The Week In Ink, 1-18-06
Action Comics #835: I'm not sure if it's a good thing or a bad thing when you hear Lori Petty's voice in your head for the entire duration of a comic book. But I kid. I always liked Livewire a lot on the Superman animated series, so it's nice to see her make a Gail Simone-fueled jump to the comics page, although Superman's "Yes, Virginia, there are heroes" speech at the a little over the top. Really, though, it gave us Superman in a yarmulke, and what more do you want from a comic? If only they would've asked him to go bowling...
All-Star Superman #2: Ladies and gentlemen, it's official: We have a mention of SOLARIS THE TYRANT SUN, and that makes this probably the best comic ever. Beyond that, though, there's so much to like about this book. I haven't kept my love of the stories in DC's Showcase Presents Superman book a secret, and neither is Grant Morrison. Everything about this book is a beautiful update of all those crazy old ideas, from the new super-key to the Fortress to the musical flowers, which I'm almost certain I've seen before, but may be confusing with the "musical mineral from Saturn" in Superman #122. What really struck me, though, was Superman's crazy date with Lois in the Titanic. I was cracking up while I read it, thinking "What kind of guy has a date with his girlfriend at the scene of a horrible disaster?" The answer, of course: Superman. He probably heard the movie was really romantic. That guy's awesome.
Birds of Prey #90: When Gail Simone's Birds of Prey is on, it's on. This issue was one of the great ones, with plot threads coming together, an incredible action sequence where the newly Shiva-trained Black Canary takes on Deathstroke (who acquits himself nicely as a total badass), and some of the funniest dialogue I've read in a long time. The pencils by Paulo Siqueira and Adam Dekrakea are fine, but the facial expressions tend to veer towards strange, plastic smiles towards the end, but the fact that Batman shows up and actually acts like a decent human being goes a long way towards making me ignore it. Excellent work.
Conan #24: In the Hyborian Age, Conan makes misogyny fun!
Ex Machina #17
Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #4: Ah yes. And now, the bad stuff. By now, I think we can all agree that "The Other" is probably the worst thing to hit comics since Brian Pulido. It's that bad. So what am I doing buying this issue, if I don't like it? Well, it's simple: I want to be able to pull this one out the next time someone accuses me of bashing comics too hard, so that I can point to this and go "Oh yeah? Well tell that to Petey Bone Claws.
Call them stingers all you want, we all know they're bone claws. And isn't that exactly what Spider-Man needs?
Infinite Crisis #4: Boy howdy! Scott has this saying about the TV show 24: He's not sure if it's exactly what you'd call great television, but it's sure as hell exciting. That's pretty much the way I feel about this issue. There's parts of it that I'm pretty sure aren't what I'd call "good comics;" there's way too much exposition for that one page, and the stuff with Booster Gold and the new Beetle feels even more tacked on than Yolanda Montez showing up as Wildcat in the original COIE, but man! Superboy coming up out of some wreckage and throwing down the gauntlet, that'll get you out of a chair. From then on, it's flat out, including my favorite theories about the Spectre being validated, and a return I've been waiting for that's probably not the one you think. The only problem? Where the hell'd the Breach go, Geoff? Did he escape? IS THE BREACH GOING TO FIGHT ALEXANDER LUTHOR?! Oh man. That would be awesome.
JSA Classified #7
Legion of Super-Heroes #13
The Losers #31
Manhunter #18: I've said it before, but Manhunter's really grown on me from my initial distaste for it, thanks largely to the fact that it really feels like those third-string late-80s early-90s DC Comics. I mean, it's got Cameron Chase in it, and the portrayal of Phobia as a murderous sexual psychopath seems a lot like the 2006 version of John Ostrander's weirdly sexual (and fun) update of Punch and Jewelee in the pages of Suicide Squad. And for real? Kate Spencer ain't no joke.
Planetary #24: Warren Ellis. John Cassaday. Orbital Death Ray. 'Nuff said, True Believer.
Red Sonja #4
Runaways #12: Dear Marvel Comics: Please stop making comics where Spider-Man has bone-claws. Instead, you could make more comics where Wolverine gets punched out by twelve year-old girls and Luke Cage isn't grotesquely offensive! Your buddy, Chris.
Seven Soldiers: Mister Miracle #3: Has anyone else out there (Besides you, Kevin) noticed that almost every piece of dialogue a major character says in this series seems like something Jack Kirby would add four exclamation points to and slap on the cover to one of his comics? "Baron Bedlam! A Living Wavelength capable of animating an endless supply of cheap synthetic forms! Hate as Pure Vibration! IT'S HAPPENING IN THE WORLD THAT'S COMING!" Or maybe: "NO ONE ESCAPES THE OMEGA SANCTION!"
But that's not where the good stuff ends. The beatdown handed to Shilo has got to be one of the most stomach-churning scenes of violence I've seen in comics, but when his broken body's laying in front of a sign that says "For Three Nights Only! The World's Greatest Escape--," the resurrection imagery gets me excited. And that last page... Brother, it's almost hit Guardian levels.
Sgt. Rock: The Prophecy #1: I might be the only person on the internet who actually liked the fact that there were covers by all three Kuberts for this issue, but it was still no contest as to which one I'd buy. It's just not a war comic without Joe Kubert art and some badass Sgt. Rock dialogue. Now if only there was a tank jumping over something...
The Walking Dead #25: Finally, something happens that's not just "let's kill a zombie and then talk about our feelings." Not that that's bad, mind you, in fact, that's largely what makes this book good. But it's been going on for a while now, and I'm ready for a change of direction.
X-Statix Presents Dead Girl #1
Penny Arcade: Attack of the Bacon Robots: I'm fully aware that I can go read all of these strips anytime I darn well please on the internet, but as Tycho says in his introduction, "it's not like we put out a new book every fucking week." To be honest, I'm pretty excited about this, as it not only represents Penny Arcade's triumphant return to print--allied with Dark Horse, no less!--but also the great commentary that you get on the early strips, which are more than put to shame by the stuff they put out today. It's well worth thirteen bucks of your hard-earned cash.
Showcase Presents Green Arrow, Volume 1: I seem to have fallen into the trap of buying all the DC Showcases, because damn it, they're making one for the Haunted Tank. Still, I'm not about to start regretting my decision, not when this volume opens with a story featuring art by Jack and Roz Kirby, where we meet the Green Arrows of the World! It's a story that hinges on the fact that there's not just one guy who fights crime with a bow and trick arrows, but there's one in every country, all of whom speak in hilariously awful 1958 comic book accents and have vaguely racist gear, like the Chinese Green Arrow's rickshaw-esque Arrowcar. Bust still, if you can read a story where the British Bowman says the line: "this gives me the opportunity to test-fire my latest shaft--the Big Ben!" and GA employs an arrow that knows jiu-jitsu and not think it's worth seventeen bucks, then I can't possibly fathom the way you think.