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CSBG Archive

What I bought – 25 July 2012

“It’s all right. Keep right on lying to me. That’s what I want you to do.” (Ernest Hemingway, from A Farewell To Arms)

That HAS to be a fire hazard! Time it takes her to braid her hair? Six hours! How nice! A bedtime story! Just when you think it can't get any more insane ... I should walk around with a toe tag on and freak people out Markham just enjoys ... hanging out Not a dream!  Not a hoax! Is Clor praying? You'll be smarter after you read this ... trust me! The end is nigh! This better be worth it! Vampires will be slayed! Nazis will be slayed! Hot welding action!

As you might be able to figure out, there’s a NSFW panel below. No gold star for figuring out which comic it comes from! I just thought it would be better to tell you now!

Batman, Incorporated #3 (“The Hanged Man”) by Grant “Yeah, I’m rarely so literal with my titles – don’t get used to it, fanboys!” Morrison (writer), Chris Burnham (artist), Nathan Fairbairn (colorist), and Patrick “Am I Pat? Am I Patrick?” Brosseau (letterer). $2.99, 20 pgs, FC, DC.

I KNOW THAT SOME POOR SUCKERS DIDN’T GET THIS COMIC (SEE BELOW). I FOUND THIS OUT AFTER I WROTE THE REVIEW. I DON’T THINK I SPOIL TOO MUCH, BUT IF YOU HAVEN’T BOUGHT THE COMIC YET BECAUSE YOU LIVE IN A BENIGHTED PART OF THE WORLD THAT DOESN’T BELIEVE IN FREEDOM (UNLIKE ARIZONA, WHERE I’M CURRENTLY TYPING THIS WHILE DRIVING AND DRINKING BEER AND NOT WEARING A SEAT BELT AND SHOOTING MAIL BOXES AND DOMESTIC CATS OUT THE WINDOW AND I’M NOT BREAKING ANY STATE LAWS!!!!!), FEEL FREE TO SKIP THIS REVIEW. IF YOU DARE!!!!

If you know anything about me, you know that I often mention the First Rule of Popular Culture: NEVER TRUST THE WOMAN! It’s an unfortunate rule, because it implies that all women are untrustworthy, but it’s far too common in pop culture, across all media – television, movies, books, and comics. So why does Batman, who has ignored the First Rule of Popular Culture in the past to his detriment, ignore it again? WHY, BRUCIE, WHY? “But Greg,” you say, because you always talk to your computer screen when you read my reviews, “what about the dude? You know, that dude! Didn’t he really betray our hero, and isn’t he a man?” Well, yes. But he’s villainous, so we can’t expect him to be trustworthy. And yes, perhaps the woman really didn’t betray him. Does anyone want to make that claim?

Anyway, if you ignore Batman’s utter stupidity, this is a fine issue of the God of All Comics’ continuing opus. I mean, David Lapham should sue him for plagiarism, but there’s only so much you can do with this kind of story, and any story that begins with a teacher holding a gun on her class and ends with Damian kicking ass can’t be so bad. In between we get G-Mozz’s tribute to Garth Ennis’ Section Eight (it’s true!), Alfred brushing down a cow, and a freaky page with a hanged dude and a judge wearing a scary mask. It’s all very Morrisonian, but in the best way, and Burnham is wonderful as usual. He can make the weakest Morrison issues nice to look at, and in this issue, he has a good Morrison script to work with, so with the exception of Bruce forgetting the First Rule of Popular Culture, it’s a good issue.

(Some of you may be wondering how I read this in the wake of this announcement. I guess some people at DC thought the idea of a teacher holding a gun on a bunch of students was in poor taste. Now, if she had expressed an interest in having sex with their corpses, as some DC characters have alluded to doing in the past, then ship away! This is just another idiotic response to a problem that doesn’t have anything to do with the shooter. My bet is that DC hopes this will gin up interest in the book when it finally does ship and push the sales higher. Because they would never do anything cynical like that. If you’re wondering how I got this … well, I live in Arizona. I got this comic free with my purchase of 10 AR-15s and 50 boxes of armor-piercing bullets that I got with no background check, only the word of my dog that I was using it only to hunt javelinas in my back yard. WE CANNOT LET THE JAVELINAS WIN!!!!!! Arizona cares not for announcements by a socialist company trying to keep us from seeing images of evil teachers pulling guns on children! That’s downright un-American, consarnit!)

(Seriously, I don’t know how my retailer got this. Chad got it, too, and he lives in a country where you’re not allowed to purchase a water pistol, much less a real gun. I guess some copies slipped through the net!)

(I managed to get this review up before Pam found out. Don’t anybody tell her, because she’ll come down on me like a sumo wrestler trying to get to the buffet table.)

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Is Dick standing on a stepladder?

Debris #1 (of 4) by Kurtis J. Wiebe (writer), Riley Rossmo (artist), Ed Brisson (letterer), and Owen Gieni (colorist). $3.50, 24 pgs, FC, Image/Shadowline.

Wiebe and Rossmo’s new comic is a four-issue mini-series, and it begins fairly well, with enough exposition to intrigue us and enough action to entertain us. We’re in some kind of post-apocalyptic world covered with … well, debris, and humans are fighting what appears to be a losing battle against mechanical dinosaurs. Maya, our protagonist, is your typical kick-ass heroine, learning from an older woman who acts as the “protector” of the village where they live – she seems to be the military commander, because she asks for more troops to train from the council who runs things. Well, if you’ve ever read a comic like this, you know that Calista – that’s the older woman – is not long for this world, and Maya is forced to undertake a quest to find “Athabasca,” a legendary place that presumably holds the key to humans’ survival. It must – it’s that kind of book.

It’s certainly not the most original premise, but Wiebe does a nice job getting us into the story. I’ve been reading a good number of post-apocalyptic comics recently and have been critical of those with too much explanation (see: The Massive), but Wiebe ain’t care about that – he just shows us that the world has fallen apart, and we have to deal with it! Maya and Calista are really the only characters in the book – there’s a councilwoman who’s kind of a bitch, and we see a lot of other people, but they’re the only two who count – and Wiebe does a decent job with their dialogue revealing their relationship. Rossmo is excellent, too – his dinosaurs are very realistic but still kind of clanky, and he’s gotten a lot better at action over the years, and Maya’s fight with the Jormungand is really well done (see below). He’s still not great with faces, but he’s not horrible. He and Gieni give us a very cool, bright world – even though the world is full of junk, the dinosaurs are bright orange, as is Maya’s hair, while the sky and the humans’ outfits are beautiful blue, giving us a wonderful contrast. It’s really a beautiful book, and while I’ve liked Rossmo’s artwork for a while, his last book (Green Wake) was a bit bleaker, so the colors didn’t pop quite as much.

I don’t know where Wiebe is going with the story – he could take it on a completely conventional path, which might still be entertaining, or he could try something different – but this is a pretty good first issue. Sure, you can wait for the trade, but then you’ll have to wait for a few months to see mechanical dinosaurs!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Damn straight!

Elephantmen #41 (“The Long and Ghastly Kitchen”) by David Hine (writer/artist), Rob Steen (colorist), and Richard Starkings (letterer). $3.99, 26 pgs + 9-pg reprint from Strange Embrace, FC, Image.

Starkings steps aside as writer for an issue so he can give some pub to David Hine in the form of a nice preview of Strange Embrace, which is a pretty good horror comic that you can get in a very nice hardcover, if you so choose. Hine gives himself some pub by writing and drawing this story, in which a man finds the assistant to the dude who created the elephantmen and gets him to speak about his past. The dude is old and dying, and the creepy bald dude there on the cover says it wouldn’t kill him to get his story out before he dies, right? Yeah, right. There’s a reason why you shouldn’t trust creepy bald dudes!

This is a pretty effective horror story, actually. Unlike Strange Embrace, which is a tad predictable (still pretty good, as I mentioned, but a tad predictable), Hine does a very nice job with a couple of aspects of this story. First, Javier Kubec – the assistant – tries to both justify and apologize for his monstrous actions, and Hine almost makes him sympathetic even though he’s a horrible human being. Second, the creepy bald dude comes up with a horribly appropriate punishment for Kubec, one that satisfies the reader even while we realize that CBD might be as monstrous as Kubec is. In a book that examines how humans can be animalistic and how animals can be humanistic, Hine gives us two people we really wouldn’t want to hang out with and makes them both compelling, each convinced that he is helping the greater good but neither seeming to have much in the way of humanity. Hine’s rough, woodcut-like artwork helps create a weird, disturbing mood, and voila! we have another solid issue of Elephantmen. Plus, it has an awesome title. “Ghastly” is a fine word that doesn’t get used often enough.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

They could have recycled them into toothpicks, man!

Manhattan Projects #5 (“Horizon”) by Jonathan Hickman (writer), Nick Pitarra (artist), Jordie Bellaire (colorist), and Rus Wooton (letterer). $3.50, 20 pgs, FC, Image.

Hickman et al. continue to have way too much fun with Manhattan Projects, as we’re slowly seeing a plot emerge but the book still has a lot of craziness going on. Oppenheimer figures out that the aliens from last issue aren’t terribly friendly, and he … well, see below. Then he does something even more disturbing (yet awesome). This leads to the team discovering Einstein’s door and using it to thwart the aliens, which doens’t earn them brownie points from the other sentient beings in the galaxy. Oh dear. The way they stop the aliens is brutal but brilliant, and Hickman ends the book with yet another portentous moment. It’s been a really fun book to read so far, and it just keeps getting better, which is nice.

The one complaint I have is with the artwork, more specifically, the coloring. I thought the coloring of the flashback last issue was really well done, because Bellaire used red and blue to such good effect. She does the same thing in this issue, and it looks as nice as issue #4 did, but because it’s a different character, I thought it would be neat to see different stark and bright colors for this one. It’s just a purely personal point of view, and I do like that she’s keeping the coloring different in the flashbacks, but when I saw it, I thought, “Man, that would have looked neat with a different two-color palette, because it’s a different character.” That makes sense, right? Well, it makes sense to me.

Anyway, this should be out in a trade next month (I think), if not sooner. It’s a very good comic full of crazy, crazy shit. Pick it up and have a blast!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Oppenheimer FTMFW

National Comics: Eternity by Jeff Lemire (writer), Cully Hamner (artist), Derec Donovan (artist), Val Staples (colorist) and Patrick Brosseau (letterer). $3.99, 32 pgs, FC, DC.

As cocked-up as DC’s “New 52″ crap has been, and I think we can agree it’s been pretty cocked-up – very little stability in creative teams due to obsessions with rigid scheduling; Rob Liefeld’s high profile; an inability to pull the band-aid completely off so that no one knows what actually “happened” before the reboot or didn’t; Rob Liefeld’s high profile; the use of many creators who were working on books before the reboot, which seems to defeat the purpose; Rob Liefeld’s high profile; the insistence on having 52 titles for no good reason; ROB LIEFELD’S HIGH PROFILE!!!!! – I think we can agree that DC has done some interesting things, and that includes throwing a lot of weird shit out there and seeing what sticks. I mean, a Justice League composed of weird, magical characters? A comic set in the Middle Ages composed of weird, magical characters? A new book about a princess of Gemworld with (presumably) weird, magical characters? Oh, wait, I had a point here. Oh, yes – DC has given us a lot of bizarre comics that might not have a long shelf-life but might be good for some short stories, and National Comics is the latest one: it’s a “series” of one-shots starring various oddball characters who couldn’t possibly sustain a regular series or maybe even a mini-series but might be used to tell good single-issue stories. It’s not a bad idea for a series, even if I doubt it will last very long. So I commend DC, at least, for doing something like this. Now, don’t get me started on St. Bastion …

That’s not to say that National Comics: Eternity is a terribly good comic. It takes Kid Eternity and makes him a dude working in a morgue who uses his power to speak to the recently-dead to solve any crimes that result in bodies being on his slab. I don’t think he’s ever called “Kid Eternity” in the comic, which isn’t a bad thing, necessarily – his name is Chris Freeman (man, talk about a symbolically loaded name) and he came back to life a year earlier when he and his father were shot on the street. His father, of course, did not survive, but Chris was resurrected and found his calling, so to speak. So in this issue, Lemire gives us a crime, one that Chris solves, in the meantime coming to terms somewhat with his relationship with his father and also meeting someone who appears to be his nemesis. It’s a fairly bland comic, with a far-too-obvious solution to the crime. If we’ve gone over the First Rule of Popular Culture above, one of the Rules of Comics (which are a tiny bit more liberal than entertainment in general) is that the fat white men are always nasty and the scroungy hot punk-rock chicks are always good, and once we know that, the crime is easy to solve. I don’t know if Lemire is trying to set this up as a mini-series or an ongoing (as the book introduces that nemesis and ends on a quasi-cliffhanger), but I hope other writers don’t do that. Tell the story in 32 pages, move on. It can’t be that hard!

Cully Hamner’s art is always nice to see, though. He and Jason Pearson have been hanging out, apparently, but that’s not a bad thing. I’m not sure what Donovan does on this book – he and Hamner are both listed as “artists,” and Hamner is no help on his blog – but the art is consistent, so either Donovan is inking or he’s trying to look like Hamner. Anyway, it’s nice art. The story doesn’t quite match it, but that’s the way it is occasionally!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Rules are for losers, man!

Near Death #10 by Jay Faerber (writer), Ed Brisson (writer/letterer, “The Stack”), Simone Guglielmini (artist), Jason Copland (artist, “The Stack”), Ron Riley (colorist), Paul Little (colorist, “The Stack”), and Charles Pritchett (letterer). $2.99, 26 pgs, FC, Image.

Poor Markham. Last issue Faerber had him face off with a dude, both their guns drawn, a few feet apart. In this issue … Markham faces off with the same dude, both their guns drawn, a few feet apart. Man, Markham can’t catch a break, can he? As next issue is the end of this 3-issue “arc,” I surely hope that Faerber doesn’t have Markham and the dude face off for a third time!

As it’s the middle of the story, Faerber just moves his guys around the board a bit. Markham carries Knox to the hospital after the events of last issue, and then he visits his friend from the first arc – you know, the one who blew up. Knox, meanwhile, wakes up and decides to continue to his rampage against Markham’s former employer, and that’s where they both end up – with Knox having killed an innocent person in his quest and Markham realizing how hard his new path will be. It’s an exciting issue, but as it’s the middle of the story, it doesn’t really resolve anything. I did like that Faerber acknowledges that brain damage can manifest in different ways – we might scoff at Knox getting up out of his hospital bed so quickly, but Faerber lets us know that the damage could be in other areas rather than the physical – Knox’s personality has been altered by the injuries, which is perfectly plausible. I do hope Knox doesn’t get a quick fix next issue (given the end of this issue, I’m not even sure if Knox will be around next issue), but at least Faerber knows enough about brain injuries to make this issue conceivable.

Brisson and Copland’s latest “Murder Book” story isn’t as good as last issue’s – we’re back to the bleakness that characterizes most of the stories – but this is noteworthy because it gives us the end of a story that we’ll never see and the aftermath of something going horribly wrong for one of the characters. We’ve seen this kind of scene a lot in fiction, but it’s fascinating to see it with no context whatsoever.

So it’s another solid issue of Near Death. I’ll be keen to see how Faerber gets his two characters out of the situation they’re in at the end of this issue. Should be fun!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Jason Blood is right, stupid FBI guys!

Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose #75 (“The Dark Spiral Part One: The Abandoned Witch Village”) by Jim Balent (writer/artist), Holly Golightly (colorist/letterer), and Randi LeeAnn (color flatter). $2.95, 22 pgs, FC, BroadSword Comics.

Yes, it’s the seventy-fifth issue of Jim Balent’s magnum opus, and I figured I would pick it up, because it’s been a bit over 4 years since issue #50, and I can check in on “anniversary” issues, right? I ripped issue #50 quite a bit, but I’m not going to do that here. I wondered if Balent has gotten any better, but he hasn’t. The writing is just as lousy as it was 4 years ago, and Balent’s art looks exactly the same. This is a perfect case of a creator finding an audience that doesn’t want him to change in the least and the creator acquiescing to their wishes. Balent doesn’t care what I think of Tarot, because I’m not a regular reader. Apparently he has a nice life making Tarot, so why should he ever change? Unlike a certain other creator getting high-profile gigs at DC, however, Balent has some talent. So even though he never changes in any way, his comics still look better than that other guy’s. They’re as poorly written, but they do look better!

That doesn’t mean I’m not going to tell you what’s going on in this book. So Tarot has found out that the faeries want to kidnap her and take her to their king and queen. She doesn’t know why, so she deliberately walks into a trap so the faeries can, um, kidnap her and take her to their king and queen. The trap is sprung by a naked purple faery (see below) who once knew our heroine even though Tarot herself doesn’t remember her. And then they fight. Oh, sweet fancy Moses, do they ever. There are 22 pages in this comic. On 17 of them, we see the naked purple faery in all her glory. On 2 of them, Tarot is completely naked. There are 8 panels featuring close-ups of labia. Yes, labia. The faery runs from Tarot and claims that if she catches her, she’ll tell our heroine everything. When Tarot doesn’t catch her, the faery punishes her … by spanking her bare ass and then, when that is insufficient, hitting her bare ass with a switch. No, I’m not making that up. 5 pages of this comic are devoted to the faery spanking/whipping Tarot’s ass. Just ponder that for a moment. Golightly actually colors Tarot’s ass pink for most of the comic, and Balent lovingly draws lines of blood across her ass after she gets hit by the branch. Because I am weird, the most egregious thing in the book might be the panel below. The faery is flipping backward after she lands on Tarot’s back and knocks her down. Does that look like a woman doing a backflip? I don’t know from where Balent pulled that image, but it’s obviously an image of a model lying down on a bed or couch that he traced in. Balent has never been as blatant about this as people like Greg Land, but it’s ridiculous in this panel.

Anyway, the absolute worst thing about this issue is that nothing happens. Like I did with issue #50, I gave this to my wife, and she had the same complaint: nothing happens. Tarot walks into a village to find out why the faery king and queen want to see her, and at the end of the book, she is still no closer to finding out because Balent was too interested in turning the middle of the book into a weird sadomasochist thing. And don’t even get me started on the O-face Balent draws on Tarot when she pulls a knife out of her shoulder. Weird territory, indeed.

So it’s a terrible comic book. That’s not surprising. My lovely wife also had some observations: No woman, she claims, would want to have a piece of material jammed up between her labia like Tarot has, because it would be too painful. She said a thong is one thing, but this is ridiculous. She obviously doesn’t realize that one of Tarot’s witchy powers is the power to not feel a piece of material jammed between her labia. Then, at one point, Tarot mentions her “armor.” Given her outfit, that made my wife chuckle. Her last bit of criticism cracked me up: “What’s with all the twat shots?” What’s with all the twat shots, indeed.

Comics Should Be Good! The only site on the comics blogaxy where you will find the word “labia” written 5 times, including that last one. WE GO WHERE NO BLOG DARES TO GO!!!!!

Rating: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ (I’m feeling generous)

One totally Airwolf panel:

Words fail me

Things That Zeus Threw #178 (“Executioner’s Song”) by Jeff Parker (writer), Kev Walker (artist), Declan Shalvey (artist), Frank Martin Jr. (colorist), and Joe Caramagna (letterer). $2.99, 20 pgs, FC, Marvel.

This is Shalvey’s last issue on Vengeance-Seekers Noir, which is too bad (that’s according to him; according to the solicits, he does some of next issue too). Of the three Marvel books I still read in single issues, all of which double-ship (the bane of the 21st-century Teens!!!!), this comic has had the most consistent art team, with Walker and Shalvey doing a nice job keeping up. They both have good styles that are similar enough to fit in the book but different enough to be interesting. Neil Edwards is coming on for a three-issue arc, which doesn’t bother me or thrill me, but if he’s coming on, I hope he and Walker will be the only artists going forward. I loathe Marvel’s double-shipping policy, but it seems to really affect something like X-Factor, which goes through like I go through underwear (I wear the same pair for two weeks and then throw it away – isn’t that standard?).

Anyway, this is a typically good issue of the comic, with Parker dropping some humor on us (the funniest line in the book is Boomerang’s when the tower is destroyed), the action ramping up, and both teams facing seemingly horrendous odds. The time-tossed T-Bolts are now trapped 78 years in the future (man, things got shitty really quickly!), where they meet the “local law enforcement,” who looks both suspiciously like a 2000AD character AND a person near and dear to the T-Bolts’ hearts. Meanwhile, the Dunkel Avengers fight that dude in the desert while still having an escape plan up their sleeves – yeah, no one saw that coming. Parker continues to have a blast with this book, and it shows on every page. One of the commenters from last week (Rusty Priske) mentioned that last issue made him drop the book. I don’t know why that particular issue made him drop it, because Parker’s run has been pretty consistent – if you didn’t like it a year or two ago, it hasn’t changed all that much. Rusty said last issue was “AMAZINGLY awful” (the caps are his). That’s perfectly fine to think so, but I’m curious as to what was so different about last issue. The book has been at this level of quality (whichever level you think that is) for some time, and this issue is more of the same (and I mean that in the best way possible). Either way, if you want to see bad guys fight monsters and other, less bad guys fight a Judge Dredd knockoff, this comic is for you!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Listen to Troll!

Wild Children by Ales Kot (writer), Riley Rossmo (artist), Gregory Wright (colorist), and Clayton Cowles (letterer). $7.99, 58 pgs, FC, Image.

I pre-ordered Wild Children, but both my retailer and I forgot about that fact when it came out a few weeks ago, so I didn’t get it until this week. Such is the way the world works – I got Batman, Inc. early, and this late!

This is a pretty lousy comic book, but it’s lousy in a unique way, so I can understand some of the positive reviews I’ve seen of it (I don’t like to read others’ reviews before I read my books, but because I forgot I was going to get this and I didn’t get it for two weeks, I read some thoughts about it). Ales Kot thought he had a clever idea – teenagers know they’re in a comic book and take over a school to prove it – but it’s not all that clever, and he doesn’t do much with it anyway. The teenagers at Überland High School (that’s an indication of how clever this comic thinks it is) take their teachers hostage and begin talking. Oh, how they talk. It’s all bullshit, but I guess it’s okay because they’re teenagers, and teenagers can say stupid shit and nobody cares. They claim there are no bullets in their guns, then they shoot a teacher and drag his body away. But is he dead? They prove they’re in a comic by getting rid of the coloring of one of the teachers, which freaks her out. They dose everyone’s water with LSD so they can see outside themselves. They say stuff like “The existence of a lie is a lie. It’s a meme we’ve fed ourselves because it helped us grow. Viruses are higher versions of proteins … Our generation’s too old to have any use for lies” and “Our world is haunted by itself. It’s constantly pregnant with its own overthrowing.” If you think those sentences are fascinating, you’ll probably like Wild Children. I don’t, so I didn’t. Simple as that.

I’d say that Rossmo is phoning this in on art, because his art on Debris is so much better, but I wonder if he’s phoning it in on purpose, to show how bland the kids’ world actually is. There are a few panels that are quite nice, so it’s not like Rossmo couldn’t have done more with the majority of the book that is so bland, which again makes me wonder if he did it deliberately. He could have also done it so Wright’s absolutely stunning colors stand out more. Wright’s colors are by far the best thing about this book – as you can see below, he goes a bit nuts when the teachers are tripping, giving us more than one panel similar to the one below. When the book goes a bit psychedelic, it looks a lot better, due mainly to Wright’s colors (Rossmo’s line work is still, unfortunately, pretty bland). He smears colors across the page, turning the book into a bizarre work of art more than a trite manifesto. The way he “uncolors” the teacher is far more chilling than it should be, and he even gives the authorities a cool blue color palette to contrast with the redder shades of the latter half of the book. Wright’s a good colorist, and this book has merit almost solely because of his contribution.

But hey, smarter people than your humble blogger seem to like this. Don’t take my word for it. Read this guy, for instance (holy crap, that guy can spout stuff). USA Today liked it. So there you go. I’m certainly not too bright, so perhaps those other people can convince you I’m wrong! (One of the funniest things I’ve read about this comic is that people who don’t want to be challenged in their comics won’t like it. That’s the classic Grant Morrison defense – “If you didn’t like it, you just don’t get it!” I love that defense, because it automatically invalidates an opinion like mine: I didn’t like it, so of course I’m stupid and don’t like challenging comics. It has nothing to do with the fact that it might, just might, suck.)

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Freeeeeeaaaaaaakyyyyyyy!

20th Century Boys volume 21 by Naoki Urasawa (writer/artist). $12.99, 207 pgs, BW, Viz Signature.

I guess this ends with volume 24, right? I’m looking forward to sitting down and reading the whole thing again. It’s a good comic.

Daredevil volume 1 by Mark Waid (writer), Paolo Rivera (artist), Joe Rivera (inker), Marcos Martin (artist), Javier Rodriguez (colorist), Muntsa Vicente (colorist), and Joe Caramagna (letterer). $15.99, 131 pgs, FC, Marvel.

All right, you people, this better be as good as you say it is! It looks tremendous, and that first issue was pretty darned good, so I’m jazzed about the rest of it!

Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer: Of Wood and Blood Part 1 by Van Jensen (writer) and Dusty Higgins (artist). $10.95, 130 pgs, BW, SLG.

I get that volume 3 of this epic was long, but I wonder why SLG couldn’t just release the entire thing in one package? The second half of volume 3 has already been solicited, after all, so it’s not like Jensen and Higgins were pressed for time. Oh well.

Resistance Book 3: Victory by Carla Jablonski (writer), Leland Purvis (artist), and Hilary Sycamore (colorist). $17.99, 124 pgs, FC, First Second Books.

Trilogies are the way to go, apparently, and this has been a good one so far. This time around: Nazis go home!

The Underwater Welder by Jeff Lemire (writer/artist). $19.95, 220 pgs, BW, Top Shelf.

I thought this was a hardcover, but it ain’t. That’s fine with me if it keeps the costs down, but I just thought I’d mention it. Anyway, if this isn’t 200 pages of some dude welding underwater, I’m going to demand my money back. I DEMAND WELDING!!!!

**********

I got nothing else to rant about this week. Shit happened. Blech.

Let’s peruse the The Ten Most Recent Songs On My iPod (Which Is Always On Shuffle):

1. “Alone Again In The Lap Of Luxury”Marillion (1994) “I don’t remember the last time I cried, I don’t remember much except lies”
2. “Nice To Know You”Incubus (2001) “Deeper than the deepest Cousteau would ever go and higher than the heights of what we often think we know”
3. “Bad Attitude Shuffle” – Cinderella (1994) “‘Cause when nobody worries for you, you got to worry for yourself”
4. “Sun King”The Cult (1989) “I’m a regal man, I’ll do what I can, to take you off to the promised land”
5. “King Kong Song”ABBA (1974) “Now we can make the jungle out of any old place, we can make gorillas out of people”
6. “Warm Wet Circles” – Marillion (1987) “Sharing cigarettes with experience with her giggling jealous confidantes, she faithfully traces his name with quick bitten fingernails”
7. “Gone”Pearl Jam (2006) “For the lights of this city – they only look good when I’m speeding”
8. “I Know What I’m Here For”James (1999) “You can have whatever you want but are you disciplined enough to be free”
9. “Right Now”Van Halen (1991) “Miss the beat, you lose the rhythm, and nothing falls into place”
10. “Alone”Heart (1987) “My love for you is still unknown”1

1 Damn straight I have this on my iPod. Sing it with me! I mean, come on – the piano explodes. THE PIANO EXPLODES!!!!! And Nancy rides a horse for no discernible reason!!!!! Man, the Eighties rocked.

I keep forgetting to put up some Totally Random Lyrics, and here they are!

“See, what do you expect when you rhyme like a soft punk
You walk down the street and get jumped
You got to have style, and learn to be original
And everybody’s gonna wanna diss you
Like me, we stood up for the south Bronx
And every sucka MC had a response
You think we care? I know that they are on the tip
My posse from the Bronx is thick
And we’re real live, we walk correctly
A lot of suckas would like to forget me”

Simple, right? Finally, since I posted a picture of my older daughter last week, here’s a photo of my younger daughter. Just because I can, suckers!

She's ready for her close-up!

Have a great weekend, everyone. Enjoy the heat!

34 Comments

Shooting cats out your car window?!? Who do you think you are, Arsenal?

because I’m new to this column: Totally Airwolf?? Nfsw panel???

joshschr: I forgot about that. Well played, sir.

allen: “Airwolf” is being used as an adjective meaning “better than awesome.” A comedian named Ernie Cline did a bit on it years ago, and then comics blogger Dave Campbell picked it up for his blog Dave’s Long Box. I’m just continuing the tradition!

And I assume you want to know what “NSFW” means. It means “Not Safe For Work.” The boobies might not go over well with some people!

good God, I love Debris’ artwork. Especially the colours. It’s art I can almost taste….if that makes any sense, which it probably doesn’t.

Really would consider picking it up if my pull-list was not already approaching critical mass.

Personal favorite piano exploding video is Faith No More’s Epic. Also contains 100% more flopping fish. Almost better was FNM’s SNL apearance, where the lead singer climed all over the musical artist set.

“What’s with all the twat shots?”? You did explain the premise of Tarot to your wife before handing her the book, right?

As an aside Greg, what are your feelings about Kurtis Wiebe’s work more generally? Green Wake, Peter Panzerfaust, Grim Leaper, etc? Is he a guy to keep an out for?

Alex: That’s not a bad description, actually. And you can always get the trade!

As for Wiebe … I’m kind of on the fence with him. Green Wake was quite good, but I don’t have much interest in Peter Panzerfaust and Grim Leaper, although the latter seems a bit better, so I might get it in trade. I also wasn’t a huge fan of The Intrepids. He’s certainly not a bad writer, but he’s not someone who I’ll definitely buy no matter what. He might get that way, but he’s not quite there yet.

C.W.: Sure. She read issue #50, after all. I’ve only read a few issues, but it does seem there were more “twat shots” in this issue than the others I’ve read. I just liked the rhyme of the phrase!

And that Faith No More video is far better. But it’s still fun to see an exploding piano!

20th Century Boys is 22 volumes long according to wikipedia. You may be thinking of the short 2 volume sequel 21st Century Boys (which Viz will be publishing according to Anime News Network) by saying it’s 24 volumes long.

Thanks, Joe. I saw something about the 24 volumes, so maybe that was it.

Wait, wait… Kid Eternity is now basically just Tru Calling, except he’s a dude? That’s a downgrade from both the old Kid E and from Tru.

Every retailer got that issue of Batman Inc. DC just politely requested that you hold off on selling it for a month just cause ya know guns and whatever. It’s still at the discretion of the retailer to sell it or not, and I think it’s kinda rude to sell it anyway when you’ve been requested not to.
This just means that you have to wait two months for the next issue of Batman Inc. while the rest of us wait a month for this one.

D

Oh that’s interesting. I was wondering how Viz was going to publish 20th Century Boys, since the original series ended climactically in volume 22, but left a ton of loose threads. It was followed by a sort of epilogue book, 21st Century Boys, which was two volumes long. Making 20th Century Boys 24 volumes long for American readers really does seem like a more sensible choice. I just got volumes 20 and 21 this week and am currently rereading the whole series.

And of course I didn’t see Joe H’s comment essentially covering the same ground as me …. :/

D: Well, according to that Robot 6 link, it seemed to imply that DC wasn’t going to “release” it, meaning they weren’t going to send it out to retailers. I don’t know if they made this decision after some of them already shipped and that’s why some retailers have it, and I also don’t know if my retailer got or read an e-mail (I’ll have to ask him; he wasn’t in the store when I bought my books). I don’t really think it’s rude – it’s kind of silly to think that retailers who actually have the book are going to sit on it for a month when the reason for not selling it is so stupid – but that’s a matter of opinion. I just didn’t think that every single issue went out and some retailers were actually complying with DC’s request. It didn’t sound that way to me.

I’m used to waiting months for Morrison’s comics, though, so no big deal.

Seth: Yeah, 21st Century Boys is in the latest edition of Previews. So, very cool.

It was already in transit by the time the shooting had happened, so all they could do was ask retailers not to put it out.

Tom Fitzpatrick

July 26, 2012 at 5:56 pm

Mr. Burgas: I just bought MP # 1-5 based on your recommendations (or reviews).
It had better be damn good, or else I’m gonna come over and bitch-slap you silly! ;-)

Honestly, my view, re: D, about the Batman Inc. issue is that it’s not so rude of retailers to stock it despite DC’s last minute request so much as the fact that it’s rude for DC to expect the to comply with the mandate regardless of their own personal beliefs.

The books were shipped, the retailers ordered three months ago expecting to get it on racks today, and now DC has issued a mandate 48 hours before that release that retailers should comply with, with absolutely no say on the matter. With the books already ordered, delivered, and received, it should be up to the retailer by that point. DC cannot reasonably expect a retailer to say “no” to money based on subjective issues of “sensitivity” that that retailer may not even share. Batman Inc is one of the highest selling books at my LCS. Now he’s supposed to keep those books in the back and wait a month (or whenever DC reschedules release) and give up that cash he would’ve made this week just because DC decided to get sensitive?

And while we’re at it, if DC is really going to put forth an argument, instead of an irrational dictat, how about we get a statement as to WHAT exactly was objectionable in the issue and WHY? A Batman comic with a gun (not even fired!) in it? Shocking! And clearly FAR too close to comfort to the Aurora massacre. The similarities are jaw-dropping!

Given how questionable the link is between the book and the shooting, it’s only all the more ridiculous that the retailers get no discretion in the matter.

I read Wild Children on a beautiful summer evening at waterfront park near downtown Seattle. The sky was bright, the air was crisp, the waves were stunning, and everything felt alive.

It didn’t matter that Wild Children was terrible (and it was definitely terrible). The environment in which I read it was terrific, so my lasting memory of the book will be a fond one.

(But boy what a boring, cliched piece of garbage.)

buttler is right, at least with Tru Calling we had Eliza Dushku to look at.

Regarding the delay in Batman Inc #3 – I buy through an online store and they normally take a month or longer to get them delivered. Yet they are still waiting the ‘month’ DC asked. It would of been nice if they just sent them out – as we’d end up getting it ‘on time’ (which is a month late). Instead of delaying it (so its 2 months late!!)

Since you asked…

…I liked Thunderbolts. It wasn’t one of my favourites, but I liked it. I really didn’t like Shalvey’s art, but he seemed to be getting better. I liked Walker’s work and I liked Parker’s.

Then came Dark Avengers. Toss a bunch of characters in the mix who I dislike at best. (In the case of Ragnarok, I actively loathe.) When they switched over I was ready to drop it right then. Then it seemed like they were going to alternate issues and I considered the possibility of doing the same, but last issue showed that not to be the case. I decided there was no way I wanted to keep paying for a comic that I liked half of at best. (What is WITH those Dark Avengers characters? When Bendis created them he seemed to miss what made the first iteration of the DA popular: established villains that the readers were familiar with taking on the identities of heroes. This time he took supporting character villains who had appeared in one miniseries and turned them into new characters without anyone getting a chance to care about thier old identities. So far they have shown zero personality… except for Barney, who has shown a bit.)

I said (and meant) in my review that I will be back if the book goes back to being a Thunderbolts book.

re: manhattan projects… as i’m sure you know, the red/blue color scheme has been a part of every issue so far, each time highlighting some specific contrast in the issue (evil twin/good twin, different versions of the same character from different universes, etc.). changing the colors now might be a bad idea…?

DG: That’s funny. I’m glad it will be a pleasant memory for you!

Rusty: Oh, that makes sense. If you had dropped it when it changed names, that’s one thing, so I’m glad you stopped by to explain. I certainly understand that point of view, because we all have characters we hate. If Parker had added Gambit, I wouldn’t know what to do!

Dave C: Yeah, I should have been clearer with that. I didn’t want to go back, find the even older issues, and check what the red and blue was being used for. Oppenheimer’s color scheme has changed a little, so I couldn’t remember exactly if the color scheme was used for his deal. My bad. Thanks for reminding me!

Jerry Lee Lewis was exploding pianos before exploding pianos was cool.

I picked up Batman Inc #3 and I have to question Burgas’ review, just one little section:

” we get G-Mozz’s tribute to Garth Ennis’ Section Eight (it’s true!)”

Sure its not El Gaucho in disguise? While I appreciate you mention of a nod to the much lamented Hitman, but that’s got to be El Gaucho, flanked by Batwing and another Batman Inc team member in the hoodie.

Just because he says “Excellente” and chuckles doesn’t mean that’s who its supposed to be…..

Then again, this is the DCnU, where everything is raptastic and murder boners.

Travis Pelkie

July 27, 2012 at 8:07 am

Well, bleeding cool is saying it’s a Hitman ref, and Rich is always right….

Hey, Chad said we should buy Wild Children! I think he was trying to trick me! As I tend to agree with your reviews more than his, I think I might not go for that. Or wait til I can get it cheap.

Wiebe has me on the fence too. I think it’s because the premises promise much more than the actual books deliver — Intrepids 1 was good, but not as fuggin’ great as the cover promised. PP sounded interesting, but #1 was kinda dull. Grim Leaper has another interesting premise, but I’ve read the first 2 issues, and there’s not enough meat there. Plus, the opening sequence was confusing, and the back up stories just suddenly happen without much warning. Damn that Sonia for designing the logo and getting me interested in it!

I’m hoping my retailer has Batman Inc 3 in my pull box. Or that it’s at another store, although it’d be silly to buy it elsewhere when I’m already behind on reading….

What really surprised me about Rob Liefeld’s NuDC stint is that it lasted this long.

What really surprised me about Rob Liefeld’s NuDC stint is that it lasted this long.

Why? I could understand if his stint was happening at a company that was well-run with a good creative direction and a commitment to quality, but he’s at NuDC, where his level of quality is the norm. I’m more surprised the talented people have lasted this long over there, not the Liefelds.

Although with Grant Morrison leaving, it seems like they lost like 1/4 or 1/3 of their good writers right there.

DubipR: Oh, I know it’s El Gaucho, but I can’t believe that Morrison wasn’t alluding to Bueno with that panel. Maybe he was, but the leer, the tongue, the chuckle – it just seems too close to be coincidence.

…what’s with the ‘conventional’ hyperlink in the DEBRIS write-up?

Does Kid Eternity also bake pies in his spare time?

dnwilliams: That’s this week’s totally random hottie!

Bill: I’d read that comic!

“Oh, I know it’s El Gaucho, but I can’t believe that Morrison wasn’t alluding to Bueno with that panel. Maybe he was, but the leer, the tongue, the chuckle – it just seems too close to be coincidence.”

Apparently you aren’t the only one:
http://www.bleedingcool.com/2012/07/26/batman-incorporated-3-to-reboot-bueno-excellente/

Tom Fitzpatrick

July 27, 2012 at 3:01 pm

Does anyone know if Morrison’s gonna finish SeaGuy 3 before he leaves?

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