Let’s do some non-Civil War stuff now, eh?
First up: Neil Gaiman’s Eternals (which okay, technically happens during Civil War and makes glancing references, but never mind), which is a relaunch of Jack Kirby’s alien space god series. Like Gaiman’s 1602, it’s basically inoffensive, moderately enjoyable, but ultimately wholly forgettable; if you didn’t know, you’d never even come close to guessing it was by the author of The Sandman. There’s a lot better stuff out there written by people a lot less famous.
Next is Kaare Andrews’ Spider-Man: Reign , which might more accurately be called The Spider-Knight Returns, as it’s so clearly an homage to — no, scratch that: derivative of Miller’s Batman story. The setting is a far future dystopia where Bad Men control everything, and Peter Parker is just a frail old geezer with a wife dead of (and I swear I’m not making this up) cancer caused by exposure to Parker’s radioactive, er, bodily fluids. He is a sad muppet. But then something happens — I forget what, and it’s not worth looking it up — and he puts on the costume again, to go forth and kick ass once more. The story is stupid, the background is stupid, the characters are stupid, the writing is horrid, and the art is hideous. I’d heard this was terrible before I bought it, and I wish I’d listened better.
Following up on the dark ‘n’ grim theme is Charlie Huston’s Moon Knight: The Bottom . Moon Knight’s never been a particularly happy character, but man, this is just a bleakfest. It’s reasonably well done, for what it is, but you know what? It’s 2007 now, and I’m not interested in this level of sordidness. People who enjoy sordidness (perhaps fans of Huston’s crime fiction) will probably like this, though.
And then there’s Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti’s Daughters of the Dragon: Samurai Bullets , featuring the nipples of Colleen Wing and the heaving bosom of Misty Knight. This is an incredibly frustrating book, because it’s got some snappy dialogue and clever story going on — but the art is the most demeaning sexist tripe imaginable, with ridiculous outfits and exaggerated anatomy. And just when you think that maybe it’s the artist corrupting the perfectly fine work of the writers, they throw in a completely unnecessary shower scene. As it is, I find this impossible to recommend to anyone. And from the look of future tentacle-porn covers, things don’t get any better on this front. Ugh.