Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Book of the Week 9/12/07 The Search for Ray Palmer #1

Written by Ron Marz
Pencilled by Angel Unzueta

WOW! This one surprised even me folks! With such a big week in comics, alot went down. With all the bad taste in my mouth from recent the Countdown disasters I thought long and hard about even picking up this book. However, I am a fanboy and three of my all time favorite characters are on a team together. Not only that but this book is written by the legendary Ron Marz! Okay, we'll try it out.

I am now firmly convinced that the train went off the rails somewhere in Countdown. Too much is TRYING to happen and no story is completely focused on. Even the considerable talent behind the writing of the book are just not getting enough room to explore. I guess that's part of why this off-shoot book worked so well. We finally got to have a good chunk of story told, we got progression, we got characters added to the team, and my favorite, we were delivered great interactions.

Ron knows Kyle hands down. Nobody with the exception of Judd Winnick writes Kyle Rayner as well so it was great to see Kyle back up to full potential (even if he is suffering from a slight case of Parallax in GL still). Donna is a character that is fairly easy to get but Marz still does a good job of having her deal with being the single female in the "boys club". It's also occurred to me that no one really knows how to write Jason Todd. I think this stems from the fact that he was dead so long that everyone just remembered him from the times he acted up as the "bad" Robin and his character was never able to develop beyond that. Fast forward 20 years and he's suddenly in his early twenties with a bad reputation. The bad boy image snowballed so far over the years that writers just seem to play Jason as an asshole because he's typecast that way. Nobody really takes the effort to make him anything else. That being said, Marz writes Jason as a bit of a tough guy jerk but not a sociopathic ass but also makes him competent (something Countdown has failed miserably to do). Maybe that Lazerus effect is wearing off (God, I hope). Anyways, the competition between Kyle and Jason over Donna was fantastic and made me laugh out loud several times. This character interaction is why I picked the book. You could take them out of the multiverse, put them in regular clothing and its still two completely different guys arguing over a girl and that's always entertaining to watch.

I'm not too familiar with the Wildstorm universe but I enjoyed the brief tour. As I'm against the idea of the multiverse, I think this SEARCH book will be a good tour through it to get our bearings. Honorable mentions also go out to Ultimate Spidey, Black Adam, Green Lantern, and the JLA Wedding Special. In the end it was great to see my characters treated with an ounce of respect again.