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CSBG Archive

What I bought – 10 August 2011

By the river. She was standing by the river. She was dancing without moving. By the river. She wasn’t beautiful exactly; she was like a shimmer in the distance. She was so white his reservation eyes suffered. (Sherman Alexie, from “All I Wanted to do Was Dance”)

Dustin Nguyen is soooooo awesome Oh, the temptation! That can't be feminist-friendly! It's TABOO! This cover would be much better if they put a POW! on it Tony doesn't forge a sword in this comic, which is a damned shame Why isn't Franken-chick green on this cover? SCORE! Look, it's a boomerang pun! I'll get it out of the way in the alt-text: TIME TRAVEL IS IMPOSSIBLE! More good Kordey art for the haters! Bolland!  Gracia-Lopez!  Russell!  Holy crap!!!!!! More Fiona Staples goodness! You cannot deny Risso's excellence! So many phallic symbols! Horrific violence in Gantz?  Unprecedented! Why should I read it for free when I can buy it? Holy crap, this looks awesome Spies!!!!!

Batgirl #24 (“Unsinkable”) by Bryan Q. Miller (writer), Pere Pérez (artist), Guy Major (colorist), and Dave Sharpe (letterer). $2.99, 20 pgs, FC, DC.

It’s too bad that DC seems to have launched this new initiative without really allowing their current series to wrap up all that well – even a very good comic like Secret Six stumbled at the end – because this week we’re seeing some weaker entries as the series come to a close, and I wonder if DC sprung this on their creators a little too close to the deadline for scripts and so they had to be tweaked a bit. Last week, the only “final” issue I read was Secret Six, and that wasn’t too great, and this week, five more series wrap up, and the three that are closely connected to the DCU kind of limp over the finish line. First up is Batgirl, which has been a delightful series this year, and while the last issue doesn’t quite reach some of its heights, the brilliance of Pere Pérez helps Miller bring it home nicely. We found out that Stephanie’s father, Cluemaster, has been in prison on purpose, and he has flowers that latch onto a person and show them their heart’s desire. I imagine they’re the ones that showed up in that Alan Moore Superman story in the 1980s, but I can’t be bothered to Google it. Anyway, Stephanie manages to thwart her father, but that’s early in the book – the rest is taken up with Stephanie making her peace with people in her life, including her mother (who either figures out or has known for a while that her daughter is Batgirl). This is when Pérez kicks the book up a few levels – Stephanie talks to Barbara Gordon about what she saw when she was under the influence, and we get seven full-page spreads of various fantasy scenarios featuring Stephanie fighting with various heroes and also having a life outside of heroing. They’re all stunning (Damian as a Red Lantern is the funniest) and almost worth the price of admission alone. That Miller ends the book somewhat ambiguously shouldn’t be held against him – it’s probably editorially-mandated, after all. That’s one of the problems with this reboot – it’s not really a reboot, yet Stephanie will suddenly no longer be Batgirl next month, and Barbara (who has a rough time in another book this week) will be running around kicking ass. Miller can’t do anything about that, so he simply sends Stephanie off into the sunset and washes his hands of it.

As a normal issue, this is a bit odd because the villain is defeated so easily and early. As a final issue, it’s a bit weaker, because Miller was stuck between a rock and a hard place, I imagine. However, as simply an enjoyable issue featuring Stephanie doing her thing and as a showcase for how quickly Pérez has become a superb superhero artist, it’s well worth a look. So you should do so!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Yes, the full-page spreads are spectacular, but this panel cracks me up

Batman: The Brave and the Bold #10 (“Help Wanted”) by Sholly Fisch (writer), Rick Burchett (penciller), Dan Davis (inker), Guy Major (colorist), and Sal Cipriano (letterer). $2.99, 20 pgs, FC, DC.

I know that the “focus on the henchman” story has been done before, but it’s not a bad idea to do so every so often, because it often leads to stellar stories, and this latest issue of The Brave and the Bold is no exception. Fisch gives us a guy named Joe who’s telling a story to a guy in a bar. He says that in this economy, he had to become a henchman for the Toyman, and that brought him to the attention of Superman and Batman. He keeps moving his wife and son around the country, henching (“Oh, you did not just tell me to hench!”) for other bad guys, all leading to a fairly predictable but still effective ending. As the title implies, Batman teams up with not only Superman but Green Arrow and Aquaman as Joe keeps getting jobs, but why he’s teaming up with these heroes is the crux of the story. It’s a charming story that, once again, proves that Batman doesn’t need to be a dick to be a bad-ass, and it allows Fisch to have a callback to the absolutely most ridiculous thing in Batman’s arsenal EVAH!!!!! But it’s still awesome. Burchett does his usual solid job on art, and voila! we have a very good single issue, which shouldn’t come as a surprise. I mean, just look at that cover!

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Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Poor Clock King - no one takes him seriously

Blue Estate #5 (“The Money Shot”) by Viktor Kalvachev (story/artist/colorist), Kosta Yanev (story), Andrew Osborne (scripter), Toby Cypress (artist), Nathan Fox (artist), Paul Maybury (artist), and Marley Zarcone (artist). $2.99, 23 pgs, FC, Image.

The craziness of Blue Estate continues, as Kalvachev and Osborne keep all their balls in the air rather deftly, bringing back characters we haven’t seen in a few issues but weaving them back in impressively. As has been the way with every issue, it’s hard to write about this series because so much is going on, as in this issue we get more from Billy and Cherry Popz, who are connected to Rachel, whose husband allows her to leave his house even though he suspects her of nefarious doings. And, of course, there’s Roy Devine, the hapless private eye who’s following everyone around. It’s such a nice brew, punctuated by wacky humor (see below), and the artists (joined in this issue by Zarcone) all continue to blend well together. Blue Estate is far more enjoyable than it has any right to be, and I’m happy to be along for the ride.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

This is hilarious on so many levels

Criminal: The Last of the Innocent #3 (of 4) by Ed Brubaker (writer), Sean Phillips (artist), and Dave Stewart (colorist). $3.50, 26 pgs, FC, Marvel/Icon.

Well, it’s Criminal, so you know it’s a good comic, but here’s what I don’t understand. Why would Riley’s father-in-law suddenly suspect him of something? Riley, as we know, killed his wife (the Veronica stand-in), but Brubaker does a very nice job showing how easily he feigns sadness at her death. The father-in-law seems to suspect him because he says he needs some time off from his job. Dude, his wife was just killed and the police told him she was sleeping with another man! Then he finds out the dude might be a serial killer! Of course he might need time off from his job! So that plot point seems to come out of nowhere a bit. Other than that, Brubaker does a very good job showing how easily Riley has destroyed more than one life and how little he cares about it. I mean, I can’t imagine he won’t get his comeuppance, but for now, it’s impressive how Brubaker portrays him, giving us a man who is ruthless but seemingly in complete control. Yeah, that’s not going to last, but it’s compelling right now!

Jay Faerber writes a paean to Magnum, P.I. in the backmatter, so Bill Reed might want to pick this issue up. The funny thing is, Faerber raves about the episode where Magnum was stranded in the middle of the ocean for 24 hours, and those are the kinds of episodes I always disliked the most. Whenever Magnum started internal monologuing about his family or his past, I got a bit annoyed, and that episode, while impressive for other reasons, is chockers with that sort of stuff. I always loved the episodes where Magnum actually, you know, did shit. But it was still a pretty cool show, although Faerber doesn’t point out that The Legend of the Lost Art (an episode he does bring up) was basically done because Tom Selleck couldn’t take the Indiana Jones role because of his contract with CBS. So that episode is full of references to the movie that might have turned Selleck into Harrison Ford (although given his other movie roles, perhaps not).

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

There is nothing - including the Declaration of Independence and the Bible - that would not be improved by putting the term 'finger-bang' in there somewhere

Detective Comics #881 (“The Face in the Glass”) by Scott Snyder (writer), Jock (artist), Francesco Francavilla (artist/colorist), David Baron (colorist), and Jared K. Fletcher (letterer). $3.99, 30 pgs, FC, DC.

So I’ve been trying to avoid SPOILERS about this for you trade-waiters, but I really can’t anymore. SPOILERS below!!!!!

Kelly Thompson gave this five (out of five) stars on the Mothership, and it’s not hard to see why. I’m not quite as enamored of it as she is, but I certainly don’t think she’s out of her mind with that rating. As a single issue, it’s pretty good. Like the other DC series coming to an end, though, it falls short. Snyder’s run is probably the best run on Detective since Lapham wrote “City of Crime,” but that doesn’t mean it’s perfect, and I certainly blame the reboot for that. Ever since Snyder began delving into James Gordon a bit more, this has felt rushed. Some issues are phenomenal, of course, but it just feels like Snyder could have done a lot more with the character and he wasn’t given the time. It’s a shame.

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The actual writing and art is superb, as Snyder does a nice job giving every character some juicy lines. Yes, James spends far too much time expositing like a James Bond villain, but that’s okay – obviously Snyder had to fit a lot in. The way James and then Gordon acknowledge that Batman’s secret just isn’t all that secret is done well, and James and Barbara’s conversation to begin the book is beautifully chilling. However, as I feared, James doesn’t seem to have much of a plan – I know what he says he’s doing is supposed to be creepy (and it is), but it still feels a bit silly to me. I was hoping for more insight into his psyche, because we seemed to progress fairly quickly from his return to his full-blown psychopathy, and it just never felt right to me. His scheme centers around a fairly trite idea (a consequence of Snyder having to shoe-horn it in?) and why he has such antipathy toward his family is never explored, unless you want to give credence to his assertion that empathy sucks. It’s difficult to love this resolution because it simply feels like Snyder didn’t have enough to time to build James into a character who can really scare anyone. I BLAME THE REBOOT!

Finally, I am very tired of regular folk having superhuman abilities. James, by all rights, ought to be dead. That he’s not only functioning but able to elude capture for a time is ludicrous. That often robs movies of their dramatic tension, and it did here. It’s frustrating. I don’t care how psychopathic James is, he can’t deny basic biology!!!!!

Overall, though, I can’t dislike this issue too much. The showdown between Barbara and James and then Dick and James and then Gordon and James (so many showdowns!) are written so well, and Jock and Francavilla do such a marvelous job with the art, that I have to admire the effort in the face of such a roadblock to a classic. Can you imagine if DC hadn’t punked out and dropped the back-up stories and then allowed Snyder to write this for a few more years? That would have been a masterpiece. As it stands, this run on Detective is great but somewhat aborted and incomplete, and that’s too bad. Damn it, DC.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Spoke too soon, asshole!

Fear Itself #5 (of 7) (“Brawl”) by Matt Fraction (writer), Stuart Immonen (penciler), Wade von Grawbadger (inker), Laura Martin (colorist), Matt Milla (colorist), Molinar (colorist), and Chris Eliopoulos (letterer). $3.99, 22 pgs, FC, Marvel.

I just can’t get into this series, and it’s bugging me. In DC-land, they’ve kind of figured out that these events ought to have universe-spanning ramifications, so even though I’ve had enough of universe-spanning ramifications from DC to last a lifetime, at least they kind of get that. The Marvel events, even the ones that have universe-spanning ramifications (Secret Invasion, I suppose, although I never read it), have seemed to be much more incestuous, with superheroes beating on other superheroes and random bad guys for the dumbest of reasons. Now, Fraction has more on his mind than that, but by issue #5 here, Fear Itself has turned into superheroes beating on other superheroes (granted, possessed superheroes who are being all mean) and random bad guys. The idea of fear spreading throughout the world has been shunted aside after barely being mentioned earlier in the series. The only reason we’re still reminded of it is because the recap page tells us “A time of uncertainty and fear grips the world.” Yet we don’t see that at all in the main series of this event. We might see it in other, ancillary series (I don’t know if that “Home Front” mini-series is exploring it, but at least some of the tie-ins allude to the fear a bit), but the main series is distressingly similar to a boring superhero comic where everyone simply bashes on each other. Yawn. I mean, there are three large panels in this book showing the Serpent dude or Thor hitting either the ground or someone else with a hammer and a giant explosion resulting from such a blow. Immonen draws it nicely each time, but it’s essentially the same panel reprinted. WE GET IT – THE HAMMERS ARE FREAKING POWERFUL!!!!!! I’m still a bit flabbergasted that a comic written by Matt Fraction and drawn by Stuart Immonen could be this boring. I mean, I haven’t loved everything Fraction has written for Marvel, but I don’t think it’s been boring. And Immonen could draw the phone book and it would look good, as this book does, but it doesn’t give off that same sense of joy and fun that Immonen can convey rather easily. I know that’s not the tone of the book, but it doesn’t even feel like it’s important in any way. Man, that’s sad. As is Fear Itself. Sigh.

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Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Well, that's going to leave a mark

Frankenstein and the Creatures of the Unknown #3 (of 3) (“Our Frightening Forces”) by Jeff Lemire (writer), Andy Smith (penciller), Keith Champagne (inker), Pete Pantazis (colorist), and Travis Lanham (letterer). $2.99, 20 pgs, FC, DC.

We get the third penciller in three issues on this series, and I can’t imagine Lemire is too happy about that. I mean, this was never as creepy and eerie a series as I was hoping, but if DC had gotten an artist who could do all three issues and suited the tone of a monster book, this book could have been weird fun. Instead, they got three artists who are competent but don’t really do anything different than dozens of other superhero artists out there, and the book is somewhat bland. Lemire’s script isn’t perfect, of course, but there are some scenes in this series that could have been memorable, but for the dull art. The fact that he ties it more into the main Flashpoint arc might work against the book, too. Ponticelli on the new Frankenstein book will, I think, make that book far more interesting than this mini-series was.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:


Morning Glories #11 by Nick Spencer (writer), Joe Eisma (artist), Alex Sollazzo (colorist), and Johnny Lowe (letterer). $2.99, 30 pgs, FC, Image.

Morning Glories has slipped behind schedule a bit, which is a bit annoying, and getting a 30-page story in this issue only mitigates it somewhat. I know some people have jumped ship on the book because of its pace, but I honestly don’t mind the pace – the only problem I have is with keeping track of everything that’s going on (which is a problem for me all the time, given the amount of comics I buy) and delaying the book makes that more of a problem. This issue isn’t that late, but I do hope this isn’t going to become a chronic problem.

Anyway, Spencer does move the plot along quite nicely in this issue, perhaps as a response to complaints that the book was moving too slowly. There’s quite a bit of information in this issue, even though not a lot “happens.” We learn a lot about Ike, the horrible rich kid of the group, and about his relationship with his father, leading to a surprising but not too shocking ending. It’s a strong issue, but I wonder if Spencer has waited too long to deliver it.

I believe the next issue is the last one of the arc, and I imagine Spencer is getting ducks in a row and will soon enough start knocking them down. These early issues remind me a bit of the early issues of Elephantmen (although this book isn’t as good as that one) – Starkings spent a lot of time setting things up, and the action came fast and furious once he did, so we’ll see how Spencer plays this out. I’m willing to wait, but I wonder how many others are!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

She has a point

Red Robin #26 (“What Goes Around …”) by Fabian Nicieza (writer), Marcus To (penciller), Ray McCarthy (inker), Guy Major (colorist), and Sal Cipriano (letterer). $2.99, 20 pgs, FC, DC.

Another final issue, and this one, while strange, feels a bit more complete than either Batgirl or Detective. It’s strange because at the end of last issue, Tim lets us know that he killed Captain Boomerang, which we knew was a lie. Now we get the story of that lie, as Tim sets up Digger Harkness and thinks about killing him, but doesn’t. Nicieza, of course, is going off the murder of Tim Drake’s father from Identity Crisis, and Tim has suddenly decided to take revenge (I write “suddenly,” but given what we’ve heard about the revamping of the DC timeline, Identity Crisis probably occurred about a month ago in the DCU), so he sets Harkness up for a fall. It’s an effective story, because we know that Tim isn’t going to kill Harkness, but Nicieza isn’t concerned about that – he’s concerned about how the Batmen view Tim afterwards, and so we get some nice character moments with Dick and Bruce (separately).

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The nicest thing about Red Robin from when I started buying it (in January) was showing off Marcus To’s work, because it’s very impressive. Yes, he’s a rather standard superhero artist, but that’s harder than it looks, because you need to work well with fluid figures and dynamic poses that don’t look too staged, and To does all that while adding good character work and nice touches of humor. I’m glad he’s working in the DCnU, because if you’re going to do straight superheroes, you need to have artists that can pull it off, and To’s one of them.

So that’s Red Robin. Not a great book, but more enjoyable than I would have expected. That’s never a bad thing!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Tim Drake ... badass!

The Red Wing #2 (of 4) (“Learning to Fall”) by Jonathan Hickman (writer), Nick Pitarra (artist), and Rachelle Rosenberg (colorist). $3.50, 22 pgs, FC, Image.

Dang, this is a cool series. I mean, time travel is still annoying because it makes my head hurt and it’s totally impossible (don’t let the God of All Comics tell you differently!), but Hickman is telling a cool story, and that overcomes a lot of my objections to time travel. I suppose I should have guessed the ending, but I didn’t, so that was nice, and I like how the theme of generational conflict is emerging. Plus, Pitarra and Rosenberg are doing a very good job illustrating this. I don’t have much else to say – this is just a damned cool book.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

The tingle of foreshadowing!

The Secret History #16 (“Zion”) by Jean-Pierre Pécau (writer), Igor Kordey (artist), Chris Chuckry (colorist), Edward Gauvin (translator), and Marshall Dillon (letterer). $5.95, 54 pgs, FC, Archaia.

Pécau focuses on the Arab-Israeli war in 1948 (the Israelis call it the War of Independence, and I guess they’re still independent, so they get to name it, but it’s strange that this conflict doesn’t really have a good name, unlike so many other, far more minor conflicts like “The War of Jenkins’ Ear” and “The War of the Cricket Match” – yes, those both exist!), which is nice because this series always seems to work best when it’s more focused rather than zipping around the world with various subplots. We get some subplots, sure, but basically this issue focuses on the three archons trying to figure out how to survive in the nuclear age. With this series, it’s always a good idea to remind the reader why all this shit is happening, so Pécau does so nicely, and the fact that we get a bunch of action in the meantime is appreciated. As usual, this is such an epic series it’s hard to write about single issues, but after issue #15, which felt a bit muddled, it’s good that it got back on track. Kordey, naturally, continues to kick ass on art. That’s not a shock!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Yet more badassery!

The Spirit #17. “Strange Bedfellows” by Howard Chaykin (writer), Brian Bolland (artist), and Rob Leigh (letterer); “The Spirit Lottery” by Paul Levitz (writer), Jose Luis Garcia-López (artist), and Rob Leigh (letterer); “Art Walk” by Will Pfeifer (writer), P. Craig Russell (artist), and Galen Showman (letterer). $2.99, 24 pgs, BW, DC.

If you look at that collection of talent, you can understand why I bought this. Chaykin writes a clever murder mystery, and Brian freakin’ Bolland, who has drawn, as far as I know, two interior pages in the past 20-odd years, draws the shit out of it. Sure, it’s only eight pages, but it’s gorgeous, and it makes me very sad that Bolland doesn’t do more sequential stuff. He has a sense of humor, a beautiful line, and superb storytelling skills. Dang.

The other two stories are wonderful, too. Garcia-López is wonderful on a story about a newsvendor caught up in a lottery scam, and while I’m not quite sure what happens at the end (it’s weirdly unclear; can anyone help out?), it’s the most “Eisner-esque” of the three stories. My favorite story overall is probably the final one, because Pfeifer and Russell deliver a hilarious battle between the Spirit and a punk in a museum while two janitors discuss art. It’s very funny because Pfeifer gets to destroy a bunch of masterpieces, while Russell nails both the art and the way the Spirit’s fight mirrors said art. Bolland’s artwork is a bit more amazing (although Russell is, of course, no slouch), but the story, in toto, is more delightful (yes, delightful) than the first one.

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Really, all three stories are wonderful. It’s all in glorious black and white, and it’s totally worth a look. Put down that issue of Alpha Flight or that fill-in issue of Birds of Prey and pick this up instead!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

One totally Airwolf panel:


T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #10 (“Death and the Maiden”) by Nick Spencer (writer), Dan McDaid (artist), Brad Anderson (colorist), Mike Grell (artist), Val Staples (colorist), Nick Dragotta (artist), Lee Loughridge (colorist), and Jared K. Fletcher (letterer). $2.99, 20 pgs, FC, DC.

T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents ends for now, and although the final couple of issues felt a bit padded, as if Spencer could have easily ended this with issue #9, I still enjoyed it. (It’s weird how some of these series – this one and Superboy – have issues that feel unnecessary, while the others I’ve written about above feel like they could have used another issue. Well, weird to me, at least.) The Iron Maiden saga wasn’t as good as the first arc, but it was nice seeing the artists having some fun with the various eras depicted within the pages. I’m curious enough about what happened in this arc to get the mini-series that’s coming in November – I do hope Spencer will tie up the series well, because he’s apparently been given far more rope than a lot of creators would with a book like this.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

The Sixties were awesome, man!

Borderline volume 4 by Carlos Trillo (writer), Eduardo Risso (artist), Maria Barrucci (translator), and Zach Matheny (letterer). $19.99, 211 pgs, BW, Dynamite Entertainment.

Trillo died in May. That’s too bad. This is part of a nice legacy, though, as this book is pretty damned neat.

Echo: The Complete Edition by Terry Moore (writer/artist). $39.99, 590 pgs, BW, Abstract Studios.

Chris Sims hates Terry Moore (as a creator, not as a human being). That may or may not be an endorsement for this comic.

Gantz volume 18 by Hiroya Oku. $12.99, 218 pgs, BW, Dark Horse.

It really never gets any easier to defend Gantz, does it? I don’t care – it’s pure adrenaline, and that’s all that matters.

Gunnerkrigg Court volume 3 by Thomas Siddell. $26.95, 278 pgs, FC, Archaia.

I’ve read volume 1, but I really need to get it, because I love this comic so much.

The Many Adventures of Miranda Mercury: Time Runs Out by Brandon Thomas (writer), Lee Ferguson (artist/colorist), Matt Deering (inker), Felix Serrano (colorist), Jordan Boyd (colorist), Craig Cermak (colorist), James Brown (colorist), and Matty Ryan (letterer). $24.95, 175 pgs, FC, Archaia.

I’m sure you all pre-ordered this, because I told you too, right? Right? Hello?

Spy School by Frank Tra (writer), Keith Burns (artist), Johnny Tam (colorist), and Chandran Ponnusamy (colorist). $14.95, 74 pgs, FC, Arcana.

I’ll have to check, but I think this was first solicited something like three years ago. Good to see it finally show up!

How about we get on to the The Ten Most Recent Songs On My iPod (Which Is Always On Shuffle)?

1. “Right to Rock”Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs (2001) “Are you ready for a revolution?”
2. “In Hiding”Pearl Jam (1998) “No longer overwhelmed and it seems so simple now”
3. “Them Surf Serfs” – Mason Williams (1964) “Sun-burnt bodies, bright yeller hair”1
4. “In the Cage”Genesis (1974) “Each person can’t go very far; all tied to their things, they’re netted by their strings”
5. “Cuban Pete”Jim Carrey (1994) “He’s a really modest guy, although he’s the hottest guy in Havana”
6. “Helpless”Faith No More (1997) “Sometimes life, it moves too slow, slows to a crawl, and all the poetry is lost”
7. “Love Removal Machine”The Cult (1987) “She said, Do all those things that you do to me, you know what I mean, boy”2
8. “Wonderous Stories”Yes (1977) “As he spoke my spirit climbed into the sky”3
9. “As Bad As This”Styx (1973) “Now there’s nothin’ wrong with you, and there’s nothing you could ever do”4
10. “Come” – Prince (1993) “Don’t be surprised if I make you my daily meal”

1 I don’t know how many of you young whippersnappers out there have heard of Mason Williams, but he’s a folk artist who had a long connection to the Smothers Brothers. His “Them poems” are quite hilarious and they all clock in at about a minute long. My dad has the album on which they appear (actually, he owns a reprint that came out in 1969 rather than the original from 1964), and it’s one of the few albums of his I ever enjoyed. I certainly wasn’t a fan of his Kingston Trio discs! (Although I suppose I should have been.)

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2 I love this song because it’s almost completely nonsensical. Seriously, they could sing about putting Nutella on bread and it would make as much sense. Mmmm … Nutella. Plus, that video is seriously 1980s awesome. Oh, the hair! Oh, the clothes!

3 Quick, which is weirder: Pre-1975 Yes or post-1975 Yes? Oh, that’s a puzzler for sure!

4 Dennis DeYoung thinks The Serpent is Rising is one of the worst albums EVER. Wow, that’s pretty harsh. It’s sold less than 100,000 copies, of which I am one. Yay, me! Anyway, if you’ve ever heard this song, I have to ask you: Is this the strangest song ever? I mean, it starts as a normal “lost-love” song, and then, halfway through, it’s suddenly … a calypso song about going to the bathroom. Seriously. If you’re interested, click on the link at the song title, and you can listen to the entire thing. It’s … odd, to say the least.

Totally Random Movie Quote: Go get it!

“This corn is raw!”
“I know, isn’t it wonderful? It’s so crisp!”
“Of course it’s crisp! It’s raw!”
“No, it’s terrific. You can just taste the Vitamin A and E in here. It’s great.”
“Could we have pills and cook the corn?”

I hope everyone is enjoying August. School started this week, so I’m certainly enjoying it!


Man, I’m not a huge Cult fan, but it doesn’t get much better than their three big hits.

Bolland drew a story for an issue of Batman Black & White, and an Atom story in that Dc Legacies crap. SO NOW YOU KNOW.

actually, the Detective run has ALWAYS been planned to end here. I’m sure the Back-up is what hurt it, if indeed it was hurt. My problem with Morning Glories isn’t the pacing or the lack of reveals…it’s just that its LOST. The reveal that we SPOILER**********************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************have your father and we want you to kill him and he’s in this room in chains…..that’s straight up a scene from LOST. EXACTLY.

It’s even more disheartening when you read an interview with Spencer and he discusses his love for LOST over and over and well, it’s all right there. I hope we’re getting something very unique soon, cause right now I’m just becoming more and more bored with it.

I’ll defend GANTZ.

Oh, right . . . Capt. Boomerang = Digger Harkness. Now I’m wondering if he’s an ancestor to Capt. Jack Harkness. That would be so embarrassing for Jack, wouldn’t it?

According to what Joe Eisma told me, Morning Glories #12 is already off to the printers, so there won’t be a big delay, and he’s working on #13 right now.

Magnum PI, you say? I can’t remember which episode it was, but that one where Magnum just straight-up murders a dude in the final seconds– that’s hardcore for a breezy 80s action show.

In Criminal #3, the father suspected him not because he wanted time off, but because he said “I need to get over this”. Which to me, implied no love for his wife.

jjc: I assume you mean “She Sells Sanctuary,” “Love Removal Machine,” and “Fire Woman.” Those are good tunes, aren’t they?

R: Thanks for the info. I should have remembered the Batman Black and White story, but I didn’t know about the Atom one.

SmoMan: If you know that Snyder was planning on ending it here, fine. That makes it even more annoying that he didn’t develop the character as much as he could. I just think a slower burn would have made the ending that much more devastating.

I don’t really hold similar plot points against fiction, because there are no new plots under the sun. If the idea is really unique, sure, but what happens in Morning Glories is a pretty standard staple.

Robert: I didn’t mean to imply that Eisma was slow on the book. From what I know, Morning Glories being late is mostly Spencer’s fault!

Bill: I remember that episode. That was pretty intense.

Reverse Flash: I guess so. It didn’t seem too damning to me, because why wouldn’t he want to get over it? But yeah, that’s probably what Brubaker was going for. I just forgot about that line.

Garcia-Lopez? Holy crap. I’m getting that Spirit for sure.

Looking at that totally Airwolf panel from Detective Comics, it occurs to me that James Gordon may be borrowing from Dexter Morgan’s wardrobe.

Echo is terrific. I guarantee Sims did not read it.

Moore’s art on Fables was below average, though.

So maybe I was trying to read more into it as a final issue then was actually there but for Batgirl #24:

How do we know she ever actually woke up from the dream the flowers put it in. Beating a threat that only real superheroes ever beat? Making peace with her mother? Respect and friendship from Barbara? From what I know about Stephanie those sound a lot more like her dreams than the crazy scenarios we’re supposed to believe are the flowers put her in.

Anyway, I read it as kind of a creepy issue with the twist of not knowing for sure if the the hero won (and not having a next issue that’s going to reveal the answer).

Speaking of GANTZ, has anyone seen the movie?
It totally rocked! And there’s a sequel in the works, too. :-)

Saw both GANTZes at Montreal’s Fantasia Festival a couple weeks ago. Pretty darn good, considering that it would take a billion dollars or so to adapt the manga in full. And, man, is the first one better without the horrific dubbing that was used in the US showings in January.

The father-in-law seems to suspect him because he says he needs some time off from his job. Dude, his wife was just killed and the police told him she was sleeping with another man! Then he finds out the dude might be a serial killer! Of course he might need time off from his job!

I thought Riley saying ‘I need time to get over it,’ was the cause for suspicion, rather than his leave of absence.


Aren’t they’re setting Riley up as the serial killer, rather than the Reggie guy?

I feel exactly the same way about Fear Itself. I mean, I don’t like Flashpoint either, but at least it’s so ridiculous that it’s kind of fun, and the main series does feel like something I haven’t seen hundreds of times before. Fear Itself is just…yup, the bad guys have hammers and are really, really powerful. In trying to be so BIG, it loses any sense of scale. Too much of the characterization is aggressively bland, especially with The Worthy…a colossal, colossal failure for a crossover where the bad guys are (I guess?) supposed to such a focal point. I’m not thrilled about the Franklin-Richards-can-do-anything! save, especially with two issues to go. (If Franklin can wave a magic wand and restore whatever he wants, that saps away a lot of the drama…not that “drama” is something the series has done competently up to this point or anything.) I can only guess there’s going to be some kind of “oh, no, none of this ever happened” slate-wiper with so many millions upon millions of casualites up to this point. That, or the fact that Paris has been wiped out won’t really be mentioned again. I really don’t share the central characters’ “fear”. Tony giving up his sobriety, f’r instance, has zero resonance. The way the book approaches events in other books (like Tony’s sacrifice to get an audience with Odin; the whole humans-are-gonna-rebuild-Asgard thing) is sloppily addressed in the main series. Too few of the central heroes feel like themselves. Given everything the hero-types have overcome over and over and over and over and over in the past, Fear Itself does a poor job selling why they’d feel so defeated now. The shattering of Cap’s shield and the Thing-ka-bob were the only really cool moments for me. With as much as I love Matt Fraction’s work, I’m shocked he’s churning out something this poorly plotted and uninvolving.

It just doesn’t feel like there’s a story…just issue after issue of “punching mega-powerful bad guys with hammers!”. It doesn’t even work as pure spectacle, and especially with so much shunted off to other books, there’s no reason whatsoever why this should be a seven issue mini.

With the bad taste Siege (although it started off well!), Chaos War, and Fear Itself have left in my mouth, I think I’m gonna sit out Big Marvel Crossovers for a while.

. . .

For whatever reason, my local comic store didn’t get in Batgirl #24. Maybe it’ll show up this coming Wednesday.

I haven’t picked up any Flashpoint stuff, because I just don’t see the point. I don’t much enjoy Johns’s writing, so a Johns-centric event (or, say, a Johns-centric new continuity) isn’t of interest to me. It seems like this is just one big, expensive, multi-title Elseworlds that doesn’t have much to do with anything that’s gone before or anything that’ll come afterward (and the last time I was interested in one of those was Amalgam–Tangent didn’t grab me either). So there’s no sense that I “should” be aware of what’s going on in it for any reason.

That said, I have to say I picked up a few of the “Retro-Active” titles, just because they’re a little more relevant to me somehow. Just a few, though–the ’80s WW and ’70s GL and JLA. I also picked up Red Skull, because some guy on the internet told me I oughta.

Batgirl was fantastic up until the scene in the hospital, where it was implied that she has received a transfusion from her mother’s blood. Except that since receiving a transfusion from your parent is fatal. So I read the rest of the issue as if she was dead. Or still under the influence of the Black Mercy. Thus the story was not the ending I was hoping for in the least.

I bought Detective Comics #881 and the previous issues, I don’t wait for trades on Batman related stuff, Punisher Max is an entirely different story though. So I’ve read all but the Detective review on your list there.
I am thinking about getting that Retroactive stuff that DC’s been putting on the shelfs lately and some Clearance stuff that’s been great to read.

To me, that whole issue of Batgirl read like Stephanie was under the influence of the Black Mercy for the entire issue. Note that on the page showing the framed photo of the Batgirls/Blackhawks team-up in 1945, there’s a Black Mercy in a vase next to the photo. So maybe Stephanie’s still comatose from the Black Mercy pollen, requiring Babs to get back into the tights?

@acespot: huh? Getting a transfusion from your parent is fatal? Really? If that is the case, I honestly didn’t know that. Not sure why it would be that way, but who knows?

I guess Batman Inc 7 bothered you too, then.

So does this mean the DCnU needs RNs? Or maybe Night Nurse?

If that flower in Batgirl IS from “For the Man who has Everything” (yeah, no google for me either), that’s a really nice nod, since Moore was the one who, in a roundabout way, created the “need” for Steph as Batgirl. What’s BQM doing upcoming? The couple issues of Batgirl I’ve read were pretty good, and it’s a shame that Steph can’t be around still.

Transfusions from a parent are risky because it’s possible for the body to reject the blood, but it’s not always fatal. In fact, while it’s discouraged by most first-world hospitals, it’s still done in emergency situations where the alternative is less ambiguously negative. I don’t know if this fits that bill, though.

The theory that Stephanie is still under the influence of the Black Mercy is interesting – I hadn’t considered it. You’ll notice, Dean, that the flower is present in every single scenario that she imagines, so I just took it as she was under the influence in those pages, but not any of the others. I wonder if this will be addressed in the DCnU. Probably not, but I wonder.

Travis: I haven’t seen anything with Miller’s name on it, so who knows what he’s doing next, if anything.

Yeah, Dean, way to reiterate my comment and hog the Burgas response limelight!

@Loop: Yeah, but no hospital in this country would ever consider using a parent’s blood for an emergency transfusion. They have blood banks to eliminate the need for such a drastic and risky choice. There was a study done in collaboration with Israeli and Japanese hematologists a while back prompted by a high incidence of people in Japan having died from receiving blood transfusions from parents, which once was thought to be preferable. Since then, blood banks and donor sites tag all their blood with a unique identifier to ensure that no patient ever receives a parent’s blood.

And that’s why I mentioned earlier that I believe the end of Batgirl to be a Black Mercy hallucination…because any hospital in the US would know this, and most ER nurses are aware of this as well…certainly all hematologists and phlebotomists are, and one would certainly have been present at any transfusion. One of the required questions before any transfusion is: “is the patient your child?” As soon as she heard this question asked, Steffie’s mother would have twigged to there being an issue were such to be the case.
Stephanie, on the other hand, would probably not know this. Like most people, she’d think of a parent direct donating their blood to a child as one of the most loving acts a parent could do for a child.
And one of the things that Steph has been craving ever since the beginning of this book was a closer relationship with her mother…without all the deception. So this would definitely be part of her ultimate Black Mercy hallucination. Plus all the other wonderful resolutions which come afterwards…they seem like much more of a desirable reality for Stephanie than any of the glimpses we are shown in her convo with Babs…
And as someone who has often lacked the courage to recognize her own inner strength – often questioning herself, her strength, her motivations, and almost everything else at one time or another – believing that SHE has the power to overcome the Black Mercy, especially when even Superman and Batman could not.

DC, I want my Baldy now!

Oh, and there seems to be a flower in a vase on Batgirl’s bedside when she awakes. It’s not clear from the illustration if it is a Black Mercy or not, but such could CERTAINLY be the case.

In which case, BQM is even more of a genius than I gave him credit for.

But…I got a tweet today from BQM saying that his intention was that Stephanie HAD woken up. Of course, if a future writer decides to view the events of this issue differently than BQM intended, it might be possible to do so.

Of course, with the reboot looming, nothing about this matters anymore, and all we are left with are the good stories. I wonder what role Steffie will play in the NuDC. I hope she isn’t omitted entirely: first no memorial in the Batcave, and now to be wiped from existence? Oh what ignominy!

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