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CSBG Archive

What I bought – 11 and 18 July 2012

“How do you feel, Yossarian?”

“Fine. No, I’m very frightened.”

“That’s good,” said Major Danby. “It proves you’re still alive.” (Joseph Heller, from Catch-22)

Where's the octopus in this book, damn it? She'd look a lot more bad-ass if it weren't for that STUPID COSTUME!!!! Symbolism! I'd be too busy freaked out to fight! Look at that hair!!!! Man, this is insane ONE HUNDRED FOUR PAGES, BITCHES!!!!! Dang, that's an ugly cover Why does he have a four on his chest? Holy crap, that's an awesome cover Oh, John, you rascal! Dude, keep your hands on the handlebars! Touch it!!!! That's some bad breath right there Let's debate this cover below! Where's the credit? Trippy! TWO supine female characters?  Does Kelly know about this? Is she the princess or the warrior? No wonder cats hate water It's a kids' book! Does that sword whistle when he uses it? What are they looking at? Gotta catch up! Am I going to hell for supporting this? Clint, no! Dang, that's a big sword

Two weeks of comics, some controversial stuff on my mind – let’s do this thing!!!! Plus, from now on, all of my reviews will be personally vetted by Pam. Pam is freakin’ awesome.

Atomic Robo Presents Real Science Adventures #4 by Brian Clevinger (writer), Matt Speroni (colorist), and Jeff Powell (letterer). “To Kill a Sparrow Part 4″ by Ryan Cody; “The Dark Age” by Zach Finfrock; “Most Perfect Science Division” by Xevi Benitez; “Leaping Metal Dragon Part 4″ by John Broglia; “The Survivor” by Nic Klein (also colorist). $2.75, 20 pgs, FC, Red 5 Comics.

Clevinger packs five (5!) stories into this issue, which ought to mean I’m angry about it, because I’ve been advocating fewer stories in each issue of ARPSCA, but these are pretty good. As we turn the corner into the second half of the two serialized stories, things are actually happening, so they’re better than the first two (in the case of the Sparrow story, the third chapter of which was pretty good) or three (in the case of the Bruce Lee story, which finally gets going a bit in this chapter). Robo’s visit to a comic book story in 1994 is Clevinger going after low-hanging fruit (I should know, because I go after it quite often), but it’s charming enough. I didn’t like “Most Perfect Science Division” because it’s just four pages of two robots fighting each other. I assume it’s one of these things that Clevinger is just fooling around with and might be important at some other point, but it feels like padding in this issue. Nic Klein’s introduction of Jenkins is a reprint from an early issue, and I’m not sure if it’s reprinted in the trade paperback, which I own. If you missed how Robo found Jenkins in the first place, here’s your chance, and Klein shows why he’s getting more work these days.

As usual with the secondary Robo title, it’s not quite as good as the main book, but Clevinger has fun with it, and the artists are perfectly fine. This series isn’t essential reading (I know, no comics are essential, but bear with me), but it’s not bad.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

He stole Atomic Robo's pants!

Avengers Academy #33 (“What the Heart Wants: Conclusion”) by Christos Gage (writer), Timothy Green II (penciler), Jeff Huet (inker), Chris Sotomayor (colorist), and Joe Caramagna (letterer). $2.99, 20 pgs, FC, Marvel.

Chad Nevett, who’s a much more evil bastard than I am (I say that with all the affection in the world), got really angry at Avengers Academy #32, in which Emma Frost wanted to erase Juston’s Sentinel’s CPU so that Hank Pym could reprogram it without the whole inconvenient “mutant-killing” part of its programming. Of course Hank eventually decided to side with his students who wanted to resist Emma, and of course his faith is rewarded in issue #33, because that’s the way it has to be. I don’t disagree with Chad, but I think he’s forgetting a basic precept of both the Marvel and DC Universes: ten impossible things happen before breakfast every day. From reading his stuff for the past five years or so, it seems Chad wants superhero writers to write a “realistic” universe more than is feasible. If I’m wrong, he can tell me. While I think reading superheroes that are “realistic” is perfectly fine, that ain’t what you read Marvel and DC superhero books for. So of course Juston’s Sentinel is able to evolve, because that’s what robots in the Marvel U. do. The point of AA #32-33 was not whether Juston and Hank were right or if Emma was right, because of course Emma was wrong. The point was that hope is ennobling and friendship is important and sometimes we have to trust that things are going to work out. Yes, it’s sappy, but in today’s comics world, something has to be sappy, right? Gage and his artists are, as I’ve pointed out, writing the anti-superhero comic in more ways than one. Not only does Gage avoid fights as much as he can (he can’t in this issue, but he has in many other issues), but he never allows this book to sink into bleakness and despair. Fuck realism. If I want realism, I know where to go. Avengers Academy #32-33 was never about destroying a genocidal robot. Chad can read it that way, and if he chooses to do so, I can understand why he thinks the story stinks, because it’s idiotic to think that Emma’s solution wouldn’t work for all concerned, especially when the only “personality” the Sentinel has displayed in this series (I don’t know about the series in which it was introduced) is listing its prime directives. Of course Juston is being foolish, if we think the comic is about shielding a murdering machine. I don’t think that’s what the story is about, though. Feel free to disagree!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

You can almost pinpoint the spot where Timothy Green went blind drawing this!

Bad Medicine #3 (“Killing Moon Part 1 of 3″) by Nunzio DeFilippis and Christina Weir (writers), Christopher Mitten (artist), Bill Crabtree (colorist), and Douglas E. Sherwood (letterer). $3.99, 22 pgs, FC, Oni Press.

The second arc begins oddly but “realistically,” I guess (for a book about werewolves), in that the “team” that solved the case in the first two issues isn’t really a “team” – they went their separate ways, and it seems this story takes place some amount of time after the first one. But there’s a new something weird going on in Maine, where a cop shot what he thought was a wolf until, on its death, it turned back into a teenaged boy (who looks nothing like Michael J. Fox, by the way), and now he’s in a spot of bother over it because the CDC confiscated the video of the incident and no one believes the cop. Our intrepid heroes get back together, one of them brings along a new member who exists only to get butchered (come on, we’ve all seen horror movies), and they head up Maine, where they encounter a very weird town where, I’m going to assume, everyone is a werewolf already. I mean, come on, we’ve all seen horror movies.

So yes, of course it’s derivative – it’s very hard to write something that isn’t. But it’s well-done and entertaining, and I like the idea that the team doesn’t work together all the time and doesn’t even like each other all that much – they’re professionals getting the job done, but right now, they don’t really know each other, so why should they like each other? Mitten, of course, is his usual very good self, and Weir and DeFilippis set up the entire story perfectly well. I don’t know – this is only 3 issues in, so I haven’t made up my mind about it yet, but so far, I’m enjoying it. Even if I can see the plot points coming a mile away (with the caveat that I could be completely wrong, but come on – we’ve all seen horror movies!)

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ★ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Poor Christopher Mitten - he's always having to draw people shooting werewolves!

Batwoman #11 (“To Drown the World Part Six”) by J. H. Williams III (writer), W. Haden Blackman (writer), Trevor McCarthy (artist), Pere Pérez (artist), Guy Major (colorist), and Todd Klein (letterer). $2.99, 20 pgs, FC, DC.

Williams and Blackman wrap up another arc, and as with the first one, it ends ambiguously. I seem to recall Williams on Kelly and Sue’s podcast saying that the next arc (when he’s back on art) is the epic conclusion to a 16-issue story, which is fine with me, because I like that kind of ambition, but I imagine this might be a bit frustrating to some. Anyway, Chase is pissed at Batwoman because she thinks Batwoman betrayed them, Kate sort-of comes clean to Maggie (“ghosts and all” – yeah, right), and we’re set for a big ol’ showdown (although I’m not exactly sure what the “next issue box” is all about). McCarthy does a decent job, for some reason Pérez chips in (I like McCarthy’s art, but is he ever going to get a gig if he can’t draw three monthly issues in a row?), and all is well in the Batwoman universe for now.

And then there’s Bette. You knew I’d have to rant about Bette, didn’t you? So Bette has been in a coma for a while, to the point where the doctors are going to start harvesting her organs. And then Jacob puts her mask on, and she wakes up. And speaks coherently to him. That made me angry. Look, I know people wake up from comas all the time. I did the tiniest bit of research and found that somewhere around 40-50% of people in comas wake up. So Bette waking up isn’t surprising. What bothered me was that she was completely coherent even though she had to have suffered some massive damage, possibly to her brain. I can’t recall exactly how much she was beaten, but there had to be lack of oxygen to her brain, which is almost the worst thing that can happen to your body. So she just wakes up, recognizes the person next to her, knows he put a mask on her, and asks about it? I call bullshit. Plus, I fear that this will lead to her leaping around and playing superhero again, and that tiny bit of research said that less than 10% of the people who wake up recover completely. I get that this is the DCnU and superhero universes work differently (see above with Avengers Academy!) and it’s not really that Williams and Blackman have set the stage for Flamebird’s return – whatevs – it’s that I very much doubt if she’ll rehab for the next two years before she goes out again, because two years never fucking passes in comic book time. If we went by the fact that Bruce Wayne solved “The Case of the Chemical Syndicate” five years ago, then Bette should be rehabbing for the next 20 years of our time, at the least. I doubt if Williams and Blackman will still be writing Batwoman’s adventures then.

My point is, again, not that comics shouldn’t have “realistic” elements to them. My point is that if you’re going to introduce “realism” into your comics, be prepared to deal with them “realistically.” I’m sure Bette will be back superheroing in a few issues and everyone will be talking about what a “miracle” it is, and yes, “miracles” happen in our world. But they happen every day of the week and twice on Sunday in the DCnU and Marvel U., and it’s kind of annoying. It makes the fact that they kept Barbara Gordon in a wheelchair for 23 years one of the most impressive achievements in the history of comics!!!!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Well, she certainly thinks highly of herself

Captain Marvel #1 by Kelly Sue DeConnick (writer), Dexter Soy (artist/colorist), and Joe Caramagna (letterer). $2.99, 21 pgs, FC, Marvel.

I just saw that there’s a minor controversy about this comic book. Over at 4thletter!, everyone’s favorite shit-stirrer David Brothers (I say that with nothing but affection, much like calling Chad “evil” above) points out a tweet by Dan Slott which basically is trying to guilt everyone into buying this comic. That’s a pretty shitty thing for Slott to do, and Brothers points out why. Here’s the thing, though, that bugs me, and I’m going to be a bit self-congratulatory, if you don’t mind, because I think this applies to a lot of our readers, at least: I read books by a lot of different people. Just in these two weeks I bought a book with a story starring a female spy (Atomic Robo), a book starring several good female characters (Avengers Academy), a book written by a husband-and-wife team (Bad Medicine), a book with three very strong female characters (Batwoman), this comic, a book that features several female creators (Dark Horse Presents), a different book with three female leads, one of whom is motherfucking awesome (Glory), a book with one of the best female characters of the past few years, in my humble opinion (Hellblazer), a book drawn by a very hot (in terms of buzz, not in terms of appearance, because we shouldn’t judge talent by appearance, although I’m not above linking to a photograph!) female artist, Fiona Staples (Saga), and a book with several good female characters that is colored by a rising female star, Rachelle Rosenberg (X-Factor) (and, just for Travis). Did I buy any of those books because of their female quotient? Of course not. I bought them because I like them. I certainly like that more women are working in comics and getting more opportunities, but I got this comic not because DeConnick is a woman, but because she’s written some things in the past that I’ve liked and while I’m moving to trades on most of the DC and Marvel books I read, this was only 3 bucks (rather than Marvel’s price-gougingly odd 4 dollars for first issues), so I got it to see if I’ll get the trade when it comes out. I agree with Brothers that Slott seems to imply that if we don’t buy this comic – regardless of its quality – we don’t really want women writing comics and don’t really want female characters headlining their own books. To which I say: bullshit, sir. I don’t know if Slott really meant that, but I’m kind of glad I didn’t read that before I bought this comic, because it might have actually put me off it.

The problem with Slott’s tweet is that Captain Marvel #1 really isn’t very good, and it becomes worse the more you think about it. Soy’s artwork is lousy, even though Steve Wacker gushes over it in the letters page, saying it helps “this comic stand out from the dozens of other books debuting every month.” Well, sure, it stands out, but that doesn’t mean it’s any good. A few years ago, when I was receiving a lot of Radical comics in the mail, I often bemoaned this kind of artwork, which is heavily reliant on digital paints, which gives it a horribly over-rendered look. I hoped that this kind of stuff wouldn’t infiltrate the mainstream, which despite the presence of people like Greg Land still seems restrained compared to this, but it appears my hopes are about to be dashed. Soy’s oppressive color palette turns the men in the book (even someone fairly lithe like Spider-Man) into steroid freaks, and so far his characters exhibit two basic facial expressions – vacancy and rage. The computer effects look amateurish, as do some of the panels where Soy is drawing actual hands (without gloves) and feet. I know you could have looked up Soy’s work on yonder Internets, but putting an Ed McGuinness cover on this might have made me even angrier, because their styles are so, so different, and it feels like Marvel was trying to hide Soy’s work. If you want to launch a comic that stars a character who isn’t all that popular with a writer who’s just beginning to find her footing, you better have a great artist. Soy is not a great artist or, at this point in his career, even a particularly good one.

DeConnick’s story is lousy, too, unfortunately. This is almost a waste of a first issue, because it does nothing except introduce a character most Marvel readers ought to be a bit familiar with, and does it poorly. If you’re buying this solely because DeConnick is writing it and don’t know anything about Carol Danvers, DeConnick explains her powers in two small panels. That’s all you need! Yet the rest of the issue is basically plotless blather. DeConnick uses a tried-and-true cliché to introduce Carol – she and Captain America are fighting a pushover villain on the first few pages. This time it’s Crusher Creel, but it could easily have been the Rhino or Man-Elephant (which would have been awesome, considering Guido fights him in X-Factor this week – can the world handle two brief appearances by Man-Elephant – or Behemoth – in the same week?!?!?!?). I don’t like these kinds of introductions, because usually some writer has done some nice work with the villainous characters in the Marvel Universe that is invalidated by another writer trying to prove how cool the heroes are. Not even two years ago, Crusher Creel and Titania were featured in Avengers Academy, and although they were powered by whatever the hell was going on in Fear Itself, Creel certainly wasn’t a joke. DeConnick not only makes him a joke, powers-wise, she makes him mind-numbingly stupid, too. It made the beginning of this book pretty dull, except that it introduces two themes that run throughout the book: Carol’s superhero name and the fact that she’s a woman. Yes, after defeating Creel, DeConnick spends seven (7) pages on whether Carol should call herself “Captain Marvel.” Jeebus, what a way to grind the book to a halt. Peter Parker (is he again hanging out with the Avengers without his mask on these days?) shows up and makes a big deal out of Carol’s haircut. I guess people (meaning, I suppose, Neanderthal men) got their boxers in a twist over Jamie McKelvie’s original “new” design of Carol because her hair was short. (Looking at some stories, I guess it wasn’t really “short,” just pulled back a little, but it does look a bit shorter in the original designs, before Marvel changed it back to “long” again.) I mean, everyone knows that only lesbians get their hair cut short, so when McKelvie designed it differently, it obviously meant that Carol was coming out of the closet, and we can’t have that! Second, everyone knows that women with short hair are ugly, and we can’t have that! Third, if she has short hair, how will Neanderthal men drag her into the bedroom to have sex with her, and how will she throw her head back and have her hair cascade all over her shoulders when she’s in the throes of passion? It’s just SCIENCE, people! But to get back to the name debate – really? She agonizes over calling herself “Captain Marvel” instead of “Ms. Marvel”? Like that first issue of Aquaman where everyone called him lame even though I doubt actual people in the DCnU would think he’s lame and Johns was just writing what people in the real world would say, DeConnick seems to writing a debate that people in the real world are having. It’s dreadfully dull.

Then she introduces a friend of Carol’s who has cancer. That’s fine. The friend points out that a famous female pilot has died, which sends Carol into a reverie about the time when she met the pilot (Helen Cobb). Carol has her flashback and then attends the funeral of Ms. Cobb. The end. Apparently this will set up the exciting scene next issue where she races Helen Cobb (in planes, you know – they’re both pilots), which sounds really, really exciting, if you ask me. The flashback is fine except for the part where Helen tells Carol she was in the Mercury 13 program, which was the nickname of a privately funded program of 13 women who underwent the same testing as the Mercury astronauts (Cobb’s last name is the same as one of the actual participants). Cobb tells Carol, “Now those gals — those were some pilots. Outscored the seven boys on just about every test we took.” This is a dumb statement. Astronaut testing, from what I can tell (and I’m sure someone will correct me), wasn’t about getting more answers right on a math test, it was about passing psychological and physical stress tests. If you passed, you went on. You didn’t “outscore” anyone, you simply passed or failed. Cobb’s remark is meaningless – she could easily say that the Mercury 13 women were as good as the Mercury 7 astronauts, because they were. I know I’m going to get raked over the coals for this, but I’m getting a bit tired of history being revised so that not only are women as good as men (which is fair) but always better than men. Some of the women in the “Mercury” program washed out, and some of the men did. This idea that throughout history, women have always been better than men kind of bugs me as a man. Yes, boo-hoo, the straight, white, middle-class American man is offended by something, but my point is that this kind of revision is annoying because it’s meaningless. It’s pretending that the women of Mercury 13 were “better” than the men when that statement makes no sense. Yes, the women who were tested were discriminated against, there’s no doubt about that. But DeConnick has no idea if they were “better” than the Mercury 7 astronauts. I actually appreciate that she brought the whole thing up, because I didn’t know about the “Mercury 13″ program and now I do, but I don’t think men or women need to prop up their heroes by tearing down other ones. It’s not John Glenn’s fault that “Helen Cobb” wasn’t allowed to go into space.

Sorry for the rant. I tend to accept criticism of straight, white, middle-class American males because we’re one of the last groups you’re allowed to make fun of and, let’s be honest, it’s often deserved, but that bugged me. Even without that scene, this is a bad comic book. It has no conflict, very little character development, and seems to exist as a kind of empowerment homily, which Carol Danvers doesn’t seem to need. Carol is an extremely tough woman, and this whole “we will be the stars we were always meant to be” crap seems beneath her. Oh well. I still think DeConnick is a decent writer and probably will check out the next book she works on, but I won’t be back to Captain Marvel. DC and Marvel don’t get a lot of rope with me these days!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

X-TREEEEEM SURFING!!!!!

Chew: Secret Agent Poyo by John Layman (writer/letterer), Rob Guillory (artist/colorist), and Taylor Wells (color assistant). $3.50, 22 pgs + 10 pin-ups, FC, Image.

Secret Agent Poyo is more whimsical than most of Chew, which is saying something. I haven’t asked Layman (the new writer on Detective Comics, which he told me about six weeks ago and which I couldn’t reveal, and it was driving me nuts) if he planned to bring Poyo back from the dead originally or if the fan response prompted it, but Poyo is indeed back, and Layman has some fun with him. First he conquers Hell, then, when a crack team of surgeons brings him back to life, he thwarts a mad scientist in typical gruesome fashion. Guillory gets to draw a scene from the “Viltrumite Interstellar Mustache Wars,” Poyo’s fight with “Genghis Condor,” and a team-up with Image characters Witchblade, Spawn, Savage Dragon, Shadowhawk, and is that Deathblow? He also falls in love … twice. It’s a silly issue, but Layman goes typically balls-to-the-wall and Guillory has a blast, and I assume that some of this stuff will play into the series later, especially the final page. If you want an introduction to the kind of comic Chew is, this isn’t a bad place to start. Of course, you should already be buying Chew, so there’s that.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Layman enjoys coming up with twisted ways for his characters to die

Dark Horse Presents #14. “Nexus: Infestation” by Mike Baron (writer), The Dude (artist/letterer), and Glenn Whitmore (colorist); “Riven Chapter 1″ by Bo Hampton (storier/artist/letterer) and Robert Tinnell (storier); “Radio Ga Ga” by Chad Lambert (writer), Apri Kushbiantoro (artist), and Jaymes Reed (letterer); “Wild Rover Chapter 1″ by Michael Avon Oeming (writer/artist) and Aaron Walker (letterer); “Buddy Cops Chapter 1″ by Nate Cosby (writer), Evan Shaner (artist), and Rus Wooton (letterer); “A Spy Dream” by George Schall (writer/artist/letterer) and Rodrigo Alonso (writer); “Love Hurts” by Kim W. Andersson (writer/artist); Strips by Jim Benton; “Aliens: Inhuman Condition Chapter 3″ by John Layman (writer/letterer), Sam Kieth (artist/colorist), and John Kalisz (colorist); “Finder: Third World Chapter 12″ by Carla Speed McNeil (writer/artist), Jenn Manley Lee (colorist), and Bill Mudron (colorist); “Ghost: Resurrection Mary Chapter 2″ by Kelly Sue DeConnick (writer), Phil Noto (artist), Richard Starkings (letterer), and Comicraft (letterer); Mister X: Hard Candy Chapter 3″ by Dean Motter (writer/artist); “Falling Skies: Luck” by Mark Verheiden (writer), Bryan Oh (writer), Mark Nelson (artist), and Nate Piekos (letterer); “Concrete Park Chapter 4″ by Tony Puryear (writer/artist); “Hellboy Vs. the Sabretooth Vampire” by Mike Russell (writer/artist/letterer) and Bill Mudron (colorist). $7.99, 104 pgs, FC, Dark Horse.

So this time around, we get a ‘roided-up version of Dark Horse Presents, with 104 pages for the same price, which isn’t a bad value. I know Dark Horse doesn’t have to pay its talent as much as DC and Marvel, but when the Big Two are whining about the fact that they just can’t give us 22 pages anymore without doubling their prices, Dark Horse is making them look just a little silly. Nut up, DC and Marvel! Some of that Avengers and Dark Knight money could go toward making things easier on the consumers rather than paying for Mongolian hookers and hashish!*

* Pam says: “Mr. Burgas is simply exercising his first-amendment rights to speculate on what DC and Marvel bigwigs spend their money on. Last month Mr. DiDio paid for and built three orphanages in Bangladesh. By himself. With his bare hands. That’s what he spends his money on! Mr. Burgas is probably correct about the executives at Marvel and their expenditures, though.”

Anyway, we get a bigger package this time around, but the quality doesn’t necessarily improve. It’s not, in other words, 20% better because it has roughly 20% more pages. Considering DHP is a fine comic, this doesn’t matter too much, but there does seem to be slightly more … filler this time. I mean, we do get 12 pages of the Dude’s artwork this time around, which is always nice. Oeming’s story isn’t all that good, but his art is nice. “Buddy Cops” is ridden with clichés, but because Cosby is deliberately using those clichés, it tends to work – his cops are “a galactic space protector demoted to the NYPD” and “a 1970s android programmed to follow the exact letter of the law.” The cops hate each other, but they work well together, apparently. Schall’s story of a spy dreaming of a domestic life is fascinating because he leaves it open that it’s really a domestic housewife dreaming of being a spy, while “Love Hurts” is all kinds of creepy and is far better if you don’t think about it too much (doesn’t anyone know this woman and wonder where she is?). Layman’s Alien story is taking better shape, as is DeConnick’s Ghost tale. I still don’t get “Concrete Park,” unfortunately. Maybe it will all make sense when it’s finished, but it doesn’t right now. The “filler” includes the Falling Skies story, which is set right before the ending to Season One and doesn’t really offer anything of worth to the characters, and “Radio Ga Ga,” in which the main character is the author, who tells us an anecdote about the time he was investigated (briefly) by the Secret Service. There’s really no point to it at all. I wanted to like the Bo Hampton horror story, but it bugged me, because it makes no sense. I’m going to SPOIL it, but the first chapter deals with a American couple wanting to adopt a little girl in Romania. The two women who run the agency (I don’t think they’re nuns, but they might be) allow them to adopt a girl even though they know she’s a monster. My question is, Why don’t they kill her? She appears vulnerable at certain times (the implication is that she’s a werewolf), so they probably could. I get that she’s an innocent girl who can’t help killing people (if that’s true), but that’s still a mean trick to pull on the poor American couple. And if she is a werewolf, won’t she turn that very night, kill the couple, and go on a rampage? Couldn’t the women have just dumped her in the forest somewhere and she would have done that anyway? I imagine some of these questions will be answered in future chapters, but this first one bugged me because it trafficked in horror story clichés without even trying to explain them.

So, yeah, a nice giant-sized issue of Dark Horse Presents, which makes it an even better value. It’s too bad everything in it isn’t genius, but that’s the way it is, isn’t it?

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

I think he's overcompensating

Fables #119 (“Cubs in Toyland Chapter 6: Wooden Toys”/”A Revolution in Oz Chapter 6: The Lollipop Killed”) by Bill Willingham (writer), Mark Buckingham (penciller, “Cubs”), Steve Leialoha (inker, “Cubs”), Shawn McManus (artist/colorist, “Oz”), Lee Loughridge (colorist, “Cubs”), and Todd Klein (letterer). $2.99, 20 pgs, FC, DC/Vertigo.

The last two issues of Fables have been pretty good, which doesn’t really make up for the interminable first four chapters. Apparently there are TWO more chapters to go, and when it’s all said and done, I can’t believe this needed to be more than four or five issues long. But we play with what we’re dealt, and in this issue, Therese goes … well … a bit nutty (see below), but I wonder if she has some kind of evil plan to thwart the toys, while what’s-his-name – Therese’s brother – is still alive and plotting his rescue, but it doesn’t sound good for him, either. It’s a fairly gripping issue, but I really don’t know if we needed to wait this long to get to it. Oh well – I’m still thinking about moving to trades on this book or dropping it altogether. With the pace of this arc, trade-waiting is looking better and better.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Damn, girl

Fantastic Four Annual #33 (“Through a Dark Glass Paradoxically”) by Alan Davis (writer/artist), Mark Farmer (inker), Javier Rodriguez (colorist), and Clayton Cowles (letterer). $4.99, 38 pgs, FC, Marvel.

The idea behind this annual is that Alan Davis wanted to do some more stuff with the ClanDestine, the group of superpowered siblings he created years ago (and which I have written about before), so Marvel, instead of letting him do a mini-series, gave him three different annuals (the Daredevil and Wolverine ones are the other two) this summer to tell his story. Reed and Sue don’t appear in this annual (which is always nice), and even Johnny and Ben don’t have a whole lot to do – they’re kind of pawns of Vincent, the Destine child who was dead at the beginning of the original run but who’s alive in this book (it involves time travel). We actually find out what happened to Vincent, and it’s a tiny bit disappointing because it feels so mundane. This is almost even a Doctor Strange story, as he plays a prominent role. Basically, this is a beautifully drawn comic that lets Davis tell more stories about his own creations, and that’s a very good thing. He tells a pretty much self-contained story and doesn’t get too much into who the Destines are and what their deal is, so if you haven’t read the series, you can pick this up and follow along pretty easily. I like this idea, because it feels like old-school 1970s Marvel, when some characters appeared across various magazines that kept getting cancelled but which followed a common plot thread. Davis introduced the characters in Marvel Comics Presents, then they got an ongoing, some issues of which are safely ignored because Davis had nothing to do with them, then they got a mini-series, and now three annuals starring characters that have no connection to the family. It’s pretty keen, if you ask me. But I’m weird that way.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

I like that in the Marvel Universe there are probably hundreds of people who can make that statement

Glory #28 (“Destroyer Part Three: Reckoning”) by Joe Keatinge (writer), Ross Campbell (artist), Joseph Bergin III (colorist), Owen Gieni (colorist), and Douglas E. Sherwood (letterer). $2.99, 20 pgs, FC, Image.

Damn, this is an awesome issue of Glory. At the end of last issue, one of the monsters told Riley that she was fighting on the wrong side, but she says that’s bullshit. But is it really? Anyway, Glory, Riley, Gloria, Henry, and Beleszava (I’ll get back to Beleszava) take the fight to the weird monsters, and there is much glorious slaughter. GLORIOUS!!!!! Then Glory decides they don’t have enough firepower for this war, so she suggests … her little sister. Who’s even more bloodthirsty than Glory, apparently.

Campbell, as usual, draws the crap out of this, with almost too many excellent monsters to count (and I’m not trying). The highlight of the issue might be the second and third pages, where we get introduced to Beleszava, a giant winged cat who shoots lightning out of her eyes. I’ll repeat that: she’s a giant winged cat who shoots lightning out of her eyes. Keatinge has the spread posted on his blog, in case you’re interested. It’s way cool, and although nothing else in the issue quite comes close, Campbell certainly tries hard, leading up to that awesome final page. This book is not for the faint of heart, as Campbell draws gleeful carnage on almost every page, but it’s absolutely gorgeous. Keatinge hasn’t done a whole lot with the characters yet, but Riley is interesting, and as she’s the point of view character, that’s fairly crucial. Keatinge is just putting the characters through their paces and letting Campbell go nuts, which is pretty smart, if you ask me.

I think the trade of these first five issues is coming out next month, so if you’ve been thinking about getting it, find it and pick it up. It’s pretty awesome.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Your move, Brian Churilla!

Hellblazer #293 (“The Curse of the Constantines Part One: The Stolen Child”) by Peter Milligan (writer), Giuseppe Camuncoli (layouter), Stefano Landini (finisher), Brian Buccellato (colorist), and Sal Cipriano (letterer). $2.99, 20 pgs, FC, DC/Vertigo.

Milligan begins a new arc, as John kind of decides to fulfill his promise to look for his nephew, mainly because something is freaking him out and he’s acting douchier than usual. A detective constable calls him out to investigate what looks like a corpse but turns out to be something far more disturbing, and that connects him to his nephew, who I guess is some dude living in Ireland who doesn’t quite understand what is going on in his head. As usual, Milligan is doing a pretty good job showing what a true jerk John is and also that he’s not quite in as much control of himself as he thinks, because this time around, he doesn’t even know why he needs to find the nephew. I’ve written this before, but I’ll write it again – I do dig this John Constantine, because he doesn’t seem to know what he’s doing or why things are happening. Such is the case here.

This is the first of two comics this week that reference a William Butler Yeats poem. I like Yeats, but it seems like comic book writers quote him a lot. It’s usually “The Second Coming,” of course (that’s the one Peter David quotes), but it’s interesting that Yeats is such a popular poet among the comic book set.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

So of course you call John Constantine!

Kirby: Genesis #8 (“Deep Secrets”) by Kurt Busiek (writer), Jack Herbert (artist), Alex Ross (artist), Vinicius Andrade (colorist), and Simon Bowland (letterer). $3.99, 24 pgs, FC, Dynamite Entertainment.

Kirby: Genesis comes to an end, and while Busiek doesn’t re-invent the wheel or anything, this remains an entertaining comic full of glorious artwork by both Herbert and Ross. Ross, especially, gives us a superb double-page spread (Herbert draws some of it, but it’s mostly Ross) that reminds us why we liked him in the first place – he does BIG! stuff very well. We also get a nice page in an old-school Kirby style, which is always fun to see. The thing about this series is that it reads like a Big Two crossover, with several different characters who don’t get developed too much, a central character who undergoes a hero’s quest, and BIG IDEAS thrown around but in not too complex a way … except it’s far more entertaining than your usual Big Two crossover. Busiek can write this kind of thing in his sleep (not that I’m suggesting he wrote this in his sleep, but he could have!), and although it feels like comfort food for an older generation of comic book fans who are disgusted with the direction the Big Two have taken, that doesn’t make it bad. It’s pure sappy spectacle, and much like with Avengers Academy, there’s not really enough of that around these days. Check out the trade and have some fun!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

That thing is kind of a douchebag, isn't it?

The Li’l Depressed Boy #12 (“Brand New Shoes”) by S. Steven Struble (writer/colorist/letterer) and Sina Grace (artist). $2.99, 24 pgs, FC, Image.

This is the last issue of The Li’l Depressed Boy that I’ll be buying, and I’m actually a little depressed (ha!) about it. Struble is a hell of a nice guy, and I still think that the first four issues of this book are very charming, but although it’s been on the uptick during the third arc, I’m just not that interested in it anymore. I do like that Struble ended this arc with some cheery news for LDB, but it’s just not enough to get me to continue. The screeching halt of issues #5-8 and his Hamlet-like wishy-washiness of this arc can’t overcome the slight increase in charm when Spike entered the book. Sigh. Too bad. I still think the first trade, which collects issues #1-4, is worth a look. Sorry, Steven.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Dude: STOP THINKING!!!!!

Mars Attacks #2 by John Layman (writer/letterer), John McCrea (artist), and Andrew Elder (colorist). $3.99, 22 pgs, FC, IDW.

After the prologue of issue #1, in which we found out why the Martians would attack us in 2012, we get to the actual attack, and Layman and McCrea have a lot of fun showing the Martians slaughtering their way through the world. It’s always funny, from the fact that the weapon the humans built on the specifications of a Martian turns out to not work as well as they thought it would to the man who, for a few minutes at least, is so busy listening to his iPod that he doesn’t realize the Martians are killing everyone around him. In the second half of the book, Layman slows down slightly to show the astronaut who saw the first Martian ship land 50 years earlier meet the president – he’s now a senator, and he wants to expand SETI. The president takes him to a “Scientists of the Future” photo op, and of course all the “humans” turn out to be Martians who can temporarily change their appearance. I have no idea if Layman wrote this scene simply to provide McCrea with a total FUCK YEAH! moment, but we get it, and it’s pretty awesome.

Buck Spencer, the astronaut-turned-senator, is the only character who gets any kind of development, because Layman is concerned with the frenetic pace, and this book is frenetic. McCrea is excellent on art – this is far better than his work on the Hitman/JLA crossover from a few years ago, which might have something to do with the coloring, because Elder is also excellent. I honestly don’t care if Layman doesn’t do much with the characters – he’s doing just enough, and it allows McCrea to go crazy with the artwork. Right now, that’s a winning combination.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Bwah-ha-ha!

The Massive #2 (“Landfall Part 2 of 3: HK”) by Brian Wood (writer), Kristian Donaldson (artist), Dave Stewart (colorist), and Jared K. Fletcher (letterer). $3.50, 25 pgs, FC, Dark Horse.

I’m still not completely on board with The Massive, but I have faith that I will eventually – Wood is too good. I think that he doesn’t really need to keep showing us what happened to turn the world into the place it is now, especially because it’s easily the worst parts of the issues – the events are presented in as clinical a way as possible, a dry recitation of events that grinds everything to a halt. I still don’t think Wood needs those parts this early in the story, because I think we’re perfectly willing to accept an environmental catastrophe and don’t really need an explanation yet, if ever. Remember that Mad Max took place before an apocalypse, and Mad Max 2 (The Road Warrior, its American title, is much better) took place after one … and we never really got an explanation, we just dealt with it. Wood isn’t really doing the book any favors by explaining so much, because it still doesn’t make too much sense.

Furthermore, after a fairly tense confrontation between Mary and the pirates in issue #1, Wood … ignores her for the entire issue. Well, that’s not entirely true – we see her in flashback – but Mary doesn’t show up in the present until the final page, which makes the plotting of this issue feel wonky. In the present, Callum and Mag think they’ve found the Massive, but of course they haven’t. In a flashback, they go to Hong Kong, Callum gets attacked, and a plane crashes into the skyscrapers. None of it is terribly exciting, but as I mentioned, Wood is a good writer, so I can deal with some world-building. I do wish Wood would focus more on the plot than he’s doing, but that’s the way it is, I guess.

Donaldson again does some nice work and some lazy work. I mentioned last time that I don’t really like the way he seems to add stock photographs of backgrounds, because it doesn’t fit all that well with his precise pencil work in the foreground. I really don’t know if he’s not drawing the backgrounds, but it does look that way. Again, it’s not terrible artwork, but Donaldson is certainly good enough to draw everything. It’s not like he’s drawing the entire series – the second arc is going to have a new artist, so Donaldson only has to draw three issues before he gets a break – so I don’t know if this is just how he does things these days. I know that it’s just a cover, but John Paul Leon’s version of Hong Kong on the cover is so much nicer than Donaldson’s, because he actually draws everything, and everything looks much more organic. Again, I know it’s just one page, but I do wish that Donaldson was able to bring the very nice figure work in the first two issues to the backgrounds.

As I mentioned, I’m on board for a while with The Massive, because I know Wood’s track record. The second issue, however, is not as good as the first one, but I have hope that the end of the first arc will pull it all together!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

I wipe my ass with money RIGHT NOW!!!!

Saga #5 by Brian K. Vaughan (writer), Fiona Staples (artist/colorist), and Fonografiks (letterer). $2.99, 22 pgs, FC, Image.

I’m sure our pal FunkyGreenJerusalem (I’d like to call him by his real name, but I’m not sure if he’d get angry at me) read pages 13 and 14 of this serialized comic extravaganza and chuckled, thinking to himself, “See, Greg? BKV has an answer for you!” Because everyone always thinks of my reactions when they’re reading comics, right? Right? Hey, where are you guys going?

So in this issue The Will takes his recently-liberated child prostitute and tries to leave Sextillion, but he’s stopped by the girl’s owner. In the crucial exchange, the owner – Mama Sun – says “So it’s morally acceptable to execute people of any age, but only to make love to a select few?” because that was my objection to The Will’s repugnance at child prostitution – the dudes kills children, for crying out loud! The Will responds with “If I gotta explain the difference, you’ve gone too far to follow.” This is supposed to end the argument once and for all – look how clever BKV is! But here’s my question: If we accept that people who have sex with children are mentally ill (which seems to be a fairly common understanding of pedophilia), then the wiring in their brain is causing them to molest children. So isn’t making a choice to slaughter children for money a MORE monstrous thing than succumbing to a mental disease? I’m playing Devil’s Advocate just a bit, but I do think it’s a serious question. The Will’s flippant answer isn’t really an answer at all. The reason BKV can get away with it is because whenever child molestation is involved, rational thinking goes out the window (see below). Anyway, it does give The Will a good reason to go after Marko and Alana – he wants money to buy the child so he can rescue her. That’s not a bad way to get him involved, even though I still wonder if he’s going to rescue every single child prostitute on the planet (this girl can’t be the only one, right?).

Overall, though, this is a pretty good issue. Marko and Alana fight the bad guys effectively, the robot prince and his wife have a nice exchange at the beginning of the issue, and someone dies at the end. As usual with things that are supposed to be shocking (and given that this happens at the end of the issue and Staples gets to draw a gorgeous splash page of the death, I think it’s supposed to be shocking), I don’t think we care enough about these characters yet to really feel the impact of this death. Maybe you do, but I don’t. Still, it’s a wonderful page, and Staples’ work on this issue is probably the best in the series so far, mainly because her backgrounds seem a bit more solid, I guess would be the word. She’s using more holding lines, so even though they still look washed out, at least their outlines are a bit more … present.

This issue hasn’t completely converted me to the “OHMYGODSAGAISTHEBESTCOMICEVER!!!!!” group, but it’s a good one nevertheless. Maybe Vaughan has turned a corner with this series?

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Dude, see above AND below!

The Secret History of D. B. Cooper #5 (of 5, it turns out) by Brian Churilla (writer/artist) and Ed Brisson (letterer). $3.99, 24 pgs, FC, Oni Press.

I very much doubt if Churilla wanted this to be a five-issue mini-series, because issues #4 and 5 feel a bit rushed, but Churilla does end the book pretty satisfactorily. I won’t give too much away, but Churilla does explain nicely why Cooper jumped out of an airplane, so that’s good. Churilla has gotten much better at his people, which is in evident in this issue, and of course his monsters continue to be some of the best in the business. He does a good job switching back and forth between “reality” and the “glut,” where all the monsters live, until there has to be a collision. I do wish Churilla had gotten some more time to explore Cooper’s weird espionage world, but this should make a nice trade when it comes out, so see if you can track it down!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Ball's in your court, Campbell!

Those Who Yearn For Vengeance While Ignoring Every Light Source #177 (“Time To Die!”) by Jeff Parker (writer), Kev Walker (artist), Declan Shalvey (artist), Frank Martin Jr. (colorist), Antonio Fabela (colorist), and Joe Caramagna (letterer). $2.99, 20 pgs, FC, Marvel.

I’m not sure how Parker is going to bring these two threads of the plot together, but now I’m convinced he’s going to. I thought he was switching back and forth between the time-tossed Thunderbolts, who have returned to sort-of the present and are now fighting Dr. Doom, and the new “Where’s that light switch?” Avengers and their first mission solely so that Kev Walker and Declan Shalvey wouldn’t have to draw too many issues in a row. In this issue, however, both Walker and Shalvey draw their portions of the story, and it seems that Parker is drawing them together, although I’m not sure how he’s going to. Still, in this issue Doom goes to Hell, we get a giant stone villain, everyone has some fun bashing Doombots, and Man-Thing explains why he can’t help. It’s not quite as awesome as last issue, but it’s still very entertaining.

And I’m sure someone knows who that dude at the end is, because it can’t be Judge Dredd, can it?

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Troll knows what's what!

X-Factor #240 (“Run Layla Run”) by Peter David (writer), Neil Edwards (penciler), Craig Yeung (inker), Rick Ketcham (inker), Rachelle Rosenberg (colorist), and Cory Petit (letterer). $2.99, 20 pgs, FC, Marvel.

I get that David wants to head off the “He stole this plot device from Tom Tykwer!” comments about this story by explicitly linking it to Run Lola Run, but I think he goes too far with having Lola herself appear in the book (see below). I very much doubt if Tykwer was the first person to posit different realities based on different decisions we make, so David doesn’t even need to reference him if he doesn’t want to, and I think the fact that Layla runs past a “Tom Tykwer Film Festival” sign on the first page is probably acknowledgement enough. But that’s just me.

Anyway, this is an okay issue simply because it lets us know how Layla sees the world. I don’t think we needed 20 pages of her running to save someone from suicide to get that, but it’s not that it’s a bad issue, just a bit superfluous-feeling. I mean, the stuff that follows in Layla’s wake may or may not happen, and even her reasoning for stopping the person from committing suicide doesn’t mean it will all come to pass. What we can admire about the book is the way David structures the issue, from the first page rewinding Layla to her initial position to the way David, Edwards, and Rosenberg show the various “splits” in reality that accompany her choices. Rosenberg colors the “real” parts of the book normally, but when Layla creates forks in reality, we get a single color showing the consequences of her actions, and it helps distinguish them nicely from “what really happens.” Edwards, too, simplifies the pages, showing columns of panels side-by-side with different things happening at the same time, one for each “reality.” It’s not a bad device. David also does a good job showing how events in different places can affect a person’s life. He did this before, in a very good Aquaman issue, but that doesn’t mean it’s not effective. So when Guido fights Man-Elephant (or Behemoth, I guess), it not only leads to two different conclusions to his date with Monet, it affects how Layla can cross the distance she needs to cross to save a life. It’s a well-designed issue, in other words, even if I’m not sure it’s necessary.

I do appreciate it when writers experiment in the way they tell stories, and David does often try to tell stories in unusual manners, so I enjoy this just for what it is. Could we get the way Layla sees the world in a one-page infodumb? Sure. But would that have been as much fun?

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Joe Rice's head just exploded

Blacksad: Silent Hell by Juan Díaz Canales (writer) and Juanjo Guarnido (artist). $19.99, 108 pgs, FC, Dark Horse.

Tucker Stone has already ripped this book a new one, but as much as I enjoy Stone’s writing, I don’t really care what he thinks. He’s very funny, though.

Bloody Chester by JT Petty (writer), Hilary Florido (artist), and Hilary Sycamore (colorist). $18.99, 143 pgs, FC, First Second Books.

This is a Western in which a teenager has to burn down a town. Fun for the whole family!

Demon Knights volume 1: Seven Against the Dark by Paul Cornell (writer), Diogenes Neves (penciller/inker), Michael Choi (penciller/inker), Robson Rocha (penciller/inker), Julio Ferreira (inker), Marcelo Maiolo (colorist), and Jared K. Fletcher (letterer). $14.99, 140 pgs, FC, DC.

Oclair Albert’s name is on the cover of this book. Oclair Albert is not listed at all in the credits on the inside of the book. If you’re Oclair Albert, are you laughing because you didn’t do any work on this book but your name is on the front cover, or are you really pissed because you did work on the book but your name isn’t listed in the credits?

God and Science: Return of the Ti-Girls by Jaime Hernandez (writer/artist). $19.99, 134 pgs, BW, Fantagraphics.

I’ve tried a few times to get into the Hernandez Bros. but it’s never taken. Will this change my mind?????

Ooku: The Inner Chambers volume 7 by Fumi Yoshinaga (writer/artist), Akemi Wegmüller (translator), and Monalisa de Asis (letterer/touch-up artist). $12.99, 216 pgs, BW, Viz Signature.

For some reason, I never saw volumes 4-6 in Previews. I wonder if they weren’t in there. Oh well – off to Amazon!

Richard Stark’s Parker: The Score by Darwyn Cooke (adapter/artist). $24.99, 138 pgs, YW, IDW.

I’m asking this in all sincerity: If you think Cooke is an awful human being for whoring himself out to work on Before Watchmen, can you buy this? I would think the answer is “no,” but who knows?

Sunset by Christos Gage (writer), Jorge Lucas (artist), and Troy Peteri (letterer). $19.99, 155 pgs, BW, Image/Top Cow/Minotaur.

Usually, with photo-referenced art like Lucas’, it’s better in black and white. I honestly think this was better in color. Weird.

Valen the Outcast volume 1: Abomination by Michael Alan Nelson (writer), Matteo Scalera (artist), Archie van Buren (colorist), and Ed Dukeshire (letterer). $14.99, 88 pgs, FC, Boom! Studios.

This looks pretty keen.

**********

Okay, those asterisks above (↑) mean that I’m done writing about comics, so if you don’t like it when I delve into other topics, I suppose you can skip all this so you won’t get angry. I got in an argument with a friend of mine last week over the Freeh Report, which, for those of you who don’t know, is the report issued by the committee investigating the Penn State connection to Jerry Sandusky’s child molestation activities. I’ll say this again: yes, I graduated from Penn State, and yes, I like college football, although I’m not as interested in it these days as I was 20 years ago (which goes for all sports, honestly – I just don’t have time for them that much anymore). So when the report came out, I read it. I’m not sure members of the media have, and that’s kind of what my argument was about. My friend is very angry at everyone involved and thinks that the Freeh Report is the final say on the matter. I disagree. I was trying to explain to him that I honestly don’t care if, when everything is known, Penn State wants to blot Joe Paterno’s name from its existence. Whatever – Paterno is dead, and presumably doesn’t care. What bothers me is that a vast majority of the media is drawing conclusions from the report that simply aren’t there and using that to excoriate Paterno and call for the shuttering of the football program for 2 to 5 years. What bothers me is the laziness of the media in reporting this story, which of course calls into question whether they ever do any actual reporting or just parrot what people tell them. The Freeh Report is full of conclusion-jumping, and anyone who reads it can see that. Yes, there’s a bit that’s damning to Paterno and the men to whom he reported. But Freeh draws conclusions from the scantiest of evidence, and I’m surprised that no one has questioned the conclusions. Why haven’t they? Because members of the media made up their minds long ago about who was to blame, and because the Freeh Report didn’t directly contradict those beliefs, they simply ran with it. You can say I’m a Paterno apologist, and that’s fine. But I still have a lot of questions about this muddled case, and the report doesn’t answer those. Some of my questions/comments are:

1. We still haven’t heard from the person who witnessed the incident on campus in 2001, nor have we heard from Paterno (because he’s dead) or the three men to whom he reported. The four living people refused to talk to Freeh and his team under advice from counsel, because they have court cases or their own to go through. Their trials will answer far more questions, I think, than this report.
2. The witness in the incident that led to everyone’s firing, Mike McQueary, has changed his story a few times, or at least it’s been reported differently. Do we even know what he saw or what he told Paterno and others? It doesn’t seem like we do, yet no one cares.
3. The Freeh Report goes on and on about Paterno’s power on campus, and everyone is repeating this like gospel. They use the word of a janitor who witnessed an incident and refused to report it, claiming that he’d lose his job if Paterno found out he was going against the football program. Several unnamed witnesses in the report testify to Paterno’s power. Yet there’s not one shred of proof that Paterno was that powerful. No people coming forward to say that they said something critical of the football program and Paterno took vengeance. Nothing. I’m sure a lot of witnesses could say that Paterno didn’t have a lot of power, but that’s not in the report. I can say that Obama is a socialist or Bush was the worst president in history, but that doesn’t make it true. There’s no evidence that Paterno ever used his power to get someone critical of the football program fired. Yet the media claims that he was like a god on campus.
4. No one has found a victim in the case that has the media clamoring for Paterno’s corpse to be dug up and burned. I’m not saying there wasn’t one, but the fact remains that no one has been able to discover the identity of this boy. One of the few charges that Jerry Sandusky was found not guilty of was “involuntary deviate sexual intercourse” with Victim 2, the boy in the Penn State showers. This gets back to what McQueary saw and what he told Paterno and others. As McQueary isn’t talking, we can only look at his testimony at Sandusky’s trial (not what was leaked from the Grand Jury, which included the words “anal intercourse” but which is absolutely wrong, based on the testimony of the Grand Jury when it actually came out). Nothing of what he said would automatically lead people to believe that Sandusky was actively raping a boy. Doing something weird, sure. But we don’t convict people for doing weird things.
5. The Freeh Report implies that Paterno and the three others knew about the investigation into Sandusky in 1998, but it doesn’t state it outright. The report also implies that the people further up the food chain were ready to report Sandusky to the authorities in 2001 but “Joe” said they should do something different. Neither of these things are concrete in the report, yet people are claiming them as gospel. Again, if both are true, Paterno deserves what he gets. But the “evidence” is pretty flimsy. Again, a media member could ask the three men higher up than Joe, but they’re not talking.

My friend yelled at me quite a bit because I was unwilling to form an opinion based on the report, mainly because I saw too many holes. He said that of course I can form an opinion, because I’m a human being with a brain. Yes, of course I CAN form an opinion, but I choose not to. I still don’t know enough about what everyone knew in 1998 and what everyone knew in 2001, and in cases as horrific as this, it’s probably better to reserve judgment until as many facts that can be known are known. The problem with this case, of course, is that it’s about child abuse. Children being hurt creates a visceral reaction (even if the idea that the media really cares about the victims is laughable, because they don’t) and no one wants to think logically. I understand that – I have two daughters, after all, and I don’t know what I’d do (or want to do) if I found out someone was molesting them. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. Back when this story broke, people here on the blog yelled at me for defending Sandusky when it was so obvious he was guilty. I said, rightly, that I wasn’t defending him except in the sense that he deserved a fair trial, because we shouldn’t pretend that false accusations of this sort of thing don’t exist, because that’s stupid. Now that he’s been convicted, I have no use for him and won’t defend him at all. See how that works? Similarly, I’ll be perfectly happy to condemn anyone who covered up for him if that’s proven to be true. The Freeh Report is not that proof. The report goes on about how the men covered it up to protect the football program, but nowhere in the report is anyone quoted as saying that. That’s just one example of the breathtaking assumptions made on the backs of scraps of evidence. But I guess in the world these days, people want witch hunts more than they want proof. Oh well.

As always, I apologize for ranting. I try very hard not to get worked up about things, and even when I was arguing with my friend, we both kept things relatively civil. Feel free to rip me a new one in the comments, though – if you want to go through life being angry, that’s your deal. I’ll try to respond calmly!

Moving on, I’m kind of scared to see The Dark Knight Rises. Unlike a vast majority of the population, I liked but didn’t love the previous one, and this one looks a bit more … goofy, I guess? I disagree with Conservative Curmudgeon T., who thinks Batman movies should be like the Adam West television show (I kid, T.!), but I fear that Nolan’s “Take this seriously!” vibe will clash oddly with what looks like a lot of silly toys. I’m sure I’ll see it, but I’m a bit apprehensive. I don’t care too much about reviews in terms of swaying my decision to see something, but I will be interested to see what the people are saying about it.

Speaking of Batman and the terrible event in Aurora, here’s Crazy Christian Congressman claiming the attack is because no one loves God anymore and, in the same breath, wondering why no one had their own gun to shoot the dude. Man, that’s something.

Let’s end with The Ten Most Recent Songs On My iPod (Which Is Always On Shuffle), because that’s always fun, right?

1. “Long-Forgotten Fairytale”Magnetic Fields (1999) “You said, ‘There’s nothing to explain, in every life a little rain’ … et cetera”
2. “The Beat Of My Heart”Foreigner (1987) “You tried to take me to another world but I wouldn’t let you”
3. “Fix You”Coldplay (2005) “When you love someone, but it goes to waste … could it be worse?”
4. “Love 2 The 9’s” – Prince (1992) “And if we said we loved each other, instead of smiling, would you cry?”
5. “I’m A Mother”Pretenders (1994) “If I need security I’ll keep a gun on me”
6. “Cabo Wabo”Van Halen (1988) “White sand sure make a tan look nice”
7. “Mama”Genesis (1983) “It’s the heat and the steam of the city, got me running and I just can’t brake”1
8. “Dr. Heckyll And Mr. Jive” – Men At Work (1983) “He wants to cure all matter of imbalance in this world of fools”2
9. “The Grand Parade Of Lifeless Packaging” – Genesis (1974) “With profit potential marked by a sign, I can recognise some of the production line”
10. “Papa Was A Rodeo” – Magnetic Fields (1999) “Home was anywhere with diesel gas, love was a trucker’s hand”3

1 Despite the possibly creepy lyrics (he can’t really be singing about his mother, can he?), I love this song. Mostly for the music, which is awesome, but Phil seems to do creepy really well. I don’t know if that’s a compliment or not.

2 This is my second-favorite Men at Work song. It’s ginchy.

3 As I’ve noted before, if you don’t like this song, I don’t think we can be friends. After my rant above, perhaps that’s okay with you!

As always, I apologize for interrupting your enjoyment of comics with real-world crap, especially real-world crap almost guaranteed to piss people off. I really hate to see anyone’s life ruined when they might not deserve it, and that includes people I don’t really like. Anyway, to make everyone feel better, here’s a picture of the world’s largest crayon:

That's my mom and older daughter, by the way

You can’t stay mad when you look at the world’s largest crayon, can you????

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

58 Comments

After a quick search, Oclair Albert was the sole inker on Demon Knights #1-4, and was credited along with other inkers for #5-7.

Cattleprod: I figured I could have done that, but that’s no fun. I wonder why he’s on the front cover but not listed in the credits?

I was kind of interested in reading your thoughts on the Freeh report as a current student at Penn State. I haven’t read your comics-related thoughts yet, but thanks for the paragraphs on the report. A lot of my friends are either vehemently defending Paterno as a saint who was set up or denouncing him as a terrible old man while I have a hard time taking either extreme position. I’m glad to see someone else agree to kind of stand by the whole “innocent until proven guilty” maxim and question the conclusions of the Freeh report without insulting the people responsible for it. Thanks again, Mr. Burgas.

Tom Fitzpatrick

July 20, 2012 at 4:20 pm

Just D.C.’s way of screwing with you, Mr. Burgas.

They’re like that, sometimes. ;-)

Gotta disagree slightly with your Capt. Marvel review, only in that DeConnick conveyed Carol pretty well overall. But you are absolutely right in that there is no conflict, no reason to come back other than if you like the character and the way DeConnick portrays her. The stuff with Crusher Creel proves that Fear Itself was a colossal waste of time.

Roman: I have never thought Paterno was a saint – he seemed like a good man, but I think some of the backlash from the media is that they did believe he was a saint, and now they feel betrayed. It’s not really Paterno’s fault that they wrote all these paeans to him over the years – he was just doing his thing. I think he was treated poorly, and I’m not sure what he could have done differently, but I also wonder if he did all he could and why he didn’t, if so. That’s not the same as blaming him for a cover-up – I think a lot of people could have done more, including some of the parents – and it bugs me that he’s become the focus based on speculation. I forgot you were a student there right now – that can’t be fun!

Tom: Probably. I’m so important!

Adam: I just don’t think Carol is quite as … I don’t know, sappy, maybe, as DeConnick makes her out to be? I know I extol sappiness in this post, but Carol is a long-time superhero, a hard-bitten Air Force officer, and she’s zipped around the stars as Binary for a while, too. I like that she’s not bitter, but she seems like she just got all these powers, and she’s thinking, “How keen!” It feels like DeConnick is writing her as a novice superhero, in my mind. I guess that’s a matter of opinion! :)

I can’t tell if having more security at movie theaters this weekend is cynical or not. Do local PDs think this is really necessary or are they just doing public relations? I wish that wasn’t the first thing I thought about when stories started popping up about the extra precautions.

Wasn’t the whole point of Brian Reed’s run on Ms. Marvel that Carol was trying to find her place as a superhero? So now we get another run of Ms. Marvel trying to find her place as a WOMAN superhero?
My, how far Carol has come since then!
Except, back then, the series started off with Roberto De la Torre on art, while now we get Soy…

I haven’t read Saga #5 yet, but I’m disappointed to read that Vaughn didn’t handle that child prostitute scene any better. It’s a huge universe out there, but I guess 18 is the universal age of consent (or 16 depending on the state/planet!).
What if the alien race only lives to be 10 in earth-years? What if that alien race starts breeding while they’re 4? Why do all of the aliens speak one language outside of one other alien race. (Seriously, in the first issue those soldiers seemed shocked when Marko spoke their language. Can is his race incapable of learning their language? Learning the enemy’s language seems like it would be a useful advantage to have.)
I enjoy Saga. The emotional bits between Marko and Alana are excellently written. It’s just that in a supposedly sci-fi comic, the sci-fi doesn’t seem to be taken into much consideration, and that irks me as a sci-fi fan.

I may have to pick up that Poyo Chew issue, I’m still LMAO at the panel you chose to run. It sounds gloriously stupid and I could use a laugh. And yay! Troll killing doombots, always a good thing.

This is a very interesting column (the comics review part is a hoot), I’ll be looking for it from now on.

I was pretty stoked on Captain Marvel (loved McKelvie’s design, have heard good things about DeConnick) until I saw the preview pages, which… wow. Soy’s art has the rare distinction of being a total mess, while still lacking any kind of energy or expressiveness. I can’t see how Marvel expects the series to last a year, unless they think Soy’s art is reminiscent enough of Lee Bermejo’s to bring in those Joker and Batman: Noel dollars. Most likely, by October we’ll see them bust out their patented “Captain Marvel #4… of 8!” move, cuz didn’t you know it was a Limited Series all along???

Joe H: Many people like that about Saga – the people are basically human, but … in space!!!!! I agree with you, though – if this is going to be a science fiction classic, Vaughan has to do more to explore the societies. I didn’t mention it in the review, but Slave Girl lives on a comet? What the crap?

Sue: Thanks, I’m glad you enjoyed it. And Chew is great. It’s one of my favorite series.

Cass: I don’t wish that on any series, but I have a feeling you’re right.

A double dose of What I Bought from the Hamburgaslar, The Burgas Man (obscure Roxy Music ref, o yes), The aBurgas of All Realities? We are honoured, Sir! Great stuff as always, without wishing you to get a swollen head – I’m amazed that you put these together, ‘s’always a treat (um, creepy much?”). It’s the mark of a good writer that they can make even those things which you had little in seem fascinating and funny, and you manage this every week Greg (and that’s without mentioning the fine work you do with those titles I am already interested by),fantastic (Creepiness and Earnestness Factors Now in Red Zone – Yay Me!)
I loved the description of Soy’s art, “two basic facial expressions – vacancy and rage”, ouch! In fact that’d be a great name for a weblog – “Vacancy and Rage”… It’s hard to disagree with your comments on Deconnick’s Captain Marvel, the treatment of the Absorbing Man (hey, I can’t call him “Crusher”, I’ve never met him;-)) was dumb but the whole secret Mercury 13 thing trivialized a serious subject, its important to tackle iniquities but you don’t do that by creating a version of the world that is just as unfair and divorced from truth as the one you are trying to change, apart from anything else it gives ammunition to those who wants to dismiss you, and this pertains whether the subject is race, sex, sexuality or anything else. It’s a shame. Then thre’s the mismatch between the cover and the interior artwork… Why Marvel, why?! They delight in making no sense.
I share your concerns about Dark Knight Rises, Greg. It may be blasphemy, but I didn’t think Dark Knight a masterpiece, and as soon as I got to the point in the film where I knew Rachel was to die I was unimpressed and annoyed, to say the least. I certainly didn’t think it was bad, but the collective orgasm over it seemed odd. Still Rises trailer is good, so I’m cautiously optimistic that I’ll quite like it despite its overwrouyhtness. I loved your jokey insults of Messrs Nevett and Brothers, could thhis lead to you going bughouse and talking smack (as they sat, don’t they?”) to everyone and throwing a “Nazi” here and an “Assmonkey” thete, and finally going over the edge and stating that Mr Cronin “smells of Poo”? Okay, that’s a No” then? Just thought I’d ask. I was looking forward to “The Week Greg Really Lost It”! Seriously you come across as an enormously sweet-natured guy and your stuff is great, even when you’re putting up with asses like me! As for tge “rants”, they seem sensible to me but maybe I’m not the best judge… Ha. Sorry about all the typoes.
Hal

I only flipped through Dark Avengers in the store, but the guy at the end looked to me like Justice Peace (http://www.marvunapp.com/Appendix/justicepeacetva.htm) of the Time Variance Authority.

Tom Fitzpatrick

July 20, 2012 at 7:18 pm

@ Mr. Burgas: At least you didn’t say “impotent” !!! ;-)

@ Chad: What’s with the Comments being “closed” on RANDOM THOUGHTS. Is our opinions no longer important to you?!? :-(

So I really like Ms/Captain Marvel and want to be reading her in a solo series. I can’t stomach Soy’s art, but I AM seeing a lot of Reed’s run in the cheap bins. Is it worth a look?

Travis Pelkie

July 20, 2012 at 8:04 pm

I’m totally blaming you, Tom, for Chad closing the comments on RT.

IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT!!!

Oh.

Um.

Carry on.

And thanks for the links, Burgas. I must have had some sort of subconscious crush on Winona Ryder, as I totally dug a girl with short hair (even bald at times) back in high school. Ah, memories! And that last pic in the short hair one, mmm Alyson. I have a mag with that pic in it, and I do believe that I got it almost 10 years ago. I’m a dirty boy.

Hmm, the character at the end of Dark Avengers is clearly meant to be a Dredd analog, but I was also struck at the oddness of it. Could it be the Dredd-analog Simonson introduced waaaay back in his Thor days (and used again in FF)… some kind of officer of the Time Authority? (I forget the name, sorry.)

Justice Peace! That’s the character! And he was Time Travel police… it fits the plot, at least.

Hal: Thanks for the nice words. Don’t worry about typos – that’s just the way it is! I rarely get too angry, you’re right – it’s just too much effort. I guess I just enjoy life too much!

Robert: That’s probably him. I knew it wasn’t Dredd, but I didn’t know about Justice Peace.

Chad: Well, that’s your right as an Amer — a dirty, stinking, hippie Canadian!!!!

BitBiteOuch: Reed’s run doesn’t have a lot of fans, from what I can tell, but it did last a while. I think I read one or two of the issues, and they weren’t great but not terrible. Standard superhero stuff, in other words, but since I haven’t read too much of it, I’m not a very good authority.

Stephane: Robert beat you to it! :)

I can say that Brian Reed’s on Ms. Marvel was competent. There were some enjoyable parts like when it seemed like Carol was gonna take Arana under wings and train her under the SHRA, which seemed to give Carol the sort of purpose she was looking for, but for whatever reason that was dropped. But then she started running a proactive task force, but then that was dropped for some reason.

Writing this about the book made me realize what was wrong with it. It seemed like every time the book found an interesting direction to go in it was immediately abandoned. And the reasons apparently weren’t very good reasons, because for the life of me, I can’t remember what they were. I can’t even remember how the book ended.

I don’t know if it was because of editorial interference, if it was because Reed didn’t know when he had something good to work with or what. That book was full of wasted potential.

Rereading that, maybe competent wasn’t the right word to use. lol

I can’t speak to the quality of the Ms Marvel book under Reed, but my guess, based on what I remember reading about it at the time, was that the direction changes Joe H speaks of came mostly due to the “outside forces” acting on the book — that is, it got caught up in the status quo changes of the Marvel U. due to Civil War, the Initiative, Secret Invasion, Dark Reign, etc. So Reed probably did the best he could with that kind of “interference” going on.

FunkyGreenJerusalem

July 21, 2012 at 12:30 am

The Captain Marvel art kept me away. The cover did nothing to prepare me for that.

I’m sure our pal FunkyGreenJerusalem (I’d like to call him by his real name, but I’m not sure if he’d get angry at me) read pages 13 and 14 of this serialized comic extravaganza and chuckled, thinking to himself, “See, Greg? BKV has an answer for you!” Because everyone always thinks of my reactions when they’re reading comics, right? Right? Hey, where are you guys going?

You can call me by my real name, Greg! I only keep the silly name from when having a silly name was part of posting on the internet and signed up to stuff at CBR ten years ago. Revealing my name is Ben is fine.

I did chuckle when I saw it, thinking back to last months reviews, but I also groaned – I disagreed with your objections to the scene last month, but I still wasn’t the biggest fan of it. I’m confused what The Will is trying to succeed, other than making himself feel better, by rescuing a child from a sex den, where it seems that sort of thing is institutionalized – if he’s willing to kill and fight for one child, why not try save more of them?
I’m not sure if he’ll use the money to free the child, I’m suspecting Vaughn might be setting it up so that The Will busts the kid out and has a child of his own whilst hunting the leads, but it seems a bit clunky either way. Thankfully, the rest of the book is awesome. Loved the last page.

Oclair Albert’s name is on the cover of this book. Oclair Albert is not listed at all in the credits on the inside of the book. If you’re Oclair Albert, are you laughing because you didn’t do any work on this book but your name is on the front cover, or are you really pissed because you did work on the book but your name isn’t listed in the credits?

He’s probably pissed – he’s the inker. Demon Knights is a good book. This is one that will read better in trade, as opposed to Morrison’s Batman or Dial H!

Travis Pelkie

July 21, 2012 at 1:33 am

” This is my second-favorite Men at Work song.”

You are the only human being who can say this sentence.

Well, I’m hoping to find the Chew special when the comics shop opens in several hours. I foolishly decided not to spend the extra cash to pick it up. A fool am I!

I even know Funky’s last name, that’s how cool I am.

OK, that’s what I keep telling myself, anyway.

I missed this column last week, I was worried about you Greg!

My thoughts on Atomic Robo: RSA were really similar to yours (identical in fact). It seems ages since I read it so checked and I bought it 27 June.

I adored the Chew: Special Agent Poyo issue. I had a huge grin on my face after reading it – it was so much fun. Reminded me why I love Chew (I’m missing Tony a bit). I didn’t feel too much love for it from Greg – was that my imagination?

Sad to hear your thoughts on Captain Marvel. That seems to be the consensus. I haven’t read the issue as nothing about the series appealled to me, but was prepared to get the series if it got good reviews. Marvel really seemed to simultaneously promote this title a lot, but put nothing into the series to hook potential readers.

This was the first issue of X-factor I haven’t bought, so I am particularly interested in people’s thoughts on this issue (read quite a few reviews). I am having a break for awhile as the last couple of issues felt like filler and it made me reassess the title as a whole. I just don’t get enough comics to spend money on something I can’t rely on, when there are so many series out there I haven’t tried that are getting great reviews.

Also, I know you trade wait most Marvel/DC, but how are you not caught up on Daredevil yet? I was expecting you to have been swayed by the first trade and buy this week’s issue. It seems like a title catering to your superhero tastes.

@ bitbiteouch

Greg and Joe H’s comments are pretty accurate on the series really.

Is started quite strong, but changed direction so many times I lost interest. I read it on Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited so didn’t pay any money for it, but continued until I had read all the issues that were up a the time (whereas some series I get bored with and stop) So I guess it depends how cheap it is.

i think the silliest arguement in paterno defense is “what else could he have done?” um, besides literally anything? he did nothing! as for how much power he really had, google vicky triponey. also notice the riots he started just because he got fired? riots over a football coach?

i could understand people saying, wait, some of the other administrators are just as bad as paterno, and people should ONLY focus on paterno. but the media blaming is also ridiculous. paterno is getting dumped on because he made horrible decisions for the worst reasons, and because of him, dozens of children were sexually abused.

there is no defense for paterno. there is only grasping at straws by penn state alumni (no offense!). paterno was a authority abusing jerk before and after the sandusky scandal. the only difference is now we have a terrible worst-case scenario.

anyway, enjoyed the comics write up, just not a fan of the paterno defense.

Ben: I’m willing to take a “wait and see” approach with Vaughan regarding The Will, because I do think the core of the book – Marko and Alana – is getting better. But yeah, I’m still not sure what he’s going for.

Travis: I can probably do a Top Ten list of my favorite Men at Work songs!!!!

Rolacka: You must have missed that I went on vacation. I didn’t have time to write anything up even if I had wanted to!

I enjoyed Secret Agent Poyo, but not as much as the “regular” title. I don’t mind it at all, but it seemed like Layman had a few good ideas and couldn’t figure out where to put them in the regular title, so he decided to chuck them all in here. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course, and as a goofy diversion, I like Poyo a lot, but I’d rather see what’s going on in the bigger plot. Which is why I was glad about the last page, because I think it will tie into the “main” book.

It’s unfortunate that the last three issues of X-Factor haven’t been the strongest, because it’s been so good for so long. I didn’t hate the preceding two, but they resolved too quickly to be satisfying, and now we get this. The next arc is a big one, so I’m looking forward to it, but yeah, it’s too bad.

The first Daredevil trade comes out next week, or at least it does according to my retailer. Marvel and DC’s trade policy (waiting so long to bring one out instead of right after the arc finishes, like a lot of Image books do) means that once I start waiting for the trade, I’ll never be able to catch up to the single issues, so I think that ship has sailed. I’m looking forward to reading the trade, though!

noob: Well, you’re entitled to your opinion, but Paterno didn’t have to do anything when McQueary told him the story. He could easily have said, “You’re imagining things, kid,” which a LOT of administrators have done in similar situations throughout the years. He took the case to his superiors and trusted that they would do something. Sure, he could have needled them about it if he thought there was something going on, but it’s not like he didn’t do anything. I didn’t bring up Vicky Triponey because she has a ridiculously spotty history of being antagonistic at various institutions at which she worked, and the incident she talks about is very much a “he-said, she-said” situation, with things murky on both sides. If that’s all anyone has, that’s not very strong evidence. And whenever anyone bothered to interview students about the “riots,” they learned that their ire was directed at the media for shit-canning Paterno without caring about his side of the story. It’s not a coincidence the only property damage was a news van.

I have no idea how much you know about the entire incident or if you’re just getting your information filtered through the anger of the media (and yes, the media has a definite ax to grind, just like all the defenders of Paterno do), so forgive me if you’ve been following the whole thing. As I noted, I’m perfectly happy to condemn Paterno when all the facts come out. They haven’t, so I’m not comfortable destroying a person who did so much for the community. I think the questions I asked in the post are reasonable, not “grasping at straws” (no offense taken, by the way). Yet no one whose job it is to ask such questions is doing it. That’s what disappoints me. Much like when celebrities die, whether Paterno is exonerated or evidence finds he held kids down while Sandusky raped them has absolutely no bearing on my life. I just think this entire scandal is an example of rushing to judgment, and I don’t like rushing to judgment. That’s all. If you think we have all the evidence, that’s fine. I disagree.

I haven’t read the new Carol Danvers book, but I was interested. However, like a few others here I saw the interior art and passed. Really glad I didn’t pre-order it.

I’m disappointed that the next Marvel title with a female lead is going to be RED SHE-HULK. I know the old line about “no bad characters,” but I have no interest at all in her. It will take some glowing reviews to make me check out the book. I suppose Jeff Parker might pull it off if anybody can.

@rich

Jeff Parker can and will. He hasn’t missed yet.

The X-Factor-Panel is not worthy of airwolfness, due to the horrible, horrible German in Lola’s speech bubble. “Aufpassen Idioten Hauptling” is not something that would ever be said in German, ever. I know, I am pedantic, but stuff like that bugs me, I can’t help it! I just re-read Alan Moore’s Miracleman, and the German spoken by the evil scientist’s Nazi-nurses is faultless – it makes immersion much easier, instead of convincing me that the author was on a tight deadline and didn’t give that much of a shit anyway.

Bombie: Yeah, I didn’t question the German too much, but it didn’t look kosher to me. I agree, though, that writers ought to make the effort to get it right. I just liked the fact that Layla crashed into Lola.

” This is my second-favorite Men at Work song.”

You are the only human being who can say this sentence.

Yeah, seriously. It’s easily my favorite Men at Work song. Not that I don’t like a few of the others, because I do.

@Greg

Well, I hope you never go on vacation again ;-)

On Chew: It was definitely something that was right to be in a spin off one-shot. I don’t think I would have enjoyed it as much if it had been a regular issue of Chew, but as I knew what I was getting I loved it.

Man, Daredevil is still not out yet? We had issue 15 out this week!!! A couple of months or so ago I recommended the title on the forums and somebody said it wasn’t out in trade yet. I said then that that was ridiculous and the second should have been out. Marvel’s trade policy used to be fine. I stopped reading Marvel comics for 18 months or so when it got really bad (not intentionally – I just lost interest in anything I liked the look of), and got back in earlier this year digitally. I thought I saw an image of Daredevil in the trades you had bought a few weeks ago; obviously I was mistaken.

Rolacka: There are two Waid DD collections out in hardcover, and they’re good stuff, but I take it Greg’s waiting for the paperbacks.

Rolacka: Yeah, buttler’s right. Sorry if that wasn’t clear. I don’t usually buy hardcovers unless they’re a pretty good value and Marvel seems to be gouging us on them. I can wait until the paperback comes out if the hardcover is more expensive than the single issues (which is often the case). But no, I haven’t bought it yet. Sorry for the confusion!

Some others have also commented about that disparity between the quality of art and writing on Blacksad, but personally I just take them as very obvious noir pastiches.

” if he’s willing to kill and fight for one child, why not try save more of them?”
It’s the only one he saw, so it’s the only one he cares about.
That’s all I can think of.

@butler

Yeah, I remember the premier hardcovers. I wouldn’t buy them either, and wait for the proper trade. When I said ‘the second should have been out’, I meant Marvel are being ridiculous in waiting so long to get the paper trade out.

The reason I assumed Greg had read the first trade was I (incorrectly) recalled an image of the first trade in a ‘What I bought’ column a few weeks ago – obviously I made that up from nowhere though (embarrased smiley).

2 Men at Work fans. You people…

As to the apparent bad German in that XFactor panel, I took it as PAD just goofin’, not that it’s supposed to be proper German. But that’s just me.

I got and read the Poyo special. Pretty good stuff, but kind of a bit of fluff. I’m a bit behind on reading the main title though, so I’m not sure what the end actually portends (am that the right word?), but it was a decent read.

I shake my head at you, though, for not realizing that is not Deathblow, but Chapel from Youngblood. Deathblow is, and DUH, always HAS been part of the DCU. Duh! :)

But I will admit to not knowing who that was on the one poster in hell. He looks so vaguely familiar, but I just can’t place him!

Travis: Sorry, my bad – I was just guessing about Deathblow/Chapel anyway, so thanks for setting me straight!

That’s Michael Bay in Hell, by the way.

I have almost come to the realization that I should read your reviews as Bizarro-reviews because our taste seems to run complete counter to each other.

Nothing wrong with that.

The glaring points this time? I disagree with pretty much every word of your Captain Marvel review. (Even the ‘the’s and ‘and’s). Avengers Academy was awful (and I normally LIKE the book). Dark Avengers was AMAZINGLY awful. (I have now dropped it.)

And as a side point, Marko from Saga has become my favourite character in all of comics.

Rusty: Hey, that’s fine. That’s why we have choices!

For some bizarre reason, the local morning sports show here in MIA, FL has been ending their show every morning with the theme to Airwolf. You’ve been doing “what I bought” for a while now, maybe a refresher course as to what an “airwolf panel” means…??

John: “Airwolf” is being used as an adjective, meaning “better than awesome.” It’s a bit by a comedian (whose name escapes me), and I first saw it on Dave’s Long Box, a very funny comics blog, a few years ago. Just keeping the tradition alive!

Dave Campbell got the bit from Ernie Cline, a comedian/writer/poet who had a whole spoken word bit on using Airwolf as an adjective. Both Dave and Ernie are awesome. You’ll be doing yourself a favor if you look up their work!

yeah i dont see the freeh report as anything but clear and paterno anything but obviously culpable. the media agenda and what else could paterno do equivocation is just lame excuses. and if triponey had such a terrible track record and couldnt be trusted, why did she get hired in the first place? paterno and the admins put the football program ahead of the safety of children. clearly. if it was paterno’s grandkids showering with sandusky would any of this be happening? if it was an english professor’s TA showering with children would this be happening? no, its the perverted culture engendered by a football coach with a runaway ego. and now the football program is being dismantled as it should be. there will be further punitive measures too. from the DOJ investigating Clearly Act violations to the civil cases brought by the victims and their families. the joepa supporters from the penn state alumni (and Bill James weirdly) may continue but they will look more ridiculous as time passes.

and if after the media frenzy abates and new evidence is revealed that exonerates paterno i will personally contact all my penn state friends to say i contributed to the unfair judgement of paterno and his unjustly tarnished legacy. but i’m not betting on that outcome.

noob: Hey, that’s fine. Like I said, if you’ve read the Freeh report and come to that conclusion, what else is there to say? I will bet that most of the people piling on haven’t read the report, haven’t read the trial reports from Sandusky’s trial (not the grand jury, the testimony in which a lawyer can’t object to), and are simply reading what the media says. I could be wrong, though. But that’s fine. And if you think that people who can’t be trusted never get hired anywhere … well, that’s an interesting thought. I’m willing to wait until the principals in the “cover-up” testify in court under oath about what the e-mails in the Freeh report mean. As I’ve always said, I don’t have a problem condemning Paterno or anyone else involved, but not on the basis of what’s in the report. If you’re fine with that evidence, there’s nothing more to say.

Ahh, Catch-22. The book that taught me once and for all to never force myself to finish a classic on the promise that it will get better. Awful, overrated book.

I was shocked with how much Marvel seemed to have riding on the book that they would choose that style of art for Captain Marvel.

Sorry, that was me.

T.: I remember our debate about Catch-22 before, and I actually thought about it while putting that quote up there. I disagree with you, but that’s the fun of literature!

It is kind of weird that Marvel would hang so much on Captain Marvel. Whether you like the artwork or not, it’s definitely not something that superhero fans are used to, so we’ll have to see what happens. Marvel is double-shipping the book, though (because that’s always smart), and Soy isn’t on it all that much because he (along with every other Marvel artist) can’t keep up the pace. It will be interesting to see if that hurts the book or helps it.

Did you like Lolita? That was another classic I cracked open fully expecting to love, but didn’t. I like the idea behind Catch-22, and even a little of the execution, but most of the execution felt like a 400-page “Who’s on First?” skit.

What is it with Marvel and playing musical chairs with artists? They just seem to be bouncing artists around willy nilly, with the exception of maybe Salvador Larocca on Iron Man.

T.: No, I’ve never read Lolita. I’ve never gotten around to it!

I guess the double-shipping crap is working, because Marvel keeps doing it. It’s very frustrating.

Getting around to this late (I was vacationing in appalachia where I think they still haven’t figured out this whole “Internet” thing), but I was kinda pissed at the NCAA for their handling of Penn State.

Would it have been that hard to just say:

1. Penn State is barred from this football postseason.
2. Further punishments are coming, pending the NCAA’s own investigation
3. Anticipating severe punishment, Penn State players are free to transfer.

The third is obviously crucial, because there’s no reason to punish the student athletes.

It sends a clear message that the NCAA is pissed, it begins the punishment of the program immediately, and it doesn’t involve a rush to judgement based on someone else’s investigation. It allows them to take their time and gather their facts and not make their decision at a time when there’s an angry mob demanding blood.

I just kinda hate that as a society we’re so obsessed with swift and harsh punishment, and that careful consideration is some kind of sin.

Mecha-Shiva: I’m not too happy about the transfer thing unless they laid down rules governing it, because the circling vulture coaches this week make the NCAA’s theme of getting rid of a football culture an absolute joke, but yeah, I have no idea why they couldn’t have waited a year or two to investigate this. It was obvious they were going to punish people who had no connection with the events (like they always do), so why not wait? USC is paying for the Reggie Bush thing right now, and he’s been out of school for years. I think you’re right, though – we’re obsessed with “swift and harsh punishment,” and due process be damned.

Greg, I forgot to mention it last time but Mr ah T’s comment prompted me, that’s a great quotation from a great book. I was not in a good place but I decided to expand my reading horizons and teach myself about metafiction and the like and Catch-22’s powerful vision of abdurdity, war, capitalism , and chaos was one of the things I enjoyed the most. In the years after that I caught up on things I’d always wanted to see such as St Elsewhere, the Larry Gelbart years of M*A*S*H, Soap (! ), and others and I loved them all (even with any flaws they had!). Um, enough rambling and typos (this device is intransigent, damnit!), your choice of epigraph is always fascinating, keep up the good work. Oh, this week’s what I Bought is great too, “What’s with all the Twat Shots” indeed, tTarot is ridiculous but Chris Simm’s reviews make it clear that the weird preference for sexual mutilation and haute gore rathet than y’know Sex is pretty grotesque. To each their own I suppose :-P heh. Fine job on Flipping Through Previews too, the Watchmen Toaster?”? Man, the toast looks groovy but what’s next – The Comedian Shoots aPregnant Woman Diorama, The Rorschach Flame Thrower? Echh. Nice work though Gregpire, I’ve been reading your other weblog, I admire you and your family immensely, sorry if that sounds dumb…

Hal: I can’t even compete with Sims’ reviews of Tarot. I just wish he’d do them more often!

Thanks for the nice words about the family. We do what we can! :)

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