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February 17th, 2005 - Trickle of Consciousness — LiveJournal
Three, I tell you, three books in the pull folder this week. It's like a flood: Dan Slott and Paul Pelletier's She-Hulk #12, Brian Vaughan and Tony Harris' Ex Machina #8, and Brian Vaughan and Adrian Alphona's Runaways #1. Of course, just as that last book debuts, the first bows out for a while. In an effort to preemptively fill the void (and because I forgot to add JLA Classified to my pull and the first issue of "I Can't Believe it's not The Justice League" was thus sold out on me, dammit), I picked up the sounds-so-crazed-it-might-be-fun Livewires #1 from Adam Warren and Ricardo Mays. Quick(ish) takes on all:

Livewires #1: A wonderfully surreal opening sequence tends to evolve into a more standard "fill in the new guy by way of introduction" story. That we're meeting our leads in the middle of frantic action makes for a nice change-up, and their relative nonchalance about things like having their legs set on fire is darkly comedic, but this is still mostly infodump. A nice set-up, but not much more than that. Whether the next issue makes it home with me is largely up in the air, although "wait for the trade" is winning out at the moment.

Ex Machina #8: I'm finding myself feeling rather "meh" about both the political and the action plots here. The former suffers from a too-obvious attempt to be even-handed, as every point of view gets a well-spoken, even-headed character to champion it. There's nothing wrong with presenting a balanced argument, but ... well, I have to say I'd care more about whether these two gay men get married if they came across more as a couple and less as Liberal Gay Man and Conservative Gay Man.

And on the murder mystery? Another person in "distinctive gear but not a costume because there are no super-villains here, no sir" is killing government workers. Nothing wrong with it as a plot, but I suppose the problem is this: I thought I was reading a fair-play mystery last time and I wasn't, so I don't find myself quite so compelled to engage this one.

Runaways #1: Christina Strain's colors definitely work much better on this paper than they did on the digests' lower quality stock. I like a number of the little details in this issue, which introduces us to The Runaways' new status quo. The Excelsior subplot is interesting if for no other reason than Vaughan seems to be playing straight the oft-satirized idea of super-hero support groups / therapy. At the moment, it's a more compelling set-up for my money than the Mystery of Victor, but both storylines are probably too nebulous as of yet for me to make any solid judgments.

She-Hulk #12: As one book relaunches, this one goes on its own hiatus. I generally rail against the level of meta-commentary that saturates this issue, but I actually think Slott pulls it off. It helps that She Hulk series past and present revel in fourth wall breaking, and that this run in particular has been slowly edging in this direction; this isn't the sharp left that ended, say, Captain Marvel so much as it's an intensifying of the storytelling elements already in place.

I found myself laughing out loud several times this go 'round, as Slott turns crazily inconsistent continuity to his advantage, tying up his loose ends even as he sets himself up to return to the book down the line. I'm definitely picking up Slott's Great Lakes Avengers to help keep up my action comedy fix while Jen Walters is regrouping for another go.

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