Thursday, March 26, 2009

Brave and the Bold Volume 3 (Or, I'm Sticking to Marvel For the Foreseeable Future)

I picked up the this new hardcover at the local comics store yesterday and have already finished the thing and come to one conclusion: Mark Waid is overrated.

Don't get me wrong; I don't think he's a bad comics writer, just a bit dull.

Say what you will about the Grant Morrisons of the comics world but at least they take risks and shake things up a bit (yes, ambition sometimes gets them in trouble too).

Perhaps my disappointment springs back to a recent, similar purchase of a Fantastic Four hardcover that Waid authored. The store clerk was in my age bracket so I thought he was trustworthy when he exclaimed that the sealed hardcover contained "the best FF story he had ever read!" Please. That's an insult to anyone who's read any of the Kirby-illustrated issues from the 1960's.

After taking a chance and losing my money on that one, I should have been more careful but the name of artist Scott Kolins on the cover of The Brave and the Bold, Vol. 3: Demons and Dragons made me take a chance on another sealed hardcover book.

The one good thing about this book is that, unlike other recent DC Comics collections that I've picked up, it's easy to follow as far as DC Universe continuity is concerned. But it is simply Waid's last four issues with a few older reprinted stories handpicked by Waid.

First off, Kolins' art is weak. I don't know if it's due to the coloring or inking by the Kolins work that I loved on Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes is nowhere to be found. In fact, I would have had a hard time finding any Kolins-esque section of this book had his name not been on the cover.

Admittedly, artists change styles over time -- the Perez of the 1970's is not quite the same as the Perez of the 1980's or the Perez of the 1990's or 2000's -- but, usually, you can see traces of what you loved in the first place in the artist's current work. Not so here.

The only story that had a little spark for me was the pairing of Deadman and The Green Arrow, especially when Deadman takes over Arrow's body. That section was a lot of fun. But hardly worth the cover price.

Maybe my disappointment springs from the fact that I simply am a Marvel guy? Yeah, not every part of the Civil War or Secret Invasion -- I haven't read any of the Dark Reign stuff yet -- is great but even the weakest moments keep my interest sustained in characters that I've loved for more than 30 years now.