ITEM! The Middleman debuts on the teevee. Unlike a lot of the comic blogosphere, I didn’t read the comic first, so I have the benefit of not having any expectations when considering it as a TV show, and I will say this: while entertaining enough, the dialogue (wherein you can practically hear the panels changing) often errs too far on the side of tweeness. Yes, I’m glad there’s a television show with gun-wielding gorillas and ray guns and robot receptionists, but it’s a bit too stylized in its execution for me to be completely blown away. I’d give it a solid B with room for improvement, and pilot episodes frequently have kinks they need to work out. We’ll see if it continues being overly precious.
ITEM! You know what’s surprisingly good? The “JLA Goes To The Tangent Universe” miniseries DC is publishing. Now, given all the immense amount of crap DC has published regarding different universes over the last year, I honestly expected this comic to be terrible, and Ron Marz on the writing skills didn’t particularly give me hope as I’ve never been a fan – but it’s really quite decent in an understated way. Partly it’s because the Tangent Universe was always pretty decent and revisiting it is pleasant (and Marz is doing a decent job not overplaying the “JLA reacts to different universe” bit in a hamhanded manner), and partly it’s because the path of the Tangent world (with the Tangent’s Superman, a near-omnipotent psychic, taking over as a dictator) is dramatically different from standard superhero fare in a way that seems unforced and genuine, and partly it’s because Marz is really hitting all the character voices really well. It’s just a decent little superhero comic, and that’s just fine.
ITEM! I’ll just echo again what everybody else already said: The Incredible Hulk is pretty good. Not Iron Man good, but good. And Lou Ferrigno remains awesome.
ITEM! Trinity continues to underwhelm me. I mean, never mind that the whole “entire DC Universe jerks off over how awesome Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman are” thing is one I have never particularly enjoyed, but additionally it smacks of telling-not-showing. I figure, if you’re going to write a comic about the three of them, I don’t need to be told over and over again how special and important they are. Presumably if someone buys the comic they already think Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman are pretty great shakes, and do not need to see the rest of the JLA getting their asses kicked and then praising Heaven when the almighty frigging Trinity shows up.
But beyond that, the comic is just kind of bland. I say this with disappointment, because Kurt Busiek is probably one of my most reliably favorite writers; I greatly enjoyed his run on Superman – I thought the Prankster issue in particular was one of the best in years. (Honestly, somebody should just pay him a lot of money to write a series where he gets to write short arcs about minor nobodies in a superhero universe if we can’t get Astro City on a regular basis.)
ITEM! On the other hand, Secret Invasion continues to be mostly pretty good, with most of the tie-ins both recognizing the comic-book lunacy of Earth being invaded by little green men and running with it while simultaneously managing to successfully convey the paranoia of the Body Snatchers-like plot points. It’s a really tricky balancing act to pull off and Marvel is doing it with nearly a dozen books, all simultaneously. Sure, there are some minor gripes to be made about how the third issue of the main series was basically a placeholder, or how Mighty Avengers serving as a backstory book is probably a bit of a waste, but these are at best secondary complaints; the primary issue is the quality of the story being told. And it’s really good. (High point: the return of Lyja in the Secret Invasion: Fantastic Four mini, which also has the Richards children operating a tankbot.)
ITEM! Chuck Dixon John Nee Dan Didio blah blah bling bling blah. I have literally no opinion to express about this; like many comic fans I don’t like the direction DC has taken over the past year, but like many comic fans I am also relatively clueless as to how much of that is Dan Didio’s fault, and I don’t like to rely purely on gossip when offering forth opinions (well, not always, anyway). So I got nothing to say there.