The Week in Ink, 1-25-06
Okay, so maybe I'm not done. They're still coming out, aren't they?
Anyway, before we get onto this week's four-color fare, it's that time again: Previews came out yesterday, and since I've already done my order, I'd like to touch on a couple of things:
First up, Free Comic Book Day. Not only do the folks at Archie look like they're putting another awesome FCBD installment as Archie has to deal with moving away from Riverdale (and flashing back to his days as Little Archie, no less!), but Marvel's got an all-new Runaways/X-Men crossover and Oni's putting out a new Scott Pilgrim story! MG3 once told me that FCBD was the best holiday on the calendar because it's the only day you get Free Comic Books, and while I'll always be a fan of Christmas, he's got a point.
And if you peruse through the Image Comics section, you might notice the next Tim Seeley offering, Loaded Bible. Nothing against Seeley here, but Jesus fighting Vampires is a concept that seems awfully familiar.
Cram that in your swipe file, Johnston!
Adventures of Superman #648: Following up the events of last week's Infinite Crisis, Rucka, DeFillipis, and Weir tell a story that reads a lot like a 9/11 tribute, but with Chemo getting punched in the face by Superman, and that's the sort of thing I like to see in my comics. One thing, though: When the heroes mount their big rescue effort for Bludhaven, did they really think it was a good idea to bring Hal Jordan (seen sitting around like a power-ringed emo kid at right)? I mean, you've got John Stewart. You don't need to drag Hal to another city destroyed by supervillains. Have you learned nothing, or am I the only one that remembers that this... is usually followed by this?
All New Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z #1: Yeah, what? There might be a situation where I need to know about Albert and Elsie Dee. It happens.
Amazing Spider-Man #528: I'd rather read a news report about my own sainted mother getting punched in the face than read "The Other" again. But, you know, if Spider-Man running around doing some Barechested Rescues and using those new powers he so desperately needed is your thing, this is probably the one for you. Me? I'm just in it because there's a Spider-Ham Cover by Mike Weiringo, and THAT doesn't happen every day. It is also totally awesome.
Books of Doom #3
BPRD: The Black Flame #6
Defenders #6: I come for the Giffen and DeMatteis, but I stay for the Kevin Maguire. I've mentioned before how much I like his work, but really: The guy's going through pages with twelve and thirteen talky panels, putting effort into every beautiful talky headshot. And really, when was the last time anybody but him bothered to draw Namor's ankle-wings actually flapping? As for the story, it was enjoyable, but by this point was wearing a little thin--although the self-depricating knowledge that it's wearing thin from the writers along with some really nice Hulk moments helped to mitigate that. I won't exactly be getting the wholly unnecessary hardcover, but it passed the time in an enjoyable manner.
Fallen Angel #2: I liked this issue a little more than the first, probably due to the fact that I've gotten used to the changes from when the series was being published by IDW. I still wish David Lopez was still doing the art, and the half-hearted attempt to explain why nobody ages or changes in twenty years is more frustrating than anything else, but I'm willing to stick around for a while and see what happens.
Forgotten Realms: Exile #3: Returning to Tim Seeley, that guy sure does draw the heck out of some dark elf abs in this one. Come to think of it, there were a lot of guys running around with no shirts on in comics this week. Ah well, let's just agree that I would totally gay marry Drizzt Do'Urden and move on, shall we?
G0DLAND #7 I passed on this one when it first came out, but when the trade was solicited, I decided to give it a chance. As much as I like Jack Kirby--which, as you might know, is a heck of a lot--I tend to prefer comics that have the feel of Kirby, like Guardian, rather than those that go out of their way to be "Kirbyesque." I don't dislike Tom Scioli's art, either, but there's no getting around the fact that he's what Kevin called "a Kirby Klone," and Joe Casey's pretty hit-or-miss with me, so I was more than a little wary. That said, I found the whole thing to be pretty darn enjoyable, with fun action and dialogue that made me laugh aloud more than a few times. The trade's very nicely-priced, too, especially for an Image book, putting a mere $14.95 dent into your back pocket. I got a kick out of it.
JLA: Classified #16: Much like a response to my countless marriage proposals, this comic is something that I've been waiting on from Gail Simone for quite a while now. It's fun, and the "big reveal" moment towards the end is a great idea, but Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez inked by Klaus Janson just ends up looking like Klaus Janson. Don't get me wrong, I like Janson a lot, but Garcia-Lopez can be downright beautiful.
Local #3: Another solid issue by Brian Wood (an unstoppable writing machine that apparently intends to have something on every single page of Previews if the last two months are any indication) and Ryan Kelly (whose faces I'm really starting to love). The story revolves around a band, and when series mascot Megan meets the drummer, it's a scene that I read, laughed at, and then wished had happened to me because it would make such a great story. Good stuff.
New Avengers #15: Huh, looks like, yeah, I'm still reading this. I'd really made up my mind to quit, but then they go and say they're doing an annual where Luke Cage and Jessica Jones finally tie the knot, and if you can resist the phrase "Giant-Size Annual! At Last! The Wedding of Luke Cage!" then you, sir, are a better man than I. As for this issue, though... Sheesh. This may be a little ironic, since your're reading this on something called "The Invincible Super-Blog," but the device of Carol Danvers narrating the story through her blog came off as pretty banal. I get it, they're the NEW Avengers. People have blogs here in this crazy 21st century.
And hey, did anybody else out there get this?
In the scene where Ms. Marvel and Cap discuss House of M, Carol says the words "House of M" several times and it's usually accompanied by a nice red strikethrough. My pet theory on this is that Bendis meant to go back and change it to something that they'd actually refer to it as like "that time Wanda lost her shit" or "M-Day" or whatever, but either forgot or never got around to it, and Comicraft's Albert Deschesne just decided to letter it as-is when he got the script, but I'm open to convincing on other reasons. Maybe someone other than me thought House of M was so bad it should become a swear word. Either way, it's a notable flub for Marvel's flagship book over here.
PS: And this is the only time you'll ever hear me say this: That cover would totally have been better if it was an homage to Todd McFarlane's Spider-Man #1.
Nextwave #1: I've been pretty clear with my opinion of Nextwave as the single greatest thing the human race has ever created or will ever have the potential to create outside of Metamorpho #14, and even he had to resort to guitar-mounted laser beams. There's just nothing I don't like about this comic. Stuart Immonen's art is absolutely amazing, slick and streamlined into an almost animated-style version of the characters, with my personal favorite being--of course--Elsa Bloodstone with her huge hair and thigh-high monster-killing boots. And considering that I just read the Walt Simonson Avengers run, wherein Monica Rambeau is kicked out of the chairmans's spot by a mind-controlled Dr. Druid, her "Back when I led the Avengers" dialogue struck me as hilarious. Even the lettercolumn is great! It's Kablammo!
The Pact #4
Plastic Man #20: Over at Comics Should Be Good, Brian Cronin makes the claim that it's a "shame" that Kyle Baker's last issue of Plastic Man was a "mocking send-up of the DC Universe" rather than a straight-up fun comedy story, and that's--no offense--one of the most ridiculous criticisms I've ever read. Not because the issue's not great, which it is, and which is something Cronin and I could definitely agree on, but because spoofing the DCU is pretty much Plastic Man's stock-in-trade, going back to at least #8--twelve bi-monthly issues ago-- when Baker riffed on the nonsensical Joe Kelly JLA run, and continuing to my favorite moment of the series, #14's hilarious parody of Superman/Batman #13. I'm just saying, I don't expect the last issue of a series to do anything but what it's been doing for the past few years. Regardless, it's a great issue and Kyle Baker is, as always, one step ahead of us mere mortals.
Red Sonja: Sonja Goes East
Spider-Man/Black Cat: The Evil That Men Do #6: I'm sorry, did someone actually refer to Spider-Man as "the Arach-Knight" in this comic? Yeah, that tears it: two years waiting and this thing turns out to be a beautifully-drawn pile o' crap. I'm just waiting for the next story, circa 2017, where the guy who rapes Black Cat teams up with Skip Wescott and they form the Spider-Man/Black Cat Rapist Revenge Society or something. Seriously, every time you people out there make comics where a female character reveals she was raped or a super-villain flashes back to his poor childhood, you're cheapening us all with your melodrama. We get it. Stop putting so much sexual assault in my comics and move on.
Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane #2: Please continue, however, to put as much high school drama centered on school plays and homecoming dances as you please, Sean McKeever and Takeshi Miyazawa, because this series is totally frigg'n awesome. Teen Mary Jane being jealous of Firestar despite the fact that she and Spider-Man are just Amazing Friends is one of the nicest things I've seen in a while, and the Flash-MJ-Peter-Liz-Harry love pentagon plays out wonderfully in every issue, especially in this one when Mary Jane gets worried about Peter's black eye after his Karate Kid-like attempt to disguise it. And that's what I'm all about, baby.
Street Fighter II #2
The Surrogates #4
Hoo boy. This one gets a little rough, so those of you out there with weak constitutions (that's a score of 9 or below, nerds) might want to just skip to my thoughts on The Thing, a fine and enjoyable comic. For there is no joy to be found here.
Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose #36: You know what I love about this book? It's not just bad. Every time I get it, each new issue becomes the worst comic book I own, and this one? This one's probably the worst comic book I have ever read. It's divided into two stories, and each one is soul-crushingly terrible in its own way. In the first, Jim Balent analogue The Skeleton Man descends to Hell with the Orphe-esque goal of saving his ex-girl ex-girlfriend, Crypt Chick, doing the whole Dante bit with the top half of a naked teenage girl with half a head playing Virgil as she guides him through a hell populated almost solely by large-breasted naked women. And if that's not enough, there's a nice full-page shot of demons shitting in people's mouths and a giant red naked woman eating the souls of the damned and expelling them "through the lower orifices." And in Act 2, Tarot cleanses herself of her feelings of guilt for murdering her arch-nemesis Azure in the last issue by masturbating in a sentient fountain. DELIGHTFUL!
The Thing #3: For three months running now, I've been talking about how this is easily one of my favorite books coming out, and how Dan Slott and Andrea DiVito are downright incredible at putting together a comic. There's just not much more to it than that. But in case you still haven't gotten it, this issue includes a major turning point in the life of the Constrictor, a blind sculptress terrorizing an art dealer, Daredevil using thought balloons for the first time since 1998, and a robot Thing dressed as Blackbeart saying "Aye, it be Clobberin' Time!" If you are not filled with desire for this book, you are beyond my help. Go, and sin no more.
Wonder Woman #225
X-Men: Deadly Genesis #3
G0DLAND v.1: Hello, Cosmic!
Oversight: The Short Stories of Phil Hester 1990-2005: Phil Hester, in addition to being one of the nicest pros I've ever met, is a vastly underrated talent in the comics industry, and if you've never read The Wretch, do yourself a favor and buy it immediately. It's that good. This hefty trade clocks in a little on the expensive side at 20 bucks for black-and-white art, though, although the one-page story of little plastic army men is almost worth the price of admission.
Sexy Chix: If there was any possible way that I wouldn't buy a book with Gail Simone and Colleen Coover, it was pretty much tossed out the window when Colleen Doran and Carla Speed McNeil were thrown into the mix. As with all anthologies, it's a pretty mixed bag, but the standouts for me included Chynna Clugston's one-pager on the inside front cover, Doran's "Yellow Fever," McNeil's hialariously violent "Hands On" (with a character design by Adam Warren!), and Trina Robbins' "Haseena Ross, Girl Detective," and Jill Thompson's "Love Triangle" also got a few chuckles. I liked Colleen Coover's story, but considering that I'm used to seeing her draw characters that are, as a rule, a lot happier, it was a little jarring, which was probably the desired effect.
So there it is. Roughly 942 pages worth of comics in the past 24 hours. The things I do for you people.