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CSBG Archive

What I bought – 31 March 2010

I watched Count Tolstoy leave and thought how it is not he who knows the truth who is right, but he who is convinced of the truth of his lie. (Milorad Pavić, from Landscape Painted With Tea)

Alex Ross doesn't always do a great job with these covers, but he nails this one! She should just fight him with those nipples! Dire Wraiths REPRESENT! It takes a second to figure it out, but that's a keen cover! Oh, Tom Scioli, you wonderful bastard! Man, her feet must hurt! It's all symbolic and shit! It's Creeper-iffic! It's all done, and I can't wait to read it! I'm sure this will be cheery!

AstroCityDarkAge4.3Astro City: The Dark Age Book Four #3 of 4 (“Vengeance Is Mine Part Three: Hoofbeats”) by Kurt Busiek (writer), Brent E. Anderson (artist), John Roshell (letterer), and Wendy Broome (colorist). $3.99, 24 pgs, FC, DC/Wildstorm.

Some people must have skimmed my post on Kurt Busiek unwittingly destroying superheroes, because they seem to think I don’t read Astro City. That would be silly, because Astro City is quite excellent. I don’t even mind the length of “The Dark Age,” which some people, apparently, are griping about. Sure, sixteen issues is a bit long especially when you consider the large gaps between some of the issues, but it’s been a very good story, and with it careening headlong toward a resolution, Busiek is just picking up steam. That fellow on the cover, the Pale Horseman, arrives in Astro City and begins wreaking havoc. Meanwhile, the killer of the Williams’ parents escapes again, but this time full of whatever power he had at the end of the last issue, which is not inconsiderable. So there’s that. Anderson is the real star of this issue, as the Horseman’s arrival is a fantastic moment, with jagged panels shattering the pages and the Horseman almost bursting off the page. Anderson’s depiction of Aubrey Jason’s predicament is pretty keen, too. Every so often, Anderson gives us a panel or two that looks a bit rushed, and this issue is no exception, but overall, this is a wonderfully dynamic issue. And it’s always cool to see Busiek simply throwing some of the many, many characters he’s created over the past fifteen years into the book just to keep Anderson on his toes.

Busiek may have destroyed Marvel and DC superheroes, but that’s why Astro City is so much better than they are! You know it’s true!

One panel of awesome:

That would be a skeletal flaming horse and fiery rider heading vertically up a building.  Now THAT'S a splash page!

That would be a skeletal flaming horse and fiery rider heading vertically up a building. Now THAT'S a splash page!

Detective863Detective Comics #863 (“Cutter Part 3/”Pipeline Chapter Two Part Four”) by Greg Rucka (writer), Jock (artist, “Cutter”), Scott Kolins (artist, “Cutter”), Cully Hamner (artist, “Pipeline”), David Baron (colorist, “Cutter”), Dave McCaig (colorist, “Pipeline”), Todd Klein (letterer, “Cutter”), and Jared K. Fletcher (letterer, “Pipeline”). $3.99, 30 pgs, FC, DC.

SPOILERS? I guess? I’m discussing the last page, which I guess is a spoiler. Anyway.

So much is disappointing about this issue of Detective that I don’t know where to start. Let’s begin with the fact that Jock doesn’t do all the art. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with Scott Kolins, and his Batman and Batwoman are very well done. But his style is very different from Jock’s, and the shift is a bit jarring. Plus, what the hell? Three issues and Jock couldn’t finish them? If there’s a good reason, that’s one thing. If it’s that he’s slow, that’s annoying. Hell, get Scott Kolins to draw the whole thing – he’s a fine artist, after all (or, hey! Kolins on the “past” portion of the arc, and Jock on the “present” … or vice versa).

The second disappointing thing was the whole story. The lack of an interesting villain can always kill a story, and “Cutter” is not an interesting villain, nor is the twisted motivation behind his crimes very interesting. Rucka doesn’t do enough with the fact that he’s cutting off body parts, the revelation about which is actually kind of neat … if it were developed more. This arc was far too rushed and probably could have benefitted from another issue, but that would have meant less Jock, but maybe it would have meant one faster artist throughout.

Third, we have Cousin Bette. I have no history with Bette Kane or Flamebird, so the big dramatic “back-story” of the main story in this, that Bette wants to be a costumed superhero again, has absolutely no impact on me. I mean, Rucka chooses to end this story with Bette dramatically taking off her jacket and revealing her Flamebird outfit (which, I’m sorry, has big flares at the shoulders and thighs and would stick out of the trenchcoat she’s wearing, thereby robbing the scene of its dramatics because Kate would say, “What the hell are you wearing under that coat?” when she first sees Bette). That’s the ending? What a stupid ending. First of all, it has no meaning unless you’ve been reading other DC comics, and not only that, but DC comics that really have no connection to Detective whatsoever. Second, it implies a knowledge of DC comics that is too extensive for a minor story about a serial slasher. Third, tying into the other two, Rucka himself gives us no markers to indicate who the hell Bette Kane is. It’s not like Batman, where we can assume someone reading Detective Comics might – just might – know the deal with Batman. Why the hell should I know who Flamebird is? This is a total failure by Rucka as a writer, and colors the rest of the story, because it feels like the entire point of the story – as he didn’t develop the villain terribly well – is to get Bette to want to be Flamebird again. Well, who cares? What a rotten waste.

Rucka is done with Detective, which is good, because I’d be done with it if he was staying. It’s too bad – Rucka is a good writer, but his brief return to Detective just never rose above competent. When Williams was drawing it, it was worth it, but these last three issues have been a waste. Too bad.

One panel of awesome:

Maggie Sawyer is hard core!

Maggie Sawyer is hard core!

FantasticFour577Fantastic Four #577 (“Prime Elements 3: Universal Inhumans”) by Jonathan Hickman (writer), Dale Eaglesham (artist), Paul Mounts (colorist), and Rus Wooton (letterer). $2.99, 23 pgs, FC, Marvel.

Speaking of disappointing comics (man, I’m grumpy today, aren’t I?), we get the third in the four-part “Prime Elements” story, which is an arc in name only (in the letters column, Hickman even uses quotes to describe it) and continues to be fairly dull. Hickman, another solid writer, seems to be having difficulty transitioning to ongoing series. His mini-series packed some punch, narrative-wise, because he was constrained by space and needed to, you know, get to the point. It’s obvious on FF (and Secret Warriors, the latest issue of which I still haven’t gotten) that he’s setting up a ton of stuff for the long-term, but in the short-term, the comics don’t have to be so boring. You know what happens in this issue? Our heroes head to the moon and listen to a lecture about how the Inhumans are uniting the various races created by the Kree (including the Dire Wraiths, which surely means ROM can’t be far behind, right, Marvel?*) and are going to, well, take over the Earth. I mean, it’s supposed to be all dramatic and shit, but dear lord, it’s a dull road to walk. This is an info-dump issue, and while I’m not opposed to info-dumps in theory, when they tell us so little and waste so much space, I get grumpy. This is gorgouesly illustrated by Eaglesham, which mitigates it a bit, but it’s obvious that Hickman has been building to something that may or may not get resolved next issue (technically, the “end” of the “arc”), and while that’s admirable, you have to make the journey as good as the destination, don’t you? The pacing of Hickman’s run so far is really off, and it makes the book far less interesting than it ought to be, what with all the big ideas he’s throwing out there. The problem is that he seems to have nothing but big ideas, and when he tries to do some nifty character work, it doesn’t work too well. When you’re reading a superhero comic, the one thing you shouldn’t be is bored, and this is boring. Next issue will probably be my last (I do want to finish the arc, at least). I can’t imagine it changing my mind, but maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised.

* I wonder if Hickman put the Dire Wraiths in the book to cruelly taunt Chris Sims with its (legally mandated) lack of ROM. That would be mean.

One panel of awesome:

You'd hit it.

You'd hit it.

FVZA3FVZA #3 (of 3) by David Hine (writer), Beau Flynn and Tripp Vinson (conceivers), Roy Allen Martinez (layouter), Wayne Nichols (penciller), Kinsun Loh (painter), Jerry Choo (painter), Richard Starkings (letterer), and Jimmy Betancourt (letterer). $4.99, 48 pgs, FC, Radical.

There’s quite a bit wrong with this issue, but I can’t stay mad at it. Nichols’ pencils over Martinez’ layouts with Loh’s and Choo’s paints make this look like many of the other Radical books, which has its pros and cons. It’s a bit slick for me, but it also has a “realistic” sheen that makes the story of vampires a bit creepier. I didn’t read the second issue, but it’s easy to pick up what’s going on, and while Hine doesn’t really do too much new with the concept of vampires (or zombies, which don’t appear in this issue) – this feels a lot like the Blade trilogy – he’s a good horror writer, and he makes this entertaining, with a good resolution to the story. Some plot points are telegraphed, but Hine also does some nifty stuff with the characters. It’s not perfect, but it is a fun read. I’m not sure it’s worth 5 bucks, even though you get a well-produced package for your hard-earned cash. It’s frustrating because for that price, it really needs to blow you away. This is a decent comic, but it doesn’t blow you away.

One panel of awesome:

The old sword-through-the-head trick livens up any party!

The old sword-through-the-head trick livens up any party!

Godland31Gødland #31 (“Prophecy Plus”) by Joe Casey (writer), Tom Scioli (artist), Bill Crabtree (colorist), and Rus Wooton (letterer). $2.99, 20 pgs, FC, Image.

On the second page of Gødland #31, R@d-Ur Rezz says, and I quote, “This massive planetary gripper ship — built from the corpses of countless, armored space giants slain in a violent orgy of my own making — has your orbworld in its clutches!” Sentences like that remind me, once again, why I GODDAMN FUCKING LOVE FUCKING COMIC BOOKS!!!!! Why should I even write anything else about this issue? Once you read that sentence, you simply abandoned this post and ran out to your local comic book shoppe and bought this issue, didn’t you? Well, you should have.

Oh, there’s more, including a stunning two-page spread, more cosmicity than should be allowed in a comic, Friedrich Nickelhead and the butterfly and the surprise guest star (which I’m still not revealing) deciding to save the world, and the Tormentor changing Basil into … something even more excellent. If you haven’t seen the cover to next issue, I won’t spoil it, but goddamn. Joe Casey and Tom Scioli must have vials of awesomeness that they inject directly into their motherfucking brains!!!!!!

One panel of awesome:

This would be a drug-addicted male skull attached to a woman's body being carried by mouse servants of the father of that woman, whose head exploded a while back.  Because COMICS!

This would be a drug-addicted male skull attached to a woman's body being carried by mouse servants of the father of that woman, whose head exploded a while back. Because COMICS!

SheHulkSensational1She-Hulk Sensational (“The She-Hulk Story That’s a Riff on Christmas Carol”/”Ladies’ Night”) by Peter David (writer, “The She-Hulk Story”), Brian Reed (writer, “Ladies’ Night”), Jonboy Meyers (artist, “The She-Hulk Story”), Iban Coello (artist, “Ladies’ Night”), Jim Charalampidis (colorist, “The She-Hulk Story”), Matt Milla (colorist, “Ladies’ Night”), Dave Sharpe (letterer, “The She-Hulk Story”), and Andrew Hennessy (letterer, “Ladies’ Night”). $4.99, 50 pgs + reprint of Sensational She-Hulk #40, FC, Marvel.

As much as I like Gary Frank and as much as I like the technical aspects of the cover, what the hell is going on? It appears that Jen is going to work, so I guess in the Marvel Universe, that’s what lawyers wear to work. Really? I mean, I don’t want to take it too seriously, because it’s just cheesecake, but I suppose I’ve reached the point where I look at the actual drawing than the spirit of it. I get the spirit of it, but Frank could have managed the spirit without making her look so, well, unprofessional. But that’s just me, I guess.

Anyway, despite that, this is a five-dollar comic that might actually be worth it. Peter David’s “anniversary” issue (about which She-Hulk is grumpy, as she doesn’t want to turn 30) is flat-out hilarious, and not with puns and those other things that people who don’t like David’s humor complain about, but just with good jokes. He goes the whole “Jen knows she’s in a comic” route that Byrne used so well, from Jen cruching up a narration caption to Spider-Man chiding her use of an obscene gesture that they can’t show in the book. Plus, we get Jen’s dentist, Dr. Doom (Bob Doom, that is), Stan Lee (see below), and a wonderful Ghost of She-Hulk Future. Meyers’ art is vibrant and energetic and only becomes distracting when he draws Jen’s boobs, which are apparently water balloons that she shoved under her shirt. But it’s a very funny story, nevertheless.

Reed’s back-up story puzzles me for one reason: It’s specifically placed before “Secret Invasion” and features Jessica Drew. Wasn’t Jessica a Skrull then? I kept waiting for Reed to drop a clue that she was an alien, but apparently he meant to set it long, long before “Secret Invasion” – as in, before Jessica was replaced. She’s apparently robbing a bank and Ms. Marvel and She-Hulk track her down, but it’s all a ploy to get close to Hydra. Mayhem ensues. I did like that the three ladies went to a club in “civilian” clothing and then, when the fit hits the shan, they change into their combat gear. Carol apparently has some sort of transformation process (sue me; I don’t keep up with how her power works) and I suppose you could make the case that Jen is wearing her costume under her skimpy clothes and when she hulks out, her clothes rip off, revealing her spandex (that is what happens, but based on what she was wearing to the club, it’s hard to see that her costume was hidden underneath), but I love that Jessica is shown wearing skimpy clothing and is pulling on yellow gloves when Hydra attacks, and in the very next panel, she leaps forward fully garbed in the red and yellow outfit. No time has passed, either, as they’re surrounded in one panel, and in the next her civilian clothes are flying out behind her and she’s pulling on her mask. When comics demand suspension of disbelief from their readers, they don’t mean that Galactus might come and eat the planet. They mean that heroes can change from regular clothes into skin-tight spandex with no visible zippers or snaps in the blink of an eye!

The reprint of John Byrne’s She-Hulk #40 is pretty hilarious, too. I’ve never read the issues from when Byrne returned to the book, but this makes me want to hunt them down. It’s the famous one in which Jen skips rope for the first four pages, seemingly in the nude (until editor Renée Witterstaetter shows up to stop her) and features Byrne’s new use of duo-shade paper … until halfway through the book, when he drops a note into the panel telling us he ran out. It’s a very funny issue, and it’s nice that Marvel reprinted it (because God forbid they collect those later Byrne issues in a trade).

This is the same price as FVZA, but it feels meatier. If you have to spend five bucks on a single issue this week, I’d definitely go with this one. Of course, I’d also tell you to buy two issue of Gødland instead of either, but that’s just me.

One panel of awesome:

Superhero comics are all about modesty, after all!

Superhero comics are all about modesty, after all!

UnknownSoldier18Unknown Soldier #18 (“Dry Season Conclusion”) by Joshua Dysart (writer), Alberto Ponticelli (artist), Oscar Celestini (colorist), and Clem Robins (letterer). $2.99, 22 pgs, FC, DC/Vertigo.

Dysart ends this arc oddly, right in the middle of what seems like the climactic scene, but Moses is moving on to a different place and the murder mystery has been resolved, so I suppose it’s as good a place as any to end it. Dysart is really cranking up the insanity of our hero in this issue, and others are starting to notice and make plans accordingly. There’s a beautiful scene where Moses tells his young charge, Paul, that he can’t come with him anymore because he’s going to do some bad things, and Dysart does a nice job showing that Moses can’t even trust his own senses any longer.

This is a gripping read that gets better with every issue, as Dysart becomes more confident with his storytelling and Ponticelli continues to bring the situations to horrific life. It’s impressive that Moses can be so expressive when his entire face is covered with bandages, but Ponticelli makes it work. I’m not sure if he’s going to continue with this kind of style (I believe he’s not inking the pages and letting Celestini color them from pencils, but I can’t remember and can’t be bothered to check), but I’m getting used to it. He mentioned on the Vertigo blog a while back (I think it was there) that he was doing it to match the tone of the arc, so I don’t know if he’ll return to heavier lines and more angular art after this. Right now, I like the old style a bit more and think it fits the book better, but this style worked well for this pseudo-noir tale and I’ve gotten more used to it.

Either way, this continues to be a quiet comic that is getting better each time out. Don’t sleep on Unknown Soldier, people!

One panel of awesome:

Oh, Moses, you crazy fruitcake!

Oh, Moses, you crazy fruitcake!

I think it’s about time to check out The Ten Most Recent Songs Played On My iPod (Which Is Always On Shuffle):

1. “The Last Mile” – Cinderella (1988) “Monkeys on my back I gotta find a better way”
2. “Rush” – Big Audio Dynamite (1991) “But life just carries on even when I’m not there”
3. “Hey, Johnny Park!” – Foo Fighters (1997) “Everything fades in time, it’s true”
4. “Common People” – Pulp (1995) “I said pretend you’ve got no money, she just laughed and said, ‘You’re so funny’”
5. “Promises Of Eternity” – Magnetic Fields (1999) “What if we all got jobs and got to bed before dawn?”
6. “Shake Me” – Cinderella (1986) “In the morning we were still going strong”
7. “Inside Information” – Foreigner (1987) “Get hooked on the power, gotta stay in the game”1
8. “Summer’s End” – Foo Fighters (2007) “I had that dream again that the sun was dead”
9. “Walk This Way” – Aerosmith (1975) “There was three young ladies in the school gym locker and I noticed they was looking at me”2
10. “The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway” – Genesis (1974) “There’s something moving in the sidewalk steam”

1 Yes, there was never a time when I wasn’t uncool, and this, I think, proves it.
2 The first time I ever heard this song was when Run-DMC covered it. In fact, I had never heard of Aerosmith before that. Chew on that for a while.

How about some totally random lyrics?

“I heard a song today
Reminded me of Spain
We were the innocent in springtime
I never liked you much
We never keep in touch
I know your stories from the grapevine
And though I found it strange
To watch the change
When what you couldn’t say was
Look at me, look at me”

If you haven’t been checking out Chad Nevett’s month-long look at artists who have interpreted the scripts of Warren Ellis, you really ought to, because it’s quite a good read. Start here. The only suggestion I would have made to Mr. Chad is that I wished he had looked at some artists from before Ellis was “Warren Ellis” – Lazarus Churchyard or some early Marvel stuff, for instance. I don’t know if Chad actually has those, but it would have been neat to see how the artists interpreted Ellis before he was fully developed as a writer. Otherwise, it was a great read throughout the month!

It’s April Fool’s Day (or is it April Fools’ Day?), but I don’t think I can ever top my prank from two years ago, so you’ll just have to be satisfied with straight-up comics reviews. Sorry!

40 Comments

I had never heard of Aerosmith before Run-DMC either. I was amazed when I found out they were the ones that sang that “Dream On” song I always liked. When I saw them for the first time outside of the Run-DMC video, I thought “Hey, it’s those white guys from the Walk This Way video. Ah, youth.

Greg — I have Lazarus Churchyard and a few early Ellis comics, but not many. I did consider LC, but discarded it for… no real reason. I think I went with Hitch and the first four issues of The Authority instead on the advice of Tim. There’s always next year, where I think having three days in a row of LC, Transmet, and Doktor Sleepless would be rather nice.

HOLY CRAP, THE FINAL VOLUME OF PLUTO IS OUT?!

*Runs to the store to buy a copy.*

Rucka himself gives us no markers to indicate who the hell Bette Kane is. It’s not like Batman, where we can assume someone reading Detective Comics might – just might – know the deal with Batman. Why the hell should I know who Flamebird is?

You know what’s sad? He’s not really riffing on Bette Kane/Flamebird. He’s riffing on Betty Kane, once known as Bat-Girl.

What’s sadder is that I knew that from the moment she showed up, as did all of us that checked out Batman From the 30s to The 70s from the library when we were young.

For such an accomplished crime writer, Greg Rucka does occasionally have his Geoff Johns-ish OCD fanboy moments — not only does Kathy Kane, Batwoman necessitate the return of Betty Kane, Bat-Girl, but when he was on Adventures of Superman he had Mr. Mxyzptlk show up every 90 days, too. It always makes me think, “I don’t care how badass Queen and Country was, mr. Rucka, you are clearly just as nerdy as the rest of us.”

I’d love to have that Creeper HC, but I might have to settle for the Showcase.

Is that Amanda Ghost in the totally random lyrics? Did I read somewhere recently that she’s the head of Epic Records or some such now?

Now I’m going to resume sopping up the diet coke that I spit all over my laptop when I got to your caption for the FF panel of awesome…

What I would give to have never heard of Aerosmith…

Chad: You have to stop listening to Tim. He’s the DEVIL!!!!! I look forward to another round next year, though.

Greg: Yeah, I saw the whole messy history of Betty/Bette Kane when I was forced to look her up on Wikipedia. Sheesh.

I thought those Amanda Ghost lyrics would be a bit harder to identify! Damn. I don’t know her current status, sir, although I know she was working on a follow-up album for years and I don’t think it was ever finished. Too bad – I really like Ghost Stories. Sorry about your computer!

DAMN IT!!
Greg, how did you get a hold of Pluto vol. 8? It’s not out in Canada until April 6th! Is it out earlier in the States? Oh well, I got myself 20th Century Boys vol. 7 so i’ll be ok. What a bummer though.

Mario: Beats me. I thought it was supposed to be out two weeks ago! Manga release dates seem to be somewhat flexible, and my comic book store only orders them for me, I think (and they never stock them), so I don’t question when a volume shows up. I just take it and run!

I know we all have the one comic we would kill to write. Mine is The Creeper. (Yeah, Hawkeye is my favorite character, but he belongs in The Avengers, and I don’t want to write The Avengers.)

The Creeper is just such a great character who has never been done right since his initial run.

I had no idea there was going to be a She-Hulk one-shot, but there it was in the store, so I had to grab it. And I never, ever spend five dollars for a single book! But it was Peter David, and She-Hulk, and incredibly thick, and the cover was cute. (Her outfit’s not that inappropriate, is it? I wouldn’t know. I’ve never had an office job in my life.)
I think it really is worth the money. The Peter David story alone is worth a normal three-dollar price, maybe even a four-dollar value. And the rest is good, too.
You mention the Reed story being set specifically before Secret Invasion, but failed to mention that the David story takes place exactly after the last story you read, and before the next one. It says so clearly. I read an old issue immediately afterwards deliberately to cause a time paradox. If the Universe falls apart soon, it’s because of me.
I didn’t get the Ghost of She-Hulk Future. I guess it’s a reference to something I’ve never heard of.

I saw some reference to that Byrne jump-rope story somewhere on this page within the last few months. I’d never heard of it before. I didn’t expect that I’d get to read it so soon. It is funny.
Until I read this story, I had no idea that duo-shade required special paper.

I think I’ve got it straight now. You’re the other Greg.

Pluto volume 8? I had no idea it was out. I should get it soon.

Mary: Without spoiling the Peter David story, it does have something to do with his run on the Incredible Hulk, which ended over a decade ago, so it’s kind of old. And that caption about when the story takes place was quite funny. The Byrne story was referenced in Girl Comics, and I believe Kelly Thompson spoke of it here a few weeks back. It’s all over the place!

But … but … I’m the Original Greg!!!! :)

I know. You told me last week.

I wish I were an original. I’m just a third-generation Xerox-replicant clone of Bob Layton. (Even my comics references are old!)

You have to stop listening to Tim. He’s the DEVIL!!!!! I look forward to another round next year, though.

He kind of is, yeah. But, whenever I have a bad idea (one that makes me act like an asshole), he always tells me to do it. He’s a good guy like that: he tells me to do what he’ll find entertaining with little or no care for how it will affect me later. A prince among men that Tim Callahan.

Andrew Collins

April 1, 2010 at 9:54 pm

I have to admit, I don’t get the complaint about Betty’s storyline in Detective. Complaining that a DC superhero comic is too continuity-driven is like complaining a candy bar has too many calories. You buy one pretty much knowing you’re going to get the other whether you want it or not.

I’ll admit, I’m a big DC geek, so Betty/Flamebird was not a big mystery to me, nor did I mind her storyline. Could Rucka have contextualized her appearance a little more? Eh. Maybe. But I felt like we were given everything you needed to know for the story he was telling. She’s Kate’s cousin. She used to be a superheroine. She wants to be one again.

Also, like Greg H. said, she’s the modern incarnation of the old 1950′s pre-Barbara Gordon Batgirl, so yes, she does actually have ties to Detective Comics, no matter how old or obscure they may be.

And really, what is DC doing these days but one BIG re-invention of the Silver Age and most of its status quo…?

Greg, what was this prank 2 years ago?

I think She-Hulk’s outfit on the cover of the one-shot is supposed to imply that she put it on as Jennifer Walters and that it’s so small because it’s, well, too small for She-Hulk. Especially if you look at the shoes, I get the impression that it’s supposed to be not just small but too small for her.

I only barely know who Flamebird is (I actually thought she was killed off in Identity Crisis or something, but that might have been a different, similar character. Or she could have come back, or it could be a new Flamebird or whatever. Now that I think about it, she might have been there when Firestorm died, as opposed to dying herself … my memory sucks) but I didn’t think it required as much prior knowledge simply because all I thought you needed to take away from the scene was “She wants to be Batwoman’s Robin equivalent” which doesn’t even require that she be a pre-existing character. The last scene would have worked just as well (possibly better) if she’d just pulled on a domino mask and said “I want in” instead of having a full costume on under her trenchcoat (I thought the same thing about the bulkiness of the costume, by the way. Maybe the flares are really flexible or something.)

For such an accomplished crime writer, Greg Rucka does occasionally have his Geoff Johns-ish OCD fanboy moments — not only does Kathy Kane, Batwoman necessitate the return of Betty Kane, Bat-Girl, but when he was on Adventures of Superman he had Mr. Mxyzptlk show up every 90 days, too.

Oy gevalt. Yeah, I like most of Rucka’s writing a lot, but the Mxy stuff was cringeworthy.

I thought the bit about Aerosmith and Run DMC was pretty normal. Out of interest, I just looked up wikipedia and my ignorance might be down to them not having a UK hit single in their own right until Love in an Elevator in 1989.

I, too, would like to know about this April Fool’s prank two years ago…

funkygreenjerusalem

April 2, 2010 at 7:06 am

What I would give to have never heard of Aerosmith…

What I would give to have never heard of you!

Actually, I do get where you are coming from – except for the fact they did Love In An Elevator.
Clapping on the track.
Hilariously juvenile sexual lyrics.
Tyler hums the riff!
Songs do not get better than that.

I think the April Fool’s prank was Greg discussing Todd McFarlane’s Torment arc on Spider-Man in Comics you Should Own.

It’s on the archives and it’s pretty hilarious.

@FGJ: I completely agree with you on both your statements.

It appears that Jen is going to work, so I guess in the Marvel Universe, that’s what lawyers wear to work. Really?

Having worked in corporate banking for the better part of a decade, I can verify that yes, what Jen is wearing is exactly the kind of thing attractive, high-powered female executives and bankers wear to the office (minus the jacket perhaps). And this is in the mid-west… who know what they wear in New York.

I had never heard of Aerosmith before Run-DMC either. I was amazed when I found out they were the ones that sang that “Dream On” song I always liked. When I saw them for the first time outside of the Run-DMC video, I thought “Hey, it’s those white guys from the Walk This Way video. Ah, youth.

Same here. For a long while I just thought they were random actors or studio musicians used for the video to play a random rock band rather than famous musicians in their own right.

Also, apparently we’re not alone. Steven Tyler has gone on record as saying the latter half of their career wouldn’t have happened without Run-DMC, as that collaboration was responsible for introducing them to a whole new generation of fans who were previously unaware of them. It’s hard to grasp now but the song actually helped Aerosmith in the long term even more than Run-DMC, as they got a two-decade extension of their career out of it.

The Dude is correct! I’m inordinately proud of that one. Here’s the link, in case you missed it.

All the people defending Rucka (and that’s fine, because I guess Bette/Betty is more famous than I thought) still don’t convince me that this is anything to hang a three-issue arc on. Again, who cares? If Bette wants to be Flamebird again, that’s cool. But everything about the revelation and the set-up was lacking in any kind of dramatic tension. That’s mainly what I was objecting to. The continuity stuff was annoying, but not a dealbreaker.

Interesting point about She-Hulk’s cover. I’ll give Frank the benefit of the doubt on that one!

John Byrne’s second run on She-Hulk is great, even better than the first (and much longer!). You should track it down, Greg.

When I did it, a few years ago, the issues were easy to find and quite cheap. Considering John Byrne’s unfortunate lack of popularity, I’m sure they still are!

Best,
Hunter (Pedro Bouça)

The Creeper is just such a great character who has never been done right since his initial run.

No love for the Kaminski/Martinbrough stuff? For shame. Great series.

Also, Greg: “Common People” is one of the three best songs ever recorded, I think. Hurrayyyyy.

Have you done a Pluto review before? I just started reading it and would be curious to see your take on it.I freaking love it,so far.

I’m getting to it as I continue my “Greg reviews every manga series he reads” posts. I too love it, and I knew it was ending with this volume, so I was waiting until the whole thing was complete to re-read the first seven volumes. I’ll probably get to it pretty soon.

funkygreenjerusalem

April 2, 2010 at 5:26 pm

“I said pretend you’ve got no money, she just laughed and said, ‘You’re so funny’”

My favourite lines ‘She told me that her dad was loaded, I said in that case, I’ll have rum and coco cola’.

Ugh. I just read the final installment to that three-parter in Detective. We finally agree on that book, Greg. I’d been enjoying the writing much more than you had — Alice was compelling as a villain even before the reveal; the Crime Bible cult has a lot of potential; and the origin “story” was really excellent. (Especially since it was basically three distinct chapters in her life that all led Kate to this place; I really like that approach.)

But this Cutter tale was just bleh, and by the end, it was awful. Jock couldn’t be bothered to barely sketch a background in half the pages. (I wish Kolins had drawn it all, too.) And while I figured we might see Bette in a costume since she first showed up in Gotham several issues ago (when Williams was drawing the book), I can’t believe he rushed to put her in said costume at the end of this arc. Completely unnecessary. That story would work way better a simmering subplot.

I’m still looking forward to a Batwoman ongoing with Rucka and Williams (for however long Willams can draw it), but I’d rather see her solo for a while, instead of saddled with some lame Flamebird.

Sorry, Bill. No love for the Kaminski/Martinbrough Creeper. It might have been great comics, but it wasn’t The Creeper. The Creeper isn’t insane. He pretends to be insane.

Ah, but if you spend too long pretending to be insane, you might just go crazy. I like the concept evolving into a study of madness, though I think a silly idea I had some years ago, to follow Creepers throughout the ages (as evidenced by the Vertigo mini-series), might be too out there. And Immortal Iron Fist beat me to it, anyway.

When I turned the page and saw what was clearly Kolins’ art, my heart sank. I flipped through the rest of the issue, checking to see if — maybe, just maybe — Jock was mixing up his style for no good reason for a few pages, but no: it was all Kolins. I nearly gave up then and there. I probably should have. I like Flamebird, but the arc truly was mediocre, a huge step down from “Elegy.”

What a lackluster swan song for Rucka.

“It appears that Jen is going to work, so I guess in the Marvel Universe, that’s what lawyers wear to work.”

Two words: Ally McBeal.

Hey Greg,

I just wanted to send you a quick comment- I am not a huge comic book guy (just started dipping my toes into the proverbial pond, to be honest), but I really enjoy your posts! You have an excellent blog, and even out of the video game blogs and websites I visit frequently, yours ranks up there as one of the most professional and informational. I am a writer for a video game review website, so I can appreciate the amount of time and dedication it takes to write something like this. Readers appreciate when someone is passionate about what they are writing about, and I can see the love you put into this blog. I am turning to you to figure out what “good stuff” is actually out there (since I know virtually nothing about comics).

Even though I probably sound like a jackass at this point, I just wanted to say thank you for your time in posting these, and I hope you keep them coming.

Respectfully,
~Branden

Branden: That’s very cool of you to write. It’s not just me, though – we have a lot of contributors (I’m not even the “owner” of the blog), and if you’re looking for cool comics to get, we have a lot of varying tastes!

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