The Deal: Presenting the first salvo of DC's summer blockbuster limited series. According to advertisements, heroes -- and maybe the universe -- will die in the pages of this comic, which stars a ton of the company's most popular good guys and bad guys. And somehow, Final Crisis is supposed to be the final act of DC's two previously published Crisis-themed series: Crisis on Infinite Earths and Identity Crisis.
The Good: The art, by JG Jones, is absolutely stunning. Looking at the smooth and detailed drawings he's placed on the pages of this comic, I find myself longing for a monthly book with him at the visual helm. Jones seems to be good at illustrating everything: perspective, backgrounds, anatomy, facial expressions, action shots and more.
The Bad: After reading the first issue of Final Crisis, one question popped in my mind: "Is that it?" DC has been hyping this book for months now, touting it as the most epic thing the company has ever released, but the first issue came across as incredibly uneventful. Sure, it's a first issue, and it's meant to set things up for subsequent issues; at the same time, it's also meant to draw in readers enough so they'll stick around to read the whole series. So far, I'm not really that interested. Part of me thinks that comic writers have been shoveling out these decompressed stories for so many years that they've actually forgotten how to craft a big, action-packed tale. Another problem that plagues the story is that it doesn't stand on its own as an independent yarn. If you haven't read the last few issues of the Justice League or the DC Universe special (pictured on this page), you honestly won't know half of the characters in this comic.
The Verdict: Me no likey. I'll pick up the second issue, but if it doesn't get better by then, I'll probably drop it.
The New Avengers No. 41
Published by Marvel Comics. Plot and script by Brian Michael Bendis. Pencils and inks by Billy Tan.
The Deal: The latest issue of The New Avengers ties into Marvel's big summer epic, Secret Invasion, which chronicles the battle to stave off an attack by the shape-shifting aliens known as Skrulls. This invasion has apparently been stewing in writer Brian Michael Bendis' mind since he started The New Avengers, and this particular story ties up loose ends that have been dangling since the first few issues.
The Good: Bendis' dialogue is as sharp as always. It's funny to think that when Bendis took over The New Avengers years ago, fans were afraid the comic would become a dull talking-head book. But, honestly, the conversations between the characters are the most entertaining aspects. It's also nice to see Bendis put some closure on a few longtime subplots. And to have things pay off with such a high-profile storyline is icing on the cake. Billy Tan's artwork has improved since his recent tenure on Uncanny X-Men. These days, his strong line work is augmented by more interesting "camera" angles and some innovative panel configurations.
The Bad: This issue was a little slow (and that's the downside of Bendis' dialogue-heavy style). While there is action, it's just not very action-packed action. Then again, this tale seems more rooted in espionage and not so much in high-octane adventure. Also, if you haven't been keeping up with The New Avengers or Secret Invasion, you probably won't know what the hell is happening in this issue.
The Verdict: The New Avengers was pretty good this time around. It was a little slow, but it was still satisfying to see old storylines tied up a bit.
Reviewed materials furnished by Heroes Aren't Hard To Find, the folks behind the annual HeroesCon comic convention, which hits Charlotte June 20-22. For more, visit: www.heroesonline.com.