The Sunday Pages #66

19th July 2009 | by | 1 Comment

This week, James is away getting rained on in a field in Norfolk, but that hasn’t stopped Seb and Julian from capsuling it on up with Amazing Spider-Man, Batman: Streets of Gotham, Wednesday Comics and X-Factor. Plus we shout out from the rooftops about a Phonogram-related special event that we may or may not have something to do with.

Review: Amazing Spider-Man #599
I don’t get the publishing schedule of this at all, having the first few parts of a story come out in successive weeks before then suddenly having to wait for the last bit and thus damage the deliberately-built momentum. It’s also a shame that what should have been the most “flagship” ASM story since New Ways To Die didn’t manage to stick with a single artist for the run – in fact, two different guys get a crack here, with Stephen Segovia’s main characteristic seemingly “wanting to be Leinil Yu”. But it’s decent enough (if a rather less explosive finale than we might have expected), with the main points of interest being significant hints of Norman’s “Goblin” personality beginning to make a reappearance, and a genuine attempt to actually do something new with Harry. Really, though, this is a story that started out feeling “big”, but lost its spark to the extent that this issue just seems like treading water until the fanfare of #600. [SP]

Review: Batman: Streets of Gotham #2
It’s hard not to feel cheated by this book, as it continues to entirely belie its stated premise. This is categorically not showing Batman stories from the perspective of surrounding characters – the only two narrators are Alfred and the villain, Firefly; and Dick and Damian appear on just about every page. Essentially, this is nothing other than Dini continuing his Detective run – and that means more of Thomas sodding Elliott, and an increasing (and somewhat inexplicable) drop in quality. Damian’s voice is still entirely wrong, the plot is still entirely boring, and the very existence of the series is entirely pointless – if it were actually taking place in Detective Comics, it’d be passable, but up against MorrisonQuitely and RuckaWilliams’ series, it’s desperately wanting. Even Winick’s Batman is making a better fist of things. [SP]

Review: Wednesday Comics #2
Capsuling this is a bugger, so don’t expect me to cover every single strip in it, but. I’m still in love with the format (if not the cost), and I’m still enthralled by just about every piece of utterly gorgeous artwork on display. But fewer of the stories grabbed me this week than last. Those that did made a very favourable impression – Paul Pope’s wonderfully fun Adam Strange and Karl Kerschl’s clever Flash are both superb, the latter making particularly strong use of the format with its “two differently-styled strips telling different parts of the story” trick – but the rest of the book relies on moments of fun littered sparingly about the place, rather than any one particularly compelling story. Still can’t help but buy it, mind, seduced by the package as a whole as I am. [SP]

Review: X-Factor #46
Of course, the flipside of Peter David’s somewhat inconsistent work on this book is that every so often, you get a pleasant surprise of the sort found here. The writer does a superb job of balancing the completing plotlines, and with the readership now used to each issue resolving the last cliffhanger but one, there’s much fun to be had. We even have a return for the sparkling dialogue which characterized the early days of the book, and appeared to be lost in the move to Detroit. There are slight warning signs about how this long-running arc might be resolved, with the time-travel links between the two story settings becoming slowly more and more complex, but for now, it’s a thrilling ride. [JHa]

Plug: Phonogram vs. the Fans
I’m sure we’ve mentioned this before, but with the San Diego Comic-Con imminent, it’s as good a time as any to remind you – Matt Sheret’s Phonogram fanzine, Phonogram vs the Fans, will be on sale at the convention this coming weekend. Now, despite our unabashed PG fanness, would that on its own be enough for us to give it the preferential plugging treatment? Of course not. It gets a special mention because myself and James have got one-page strips in it – ably assisted by artists Kat Stevens and Josh Barton. So if you happen to be at the convention, why not swing by the Phonotable, pick it up, and then tell us how great you think “Panic” and “Here Comes Your Man” are? Here’s a nice writeup on it from Newsarama, too. We now return you to your previously-scheduled levels of humility. [SP]