The Week In Ink, 12-7-05
This month's Comic Book Club selection was Crisis on Infinite Earths, and after we'd finished with what was probably the shoutingest meeting in Club history, we all drove on over to IHOP for what Phil called "Post-Crisis Dinner." I thought that was pretty funny, but it was nothing compared to what Phil said after the large, loud restaurant manager took our checks and decided to drop some knowledge on us.
He'd heard us talking about comics, and came out with this gem: "Speaking of Spider-Man and stuff, I had this guy in here who had every single #1 comic Marvel ever made, but his mom threw them away. He had them all in airtight cases, too."
My only question was whether the guy made that little story up on the spot, or if he'd had it cooked up in the back of his head for a while, which I put to the rest of the crew once we were safely out in the parking lot. We talked about how so many people, on finding out that you work in a comic book store, will drop this little tidbit, which is never actually true, like the guy who told me and Tug that his wife had put his Signed-by-Stan Lee complete Marvel collection through a paper shredder during the divorce which was why he only had a short box of beat-up New Mutants, or the kid who told me his friend had "a poster with all the comics on it, and he's only missing like four."
"Yeah," said Phil, "That's like someone coming up to Chad and going: 'Hey, you work in a bank? Man, I've got all kinds of money in a bank!"
Maybe you had to be there. Or maybe you just had to buy an ungodly amount of comics this week.
Batman and the Monster Men #2
Down #2: Kevin's summation of Down as Warren Ellis writing Grand Theft Auto is pretty dead-on, but I've got to say that I liked this issue quite a bit. It's interesting and the pacing's well-done, and Cully Hamner does a great job handling the action sequences, which makes me wish he was drawing Jack Cross, too. I will say though, between the purple horn-rimmed shades and the cleavage-enhancing tattoos, Deanna's probably the most conspicuous undercover agent I've ever seen. Not that I've, you know, ever actuallyi seen one.
Forgotten Realms: Exile #2: [Editor's Note: The following review is taken from the private diaries of Christopher Sims, found wedged under his mattress next to that Star Wars-themed issue of Playboy he got that one time] "Oh Drizzt... When will you be free of the oppressive society of the Drow to which you were born? One day you shall be, and your nobility will shine as an example to others! And then we can get gay married."
Freshmen #4: Well, that was a noble experiment. But alas, since nothing about this book really appeals to me, that'll be the last issue I pick up.
Gotham Central #38: Now this is one hell of a comic. Betrayal, murder, lesbians fighting each other... this one's got it all. We spent a good bit of time at the store tonight talking about this issue and what's going to happen over the next few months, and if we're right, I'm pretty excited about it.
Jonah Hex #2
Justice League Unlimited #16: It took me forever to realize that that was Supergirl's arm and not Power Girl's Magical Cleavage Window, but eventually I did. It's a Christmas Miracle!
Marvel Holiday Special 2005: You know, I told myself I wasn't going to buy this. But then Fossen over at Focused Totality had to go and post the last two pages from "Yes, Virginia, There Is A Santron" and get me all weepy. Seriously, a story about Ultron dressing up as Santa Claus can make me cry. You don't even want to see what a mess I am after It's A Wonderful Life.
Marvel Team-Up #15: I talked about this issue back when I caught up on Terror, Inc in preparation, and it's awesome. This is apparently The Week Where Robert Kirkman Writes About Marvel Super-Heroes Dying, and there's plenty of that in this book, along with the first time I've been excited to see Chris Powell run down an alley and change into Darkhawk since... well, ever.
Marvel Zombies #1: Sean Philips was right: This is the stupidest comic I have ever read... and that's not a bad thing. The whole thing reads like Kirkman's having a great time with it, following up a big crazy fight scene with three pages of slapstick gross-out humor that works like the antithesis of his grim and serious Walking Dead. He doesn't even bother to shy away from how ludicrous the concept of a world full of zombie super-heroes that still act and talk like themselves but with an uncontrollable hunger for human flesh is, and it's the sheer absurdism of the whole thing that makes it work. It's a hoot.
Nat Turner #2: Yeah, that thing about Kyle Baker being a god? Still applies.
Penny Arcade One-Shot
The Punisher #28
Spider-Man and the Black Cat: The Evil That Men Do #4: See what a man can accomplish once he gets three episodes of Degrassi under his belt? Yeah, not a whole hell of a lot, apparently. Smith swaps Spidey flirting with Black Cat for Spidey flirting with Daredevil in this one, and Terry Dodson's art is great, but if you told me I was going to be reading a comic where he drew a fight in a women's prison, I would've expected it to be roughly 400% hotter than it ended up being.
Street Fighter II #1
Thor: Blood Oath #5: This issue may have one of the single best first pages I have ever seen in my life. Seriously, when a book opens with one of the protagonists being decapitated, that's a pretty good sign that your comic is going to rock. Hard. I lost faith in Mike Oeming after the Beta Ray Bill miniseries he did, but he's more than gotten it back with Blood Oath, which may just turn out to be my favorite miniseries of the year. Plus, this issue teaches us all a valuable lesson: Hogun the Grim ain't no joke.
Ultimates 2 #9
Y: The Last Man #40: It's not exactly news that this comic's great, but in this particular issue, Brian K. Vaughan--who deserves every bit of his Eisner for Best Writer--delivers what may be the funniest last page I've read in a long time. Plus, it's the only comic I own that has both sperm AND a monkey right there on the cover, which I believe is the international sign for quality in comics.
The Adventures of Red Sonja Vol. 1
Demo: The third and final installment of my attempt to give Brian Wood a fair chance at entertaining me, and I've got to say, he nailed three out of three. I'm not sure how I missed it, but I had no idea that Demo was about kids with super-powers until I started reading it today. It didn't blow me away like it dif for a lot of people, but Wood does a great job of making each story interesting and compelling, and he makes you care about the characters even when you don't like them. And while I know all of the indy comics folks are going to hate this, the more I read, the more I thought of the X-Men. It might just be Wood's introduction where he talks about writing teenage super-heroes for Marvel, but the one thought that kept running through my mind was that these were ideas for the kids that Charles Xavier never found.
What really stood out for me, though, was Becky Cloonan's art. Her versatility is amazing, and it's great to watch as she does every issue in a different style, from the heavy inks on "One Shot, Don't Miss" to the Scott Pilgrim-esque "Midnight to Six," which was my favorite of the twelve. I don't know, there's just something about being a slacker in a dead-end job that I can identify with.
Image Holiday Special: Okay, so opening up a Christmas special with a pee joke and a story where a cop gets murdered on the street doesn't exactly get my tinsel strung up, but there's an all-new G-Man Christmas story by Chris Giarrusso, and that's pretty much all you need to know.
Megamorphs: I should really stop listening to Kevin. While this may actually be the perfect comic to just leave in the bathroom forever, there's a mirror in there, and every time I look at it I'm going to see a guy who owns a comic where Spider-Man, Ghost Rider, Captain America, and the Hulk drive giant robot versions of themselves staring back at me. I'm not sure I can handle it.
Showcase Presents Justice League of America, Volume 1: I haven't read this one yet, but I'm pretty sure my tried-and-true formula for quickly evaluating the quality of these huge reprint books is on the jazz: Just open the book to a random page and check it out. If you see something like this, it's going to be awesome:
Someone's rolling the Atom down a bowling alley at the Justice League... and that's how he's going to kill them. You can't stop that kind of crazy. You can only hope to contain it.
Next: Be here in 24 for the senses-shattering Christmas spectacular we just had to call: "THIS MAN, THIS SANTA!"