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CSBG Archive

What I bought – 22 December 2010

“You remember those birds that were getting sucked into the jet engines? Sometimes I lie in bed at three or four in the morning and I imagine myself flying miles above the earth, very cold, and one of those black secret spy planes is up there with the huge round engines with the spinning blades in it, the blades that look like the underside of mushrooms? The black plane’s going very fast and I’m going very fast in the opposite direction and we intersect, and I fly right through one of those jet engines, and I exit as this long fog of blood. I’m miles long, and, because it’s so cold, I’m crystalline. Very long arms, you’ll be pleased to hear. And then I recondense in bed, sshhp, as my short warm self. It must have something to do with my estrogen level. But that’s what telephone travel would be like out there, I think. What am I saying, that’s what it is like.” (Nicholson Baker, from Vox)

He's a friendly derring-doer! The hen takes one for the team! He's all rugged and handsome! I would have liked to check out the variant cover! Gene Ha's cover is the best thing about this book! More Bisley wackiness! It's like Odysseus and the sirens, sort of! Lightning makes everything more dramatic! Nick Spencer - master of self-promotion! Still awesome?  Why yes, yes it is! Bullets, blood, and boobs! When Campbell does something like this, it looks trashy, but when Jusko does it, it looks heroic! It just keeps getting better!

Batman, Incorporated #2 (“Resurrector!”) by Grant “Number Two? You people suck!” Morrison (writer), Yanick Paquette (penciller), Michel Lacombe (inker), Nathan Fairbairn (colorist), and John J. Hill (letterer). $3.99, 21 pgs, FC, DC.

As usual, unless there’s something horribly, horribly wrong with a Grant Morrison comic, it’s difficult to really review them, because he’s so polarizing. I was glad he had Jiro wonder aloud how exactly someone got an octopus into an apartment and sealed it so well that no water got out, because I was wondering the same thing. I also like that Selina’s presence in the story is explained, because it’s quite funny. And Batman pulls a “KGBeast” on the bad guy, which should make Chris Sims happy. And it’s always interesting to see that for all his Silver Age Love, Morrison tends to write awfully brutal comics, of which this is one. It’s part of what makes him a good writer, I think – unlike the brutal Geoff Johns comics I’ve read (and yes, I know he’s not as bloodthirsty as I think), which don’t have the twisted charm of the Silver Age (despite Johns’ obvious love of it), Morrison’s comics often feel like they’re going to be silly romps, so the violence is more twisted. It’s a good contrast and makes Lord Death Man’s rampage feel more visceral, because it seems so strange. Anyway, that’s how I feel. I could be wrong.

Yanick Paquette is really good, by the way. Make Tim Callahan happy and check his art out!

One totally Airwolf panel:

You know, I like this panel and all ... except for the egregious spelling!!!!

Chew #16 (“Flambé Part 1 of 5″) by John Layman (writer/letterer), Rob Guillory (artist/colorist), and Steven Struble (color assistant). $2.99, 20 pgs, FC, Image.

I recently ran into John Layman at the Atomic Comics in Mesa (Bendis was there for a signing, something I didn’t know until I arrived) and he showed me a black-and-white preview of this issue and said he was amazed at how much better Guillory continues to get. Guillory is getting better every issue, not necessarily with his pencil work (which has always been good) but with his detail and with his layouts, which are improving all the time. Layman gives him a first page that tracks the evolution of a fast-food chicken restaurant from its opening in the mid-1970s to its closure after the bird flu epidemic. Guillory draws a dude with an Afro in the first panel, two 1980s dudes in the second panel (one is dressed like Michael Jackson), and then we get two consecutive double-page spreads, one as the flu strikes, the second showing the restaurant closed and almost destroyed. The impressive thing is that Guillory shows pretty much the exact same shot and the rise and fall of the neighborhood, as the businesses around the restaurant fail as well and the people become more and more unsavory (the final page shows a wino strolling past the boarded-up restaurant with his pants down). It’s a wonderful sequence, with Guillory doing all the heavy lifting. Even later, when Layman writes a funny conversation between Tony and his sister, Guillory breaks the page down beautifully – Toni is on the left side of the page, and her word balloons separate her from Tony and his partner as they track a person of interest. Toni remains in the same position while Tony enters a building and reaches the room where the dude is sitting. It’s a nice way to move the plot along while still dumping quite a bit of exposition on us, and Guillory does a very cool job with it. And, of course, there’s the dude in the room (see below). Guillory makes him grotesque and hilarious at the same time, much like so much in this book. As much as Layman writes some ridiculously odd situations, it takes an artist like Guillory to make sure it doesn’t become too gross or too silly. Guillory walks this fine line well, so that the book is gross and silly, which helps it transcend each pole.

So, yeah. Chew is a great comic book. There’s so much going on, and it’s just fun to follow along as Layman and Guillory take us on the ride.

One totally Airwolf panel:

Yes, it's gross, but come on - that's pretty funny!

Cyclops #1 (of eight) (“The Recruit”) by Matz (writer/translator), Luc Jacamon (artist), Edward Gauvin (translator), and Scott Newman (letterer). $3.95, 28 pgs, FC, Archaia.

I have enjoyed The Killer, Matz and Jacamon’s other Archaia collaboration, so why wouldn’t I like Cyclops? I knew it would look good, at least, because Jacamon is quite good. And Matz tells an intriguing story, especially considering the original came out in 1998: In 2054, the United Nations has turned over responsibility to fighting wars to corporations, who broadcast the fighting to recoup their expenses. It’s a complex relationship between the media, government, business, and the public, and the nice thing is that Matz doesn’t necessarily make the corporations evil, as some writers would. Sure, the corporate heads have all sorts of ulterior motives, but they also take their jobs seriously and don’t overstep their bounds. They manipulate the media and the public, especially with regard to the main character, Doug Pistoia, who they recognize has potential to be a hero and by extension a media star, but they don’t do things at the expense of the men they’re sending into battle. Similarly, the media is manipulating the public, but they’re also telling the stories the people want to know. It’s a nice balance.

This first issue sets up quite a bit, as Doug joins Multicorps Securita, Inc. because he needs the job to help support his new wife. She’s not happy about it, but he’s so cheery she goes along with it. We get a lot of talk from the UN representatives, a lot of background on Doug, and some battle scenes (the book begins with a battle, because Matz knows you have to get the book off to a rousing start). A hardened veteran takes Doug under his wing a bit, as the corporate heads don’t want him hurt too badly – they see his potential right away, so his role in battle will have to be carefully manipulated. Matz does a good job setting up all of these threads, as in an eight issue series he’s going to cover a lot of ground, apparently.

Jacamon is, as usual, very good at setting the scene. The book takes place almost 60 years in the future from when the book was written, so Jacamon does some things to make it look more “futuristic” but usually just improves on current technology to a small degree. The book is packed with characters, too, but one of Jacamon’s strengths is that he designs people very well, so we can easily keep track of who is who. It’s nice to see Jacamon’s art in a different setting, as I’ve only seen his work on The Killer, which is a different kind of book.

I’ve read the second issue of Cyclops, and Matz ramps up the action a bit and begins to show how Doug is molded into what the corporate heads want. So this is a very good start to an interesting and somewhat disturbingly prescient series. Check it out!

One totally Airwolf panel:

Oh, such cynicism from the media!

Dynamo 5 Holiday Special 2010 by Jay Faerber (writer), Marcio Takara (artist, main story), Billy Penn (artist/colorist, first epilogue), Andres Ponce (artist, second epilogue), Mahmud Asrar (artist, third epilogue), Karim Whalen (artist, fourth epilogue), Júlio Brilha (artist, fifth epilogue), Ron Riley (colorist, main story, third epilogue, and fifth epilogue), Franco Riesco (colorist, second epilogue), Darrin Moore (colorist, fourth epilogue), and Charles Pritchett (letterer). $3.99, 28 pgs, FC, Image.

Faerber runs a long letter in the back of the Dynamo 5 Holiday Special from a fan who was very disappointed with Sins of the Father, the recent mini-series starring the team. He didn’t like a lot of things in the mini-series, one of which is the way a character (I still won’t spoil it for those who wait for the trade) turns into a brutal murderer and appears to feel no remorse. Some people who commented here felt the same thing. I understand their objections, but the annoying thing about serial fiction is that people often make quick judgments after a certain thing happens without seeing what happens next. The murders pretty much ended the previous series, so there was no chance for Faerber to examine how the character feels about them. I don’t know if Faerber wrote this after the reaction of some fans to Sins of the Father (I doubt it, given how much lead time Image books often need), but he does begin to address how the character feels and is dealing with what happened. So there’s that. If the fan who wrote the letter or the people who commented here don’t want to continue with the series, I certainly understand that, but I would point out that if people get so upset about what happened in the mini-series, that speaks to what a good job Faerber has done making these characters real. So why wouldn’t he continue to do interesting things with them?

This is a nice little one-shot that sets up plenty of other plots in the epilogues, the first three of which are two pages long and the final two of which are one page each. In the main story, Dynamo 5 has to track down an escaped convict who they believe is terrorizing people, but it’s a bit more complicated than that. It’s a nice story because it allows the consequences of the character’s actions in Sins of the Father to be a focus, it nudges along the relationship between Gage and War Chest (which just makes me want a War Chest mini-series even more – get on it, Faerber!), and it starts to repair the damage done to the team after the previous mini-series. Faerber does a nice job with all the characters, and the “twist” is handled nicely, because it’s always fun to see superheroes solve problems without punching everyone in sight. Faerber gives us five epilogues that check in on several characters, some of whom we’ve seen before and some who are new (unless I’m just not remembering them). It’s a nifty way to whet our appetites for the next mini-series coming down the pike.

I should mention Takara’s art, which is pretty solid. It’s nothing spectacular, but he gets the job done and makes sure we can tell what’s happening. He actually does a pretty good job with the faces, which is pretty important in a fairly character-driven story like this (there’s some fighting, but it’s much more about the characters). He does some subtle stuff, like a cocked eyebrow on War Chest as she flirts with Gage, the fear in Luminex’s eyes when someone he loves is about to do something horrible, and the gratitude on Spencer’s face when the team surprises him near the end of the book. Faerber knows how to find good superhero artists, and Takara seems like he could be one of them. And the artists of the epilogues are all very good, too – I don’t know where Faerber finds them, but he does!

If you’ve never bought a Dynamo 5 comic before, well, that’s sad, but while this does follow up on older issues and introduces new stuff, it’s also a good place to check out what kind of work Faerber does with the book. Who knows? You might love it, because you have good taste!

One totally Airwolf panel:

More superheroes should go door-to-door

Green Lantern: Larfleeze Christmas Special (“Orange You Glad It’s Christmas?!”/”Where Did Glomulus Go?”) by Geoff Johns (writer, “Orange”), Brett Booth (artist, “Orange”), Andrew Dalhouse (colorist, “Orange”), Nick J. Napolitano (letterer, “Orange”), Art Baltazar and Franco! (creators, “Glomulus”). $3.99, 21 pgs, FC, DC.

The Green Lantern Christmas special just beat out a few others in the vote this week, and it was funny how some people were much more jazzed by the Baltazar/Franco two-page back-up than the main story. That’s not surprising, because the main story is pretty lame. Larfleeze, the greedy Orange Lantern, is a tad incensed when Santa doesn’t show up at his house, so he goes hunting for him, terrorizing several fake Santas in the process. Hal Jordan shows up to tell him that Santa is not, in fact, real, and that gaining the “Christmas spirit” is what’s important. Larfleeze still doesn’t dig that, so Hal tells him to take a good look at his ridiculously long list and ask whether he really needs the item. There’s only one thing on the list that he really needs, and this causes him to curl up in a ball and ponder things. Blech. The back-up story, where Larfleeze’s sidekick, Glomulus (who disappeared halfway through the main story), heads out to find things to give to Larfleeze, is far funnier and interesting than the main story. And it’s only two pages long!

My objections to this kind of story are legion, mainly because I enjoy sentimental stories but can’t stand sappiness, which is all-too-present in this story. I know very little about Larfleeze, which is of course a problem as the final “reveal” doesn’t have any impact whatsoever on me, even though I suppose it’s been set up a bit in other books. Johns falls into the classic trap of superheroes, showing Hal having a great impact on the world in a few brief panels, which begs the question why he doesn’t help out more throughout the year, again highlighting the idiocy of superheroes in general, which one shouldn’t do. There’s nothing horribly, horribly wrong with this story, it just feels like a movie on the Lifetime channel. Even at his most disgusting, Johns is better than that.

And, unfortunately, it has Brett Booth on art. I’ve never been a fan of Booth, stretching back 15 years or so, and luckily he draws books that I usually have no interest in reading, so I can avoid him. He does nothing here that makes me believe he’s gotten any better, from Hal’s ridiculous thighs and abs to the dopey faces he gives every human in the book. Booth might be better drawing a book where there are no humans, because Larfleeze is the best-looking character in the book. Mostly, though, Booth is terrible. In fact, he commits a cardinal sin of art in a couple of panels, where I honestly can’t tell what happens. Larfleeze is peeved at a Santa, so he grabs him in a giant orange fist. He’s yelling at the Santa, and Glomulus is behind him. In the very next panel, Santa’s fake beard flies off and hits Glomulus, who has apparently moved to Larfleeze’s left side. Santa appears to be either laughing or in extreme pain (Booth’s face doesn’t make it clear). This lets Larfleeze know that it’s a fake Santa, but I have no idea how the beard came flying off. Did Larfleeze squeeze his giant fist, causing the beard to pop off, idiotic-cartoon style? Did Santa laugh so hard that the beard flew off? I have no idea what happens in these two panels. If you’re going to have a crappy style (and I think Booth has a crappy style), at least make sure we know what’s happening in the comic. It’s just lousy storytelling to go with a lousy script.

Oh well. The charming back-up certainly isn’t worth $3.99, but I can’t imagine where DC would reprint it. Maybe you can read it quickly in the store before anyone notices, and then put the issue back! I’m sure no one would mind!

One totally Airwolf panel:

That's how much I dislike Brett Booth - I can't even feature him in the Airwolf panel!

Hellblazer #274 (“Bloody Carnations Part Four: The Cold Heart”) by Peter Milligan (writer), Giuseppe Camuncoli (layouter), Simon Bisley (artist), Stefano Landini (finisher, Camuncoli’s pages), Trish Mulvihill (colorist, Camuncoli’s pages), Brian Buccellato (colorist, Bisley’s pages), and Sal Cipriano (letterer). $2.99, 23 pgs, FC, DC/Vertigo.

Milligan sets up the wedding issue in #275 with 2010 John rescuing Epiphany from 1979, punching his 1979 self in the face, and dealing with Epiphany’s father, who still doesn’t like John in the least. It’s a typically strong issue from the creative team, as John wants to really lay into Terry Greaves, Epiphany’s father, but she doesn’t let him because, even though he’s pretty evil, he’s still her da. Meanwhile, Nergal is still lurking around, causing grief yet again for Chas (who really ought to find himself a new friend) and plotting against John. Milligan, more than many writers on the title, acknowledges other characters that other writers have created, as Gary Lester, of all people, shows up in this issue, and Kit Ryan has a cameo. While it doesn’t have a climactic feel to it that we might have expected when Epiphany ended up in 1979, it’s still a solid issue as Milligan lines everything up for issue #275.

I was a bit cheered to see Gemma Masters in this issue, because I recently wondered if she has grown up as everyone is supposed to in this book. She has, which was a nice touch. Chas and Kit even look a bit older, so there’s that. I’m a bit disappointed that Kit, who receives a wedding invitation, gets so bent out of shape about it. It feels off for the character – she was always a tough, independent woman who ditched John on her own terms, so the fact that Milligan implies she’s still pining for him, 15 years later, is a bit much. I get that they loved each other and she might wonder what might have been, but to show her crying because he’s getting married struck me as wrong, somehow. She knew they couldn’t be together, so she made a choice. If she still wanted to be with him, I’m sure he would have taken her back. I don’t know if she’ll show up in issue #275, but I kind of hope she does, because I want to see how Milligan handles it.

Anyway, Milligan’s Hellblazer continues to be a very good read. I would love it if DC would let John get married and be somewhat happy. Wouldn’t that be interesting?

One totally Airwolf panel:

Everyone loves John!

Incognito: Bad Influences #2 by Ed Brubaker (writer), Sean Phillips (artist), and Val Staples (colorist). $3.50, 25 pgs, FC, Marvel/Icon.

I don’t have much to say about Incognito this time around. I mean, it’s three people working at the tops of their games, and while I listened to some criticisms about the first issue being less than interesting because it simply puts Zack back into a situation from which he escaped and doesn’t do anything new with the character, I tend to ignore that sort of thing when the craft is so high. Brubaker uses the exact perfect words for any situation, doesn’t overdo it, lets Phillips do his thing when it’s necessary, and drops bombshells at the right time. Even his exposition sounds like people just chatting, which many writers don’t do terribly well. His writing style is totally unlike the God of All Comics’, but he shares the precision of Morrison, in this case clipping Zack’s expository narration down to the bone and then letting his thoughts drift as he has sex with some of the superhero groupies at the exclusive brothel. Meanwhile, Phillips is always amazing, populating the issue with excellent details and odd characters, giving even the whores different personalities and body types. I read somewhere recently that we shouldn’t notice colorists unless they’re really bad or really good, and Staples continues to be a crucial element to the success of the Brubillips Icon books. Just the first few pages, where the inside of the prison is lit by a sickly pink light that makes Black Death look even more decrepit, is marvelous, but the rest of the book is very cool, as well, culminating with the red background in the full-page drawing of the prostitute attacking Zack. I write about colorists every so often, but I always mention Staples with regard to these comics because he adds so much to the pulpy look of the comics. It’s very keen. As is Incognito!

One totally Airwolf panel:

Well, that just sums it up, doesn't it?

Kill Shakespeare #8 (of 12) (“Journeys End in Lovers Meeting”) by Conor McCreery (writer), Anthony Del Col (writer), Andy Belanger (artist), Ian Herring (colorist), and Neil Uyetake (letterer). $3.99, 24 pgs, FC, IDW.

We’ve reached a point in this mini-series where I just can’t write much more about it. I mean, either you’ve decided it’s not for you, or you’re waiting for the trade. McCreery and Del Col continue to throw twists and turns at us, with the final page a spanner in the works that should mess things up quite well. They continue to do a nice job using the plays to inform the story they’re telling – when Iago spars with Othello, he tells the new recruits how to disorient an enemy, and we see Othello’s arc from his play as example of it. Othello knows what Iago is doing, but Iago appears to have reformed, so he can’t do anything about it. Plus, he begins to think he might be at fault for what happened in his play, which he kinda is. I mean, Shakespeare’s characters, as wonderfully composed as they are, often do wildly stupid things, and Othello’s actions rank way up there on the Stupid-Meter. McCreery and Del Col do a nice job linking what’s happening in their series to the plays, and it helps make Hamlet’s quest more interesting. Plus, they’ve done a good job making the characters relate to each other well, so Hamlet and Othello’s banter feels quite real.

Belanger continues to amaze, not only with the pencil work but with the clever layouts of the pages. I remain impressed that this book has not skipped a month even with his detailed work, and I hope the final four issues come out in the same regular manner. I don’t know if Belanger is killing himself to finish this or if he had a whole lot done before it came out, but it’s nice to see the issues coming out steadily. That’s a sad statement to make in today’s comics world, but it’s true.

I’m looking forward to the final third of the series. It should be fun!

One totally Airwolf panel:

That's a charming dude right there

Morning Glories #5 by Nick Spencer (writer), Joe Eisma (artist), Alex Sollazzo (colorist), and Johnny Lowe (letterer). $3.50, 32 pgs, FC, Image.

Spencer is pulling some threads together, especially the one about the kids’ parents and what happened to them, as Casey finally has a moment to ponder what’s going on, and it’s not pleasant for her. Before that, though, we get a nifty little story about the kids outsmarting the administration, and Spencer pulls it together quite well. He still keeps adding mysteries – Zoe and Casey see something quite odd, and Zoe is rescued by unusual intervention – but at least he’s resolving some things as well. The way he structures the issue is clever, too – we begin with a teacher talking to one of the students (we don’t know who until later), then jump back and forth between this lecture and the confrontation that was teased at the end of last issue. It’s a nifty way to present the issue, and Spencer makes it work well.

I was also happy that he names all the kids in this single issue. I haven’t gone back and checked, but it’s been a while since we’ve seen their names, and when you’re dull like me, you need that occasionally. So well done, Mr. Spencer!

The first arc ends next issue, although it doesn’t appear that Spencer is going to worry too much about the strictures of a six-issue arc. I’m curious to see if he wraps up a lot of the dangling plot threads or if he just blithely ignores that a trade of the first six issues is coming out. We shall see!

One totally Airwolf panel:

If you wonder if that will get messy, well, the answer is YES

The Sixth Gun #7 (“Crossroads Part One”) by Cullen Bunn (writer), Brian Hurtt (artist/letterer), and Bill Crabtree (colorist). $3.99, 22 pgs, FC, Oni Press.

The Sixth Gun begins its second arc, and I couldn’t be happier. I thought it was a mini-series at first, then I worried that it wouldn’t sell enough, even for Oni, to continue, but I guess it’s safe for the time being, so there’s that. I encourage you to pick up the trade or find the single issues, because this comic just keeps getting better and better. Would I lie to you?

Bunn takes our principals to New Orleans, where Drake Sinclair goes into the swamps looking for answers about the general and the guns and finds some creepy characters who don’t appreciate him intruding, while Becky meets an arrogant and charming gunslinger who, let’s assume, has some dark secrets that will affect our heroine in the future. It’s definitely a new arc, but Bunn does a very nice job tying it into the first arc and even helps new readers jump aboard (you know you want to!). The characters get more interesting every issue, and with the addition of Gord and the continuing presence of Billjohn, there are more avenues of story open to Bunn. Hurtt, of course, is fantastic – he’s another artist who seems to work quickly but can still add so much interesting detail to each panel, which is good to see. He’s perfectly comfortable switching from New Orleans and gunfights to the swamps and monsters, making sure both feel perfectly normal in this book. Marinette Dry-Arms creeps me the hell out, I’ll tell you that much, and that’s because Hurtt is so good.

I don’t know how many issues Bunn and Hurtt have planned for this series, but I do hope they stick together on it and keep to a good schedule. The Sixth Gun is excellent, and deserves a bigger audience, and a consistent schedule often helps with that.

One totally Airwolf panel:

He may be creepy, but at least he dresses nice!

Time Bomb #3 (of 3) by Jimmy Palmiotti (writer), Justin Gray (writer), Paul Gulacy (artist), Rain Beredo (colorist), and John J. Hill (letterer). $4.99, 50 pgs, FC, Radical.

Palmiotti and Gray end their crazy time-travel romp with some nice twists, which is always fun. I mean, we know a showdown with Hitler is coming, but they do some cool things with it that make it more memorable than we might think. One of the team members sent back in time is killed, naturally, and we think the writers are going to do one thing when it’s time for the rest to return to the present but they do something else, which is kind of clever. There’s plenty of good old-fashioned violence, evil Nazis, nekkid wimmin (the presence of nudity is actually explained very well), futuristic science against 1940s bastards, and all sorts of harrowing escapes and captures. Gulacy draws it all in supreme Gulacy-style, so if you’re not a fan, you won’t like this at all. Time Bomb won’t make you change your religion or anything, but it’s a wildly entertaining comic that’s more clever than you might expect. I’m not sure when the trade is coming out, but it’s worth a look.

One totally Airwolf panel:

Killin' Nazis never gets old!

Warlord of Mars #3 by Arvid Nelson (writer), Lui Antonio (artist), Adriano Lucas (colorist), and Troy Peteri (letterer). $3.99, 24 pgs, FC, Dynamite Entertainment.

I don’t have a big problem with new artist Lui Antonio, but for one thing: His John Carter looks far too contemporary – from his haircut to his body type, he looks like a male model from 2010, not a grizzled ex-veteran from the 1860s. I don’t love his style, but he does a decent job with Carter on Mars, and makes the ancient city Carter is taken to fairly impressive. I just don’t like the way he portrays Carter himself. Sigh.

Nelson gets Carter to Mars and into Martian society quickly, and although I imagine this is taken from the books, the fact that Carter is a bit of an arrogant jerk works well in this book. I mean, he has almost no contact with the Martians before he determines that they’re “brutes” who could never have built the city in which they live. Really, John? Yet you yourself have come from the battlefields of the Civil War and are aware of man’s capacity for brutality and beauty at the same time? Yeah, be a jerk, why don’t you. Nelson is still feeling out the characters and the overall plot, so there’s still an anticipatory quality about this comic, as if we’re just waiting for something big to happen. I don’t think the ending is that “something,” but we’ll see. I still don’t love Warlord of Mars, but I’m still seeing what Nelson does with it all, so I’m sticking with it for a while.

One totally Airwolf panel:

That's what happens when you stick your nose where it doesn't belong!

20th Century Boys volume 12 by Naoki Urasawa (writer/artist). $12.99, 226 pgs, BW, Viz Signature.

Hot diggity, I love this comic. It’s always super-duper!

Moving on, we discover The Ten Most Recent Songs Played On My iPod (Which Is Always On Shuffle):

1. “Hands All Over” – Soundgarden (1989) “In a striking motion, trees fall down like dying soldiers”
2. “Boys Light Up” – Australian Crawl (1983) “Hopes are up for trousers down with the hostess on a business flight”
3. “Tear In Your Hand” – Tori Amos (1992) “If you need me, me and Neil’ll be hanging out with the dream king”
4. “18 and Life” – Skid Row (1989) “Tequila in his heartbeat; his veins burned gasoline”
5. “Come Home” – James (1990) “I may have paid for sex but I’ve been blessed by love”
6. “Are You Experienced?” – Jimi Hendrix Experience (1967) “You’ll probably scream and cry that your little world won’t let you go”
7. “Super Trouper” – ABBA (1980) “Facing twenty thousand of your friends, how could anyone be so lonely?”
8. “Forever Came Today” – Supremes (1968) “Let your kiss touch my face and tell me love has led me to this place”
9. “C’mon Billy” – PJ Harvey (1995) “Don’t forget me, I had your son; damn thing went crazy but I swear you’re the only one”
10. “Her Father Didn’t Like Me Anyway” – Shane MacGowan and the Popes (1994) “I suppose that if we tried we could have found something to say, but daddy didn’t even care”

And, of course, there’s (almost) always totally random lyrics!

“A million dollars in it, cold hundreds of G’s
Enough to buy a boat and matching car with ease
But I’d never steal from Santa, cause that ain’t right
So I’m going home to mail it back to him that night
But when I got home I bugged, ’cause under the tree
Was a letter from Santa and all the dough was for me”

Yeah, that’s pretty easy. ‘Tis the season, I guess. Here’s a Christmas card for you:

Aren't they just adorable?

I apologize for the lack of links this week. My parents are in town and so things get awfully busy. Finding the links takes a really long time, and I probably wouldn’t have posted this until tomorrow, and I’m already thinking this is going to have to fewest comments ever for one of my weekly columns because of the time I’m posting it, so I didn’t want to guarantee it! I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas if they celebrate it, and if you don’t, have a grand weekend! Buy some comics to treat yourself!

24 Comments

I really though this low-traffic week would lead to another patented avant-garde What I Bought, but I suppose not. I’m buying four of these comics in trade, so I have nothing to add. But merry Christmas; your kids are pretty adorable. I mean, for kids. All kids are evil.

I’m kind of surprised Morning Glories doesn’t start every issue with a roster or attendance list that includes all of the characters’ names and headshots. That seems like a really simple way to remind readers who’s who.

Throw it on the inside cover if that space isn’t already being used for advertising (and it rarely is in Image books).

It’s Christmas Time in Hollis Queens! Mom’s cooking chicken and collard greens! Rice and stuffing, macaroni and cheese!

And tacos! and nachos! and…

Shut up, Beavis.

Rocking.

The kids are lovely, so (thank the good lord) they must take after their mother.

I kid.

I read Batman Inc this morning and liked it, but thought it sped by fast. The pacing seemed off. I did like how, to me, it seemed like Batman wasn’t rejecting Jiro outright, as Chad said in his review, but challenging him to not rely on what he did earlier in the book (don’t wanna spoil too much).

Man, this is the first time in ages that I’ve actually been able to read a review of a comic I get on the week it came out.

I also got B&R 18, because you made it sound almost delightfully goofy. Plus I got it half off due to a sale at my LCS. That last page was amusing.

I also picked up the Campbell cover to Warlord of Mars 1, because I’m a bad, bad boy. It was pretty good, and reading the first page, I finally twigged to something that was obvious in retrospect — Adam Strange is based off of John Carter. Duh.

I was mostly disappointed with the Larfleeze special. I’m actually sorry for being the first person to recommend it to you on Tuesday’s column.

I agree that Kill Shakespeare has been consistently great.

And how the hell did you get Incognito #2? My shop didn’t, and as far as I know it’s been pushed back to the 29th.

I agree that Time Bomb was worth checking out, I had fun reading it.

I don’t know what you mean about Casey knowing more about her parents in Morning Glories, do you refer to the panel where she looks at a picture o her family? Maybe I should check it out again.

Chew was fantastic as usual. Chew has been so good I was half expecting to see Guillory appear in the top 50 artists list that recently appeared in this blog.

I’m also sorry for suggesting the Larfleeze special. I didn’t even end up getting it. I really couldn’t stand the art. But everyone makes mistakes, and at least you liked the back-up.

I didn’t read most of these comics, but this continues to be my favorite column.

And Greg, those girls are beautiful! Happy Holidays :)

You guys are jerks for suggesting Green Lantern anything ever. Seriously not cool.

Those kids are super cute in that photo, but you and the missus are older than I expected.

I should check out Cyclops, I so enjoyed The Killer, and need my Matz and Jacamon fix.

“Strictures”? is that a word? You should have it copyrighted! ;-)

Bill: I bought plenty of comics, so I figured I’d review ‘em. I have something planned for another “avant garde” column, as you put it, but it will be in a week when I don’t get a lot of books.

Travis: Yeah, the lyrics are pretty easy. I already did “Christmas Wrapping,” and those are my two favorite Christmas songs, so I had to do Run-DMC! And the kids definitely take after their mother. I mean, you’ve seen what I look like!

Robert: Beats me about Incognito. Do you live on the East Coast? The West Coast always gets screwed if there’s a hold-up in shipping, so maybe this time the East got the shaft!

Enrique: I’ve been a bit disappointed that the pace of Morning Glories means that the kids haven’t really reacted to the craziness that’s been going on, including the stuff with their parents. So I was happy that Casey had a few moments to think about it at the end, as you noted. It wasn’t about her figuring something out about her parents, just thinking about all the weirdness that’s been going on since the beginning of the series.

Other Chris: Thanks for the nice words.

sgt pepper: Bwah-ha-ha!

Tom: “Stricture”: Something that restrains, limits, or restricts; An adverse remark or criticism, censure; An abnormal narrowing of a duct or passage (in pathology). From Latin strictura – contraction, compression, from strictus – strict. As much as I love making up words, I’m afraid that one already exists!

I didn’t mind getting the Green Lantern book even though I didn’t like it. I always like trying things I don’t buy regularly, because I might find something good! It’s no big deal.

I haven’t been reading any of the reviews of Morning Glories (past the fact that people seem to think it’s pretty good and has a creepy Prisoner vibe), so I hope I like the trade in February, cuz I ordered that from my comic shop. I figured 10 bucks for 6 issues is a pretty good deal. And issue 7 goes down in price, so yay.

Oh, and I just noticed the bit with Morrison’s name. Yeah, he was my #2, and Moore was my #1. I may still post my own top 10 still. Did you vote, Greg, and can we see your top 10s some time?

Man, I need to read that dollar copy of Chew I got a while back. That’s a cool looking panel, and I liked Puffed pretty well from what I remember.

Ah, Merry Christmas, all!

SPOILERS FOR BATMAN INCORPORATED

I really liked Batman Incorporated, but it reminded me of one quibble I’ve had with comics before, which is that when a hero goes up against a villain whose main schtick is that they can’t be killed, the hero always seems to forget that there are plenty of non-lethal ways to deal with villains, which is especially odd with heroes like Batman who use exclusively non-lethal means as a matter of course. It’s not like the Joker or Two-Face or Penguin being nominally mortal is what lets Batman beat them.

I mean, we saw that it’s hard to keep Lord Death Man in the morgue, but aside from his henchmen, he didn’t seem to have anything that would get him out of a prison cell. If the explanation is that he’d probably escape eventually somehow, it raises the question of why Batman hasn’t done the same thing to the Joker yet.

Travis: No, I didn’t vote. After Morrison at number one, I would find it very difficult to narrow a large list of writers I like down to nine. And I can’t even imagine listing ten artists. I thought about voting and even came up with some names, but I’d always start thinking about so many different people that it just got too daunting. I’m so ashamed!

“Robert: Beats me about Incognito. Do you live on the East Coast? The West Coast always gets screwed if there’s a hold-up in shipping, so maybe this time the East got the shaft!”

I’m in south Texas. So, uh, neither?

Howdy! And a Merry Christmas!

I’m the writer of the Dynamo 5 letter. I probably should’ve proofread it–there are a few typos, a few things I forgot to include, and it could’ve used at least some positive feedback.

I’ve already replied to Mr. Faerber. I felt I should do that first. And, basically, I just wanted to make it clear that I don’t necessarily have a problem with Hector killing those invaders with no remorse–they did critically injure his girlfriend after all–but it’s more that his personality is inconsistent. The flirtatious, cocky Hector of parts of Sins of the Father doesn’t mesh with the Hector of issue #1 of that mini or the Hector of the Dynamo 5 ongoing. Him more or less returning to being that Hector after the events of Sins of the Father is disturbing to me. It doesn’t scare me, like it does Wraith, but it does put me off a bit.

I did like the Holiday Special issue, overall. Takara’s art (which I’m enjoying more and more every time I see it) is a great improvement to Brilha’s. The main story is feel-good story that has the spirit of the time. A few of the epilogues seem a little out of place, but they all could lead to interesting developments down the line.

I don’t plan to order the next mini. I might read it if the previews and reviews look good, but we’ll see.

I wish the comic and Mr. Faerber the best. Dynamo 5 just doesn’t grab me now.

I’ve always felt that Yanick Paquette’s art is a bit of an acquired taste, kinda like Ted Mckeever’s. I didn’t like Paquette’s work the first time I saw it, but it grew on me.

And your children are indeed adorable, Greg. That card cheered me up a bit after a crummy day.

R.: Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I probably should have explained your objections a bit more, since you’re very clear in your letter, but I just wanted to point out that your problem with Hector was shared with some commenters here. Your letter was much more far-reaching than what I implied here – I just wanted to share a bit of your concerns because they were also concerns of some people here. I’m glad you stopped by to expand on your problems with the mini-series, because I can certainly see your point. And I’m sure Faerber was appreciative too – I thought his response to your letter was pretty good, even though he (naturally) disagreed with you.

Tanzim: Thanks. I’m glad I was able to make your day a bit better!

Greg: Out of all the possible lyrics in the song “Tear in Your Hand,” you had to run with the Gaiman-reference line, eh? Perhaps a between-the-lines protest that Neil did not rank higher in the writer’s poll?

Best holiday wishes to you and your family.

GarBut: No, not exactly. I just love the fact that Amos is a fan of Gaiman’s, and vice versa. I think Gaiman ranked about where he should!

“Maybe you can read it quickly in the store before anyone notices, and then put the issue back!”

How quick and furtive do you need to be for a two-page story? The people at your LCS must be more hawklike and ready-to-pounce than any I’ve ever dealt with.

Greg, in that Warlord of Mars review, I don’t think it’s possible to be an “EX-veteran.” Either you are a veteran or you aren’t. Ex-soldier, yes.

Anyway, good reviews, cute kids, and I hope you had a good holiday.

Jack: Maybe you’re a slow reader?

Mike: Yeah, that’s true. I had a brain fart, I guess!

I enjoyed Cyclops a lot more than The Killer.

Yeah, and Burgas can’t complain about where Gaiman ranked since HE DIDN’T VOTE!!!

I hope Cronin docks your pay, alla you who didn’t vote. :) I know Kelly voted, and I think Chad actually did vote, but you and Sonia didn’t, and that makes me cry.

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