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CSBG Archive

What I bought – 26 October 2011

I understood it this evening: the author has to die in order for the reader to become aware of his truth. (Umberto Eco, from Foucault’s Pendulum)

Hank couldn't shrink down for the damned class picture? That's a cheery pumpkin! The black bar cracks me up What's this?Could it be? Hey!  It's Jesus! Holy crap, really? Wilson Fisk, NO!!! Look how cheery he is! KA-BOOM! Oh, Jock, you make everything better! Shang-Chi likes to practice on clay models It's a tender moment with firearms! How'd they all fit inside its eye sockets? Yes, I know

Two long-absent comics return! Can you handle it?!?!? Also: two comics feature characters with the word “jihad” in their names appear in this week’s comics. What are the odds? Let’s get to it!

Avengers Academy #20 (“Endings”) by Christos Gage (writer), Tom Raney (penciler), Scott Hanna (inker), Jeromy Cox (colorist), and Joe Caramagna (letterer). $2.99, 20 pgs, FC, Marvel.

Man, look at Hazmat’s legs on that cover. That has to hurt, sitting like that.

I wonder if this book is late by a week or two, because it’s still part of the “Fear Itself” branding and issue #21 comes out next week. NEXT WEEK! I don’t really care, but it’s curious. Anyway, this is an “end of an era” issue, as Gage has Veil leave the team (she’s upset about the way the Avengers seem to punch everyone a lot instead of helping peoples’ lives get better) and join up with Jeremy Briggs, the dude from issue #14.1, and Hank and Tigra decide to move the team to the villa where the West Coast Avengers once hung out. They also add a bunch of new cast members.

This is a very good issue, actually, and I still chuckle at the person who wrote a letter a while back complaining that Gage’s scripts are “all action, all the time.” So far in this series, he’s done a very good job balancing the action with the quieter issues, and after the past few issues, in which Absorbing Man and Titania ran wild, it’s good to slow down and let the characters catch their breath. It’s a nice way to reset the status quo and give us some insights into the characters. It’s fun that after my post about a lack of characterization in comic books, Gage gives us this issue. He understands that in an ongoing series, this kind of issue is often necessary, because we’re supposed to be invested in the characters. One of the reasons why Avengers Academy is one of the best superhero comics going right now is because Gage is very nicely dropping issues like these in between the big-ass fights. Even though it’s only been 22 issues (if we count the .1 issue and the Avengers Academy/Young Allies special), the way these characters act makes this a much more interesting comic. I actually cared whether Veil quit the team and what she was going to do with her life. That’s why this book is so good.

I am a bit baffled by the odd coincidence of the WCA HQ suddenly coming back into play the same week Xavier’s school re-opens. (I did look at the new X-book, but because Marvel, like DC, gave me such a great place to jump off, I’m waiting for the trade. Xavier is walking, I did notice. Do I even want to know how that happened?) I get that comic book writers are nostalgic for their childhoods, and while I’m not sure when Gage was born, I think he was a teenager in the 1980s (I know Aaron was), so perhaps the idea of reverting to a school setting for X-Men and using the West Coast Avengers villa scratches some nostalgia itch for them, but I’m never sure it’s a good idea. It’s well done here and it seems like Aaron knows what he’s doing over in the X-book, but I always worry about trying to recapture a past glory. As I’ve often written, I like it when comics move forward and characters move forward. But, of course, I’m willing to give it a try. Especially because the book has been so good so far.

This issue will make a nice conclusion to the trade, I imagine, if that’s how you buy your comics. Make sure to check it out when it shows up!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Quicksilver rules, man

Batman: The Brave and the Bold #12 (“Trick or Treat”) by Sholly Fisch (writer), Ethen Beavers (artist), Guy Major (colorist), and Dezi Sienty (letterer). $2.99, 20 pgs, FC, DC.

Whenever I read an issue of Batman: The Brave and the Bold, I think I should read every issue, but I don’t. I don’t know why, because they’re so very good. Honestly, for anyone feeling a bit burned out by DC and Marvel’s endless events and mediocre comics, you really should pick up a random issue of this series. Why not this one? It’s the Halloween issue!

So Batman and Zatanna show up at the House of Mystery because Cain called Batman when he got home, found the door open, his brother Abel turned into a tree, and toilet paper streaming over the house. Zatanna easily transforms Abel back to his normal self, and then she and Batman investigate the crime, such as it is. They check out Doctor Destiny and Mr. Mxyzptlk, both of whom claim they have no knowledge about it, but then Batman decides to, you know, be a detective, and he susses out pretty easily who’s responsible. I’m not exactly sure how he knows who it is, but whatever. This leads to a big throwdown between magical bad guys and magical good guys, and then Batman shows once again why he’s the bad-assest dude around, and his utility belt contains the one thing he needs to put a stop to the shenanigans. I’m sorry I’m not being more specific, but a great deal of the fun of this issue is finding things out for yourself.

As usual with the “DC Kids” books, this issue gives us a super-competent Batman who’s not overwhelmed by angst, one who can make jokes but is still a tough guy, and one who doesn’t treat every other DC hero with contempt. It’s quite refreshing. The story zips along, but Fisch knows how to pack a lot onto each page, and Beavers does a good job with a large cast of characters. Fisch even manages to work in two separate characters hitting on Zatanna, which is kind of humorous (she deflects both of them).

This issue isn’t quite as great as some of Landry Q. Walker’s from the previous series, but it’s still a really good comic book. As always, you should just give one of these a look, because they’re completely self-contained. Why, even Mike Sterling picked this up, and you know what that means! Can you afford to skip it? I think not!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Batman needs be taken down a peg now and then

Butcher Baker, the Righteous Maker #7 by Joe Casey (writer), Mike Huddleston (artist/colorist), and Rus Wooton (letterer). $2.99, 24 pgs, FC, Image.

This issue is a month late, but that’s okay. I’m more worried that it hasn’t shown up in Previews the last two months, unless Casey somehow wraps it up next issue, which doesn’t seem likely. Maybe. I’ve always thought that there’s really no way he can keep up this adrenaline shot for too long, but I was hoping for longer than 8 issues. We’ll see.

Anyway, I love this cover. It’s a homage to Elektra: Assassin #4, which was a great cover in its own right, and this one rocks, too. The black bar over Arnie Willard’s penis is foreshadowing to a certain degree – I’ll warn unsuspecting people that three penises are fairly prominent in this issue. It’s kind of hilarious – Casey and Huddleston are having their usual blast with this comic, and if they have to show dick, they’ll show it, by God! I’m a bit confused how Jihad Jones got naked, though, but it does make him a bit more terrifying as he leaps at Arnie Willard with evisceration on his mind. Anyway, this is another great issue. I’m kind of out of superlatives when it comes to this series. Huddleston is killing on it, Casey is firing on all cylinders, and Arnie Willard drives a truck into a vagina (see below). What else can you say, except I hope it goes past #8. Come on, Mr. Casey, can’t we get at least 12 issues out of this? I knew Huddleston showing up on that Guillermo Del Toro comic was dire!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Words fail me

Captain Swing and the Electrical Pirates of Cindery Island #4 (of 4) by Warren Ellis (writer), Raulo Caceres (artist), and Digikore (colorist). $3.99, 26 pgs, FC, Avatar.

The first of the two series that have been absent for a long, long time and finally showed up this week is Captain Swing. Issue #1 came out in February 2010. Issue #2: June 2010. The third issue showed up in March of this year. And here’s the final issue! There are a couple of frustrating things about this series being so late. First of all, it’s quite good, and I wonder if people have simply forgotten about it, which would be too bad. Second, Ellis is obviously tying this into his other Avatar series, as Charlie Gravel is the protagonist and Captain Swing is somehow connected to Doktor Sleepless, but Ellis doesn’t seem all that interested in finishing any of these. I’m sure Ellis doesn’t care a whit what I think, but I really like his writing most of the time, and this series tying into the “modern” versions of the series is fascinating. I doubt if it will ever come to any kind of fruition, though.

Taken on its own, however, this is a nifty little series. In this issue, Charlie the policeman avenges the death of his partner while the pirates avenge the death of their captain. Charlie and Polly have some nice interplay as they talk about justice and law, and Ellis comes up with a nice twisted villain for them to fight (Polly shoots it in a very sensitive area, which is funny and also impressive when you think of her aim). Once again, it seems as if Ellis is tying this into a bigger plot when we reach the confrontation with the bigger villain, but at least we get some closure. The last panel with dialogue is great, one of those Ellisian panels that doesn’t seem like much but sounds so right. Caceres is great, too, but then he’s been good throughout the series. I still prefer his black-and-white pencil work, because I think Digikore smooths out his crisp lines a bit too much, but not enough to make me too grumpy.

I liked this mini-series a lot, but I still feel like there’s something missing. Recently, Ellis has been wanking all over his “superhero-as-god” leitmotif for Avatar, and I wish he’d get back to his “science-will-save-us-all” one, because that’s far more interesting. Oh well. We’ll see what’s next on his plate. In the meantime, I’m sure the trade of this will be out soon enough!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

But everyone loves a pirate!

Green Wake #6 by Kurtis Wiebe (writer), Riley Rossmo (artist), and Kelly Tindall (letterer). $3.50, 22 pgs, FC, Image/Shadowline.

Green Wake was supposed to be a five-issue mini-series but then it got bumped up to ongoing status, which is nice because it’s a good comic, but I wonder how much Wiebe had to write around the fact that issue #5 ended with one character’s story seemingly resolved, but now he’s back in Green Wake. This seemed like a bit of an awkward issue, because he had to get the character back into the story, but now that he’s back, I expect the issues moving forward to feel less awkward.

I don’t want to write too much about the characters, but I will say that the plot is intriguing. We saw in the first arc that things are very weird in Green Wake, but in this issue, they’ve gotten weirder. It seems like they shouldn’t – there’s a new arrival named Micah who seems to be trying to bring the denizens of the town together more, but as he does this, the weather seems to be affected and apparently the town’s citizens are becoming more “If-you’re-not-with-us-you’re-against-us” kind of people, which is never fun. And then there’s a weird kid watching everything. Spooky kids are a cliché for a reason – they’re spooky as shit! Remember that creepy kid in Dark City? Man, that kid was eerie. Dang, what a great movie that was. Anyway, this kid isn’t as spooky as that one, but I’m sure he’s up to something. Kids – you can’t trust ‘em. Who the hell knows what they’re thinking? My daughter wakes up at five in the morning and sits on her bed, reading books. THAT SHIT AIN’T NORMAL!!!!!

Anyway, it’s a decent start to the next arc. Rossmo kicks major ass on the art – the first sequence where the kid somehow makes his way to Green Wake (at least I think that’s what’s happening) is tremendous (Wiebe gets out of his way, too, which is very cool of him). The book has such a distinctive and creepy look, really adding to the atmosphere Wiebe is going for. I’m certainly glad the book was popular enough to keep going, and I look forward to reading it for some time!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

I love the arms sticking out of the ground

The Infinite Horizon #5 (of 6) (“Red Sky at Night”) by Gerry Duggan (writer), Phil Noto (artist), and Ed Dukeshire (letterer). $2.99, 26 pgs, FC, Image.

Holy crap, it’s the fifth issue of The Infinite Horizon, Noto’s retelling of The Odyssey. I knew Noto was committed to finishing this, but comics creators always say that, and I took the attitude of believing it when I saw it. Well, now I see it, and I’m still having difficulty believing it. Maybe the sixth issue will actually come out next month as promised! That would be impressive, wouldn’t it? In case you haven’t been keeping track, here’s the publication history of this book: Issue #1: December 2007. Issue #2: January 2008. Issue #3: April 2008. Issue #4: April 2009. So, yeah, you’re excused if you didn’t realize it had started up again.

This issue deals with the sirens, three women who broadcast seductive propaganda about the paradise they’re constructing on a beach somewhere and luring people to the site, where they put them to work. Our nameless hero heads there to fuck their shit up, because he knows they’re not terribly benign. It’s a nice issue, as all of these have been, and Noto is typically good on the art, and I’ll leave it at that. More next time when the series finally concludes!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Trust me, it's an emotional panel

Kirby: Genesis #4 (“Prime Encounters”) by Kurt Busiek (writer), Jack Herbert (artist), Alex Ross (artist), Vinicius Andrade (colorist), and Simon Bowland (letterer). $3.99, 22 pgs, FC, Dynamite Entertainment.

I like that Ross cover, but I would rather have the Ryan Sook variant (warning: it’s HUGE!). Oh well.

Busiek, Herbert, and Ross are having a shit-ton of fun with this series, and it shows on the page – Busiek’s script crackles with goofy comicbookey energy, Ross does a nice job with Gazra, the super-duper planet from where some of the characters hail, and Herbert is doing a fine job with the pencil work. This is a big, wacky, superhero epic, and then we get to the wall with Kirby’s Kreation story carved into it (see below for some of it). As some of you may know, I’m not the biggest Kirby fan in the world (that’s not to say I don’t like his art, because I do, but I respect him more for his influence on comics than his actual work, and that’s mainly because his influence is so pervasive), but I would LOVE to see Kirby bring that story to life. Maybe he has in some New Gods story somewhere, but I’ve never seen it, and as good as Ross and Herbert have been on this book so far, I don’t know if they could do it justice. Still, this is a keen comic. Would Kurt Busiek let you down?

Okay, so when the voyagers come upon the Kirby Kreation Myth, Captain von Kilhausen says “Grüss Gott!” (And yes, it would be cooler if it had been written with the “ß,” but whatever.) I’m not sure why he says that. The term is a greeting in southern Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, and it means “May God greet you” in the older form. I have no idea why Von Kilhausen uses it here. Did Busiek think it meant “Great God”? Beats me. Busiek occasionally comments here (although he comments far more on The Beat, because they’re cooler over there than we are). Maybe he can shed some light on the subject? Yes, things like this bother me. When will you people learn that I’m not all right in the head?

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

It's Koncentrated Kirby Kraziness!

The Li’l Depressed Boy #7 (“We Didn’t Come Here to Rock”) by S. Steven Struble (writer/colorist/letterer) and Sina Grace (artist). $2.99, 24 pgs, FC, Image.

LDB continues to meander a bit, but as I’ve been pointing out with regard to the series, somehow it works. It doesn’t work quite as well as it did in the first few issues when our hero was hanging out with Jazmin – the road trip to see Andrew Jackson Jihad in concert just hasn’t been as compelling as LDB’s non-romance with Jazz. But Struble has a way of writing dialogue that sounds real, with all the inherent unimportance of so much of what we say, and it’s interesting to see LDB and Drew just kind of chat about nothing. I do like that even when they get to the concert, they arrive so late that they miss most of the show, because it’s so keeping with the spirit of the book. Struble and Grace do a nice job with LDB’s dream, in which he’s Charlie Brown missing the football, because LDB is Charlie Brown’s spiritual successor, and it’s interesting that they link him to Charlie so explicitly. It does look like LDB is wearing a different concert shirt on the last page than the one he changed into, but oh well.

The Li’l Depressed Boy is kind of a shambling mess of a comic book. That’s probably why I like it – it feels like real life. I certainly don’t want all my comics to be like this, and I certainly wouldn’t want this to come out every week, but when it does show up, it works. Beats me how.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

If you count MMA as an outgrowth of kickboxing, Lloyd Dobler was remarkably prophetic

The Red Wing #4 (of 4) (“Forever”) by Jonathan Hickman (writer), Nick Pitarra (artist), and Rachelle Rosenberg (colorist). $3.50, 24 pgs, FC, Image.

Hmmm. I think I have to go back and check out what happens at the end of issue #3, because I thought what happened happened to someone else, but I guess not. Oh well.

Hickman’s time travel story is a lot better than your usual time travel story, not because he makes time travel explicable (yes, I know scienticians just shot a particle faster than light, which means in a few years we’ll all be going back and murdering our own grandparents, causing the universe to end, but I’m still not convinced!) but because he realizes that, in time travel stories, nothing ever ends. So while this book is ostensibly about a war spanning the past, present, and future, he also decides to be ambiguous about everything that’s happened, which makes this a far more thoughtful comic than you might expect (I mean, it’s not Proust or anything, but still). Hickman resists giving us an easy way out, and I always appreciate that. It’s the kind of comic that invites re-readings, and not all of them do. Plus, Hickman and Pitarra were doing interesting things with the format throughout the book (there’s a nice double-page spread in this issue that is brilliant in its sparsity), and who doesn’t love that?

I’m digging that Hickman continues to do stuff outside of the Marvel aegis, especially when he’s doing good stuff like this. I’m sure the trade will be winging your way soon, so give it a gander!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Sucks to be that dude

Scalped #53 (“Knuckle Up Part Three of Five”) by Jason Aaron (writer), R. M. Guéra (artist), Giulia Brusco (colorist), and Sal Cipriano (letterer). $2.99, 20 pgs, FC, DC/Vertigo.

Every so often Scalped slips a bit and becomes just a really good crime saga. It happens. It doesn’t make it a bad comic, but it also doesn’t make it a great one, and the fact that Aaron has shown it can be a great one means that readers ought to demand that it’s always a great one. But the middle of his arcs tend to slip a bit, as we see the gears moving and the man behind the curtain and it feels like things aren’t happening organically but are being manipulated to fit Aaron’s grand scheme. Now, every work of fiction is manipulated, obviously, but the great works don’t feel that way, and very often, Scalped doesn’t feel that way. However, this issue does feel that way. I can deal with Red Crow changing his mind in some way about his life. I can deal with Shunka feeling differently. But the way Aaron set up the last page of last issue and the way he resolves it in this issue feels a bit false, as if he was just toying with us. Similarly, I like how the Nebraska sheriff (Karnow) is also suddenly changing his mind about his life and how he’s going after Red Crow, but the way Aaron manipulates things to isolate him also feels a bit forced. It’s frustrating, because it’s a gripping read and the final page sets up the next issue nicely (of course, so did last issue, and Aaron swerved a bit), but unlike many issues in the past, I felt like this was blatant manipulation. But, because Aaron seems to really knock it out of the park when it comes to resolutions (which not every writer does), I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt. I mean, the book is ending anyway, so it’s not like I’m going to drop it now, right? But I do hope the book goes back to feeling organic, because that’s when the book is truly great.

And man, Guéra can really draw the shit out of stuff, can’t he? Damn.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ★ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

That woman must be Tucker Stone in disguise!

Secret Avengers #18 (“No Zone”) by Warren Ellis (writer), David Aja (artist), Raul Allen (artist), and Dave Lanphear (letterer). $3.99, 20 pgs, FC, Marvel.

I don’t often dislike John Cassaday’s covers, but I really don’t like this one. I really wish the David Aja variant had been more available. My retailer had it, but with a $5 price tag on it. Confound those variants!!!!

Anyway, I know this is $4, and unlike the first two issues in this brief Ellis run, it’s only 20 pages, so those of you who don’t like ponying up for that amount for not a lot of pages will probably skip this, but dang, Ellis can write these well, can’t he? A version of Arnim Zola and his “shadow council,” is hanging out in another dimension, trying to smuggle material that can be used to turn the Earth into a star into our dimension. So Steve Rogers, Sharon Carter, and Shang-Chi infiltrate their “space” station to stop him. Shang-Chi kicks ass, Sharon kicks ass (and yells “Satan Claw” inexplicably), Steve kicks ass, everyone makes witty Ellisian comments, and Aja draws the shit out of this. I mean, the space station is like an Escher drawing, which is awesome in itself, but Aja does everything well in this issue. It appears Ellis, in writing these single-issue stories, is doing what he usually does – write single-issue stories that eventually form a bigger narrative. Because Ellis is really, really good, it works. This is another fantastic issue of Secret Avengers. Well, except for that cover. Yuck.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Sucks to be that dude, too

The Sixth Gun #16 (“Bound Part Five”) by Cullen Bunn (writer), Brian Hurtt (artist), and Bill Crabtree (colorist). $3.99, 22 pgs, FC, Oni Press.

This is a rare misstep in this series, not because it’s bad, but because Bunn is a bit too leisurely with the pacing, and while, as I’ve pointed out above, I like issues that slow down and let us get to know the characters a bit, it feels like this is a bit too slow. Plus, it’s not really a character study; it feels more like an infodump, and those are notoriously hard to pull off. Hurtt’s art helps, naturally, but it feels like Bunn could have sped things up a bit. This is the first issue that feels like it’s “written for the trade” – next issue is the sixth of the story arc, which makes a nice trade – and it’s frustrating. Becky and her dead father use the gun to communicate across the years, and Gord continues to move around his old plantation (plus we see some horrible scenes from his past that shows why he might not like being back), and then the book ends with a revelation that anyone who’s ever read a comic book before could see coming a few issues ago. As The Sixth Gun is not built to end with big, shocking cliffhangers ever issue, I don’t mind that this one isn’t, but it feels like we’re supposed to be surprised by it, and we’re not. I don’t know, the entire issue feels a bit languid and even enervating. We need the information, I guess, but it shows again that even the best comics have problems getting across necessary information sometimes.

Too bad. Still, if you do read this in trade, I imagine it will simply be a bridge between better chapters and might flow better. That’s the advantage of waiting for trades. But as a single issue, this is a weaker one in the series. Considering how good the series is, that doesn’t make it bad, just a bit disappointing.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Now who's going to clean up that mess?

The Vault #2 and 3 (of 3) by Sam Sarkar (writer), Garrie Gastonny (artist), and Sakti Yuwono (colorist). $3.50 each, 28 and 26 pgs, respectively, FC, Image.

Gianluca Glazer sent me these two issues in the mail, which was very nice of him. As I wrote back when he sent me issue #1, I was intrigued by this title and was thinking about getting it in trade, but since he sent me the single issues, that takes care of that!

The Vault is a nice little horror comic which doesn’t quite live up to its premise, like a lot of horror, unfortunately. It’s a lot like The Thing in that we get a group of people finding something hidden and waking something up which then starts killing them. In a situation like that, a reader (or viewer) has to look for ancillary things to make the clichéd plot hold up. When it works, you get a cult classic like John Carpenter’s movie. When it doesn’t, you get a dud like the recent version (although Mary Elizabeth Winstead is far more attractive than Kurt Russell with a giant beard). In comics, it’s how well the writer writes the characters, not the plot, while it’s how well the artist does with the scenes. The Vault, while it traffics in standard horror stereotypes, is slightly better than most horror dreck because Sarkar takes his time to build tension and doesn’t simply go for the full-on slaughter (although one character dies in a gross fashion, but that’s the way it is!) while Gastonny does a very nice job with the creepy monster at the center of the book. So while it’s not a great comic, it’s pretty entertaining.

I don’t want to give too much away, but Sarkar does do a good job explaining why the archaeologists who found a capsule in a deep ocean trench might want to open it. I can forgive people doing dumb things in this kind of horror story far more than I can in some kinds of horror stories, because they have no reason to believe anything bad is going to happen. It’s not like a couple that moves into a house where they hear a voice telling them to get out and they decide to stay. Those people are just asking for it, if you ask me. (I watched the pilot episode of American Horror Story, by the way. Is it supposed to be a comedy? Because it’s really funny. Not funny enough to overcome the shittiness, but while the scene in the basement when the daughter and her friend teach the stuck-up bitch a lesson was creepy, the rest was hilarious. I don’t think that’s what the creators were going for, though.) The biggest problem with the comic is that it’s too short. I think it could have been one more issue and we could have gotten a bit more explanation about the creature (not too much, because that would ruin the mystery, but some) and a better resolution. It’s fairly obvious how the characters can stop this creature, but they don’t seem to figure this out. The way they stop it is, again, clearly not going to work, and they should have known this. So unless Sarkar is planning a sequel (which would be disappointing, but not the worst thing in the world), this should have been one more issue to take care of all of that. Why this is only three issues is a mystery.

I’m not sure if the trade is worth your time. The Vault is certainly entertaining, but it’s also a bit shallow even though Sarkar hints that there’s a lot more going on around here. Like I said, I wish this had been four issues. I think it would have been a much stronger work.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

There's really no circumstance in which seeing that kind of thing is good

The Manara Library volume one by Milo Manara (writer/artist), Hugo Pratt (writer, “Indian Summer”), Kim Thompson (translator), Laura Battaglia (colorist), Tom Orzechowski (letterer), and Lois Buhalis (letterer). $59.99, 208 pgs, FC, Dark Horse.

Wait, there’s nekkid women in this comic? I’m shocked! I’m curious about this book, because it looks like it could be a train wreck in terms of story. The art is stunning, however. We’ll see.

As always, I have things on my mind from Internet-land. Of course I do! First, I don’t know if the comments at Philly.com (which features stories from the two major Philadelphia newspapers) are unique, but apparently the commenters have quite the reputation for idiocy. Racism, stupidity, bad grammar, Godwin’s law – all are in evidence, usually in abundance. Anyway, someone put together a Tumblr with comments from Philly.com, totally out of context. It’s insane. My favorite so far: “Great. Hipsters are taking over fried chicken.” It’s like a microcosm of the Internet!

Over in the ESPN-verse, I’m a bit sickened. Let’s say a professional football team that is now 2-4 won a game this past weekend over a team that is now 0-6. Just another shitty game between two shitty teams, right? Nothing to get worked up about, right? Especially on a weekend which featured two really good college football games in which two undefeated teams lost, the World Series was being played (and had a game in which the best player currently playing hit three home runs, which had happened only twice in World Series history before), and other, better professional football games were going on. Yet the team that won that game, the Denver Broncos, started a young man at quarterback named Tim Tebow, so this story has been buzzing on ESPN all week. ALL. FUCKING. WEEK. I can’t believe it. I mean, it was the top story on several ESPN programs on Monday, and they haven’t fucking stopped talking about it. I have no idea why. Tebow is a polarizing figure, because he’s apparently the greatest Christian who ever lived but several smart football guys think he won’t be a good quarterback (leading several of his defenders to complain that he’s being unfairly judged because he’s Christian, which in a country where something like 85-90% of the population identify themselves as Christian is fucking laughable), so I get that people have strong opinions about him, but this is why ESPN and other sports networks make me sick. I don’t root for Tim Tebow (some commentators have pointed out that even if you don’t think he’s a good quarterback, you can’t help rooting for him). I don’t give a shit about Tim Tebow. Hey, I’m glad he’s the greatest Christian since Paul of Tarsus. But I don’t give a shit about him. I don’t think he’s a terribly good quarterback, and I think that once defenses have a bit of film on him they will destroy him, but I don’t think that because he’s a Christian. Anyway, ESPN is often unwatchable, but even a show I like, like Pardon the Interruption, was annoying this week because of the Tebow discussion. Plus, Skip Bayless, Tebow’s biggest defender, is perhaps the stupidest person ever to comment on sports on a major network. He gets the ratings, though. Sigh.

Speaking of Tebow, after he scores, he gets down on one knee and prays. If you thought this wouldn’t become an Internet trend, well, you haven’t been on the Internet very much.

How about we check out The Ten Most Recent Songs On My iPod (Which Is Always On Shuffle)?

1. “Mic Contract”Ice-T (1991) “My favorite smell in the arome of gunsmoke”
2. “Sound”James (1992) “Fall into a spin, shed another skin, strip away all your protection”
3. “Somethin’ to Hide”Journey (1978) “It’s been a long long time since I last saw your face”
4. “Waiting to Happen”Marillion (1991) “From emptiness and dryness, the famine of our days; I watch the heavens open, wash it all away”
5. “Pressure”Billy Joel (1982) “All your life is Time magazine; I read it too, what does it mean?”
6. “Right in Time”Lucinda Williams (1998) “Think about you and that long ride; I bite my nails, I get weak inside”
7. “Classic Girl”Jane’s Addiction (1990) “They may say, ‘Those were the days’ … but in a way, you know, for us these are the days”
8. “On eBay”Chumbawamba (2004) “There’s stuff dressed up as truth and then there’s stuff dressed up as lies, and it all ends up as stuff that you can buy”
9. “Breaking the Law”Judas Priest (1980) “Feel as though nobody cares if I live or die, so I might as well begin to put some action in my life”
10. “You Can Call Me Al”Paul Simon (1986) “Who’ll be my role model now that my role model is gone”

Can I stump you with a Totally Random Movie Quote? I doubt it – you people are too danged smart!

“The problem in the past has been the man turning us against one another. We have been unable to see the truth, because we have fighting for ten square feet of ground, our turf, our little piece of turf. That’s crap, brothers! The turf is ours by right, because it’s our turn. All we have to do is keep up the general truce. We take over one borough at a time. Secure our territory … secure our turf … because it’s all our turf!”

It’s Week Two of my great “Bring Back Tags” campaign! Very few people care about this. But I still want them back!!!!! Onward to the glorious, tag-filled future!!!!!

Have a nice day, everyone, and a great Halloween, if that’s your thing. I don’t have much interest in Halloween, but the younger daughter digs it. She’s throwing a party for her friends and everything!

20 Comments

I was just thinking about how much better #17 was than #16 and then you had to point out that it was 20 pages! Sigh, I was better off not knowing that. Or was I? Not sure.

Glad I’m not the only one rolling my eyes at the Tebow discussion.
Tebow played 5 minutes well against a crappy team. Time to hand out the medals! Jaguars’ sixth ranked defense keeping what was suspected to be a Super Bowl caliber team to under 200 yards and just 7 points? Meh.
At least they’re leaving time open to talk about Suh’s dirt talk and the ref’s ridiculous unnecessary roughness calls a little bit.

This is totally a guess, but is the random quote from The Warriors? Seems too mainstream to be right.

Wolverine and The X-Men is the freshest the X-Men have been in years. Jason Aaron clearly loves Morrison’s run, but he’s also bringing a lot of Manga influences as well. The book is really weird, in the best way possible. Can’t wait for #2.

How I met Flash's Mother

October 27, 2011 at 10:42 pm

I thought Captain Swing’s ending sucked. wish i had bought secret avengers. Also regarding Avatar, You didnt miss anything by not getting Stitched. it was boring as hell. Butcher Baker is my favorite comic since Criminal and I love the backmatter, its always wierd and funny. I was trade waiting the Vault. I really like the artist but sounds like it sucked. I think this issue of Scalped would have worked better if the panels portraying shunka killing the other henchmen were more clear. I love Guera but the top two panels confused me(a first, which threw me off), when they should have shocked me. Avengers Academy is an absolute joy to read everytime. Christos Gage & crew deserve to be recognized for such fun and brilliant work on the series. JL Dark was kind of funny and creepy at the same time. Guarding the Globe fuckin sucked! Aquaman is the slowest shit ive ever read, but it looks great.

“If you count MMA as an outgrowth of kickboxing, Lloyd Dobler was remarkably prophetic”

MMA is the only sport that I can tolerate watching, but I don’t watch it often because you have to watch it on pay-per-view and I’m not wasting my money or time on that.

That panel from Secret Avengers has convinced me to read that series in trade.

The Satan Claw is that red clawed glove Sharon’s wearing.

“Satan Claw” is the name of the weapon Sharon was using. You may have already known that, but I figured I’d point it out just in case you meant “it’s inexplicable that she chose those two words out of the entire English language to shout” as opposed to “it’s inexplicable why she she felt the need to shout out the name of the weapon she’s using.”

@WhoZeDuke – I liked Wolverine and The X-Men as a piece of entertainment, but as an X-Men book it wasn’t as grounded as I like the book to be. Like, I didn’t see why Hank would be opening dimensional portals in the school in the first place, or why Logan would want a school that looks like it would be more at home on Krypton than in New York. It seemed like the kind of random sci-fi wackiness that works in, say, an issue of Empowered or JLI or an FF issue about Franklin and Valeria Richards wandering around Reed’s lab, but as an issue of X-Men it was too out there for me. More “Superhero Squad” than “Schism Aftermath.”

David Aja is the fucking man!

Totally Random Movie Quote: It screams late 70s for some reason, the first line made me think Blue Collar, but I guess it’s The Warriors. Spoken by cult actor James Remar?

I don’t know what Ellis plans on doing with Doktor Sleepless, but I think that he already finished the Gravel series. On a related note, did you read Supergod? I really liked that one.

Indian Summer is written by comics genius Hugo Pratt. Don’t judge before you read it!

Yes, the movie is The Warriors. Casey was writing about it in the backmatter to Butcher Baker and it was on my mind.

Rob and ZZZ: Yeah, I meant that it’s inexplicable why she yelled the name of the glove she was wearing. That was weird.

Dude: I wasn’t sure if Gravel was over, and I know for the “ongoing” he was only providing basic plots. It’s just weird that he would make the connections so explicit and then ignore them. I didn’t read Supergod yet because I haven’t seen the trade. I’m not sure if it was out when I was at the Avatar booth in San Diego. I’m interested in it, but not as interested as I am in his more science fiction work.

Pedro: Fret not – I’m not judging it without reading it! Flipping through it, though, I’m worried that he shows all the Indians as savages and all the women as rape victims. I’m almost sure that’s completely incorrect, but on first glance, that’s what leaped out at me. Of course, I tried to avoid looking at the ends of the stories because I didn’t want to be spoiled, so I may have missed some crucial stuff! :)

Ed (A Different One)

October 28, 2011 at 7:43 am

Gravel did officially “conclude” this past year, but it sure didn’t feel like it. I don’t know why Ellis spent all the time having Gravel reconstruct a new “Minor Seven” and introduce/build them up as characters only to suddenly kill them off and “conclude” the series in that sudden fashion. I think he had much longer range plans for the series and, for whatever reason, had to hit the “abort” button. Don’t know if there was some editorial direction to that end (which would seem strange coming from Avatar), or if Ellis just suddenly realized that he didn’t like where the story was going and shitcanned it. (Personally, I think chances are better that it was the latter – Gravel as a character has always been about being looked down upon and underestimated – awfully hard for him to operate as the udisputed “King of England’s magicians”).

Either way though, I get the general feeling we’ll see more of Gravel from Ellis at some point in the future. Perhaps some “retro” stories about his past the way Mingola does with Hellboy.

One can only hope.

Oh, and where’s Anna Mercury been lately . ? . ? . ? . ?

@Ed (A Different One): I ask the same question. The second Anna Mercury was shaping up to be better than the first. Ellis teases us with the “fucking space vikings” and then…nothing.

I’m glad your iPod shuffle reminded me to revisit Lucinda Williams, specifically Car Wheels On A Gravel Road. World Without Tears, too, actually… perfect for bleak, cold, fall days.

“Flipping through it, though, I’m worried that he shows all the Indians as savages and all the women as rape victims.” That was my reaction when I flipped through “Indian Summer” too. But I’m sure the text totally contradicts the preponderance of images and portrays the Indians as three-dimensional characters. Yeah, right.

Re: Hazmat’s legs: Hockey Goalies do it all the time. It’s called a butterfly (but not because of the legs…because of the flapping arms).

“Flipping through it, though, I’m worried that he shows all the Indians as savages and all the women as rape victims. I’m almost sure that’s completely incorrect, but on first glance, that’s what leaped out at me”

It’s been 15 years since I read it, but I remember not being the case. Pratt doesn’t write one-dimensionally like that!

acespot: Sure, but hockey goalies don’t stay down there and pose for photographs!!!! :)

Pedro: I was certainly hoping that wasn’t the case. It will be a little bit until I read it, but I am looking forward to it!

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