The Week in Ink, 2-08-06
Before we get started, I've got something I'd like to say.
Scott from Polite Dissent is a helpful, intelligent man whose blog usually gives a pretty fascinating read. And he likes Christmas.
But I will hate him forever.
Because he sent me this.
PLEASE, IF YOU VALUE YOUR SANITY, DO NOT CLICK THAT LINK! I have seen the horror that lies within, and it is not for the faint of heart. Part of is dead now. And it died screaming.
Of course, the rest of me still wants to get this week's comics reviewed so I can go to sleep and read about Darkseid fighting the Legion of Super-Heroes tomorrow. Onward!
Action Philosophers #4: World Domination Handbook: Fred Van Lente and Ryan Dunlavey turn in another isuse that manages to be engaging, informative, and especially fun, and while I may still be a little sketchy on the Kabbalah, I do know that Page 5 of the Karl Marx story is pretty darn awesome. I like Dunlavey's art a lot for this book, which is no surprise since he drew Plato in a Luchadore mask for the first issue, but Van Lente has deservedly become the new darling of the comic blog community, and deservedly so. I haven't gotten ahold of The Silencers yet, but every time I pick up something he's written I end up loving it, dating back to my peculiar fascination with the new Scorpion. But even without the aid of a green-haired 19 year-old AIM sleeper agent, Action Philosophers takes the cake for my favorite thing he's done.
DMZ #4: It's rare that I get to say this, but this issue is exactly what I wanted from this book. I was really hoping that with the first arc out of the way, the political allegory would take a back seat to solid storytelling, and Wood and Burchielli deliver exactly that--ann in a stand-alone issue, no less. The story itself, revolving around what essentially amounts to a cadre of secret commando gardners trying to protect what's left of Central Park in the sort-of-post-apocalyptic (yet strangely free of Kurt Russel) New York City, comes off as really interesting, and the Brian K. Vaughan/Warren Ellis-like science facts Wood sneaks in there are played well as an explanation to Roth, who serves his purpose to the story by being as new to the situation as we, the readers are. Plus, Burchielli draws a pretty damn good sequence in the snow (as odd as that sounds) towards the end. If you missed out on the first arc, definitely give this issue a try.
Franklin Richards: Everybody Loves Franklin: I'm not exactly sure why Marvel printed the Franklin Richards Christmas story--which I loved, by the way--as a backup in January's issue of X-Men, but I'm glad it ended up in a form where I could buy it. You may be able to read a comic where Franklin Richards fends off a quartet of Doombots and works on a science project with a lovestruck member of the Power Pack and not immediately think you should own it, but you, sir, are not me.
Jonah Hex #4
JSA #82: I'm not exactly sure what's going on in this story or when it's supposed to take place--which doesn't exactly fill me with excitement about the large amount of Paul Levitz comics I'm thinking of buying--but I do know this: It's got Gentleman Jim Craddock, quite possibly the finest super-villain to wear both a monocle and a top hat, riding on a flaming horse and giving Earth-2 Superman the business. That's the sort of thing I can get behind.
Marvel Legacy: The 1960s Handbook: Hey, Marvel, what gives? Chili and Patsy Walker both get entries, but Millie Collins is denied! I don't care if Patsy was in the Defenders, I want Millie the Frigg'n Model! Alas, I imagine I'll just have to content myself with what really matters in this crazy world of ours:
Also, there's an entry for the suspiciously familiar-sounding Zemu, who apparently wields "the advanced technology of the fifth dimension" and "electro-gamma rays," which still makes more sense than Dianetics.
The MiddleMan #2.1: This comic book costs 99 cents and features a kung-fu master luchadore fighting a gang of toughs that shoot lasers out of a giant cannon made of a diamond. If you do not buy this, you are probably retarded.
New Thunderbolts #18: I've been reading this book for a year and a half now, and I've failed to make a connection with any of the characters. It's not poorly written, and I like Tom Grummett's art quite a bit, I just can't bring myself to care about anyone in the cast. Admittedly, Nicieza's had a tough row to hoe with this title, what with Wolverine's "Enemy of the State" storyline and a wretched little thing called House of M barging in and hijacking his story for a few issues, but ironically, my favorite scene of the whole book was in the HoM tie-in, which doesn't really bode well. I'd like to stick around for the big #100 thing next month, but at this point, why bother? I guess what I'm trying to say is... I'm breaking up with you, New Thunderbolts.
Teen Titans #32: Extremely longtime readers will remember that I absolutely hated the issue of The Pulse that did nothing but reprint sections of Secret War, even down to the page layout, but with the captions changed. This issue, however, is that same gimmick done right. The story actually focuses on what happened between the panels of Infinite Crisis #4's Big Punchout™, making a nice counterpoint. There's a lot to like about it, including DC saying "Yeah, that John Byrne Doom Patrol really was utter shit, wasn't it?" and the startling secret of Speedy's Blue Arrow. Oh, and by the way?
Be a man, Risk. Arms heal fast.
Ultimate Extinction #2
Ultimate X-Men #67: I'm really starting to get excited about Kirkman's direction on this book. I like the Rogue stuff a lot, I like Nightcrawler being a jerk, I like the return of Sabretooth's four claws, and I absolutely love what he's doing with the Ultimate Shi'ar. Like I said, I like the Vaughan stuff a lot, but Kirkman's ideas are just zany enough to get back to where this book was when Mark Millar was on it: Totally Awesome.
Young Avengers #10: I submit to you that "Wiccan" actually is the worst super-hero codename ever. I've really thought about it, and the only one that even comes close is "Matter Eater Lad," and that's even got its own charm. And seriously, the rape backstory for Hawkingbird--a codename I actually quite like--is one of the most frustrating things I've read in a comic in recent memory, and even if it wasn't conceived as lazy and unnecesary shorthand for "traumatic female super-hero past," it certainly comes off like that in today's climate. There. Now that that's out of the way, I love the hell out of this book. Alan Heinberg's dialogue is sharp and the plots are entertaining, and it definitely feels like the kind of book that the "New Marvel" sorts, like New Avengers are trying to be. Jim Cheung's art is also pretty flat-out amazing, and I really like his costume designs. If those kids could just get some new codenames....
The Middleman v.1: The Trade Paperback Imperative: I just want to go on record that I totally called this thing being odd-sized like three months ago. And incidentally, that's probably the funniest name for a trade I've seen in a long time. Anyway, Chad asked me what The Middleman was about at the store yesterday, and I did my best to give him a brief summary. Suffice to say, it included the phrase "crazy gangster monkeys," and that's not the sort of thing one should pass up lightly. Now if only Wendy would team up with Stacy from Gotham Central, I think I could truly be happy.
Showcase Presents: House of Mystery v.1: I think Dorian said it all for this one.