The Week In Ink, 9/28/05
You know what?
A whole frigg'n lot of comics came out yesterday. I mean, it's ridiculous: I bought a hundred dollars worth of new comics, before trades and merch even figured in. Admittedly, I read a lot of comics, but still.
Here's what cracked my bank account this week:
ABC A-Z: Tom Strong & Jack B. Quick: A word to the wise: Never, never miss a chance teo read a story about Jack B. Quick. It may actually be the best moment in the entire ABC line when he discovers the secret of anti-gravity by putting butter on cats' backs, since toast always lands butter-side down and cats always land on their feet. Throw in Kevin Nowlan's superb art, and that's reason enough to pick up what's essentially an ABC Comics Secret Files, even before Chris Sprouse is factored in.
Action Philosophers #1 and Action Philosophers #3: Self Help For Ugly Losers: I missed out on Action Philosophers #1 when it first came out, which is a shame because it's brilliant. Fortunately, there was a second printing. If you're not aware, every issue Fred Van Lente and Ryan Dunlavey take three famous philosophers and do a comic strip about each one featuring a biography and an explanation of their particular philosophy. All the information presented is historical fact, but it's history viewed through the eyes of a really good Mr. Peabody and Sherman cartoon, which makes learning fun! Seriously, it's great, and Van Lente also created the new Scorpion, which I think is the reason I like her so darn much.
Adventures of Superman #644
Angel: The Curse #4
BPRD: The Black Flame #2
Defenders #3: I'm not sure if I've mentioned it before, but I like Kevin Maguire's art a lot. The last thing anyone needs is someone else talking about how great his facial expressions are, but with other folks who might be named David Finch out there just photocopying the same panel over and over during those unnecessarily long Brian Bendis "talking heads" sessions, it's worth mentioning that he's a guy who actually works to add something to those scenes. Can't say I'm fond of his Silver Surfer, but he's a damn fine penciller nonetheless.
Invincible #26: Admittedly, I'm a fan of the senses-shattering hyperbole associated with cover blurbs, but month-to-month, Invincible actually may be "probably the best superhero comic book in the universe." Another solid issue from Kirkman and Ottley, but the real treat for me was the pin-up in the back by Chris Giarrusso, one of my absolute favorite cartoonists. Seriously, I just stopped writing for fifteen minutes while I checked out the "sketches" section on that site. Take a look at his classic cover tributes; you won't be disappointed.
Jack Cross #2: It's Warren Ellis, it's fun and interesting, it's got a protagonist with severe emotional problems. What more do you want? Gary Erskine--who is not, as some would have you believe, Chris Weston--does a better job with this issue's pencils, but Cross still looks goofy and slightly dispeptic during the big action sequence. That said, I really like the x-ray shots of the gun and the way the pages are laid out quite a bit. It's no Desolation Jones, but it's worth a read.
JLA #119: Page three, panel five. Batman fucking clocks Hal Jordan, which is something I've been wanting to see for about three months now. There's also a nice uppercut on Hawkman later on in the issue that I feel pretty good about. Batman may be a total dick to the rest of the DCU lately, but he's let a lot of people punch him over the past couple years. I've been keeping track. Also, it's nice that this sort of makes sense with Zatanna's support group meeting over in Seven Soldiers, where she's not running around with giant crazy earrings.
JLA: Classified #12
Legion of Super-Heroes #10: All told, I bought twenty-nine comics yesterday, and I can say unequivocably that this was the single best one out of all of them. There were about eight different things that got me excited in this issue, not the least of which is that amazing Barry Kitson cover. Suicide bombers, characters dying left and right, the Legion Clubhouse under seige, and Invisible Kid getting a stern talking-to from Karate Kid? Come on, folks. What more could you possibly ask for?
The Losers #28: Andy Diggle can write a hell of a heist book. This particular issue concludes the "UnAmerica" storyline, and also has my favorite death scene in quite some time. Unfortunately, Josh and I might be the only people reading this book. Pick up the trades.
Manhunter #14: Okay, I've ragged on this book pretty hard in the past, but you know what? I really like it. Kate Spencer may be one of the most improbable and worst superheroes in a good long while, but she's trying, and she's pretty likeable, all things considered. Plus this issue features one of my favorite all-but-forgotten mid-90s characters, Cameron Chase. She was Kate's old roommate in college, which probably means they, you know, had pillowfights and practiced kissing each other and stuff. Okay, that may be dangerously close to fan-fiction, but that sort of thing happens all the time. You probably haven't seen it, but there's video evidence of college girls going wild. Just sayin'.
New Avengers #11: In case you haven't read it, I won't spoil anything, but Bendis is finally getting around to explaining who that guy on the cover of #1 is eleven issues into the book, now that nobody really cares anymore. Still, I'm sure that it's going to "crack the internet in half" if it actually turns out to be who it looks like, which would mean Dave Finch really needs to start looking at peoples' hands before he draws them. Sheesh, man. Also in the story, Matt Murdock (whom everybody knows is Daredevil) is kicking it in a park with Captain America (whose identity everybody knows) talking about how he doesn't want to be an Avenger while talking about Spider-Man, whom he refers to as Peter Parker. In public. Like that guy doesn't have enough problems...
New X-Men: Academy X #18
Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: Alternate Universes 2005: There's some neat stuff in this one, including the "official" designations for each universe, which as near as Scott and I can tell, are based off of when they were created if they hadn't previously been mentioned. And sure, it's got Here Comes Tomorrow, Mad Jim Jaspers, and Doom 2099, but honestly, the real reason you need to go out and get this is an appearance by Peter Porker, the Spectacular Spider-Ham, who is every bit as awesome as Captain Carrot. I mean, he hangs out with GOOSE RIDER, for God's sake, and if the cover to the left doesn't make you smile, then you, sir, have no joy in your soul.
The OMAC Project #6: The second Infinite Crisis series ends in a fairly pleasant fashion, but my favorite part is when Batman tells Green Lantern to get as many heroes as he can in one place to lure in the OMACs. So how many heroes does Hal get? About thirty guys, featuring the John Byrne Doom Patrol and The Ever-Lovin' Freedom Beast. The Freedom Beast, man! That's exciting reading.
Peng: Remember when I said Legion of Super-Heroes #10 was the best comic of the week? This is the very, very close second. Peng is one of those rare comics that's just a joy to read. If there was a problem with Sharknife, it was that the digest size made the frantic art a little too cramped, but Peng, as a full-size comic, doesn't suffer from that and comes out great. Plus, guest stars. It makes me really want to be Corey Lewis's friend.
Plastic Man #18
Red Sonja #2
Revelations #2: Fresh from his appearance in the pages of New Avengers, Paul Jenkins continues his Vatican Murder Mystery, and I love the hell out of it. It's got my favorite line all week: "There are even stories of secret cults and devil worship." "In the Vatican?"
Shaun of the Dead #3
Silent Dragon #3
Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose #34: I've explained myself on this one before, and I'm sure I will again, but wow. This issue's just... Wow. How do I even begin to explain this issue? Do I start with the naked guy in the letter column? Do I try to wrap my head around the lesbian catgirl sex scenes? Do I even approach the erection jokes made by what amounts to a bunch of Jim Balent's friends who make an appearance? No. I tell the tale that I heard told. Mithridates, he died old.
Ultimate Secret #3: Incredibly fun stuff from Warren. Iron Man hitting on hot underage Sue Storm? Priceless. Tom Raney's pencils are sharp--I like that guy a lot, and it still took me half the issue to realize he wasn't Steve McNiven. All in all, it's shaping up to be a lot better than Ultimate Nightmare, and I think it's clear that Warren's having a lot of fun with it.
Young Avengers #7: I liked this issue a lot, which was a relief since the last one left me feeling pretty cold. Andrea DiVito is a fantastic penciller, and Alan Heinberg threw a lot of nice scenes in this one. Isaiah finding out about Eli made me smile, and the beautiful homage of the last page restored my faith in the book. It's a good one.
Showcase Presents Green Lantern v.1 and Showcase Presents Superman v.1: I can't seem to find a picture of the actual trade dress for these things, which is a shame, because they're gorgeous. Seriously, they are beautiful books. That's all I wanted to say about it, but Kevin has some nice words about them that pretty much encapsulate my feelings. Ten bucks each. Buy 'em!
Union Jack Mini-Bust: Okay. Here's what I know about Union Jack: a) He fights vampires. b) He was the inspiration for Jack Staff, who is quite possibly the best comic book character since OMAC. c) The bust of him looks awesome and was designed by John Cassaday. That's pretty much it. But man, check out how good this thing looks: