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Thursday, February 16, 2006

The Week in Ink, 2-15-06

Before we get started with the rundown of this week's comics, I'd like to take a moment to hip you guys to what may be the second-best movie summary that cable television has ever provided us:

WALKER: TEXAS RANGER - Chuck Norris, Clarence Gilyard - "Wedding Bells"
Walker and Alex must evade assassins before getting married; guests Joan Jett and Tom Bosley.

That's right. Chuck Norris can't even get married without having to stop in the middle of the ceremony to drop a roundhouse kick on the woman that sang "I Love Rock 'n' Roll." Unfortunately, it came on opposite an episode of Degrassi where Emma's pregnant mom, Spike, was held hostage by Emma's birth father, who was brain damaged into retardation from taking acid and jumping off a bridge like ten years ago.

There is nothing that cool in this week's comics.

But Tales Designed to Thrizzle comes close.

(For the record? The best cable movie summary is the one for The Street Fighter, which, according to my pal Dr. K, was a simple: "Sonny Chiba punches, kicks, and gouges eyes.")


Batgirl #73: The cover blurb to this one says "The End of Batgirl," and brother, they ain't kiddin'. I've been reading this book since #1, and while it's not the ending I would've picked for the book, or for the character, it's definitely interesting and well-done, and I actually said "Oh shit!" out loud while reading it. It throws the rest of the series into a new light, and I'm keenly interested in what's going to happen next, so Gabrych and Mhan have certainly done their job on that front.

Batman: Year 100 #1: After the OMAC story in his issue of Solo, Paul Pope could pretty much draw whatever he wanted, slap six bucks on the cover, and be virtually assured that I'd pay for it. Which is pretty much what happened. Not that it's bad; it's actually thoroughly enjoyable. The story suffers from having way too much "Was that Batman? I think that was Batman! But Batman doesn't exist!", to the tune of something like every five pages, and the concept of a police force divided into sports teams that compete against each other for busts was an idea that I loved, and wanted to see explored more thoroughly. It's a solid first issue, especially art-wise, and I'm looking forward to the next.

Birds of Prey #91: Fill-In Issues: The Marshmallows of Comics.

Conan #25: Nice to see that nipples actually made it to the cover this time. Unfortunately, they belong to our loincloth-clad Cimmerian hero and not his comely wench-du-jour. Regardless, this book is top-notch every month, right down to the "next issue" box that hypes upcoming issues by Eric Powell and Mike Mignola. Still, it's going to be rough seeing Kurt Busiek go, even if that does mean he'll be kicking ass on Action Comics with Carlos Pacheco.

Daredevil #82: Thanks to a suspcicious lack of church-basement-devil-babies and the new team of Brubaker and Lark, Daredevil's back on my pull list starting with this issue. I liked it quite a bit, and although I get the feeling that a lot of people are going to be jumping off with the departure of Brian "Ol' Cut 'n' Paste" Bendis, but I think the ones who stick around are going to enjoy issues with the same sort of gritty tone, but with things actually happening. This issue, for instance, has a gang fight in prison, Ben Urich getting a stern talking-to from Foggy Nelson, a shock ending that was spoiled by solicitaitons, and--hey, look!--Dakota North!

That's just how she rolls.

The Goon #16: You know, every now and then at work, I'll run across a copy of Valiant's Eternal Warrior #35, which has an extra cover thrown on with an advisory informing the readers that the actual cover is totally intense and for mature audiences only. It never fails that I forget what it is and take a peek, only to be greeted a picture of a severed arm that manages to be, despite the outer cover's warning, incredibly tame. The whole cover's done in shades of red, so you can't really tell if there's any blood, and the arm's clad in a jacket and gloves, so the most violent thing implied by the picture is ripped leather. And yet here we are a mere decade later and this issue of the Goon has a bloody, gouged-out eye-socket right on the cover, and nobody bats a... well, you know. And that's why Eric Powell keeps getting Eisners.

JSA Classified #9: You know, there's just something about two old men punching the bejeezus out of each other that just warms the cockles of my heart.

Justice #4: Hey, imagine that! An Alex Ross comic where Superman comes off as a whiny little bitch! WHAT ARE THE ODDS? Yeah, I'm apparently still buying it, despite the fact that I only end up enjoying about half of every issue--in this case, any panel where Black Manta's wearing his fly turtleneck-and-seashell-medallion combo. Dude's a heartbreaker. Anyway, paying three fifty to enjoy half of a book every two months isn't exactly a good thing for me to be doing, and yet here we are, reading about Green Arrow's condoms. It's perilously close to the chopping block.

The Losers #32: Hot damn! This series has been great since it hit the stands almost three years back, but for sheer ridiculous, over the top, badass action movie fun, it does not get better than this last issue. Andy Diggle and Jock are at the top of their game on this one in every panel, but the three full-page shots in this issue pretty much encapsulate what's great about this book, including the most bad-ass moment Aisha's had in the entire series, and my favorite last page since the last Mike Carey issue of Hellblazer. It's glorious.

Manhunter #19: Kate Spencer finishes up her throwdown with Clint Eastwood her father in this one, but all I want to know is: Would it have killed you to throw Kirk DePaul in there at the end?

New Avengers #16: I've got to admit, this issue was as close to actual entertainment as this book's gotten yet, especially the President's line about Captain America, which I thought was genuinely pretty good. Although really, all I could think while reading through it was "Look out, Alpha Flight! Brian Bendis is Gonna &@#! You Up!" The big winner for this issue, though, was the return of Kickers Motherf#!@ing Inc in the backup story, which turned out to be a highly enjoyable tale of football in hell. I can't believe it even as I type it, but I'm actually kinda excited about the New Universe.

Noble Causes #17: I was never a big fan of Jay Faerber--and I'm still not--but I'm reasonably convinced that Noble Causes was the reason he was put on this planet. It's always sharp, the characters are unfailingly interesting, and the current storyline that pits the Nobles against their opposite numbers, the Blackthornes, has been the best one since a pigtailed Zephyr Noble essentially seduced the devil. It's great stuff, and if you're not reading it, give it a shot. Also, I'm not too proud to admit that I like it a lot when this happens:

The dude knows how to sell comics, that's for sure.

Red Sonja #6: The first story-arc comes to a close, and it's... well, it's Conan with breasts. I know it, you know it, Mikes Oeming and Carey know it, and artist Mel Rubi knows it, perhaps most of all. It's why we're here. Best not to dwell on it.

Runaways #13: There are really only two things you should know about this issue's standalone story that focuses on Molly Hayes, aka Bruiser, aka Princess Powerful: 1) She takes the concept of a sock fulla quarters to a whole new level, and 2) you should read it. There are some people who don't like Runaways. They are not your friends, and when the Revolution comes, they'll be first against the wall.

Sgt. Rock: The Prophecy #2: Aside from the fact that it has absolutely gorgeous Joe Kubert art, I'm a little shaky on the story in this one, revolving as it does around a character with one of the worst hair choices in the history of comics. But on the other hand, just look at Bulldozer and his puppy! Awwww!

She-Hulk #5: I really wish Mike Mayhew was doing the covers for this book. I don't know, just something about Greg Horn's that I don't care for, especially when he has to draw anything that isn't a hot lady, like, say, a horse that isn't absolutely terrifying. I certainly won't be getting any sleep soon. Regardless, this is a great issue, with one of the best Awesome Andy jokes Slott's done yet. It's Boston Legal with gamma rays, True Believer.

Supermarket #1: In the grim and perilous world of the future, there shall arise a great beast, capable of laying waste to all who oppose it. It shall have an all-consuming hunger for Brian Wood comics, and--fortunately--we'll have plenty. Dude's a machine. I am, of course, pretty excited about this, as Wood has yet to disappoint since I decided to give his work a fair shake last year. The first issue of Supermarket has me hooked, especially with Kristian's art and the stylized color scheme, and the idea of a thriller told through the eyes of someone obsessed with commercial interaction is a pretty fascinating approach to the genre.

Tales Designed to Thrizzle #2: I didn't sign up for this one, but Tug ordered me one anyway, figuring it'd be something I'd like. I owe Tug big time. This series of short, snappy absurdist strips by Michael Kupperman blew me away, and it's unquestionably the best comic I read all week. I thought about scanning a few of the best gags for tonight's review, but there was literally something on every single page that I thought was worth it. Don't let the $4.50 price tag stop you from buying it, kiddo: It's a bargain at twice the price.

X-Men: Deadly Genesis #4: Huh. "The Third Summers Brother." Now there's a phrase I didn't think I was ever going to need to hear again.

X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl #2: You know, I don't think I'm ever going to want to see another body made of meat products in my comics, but aside from that...


Essential Moon Knight v.1: If you need just one reason to pick this one up, I believe I can provide it. Included is a story from Moon Knight Special Edition, originally appearing in Hulk magazine, where Moon Knight takes on one of my pal Scott's favorite villains: The Hatchetman. See, not only is he a guy who wears a crazy mask with a white face and green hair who roves around shirtless murdering nurses, but as Scott says, he's an axe murderer who uses a hatchet, which takes longer and is more painful. Now THAT'S genius.


Blogger Phil Looney said...

You are dead on about those Greg Horn She Hulk covers sucking.

2/17/2006 8:30 AM

Blogger Greg said...

You forgot to mention the first page of Noble Causes. Just as good as the cover!

2/17/2006 9:49 AM

Blogger Spencer Carnage said...

Paul Pope's OMAC was eok, but his Robin in that issue of Solo made me realize why all you sissy lala DC fanboys are so into that whiny kid in tights that hangs around Batman. Made an instant fan of Pope out of me in 2.4 seconds.

2/17/2006 12:51 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I liked it quite a bit, and although I get the feeling that a lot of people are going to be jumping off with the departure of Brian "Ol' Cut 'n' Paste" Bendis,

I approached the news from an entirely different angle. I've liked ol' Hornhead for years, but stopped around the 250 mark, 'cause, God it sucked. I picked it up again when Bendis jumped on board (careful to skip past the David Mack stuff) and for the most part, have enjoyed it. But I've really felt my interest waning the last year or so. When I heard Bendis was leaving, I figured that was a good excuse for me to drop the title. Then I hear Ed Brubaker is taking over. Just when I thought that I was out they pull me back in.

2/17/2006 1:10 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thrizzle is the shizzle. Kupperman is hilarious.

Paul Pope gives me the creeps. I'm surprised he's drawing Batman, considering Batman isn't a 12-year-old girl with no panties.

2/17/2006 2:56 PM

Blogger Dorian said...

Why don't they just make JSA Classified a Wildcat solo book. It would make so much more sense.

2/17/2006 9:54 PM

Blogger Chris Sims said...

My original review of JSA: Classified included the line: "Now twice the Wildcat every month! Because you--and I'm speaking specifically to Dorian here--demanded it!"

2/17/2006 10:43 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had the exact opposite reaction to New Avengers #16. I'm sorry, but starting an issue with eight dialogue-less splash pages in a row is a pretty surefire way to piss me off. That's inexcusable even by Bendis standards.

2/18/2006 12:24 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you liked "Tales.." by Kupperman, you should seriously check out the book he did called "Snake 'n' Bacon's Cartoon Cabaret". It came out a while back, so you may have to look online for it, but it's even better than the comic. (In my humble opinion.)

2/18/2006 12:26 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know, one of the biggest roadblocks I've had to NC is the way Faerber writers women- as in, not very well- but this latest issue was... different.

2/20/2006 11:33 AM


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