The Week In Ink, 12-14-05
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Chuck Norris. The man so badass that the very act of writing about him rendered me unable to update the ISB for an entire day.
Fortunately, I'm back now. And while I did pull something in my leg while demonstrating roundhouse kicks at work today (dear God, how I wish that wasn't true), that didn't stop me from reading this week's comics. Tonight, however, I'm going to deviate from my standard format and discuss a few along the way that I didn't buy, but feel are worth mentioning anyway. You'll know them when you get there.
Sadly, there were no science fiction themed weddings this week. But onward!
Action Comics #834
Books of Doom #2: Ed Brubaker's retelling of Dr. Doom's origin continues, and while I'm fairly certain that the last thing we need is a new origin story for any Marvel character at this point, it's well done and interesting. Plus, this issue has the added bonus of answering the question we've all been asking: Yes. Dr. Doom is going to have to choke a bitch.
Corporate Ninja: I saw this on the wall a few weeks back when it came out, and finally got around to picking it up this week, due to my noted love of ninjas. It is pure nonsense interspersed with horrendous violence, which is in turn played for laughs. So yeah, pretty much right up my alley. It's highly enjoyable, especially the gag about the Corporate Ninja's marketing plans, but the biggest kick I got out of the whole thing was finding out while looking for the cover that there's actually a motivational speaker with a katana who bills himself as "The Corporate Ninja." Now that is pretty exciting.
DMZ #2: Brian Wood and Riccardo Burchielli's second issue is only slightly bogged down by the holding pattern storytelling a new series goes through while everything's established, but it still manages to be a solid read with a lot of nice touches. Kevin mentioned that Wood's political commentary was like "using a sledgehammer instead of a knife," and I think he's pretty dead on with that, but Wood and Burchielli have been doing a good enough job so far that I don't really mind. Hopefully, things'll pick up enough that I stop hoping to see Matty fight Isaac Hayes in a burnt-out hotel.
Fables #44: The political satire of this comic, however, with the Western fables leading Sinbad's crew to the dungeons in chains with sacks over their heads while they worried about a Djinni of Mass Destruction, was one of the best comics I've read in a while. No surprise, though, as Willingham and Buckingham consistently deliver great work with this title. And what a great trick ending!
Ghost Rider #4: We're well past the halfway point with this series, and it remains incredibly forgettable and not very good. I've seen Garth Ennis do epic struggles between Heaven and Hell before--on a few occasions, actually--and I've seen him do it with artists I like a lot better than Clayton Crain, and those stories had the added bonus of not making Johnny Blaze act like a major tool.
GLX-Mas Special: I loved this comic. And why wouldn't I? It's a Christmas Special that has a story drawn by Paul Grist (with excellent coloring by Laura Allred), and another story where Squirrel Girl fights MODOK. AT CHRISTMAS. Plus, the pulse pounding return of the Grasshopper! And a cameo by the Punisher! Not only is this my favorite comic of the week, but it's probably my new favorite Christmas special of all time. Here's hoping we get Ben Grimm's Fantastic Hannukkah next year.
Jingle Belle: The Fight Before Christmas: It should be no surprise that I'm a big fan of Jingle Bell, but this particular one-shot's remarkable if for no other reason than the incredibly Anti-Bush Christmas story and the inexplicable Charles Atlas ad. Apparently that guy will send you information not only on a big chest and powerful legs, but success with girls and a magnetic personality! Only two bucks?! I'm sold!
JLA #123: I've gone to bat for Bob Harras quite a bit over the past year with my unwavering support of The Breach, but this JLA story is rough. Unless I'm missing something, the Key doesn't seem to jive with his previous appearances in Gotham Knights and the Morrison run of JLA, to the point where I wasn't really sure that was who it was supposed to be until Batman came out and said it in this issue. Plus, I cannot bring myself to care about what happens to Manitou Dawn.
Local #2: I liked the first issue of Local quite a bit, but "Polaroid Boyfriend" is even better. Wood manages to turn the concept of a guy breaking into your house, taking pictures of himself, and leaving threatening and vaguely sinister messages in your bed into a fun and quirky romance. Ryan Kelly's no slouch in making it come together either, pulling off faces that tread the thin line between looking maniacal and genuinely sad. It's incredibly well constructed, highly enjoyable, and even includes a one-page lesson on Minneapolis that reccomends NPR Superstar Garrison Keillor. What's not to love?
New Thunderbolts #16
New X-Men #21: I didn't buy this comic. I read it though, and to be fair, it's not bad; I'm just not going to buy a comic that Christina Weir and Nunzio DeFillipis were kicked off of so that Marvel could cram one of the worst characters ever into yet another book. That said, I was sorely tempted this issue, since Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost threw in an appearance by Neil Conan. I'm seriously thinking about putting together every one of his X-Men appearances, thus combining my love of NPR with my love of Wolverine.
Noble Causes #15
The Punisher: Silent Night: There's no concieveable reason why I wouldn't buy this, but it left me feeling pretty cold. It's enjoyable enough, but Frank Castle spends the entire issue acting completely out of character--and really, I should know. He shows little to no concern for the children in the story, which just makes him seem like an asshole, especially when he leaves a dead body dressed in a Santa suit out in the open for a bunch of orphans to see. Considering Frank's own reasons for turning to vigilantism, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense. I'm not saying I wanted him to kick back and share a mug of cocoa with Jigsaw (although really, that's exactly what I wanted), but a jollier killing spree would've been appreciated.
Secret War #5: Didn't buy this one either. And why? Because it's terrible. I don't even remember reading #4, but from what I understand from this one, Nick Fury hires Angelina Jolie's character from Hackers to kill some lady in Latveria (for which they need Spider-Man), and they all put on ridiculous ninja suits, and Luke Cage gets blown up, and who gives a shit? I like the premise of someone funding all the hi-tech criminals, and I even like the idea of a secret super-hero war, but it's so poorly executed as to be embarassing. Del'otto's art looks--ironically--extremely rushed; that panel of Acid Burn's face is used over and over again in the talky framing sequences. It's no good, and it's no good for you.
Seven Soldiers: Mister Miracle #2: Diamond finally sent it to us, but Leigh's already gotten to it.
The Surrogates #3
Teen Titans #30: In case you haven't been paying attention, this issue features Watchmen as performed by Captain Carrot and the Amazing Zoo Crew interspersed with the main story in a way that's highly reminiscent of the Black Freighter story from Watchmen itself. That's genius. Yeah, there's some stuff with zombies going on in the main story, but when you've got the DC Universe version of Geoff Johns teaming up with Scott Shaw! to deconstruct the funny animal genre, why even bother? It's great!
Best of the Spirit: I've never actually read a whole lot of the Spirit, so I've really been looking forward to this trade, and to the upcoming series by Darwyn Cooke, who is probably the coolest guy ever. I've only read one of the stories so far, but it's great stuff, and it looks like it's mercifully free of the Spirit's little sidekick--although if you're curious, he's there on page fourteen, panel six. Yeesh.
The Complete Peanuts: 1957-1958: I think I may have found my new personal motto:
I never liked Peanuts much until I started reading the Fantagraphics archives, but they're awesome. Incredibly well-designed and produced, and relatively inexpensive--especially if you get the boxed sets.
PS: MegaMorphs was awesome.