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Thursday, November 24, 2005

The Week in Ink, 11-23-05

Stand back, citizens: It's Thursday, and not even a nigh-lethal dose of tryptophan and Miracle on 34th Street can stop me from reviewing this week's comics. But, in a holiday-themed twist on my usual format, this week I'll not only share my thoughts on the high-and-lowlights of my purchases, but I'll tell you what each of them makes me thankful for.

On with it!


Army of Darkness #3: Hm, now this is a tough one. I'm thankful that it's not coming out any more often than it actually is, which is a completely unwarranted bi-weekly schedule. Yeah, I'm pretty sure this is the last one I'll be getting.

Batgirl #70: My thanks goes out to Anderson Gabrych, who keeps Batgirl enjoyable with very few missteps along the way. Unfortunately, I think this was one of them. Mr. Freeze seemd a little bit out of character, and to be honest, I'm never a fan of somebody busting onto the scene and shouting their new super-villain name for everyone to hear. Still, Pop Mhan's art fits the book like a kevlar/spandex bodysuit, and it's still not a bad read.

Battle Pope #4: I'm thankful that Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore have both gotten a lot better since their early days cranking out fun little indy comics. Not that Battle Pope is bad, mind you, it's just nice to see them getting better and better.

Betty and Veronica Double Digest #138: I'm thankful that an UTTERLY RARE SHIPPING ERROR BY DIAMOND allowed me to snag a copy of this, which features a pair of lead stories about Betty and Veronica designing Barbie dolls, each from one of the girls' points of view. Even more than that, though, I'm thankful that I've finally gotten the chance to use the phrase "It's like Rashomon in Riverdale!"

Captain America #12: I'm extremely thankful that Steve Epting told me he'd try to work a hidden MODOK into every issue of Cap he draws from now on. Now if I only knew if he was serious...

Conan #22: I'm thankful that I'm finally getting to see some new work from Mike Kaluta, even if it's just four and a half gorgeous pages. And while we're on the subject, I'm thankful for Cary Nord, who--along with Karl Kessel--was responsible for getting me back into Marvel comics with his pencils on Daredevil back in '96 or so. Plus, this issue's installment of Two-Gun Bob is one of the best comic strips I've read in a long while, even going up against the Goon strips in every Previews.

Down #1

Ex Machina #16

I heart Drizzt.Forgotten Realms: Exile #1: I'm thankful that I'm man enough to admit that I am totally gay for Drizzt Do'urden, noblest of the dark elves of Faerûn. Yeah, I said it.

Invincible #27: I'm thankful that Kid Thor and the rest of the heroes from Capes not only make a cameo apperance in this issue, but also star in a new backup feature. I'm pretty excited about it since I really enjoyed the miniseries, as it fits perfectly into that cohesive little corner of the Image super-hero universe that Robert Kirkman and Jay Faerber have carved out for themselves.

Jack Cross #4

JSA Classified #5

Middleman #4

Perpahanauts #1: I'm thankful that finally--FINALLY--there's a paranormal investigative team that includes a super-evolved Chupacabra. I've been clamoring for that, albeit quietly, for years, and Todd Dezago has finally stepped up to the challenge. Seriously, though, I enjoyed this issue quite a bit, especially a legitimately shocking ending and the cleverly-done letter-column.

I wonder what DE's annoying title for this cover is?Red Sonja #3: Still thankful for Mike Kaluta, although choosing between his gorgeous cover and John Romita's was no mean feat. Not like choosing between an Adam Hughes and a Billy Tan's going to be in four months, I'll tell you that for free. As for the book itself, it remains enjoyable, if not spectacular. I'd be remiss, though, if I didn't point out that this issue does feature a rare appearance by Red Sonja's nipples, so if you're into that sort of thing--which I'll admit I am--it makes a darn fine stocking-stuffer.

Robin #144

Seven Soldiers: Frankenstein #1: Regarding this one, I'm thankful that Doug Mahnke is, for the first time, penciling a book that doesn't jarringly clash with his art style. I don't hate his work on JLA, but I do dislike it intensely. In Frankenstein though, his style works wonderfully. The story's good, clean, monster fightin' fun, of course, although I think the "1955" caption on page 4 should be placed on the panel after it is.

Top hats and bowties are hot.  FACT.Seven Soldiers: Zatanna #4: I'm thankful that Ryan Sook and Grant Morrison apparently like girls in fishnets and leather corsets as much as I do. Now Kevin might be too busy reading comics about whiny, self-absorbed emo kids to agree with me, but there's not a lot of things I like better than a fight scene where a guy shoots bullets out of his eyes and then stands on top of Jupiter. That's excitement.

Shaun of the Dead #4

She-Hulk #2: I'm thankful that Dan Slott and Juan Bobillo are so awesome that he manages to cram the return of Hawkeye, the return of Justice Peace, and Jen Walters' awesome sign-language into one issue. The people who say comics just aren't fun any more don't know what they're talking about--they're just not reading Slott's books.

Ultimate X-Men #65

Walking Dead #24

Young Avengers #9


You can't resist buying this.The Encyclopedia of Fantastic Victoriana: I'm thankful for Jess Nevins, who's out there doing untold hours of research so that you and I don't have to. This book's the perfect companion to Heroes and Monsters and A Blazing World, his two volumes of annotations for the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen series, and while it weighs in with a hefty fifty-dollar price tag, it's completely justified. Not only is it a beautiful book, but it has comprehensive and exhaustive notes on virtually every pulp and penny-dreadful hero from the Victorian Age. I'm not sure if I'll ever actually use it to research something of my own, but it's already taken twenty minutes of my life reading about Spring-Heeled Jack and the Unnameable.

So, now that I've used my lifetime allotment of the word "thankful," I think I'm finally going to succumb to the drowsiness-inducing powers of a deep-fried turkey. Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!


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