web stats

CSBG Archive

What I bought – 10 February 2010

“Reading,” he says, “is always this: there is a thing that is there, a thing made of writing, a solid material object, which cannot be changed, and through this thing we measure ourselves against something else that is not present, something else that belongs to the immaterial, invisible world, because it can only be thought, imagined, or because it was once and is no longer, past, lost, unattainable, in the land of the dead …”

“Or that is not present because it does not yet exist, something desired, feared, possible or impossible,” Ludmilla says. “Reading is going toward something that is about to be, and no one yet knows what it will be …” (There, now you see the Other Reader leaning forward to peer beyond the edge of the printed page at the ships of the rescuers or the invaders appearing on the horizon, the storms …) “The book I would like to read now is a novel in which you sense the story arriving like still-vague thunder, the historical story along with the individual’s story, a novel that gives the sense of living through an upheavel that still has no name, has not yet taken shape …” (Italo Calvino, from If on a winter’s night a traveller)

Ah!  Scary eyes! Call me wacky, but I love that cover! So we're supposed to turn this upside-down or something? Yes, it's another cool cover of this series! Kicking ass and collecting flowers! Blast away, Bob! So sad! Um, yeah ... spoiler alert, I guess Penises!!!!! Trippy! Who knew Goebbels might be a bad guy? Why so angry, Mr. Knight?

Aladdin1Aladdin: Legacy of the Lost #1 (of 3) by Ian Edginton (writer), Patrick Reilly (artist), Richard Starkings (letterer), and Jimmy Betancourt (letterer). $4.99, 47 pgs, FC, Radical Comics.

I received this last week in the mail, so it’s probably been out a few weeks. You can still find it! I’ve always enjoyed Edginton’s writing on things that aren’t from the Big Two, and while this isn’t a masterpiece, it’s not bad. Edginton is a bit hamstrung by the fact that he follows the Aladdin legend very closely (which, even if it was his choice, still restricts him), so there aren’t a lot of surprises here – Aladdin is a street urchin who lives by cheating at gambling and picking pockets, Qassim hires him to find the genie’s lamp and then betrays him, Aladdin escapes deep into the cave of the lamp, accidentally releases the genie, and ends the issue as the mysterious new wealthy man in town – but it’s still pretty entertaining. Edginton makes sure the book has a good Middle Eastern feel, and Reilly does a decent job with the art. It’s in the “Radical house style” – meaning it’s painted and looks slightly computerized – but he does a good job blending the supernatural with the grittiness of the souks. Qassim’s sand creatures are pretty cool, and the genie is certainly impressive. I’m not sure if Edginton plans on following the legend note by note, but for a first issue, this sets the stage pretty well. The story of Aladdin is always interesting, so it’s fun to see if get an updated take.

One panel of awesome:

Don't fuck with the sand shark/worm/salamandar!

Don't fuck with the sand shark/worm/salamandar!

Anchor5The Anchor #5 (“Black Lips Part One: Hofi’s Gift”) by Phil Hester (writer), Brian Churilla (artist), Matthew Wilson (colorist), and Johnny Lowe (letterer). $3.99, 22 pgs, FC, Boom! Studios.

It’s kind of interesting that this is the first issue of a new arc. It doesn’t feel like one. I actually think that’s pretty cool. Trades are fun and all, and the prior issue does resolve some things, but this does follow almost directly from it, with a fairly important plot point from the first arc becoming the main thrust of this story. So it doesn’t feel like the beginning of a new arc; it just feels like the continuation of the story. Which is groovy.

I’ve mentioned before that part of the fun of this book is Churilla’s monster designs, and he gives us more this issue, with a lava monster and (I guess) Satan, although it could be someone else, I suppose. It’s really fun to check out what weird thing Churilla will come up with next. And Hester is doing a good job slowly revealing more and more things about Clem and his past. I didn’t realize that whenever he ate a heart he remembered more about his past – I just thought we were seeing bits and pieces of his past because we needed to learn about him, not that the hearts were making him remember. That’s pretty neat. Hester keeps things moving along, even in a set-up issue like this – Clem fights the lava monster and, in the past, escapes an angry mob, but there’s still a lot of explication in this issue, as well as a nice cliffhanger. Hester has gotten better and better at putting together a single issue, which is why it’s kind of neat that he’s not really “writing for the trade,” even though the first trade does tell a complete story. It’s a good trick to learn, and Hester has figured it out.

I can never say this is my favorite comic of any given week, but it’s a fun read every time out. There’s nothing wrong with that!

One panel of awesome:

It's funny 'cause it's true!

It's funny 'cause it's true!

BatmanandRobin8Batman and Robin #8 (“Blackest Night Part Two: Batman vs. Batman”) by Grant “Screw Rucka!” Morrison (writer), Cameron Stewart (artist), Tony Aviña (colorist), and Jared K. Fletcher (letterer). $2.99, 22 pgs, FC, DC.

This issue is a perfect reason why I’m not really totally in love with the title as a whole. Morrison does a good job explaining how Batwoman came to arrive in the mine and why Dick’s idea to resurrect Batman might not be all that smart (and reconciles the fact that we saw Batman at the end of Final Crisis, so what was that body?), but this is basically a fight issue, so there’s not much space for any Morrisonian weirdness. However, the actual issue isn’t … um … the issue. I understand the Batman books currently exist – DC needs to publish a Batman book, after all – but this all feels like so much placeholding. Bruce Wayne is coming back in a different mini-series, and while this book might lead into that (I don’t know), it just feels like a lot of sound and fury. I would much rather read a story about Dick and Batwoman fighting the weird British bad guys alongside the Knight and Squire than a story about a resurrected Batman going berserk. The best part of this book is when Batwoman fights the weird-ass chimney sweeps. The rest is just wheel-spinning, and it’s frustrating. I don’t know if I expect more out of Morrison, but this just lacks any kind of verve. Morrison could go either way – make this book “important” to the larger DC picture as a whole (which would be annoying, but at least fit into a larger tapestry) or make it a really good story. The first arc of Batman and Robin had a pretty good story. The second arc, while not as good, had a pretty good story. So far, this arc hasn’t done either. It’s not that great a story because it’s not even much of a story, while it doesn’t feel like it fits into a larger tapestry. Again, it might, especially because Morrison is writing the “return of Bruce Wayne” thing, but the first responsibility ought to be telling a good story. If it later becomes important, fine.

Interestingly, the art shows how much influence an inker and colorist can have on pencil work. Stewart inks his own work, so that’s not an issue, but Aviña’s coloring makes this look rougher than Sinclair’s did last issue. I don’t think it’s a terribly good fit – the art looks rushed in places, and I’m not completely sure if it’s due to the coloring or not. The book took a month off after Philip Tan’s arc and Stewart presumably had a while to work on it, so I don’t know if he was rushing to meet a deadline here. If he was, why release this book two weeks after issue #7? Again, it might get back to this book fitting into a bigger DC story and it needs to get out before Bruce Wayne comes back, and that would be annoying. The art still looks good, but it lacks the crispness that makes Stewart’s art so brilliant. Is it the different colorist, or is it Stewart rushing his inks?

Anyway, we’re probably not going to get them (as we’re back in Gotham next issue, I assume), but this book needs more crazy chimney sweeps and fewer resurrected Batmen. But I might be in the minority in that regard. And wouldn’t it be nice if DC could figure out where word balloons go? I didn’t think it was that hard!

One panel of awesome:

Oh, Brendan Gleeson - don't turn to a life of crime!

Oh, Brendan Gleeson - don't turn to a life of crime!

Daytripper3Daytripper #3 (of 10) (“28″) by Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá (writers/artists), Dave Stewart (colorist), and Sean Konot (letterer). $2.99, 22 pgs, FC, DC/Vertigo.

If you can read the cover, it has a quote from Jeff Smith: “Honest and arousing.” I should point out that this book is neither of those things. In this issue we discover that the brothers are actually being quite dishonest, and it’s a bit creepy to think it’s “arousing.” I know what Smith means, so don’t jump my shit or anything, but I just found it interesting that Smith uses those two words.

I was somewhat surprised to see that issue #2 is sort of continued in this issue, but then Moon and Bá throw us for a loop at the end, proving that they’re unreliable narrators but making this a much more interesting comic. I already liked it, but this issue shows that they’re doing something very … well, I’d call it clever – you might call it pretentious, but as I pointed out last issue, it’s proudly pretentious, and that’s refreshing. It’s a simple story of a broken love and renewed hope, and as silly as Brás acts (falling in love at first sight, for instance), his goofiness is endearing. Moon and Bá make it work because they tell the story as well with pictures as with words. Olinda’s anger is palpable, Brás’ longing is pathetic but believable, and his joy at realizing he’s not dead inside is beautiful. His attempt to connect with the girl he sees is not the point, and we know it. The point is that he realizes that he doesn’t have to live in the past. Moon and Bá do quite a bit without words in this issue – they could actually do more, and it might be more effective. But the way they show Brás striving for something better in his life is refreshing, and makes the ending that much more bittersweet. And makes the book a lie, about which I can’t say more without spoiling things, but which makes it far more interesting going forward.

One panel of awesome:

I just love his dopey, lovestruck look!

I just love his dopey, lovestruck look!

Legends0Legends: The Enchanted #0 by Nick Percival (writer/artist), Richard Starkings (letterer), and Jimmy Betancourt (letterer). $1.00, 22 pgs, FC, Radical Comics.

This is another comic I received for free from Radical, and I’d like to thank them for it. It’s only a dollar, and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t get it, just to check it out. It’s a preview of a graphic novel that’s coming out soon, so you can get a sense of whether you want to plunk down the $20 for the longer book.

Legends is a lot like Fables, in that it takes fairy tale characters and gives them a modern spin. Percival might not like the comparison, but that’s too bad, because it’s going to be made. He makes things a bit darker than they are in Willingham’s book, but it’s still “fables” – that’s Little Red Riding Hood on the cover – dressed up as adults. That’s not to say it can’t be done well in a different way than Fables does it, but that’s the basic premise of the book. Jack fights giants and gains different powers when he swallows different “beans” – which look suspiciously like pills; Red Riding Hood lures wolf-like things into a fight so she can slaughter them; and old hag destroys Pinocchio and plots against our heroes. Percival shows that he has a sense of humor with Jack, who’s not subtle when he kills giants and leaves destruction in his wake that might be worse than what his enemies brought, and the book builds tension fairly well. It’s difficult to get much sense of how well the story will progress, but we get some nice teases about an apocalyptic battle between two sides, which is always fun to see.

Percival’s art is probably the real draw, as he’s in the tradition of great fantasy artists of the past. As usual, I don’t know if he paints everything or does a lot on the computer, but he’s good at it – unlike some artist who work like this, his action scenes are fluid and kinetic, while his faces (always tough to do with this kind of art) look fairly good – it helps that many of them are scarred and twisted and inhuman, because it’s easier to work with that. The world he’s created is horrific and creepy, but it’s fully created, and we’re really thrown in completely, buying every small detail. Art like this is probably an acquired taste, because it looks like still animation too often, but it’s kind of neat when it’s done well.

I don’t know if the longer novel is going to be any good, but for a dollar, this is well worth a look. It might not break any new ground in the “adult fairy tales” genre, but it’s not bad. And good slaughter is always fun to see!

One panel of awesome:

Man, that can't be fun!

Man, that can't be fun!

MarvelBoyUranian2Marvel Boy: The Uranian #2 (of 3) (“Taking Flight”) by Jeff Parker (writer), Felix Ruiz (artist/letterer), and Val Staples (colorist). $3.99, 22 pgs + 2 back-up stories, 17 pgs total, FC, Marvel.

You know, even in three-issue mini-series, which one would think are fairly compressed, we get the dreaded “middle issue” syndrome, where the first issue, which in the best case scenario kicks things off with a bang (and this series did), is over, but the third issue, in which the giant conflict will be resolved, hasn’t arrived yet. This is certainly not a bad issue by any means, but Parker simply sets up the final conflict by showing the bad guys doing dastardly things and the Uranians teaching Bob how to fly. It’s entertaining, especially when Bob goes on a date, but it still feels a bit like treading water. I was jazzed by the inclusion of Bob in the Timely Comics of the 1950s (and we even see the cover from the reprint in the back in this issue), but Parker downplays that this time around and introduces the bigger, more superheroey theme, which I’m sure will work fine in the third issue but leaves this issue feeling a bit meandering. Ruiz’s art is a nifty as ever, however.

If you haven’t read Parker’s blog, he wrote that there’s going to be a new Agents of Atlas series coming from this “Heroic Age” thing. Not too shabby. Maybe it will last longer than a year!

Oh, and one more thing: Was anyone else annoyed by some of the lettering in this comic? I’m thinking of most of the black-on-white text that “regular” folk use (the Uranians speak in green word balloons). At the very end it gets corrected, but for most of the book, it was bothering me. I looked very closely at the words and saw that they were black with just a tiny hint of red around them, as if they were 3-D and the tops were black and the bases were red. Was this just my copy? If not, was it a printing error, or is Ruiz trying to burn my eyeballs out? Discuss.

One panel of awesome:

Blowing up shit in space - is there anything comics can't do?

Blowing up shit in space - is there anything comics can't do?

Phonogram2.7Phonogram: The Singles Club #7 (of 7) (“Wolf Like Me”/”The Queen is Dead”/”Blood Mountain”/”30″/”Once in a Lifetime”) by Kieron Gillen (writer), Jamie McKelvie (artist/letterer, “Wolf Like Me”), Julia Scheele (art assist, “Wolf Like Me”), Matthew Wilson (colorist, “Wolf Like Me”), Nikki Cook (artist, “Queen”), Becky Cloonan (artist, “Mountain”), Andy Bloor (artist, “30″), and Sean Azzopardi (artist, “Lifetime”). $3.50, 27 pgs, FC, Image.

Just buy the fucking trade, okay?

Actually, let’s consider McKelvie and Wilson, shall we? There are exactly eleven (11) panels in this comic that contain dialogue, one page that contains lyrics from the TV on the Radio song “Wolf Like Me,” and no words on the other 12 pages. So the art has to carry it, and our artists are up to the task. McKelvie’s clean lines and wonderful facial expressions give us all the “dialogue” we need (okay, the pictograms help, but they don’t show up that much), from Kid-With-Knife’s cheesy “Looking at you, babes” smile to the ladies on page 4 to his howl and subsequent “eat shit and die” grin on page 6 when he challenges the posers, from his wonder at seeing the kebab grill on page 9 to Emily and David’s exchange of looks, a “we’re so elitist and can you believe we’re friends with this guy?” moment that we’ve probably all had at least once in our lives (and have probably been the subject of also). The gorgeous double-page spread (which I won’t reveal, because I don’t want to spoil things) is simply marvelous, once again showing how the magic works in Gillen and McKelvie’s world – it’s simple and primal, and poor Kid-With-Knife – he’s just swept along in it, even though he enjoys deflating Kohl’s proclamations about it. Wilson does a wonderful job, too – the exteriors are lit in that fuzzy orange of streetlights, making Kid-With-Knife’s glowing wolfish eyes even eerier. Inside the club, of course, we get the washed double-page spread, which makes it almost heavenly. McKelvie’s art was good in the first series, but having Wilson on board for this series has really helped quite a bit.

The back-up stories are fun, too, highlighted by a battle with a Viking (really). They’re not in the trade, which won’t make the trade any worse, but will deprive you of moments like what a Talking Heads song really means. Can you live without that?????

Well, shit. It’s over. I can’t wait to re-read these. I apologize for all the shameless pimping I’ve done for this series, but dang, it’s good. I’m sure you couldn’t figure that out from my reviews, right?

One panel of awesome:

Hey, baby!

Hey, baby!

SecretSix18Secret Six #18 (“Danse Macabre Part 3″) by Gail Simone (writer), John Ostrander (writer), Jim Calafiore (artist), Travis Lanham (letterer), and Jason Wright (colorist). $2.99, 22 pgs, FC, DC.

If I might take out my grammar cop badge briefly, I’d like to direct your attention to page 1 of this issue. As Bane fights the Black Lanterns, he says to Alice, “Waller has struck our base. Scandal is there alone. She is alone. You have Nightshade’s powers. Open a portal to bring us back to base.” I know Bane could rip my spine out of my nostrils, but hey Bane? It’s TAAAAAAAAAKKKKKKKKKKKE!!!!!!!!!!!! “Open a portal to TAKE us back to base.” This might be my latest most annoying thing people say that is incorrect, even more than the fact that nobody knows the difference between “lay” and “lie.” So many people say this on television, in movies, in real life, and in comics. Bane is “there.” Black Alice is “there.” Therefore, Alice won’t be “bringing” anyone with her from “there” to a different “there.” She’ll be TAKING them. What’s wrong with “take”? When did it become a nasty word? Ugh. Sorry, Gail Simone, but that drives me batty. Seriously.

Luckily, it’s on the first page, so we can move past it quickly. This isn’t the greatest Secret Six issue, because it relies way too much on a deus ex machina that does seem to come out of nowhere. In the interest of thoroughness, I went back and looked at the first two parts of this story, which is the only place the deus ex machina should have been mentioned … but it’s not. So the teams’ salvation does come out of nowhere, and it’s not explained how it works. Now, the first thing people will mention is that this is all explained in Blackest Night the series. Hey, that’s great. I’m not fucking reading that. You may think that’s my goddamned fault, and maybe it is, but if you’re DC and you’re tying all these books into your big fucking event, shouldn’t you make sure that the people who read a DC book or two but aren’t reading your big fucking event (yes, DC, they exist!) understand the books that they’re reading? I get that footnotes are all childish and shit and in our “serious” funny books we can’t interrupt with something as goofy as footnotes, but if this deus ex machina was explained in Blackest Night, wouldn’t it be prudent for DC to put that in the book somewhere? All it does is make people reading the book confused. I still don’t know what Waller was talking about. I mean, if Green Lantern can defeat the Black Lanterns with “energy,” why the fuck hasn’t he done so? Damn, I hate crossovers.

Anyway, the denouement of this issue is kind of neat. The Six manage to get Waller off their trail, with Deadshot again providing some cool-ass moments. Without the crossover-itis (I know, it’s often necessary to goose sales, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it!), this is a neat little story. I hope it can get back to that now that the not-zombies are gone.

One more time: TAAAAAAAAAKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKE!!!!!!!!!! I’m going to start a foundation to bring “take” back. Ah, you see what I did there?

One panel of awesome:

Come on, Floyd!  Let your feelings out!  It's okay to cry!

Come on, Floyd! Let your feelings out! It's okay to cry!

Starstruck6Starstruck #6 (of 13) (“Mumbo-Jumbo!”) by Elaine Lee (writer), Michael Wm. Kaluta (artist), Charles Vess (inker, “Galactic Girl Guide”), Lee Moyer (painter), and Todd Klein (letterer). $3.99, 27 pgs, FC, IDW.

You know why you should buy Starstruck? Well, beside the weird sci-fi story, the wacky characters, the neat world-building that keeps getting more and more intricate, and Kaluta’s absolutely stunning art? I mean, if that’s not enough, that is. No? Okay, then, how about … penises! Yes, Lee and Kaluta have Galatia 9 fight a bunch of ugly monsters who … well, aren’t wearing any clothes. Now, if this were a scaredy-cat comic published by a scaredy-cat company (you know who you are, National Publications and Timely Comics!), we’d get them in thongs or in poses that block the junk. But the junk is part of life, people! Don’t fear the family jewels! Embrace them! Oh, okay, maybe that’s going a bit far. But don’t fear them!

If we ignore the phlopping phalli, Kaluta really knocks this out of the park, with a wonderfully choreographed fight scene and a nice encounter on a spaceship with a weird trinity. I refuse to review this too closely, because it’s a wonderful mess and Lee is throwing stuff at us fast and furious and I know it will read a lot better in toto, but I just have to emphasize how magnificent the book looks. It’s tremendous.

There’s also an advertisement for The Green Hornet in the back. That’s The Green Hornet … published by Dynamite Entertainment. I’ve seen this before – Ben Templesmith’s stuff from IDW often gets an advert in the back of Wasteland, which is from Oni, but that’s because Templesmith does the covers and Oni doesn’t mind him getting a little love, but I can’t figure out why the ad for The Green Hornet is in the back of this book, as no one from this book is on that one. If IDW wants to do it, good for them, but I wonder why they did.

Anyway: penises. Ugly ones, for sure, but fear them not!

One panel of awesome:

Boy, that's going to leave a mark.

Boy, that's going to leave a mark.

Sword4S.W.O.R.D. #4 by Kieron Gillen (writer), Steven Sanders (penciler), Craig Yeung (inker), Matt Wilson (colorist), and Dave Lanphear (letterer). $2.99, 22 pgs, FC, Marvel.

I know that’s Gyrich on the cover, but I do like to think it’s Gillen, swallowing his series whole before anyone can come along and fuck with it. It kind of looks like Gillen, as much as that pink apparition can look like someone, so I can be as right as anyone who says it’s Gyrich!

There’s not a lot of incentive to review this, because next issue is the last one, but I will point out a few things. Lanphear’s lettering of the “merchant-slang Majesdanian” that allows Abigail to communicate with the Metroliths is well done – it’s English and you can read it, but the font he uses looks just alien enough that you might skip right to the “translation” that’s provided at the bottom of the panels. Second, can Osborn not see the Metroliths because of Hank’s “hypercharging of the stealth engines” in Abigail’s ship? I mean, I know that’s why, but that seems like a stretch, especially as the Metroliths have gone a bit bonkers and are, you know, attacking people. I’ll buy it because it’s totally comic-booky, but it’s still a strain on my suspension of disbelief. Third, how strong is Henry? He falls from the sky and lands next to a wall, using it to slow down. He gouges out furrows in the rock with his claws. Dang, that’s strong.

Finally, this is a damned good comic. It’s funny, exciting, intriguing, gives us a nice look at the strained relationship between Osborn and Gyrich, and has a nice set-up for the final issue. And it promises a possible celebratory conga, which even though it won’t happen, is a nice image to have. I hope people get the trade, because it will be a fun read.

One panel of awesome:

Oh, Hank - you're so metafictional!

Oh, Hank - you're so metafictional!

Unwritten10The Unwritten #10 (“Jud Süss Part 1: The Liar”) by Mike Carey and Peter Gross (writer and artist), Jimmy Broxton (finisher), Chris Chuckry (colorist), and Todd Klein (letterer). $2.99, 23 pgs, FC, DC/Vertigo.

This is another interesting issue of The Unwritten, mainly because Carey keeps putting his main characters in interesting places. Tom remains a fairly bland character, and Lizzie is kind of odd in this issue, as she reveals something about herself, Tom, and his father that we probably could have figured out but is also kind of simpering. She seemed a bit more together when she first showed up, and now she’s kind of a whiner. So the characters are uninteresting (Savoy has some possibilities), but the book keeps my interest because of the way Carey plots it. At the end of last issue, our heroes escaped the prison through a magic door and in this issue, the end up in … well, it may be Stuttgart in 1940, but it’s not clear. They end up having a chat with Josef Goebbels. But how can Goebbels see them? Well, that’s the interesting part. It’s kind of neat – Goebbels explains to them about the movie Jud Süss (which should probably be a “ß” instead of the “ss” and which actually exists) will create new German myths and why they’re needed. It’s pretty interesting, and then we get a nifty cliffhanger. All in all, a well plotted issue. I wish the characters were more compelling. Oh well. It’s not a perfect comic, but it has some keen stuff on its mind, which is why I still check in with it. Maybe Tom and Lizzie will become better, but until then, at least Carey is doing some cool stuff with the literary ideas!

One panel of awesome?

I guess this isn't awesome, but Goebbels speaks the truth, sadly.

I guess this isn't awesome, but Goebbels speaks the truth, sadly.

VengeanceofMoonKnight5Vengeance of the Moon Knight #5 (“Shock and Awe Chapter 5: Past is Prologue”) by Gregg Hurwitz (writer), Jerome Opeña (penciler), Jay Leisten (inker), Paul Mounts (colorist), and Joe Caramagna (letterer). $2.99, 22 pgs, FC, Marvel.

In our second example of different artists making a book look slightly different, we have Moon Knight. Whereas in Batman and Robin it’s a different colorist, here it’s a different inker. Actually, I’m not sure who’s been inking this book – the credits have listed Opeña as “penciler” for the last two issues without an inker being listed, so I’ve been assuming he’s been inking himself. Well, now Leisten steps in, and the results are interesting. It’s much smoother and cleaner than when Opeña inks himself, and it’s not really an improvement. There’s nothing wrong with having a cleaner look to art, except when the story itself is trying to be a bit grittier than your usual superhero story. For instance, Bushman doesn’t look particularly horrific in this issue, which is a problem. He just looks like a guy with a painted face instead of a guy whose face Moon Knight cut off. Part of this is probably Opeña’s pencils, but it’s also Leisten’s thin, clean line. There’s an extremely powerful image in this comic of Frenchie as a mercenary (he’s remembering a moment from his past). It’s supposed to look horrible, and it does to a certain extent – but there’s also a slight sheen to the picture, as if Jean-Paul is posing in a guns ‘n’ ammo magazine. The book loses a bit of its effectiveness this time around, and the only thing different about the art is the inker. Leisten isn’t bad, he’s just not right for this book and for Opeña’s style on the book.

Hurwitz doesn’t give us a whole lot to work with, either. I haven’t been jazzed by the entire plot, which, I’ll point out again, is basically “Knightfall,” but the previous four issues were redeemed by Hurwitz’s twisted sense of humor, the continuing dilemma of Moon Knight’s insanity, and the art. Well, the art falters slightly in this issue, but not as much as the story, which kind of meanders all around and never gets anywhere, which makes me feel like this is four or five issues of story shoved into a six-issue bag so the trade is heftier. Moon Knight fights some baddies and finds out that Bushman is behind it all. Um, didn’t he already know that? Even though he thought Bushman was dead? Anyway, then we get both Marc (or Jake, I guess) and Jean-Paul reminiscing briefly about their pasts. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it feels a bit like padding. Then Crowley gets bonked on the head by a crowbar and his speech patterns change. Sigh. This wasn’t funny when it happened to Guy Gardner twenty years ago, and it’s still not funny. At least that comic was a comedy – this isn’t even that twisted sense of humor I was writing about a few sentences ago. If someone gets bonked on the head hard enough to change how they talk, it’s time to get them to a hospital. Maybe MK would have done that (I doubt it), but then Bushman shows up. Then we get a weird fight that ends with our hero in his underwear (which did, I’ll admit, make me smile) and his costume holding up a building. No, I’m not kidding. Then, just for fun, Spider-Man makes a cameo, and the issue ends on a weird down note. It’s kind of a mishmash of stuff going on, none of it cohering terribly well. I don’t even know if it will read better in a trade, because I’m not sure if Spidey will be in the final issue, making his appearance here all the more random, and it will still feel random in a trade format (unless, of course, he does show up in the final issue, in which case all bets are off).

So it’s a misstep for this title. I hope Hurwitz can pull it together next issue, because I really dig this comic, but this particular issue was a mess. Too bad!

One panel of awesome:

Yes, that's Moon Knight is his underwear.  Because comics are awesome.

Yes, that's Moon Knight is his underwear. Because comics are awesome.

I hope everyone checked out the First Wave preview in the back of DC’s books this week, because it looks pretty cool. Two thoughts come to mind about the art: I don’t think it will be improved in color, because Morales’ art looks fantastic in black-and-white, and somewhere Eduardo Barreto is wondering who Morales blackmailed to get this assignment.

Moving on, I picked up a Killer Moth action figure at the comic book shoppe this week. Why, say you? Because it’s awesome. My daughter thinks so, too:

Check out his gun!

Her dolls (Ariel, Tiana, Cinderella, and Prince Eric) have already “killed” Killer Moth several times, and when I told her it’s not nice to kill things, they proceeded to put him in “jail.” She knows what’s what! Speaking of Norah, this week she has decided to be a robot a few times, and she speaks in the automaton voice fairly well. She told me that robots don’t live in houses, they live in space. See all the cool things you can learn from a four-year-old?

Thursday was Tina Louise’s 76th birthday. Ms. Louise is best known, of course, for her role in the Burl Ives Western, Day of the Outlaw. Oh, and I guess she was in some television show. Those people who say they prefer Mary Ann over Ginger are, in fact, wrong:

I mean, she's cute and all, but ... Come on!

Now let’s take (TAAAAAKKKKKKKKKE!!!!!!!) a peek at The Ten Most Recent Songs Played On My iPod (Which Is Always On Shuffle) (But Which Got Accidentally Reset This Week So Some Songs Might Be Repeated, Consarnit!):

1. “The Luckiest Guy On The Lower East Side” – Magnetic Fields (1999) “I only keep this heap for you”
2. “Don’t Let Me Stop You” – Kelly Clarkson (2009) “Nice knowing you but there’s the door”*
3. “Sick For The Cure” – Cinderella (1990) “But dreams become reality and real ain’t what it seems to be”
4. “The End Of Everything” – Charlatans (the UK variety) (1992) “I want my guts where they are”
5. “Goin’ Berzerk” – Buckner & Garcia (1982) “Now here comes Evil Otto, push the fire buttons in”**
6. “Winds Of Change” – Cinderella (1990) “I took the high road but it ain’t right, it’s just the low road in disguise”
7. “Neverland” – Marillion (2004) “At times like these, any fool can see your love inside me”
8. “Apparitions” – Knots and Crosses (1999) “Well, I took the past, laid it all to rest with our buried memories”
9. “Come Back” – Foo Fighters (2002) “Dead on the inside I’ve got nothing to prove”
10. “Be Aggressive” – Faith No More (1992) “Reach down my throat you filthy bird that’s all I need”

* Yes, really. Deal with it!
** Yes, fucking really. And yes, I wrote that Batman was “going berserk” as foreshadowing. That’s how I fucking roll!

And hey, let’s groove on some totally random lyrics!

“Trying to double talk, get myself in trouble talk, catching myself in lies
Catching myself in lies
Mama just looked at me as if I was crazy
And didn’t even bat an eye
So I began to try to explain that it just wasn’t what she thought
I’d better find something to do with my time
The fact is … just been caught, just been caught”

Get funky, people!

45 Comments

Great read!

Your daughter is awesome!

I love me some Calvino. Oh yes. And he loved him some comics, actually. You’ve also reminded me that I need to reread If on a winter’s night. Cheers.

Anyway, I’ll actually read the post now.

I wasn’t even going to mention Kelly Clarkson but it takes some cojones to put 2 Cinderella songs
on that list (and not even Heartbreak Station)! Greg, I salute you!

That Starstruck series seems interesting. I might check it out.

Aladdin has sandworms? Is Beetlejuice going to appear? I’ll buy ten copies if Beetlejuice is in it.
I won’t read B&R #’s 8 and 9 till the beginning of next month, naturally, but I thought #7 had a rollickin’ story, finally picking up the excitement from the opening arc. That might have had everything to do with the art going back to being, you know, good. And thematically, at least, I think it all ties into the echoes of Batman and the Joker that Morrison seems to be exploring in guys like Jason Todd, the Flamingo, etc.
How does Daytripper hold up in regards to Danson’s Law!?!?! (Danson’s Law is also the name of an upcoming NBC primetime soap opera.)
So you take from here to there but bring from there to here? Is that it? Okay, now go over this “subjunctive” thing again.
Advertising your comics in the pages of a different company’s comics? That’s some shrewd marketing!
What kind of sound effect is “ssft”?
Killer Moth is awesome and all the ladies know it.

Did I bollocks up the HTML? Let’s find out!

I did! Yay! Well, it’s all legible.

After the Breeders last week can it get any better….yes it can – The Charlatans, my all time favourite band and the only one that gets me out to a live gig every year!
I have to admit to not knowing a lot of the stuff on your ipod, Cinderella, Skid Row to name but two. I’ve heard of them just never heard them…don’t think they’ve ever been played on UK radio, but it’s good to see some things cross over.
As for the comics I am definitely buying the Phonogram trade, okay.
Have you managed to get your daughter to read any comics? I tried with my 10 year old, I bought her the first Runaways trade, but she’s just not interested.

Bill: Yeah, Calvino is pretty keen. And I’d say Daytripper is a “good” comic according to Danson’s Law, but I’m not sure if I recognize the validity of Danson’s Law! How about that????

Dude: I own four Cinderella albums, and I like most of the songs on them, so they may show up a lot. They’re probably the 1980s hair band that I like the most and whose songs stand up the best. According to me, of course.

Stephen: Cinderella and Skid Row are 1980s hair bands, and as a white suburban male teenager in the 1980s, I was genetically predisposed to like them. It might be a sickness, but I don’t want the cure!!!!

I bought my daughter Jill Thompson’s Magic Trixie, and she likes looking at the pictures. We’ve just started with her letters and sounding out words, though, so it might be some time before she actually CAN read comics. But she digs the drawings!

Bill: Man, the subjunctive is weird. I actually know it better in Latin than in English. And I assume “ssft” is the sound his little moon shuriken make when he throws them!

The story in Starstruck is an updated, upgraded, recolored version of a story that appeared in installments back in Heavy Metal in 1982.

/ 1982 /. That has to be some kind of record.

Anyway. The alien on the ship — this was explained in the appendixes to the first series, way back when — is a member of a species that always appears in threes, and that can for most purposes be treated as a single intelligence in three bodies. A single, very neurotic intelligence.

When Galatia 9 meets it / them, they are in the middle of an elaborate suicide attempt, because they are actors, and the director just ruined, utterly BUTCHERED their last role.

At this point it’s worth noting that Elaine Lee was an actress, screenwriter, director, and actress again for all of her adult life. (Adult Galatia 9 *is* Elaine Lee c. 1980. There are pictures. Two breasts and no scar, but otherwise identical.) So, one is left strongly suspecting that this is a fictional reworking of an actual incident, and I mean that in a good way.

Honestly, this series is just great. Space opera and comics don’t usually go together well. This is the great exception.

Doug M.

I think the deus ex machina in Secret Six relied both on the GL energy from the Manhunter robot and the light from Dr. Light’s flashbombs, which would explain why GL himself would be SOL in a similar situation. Unless he had him some of Dr. Light’s flashbombs.

Eh, the zombies are the least interesting part of the issue anyway. The interactions between the living characters are much more interesting.

If it makes you feel any better — I’ve been reading Blackest Night — and it’s not explained there either. Blue can do it, if a Green is nearby, and Violet can do it if an ancient Greek goddess decides to give it a push — but Green and a flashbomb? Hasn’t been shown yet.

I was so hoping that the panel would be Ragdoll — “Look! It’s the All-Dead Atom!” But I guess one meta-text joke per column is the limit?

I wouldn’t have marked you as a Faith No More guy, Greg.

Anyhow, I’m digging B&R. There’s Batman, there are his friends, they’re hitting stuff, they’re solving crimes, it looks good. I’m happy.

Open a portal to bring us back to base.

I’m not sure I understand the difference yet, but wouldn’t that sentence be referring to the portal, not Alice. Couldn’t the portal, if we interpret it as existing at the end rather that the start location, bring them to its location. I think that the fact that a portal doesn’t exist within the physical assumptions that underlie (underlay?) English means that whatever grammatical laws we have regarding location will break down anyway.

That was me, by the way.

Well done on correctly identifying the model for King Coal, Greg. ;)

Italo Calvino at one end and Kelly Clarkson at the other= awesome column.

I actually bought the “fucking trade” of the first PHONOGRAM series last week, based on your description of it awhile back in your best of 2009 post. And now I think I might have to start getting the new one. And Daytripper. And I still have to read CHEW and SCALPED based on your recs, too. Damn you, Greg Burgas– you’ll bankrupt me!

I mean, great column, as usual.

On ESPN Thursday, Pardon The Interruption’s Tony Cornheiser wished Ginger a Happy Birthday, and included a recent picture of her.

At this point, I prefer death to Ginger.

Chris: I LOVE Faith No More. I even own “Album of the Year”!

Good point, Ted. I don’t think that’s what Simone/Ostrander was going for, but it’s a good try!

Brian: Sorry for pointing out good comics to you! Is it really so bad?

Alan: Yeah, I saw that. She looks rough. She is 76, after all.

KG: You must deliver the conga!!!!

I had a sneaky suspicion that Gleeson was the model for King Coal as well:D

Your daughter is very, very cute Greg.

Greg– No, no! I was being sarcastic/teasing! Sorry, it’s been a long week and I probably didn’t convey it well. But all I meant was that I really love your reviews, and always find something good in them that makes me want to head to the comics shop. And for that, without any sarcasm at all, I’m very grateful.

I wanna get the grammar shenanigans over first, ’cause then I have actual constructive things to say. From Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary: Bring – to convey, lead, carry, or cause to come along with one toward the place from which the action is being regarded. “Open a portal to convet or carry us back to base” sounds sensible to me (more importantly, though, Bane’s not a native English speaker, so even if it is wrong, it’s understandable that he wouldn’t know).

Anyway, on to the good stuff: I have read a lot more Blackest Night than anyone should, and sadly they’re pretty inconsistent about what severs a Black Lantern ring’s connection. The official party line is that you have to mix the light of two different colors of Lantern (I’m pretty sure one of them has to be Green, and the Indigo Lanterns can mimick the light of other Lanterns with their staff things so they work too) but the Flash also speculated that MAYBE other types of intense light might also work. Dove (of Hawk and Dove) can pretty much knock them off at will, and twice Violet Lanterns have been able to bring someone back without another Lantern. In role-playing-game terms, come up with something that sounds plausible and roll a natural 20 and you’re good. In narrative terms … eh, let’s say Waller had the willpower to pull it off, but it might not have worked if someone else had done it.

The Beast: Waaaay back in his X-Factor days, he got infected by a disease that made him gradually lose his intelligence but get stronger at the same time. He started out able to lift about a ton, I believe, and by the time he was cured, he was a good deal stronger (a letters page answer compared his strength to the Thing, but I don’t think they ever went that far in the actual comic). I don’t think they ever explicitly said that he lost his enhanced strength, so he’s pretty darn strong, and back when he was ape-like, his grip would have been even stronger than a “normal” person of his strength. I don’t know if his cat form still has the kung fu grip.

Yeah, yeah, yeah: “Open a portal to convey…” sounds even more sensible than “Open a portal to convet…” I’m sure there are other typos in there too. I’m a bad person and should feel bad. Seriously, though, for a professional English user, there’s nothing more embarrassing than a typo smack dab in the middle of a sentence on English usage.

Well, nothing that doesn’t involve public nudity.

I assumed the Manhunter was from the Millenium crossover in Suicude Squad 9or 10 back in ’88 or something.

You get so upset over the use of ‘bring’ for ‘take’, and yet you say nothing about the Beast saying ‘There’s too many conditioners…’? This is Hank McCoy! His grammar should be impeccable!
Could it be that you are more forgiving of grammatical errors in SWORD, which you love, than you are for comics you don’t care for as greatly?
(And don’t say anything about my use of ‘care for’. This ludicrous rule about prepositional placement was a misguided Nineteenth Century attempt to adapt Latin grammar to English [the same applies to the ban on split infinitives]. English has always permitted the breaking up of prepositional phrases, since the Middle Ages at least.)

I was more bothered by Hank’s use of ‘try and..’ in SWORD #3.

Dude, wait, this is awesome! “Angel Dust” is in my top 30 albums of all time! I was listening to that album while reading “Joker” and I got the fucking shakes for the whole day.

If you’re getting the shakes from angel dust, you probably ought to lay off that stuff.

Hey, somebody had to say it.

[...] be pleasantly surprised at how much fun it is.” Greg Burgas, Comics Should Be Good: “I hope people get the trade, because it will be a fun read.” (And there’s a little more on Phonogram in there [...]

Boy, did I feel bad for Spiderman at the end of Moon Knight. Just cuz it’s in New York doesn’t mean he gets to bash on the locales! What did poor Spidey do to deserve that??

Secret Six #18:

I bought Suicide Squad #67, knowing that the solicitation said the story “carries into Secret Six #17.” So it really aggravated me to reach the issue’s end, and discover that it didn’t merely continue into #17, but also #18. DC had conned me into buying part 1 of 3, and wanted me to buy TWO more issues of a series I’ve previously tried and disliked.

I might have yet done it, too, if only Suicide Squad #67 had actually felt like an issue of Suicide Squad. But it didn’t. It felt like an issue of Secret Six guest-starring the Squad. More of #67 was focused on the Six than on the Squad (and despite the Blackest Night banner, the Suicide Squad didn’t fight any zombies in #67 either). What effectively happened was that DC failed to deliver on the promise of a Blackest Night Suicide Squad issue, and wanted me to buy two more issues in the hopes that those issues *would* deliver what I wanted. So I passed.

I didn’t buy anything this week, ’cause, Snowpocalypse (Baltimore…Hello). Those of you in the rest of the world should be thankful that while Steve Geppi lives here, Diamond’s warehouses are elsewhere.

I did want to chime in to add to the Faith No More love – really love for all things Mike Patton (listen to Tomahawk, if you don’t already!). And Kelly Clarkson’s “Already Gone” has been known to make me tear up. Just a little. In a manly way.

Also, when I was in college, I dated a girl whose dad used to go out with Tina Louise. This was in the late 80s/early 90s – she was still pretty foxy at that point!

Mary: Yeah, I should have spotted Hank’s poor use of grammar there. That’s why we need more than one grammar cop – sometimes we miss stuff!

Michael: It may have been the Manhunter from back then (in fact, it probably was), but that means this comic is referencing a plot point from a book from 20 years ago and acting as if it just happened last week. Come on, DC!!!!

Loren: I think DC solicited Secret Six #17 as continuing from Suicide Squad, but I’m not sure what they did for #18. I agree that if you’re not reading Secret Six, it’s kind of annoying to buy the Blackest Night tie-in and realize you’re on the hook for two more issues. It’s kind of the reverse of what I felt when the Black Lanterns in this issue were defeated. I thought, “I must be missing something!” It was vexing.

Sean: Manly tears are okay!

So, you admit that people saying “bring” instead of “take” is a common problem, and yet don’t think a character in a comic might make the same mistake? Sure, the character in question is smart, but so is a friend of mine, and he made the same mistake last week.

It seems more like writing somewhat realistic dialogue instead of writing what’s grammatically correct. Kind of like when people write like they talk.

@Greg Burgas

“Yeah, I should have spotted Hank’s poor use of grammar there. That’s why we need more than one grammar cop – sometimes we miss stuff!”

Have you seen the messages boards and social networking sites on the web? The use of grammar is tossed right out the window!

Ted’s right about the “portal to bring us back to base” thing, btw. Also, it’s Bane, who’s second language is English, so why would his grammar be perfect anyways.

I taught grammar for years, and fairly successfully so, and this sentence didn’t bother me a bit.

"O" the Humanatee!

February 13, 2010 at 9:34 pm

That lyric is from one of my favorite songs, “Sneakin’ Sally Through the Alley,” probably best known in the version by Robert Palmer (with members of Little Feat backing him up) and written by the brilliant, amazing Allen Toussaint.

Yay, someone finally got the lyrics! I’ve heard other versions, but Palmer’s is still my fave.

FunkyGreenJerusalem

February 14, 2010 at 4:11 pm

I can’t deal with it.

Your ABBA love I put down to you being a product of your times… but Clarkson?

Jesus.

And wouldn’t it be nice if DC could figure out where word balloons go? I didn’t think it was that hard!

I didn’t even notice.

FGJ: I’m a chameleon!!!!!

@Greg: It may have been the Manhunter from back then (in fact, it probably was), but that means this comic is referencing a plot point from a book from 20 years ago and acting as if it just happened last week. Come on, DC!!!!

I got the reference, having read those old Millennium-era issues, but I agree that it seemed a pretty random thing to bring in that late in the story. I’m not sure how much “DC time” has passed since the events of Millennium and Blackest Night (a few years, at least!) so it’s weird that they just NOW got around to digging out the Manhunter robot from the swamp right BESIDE Belle Reeve prison where the Squad is based…

Greg, you can always use the excuse I have for why certain songs are on my ipod: “My wife put them there. I didn’t notice. It wasn’t meeeeeeee!” I mean, how else did “Groove is in the Heart” get on my ipod? You think I put it there?

After all, you have my favorite song on my favorite Faith No More album. There’s no way you put the Kelly Clarkson song on yourself.

I am an idiot.

Actually, the weird thing is, I’m not positive who wrote that page. Maybe John Ostrander is the dumb one! :)

Okay, got it in the future…TAKE not BRING! :)

Gail: Well, according to some people in the comments threads, there’s nothing wrong with “bring.” So maybe I’m the idiot! :)

[...] What I bought – 10 February 2010 (goodcomics.comicbookresources.com) Tags: Ancient Greek, Elysium, English language, Genus, Greek language, language, Latin, Linguistics, Natural, Nephilim, New Latin, Plant, Psalms, Reality television, Religion and Spirituality, Social Sciences, Spider-Man, television, Television program, The Cure, yahoo [...]

Leave a Comment

 

Categories

Review Copies

Comics Should Be Good accepts review copies. Anything sent to us will (for better or for worse) end up reviewed on the blog. See where to send the review copies.

Browse the Archives