you're counting from the very beginning) is something of an improvement, which was a pleasant surprise, as nowadays I tend to gingerly read the comics at arm's length with one eye closed. I didn't have to do that this month. A lot of this has to do with Olivier Coipel's art. It's not to many people's tastes, but I like it a lot, and while the all-black backgrounds and extreme clse-ups of this issue suggest that he rushed it a little, it's still attractive work. In terms of writing, there's a great deal of clumsiness here, but the story rises above it and there's little of the self-contradictory plotting of last issue. Perhaps the four editors this comic employs have finally done something to earn their wages. The "battle of poetry" that opens the comic is out of place, the attempts at portraying the British setting are laughable (I doubt many six-year olds know what shillings are, let alone use them in slang phrases), and the Avengers are shown as rather incompetent for the "Earth's Mightiest Heroes" that they are. But aside from that, it's not too bad. She-Hulk's in it, too, and she improves any comic she's in. If I did such things, I'd give it a three out of five.

On the off chance that to you this is as dull as a very dull thing, don't worry. While I'm thinking about making this a regular feature of Brainsplurge, it won't be a frequent one!

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