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CSBG Archive

What I bought – 21 September 2011

He lay with a pack of panting dogs on a hill overlooking plains where antelope grazed. He marched with ants, and labored in the rigors of the nest, filing eggs. He danced the mating dance of the bower bird, and slept on a warm rock with his lizard kin. He was a cloud. He was the shadow of a cloud. He was the moon that cast the shadow of a cloud. He was a blind fish; he was a shoal; he was a whale; he was the sea. He was the lord of all he surveyed. He was a worm in the dung of a kite. He did not grieve, knowing his life was a day long, or an hour. He did not wonder who made him. He did not wish to be other. He did not pray. He did not hope. He only was, and was, and was, and that was the joy of it. (Clive Barker, from Sacrament)

Man, Geof Darrow should draw more comics Yet another freaky cover by Ruas! Esquejo's covers are pretty but somewhat generic I very much doubt that John shops at Hot Topic Faerber's back! At no point in this comic does Una chop off a giant pig's head, which is kind of sad I LOVE the cover design for this series So much burning! It looks like Songbird got caught enjoying a delicious chocolate treat Well, that's dull Scrambled or over-easy? 'Oh, that's where I left my lunch!' Can't those two just get along? So much prose!!!! It's trade-waiting time!

Dark Horse Presents #4. “Beasts of Burden: Food Run” by Evan Dorkin (writer), Jill Thompson (artist), and Jason Arthur (letterer); “Rotten Apple Chapter Three” by Chuck Brown (writer), Sanford Greene (artist/colorist), Tyson Hesse (colorist), and Steve Dutro (letterer); “The Adventures of Dog Mendonça and Pizzaboy Chapter One” by Filipe Melo (writer), Juan Cavia (artist), Santiago Villa (colorist), Pedro Semedo (letterer), João Pombeiro (adapter), and Martin Tejada (adapter); “Number 13 Chapter Three” by Robert Love (writer/artist), David Walker (writer), and Diego Simone (colorist); “Resident Alien Chapter One: Welcome to Earth” by Peter Hogan (writer) and Steve Parkhouse (artist); “Criminal Macabre: Die, Die, My Darling! Part One” by Steve Niles (writer), Christopher Mitten (artist), Michelle Madsen (colorist), and Nate Piekos (letterer); “Marked Man Part Four” by Howard Chaykin (writer/artist), Jesus Aburto (colorist), and Ken Bruzenak (letterer); “Age of Reptiles: The Body” by Ricardo Delgado (writer/artist) and Jim Campbell (colorist); “Finder: Third World Part 4″ by Carla Speed McNeil (writer/artist), Jen Manley Lee (colorist), and Bill Mudron (colorist); “The Protest” by Dara Naraghi (writer) and Victor Santos (artist); “Teenagers” by Patrick Alexander (writer/artist). $7.99, 81 pgs, FC, Dark Horse.

I continue to like DHP very much, even though, as an anthology, you’re going to get some missteps (Howard Chaykin, for instance, continues to prove that his best work is 25 years in the past). The point is, so far in this series, we’ve gotten very few missteps, while the other stories range from entertaining to downright excellent. I never really have a lot to say about this comic – you can see the collection of talent above, and the chapters of the serials are so short it’s difficult to critique them in any meaningful way – but that doesn’t mean I don’t dig it. And in this issue, we get a short story from Dorkin and Thompson about the Beasts of Burden, which just whets my appetite for another mini-series (get on that, people!); we get the first chapter of an oddball private investigator – Dog Mendonça – who begins to tell us his life story as a circus performer; we get the hilarious first chapter of “Resident Alien” by Hogan and Parkhouse, about a marooned alien on Earth who just wants to be left alone but chose to pretend to be a doctor, so when there’s a murder in town, the cops call him in; we get the first chapter of a Cal McDonald mystery, and while the very few times I’ve read Niles’s Cal McDonald stories I haven’t loved them, at least Mitten is drawing this; we get another excellent Finder short story; and we get a very nice tale about growing up in Iran under the Ayatollah. I mean, that’s diversity AND quality! Whoo-hoo! Yes, each issue is 8 dollars, but considering half that gets you 20 pages from some publishers and there are no ads and the people who work on this book actually know what they’re doing with regards to comics, it’s a steal. A STEAL!!!!!!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

See, that's just not very nice

Fables #109 (“Inherit the Wind Chapter Two: Cardinal Virtues”) by Bill Willingham (writer), Mark Buckingham (penciller), Steve Leialoha (inker), Lee Loughridge (colorist), and Todd Klein (letterer). $2.99, 20 pgs, FC, DC/Vertigo.

Willingham does his thing, juggling a few story threads that may or may not come to fruition in this arc but will down the road a piece. The main plot concerns Snow and Bigby’s kids, one of whom is supposed to succeed as the North Wind. Ozma gave one of them a prophecy which doesn’t sound particularly nice, and Snow is upset about it. In Oz, the ragtag group under Bufkin are still lurking around, while Rose goes back to the Farm and Mrs. Spratt continues to prepare for her vengeance. It’s all very interesting, but as always, we’re in the middle of a story arc in the one hundred ninth issue of a series, so it’s difficult to get into it all. This is just a good comic, as always.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Yes, yes you are

Generation Hope #11 (“Schism Part Two”) by Kieron Gillen (writer), Tim Seeley (artist), Val Staples (colorist), Sotocolor (colorist), and Dave Sharpe (letterer). $2.99, 20 pgs, FC, Marvel.

I wonder why Gillen is leaving this comic after next issue, because this seems like the kind of book you’d want to write for as long as you can – the characters are essentially yours, and as long as sales keep up, you can do almost whatever you want because nobody cares if you kill off, I don’t know, Idie in some issue. Gillen also seems to have at least one big plot thread unresolved (which, based on the cover for issue #12, might be resolved next time?), so there’s that. Anyway, I just wonder why he’s leaving, unless he simply doesn’t have the time. I can buy that.

So this is another tie-in to “Schism,” which means the kids get shunted aside to allow the X-Men to fight each other (in a different book, of course), which means Gillen gets to write spot-on dialogue that reveals a great deal about the characters, which is his strength anyway, so this is a fine issue. I too wondered where the other groups of young mutants that always seem to crop up every few years were, so Gillen brings some of them into the picture. Meanwhile, Hope is still dealing with dissent within the group, especially from Laurie, who freaks out at her in this issue. That leads to the lingering plot thread with Kenji, but I shan’t go into that here.

Seeley is the artist again, and he’s fine, although years of drawing naked chicks has apparently rendered him incapable of drawing clothing, because Laurie and Hope both look like they’re naked with body paint on (Laurie might be naked for all I know, but I know Hope is wearing a uniform). It’s a bit disconcerting when they’re talking, because they look absolutely starkers. It’s bizarre. But Seeley’s first and last pages are very well done (well, they’re all good, but the first and last pages are very good), and I don’t have any problems with his art.

I’m going to miss Gillen on this title. It will make a nice trade if Marvel chooses to release all twelve in one, or two nice trades if they don’t. They should, though. That would be pretty neat.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

It's funny because Gabriel is stoopid!

Hellblazer #283 (“The Devil’s Trenchcoat Part One: The Stench That Lingers”) by Peter Milligan (writer), Giuseppe Camuncoli (layouter), Stefano Landini (finisher), Trish Mulvihill (colorist), and Sal Cipriano (letterer). $2.99, 20 pgs, FC, DC/Vertigo.

I very much doubt if anyone ever thought we’d get a story narrated by John’s trench coat, but guess what? it has arrived. Yes, Gemma stole John’s trenchcoat a while back, and she sold it to someone and now it ended up an on-line auction site. Some schmuck bought it and the coat basically turned him into John Constantine, which was good news for a while (John always knows how to get laid) but wasn’t good news for long (the coat is as much of a bastard as John is!). John is trying to figure out what’s going on with his coat, and it’s possible something else is happening (his flat seems to be acting weird, but it’s unclear whether that has to do with the coat or not). Meanwhile, the strange girl who helped Gemma get revenge on her uncle is demanding payment … in murder!!!!! Oh dear. And let’s not even talk about John’s father-in-law interrupting John and Epiphany in the shower. Boundaries, man, boun-da-ries!

Yes, it’s another twisted and excellent issue of Hellblazer. I actually don’t like weeks like this, when a bunch of my favorite comics come out, because I don’t feel like I have anything to say about them. THEY’RE ALL FUCKING GOOD! Oh, I will once again comment on Milligan’s or Camuncoli’s or even Vertigo’s bizarre policy toward nipples in this book. THIS IS A “MATURE READERS” COMIC!!!! I very much doubt if your local comic book retailer will cavalierly sell this to an impressionable young lad or lass who, of course, never plays FPS games in which they blow people’s brains out, yet Vertigo (or Milligan or Camuncoli) has an odd attitude toward nipples. Two women have sex in this book, and Camuncoli goes out of his way, it seems, to obscure their nipples behind their own arms. In fact, when Epiphany is in the shower, he doesn’t bother to block where her nipple would be, he just doesn’t draw one. Weird. As usual, I don’t want my comics to be wall-to-wall nudity (although that might be the most Airwolf panel ever), but if your characters are in a situation where you would see stuff, draw it. John’s bait and tackle are artfully concealed in shadow in another panel, but I guess I’ve long reconciled myself to Vertigo’s belief that “mature readers” means readers who aren’t mature enough to see dick. FREE THE NIPPLES, VERTIGO (or MILLIGAN or CAMUNCOLI). You have nothing to lose but your prudishness.

Sorry about that. It’s been a little bit since I ranted about nipples here. I didn’t want you to think I’d given up on it!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Remember when David Cronenberg was the bad guy in Nightbreed? That was seriously weird

Near Death #1 by Jay Faeber (writer), Simone Guglielmini (artist), Ron Riley (colorist), and Charles Pritchett (letterer). $2.99, 21 pgs, FC, Image.

Jay Faerber, who’s been out of comics and working in television for a few years (he’s a staff writer on the new show Sarah Michelle Gellar show Ringer, which I didn’t watch but which features one of the worst green screens in recent memory, which isn’t Faerber’s fault of course, but dear Lord if you look at that footage it looks like someone colorized a show from the 1960s, man!), is back with Near Death (which is set in Seattle, which he abandoned when he went all Hollywood, man!), a comic that doesn’t seem to have much shelf life but which, at least for one issue, works perfectly fine. The conceit is that a dude named Markham, who’s a hitman, has a near death experience in which he sees the corpses of everyone he’s ever killed (and he’s been working for a long time, man). One of them tells him that if he wants to make up for it (Markham doesn’t believe in the afterlife, of course, and once he realizes that it exists, he has a change of heart tout suite), he can balance the scales in some way – Markham wakes up before we can find out how. The first thing he does is rescue a federally protected witness that he was supposed to kill from the hitman who was hired to replace him. And we’re off!

The problem with the idea is that, so far, we don’t exactly know how Markham is going to balance the scales. Obviously, he’s not going to be a hitman anymore, but what kind of good Samaritan is he going to be? To rescue the witness, he slaps a (somewhat) innocent woman and shoots the dude who replaced him in the head (I would say “kills,” but because Markham is apparently a lousy hitman, he doesn’t kill him, which of course will cause complications for Markham in the future). So is he going to save people’s lives or just make them better? I imagine the former, because if it’s the latter, we’d get a comic of Markham standing around in a soup kitchen volunteering. But the mission is still a bit unclear, which is fine for now (it’s the first issue, after all), but I hope we get Markham’s idea of it pretty soon.

This may sound like I didn’t enjoy Near Death. Well, that’s not true. Faerber is stretching himself a bit here, as in the past decade he’s become one of the best superhero writers around and this, of course, isn’t a superhero book. But one of his strengths is finding the core of the character very quickly, and we get a very good sense of Markham from this comic, as he’s still a violent dude and he doesn’t know how to react when the witness thanks him. It’s a clever way to show that Markham will probably struggle with this new, “I’m not a hitman” thing he’s working on. Plus, the art is very cool. Faerber mentions in the backmatter that Rucka and Southworth make Portland a character in Stumptown, and it’s interesting that he mentions Stumptown because Guglielmini’s rough art reminds me a bit of Southworth’s in that comic. Of course, I like noirish comics, so I’m glad Faerber found an artist whose work is a bit darker. Ron Riley, meanwhile, is amazing on colors – the opening scene is a beautiful contrast of blues and yellows (the foundation of modern comic book coloring, don’t you know, and Riley nicely makes it explicit) as Markham arrives at a doctor’s (well, a vet’s) clinic at night, with the street lamps providing the illumination. When Markham has his near death experience, Riley switches from the gloom to a painfully bright desert, contrasting it with Seattle’s murk and rain that permeates much of the book. Guglielmini has some nice pencil work, but Riley really helps bring it to life.

If you think this book sounds like a Stephen J. Cannell television show from the 1980s, I’m sure Faerber, who often writes about his love of Cannell shows, would thank you. This sounds very much like a “rescue someone in peril every month” kind of book with an overarcing plot about Markham’s attempts to get out of the business, and that’s perfectly fine with me. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that Markham is going to get a boat, and therefore this comic will not be as awesome as Cannell’s Riptide. Admit it, people – YOU TOTALLY LOVED RIPTIDE!!!!!!!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

You really never want to see something like that

Northlanders #44 (“The Icelandic Trilogy Part Three: Slavery 886″) by Brian Wood (writer), Paul Azaceta (artist), Dave McCaig (colorist), and Travis Lanham (letterer). $2.99, 20 pgs, FC, DC/Vertigo.

The first part of “The Icelandic Trilogy” comes to a close, as Ulf has a son (not without some controversy!) to carry on his family’s name and probably cause all sorts of trouble for future generations of Icelanders. Wood has done a good job in these three issues showing how Ulf is both horrible and brutal yet loving (in his way) and just (again, in his way). Ulf is not a nice guy, per se, but he does love Una and he is distressed that he fucks her all the time but she doesn’t get pregnant (I’d like to know how he has time for conquering if he’s screwing all day, but that’s for another day!). Throughout this series, Wood has done a very good job showing how Vikings lived and how alien their mindset is to 21st-century folk. Ulf might appear to be a monster, but he does what he has to do and by the end of this section of the story, he’s established a bloodline and brought a measure of peace to Iceland. Wood doesn’t excuse his characters, but he also understands that the world they lived in was far different than ours. I’m looking forward to the final six issues of this epic to see how Ulf’s family changes Iceland over the centuries.

Anyway, it’s been a while since I’ve mentioned Wood’s historical accuracy, and I’m a bit sad he doesn’t seem to come around here much anymore, so I’m going to poke the bear! So Ulf is practicing using what looks like a longbow with one of his posse. He’s having trouble with it, and he says “How do the English manage this?” I can’t say with 100% certainty that this is a wild anachronism, but I’m going to anyway. First of all, Ulf has spent his life in Iceland, which is a bit far away from England. Has he ever been there? I doubt it. Maybe he heard about them from other travelers, because I very much doubt if the English of 886 were sailing to Iceland with much regularity. Then there’s the bows. I haven’t been able to find much about it, but what I have found says that the Anglo-Saxons of the ninth century weren’t using longbows like the one Ulf has. The famous English longbows, of course, were first unleashed in France during the Hundred Years’ War, but even if we trace them backward, it doesn’t appear that any English were practicing archery prior to the 12th century. If you’re thinking it doesn’t matter, it would be as if we were reading a story about Elizabethan England where stealth bombers flew through the sky targeting Shakespeare with laser scopes. As cool as that might be, it wouldn’t historically accurate, now would it? I’m not sure what the longbow is doing in Iceland in 886, because Wood doesn’t really need it to make his point – that Ulf is a tough motherfucker. He could have used something else that fits. Oh well – as usual, I love Northlanders and I’m just having some fun. It’s fiction, after all, and it’s not like Ulf and his retainer are driving snowmobiles or anything. I’m sure someone had a bow somewhere in ninth century Europe that Ulf could have discovered!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

That's not very neighborly ... or maybe it's TOO neighborly!

The Red Wing #3 (of 4) (“The Stack”) by Jonathan Hickman (writer), Nick Pitarra (artist), and Rachelle Rosenberg (colorist). $3.50, 21 pgs, FC, Image.

As ridiculous as time travel is and as silly as Hickman’s attempts to explain it are (they’re no worse nor better than Ellis’s or anyone else’s who tries), The Red Wing is superb, and I’m looking forward to the ending. I can’t really write too much about it without giving it away, but the last page is staggering, as Dom decides to take matters into his own hands and do something about the bad guys attacking the base. He knows what’s going to happen, but he does it anyway, and Pitarra draws a final double-page spread that’s simply amazing. I’m very keen to read the final issue. Dang, Hickman is good when he gets to the point.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Yeah! Fuck those geezers!

Spontaneous #4 (of 5) (“Burn”) by Joe Harris (writer), Brett Weldele (artist), and Douglas E. Sherwood (letterer). $3.99, 26 pgs, FC, Oni Press.

In this penultimate issue, we start to learn quite a bit more about the people who have been bursting into flames and why they’re bursting into flames. Harris doesn’t give everything away, of course, but he gets us to a good point for the final issue. I’m a bit bummed by the “government experiments” aspect of the comic, but I do like that Mr. Grumm seems to be more involved than you might expect. I’m curious to find out what he did to Melvin’s father, because we find out some interesting stuff with regard to that aspect of the plot, ending with a shocking! revelation! As always, Weldele is phenomenal. I’m sure have more thoughts after I read the final issue!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

This is why you shouldn't work in an old folks' home

Thunderbolts #163.1 (“End of a Circle”) by Jeff Parker (writer), Declan Shalvey (artist), Frank Martin Jr. (colorist), and Joe Caramagna (letterer). $2.99, 20 pgs, FC, Marvel.

Parker gives us another decent “.1″ issue, as the remaining Thunderbolts try to track down their wayward charges and they end up at one of Satana’s teleport portals, where Songbird falls into a sleep that makes her dreams seem real. Luckily for new readers, she dreams about the origins of the Thunderbolts and how they evolved! How handy! So we get six pages in the middle of the issue that summarizes a bit of the history of the team, especially how they came together in the first place. It’s placed nicely in the middle of the issue, so while nothing much happens in the issue itself, Parker manages to move the plot forward slightly while making sure new readers know what’s going on. He even sets up how they’re going to find the escapees. More handiness!

Shalvey draws it well. He’s doing the next stage of “The Icelandic Trilogy,” which should be keen. Good to see him getting more work!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Don't be a dick, Ghost

Uncanny X-Men #543 by Kieron Gillen (writer), Greg Land (penciler), Jay Leisten (inker), Justin Ponsor (colorist), and Joe Caramagna (letterer). $3.99, 20 pgs, FC, Marvel.

This is the first Gillen issue on the book that I haven’t really enjoyed, which means that Greg Land’s artwork started sapping my overall enjoyment of the issue even sooner, unfortunately. It’s not that it’s a terrible issue by any means, it’s just that Gillen is constrained by the dictates of the crossover, so after all the machinations to get Peter to turn into the Juggernaut, Cain Marko just disappears on page 11. Peter was beating him to death, but he doesn’t disappear because of that – he disappears because presumably he needs to be somewhere for Fear Itself #7. I know that Scott didn’t know that, but it seems that they turned Peter into the Juggernaut for absolutely no reason, and if they had just delayed Cain Marko for a few more minutes he would have disappeared of his own accord and San Francisco would have been saved. It’s a dumb ending to a not-bad idea, and it allows Gillen, at least, to write some nice scenes with Peter and Kitty and Peter and Illyana, and I guess Peter’s going to be the Juggernaut for a while, so there’s that. The parts with Emma making out with Namor (after he stops her from smothering Hope with a pillow) and Scott acting like a bad-ass with the mayor … well, the less said about those the better.

The next issue is the last one, because Marvel has been infected with DC-itis and they’re rebooting the series, and after that I’ll be leaving the book as well to switch to waiting for the trade. I’m sorry, but 4 bucks for 20 pages (and 20 pages of Land art, to boot) just isn’t doing it for me. Even after the reboot, Land will still be around for some of the arcs, and I can’t abide that except maybe in trade format, which is a bit cheaper and doesn’t have any ads. So that’s that.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Because it was editorially-mandated!

Witch Doctor #3 (of 4) by Brandon Seifert (writer/letterer), Lukas Ketner (artist), Sunny Gho (colorist), and Andy Troy (colorist). $2.99, 22 pgs, FC, Image/Skybound.

The creators of Witch Doctor actually apologize for this issue being late, which was nice of them. It’s actually not that late (the second issue shipped in late July), and anyway, people who buy comics from companies other than the Big Two ought to know that maybe, just maybe, the books will be late (how’s that latest issue of Orc Stain coming, I wonder?). I certainly wouldn’t want this to be a book that came out once a year, but a few weeks late is fine. But it’s cool that they apologized for it!

Witch Doctor, by the way, is excellent. Yes, Seifert is ripping off several sources, and I’m not a big fan of the “ancient ones” meme that pops up in monster books far too often (LOVECRAFT MADE THAT SHIT UP, PEOPLE!), but I don’t care, mainly because plots are just plots, and Seifert is doing very well with the interactions between the characters. Dr. Morrow’s agenda that he’s kept so far from his assistant, Eric, is fine, as is his banter with Absinthe, the museum curator, but the brilliant part of the issue is when we see what’s going on inside Penny Dreadful’s head and how tragic her case really is. Plus, this book is downright funny. And it looks great. Ketner draws nice and icky monsters, and the scene with Penny and the things in her head is just scary. I’m enjoying the hell out of this book, and Seifert and Ketner can take a little longer to get an issue out, for all I care (of course, unless delays cost them readers and the book gets cancelled, in which case, boo).

I do find it very humorous that some swear words are blacked out. This is a comic in which a teenager is eating a monster and Ketner draws it beautifully (see below), yet we can’t see curse words. Much like the nipples in Hellblazer, I’m not sure why the swear words can’t show up. There’s nothing on here that says it’s for “mature readers,” so I guess conceivably a youngster who never, ever says a swear word (I’m fairly sure no 12-year-old has ever cursed in his or her life) could purchase this, but if that’s true, what’s the deal with Seifert even writing it? Did he know it would be blacked out? If he did, why on earth would he write “fucked” in his script? He didn’t have to write it, after all. It just seems odd that if you know it’s going to get blacked out, you still write it. Weird.

Anyway, that’s nothing important, I suppose. What is important is that Witch Doctor is a hell of a lot of fun. You should buy it. Now. What are you waiting for?!?!? I mean, it’s not as classy as Selina Kyle and Bruce Wayne knocking boots, but what is, right?

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

That could be a problem, I suppose

X-Factor #225 by Peter David (writer), Leonard Kirk (artist), Matt Milla (colorist), and Cory Petit (letterer). $2.99, 20 pgs, FC, Marvel.

Leonard Kirk jumps into the art chores, because X-Factor, apparently, has to have three primary artists (from what David implied in the letters page). I don’t have a problem with it, because I like Kirk (although his drawing of Longshot’s hair style is pretty atrocious), but it’s just odd. Anyway, Rictor has his powers back (and isn’t it nice that Marvel – more specifically David – put a footnote in the comic explaining that he got them back in Children’s Crusade #6, because if you want, you can check that comic out – hey, cross-promotion!), Rahne’s all bummed out that she rejected her child (which came out of her frickin’ mouth, so you can understand why she did it), and X-Factor has a new case – the murder from last issue! Which is where things get weird, as the corpse doesn’t want to stay dead. And whatever’s in the corpse recognizes Layla. And calls her an “acolyte,” which makes me hope that we’re going to see Fabian Cortez and that dude with two heads soon. But we’re probably not. So sad!

Why yes, it is another fine issue of X-Factor. Why do you ask?

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

How can you not love Longshot?

Zorro Rides Again #3 (of 12) by Matt Wagner (writer), Esteve Polls (artist), Oscar Manuel Martin (colorist), and Simon Bowland (letterer). $3.99, 22 pgs, FC, Dynamite Entertainment.

I fear for Diego’s father. He’s discovered Diego’s secret identity (otherwise known as “the kiss of death”) and he’s also, apparently, getting noble ideas about standing up to the bad guys. Man, that has “bad idea” written all over it. I mean, like “adapting British shows for American television” bad idea. (Seriously – as attractive as Maria Bello is, she’s wearing a stupid hat* and Helen Mirren can not only out-act her even if she – Mirren, that is – was drugged, Dame Helen can probably kick the shit out of Ms. Bello with both hands tied behind her back.) So let’s raise a glass to Diego’s dad, who probably won’t be with us much longer.

Oh, and Zorro does some swashbuckling. And a woman makes sex jokes about her lover’s “sword.” And there’s derring-do! It’s a Zorro comic! What do you expect?

* I have long said that women wearing hats immediately become anywhere from 10 to 50 per cent hotter. Maria Bello and that hat really puts that theory to the test, I tells ya.**

** Yes, I’m pandering very much to Travis Pelkie. I’m not proud.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Poor Gonzalez!

Mark Twain’s Autobiography 1910-2010 by Michael Kupperman. $19.99, 148 pgs, BW, Fantagraphics.

I don’t find Kupperman as much of a genius as Our Dread Lord and Master, but he’s pretty danged funny. This is mostly a prose book with some comics and other illos. Should be interesting.

Ruse: The Victorian Guide to Murder by Mark Waid (writer), Mirco Pierfederici (artist/colorist), Minck Oosterveer (artist), Antonio Fabela (colorist), and Rob Steen (letterer). $14.99, 88 pgs, FC, Marvel.

I might review this. I might not. We’ll see. And why, in a four-issue mini-series that wasn’t tied to any particular event, does Oosterveer draw issue #3? I like Oosterveer’s art more than Pierfederici’s (which isn’t bad, to be fair), so I would have liked if he drew the entire thing, but why did they need a guest artist? Strange.

So, I suppose it’s time for The Ten Most Recent Songs Played On My iPod (Which Is Always On Shuffle), isn’t it? Let’s do it!

1. “Broken Hearts”1Living Colour (1988) “A tear that takes forever rolls down your timeless face”
2. “All That That Brings” – Straitjacket Fits (1988) “Now honesty is one big lie to me when I can hide behind the truth of lost lorn longing”
3. “Sneakin’ Sally Through the Alley”Robert Palmer (1974) “I’d better find something to do with my time; the fact is I’ve just been caught”
4. “Punk It Up” – Infectious Grooves (1991)2 “Kick you in the butt get your booty on the move”
5. “See You”Foo Fighters (1997) “These steps I take don’t get me anywhere, I’m getting further from myself”
6. “Steppin’ Out”Joe Jackson (1982) “We’ll leave the TV and the radio behind; don’t you wonder what we’ll find”3
7. “Once”Pearl Jam (1991) “I got a bomb in my temple that is gonna explode”
8. “Mind Riot”Soundgarden (1991) “I was crying from my eye teeth and bleeding from my soul”
9. “Maybelline”4Chuck Berry (1955) “It done got cloudy and started to rain, I tooted my horn for the passin’ lane”
10. “Beautiful People” – Token Entry (1990) “No matter what I do I always seem to be a square”

1 Holy crap, Corey Glover is really, um, showing quite a bit with those stretch pants. Give the ladies what they want, sir!

2 This album is out of print and it doesn’t look like it’s coming back into print anytime soon. That’s a shame, because this album kicks much ass.

3 I love this song and have for 30 years – no, I don’t know why 11-year-old me liked this song so much. It makes me oddly sad, though. I don’t know why.

4 I’ve linked to this video before, but you really should watch it. It’s awesome. And I wish that after this song, “Ride On, Josephine” had come on. That would have been cool.

Wait, is it time for a Totally Random Movie Quote? I think it is!

“You think wedding vows are going to change everything? God, your naïvete is astounding! Didn’t you see The Graduate?”
“You can remember The Graduate?”
“Yeah, I can remember a few things. Apparently you don’t. The end? Katharine Ross has just married this really cool guy – tall, blond, incredibly popular, the make-out king of his fraternity in Berkeley – when this obnoxious Dustin Hoffman character shows up at the back of the church, acting like a total asshole. ‘Elaine! Elaine!’ Does Katharine Ross tell Dustin Hoffman, ‘Get lost, creep. I’m a married woman’? No. She runs off with him – on a bus. That is the reality.”

This entire movie is eminently quotable. In fact, this writer’s entire oeuvre is eminently quotable. Dang, I wish he made more movies!

I hope everyone has a nice day. Get out and enjoy the fall weather! Or the spring weather! Or, if you live in Arizona, the summer weather! Whoo-hoo!

27 Comments

I’ll bite! It’s just that you havent given me any reason to comment these past few months.

First off, lots about this arc is going to be anachronistic, and honestly I don’t care so much. It’s my last hurrah with the series and I’m more interested in having fun and getting to the stuff I wanted to get to that adhering rigidly to the textbooks. THAT SAID, I don’t think the things you pointed out really qualify.

By 886, England had been steadily raided by all manner of Norse and Dane for a hundred years. Could some of those ships come from Iceland? Why not? With Ulf on board? Why not? At the very least someone could have brought him back a bow. I love those yew bows… if you recall they first appeared in the first Northlanders story. Anyway, wait till you see the crossbow in the next part of the trilogy, if this here chaps your ass.

Secondly, bows date back to the time of Stonehenge, in England. So while they weren’t popular or deployed en masse in battle before the 1200’s (although don’t forget the Battle Of The Standard!), they certainly existed to one degree or another. And apropos of nothing, the Holmegaard Bow suggests the tech is some 9000 years old.

But mostly I just like them and wanted to take them around the block one last time. But I think I’m more right in using them here than you think I am.

Thanks!

b

I thought Gillen did a good job with the Juggernaut thing. The whole line about even he can’t stop himself was pretty awesome. Land is Land…just keep looking forward to Pacheco.

Huh. I guess I thought it was kind of obvious that Markham was going to start saving lives instead of taking them. But perhaps it wasn’t as clear as I thought…

Brian: Well, I’m glad you’re still reading! I was just having some fun, as you know – it’s kind of ingrained in my psyche that Crécy was the “coming out” party of the English longbow, so when Ulf said that, it caught my attention. As you said, there’s evidence for them going back thousands of years, so I’m perfectly willing to go along with it. I just like needling you sometimes!

John: I actually liked the way Gillen wrote Peter-as-Juggernaut, because he did have some cool lines. I just thought it was annoying that he got yanked away in the service of the bigger event and the resolution to this storyline was kind of weak.

Rubin: Dang, I didn’t think it was that easy. What a great movie!

Jay: Well, as you know, I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed, so maybe others will be able to make the leap from “balancing the scales” to saving lives. I kind of figured that’s what he was going to do (and I think it was mentioned in the solicitation text), but Markham is kind of coy about it. Still, I liked that his first “mission,” so to speak, was something personal (sort of) to him, and I’m looking forward to seeing how he figures out how to find people to save. I’m thinking it will have to do with him knowing who his former employers are targeting and saving them, but I can wait to find out!

I dig the hat. I dig all ladies who wear hats. Everyone else looks better in a hat than I do.

I had, rather having came.

Damn, I used to love Nightbreed – and the shock of Cronenberg as the villain was only part of it. It was like a comic book before we had comic book movies. Has anyone seen it lately? Is it horrible?

The worst part of having Land as a rotating artist is that it’s so poorly style matched. If you try to read a few arcs in a row you get a huge shift very suddenly. And because Land has no style Gillen can’t even do style shifting in his writing to match like when Milligan does different types of stories for Bisley than for Cammo.

Dog Mendonça is the first portuguese comic ever to be published in the US. Hurrah for my country!

Just wanted to say that.

@ Pedro Bouça: I’ll second that!

@Brian Wood: if you’re not that worried about anachronisms in these last issues, can I hope for the snowmobiles that Greg mentioned? :-)

Jesus… Snowmobile Vikings would make a great C-movie

If you trust Wikipedia, Ulf should have said “How do the Welsh manage these” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_longbow#Origins

Oh, it took me a few times to grasp why you brought up Ringer. Damn you SMG for enticing me to watch it! It’s…bad, but there are parts that are really good. The whole concept that she could take over her sister’s life and no one really notices is strange, and the whole plotline of the second ep (which you should check both eps out if you can) was fuckin’ goofy, but the bit at the end with her stepdaughter was pretty good. Faerber hopefully can improve things…

Pandering to me? Aw, I feel special.

And it would have been wonderful if Men Without Hats had come up on your ipod.

No Major Bummer collection?

Travis: Since I already own Major Bummer, I didn’t get the collection. I’ll probably pick it up at some point, but I have a lot of other comics to buy without getting things I already own!!!!

There was a line in Uncanny X-Men to the effect of “the Serpent summons his servant home rather than risk his loss.” The implication of that, to me, was that Peter actually did stop him from wrecking San Francisco.

The Serpent didn’t pull him away because he needed him just this moment such that Juggernaut would have vanished at the same time no matter what the X-Men did, the Serpent pulled him because he had plans for him eventually (or didn’t have specific plans but didn’t see the point in losing a “Worthy” when he could save him) but the Juggernaut could well have kept rampaging for a few hours before getting withdrawn if Peter hadn’t thrashed him.

Just because an enemy retreats from battle and turns up again later doesn’t mean they would have left at the same time whether they faced opposition or not.

There were severe conceptual problems with the handling of Cyttorak in UXM. It was as though the Cyttorak that Dr. Strange and n routinely invoked and the one that the X-Men met were two different beings. Strange’s Cyttorak is a deity that generates its own magical energy, inhabits its own universe, and is worshiped and invoked by hosts of beings. It’s inconceivable that Strange’s Cyttorak would have allowed the Serpent to possess the Juggernaut.

If the existence of Strange’s Cyttorak is ignored, and the being is written as a demonic humanoid with limited abilities and a power source, then the UXM storyline might work.

SRS

“Since I already own Major Bummer, I didn’t get the collection.”

Words of a wise man! I only started to buy it by issue #10 or so, so I had to preorder the collection. Must be on the way.

Yeah, I’m stupid! I knew that Arcudi and Mahnke were great and should’ve imagined the series was too. At least I recognized it before cancellation…

ZZZ: Yeah, I forgot about that. My bad. Still, I thought these “Worthy” were supposed to be tough. Marko and Peter fought for a few pages and ex-Juggy’s punking out? WEAK!

Eigeman kills in Whit Stillman’s movies.

Straightjacket Fits, wow, that’s a surprise to see. Some great Kiwi music there!

Do you have any other our great bands on your ipod?

Aaron: No, sorry. I hardly spent any time in NZ, so I didn’t get a chance to delve into the music scene while I was there, and not a lot of it makes it to the States. I was lucky enough that I found Hail in a music store in Melbourne!

Yes, I do remember when David Cronenberg was the bad guy in Nightbreed – this was years ago watching the film while a student on a dodgy VHS copy. He was, er, how should we say it… wooden. Or very mannered. I’m betting on the former.
Get back behind the camera!

I have nearly worn out my Joe Jackson: Live: 1980-1986 CDs. Remarkably underappreciated.

funkygreenjerusalem

September 26, 2011 at 4:57 am

Sorry about that. It’s been a little bit since I ranted about nipples here. I didn’t want you to think I’d given up on it!

It’s what makes you more than just another blogger, Greg – you’re not just reviewing comics, you’re trying to improve them. You’ve got a cause!

At this point, even if he’s not ‘the best’ writer Hellblazer’s ever had, Milligan’s got to be the most radical/inventive writer the books ever had, doesn’t he?

The problem with the idea is that, so far, we don’t exactly know how Markham is going to balance the scales. Obviously, he’s not going to be a hitman anymore, but what kind of good Samaritan is he going to be?

He better be a pretty amazing one – there’s quite a few kids in that crowd of people he has killed. That really kind of set me against him as a character, and I’m uncertain if I’ll stick with the book for long, because I don’t think he can be amazing enough in any given adventure to be redeemed of that.
If it was just adults, they could have written around it with most people being in witness protection as gangsters themselves – the series doesn’t feel like it’s going to be written with the weight to have a main character seeking redemption for being a child killer.

Shouldn’t Mark Twain have written “Mark Twain’s Autobiography”?

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