Free Comic Book Day 2010

At zero-seven-fifty, I was not the first person in line at Austin Books for Free Comic Book Day (FCBD).

Nor was I the second.  Or the third.  I was pretty far down the line, but it it wasn’t all that bad to be honest with you.

The folks at Austin Books run one of the most professional retail stores I’ve been to, and they have got FCBD down to a science.

They put a tent outside with the free comics, have plenty of extra staff to keep things moving and even feature the comedy stylings of Herschel while you wait!

I was out of there in plenty of time to go to Rudy’s for breakfast (and that was after a visit inside for a back issue and stopping to talk to friends).

The FCBD books that I like are the ones where publishers are giving me a full story, be it a first chapter (or “zero issue”) or a “done in one” single issue story.  Doesn’t really matter as long as I have the satisfaction of reading something that has a beginning-middle-end.  The “sampler” or “preview” books that only have the first few pages of a story are frankly, lazy.

Iron Man / Thor (Marvel): my favorite of all the FCBD books and clearly Marvel’s approach to FCBD is the same as last year; put their best foot forward by pairing their top talent with their highest profile characters.  The goal is to blow the pants off readers to get them to take a look at more Marvel comics.  Mission accomplished.  Writer Matt Fraction (Invincible Iron Man) and artist John Romita Jr. (Kick-Ass) deliver a fun story with sharp writing, beautiful art and enough character moments that you give the reader a feel for the amazing work he’s doing on Iron Man (and will do on Thor).  If you’re not picking up Invincible Iron Man, issue 25 is as good a place to start as any (which conveniently shipped this week).  This team has successfully followed up the great Avengers FCBD issue (see last year’s review post) and set the bar for next year.  A+.

Iron Man / Nova (Marvel): fantastic opening sequence and it just gets rolling from there.  Action.  Monkeys.  Humor.  It’s a great peak into the excellent work that Paul Tobin has been doing on the “all ages” Marvel comics (both the Avengers and Spider-Man titles have both relaunched with new #1’s this month – clearly someone at Marvel is paying attention).  Some of the best work that Marvel comics is publishing is “hidden” in the this line.  You owe it to yourself to check out the “Tobinverse” and some of the other great books that are being published here like Thor And The Warriors Four (Word Ballon has a great interview with writer Alex Zalben about this topic).  A.

The Sixth Gun: I feel bad that I didn’t stop to say hello to the creators of this book (Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt, who were doing a signing) but having not read the book I didn’t really have much to say.  That said, I read the book.  It’s a lot of fun.  Good non-super-hero old West magic adventure stuff and I’ll pickup the book when it comes out.  If you know them, tell them I dug the book!  B+.

Doctor Solar / Magnus (Dark Horse): in the first four pages, writer Jim Shooter successfully does two things that I can not stand:

  1. Flashbacks and flashforwards that use dates (example: August 15 on page one and then saying August 14 on page two).  Do not assume I’m paying so close attention that I remember the date (even from the last page).  Just say “today” and “yesterday.”
  2. When science fiction writers feel the need to explain stuff that I couldn’t care less about…just to show that they can explain it.  Honestly, I really don’t care how or why Doctor Solar is wearing a red costume or what it’s made out of.  It’s just pretentious babble.

After trudging through my own person annoyances, the comic was OK.  I’m on the fence as to if I’ll try the regular series.  C.

War Of The Supermen (DC): DC is finally figuring out how to properly do FBCD and they followed Marvel’s model above.  This is a new  story and one that leads into an upcoming Superman event that has been brewing for the past year.  While the writing was good and the art was quite excellent, I had a huge problem with this book.  It’s the same problem that made me drop the Superman titles a year ago.  The concept of a world full of Kryptonians in my opinion makes Superman uninteresting and he looses the unique quality that sets him apart from the other heroes in the DC Universe.  All of this is made worse by the fact that we know how this “war” is going to end (I’ve seen PREVIEWS).  There’s little to no mystery or surprise that will be had from this story so I’m going to sit it out until JMS arrives.  It’s a good effort on their part, but the foundation wasn’t stable enough (and that has me thinking about a longer DC rant in the future).  C.


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