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Thursday, October 20, 2005

The Week in Ink, 10-20-05

Okay, so apparently Alias Comics heard me talking shit about them not putting out anything for a couple months, and decided to release everything they publish in one week.

Well, everything they publish that they haven't dropped for having loose ties to sodomy. That wacky Mike S. Miller!

Anyway, that pretty much has no bearing on tonight's post, since it's about comics I actually buy. Let's kick it root down:


Astro City: The Dark Age #4

Inspired by Alpha Flight #119The Authority: Revolution #12: Hot damn! A kickass last issue for what's been a pretty kickass series. Dustin Nguyen's artwork has really impressed me throughout this series. I like him, and with the way he draws the Midnighter, I wouldn't mind seeing the same creative team on a Batman book, especially considering Ed Brubaker's one of my favorite writers, largely for his work on Batman and Detective Comics over the past few years. Even beyond that, though, this series has delivered everything you want to see out of the Authority: Truly reprehensible villains getting their heads kicked in brutally and in lurid explosions of blood by well-meaning badasses like Jack Hawksmoor. Excellent stuff.

Banana Sunday #3: Also excellent, but for entirely different reasons. Well, actually, I don't know. Kirby's nemesis Skye is sort of a high school girl Henry Bendix, and there's a very real chance at one point that she's going to get her teeth kicked in. Seriously, though, if you're not buying this book, I have only two things to say: 1) I am totally in love with Colleen Coover. 2) It's the story of being a high school outcast... with super-intelligent talking monkeys.

Batgirl #69: I've mentioned this before, but it bears repeating: Andersen Gabrych and Pop Mhan are the perfect team for this book. In this one issue, Gabrych ties in elements from every other writer's run on the book, while at the same time confronting Batgirl with a truly sinister foe. His characterization of Nyssa--the new Demon's Head from Greg Rucka's severely underrated Death and the Maidens--is dead-on, and he plays her every bit as sinister and brilliantly manipulative as Ra's al-Ghul. Pop Mhan's art, of course, is gorgeous, and his panel layout is great as he shifts from kinetic fight scenes to overlapping chains of memory. It's one of the best DC comics coming out right now, and the current story's the best of the run so far.

Daredevil vs. Punisher #5: Hey, you know that part where there's two guys with machine guns and the Punisher kills them both with a hunting knife? Yeah, that is awesome. On another note, I just now noticed that the top halves of each cover for this series are sequential pieces where Daredevil and the Punisher are just beating the hell out of each other. David Lapham, I hereby forgive you for "City of Crime."

Hellblazer #213

Jack Staff #9: You know, it's one thing to wait months between issues for Jack Staff, but when it ships to my local store two weeks late, that's what sticks in my craw. Fortunately, it's still a great comic. The coloring for this issue was done by Craig Conlan, not Phil Elliot, and I'm not sure if it was just a fill-in or the new regular guy, but it's definitely got a different style to it. He's not bad by any means, but I prefer Elliot's flatter style. That said, it's a great-looking book, and the "Recurring Dreams of Helen Morgan" sequence in the middle was great. And hey. Tom-Tom the Robot Man... He ain't no joke.

Justice #2: Much better than the first issue, although I still can't help taking issue with one thing. Alex Ross doesn't like to draw Batman with his customary white eyes. Me, I think that makes him look scarier, but Ross has a problem with it supposedly limiting Batman's peripheral vision, so he just draws him with open eye-holes in the mask. Which would be fine, except that Batman needs to, you know, have special lenses that let him see in the dark because he's fucking Batman. Which is what leads to this issue, where Batman wears goofy bat-goggles over his mask. Still, that's a minor quibble with an otherwise decent issue, so I can let it slide... this time.

Manhunter #15: You know, I didn't think I'd be sad to see Jesus Saiz go, but, well, like everything else about this book, he's really grown on me. This issue involves the secret origin of Kate Spencer's costume, which is pretty fun. My only problem? Unlike the last one, this issue does not end with Kate getting ready to get naughty with her ex-husband. Freaky naughty.

Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: Horror 2005: You know, if you want the official story about Elsa Bloodstone and the Terror, pick this one up. But if you want to hear the real facts about how they're totally hot and not very good, respectively, stick with the ISB. Who loves ya, baby?

Robin #143

Runaways #9: Excellent stuff, especially with Adrian Alphona back on pencils. I like Miyazawa a lot, don't get me wrong, but Alphona's art and Christina Strain's coloring are absolutely gorgeous together. Also, I'm really, really hoping that the Runaways meet up with the Young Avengers in this story arc. That would make me happy beyond my wildest dreams.

Man.  That's awesome.Seven Soldiers: Klarion #4: If you can look at a picture of Klarion the Witch Boy tied to a stake with his foot on fire and his cat trussed up beside him and tell me that's not one of the best covers of the year, you may qualify for my new Stabbing Plan. I ended up not liking this series as much as Shining Knight and, of course, Guardian, but considering that I love those two like they're my own children, that's not saying much. There's a heck of a lot to like about it--Grundy Men, a monster made of children, and a pretty frigg'n awesome last page--but I think it was the weird furry parts of this issue that threw me off. If only he would've fought a village-sized world of robots instead...

Surrogates #2

She-Hulk 2 #1

Thor: Blood Oath #3: You know, I probably read better comics this week, but this was the only one that made me sit up in bed and actually say the words "Holy crap!" And as those who know me will attest, getting me to sit up is not an easy task. Scott Kolins's pencils are my favorite since his early work on Flash. They're incredibly dynamic and he excels handing what is truly a senses-shattering fight comic in the Mighty Marvel Manner. I think Walt Simonson would be proud, and that's probably the highest praise I can offer. KRAKADOOM!

Walking Dead #22

Also, do yourself a favor and check out Spider-Man Family, which is a little pricey, but includes an all-new team-up between Spider-Man, Spider-Girl, Arana, and Peter Porker, and an awesome Fred Hembeck story. And while I haven't picked them up, I have read every issue of the new Power Pack series. They're fun, even though it's weird to have them around when Julie Power's running around in Runaways being totally hot and getting hit on by Ricochet and Karolina.

And finally, help out William Messner-Loebs and grab yourself a copy of Heroes and Villains, a great-looking art book from Twomorrows. For one thing, it'll help out a comics creator who's fallen on hard times, and for another, you get to see a phenomenal sketch of the Shadow by John "Handsome Dan" Cassaday, and what really sealed the deal for me, Chris Giarrusso doing the cover to Countdown to Infinite Crisis. Take one look and tell me that's not worth owning.


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