Before Watchmen: Ozymandias #2 of 4
Part of being an effective storyteller is knowing when to leverage ‘showing’ as opposed to ‘telling’, how to portray a character in the best way, and figuring out the best way to keep your audience interested. In the case of Ozymandias, Len Wein has found a nigh-perfect balance with Adrien Veidt, a man who takes the time to dictate his own autobiography because he’s exactly the kind of person who would do something like that. While other characters like Comedian and (most of) the Minutemen weren’t heavily characterized, even in the original Watchmen, Ozymandias has always had a god complex, a feeling that is thrilling to watch evolve as Adrien discovers more and more about how to be the hero he wants to be. I went into this series expecting it to be one of my least favorite of this whole Before Watchmen experiment, but I’ve found that it’s pleasantly enjoyable and actually adds information that’s worth reading (instead of, say, showing Eddie Blake killing Vietnamese soldiers).
The Ravagers #4
The Ravagers has been anything but consistent so far in it’s run that started back in May as part of DC’s ‘New 52: Second Wave’ – it started as a spin-off to an already convoluted storyline, and since then hasn’t really been able to pull itself up above being a series about a bunch of troubled kids who are angst-ridden. Now, this might be tolerable if the plot was strong, but Howard Mackie has really struggled to characterize and develop any of the main players of this series: Caitlin Fairchild is almost exclusively a worry machine, Thunder and Lightning have a stereotypical brother and sister relationship, I still really have no idea who Ridge is, while Beast Boy and Terra exhibit super-cliched “us vs. them” isolationist behavior. And they aren’t actually even ‘Ravagers’ at all, in the strictest sense, meaning that this series’ title is a total mislead. I have to hope for something better in the future, as all of these characters could be connected to other teenage series down the road – something I hope will inject something interesting into this lackluster series.
Spider-Men #4 of 5
One my biggest pet peeves about comic books is misleading covers, and Spider-Men #4 commits a capitol sin in this regard, showing a broken and beaten Miles Morales in the arms of a distressed Peter Parker – a powerful image that never, irritatingly, ever happens in this issue, or even comes close to happening. In fact, this entire issue is about relationships, foregoing most if not all fighting in exchange for Peter connecting with people he’s lost in his own universe, as well as meeting alternate versions of some of his closest allies. There’s nothing wrong with this issue, per se – the emotional impact of Peter being in the Ultimate universe are palpable at Brian Michael Bendis’ hand, and Sara Pichelli’s artwork is stunning as ever – but the fact that the image on the cover was decided upon purely to sell more issues is truly frustrating. It’s frustrating when such a good issue from such a good series and such good creators has such a big flub.