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What I bought – 29 September 2010

Neither of the two people in the room paid any attention to the way I came in, although only one of them was dead. (Raymond Chandler, from The Big Sleep)

This is the end, my only friend, the end ... Pure, unadulterated awesome! Pulp at its pulpiest best! Yeah, I don't know what's going on either with this cover - I just enjoy the drawing! Oh, that's not going to end well There has to be a more efficient knife he can use! Man, I love Brereton's art! Daisy's wearing a push-up bra underneath that leather! Yes, I should have gotten this years ago, but at least I got it, right?

Atlas #5 (“The Return of the Three Dimensional Man Parts 6, 7, and 8″) by Jeff Parker (writer; artist, part 7), Ramon Rosanas (artist, part 6), Gabriel Hardman (artist, part 8), Jim Charalampidis (colorist, part 6), Elizabeth Breitweiser (colorist, parts 7 and 8), and Ed Dukeshire (letterer). $2.99, 25 pgs, FC, Marvel.

The final issue of Atlas feels a bit rushed, making me wonder if Parker had a six-issue arc planned that he jammed into five (he’s welcome to come dispute that if it’s not true). He wraps everything with the Echo World up, and I get the feeling that two of the prose pages were planned (there are three total) because they describe something that’s happening between the worlds, something that might visually be somewhat boring (everyone is, it seems, disembodied). Jimmy’s solution to the problem of the Echo Worlders is nice, because it’s always good to see a writer understand that maybe all solutions aren’t “punch something until it falls down,” but again, it feels a bit rushed. Finally, the fact that three artists complete this issue makes me wonder, too. I assume Breitweiser is the artist on the middle section, because the credits are unclear, and I wonder if she was a last-minute addition because Parker had to adjust the script and Hardman had already wandered off to do Hulk. Things like this keep me up at night, I tell you what.

It’s still a good arc, and I like how Parker takes some time to allow the characters to express why they like being part of the team. I miss solid scenes of characterization, and as Parker wraps up the series (for now, of course – I’m sure he still has those negatives of Joey Q with the one-armed, one-eyed Albanian midget and her three-legged goat), it’s nice to see why these fringe characters stay together. The trade should be available soon! Just in time for the relaunch, I would imagine.

One totally Airwolf panel:

When the rampaging Mongols respect you, you've totally made it!

Batman: The Brave and the Bold #21 (“The Menace Known as Robert”) by Landry Q. Walker (writer), Eric Jones (artist), David Rodriguez (colorist), and Travis Lanham (letterer). $2.99, 20 pgs, FC, DC.

I don’t wish to alarm you, but this issue might just be the best single issue of the year when it’s all said and done. I wish I were a tool like those thieves at scans_daily, because then I would just scan every single page of this issue and let you read it yourself. I will say this – not one page goes by without at least two awesome things happening on it. If you don’t believe me, consider: The issue begins with the caption box “Meanwhile …” Batman’s life is so awesome we have to arrive in the middle, because he never gets any down time from it being awesome! He’s fighting (well, actually, being beaten up by) the Dinosaur Gang, and he narrates this about them: “The Dinosaur Gang used to be disorganized, easy to predict and easier to outwit. Probably because their brains are the size of walnuts.” But then King Rex (who actually wears a crown, plus an ascot, slippers, and a smoking jacket, like some royal reptilian Hugh Hefner) took over and made them tougher. Unfortunately for him, Batman has back-up … the Lady Blackhawks, who fly in, wearing their jet-packs, and turn the tide. Batman narrates again: “But King Rex and his gang sealed their own fate when they tried to steal a dangerous de-evolution machine. Besides, every time I start to feel guilty I consider the fact that I’m fighting a guy with a dinosaur head … and that I’m being assisted by a group of highly trained and extremely beautiful female soldiers wearing jet-packs.” Which leads to this panel:

Damn straight, Bats!

And that’s just three pages into the comic. THREE PAGES!!!!!!

It’s not even the main story, which involves a sentient meteoroid named Robert (yes, Robert) landing on Earth and trying to take over. Bats calls Hal Jordan, who’s a bit late (see below), but still ready to help. As Bats points out, Robert tells them how to defeat him, it’s just a question of making it happen. Of course, Batman and GL defeat him, but along the way, we get intense action and very, very funny humor, and the final page will make milk shoot out of your nose and probably some other orifices as well. Walker’s script is hilarious but also heart-felt, as Batman narrates how lucky he is to have Hal as a friend – he’s in a bit of a pickle at the end, but he doesn’t worry because Hal, the greatest Green Lantern, has his back. And Jones’s art is phenomenal – it’s been good the other times I’ve picked up the series, but two things are different – the better paper the Johnny DC books are now printed on (hence the price hike, I assume) and Rodriguez coloring the art (unless Rodriguez was coloring the art before while working for Hi-Fi Colour Design, which used to do the book). The art is vibrant, dynamic, detailed, and exciting. It’s perfect for the book.

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I know I’ve raved about the Johnny DC books before, and some of you who actually read them agree with me. Can we all be wrong, people? This is an amazing issue, and if you’re the least bit bummed out by the drudgery of superhero books, this will make that all go away. Walker never takes it too seriously, but he still gives us wild action and actual menacing bad guys, and even though he points out that Batman will win in the end, don’t we know that about every superhero book? It just makes it more fun when Batman isn’t terribly worried even as Robert drags him into deep space. There’s a great line (which I don’t want to spoil) when Hal asks Bats why on Earth he had something ridiculously obscure, and Batman answers, “In case I ever needed it.” Batman – always thinking ten years ahead of the rest of us! If you liked the Batman from Morrison’s JLA Classified #1-3, this is an even more fun version of that. I really don’t know how you can resist this issue!

One totally Airwolf panel (out of many, many that I could have picked, and do you like how I managed to sneak two into this post?):

But ... but ... it doesn't happen to ME!

Bullet to the Head #4 (of 6) by Matz (writer), Colin Wilson (artist/letterer), Chris Blythe (colorist), and Chris Caniano (letterer). $3.99, 26 pgs, FC, Dynamite Entertainment.

The series continues, as Matz brings two unlikely people together – a hitman and a cop – to solve the puzzle of why all these high-profile targets are being gunned down. It has been interesting to see how Matz does this, as he’s taken his time to get here, which makes it more satisfying. In big-budget movies or television shows where we get a mismatch like this, the alliance often feels contrived because it’s more about what happens once the two people team up. For Matz, that’s just part of the bigger story – both men realize they don’t really have any other options, so they’re forced into this a bit. The biggest problem with this series, something I recognize as a “me” problem, is that there are a lot of cast members and it’s somewhat difficult for me to keep track of them. Someone dies early on in this issue, and while I know who it was, I wonder if the death was more important than it looks – it seems suspicious, and I might be missing something. The two new allies use a lot of names, too, and I’m not sure if I’m following all of them. Some I can figure out because of the context (I didn’t know the name of the guy on the boat, for instance, until this issue), but I’m not sure if I’m remembering correctly. Again, that’s my problem, and as this is supposed to be read in bigger chunks (I’m not sure how it was released in Europe, but I know it probably wasn’t as six issues), I’m sure it fits better when you read it all at once. Other than that, it’s a relatively quiet issue, as Matz moves his pieces to different places and sets up an endgame. Still, it’s a pretty dense read – it’s nice even when the action takes a back seat that we still get so much to chew on.

Oh, and Wilson’s art is really good. You already knew that, though.

One totally Airwolf panel:

I wish I was fly!

Casanova #3 (Détournement”/”Coldheart”) by Matt Fraction (writer), Gabriel Bá (artist), Cris Peter (colorist), and Dustin K. Harbin (letterer). $3.99, 39 pgs, FC, Marvel/Icon.

It’s fun reading these issues four years after I originally read them, because while I remember the general plots, I’ve forgotten some of the details, and so re-reading them is a series of “Oh, yeah, that happened, and how cool was that?” sort of thing. I remembered the tribe living on the remote island who doesn’t want to have any contact with the outside world, but I had forgotten the cool thing they do with space and time and how Bá illustrates it. I remembered the meditating guy but forgot about Casanova and Zephyr’s bet about who could steal the ruby. So it’s fun getting a second dose of Casanova, because in some ways, it’s like reading them for the first time. (Yes, I’m aware that I have the back issues sitting in a long box in the garage and I could easily pull them out and read them whenever I want to. I do have some responsibilities in the real world, you know! I can’t sit around in my underwear watching Tosh.0 and flicking through back issues with Cheeto-stained fingers all day, you know! Why, today I had to drive to an office and drop off a piece of paper, and that took me a good twenty minutes. What do you think of that, Judgey McJudgerson? Huh?)

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It’s also cool re-reading these with a vague knowledge of what’s going to happen, because I misremembered the series a bit. I knew “Gula,” the second arc, had more heart-wrenching moments in it, but I had forgotten some of those emotionally-charged moments from “Luxuria,” as when Casanova discovers a way to keep his mom safe. It’s nice re-discovering those because it makes Fraction’s writing all the more impressive – he’s giving us such awesome action moments but never forgetting that Casanova has some very human problems. It makes reading this a more rewarding experience than just trying to keep up with Fraction’s craziness. While issues #8-14 (of the original series) were packed with tense, emotional moments, “Luxuria” has them as well. That had slipped my mind a bit.

What I’m saying is that Casanova is awesome. More awesome than I remember, if that’s possible. But now I gotta find me some Cheetos. If you’ll excuse me for a minute …

One totally Airwolf panel:

It's funny because he's a tool!

Chew #14 (“Just Desserts Part 4 of 5″) by John Layman (writer/letterer), Rob Guillory (artist/colorist), Steven Struble (color assistant), and Chris Fenoglio (color assistant). $2.99, 20 pgs, FC, Image.

I may have mentioned this before, but the great thing about Chew is that it never takes itself too seriously. Much of this is due to Guillory’s art, which is impossible to take too seriously, but it also comes from Layman’s scripts, which recognize the wackiness of comics and embraces it without denigrating it. Chew is a strange comic, no doubt about it, but because Layman makes the characters play it pretty much straight while winking at the audience that the situations are completely insane, it ratchets up the humor but also keeps us honest, so when something truly “real” happens, we’re not really ready for it and it hits us harder. Take, for instance, the end of this issue, where Amelia discovers something about Tony. What she discovers is ludicrous to us, but in context of their relationship, it’s devastating, and we feel it much more deeply than if Layman had tried to be earnest. Guillory sells it, too – Amelia’s horror and Tony’s sadness are real emotions, not something that the artist copies from photographs and tries to sell us. So while we’re not taking the comic seriously, Layman comes in and makes us realize that not taking it seriously makes the serious parts hit harder.

Guillory, as I mentioned, gets in on the act. His wall decorations are always fun to read, and then, in this issue, he shows Mason Savoy in disguise … as Hollis Mason, mechanic (as his name tag proclaims). Mainstream superhero books rarely do this – make inside jokes that don’t advance the plot any or even distract from the narrative (meaning if someone didn’t get the joke, it wouldn’t ruin the book for that person) but are fun for those who get them. We used to see this – who can forget Jubilee’s wacky “Robin” costume? – but as comics have gotten more “serious,” writers have forgotten that they can also be fun. Even something like Atlas, which is a rollicking old-school adventure comic (and is better for it), takes itself very seriously (except for Ken Hale, who’s the comic relief). I certainly don’t mind comics taking themselves seriously, but the fact that if the Avengers suddenly had a pie fight, readers would complain because it’s too silly makes me sad (hey, maybe they wouldn’t complain – maybe Bendis could try it!). Layman and Guillory have done some very serious things with Chew, but they also understand that not everything in life is grim. As I exit the soapbox, I will conclude by saying that the next issue of Green Lantern should feature Hal and Guy jello-wrestling. That would allay all my concerns. To paraphrase Candace Flynn, “Burgas is out … peace!”

One totally Airwolf panel:

It's funny because he's fat ... and graceful!

Driver for the Dead #2 (of 3) by John Heffernan (writer), Leonardo Manco (artist), Kinsun Loh (painter), Jerry Choo (painter), and Todd Klein (letterer). $4.99, 48 pgs, FC, Radical Comics.

Okay, I’m back. The Cheetos are gone, the soapbox is once again filled with soap, and we’re moving on!

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I received this from the groovy folk at Radical, which is always nice of them. I didn’t get issue #1, which is actually not a bad thing, because I’m always curious to see if I can figure out what’s going on without the benefit of the first issue. The recap of this comic helps quite well, as we learn that when someone needs to transport a “dangerous” corpse in Louisiana, they call one man – Alabaster Graves, the Driver for the Dead! (Really? Alabaster Graves? I mean, when your mother gives you that name, can you do anything else but drive a hearse and transport dead bodies? And doesn’t “alabaster” sound kind of girly? How often did that dude get beat up in school? Then he joined the army, and I have to believe that his friendly-fire wounds – he has two – were because his platoon mates couldn’t deal with his name. Man, that’s a terrible name. Alabaster Graves? Sheesh.) Alabaster’s latest “client” is Mose Freeman, a very old voodoo priest, and as we learn in this issue, some 200-year-old dude wants to steal Freeman’s heart. That’s not all he wants – he’s been stealing body parts from various occult figures around Louisiana, all to keep himself alive, and Freeman’s heart would be the crown jewel of his latest collection. Of course, in this issue he gets Freeman’s body, and he kidnaps Freeman’s great-granddaughter as well, mainly because of her lineage (I won’t reveal it, because it’s a big part of the overall plot). So Alabaster needs to find the bad guy, kill him (using a unique weapon, something else I won’t get into), and save the girl. Go, Alabaster!

As with most Radical books, this is kind of a mixed bag. Manco, who’s a pretty good artist, manages to keep the art from looking too “digital,” which is an issue with a lot of Radical’s comics. The painting doesn’t do him any favors, but he still has a strong line and makes sure that the book flows well from one panel to the next. I’m fairly certain that Mose Freeman was based on Morgan Freeman (if I recall a preview I saw), but as he’s dead in this issue, it doesn’t matter, although it does make me wonder if the other characters are based on actors (in one panel, Alabaster looks vaguely like David Duchovny, but I don’t know how deliberate that was). As you know, I don’t like basing characters in comics on actors, but Manco is able to give the characters personality even if they are based on real people. I don’t love the art, but it’s better than a lot of what you see in Radical’s books.

Heffernan’s story is entertaining, but kind of annoying. He traffics in every “Louisiana cliché” you can think of, and by the time we get to the werewolf, I was ready to throw up my hands and walk away (but the werewolf isn’t mentioned until late in the issue, so I stuck it out). There’s nothing wrong with throwing voodoo and zombies and psychics and Marie Laveau into a comic that takes place in Louisiana, it’s just that it’s not surprising. If you had asked me what a horror comic set in Louisiana would have, I’d say voodoo, zombies, psychics, werewolves, and probably Marie Laveau and references to slaves getting raped by their masters. It’s like Heffernan had a “Louisiana checklist” and just went down ticking each thing off – he even puts stock car racing in this book! Yes, it’s entertaining to read. But it does get on your nerves after a while. Unless you really like “Louisiana clichés.” If so, this is the book for you!

I don’t know if I’ll get issue #3 (especially after this review!), but it would be nice if Heffernan could pull it all together well. The idea of some guy driving dead people where they need to go is actually a pretty cool idea (of course, Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service did it first, but that doesn’t mean it can’t work in other places, too) and could be interesting without the overwhelming reliance on stock horror tropes. We shall see what happens, shan’t we?

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One totally Airwolf panel:

Who doesn't love limericks?

Franken-Castle #21 by Rick Remender (writer), Dan Brereton (artist), Andrea Mutti (artist, back-up story), Luce Malisan (artist, back-up story), and Joe Caramagna (letterer). $3.99, 30 pgs, FC, Marvel.

The only reason I bought this issue is because Brereton + Monsters = Awesome. (That’s my kind of math!) I don’t have anything against Remender (Fear Agent is excellent, for instance), but I have such little interest in the Punisher and even less in the Punisher turning into Frankenstein’s Monster that I skipped everything before this. So that story arc has run its course, Remender is taking Frank back to the Marvel U. to take out the trash, and he needs to get Frank back to normal. He does this by sending him to Monster Island and … ignoring him? Yes, apparently, due to the Bloodstone (Bloodgem?) in Frank’s chest, he turns back into a human simply by resting for a few weeks. Well, that was anticlimactic. There’s no explanation – the recap page says that the Bloodstone gives its wielder incredible power, but it doesn’t say that it can regenerate you. Frank’s latest ally, Henry, claims that the Bloodstone will “heal” him, but, I mean, he’s made up of stitched-together body parts – it seems very odd that after a few weeks, he’s grown a new body and, it appears, a new head. I suppose that Remender really couldn’t figure out a better way to turn Frank back into a human being, and as cool as “Franken-Castle” sounded in his head, it wasn’t the greatest idea, so he waved his magic wand and turned Frank back into a human. I would have liked this issue a lot more if a giant human hand (representing Remender’s) had come from off-panel and just changed him back. It’s comics, man!

So the rest of the plot is Elsa Bloodstone and the Legion of Monsters trying to get Frank to give up the stone in his chest voluntarily, because it reacts to the person in which it’s embedded and is making Frank crazier and crazier for revenge on everyone, not just bad guys. They succeed. The end. Mainly, this is a showcase for Brereton, who can draw monsters like absolutely nobody else in the business, and does so with some relish. Frank wanders around Monster Island killing big-ass dinosaurs and monkey things, and then the Legion and Elsa show up and he fights them for a while. Look at that cover and imagine 22 pages of that – if you like that cover, you’ll love the issue. Brereton has a lot of fun with the book (at one point Frank puts Man-Thing’s severed arm on Elsa’s face – fun stuff like that!), and it shows. And then, in the back-up story, Frank is back in New York killing bad guys, and my interest in Punisher comics drops off to zero once more. Oh well.

Still, it’s always fun to see Brereton cut loose. So this is almost worth it, even though it’s four bucks. It’s a gorgeous comic, and more fun than it probably should be!

One totally Airwolf panel:

Everyone loves Monster Island!

Secret Warriors #20 (“Night Part 1″) by Jonathan Hickman (writer), Mirko Colak (artist), Imaginary Friends Studio (colorist), and Dave Lanphear (letterer). $2.99, 21 pgs, FC, Marvel.

Why Marvel editors need to work harder, Exhibit A: In this issue, Leviathan, caught up in its war with HYDRA, destroys the Space Needle in Seattle. Fine. Marvel books are often not set in Seattle, but how much do you want to bet that in five years, if another writer sets a scene in that fair city on Puget Sound, we see the Space Needle? With no explanation like “Boy, Damage Control sure did a nice job rebuilding the Space Needle”? I’m just sayin’. Someone needs to keep track of all the damage in the Marvel Universe. Would a database be that difficult to set up?

Nick and his gang attempt to take advantage of the Leviathan-HYDRA war by hitting both of them, hard, but as we know, there’s a mole inside Fury’s organization, so when they arrive at “Gehenna,” a HYDRA base, the bad guys are waiting for them. Shit, as they say, hits the fan. And it sucks to be them.

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As we hurtle toward the end of the series, it’s nice to see Hickman bringing things together – not a ton happens in this issue, as it’s the first of the arc, but so much has already been set up that there’s a nice growing sense of doom to the proceedings. I’m not as big a fan of Colak’s work as I am of Caselli’s or Vitti’s, but it’s serviceable. His figures are a bit too blocky for my tastes, but it’s not bad art by any means. He’s not asked to do too much, so we’ll see what it’s like going forward.

As always, this is an intriguing series. I’m interested to see how Hickman brings it all to a close.

One totally Airwolf panel:

Yeah, that's gotta suck

De: Tales by Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá (writers/artists). $19.99, 112 pgs, BW, Dark Horse.

It’s in a nice hardcover edition! Yippee!

So Tony Curtis died today (it’s also the 55th anniversary of James Dean’s death, so there’s that). I know he did a ton of movies, but I’m sure most people of my generation will remember him as Jamie Lee Curtis’s dad. I have a distinct memory of Tony Curtis, and it wasn’t even about him – the minister who performed my marriage looked like him, and my wife and I were glad he didn’t sound like him, too, or we would never have made it through the ceremony without cracking up.

The new television season has its first casualty – Fox’s Lone Star, a rather surprising cancellation. It’s surprising not because it’s a good show or a bad show – as According to Jim proved, quality is no predictor of how long a show lasts – but because Fox promoted it so heavily. I figured with such a push, even if it was tough sell it would have lasted a little longer. I watched the first episode and it was okay. Nothing great, but not terrible, either. At least it wasn’t another cop/lawyer/doctor show. Sheesh. It got 4 million viewers the first week and 3.2 million the second. And it got cancelled. And top-selling comics are humbled a bit once again.

As for the rest of the new season – the premiere of House was boring; Running Wilde was terrible (which is a shame, because the actors are fine, but the writing was awful); Hawaii Five-0 was saved by the great locales, Scott Caan, and Grace Park in a bikini (and who is Alex O’Loughlin sleeping with to keep getting work – he’s a lousy actor and he’s not especially pretty, so it must be his prowess in the bedroom); The Event was an intriguing mess (I haven’t watched the second episode yet, but I can’t believe it’s going to last long); Undercovers wasn’t bad but is more notable for having two black leads playing happily-married, upper-middle-class people; and I haven’t gotten around to watching some of the other new shows. Oh, and I loved the one episode of Boardwalk Empire that I watched, even though it’s a lot like every other HBO show, just in a different location. Still, you have to love Steve Buscemi. And, because of the commenters here a few weeks ago, I watched the season premiere of Community, and you’re right – it’s pretty funny, much better than the few early episodes I watched last year. I imagine the dude pretending it’s a television show would get annoying, and I don’t love Betty White as much as everyone else on the planet seems to, but it was still pretty funny. Chevy Chase’s brief “Batman and Shaft” routine was almost worth the price of admission, and the Toto mash-up over the end credits was pretty awesome.

Enough of television talk! Let us gaze upon The Ten Most Recent Songs Played On My iPod (Which Is Always On Shuffle):

1. “If I Only Had Time” – Godfathers (1988) “Things ain’t what they used to be, Cary Grant’s on LSD”
2. “Past the Mission” – Tori Amos (1994) “Hey they found a body, not sure it was his but they’re using his name”
3. “Summertime Rolls” – Jane’s Addiction (1988) “If you want a friend, feed any animal”
4. “Just a Man” – Faith No More (1995) “And every night I shut my eyes so I don’t have to see the light”1
5. “Swordfish” – Dead Milkmen (1985) “Why should we buy postage stamps – we can make our own”
6.”One of the Three” – James (1993) “It’s a shame you got so famous for a sacrifice”
7. “P Control” – Prince (1995) “Pussy got bank in her pockets before she got dick in her drawers”2
8. “Say Something” – James (1993) “Amongst friends, but all alone”
9. “Freedom” – George Michael (1990) “I went back home got a brand new face for the boys at MTV”3
10. “Reckless (Don’t Be So)” – Australian Crawl (1983) “Feel like Scott of the Antarctic, base camp too far away”

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1 As much as I love this song, it has to be one of the odder ones recorded by a relatively hard rock band, as it seems like more of an Andrew Lloyd Webber-on-meth kind of tune. Like it would be the final song of a musical that Webber wrote after going bankrupt and finding out his wife was sleeping with Uruguay’s Olympic fencing team or something.
2 This is the best song on the last great Prince album. I know some people think the last great Prince album came out in 1987, but they’re wrong. It’s very odd that the last great Prince album came out 15 years ago. Well, it is to me, at least.
3 Whenever I hear this song, besides turning up the volume and singing along at the top of my lungs (don’t you?), I always think about how perfectly it captured the zeitgeist of 1990. I mean, if you sit down and watch the video and listen to the lyrics and the music, it’s amazing how the prison-bound Mr. Panayiotou, at 27 years old, was able to sum up the 1980s, the relationship of recording artists to MTV, the coming rejection of said relationship by less image-conscious bands, the ridiculous contradictions of pop musicians rejecting that image, plus a new, less sterile musical aesthetic. Consider the lyrics juxtaposed with gorgeous, air-brushed models: It’s a faux rebellion, to be sure, but the fact that George Michael, of all people, highlighted the artificiality of bands rejecting fame makes this a glorious statement about everything wonderful and magical and contradictory about pop music itself. For a brief moment, George Michael got it. Then he decided to have sex in a public toilet. And so it goes.

Shall we delve into Totally Random Lyrics? I think we shall!

“Here I stand, the goddess of Desire,
Set men on fire,
I have this power;
Morning noon and night, it’s drink and dancing,
Some quick romancing,
And then a shower;
Stage door johnnies always surround me,
They always hound me,
With one request …
Who can satisfy their lustful habits,
I’m not a rabbit!
I need some rest!”

Sing along – come on, you know the tune! And as September turns to October, let’s remember – it might be chilly where you are, but here it’s still in the high 90s/low 100s. Good times! Is it autumn yet?


Greg, I could have used an extra page there, but overall the story was the five issues like I wanted. I intended to do the disembodied scene as prose for the reason you say, it’s not a visual scene, so it’s a perfect place to do it (and homage the two page prose stories that comics used to do in the 50’s to qualify for magazine shipping rates).

But dude… I drew that middle world part! Me! Though Bettie certainly made it work better than I imagined!

You lurker, Parker! And damn, I should have known it was you – now that you mention it, it does look like your art, with damned good coloring. I will fix the credits!

Marvel should have thrown you five more pages. You’re the golden boy, man! They can afford it!

The “Lone Star” pilot was outstanding. Definitely one of the best pilots of the last few years. Anytime I can see some quality Marc Webb-directed material is fine by me. But, I could see the argument that the series really should have been a single film. Hopefully, there will be a DVD release down the line because there was a 13 episode order.

“I wish I were a tool like those thieves at scans_daily, because then I would just scan every single page of this issue and let you read it yourself.”

Dude, you are a tool, but for a completely different reasons.

The Ugly American

September 30, 2010 at 6:16 pm

Totally Airwolf comment, DrewT.

Glad you like the issue. It was one of the earliest I wrote, but was bumped back multiple times due to scheduling issues. Unfortunately, it’s the last issue for Eric and myself. But it was a really good note to go out on.

And to give credit where credit is due, after the fact I realized that the bit you mention at the end where Batman explains why he had something ridiculously obscure… I totally swiped that from Peter David, whom I have been heavily influenced by over the years. It wasn’t until it was too late that I was flipping through something and remembered that the same sequence was used when Rick Jones needed a reason to escape from some Skrulls. It was a horrible feeling, I have to admit.

So, again, credit where credit is due. that bit of creativity was very much Peter David’s, and borrowed by me. Inadvertently, but still the end result is the same.

Landry: I had forgotten about the Peter David thing too. It was, what, 20 years ago (at least 15), so I think it’s okay.

Ah… but my guilt is like a raw wound. Ah well. Anyway, thanks again for the review. Just in general it’s been a rough day. This made it much better.

Sold on Batman The Brave & The Bold!

Looks awesome, I’ll be going back to the shop for it. Nice post as always Greg.

I hate it when they destroy major landmarks in comic books.

I have no interest in the Punisher, either (I don’t mind an occasional guest appearance, but it shouldn’t happen often). But I am glad they finally returned him to normal, even if the method didn’t make much sense.

To the Godfathers– Things haven’t changed that much. Cary Grant was always on LSD; it just wasn’t publicised much in the old days. (It does really change the image I had of him before I found out, though.)

You don’t have an opinion of No Ordinary Family? I thought the first episode was pretty weak.
I’ve only seen four new shows, but Raising Hope looks the best so far.

I have mixed feelings about King for a Day as a whole, but if I even think of that album, it’s usually “Just a Man” or “Take This Bottle” that gets stuck in my head. Are you into any of Patton’s other stuff? I LOVE Mr. Bungle “California”. I always think of it as a secret Faith No More album.

Actually, Savoy isn’t fat. He’s either big-boned, or has well-developed upper chest muscles.

I’m hoping for a Chew spin-off series (or mini) showcasing Savoy.

Kelly: You won’t be disappointed!

Mary: I didn’t watch No Ordinary Family yet. I’m still catching up on last week’s premieres, so I’ll get to it one soon. I’ve heard good things about Raising Hope – I’ll probably watch the episodes this weekend.

Da Fug: Yeah, I like “Take this Bottle” a lot too. I’ve never gotten any Mr. Bungle stuff, although I heard some tunes by them back in the day.

I’m really surprised that you didn’t slam the art in Secret Warriors; from the redesign of the characters, the murky panels, and wanton race changes done to the cast, I would have thought you would have brought it up.

I’ve seen love, hate and passive reactions to Secret Warriors’ art this issue. I can’t wait to get my hands on the issue, but that panel in the article doesn’t look bad.

There are no menaces named Robert.

Totally Random Lyrics Answer: “I’m Tired” from Blazing Saddles.

Written by Mel Brooks and performed by the awesomeness that was Madeline Kahn.

Faith No More might be my favorite band if I were asked, but I don’t know if I really have a favorite. I respect the hell out of Mike Patton’s talent though. That guy just doesn’t stop creating.

In fairness to Alex O’Loughlin, Jack Lord’s McGarrett was even more one-note and Lord was less pretty. A more capable actor would ruin it. For me o’Loughlin’s stiff portrayal of McGarrett’s Batman-like monomania for justice is what makes it really Hawaii Five-O and not just a mashup of Bad Boys and The Untouchables. Steve McGarrett is the hammer of justice and Crime is his anvil. The Jack Lord McGarrett was the last of the great 60s fascist cops, before TV got all grown-up and character-oriented with Jim Rockford and Columbo and so on. I could go on and on but I’m starting to think it’s better left for a whole column.

Apart from that, I’m amazed it took that long for someone to get after you about scans_daily. I’m even more amazed it didn’t take over the whole comments section.

Man, I wish Secret Warriors could keep a consistent artist. I love Caselli’s work, came around to liking Vitti’s, but just can’t get behind Colak. Just ugly art in my opinion.

@Ben Diction The race/appearance changes caught me by surprise, too. Not in a good way…

The Bloodstone has been part of the Frankencastle plot almost from the beginning. A lot of explanation was given on the stone and its properties during the run and it wasn’t placed there just so the writer could turn Frank back to human. I think it is a poor criticism of the run. Also not sure what you expect from a summary page beyond what it gave you.

Also Brereton did at least one other issue in the run.

I don’t know for sure, but I’m willing to bet that the decision to return Frank Castle to normal – or as normal as a psychotic killer can be – was an editorial mandate, and not Remender’s decision. I think he was always eventually going to go back to normal, but editorial wanted Castle back as the plain old Punisher immediately so he could play a part in “Shadowland”.

I have loved the entire Franken-castle arc, and Remender’s run on the Punisher in general, but I also found the wrap-up pretty weak. I did not buy the deus ex machina of the Bloodstone completely fixing everything. Maybe there is some past continuity that shows that the Bloodstone is a magic healing talisman, but if there is, I’m not aware of it.

It would have been much better to have Wolverine give Frank a series of blood transfusions in return for sparing Daken’s life. Even that is slightly ridiculous, but its least its better than “all I had to do was hang out on Monster Island for a while” solution presented here.

This is from the Ulysses Bloodstone wikipedia entry:

“The Bloodstone also provides vast regenerative capabilities that enable him to rapidly regenerate damaged or destroyed bodily tissue with much greater speed and efficiency than an ordinary human. The more extensive the injury, the longer it takes for him to fully heal. Bloodstone’s healing ability is sufficiently developed to regrow severed limbs, which he has done at least once. On this occasion, Bloodstone enters a state of self-induced hibernation which lasts about 10 years.”

Someone at DC Comics needs to resurrect “The Amazing Bruce”.

Whoops, “The Mighty Bruce”. My bad.

I guess it’s been so long since I’ve heard the name.

Hmmm … I didn’t notice the race changes in Secret Warriors. Are you talking about Daisy? My biggest problem with the book has always been the supporting cast not being very memorable, so maybe I’m missing something. They look different, sure, but I didn’t notice anything wildly out of place with them.

Alemander: I looked up the Bloodstone on Wikipedia (which I hate having to do) and I know I was coming in completely cold, so I didn’t hold it too much against Remender. I was just confused about the way in which it regenerated him – he has what looks like a giant iron winch in his shoulder, so what the hell happened to that? Henry tells him he’ll “heal,” which is good enough for me, but it seems odd that they made such a big deal about him becoming “Franken-Castle” but didn’t do anything with him turning back into plain ol’ Frank Castle. That’s why I wish Remender’s hand had come down and changed him – that would have been keen.

Greg: Yeah, I know Lord was kind of dull. I guess it’s a change in perspective – these days, someone like McGarrett or Joe Friday is so out-of-date that when O’Loughlin does it, it feels like he’s parodying them. But I honestly think that’s how he acts.

Love that Brave and the Bold line. Whats especially fun is that it seems to be based on a couple covers to the original GL v2 run, issue 1 being the puppet and one of the laters being the devolution.

Now I am hunting for Lady Blackhawk Halloween costumes for my nieces because I just had to to buy them Batman Brave & the Bold this week..lol

I have to agree about the murky Secret Warriors art…. and I am not totally sure but is ********** dead??? I think Hydra and Leviathan’s forces are playing for keeps so a point blank shot would kill….

And come on, with everything Fury knows, you just GOT TO know he has an inkling about the mole and some of the betrayals. Why else would he set the Commandos on that death trap of a mission in the previous arc WITHOUT any super powered help?

7-8 issues left…and the teaser with the grasshopper/godkiller sword really has me counting down the days til the next issue

The Godfathers are such an awesome band. I think “This Damn Nation” is currently my favorite song, but it’s hard to tell.

My wife has been known to answer the phone, “Doffenschmertz Evil Incorporaaaaated.” I’m so glad my on has discovered Phineus & Ferb. It’s not just a funny cartoon, it’s miles above his previous favorites “Imagination Movers” and “The Fresh Beat Band.”

It’s funny how my 5 1/2 yr-old son sees/ reads superhero stuff. He watched the 1st Batman: The Animated Series Joker episode, and now sees the one-off clown robot (Captain Clown) from that episode as a major part of the Joker’s schtick. He saw the Batman: Brave & the Bold episode with Crazy Quilt, and thinks of CQ as a regular villain, not a lame joke. He likes Emma Frost, who I thought would have zero appeal to a kid too young to appreciate her, um, character development. It’s almost as if this super-hero stuff is supposed to be for kids, but that can’t be right…

The race thing was mostly Daisy and Yo-Yo. Last I remember, Yo-Yo was Puerto Rican. In the issue, she looks African. If you told me that she was a supporting character in Black Panther, I’d believe it. Daisy looks Asian the entire issue, and Eden looked about twice the size as his last appearance. This isn’t too bad, but considering that that panel should be a clear indication of each character’s appearance, the art should be much better.

Yeah, you sold me on the Batman: The Brave and the Bold issue. Hopefully my store still has a copy. I almost bought it too. I flipped through it and thought to myself, “That’s a lot of Lady Blackhawks! I like Lady Blackhawk . . .” Should have trusted my instincts, I guess!

Good to see that Mr. Parker and Mr. Walker keep an eye on your reviews.

I’m sold on the Batman Brave and Bold too. I know I’ve heard Landry Walker’s name before, but I can’t remember where.

Faith No More rules. I say this even though I’m a tool and only own The Real Thing and Angel Dust. But Patton rules. The first Mr Bungle and Disco Volante are both cool albums, and Fantomas “Suspended Animation” samples Bugs Bunny at the end! Even Peeping Tom wasn’t bad, more hip-hoppy than some of his stuff. But Norah Jones says “mother fucker” on the track she appears on on that album.

And it’s cool you listen to Tori, too.

Ben: Yeah, I see what you mean with regard to Daisy. I have a feeling it’s Colak’s style – even JT and Alexander look vaguely Asian, if you discount their hair color. That’s why it didn’t register too much with me. But now that you’ve pointed it out, I see what you mean.

Mike: My kids still like Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and other VERY kid-friendly stuff, but they also love Phineas and Ferb. Which makes me happy, because it cracks me up.

I, too, will have to buy this Brave & the Bold comic. After all, I love the show, and the comic seems even zanier. That’s almost too much zany. Is/Will this comic be collected anywhere? And would this make the best non-cavity-inducing Halloween treat?

I think you’re giving Franken-Castle short shrift. Yes, it sounds like an awful idea, but it’s been anything but– Remender’s been killing on that book, and it’s had the best art of any Marvel title. Tony Moore is even better than Dan Brereton. (Yes. Wanna fight about it?)

I’m certainly not going to argue the merits of Moore v. Brereton, because I like them both. From what I saw of Moore’s work on the title, I think getting Brereton to do the BIG MONSTER ISSUE was a good call, though.

I don’t have anything against Fraken-Castle, and I heard mixed things about it. I figure the reboot is editorially-mandated, but I still wonder where on earth Remender could have gone with Franken-Castle. I mean, short of killing him or never using him again, what do you do with it? I still think the “Hand of Remender” deus ex machina should have been on the table, damn it!

You want a giant hand to cure Frank Castle? A giant hand fixes the Space Needle whenever it’s broken. In other words, it’s comics!

Your TV mini-reviews were pretty accurate. I suspect I liked “The Event” a little more and “Undercovers” a little less. “Hawaii Five-0″ was watchable because of Scott Caan. “Raising Hope” was mediocre; “No Ordinary Family” was decent. The “Community” premiere stereotyped tribal societies and wasn’t the best example of the series.

Gilbert Hernandez’ story “BEM” in Love and Rockets #1 started with the word “meanwhile”, so Brave and the Bold isn’t exactly original. Nor does it produce the effect Hernandez achieved. Everyone already knows Batman, and B&B always starts in the middle of a fight (at least the TV show does), so it’s within the conventions of the series. The “meanwhile” was already implied in every previous story. But Hernandez started his very first published story with it.


I think what Remender really wanted to do with Frankencastle and got cut short on, was fight Marvel supervillains. There is an issue where he kills Lady Gorgon which seems to be the beginning of that (and is labeled Part One) but then the book goes straight to the Daken crossover. Disappointing. I think it’s fairly obvious the book had at least another 6 issues in it.

[…] What I bought â?? 29 September 2010 – Comic Book Resources What I bought â?? 29 September 2010Comic Book ResourcesNick and his gang attempt to take advantage of the Leviathan-HYDRA war by hitting both of them, hard, but as we know, there's a mole inside Fury's … Bing Oct 17, 2010 7:57am […]

Why heap crap on scans_daily? They are not thieves and they definitely cannot “just scan every single page of this issue and let you read it yourself.” There is a limit of pages that they can post. Their limit is more than yours, sure. But who are you to determine the line between thieves and ‘righteous reviewers’ like yourself. You posted 2 scans. Some would call you a thief too. Copyrighted material is copyrighted material, right? Many a member of scans_daily (like me) has been turned on to new series by reading it, so maybe if you don’t have anything nice (or constructive) to say.

…then don’t say anything. Especially if you don’t have your facts straight.

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