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Do We Really Need More Reviews Around Here?

Probably not. I’m going to talk about Ennis’s Punisher: War Zone, Detective Comics #853, Irredeemable #1, some relaunches Marvel has the temerity/balls to slap a $4 price tag on, and whatever else I’ve read lately that I feel like writing about anyway. Well, except for The Chronicles of Solomon Stone #1, whose greatness really should go without saying beyond, “Hey, Sims finally put the last part of the Chronicles of Solomon Stone #1 up”.

Punisher War Zone- This was pretty much the perfect book end to Ennis’s 8 year run on the character, as it serves as a great sequel to the first Ennis-Dillon Punisher joint, Welcome Back, Frank, featuring all of the violence and black humor that entails. I mean, a mobster loses his manhood to a wild animal in the opening scene and one of the supporting characters falls madly in love with produce. Also, the Punisher shoots a lot of mobsters in the face.* Shit, that was a spoiler, sorry.

WBF (which must be getting up there as one of the most reprinted Marvel stories at this point) isn’t a story that particularly needed a sequel, mind you, but I’ll take more Ennis and Dillon however I can get it. Also, as much as I totally intend to read Ennis’s deathly serious MAX run at some point, the only way I’ve ever liked the Punisher before was Ennis was doing his black comedy Marvel Knights run (Born doesn’t count, because it was more of a Ennis war story that happened to involve Frank).

My favorite part of the story may have been the Lt. Van Richtenhoff scenes. She makes a much better foil for Frank than sad sack Soap. If Ennis wanted to write a mini-series with her, I’d totally buy it. I would probably be the total of people who would buy it, too.

Detective Comics #853- I was really hoping that it would be Death with Bruce there, for some reason. And I don’t even like Sandman that much! It was Sleepwalker done wrong!

At any rate, the second part of Neil Gaiman and Andy Kubert’s absurdly delayed Batman story is finally out. It was okay, I guess. I liked the first issue a lot, but this one worked for me less. It’s certainly no “Whatever Happened To The Man Of Tomorrow”, although they’re vastly differents stories, so beyond the title and basic premise, they pretty much only share similar titles.

Kubert does a good job evoking different Batman artists, something I always geek out over, and I find the idea of Batman dying and being reborn constantly interesting. And hey, the Giant Hands from Final Crisis make another appearance! So, it’s not bad. I was kind of bemused by the children’s book bit at the end, although it served as an decent way of tying it in to Bruce’s recent “death”, I thought. It was a way of drawing a line under his run under the cowl for now, fully acknowledging he’ll be back. So, that’s fine. It just doesn’t live up to the first issue.

Or, what Brian said. That would have been quicker, in retrospect.

Exiles #1/Wolverine: Weapon-X #1- These were the first four dollar Marvel first issues I’ve bought where the price point’s bugged me. Partially because they made me nostalgic for when comics were only $3 when they were cardstock covers and prestige projects (the good old days of 2002), partially because they weren’t really first issues; they were the first parts of ongoings being relaunched just so Marvel can print more first issues.

It’s not that they were bad. They were perfectly good by two of the best writers in mainstream comics right now (and I don’t mean that as faint praise). They established the premise of the books well and I’ll probably pick up the next issue, but still, that $4 stings more than it did with Agents of Atlas and Secret Warriors.

Uncanny X-Men #508- So, has anyone noticed that this Greg Land guy just traces pictures of women out of porno mags? That seems like such a weird thing for people to be silent about. I’d think people would focus on it more.

Pissing and moaning about Lightbox McPhototracer aside, I also have to say whatever it is that happened at the end of the issue confused and annoyed me. I take no pleasure in saying this, but I really do agree with Burgas here; they really never should have mentioned Kwanon again after. She’s not quite the X-Men’s Poochie (if only because there are so many other candidates from the ’90s that fit that bill), but she should be treated the same way. Bitch totally died on the way back to her home planet.

Otherwise, I really like Fraction’s X-Men, and I’m willing to risk Dan Bailey’s wrath and read Land drawn comics to follow it (To be fair, I didn’t hate that Free Comic Book Day issue he drew last year, so that earned him some goodwill from me). It’s nice to have one of my favorite writers on my favorite superhero team, and he hasn’t chased me off the singles yet like Whedon did. I mean, it’s not his best work (and I’ll be honest here, I’d trade everything he’s done at Marvel for more Casanova, except maybe his Thor one-shot dedicated to Slayer), but it’s what I want out of an X-Men comic; long running subplots bubbling on the side and solid main plots, with enough character material to make it not feel like a generic team book. So, if he keeps that up, I’ll keep picking it up.

Incognito #3- It would be great if we lived in a world where this and Criminal could come out at the same time (if only because that would be a world where they’d cloned Sean Phillips), but this is a perfectly good substitute. If nothing else, it’s funnier than its Eisner winning, crime noir cousin. So far, it’s not Sleeper, but it’s still up to Brubaker and Phillips and thus pretty damn great. Those Jess Nevins essays in the back about pulp heroes are swell, too. I should probably buy one of his books in that vein.

Amazing Spider-Man #592- Didn’t see that coming. That big last page reveal, with the guy who does the thing. Totally unexpected.

Wait, the new issue’s out (man, that was quick!), I think the statute of limitations up. Unless you wait for the trades, but in that case, tough titty, Sr. Kitty (or, you know, stop reading); J. Jonah Jameson is the mayor!

As far as the main plot, well, it’s great that the FF know Spidey’s secret identity again, even if they’re pretty well invalidating the whole Satanic reboot by letting so many people know it. I wonder if Slott knew what Bendis was up to when he wrote the whole bit about what a bad idea it is for the Avengers to know who he is. It’s not like he’s above taking shots at other Marvel writers, as Brian is still probably annoyed by the whole “a couple a-holes line” from his last She-Hulk.

Irredeemable #1- I finally got around to reading the PDF copy of this, handily supplied by Boom!’s dashing PR man, Chip Mosher.

It’s interesting that Grant Morrison’s afterword (which includes the single greatest joke about people freaking out over him being incomprehensible I’ve read) talks about people pidgeon holing* Waid as Captain Yesterday, because I was pretty well expecting something this nasty when I heard this was going to be a story about Superman going nuts and killing everyone because he can’t take criticism. The dude has quite the mean streak, and it’s interesting seeing him unleash it here, with the corporate comics shackles off (we’d never see even Ultraman kill a baby, I’m guessing; unless that’s happened and I missed it; all of the outrage over violence in DC Comics under Didio ran together after awhile).

That said, it’s not as engrossing as Waid’s other supervillain epic, Empire, so far, but it is solid. Peter Krause provides slick art that tells the story well, and the Plutonian (the comic’s murderous Superman analogue) is suitably menacing.

Empowered vol. 1- Update! I’ve read most of volume 1. It gets less formulaic as it goes, and it’s interesting to see Warren set up subplots for future volumes. It’s also interesting to see superhero sex dealt with in a way that’s funny without being totally puerile. Well, I think it could be done in a more puerile way, at least. People actually experienced with the whole “talking about sex” thing may feel differently. Any way, this is a pretty fun comic, firmly among the best things I’ve read from Warren, in that it didn’t give me a technobabble induced headache like his Iron Man and Titans stories did. Or, it’s totally up there with Gen13 and Livewires, to be less snarky.

And I still have to read most of this week’s comics, so that’s it for what I reckon on new-ish comics.

*I really wanted to type “the Punisher shoots a lot of lobsters in the face” there, for some reason. Still do. Feel free to steal the idea of “Punisher vs. the Lobster Men” from me if you want, less lazy aspiring comics writers!

**I do find Morrison complaining about “patterning” and being identified with one trait funny. I mean, as much as people tend to throw up their hands and cry “incomprehensible” over things the man writes as straight forward as Seaguy, it’s not like he’s comic book version of Sir Mix A Lot. There’s a guy who’s been patterned in to submission and has to take the Adam West route of going ahead and embracing it to get Burger King commercials and Robot Chicken appearances.

7 Comments

I don’t know about Wolverine, but upcoming issues of Exiles are listed at $2.99, I think the extra dollar was for that sketchbook at the end (shouldn’t those be free?)

My main complaint with Weapon X #1 was that Aaron could have immensely improved the ending sequence by intercutting the scene from the beginning where the Blackwater analogue villains attack the rebels with the scene at the end where Wolverine discovers the Weapon X knockoff facility. I mean, let’s face it, the real hook to end on for a cliffhanger isn’t Wolverine looking at a bunch of adamantium infusion tanks, it’s the mercenaries with glowing green claws.

Seeing them in action right at the beginning kind of defuses any real impact from the reveal of their facility at the end, and it’s a far more striking final image than a closeup on Wolverine’s face anyway.

I think you’re characterization of the criticism of Grant Morrison is unfair. It’s not that he’s incomprehensible. It’s that he’s incoherent. His plots at their worst are just, “Here’s a great idea I came up with! Here’s another one! Here’s another one!” Some of those ideas are pretty great. But I don’t want to see them tossed off. I want to see them developed and elaborated on in a coherent story.

At his worst, he’s about as good at quality control as Guided by Voices.

His stories have always been coherent to me.

I was referring to this line from his afterword, where he’s talking about being pidgeon holed as the guy who writes all those mad idea comics that don’t make sense:

I saw future generations scratching their heads over the wording on my overgrown tombstone, declaring
“incomprehensible” the simple name of the simple soul below.

And I’ve always sort of thought of incoherent and incomprehensible as, if not synonyms, pretty damn close. And I’d say his plots border on generic a lot of the time, and he just uses them as skeletons for all of his ideas, but whatever.

“His stories have always been coherent to me.”

Yeah, well, you’re an elitist.

I’d buy a Lt. Van Richtenhoff mini, too. Only if Dillon drew it, though.

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