Wednesday, 31 August 2011
Book Reviews: Canadians, Americans, and Asgardians
When Marvel announced that Alpha Flight was getting a new 8 (9 counting the 0.1 issue) issue mini-series, nobody was happier than me. I have a complete run of every volume of Alpha Flight, including annuals and mini-series, even the godawful volume 3. I love Alpha Flight.
Therefore, it makes me kind of sad that the new series isn't really grabbing me. It is head and shoulders better than the last series, don't get me wrong. But it just feels like a retread of the past, even though it features the classic team, which really has very few appearances together as a unit. Alpha Flight in conflict with Department H and the Canadian government used to happen on a regular basis in the first volume. It was the entire basis of the second volume. It's been done. A lot.
I'm also not digging the personality re-write for Marrina. I realize that the creators wanted someone to create conflict, but Marinna was the sweetest being you'd ever meet, and I always liked that hopeful optimism she brought to the team. If an in-story event lead to this new portrayal I'd be fine with it, but instead the past is being ignored. I would rather they used another Plodex character in this role than simply ignoring Marinna's previous personality.
On the plus side, the book is gorgeous, and some of the smaller details are fun. Aurora battling Jeanne Marie at superspeed was a nice touch, and the banter between Sasquatch and Shaman is great. And Puck is back, which makes everything right with the world.
Marvel has announced that Alpha is becoming an on-going and will be a part of a new Commonwealth of Heroes...now that is a new concept that I am very much anticipating. I'm willing to give the creative team some time to grow into the book so I hope you can do the same.
This book is old-school Marvel fun, no surprise considering the legend himself, Mr. Roger Stern, is the one writing this tale. I almost skipped this book at first; I didn't even know it was coming out, the guys at my shop put it aside for me because they thought I'd like it. In the end I thought the concept was fun, and Stern was writing it, so I gave it a try.
Absolutely loving it.
As I said, the concept is just plain fun. Seeing Steve Rogers, Bucky Barnes, John Walker, and Shannon Carter running around together slingin' shields is a real treat (and the new guy, Commander A, is starting to grow on me). They are fighting a team called the Ammericommand, which at first I though was kinda hokey but hey, this is a team of out-of-time patriots out to save the multiverse, I'm just going to enjoy the ride.
The art is very well done and the colouring is crisp. I really have no complaints about this mini-series at all. On the extra bonus side, Stern uses thought balloons! I can't remember the last time I saw thought balloons!
You cannot go wrong picking this up!
When Thor was relaunched in The Mighty Thor, I almost skipped picking up the title, and I have a full run of Thor starting with volume 2, so I didn't consider this lightly. However, the art of Olive Coipel convinced me to stick around.
So far the art is the only reason I'm sticking around.
Sure, the idea of Galactus at war with Asgard is fun, I'll give Fraction that. But the execution really isn't grabbing me, in particular the dialogue. I had a post a couple of days ago featuring my re-write of the dialogue in #5, and it's no better in #4.
My beef with the dialogue is the lack of consistency. On one page it feels like Fraction is trying to capture the somewhat grander speech patterns JMS brought to the book; he did away with the thee's & thou's but Thor still spoke with a grandeur and authority that made it clear he was a god not to be trifled with. But then on the next, Thor is speaking like any regular joe; if you had to take a shot every time Thor tells someone to "Shut up" in the past 4 issues you'd be wasted out of your mind.
I will give Fraction credit, his first arc on Mighty Thor is far better than his first arc in the pages of Thor, but I am still on the fence on continuing to get this book once the current arc is finished.