Patrick's Hat Trick: Signs of Things to Come

by Patrick

Man, this reviewing comics sure can be a lot of work. At times it seems like there are new comics coming out every week! This week, I'll take a look at the first issue of DC's newest weekly book Trinity, the first chapter of "One World, Under Gog" in Justice Society of America #16 and the Hardcover collection of the "hot" Valiant's early ninety's book in, Harbinger: The Beginning.

Whoever I am? It says "by Patrick" right at the top of the post. And if you want the rest of this post to appear so you can get started, all you have to do is click here:

Since Wonder Woman is in such a hurry, why don't we start with her book?

TRINITY #1: After the success of 52 and the...let's call it...the interesting experiment of Countdown, DC is launching their newest year long weekly book. And after one issue, it's looking like this one will be closer to 52 in quality. The issue is pretty much all set-up. And I don't think that is a bad thing. The first part of the book, by Kurt Busiek and Mark Bagley (in what I believe to be his DC debut), deals with our "Trinity" of heroes (Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman) getting together to discuss a dream they all had. Except it was one of those dreams that people have in comic books that they know wasn't just a dream. We get lots of good character moments, a little snippet of action from the Flash and his kids, and end on a cliffhanger that looks like it may start moving the story along pretty quickly. One thing I was wondering ....

Since when does Wonder Woman lose her powers when she is out of costume "ceremonial battle armor"? How in the heck does that even work? Is her costume "ceremonial battle armor" magic? Where were the Newsarama stories about this new statis quo in Diana Prince's life? Why haven't I heard Dan Didio talking about how much better the stories will be now that she doesn't have her powers all the time, and all the great new relationships she can have?

The second half of the book, with nice art from Scott McDaniel and Mark Bagley, focuses on a trio of villains coming together to oppose our heroes, as well as offering some possible views of where the story may be going.

I wonder if some reviewers will be complaining that not enough happens in the first issue. I won't be one of them. It was a good set up. If I was reading a 52-chapter novel, I would expect the first chapter to be set up. And that is what we got here. An interesting first chapter that makes me want to come back and check out chapter two. Grade: B An interesting beginning, but can it hold our interest for a year?

JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA #16: Has this book been running late and is catching up? Or where there suppose to be two books this month? Because I was very surprised to see this issue this week. It hasn't even been a week since I reviewed issue fifteen. I'm glad to say the pace has seemed to pick up a bit. I felt like more happened. The reveal of Gog and his past was handled well. And it looks like this could be an interesting arc. And it's been fun to have the page or two painted by Alex Ross every issue. Grade: B-The story is good, the pace is picking up a little bit. Let's hope it doesn't tread water until the end of the arc.

HARBINGER: THE RETURN HC: Remember when Valiant comics were the hottest books being published? I remember seeing early issues of Harbinger going for over a hundred bucks. Well, those days are long gone. Valiant was sold, closed its door, and is now back to publishing some of its old stuff again. Dan looked at the X-O Man-O-War collection this past weekend. The Harbinger collection was suppose to hit stores a few months ago, but I believe it was held up by some lawsuits. But I would like to say, I think it was worth the wait.

I read some of the Valiant books back in the day. But Harbinger was not one of them. And I have to say, it was a pretty good book. Strong characters, lots of action, and some densely plotted stories. The art on the original issues is all by David Lapham, but don't expect it too look like his current stuff. Valiant had a pretty strong house style when it started, and the art here reflects that. The extras include the original story from the back of the coupons of Harbinger 1-6, which gave details on the main villain's past, as well as a new story written by Jim Shooter that expands the story from the coupons. I was also surprised by Solar: Man of the Atom's appearance in the books. Everything I had heard about this new Valiant was they didn't have the rights to him or Magnus: Robot Fighter. Grade: BStrong characters, good story (if sometimes a little wooden in the storytelling)and good art make for a very nice hardcover collection.

Well, that's three reviews, so it's time to close up the Hat Trick for this week. Thanks for taking the time to read my thoughts. As always, I'm interesting in hearing yours in the comments section below. See you next week.


Mister said...

I recently bought this trade on a whim, it is easy to access for someone who has never read any Valiant stuff?

Dan said...

I didn't read Harbinger the first time around either, but I did get the hardcover a few months ago* and really enjoyed it.

Like X-O, I didn't think the coloring changes were all that impressive in Harbinger, but the story is easy to jump into.

And, mister, it definitely is easy to jump into if you've never read any Valiant stuff. Harbinger was one of their first titles, so this collection is actually setting up a lot of Valiant's continuity.

*It was delayed through Previews because of the legal issues. MailOrderComics.com was able to get it through other means as were book stores.

guttertalk said...

When I read Trinity, I just kept wondering how this could be the same writer that does Astro City.

Unless you're writing an issue of Not Brand Ecch, having a character explain an acronym in the middle of the fight is some frightfully bad writing. [Actually, that second story seemed like it was supposed to be funny, but who knows. It wasn't coming off very well.]

I think this is the problem with extended mini-series or whatever they are: I think they assume we'll read the series and make no effort to write a first issue that is a good hook.

I left the issue wondering what else people will find sexy about Bruce Wayne . . . the way he clenches? How much more deferring will Clark be . . . "Do you have the time? You don't have to tell me, of course. But if you did, I'd appreciate it."

To each his own, but I thought this was pretty much a throw-away book that did nothing to earn my buying #2.

Patrick Gaffney said...

Mister: as Dan already said, I doubt you'll find any problems accessing the book. One of the things Valiant did really well in their first couple of years was making sure each book made sense on it's own, even if you were not reading the other four or five books being published. I have the trades for the Unity Saga, and they are be a pain to read though, because you'll read the same scene four times in each characters book.

Patrick Gaffney said...

Guttertalk: Love your thoughts on Bruce and Clark. Made me laugh. I would disagree with you on the second story. I don't think it was suppose to be funny. I think it was suppose to be pretty vague and set up stuff that will be followed up on. And the villain over-explained everything. I think that is just a part of who he is, a motormouth

Patrick Gaffney said...

Does no one know when Wonder Woman became no so wonderful when out of costume? I made jokes about it, but I am curious when and where that happened?

Mister said...

Thanks you Dan and Patrick, I look forward to reading that trade.