The Week in Ink, 3-08-06
For those of you keeping score at home, I'd just like to point out that Blogger was down last night and therefore the lack of a post was completely out of my hands. Fear not, my friends: Your daily face-rockings will continue.
Of course, if there had been a post last night, you would've seen my own contribution to Blog Against Sexism Day, in the form of this picture:
Fun Fact: That panel comes from one of this week's comics! Could it possibly be the one that has the word "ape" in the title? Read on, mystery-lovers, read on!
Batman and the Monster Men #5: I want to say that I heard somewhere this series is the first of a trilogy Matt Wagner's going to be doing that will focus on re-telling some of Batman's early adventures, but I'm not entirely sure I didn't make that up. If, however, it is true, that'll make me a happy young man indeed, as Monster Men, like most of Wagner's work, has been incredible fun. I've said before that I think it's on par with Doctor Mid-Nite, one of my favorites, but with lines like this one from Jim Gordon, it may just end up surpassing it:
Down #4: And so, the saga of the World's Most Conspicuous Undercover Cop comes to a close, and to be honest, it feels more than a little rushed. Strange, considering that--according to a preview I found at work--it was supposed to come out in 2001 under Top Cow's "Minotaur" imprint, which also played host to Greg Rucka's formulaic Payback-with-a-hot-chick comic Felon. It's fairly stupid over-the-top action movie fun, but it really treads the line of being a Wild Things-style Cousin Larry trick. And while I usually like Cully Hamner quite a bit, he dropped the ball on this one, as evidenced by the fact that Deanna seems to have one of Fred Hembeck's knees for an elbow:
Fables #47: I really enjoyed the first part of "The Ballad of Rodney and June," but it actually surprised me that I enjoyed the whole story as Bill Willingham (with excellent pencils by guest artist Jim Fern) explores more corners of his world, rather than the interplay between the more familiar fable characters that made up the first few story arcs. I'm not saying that's what I want from every issue, but it makes for a highly enjoyable two-issue diversion, especially considering the way the story's set up to tie in later.
Firestorm: The Nuclear Man #23: My "One Year Later" experiment continues, and so far, it's been pretty enjoyable. I'll come right out and admit it, although I can't imagine it being a surprise, but I'm a sucker for a title like FIRESTORM: THE NUCLEAR MAN, and Stuart Moore's script certainly feels like one of those John Ostrander post-Crisis third-tier DC books that I love so much, so I'm looking forward to the next. So much, in fact, that I went back and read the last two issues before OYL, along with the first twelve issues of Firestorm from the late '70s and early '80s--but that's a topic for another time. You only really need to know one thing: Poofy sleeves are BACK.
Fell #4: Man. Warren Ellis really hates dogs. But anyway: Even if there was a good reason not to be reading this comic, what with its $1.99 price tag, surprisingly dense self-contained story structure, and fascinating stories, the fact that this issue has an incredible last panel would probably trump it. We already know from the first three installments that misadventure-prone Richard Fell is a badass right out of Chandler's "down these mean streets" tradition, but in this one we find out that, yeah, he's willing to get a little mean himself if he has to. It's something that I think Ellis is getting at in the textual content, and he does a damn fine job of it, as does Templesmith, whose work has never been more charming.
Hysteria: One Man Gang #1: I've been excited about Mike Hawthorne's Hysteria since the FCBD preview came out, and I'll put it this way: This comic features a badass martial artist named Bruce Lopez: The One Man Gang who saves a little girl and promptly recieves a fight with a guy who has forks duct-taped to the back of his hand like Wolverine claws. If that doesn't at least get you excited, then I will never be able to understand the way you think. It's essentially one long fight scene punctuated by hijinks, so needless to say, I loved it, and there's even a fun back-up story to make it well worth your three bucks.
Invincible #29: Speaking of issue-length fight scenes, Jiminy Christmas is there a throwdown in this one. I've always enjoyed the way Kirkman's scripts are able to go smoothly from super-hero action to a fun kind of humor, but he really pushes the limits on this one, and it's great, right down to Ottley's bone-shattering fight sequences. It's one of those books that I'm always trying to get new readers hooked on, and, well, sometimes the kids need to see someone get punched so hard they explode. Circle of life, baby. Circle of life.
Seven Soldiers: Frankenstein #3: I'm ashamed that it's taken me this long, but it was only while reading this issue last night that I realized the narration captions are done in the same font and shading as Frankenstein's dialogue, which leads me to believe that captions like: "Swirling fog. Bizarre, inhuman cries. A mystery for Frankenstein!" are actually things Frankenstein is thinking to himself, which is awesome. It made the whole thing better for me, anyway, which is another reason why I think this book of crazy Grant Morrison ideas colliding violently with crazy DC horror comics keeps getting better.
Seven Soldiers: Mister Miracle #4: The series suffered a lot from the artist shuffle that followed Pasqual Ferry's jump to Marvel, but I actually liked this issue a lot, especially since it features a great Kirbyesque "motivational poster" in three panels. I'd be a little happier if I could see where it all fit in, but hey: Is that Shilo Norman running things at the Slab, as seen in the bottomlessly awful Joker: Last Laugh crossover? BEHOLD! I AM CONTINUITY, THE SHATTERER OF WORLDS!
Sky Ape: King of Girls: I used a panel from this one to kick off tonight's post, and Kevin cited one in his "Top Five" rundown, so it's probably in your best interest to grab a copy of this one before you end up seeing all the jokes spoiled on the comics blog circuit. And with good reason: They're hilarious. I'll admit that I'd never heard of Sky Ape before a few weeks back when Tug called me into his office to check out the solicitation for this issue, but now that I've read it, I've already put in orders for the other installments. It's got monkeys, jetpacks, and the Antenna Queen. You need to own it.
Teen Titans #33: ATTENTION: THE TERRY LONG THREAT LEVEL HAS BEEN RAISED TO ORANGE.
BE ADVISED THAT SLOBO MAY ALSO BE INVOLVED.
Tomorrow Stories Special #2: I didn't end up buying the last issue of Tom Strong this week (although I gave it a read), choosing instead to plunk a hefty $6.99 down for this slab of Alan Moore. The lead story's interesting, a pastiche of 60s Justice League stories that goes right down to a fake indicia inside the "cover," but Goddamn Splash Brannigan is annoying. Outside of Etrigan the Demon, rhyming dialogue is very low on the list of things I like to see in comics, and it all but ruins the story. The rest of it's got some good moments, with an interesting Promethea bit and a Jonni Future story that I'm almost sure I've read before, capped off with a heavy-handed Bush administration parody with the First American that would've been a lot funnier at eight pages instead of the 15 at which it clocks in. The whole book just seems to drag along as slow as possible, and seven bucks is a lot to pay for comics that might just bore you to sleep.
Chronicles of Conan v.10
Cromartie High School v.5