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CSBG Archive

What I bought – 17 October 2012

Aliye’s death, and its echoes, had been stilled by the greater horror of this mother’s death, which burned inside him like a smothered coal in the silence there. But Aliye had started dying from the moment his mother told him that they were not to marry, in spite of the bey’s gracious visit, in spite of the fine carpet, in spite of the words he has whispered to Aliye and which he had thought were true words. He knew then how it must end for her, though his mother said it would be otherwise. He wished that there were one fixed thing in the world that would never change, or disappoint him, or leave him, but he did not know what that might be, unless it was the idea of God, which was a certitude without delight or consolation. (Starling Lawrence, from Montenegro)

Insects are icky! I've always suspected! More bad-ass than Glory herself? Even more joy! Kate Bishop FTW! John ain't care! It's back! He doesn't look happy! What the heck is Hyde doing? Kill the alien!!!! Nobody likes Jamie's stand-up comedy! It's even crazier inside! Stephanie Hans is pretty darned good Don't look at me! It's too big, captain! One more time!

Batwoman #13 (“World’s Finest Part 2: Stygian Descent”) by J. H. Williams III (writer/artist), W. Haden Blackman (writer), Dave Stewart (colorist), and Todd Klein (letterer). $2.99, 20 pgs, FC, DC.

After Williams and Blackman got distracted by the zero issue, we’re back on track with Kate and Wonder Woman tracking down the bad guys. Which means we’re back to Williams doing a lot of cool things with the artwork (two-page spreads of Kate and Diana walking through a maze, for instance) and at least telling an interesting story, unlike the one in issue #0. It’s such a wonderful book to look at, and it’s nice that even though the writing isn’t great, it’s in the service of a story that Williams and Blackman like telling, so it feels more interesting. Williams and Blackman are much better with the dialogue, which works perfectly well, than the internal monologues of the characters, which can be a bit overwrought. We know that Kate is in awe of Wonder Woman, and we know that Wonder Woman admires Kate, and we know that Kate’s dad is in turmoil over what happened to Kate and what he’s doing to Bette, and we know that Bette doesn’t feel as good as Kate, so why do we need to waste time reading about it? Beats me. Still, the art is beautiful, and even though this story is really, really long, it’s still interesting, so I can forgive the somewhat bland writing. Isn’t that nice of me?

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

It's almost unfair to other artists!

Chew #29 (“Space Cakes Part 4 of 5″) by John Layman (writer/letterer), Rob Guillory (artist/colorist), and Taylor Wells (color assistant). $2.99, 20 pgs, FC, Image.

A while ago, I saw the two-page spread in the middle of this issue of Chew, and it was amazing. It’s one of those things that adds nothing to the overall plot of the book, but is perfect in the context of the Chew universe, and shows once again how much fun Layman and Guillory are having with this book. I can imagine Guillory getting the pages from Layman and thinking, “Hell, yeah!” I mean, I imagine he does that with almost every page of this comic, but especially with those two!

Meanwhile, John, Toni, and Cesar are on another case, and as usual, each case adds a nice layer of story-building to the overall epic while still being a fun story on its own. The “vampire” is back, and he’s mixed up in another food-based case, but Layman adds some other things, too: Cesar continues to try to figure out from where he knows Toni (Layman goes for an obvious joke in this section, but it’s still funny, so there’s that), Cesar almost slips up when he mentions Savoy, and Toni sees a vision of the future that freaks her right out. Plus, Guillory gets to draw that double-page spread and add his usual fun advertising in the background. And Layman gets to use the word “sedulity.” That’s always fun!

Next issue is the halfway point of the series, and it will be interesting to see if Layman will manage to get Tony up and around again (he appears briefly in this issue, and looks like he’s almost recovered). As always, Chew is a wonderful comic. Why aren’t you reading it?

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Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ (I would have given it 8 stars, but that two-page spread upped it another half-star!)

One totally Airwolf panel:

Trust me - it's funny!

Glory #29 (“Bloodshadow Part One: In Revolt”) by Joe Keatinge (writer), Ross Campbell (artist), Owen Gieni (colorist) Charis Solis (colorist), and Douglas E. Sherwood (letterer). $3.99, 20 pgs, FC, Image.

Glory is back and as bad-ass as ever, as Keatinge and Campbell don’t miss a beat in bringing us the continuing story of Glory’s quest to kill a lot of monsters. Or something. Anyway, in this issue Keatinge gives us some backstory about Glory’s sister, Nanaja, who’s as bad-ass as Glory, but without the soft side. Oh dear. After the craziness of the previous few issues, Keatinge calms things down a bit to give us useful information, presumably before the blood starts spurting again. Campbell’s art looks a bit smoother than the previous issues, and I wonder if the coloring has something to do with that. Gieni colored some of the earlier issues, but now he and Solis are doing it exclusively, so I wonder if they have a different process that the previous colorists, Hamilton and Bergin. It’s still wonderful art, but it does look a bit softer. Campbell only shows up here to listen to Kelly’s podcast, which makes me sad, but maybe he’ll see this and have an answer ready!

I was struck by the weird puritanical attitude of this comic. Image presumably doesn’t censor much in their books, and so I guess the censoring is up to the individual creators. Therefore we get weird foci for censorship – some creators don’t like nudity, some don’t like ultra-violence, some don’t like cursing. In previous issues of Glory, we’ve seen that the creators have no problem with violence, and in this very issue of the comic, we see a nude Glory (only her breasts, of course, but still). Yet the cursing is blacked out, with that black-out effect that we’ll call the “Frank Miller Swearing Effect” because the black doesn’t mean we can’t read the words underneath it. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: If you’re not going to let the curse words appear in all their glory, find a different word to use. Nanaja is an alien, after all – make up a curse word for her to say! It’s really stupid, especially because it robs anything the characters (in this issue’s case, Nanaja) say of any impact. When Nanaja arrives on Earth, she says “Lets [sic] fuck shit up.” We know what’s she’s saying, but the black bars over her words make us chuckle instead of thinking, “Holy shit, this chick means business!” If Keatinge had some kind of stance against bad words and simply used grawlix, maybe I could forgive it, but he actually wrote the words (and Sherwood lettered them into the comic), and then put the black bars over it. It makes no sense. As with any attempt to use foul language and then call attention to it by obscuring it, this makes the book look like it was created by 14-year-old boys who are trying to get away with something and hope their parents don’t notice. I’ve met both Keatinge and Campbell, and neither of them is a 14-year-old boy.

Glory is a very good comic, one of the better ones out there right now. Why the creators are being coy on the page is beyond me. Sigh.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Why so mad?

Godzilla: The Half-Century War #3 (of 5) by James Stokoe (writer/artist) and Heather Breckel (color assistant). $3.99, 22 pgs, FC, IDW.

In one two-page spread in this comic, we get to see Rodan, Battra, Kumonga, Megalon, Godzill, Mothra, Ebirah, and Hedorah battling each other in the destroyed streets of Accra, Ghana, in 1975. Then, later, we get a double-page spread of a VW van driving through the streets while Godzilla tries to blast it with his radioactive breath as Rodan smashes into a building, Mothra swoops down toward Godzilla, and Kumonga battles Megalon. Oh, and then the van smashes right through Hedorah (see below).

I don’t know why you’re still sitting there and not running out and buying this comic, I really don’t.

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Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

That's the best use for a VW van!

Hawkeye #3 (“Cherry”) by Matt Fraction (writer), David Aja (artist), Matt Hollingsworth (colorist), and Chris Eliopoulos (letterer). $2.99, 20 pgs, FC, Marvel.

I try very hard to avoid reading reviews of books I read before I can review them, because I want to have my own thoughts about a book, and if I read other reviews, not only might I be influenced by them, I might accidentally steal some of their phrasing, and I really don’t want to do that. This is especially true when I like a comic and someone else doesn’t, especially if they’re someone like Abhay or Tucker Stone, who, when they don’t like something, they consider it an affront to humanity that someone actually published the thing in question and that some other people might actually enjoy it. But I happened to check out Every Day Is Like Wednesday before I wrote about this issue, and Caleb made a brilliant point about Hawkeye that I’ve been trying to articulate, so I’m going to quote him:

That is, Hawkeye is a comic book about nothing more than being an awesome comic book; the incredible talent, skill and craft that went into its creation apparently being the point of the endeavor, while the content is otherwise simply bad action movie plot devices.

That’s so true I’m pissed I didn’t think of it. I haven’t been in love with Hawkeye, and it’s been bugging me why I haven’t been, and Caleb gets to the heart of it. You look at the marvelous Aja art, not only in the actual pencil work but the way he lays out each page, and it’s astounding (plus, in this issue we get a serious contender for Best Panel of the Year – see below). Fraction’s writing isn’t as superb as it can be, but it’s often clever, and bringing Kate as a counter-point to Clint was a brilliant move, and their repartee is often wonderful. The plotting is quick and jumpy without being confusing. But the actual plots have been lousy, and Fraction can’t quite keep the book from silly action movie cliché as much as he wants. In a lot of ways, Hawkeye is like Paul Thomas Anderson or Wes Anderson or, I don’t know, Jim Jarmusch (if you want to get even weirder) directing something like Bad Boys. There’s a jarring disconnect between the level of skill involved in the making of the comic (especially but not exclusively with the art) and the banality of the plots. It’s keeping me from embracing this comic completely, and Caleb lays it out far more succinctly than I could. Thanks, Caleb!

I mean, Aja is wonderful, of course, and he really keeps up the energy in this book while still making everything clear and doing a nice job with some visual gags. Hollingsworth is going a tiny bit overboard with the purple, but not so much that it’s annoying, and Kate’s purple VW bug is adorable. And Fraction does some really nice work with the dialogue. But then there’s the stuff that’s not as good. The “tracksuit mafia” from issue #1 is back, which means that Fraction is probably going to have some kind of über-plot and we’ll find out why they were chasing the girl, but it also means that everyone gets to indulge their inner frat boy, Clint included. I honestly feel like everyone who meets Clint would want to punch him in the face five minutes after meeting him, and that’s kind of annoying. Plus, the tracksuit mafia are all driving Mini Coopers with numbers on the side? Really? How 1960s Batman. I know we’re supposed to find Clint charmingly adolescent – hey, look, he has impulse-control problems! – but it really seems like he’s an idiot at times. Finally, the cliché of clichés: the girl. I have never had much game, so this doesn’t apply to me, but I’d like all you dudes out there who actually have some game to think about this carefully. Have you ever walked up to a woman, told her you’ll buy her car because you’re “crazy-rich,” and then ask her to give you a ride to buy some tape, and then move right to the sex? I mean, maybe you have a great smile and that rogue-ish charm (I have neither), but has that ever happened to you? I’m sick of people falling into bed with each other on television, in movies, and in comics, so it’s not just this issue, but it’s really annoying. I’m just glad Fraction ran out of room in the issue before we found out that the woman was, in fact, evil. See? It’s little shit like that that keep me from loving this comic unequivocally, because it’s put together so well. But a lot of comics that are about being awesome and still find time to deliver something more interesting than a car chase, including several that came out this week. So, for now, I’ll keep buying Hawkeye, because it doesn’t suck. But I keep wondering if maybe Fraction could try a little harder.

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(Obviously, I could be an idiot. The lovely Ms. Thompson, for instance, loves this sucker. So there you have it!)

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Bravo, David Aja!

Hellblazer #296 (“The Curse of the Constantines Part Four: A Good Man”) by Peter Milligan (writer), Giuseppe Camuncoli (layouter), Stefano Landini (finisher), Brian Buccellato (colorist), and Sal Cipriano (letterer). $2.99, 20 pgs, FC, DC/Vertigo.

Meanwhile, over in Hellblazer-Land, Milligan has John violate the sanctity of the “Watchmen clause” – he actually has John sort-of say the name of the comic book in which he appears. If I had been drinking anything at the time, I would have done a spit-take. I mean, really, Mr. Milligan! That’s just not cricket!*

Plus, John does some stupid things in this comic. First, he doesn’t really investigate Finn too much, so he doesn’t really know that Finn might not be the evil Constantine he’s looking for. Of course, we’ve had some clues which John hasn’t seen, but still – due diligence, man! Second, it’s not quite Pop Culture Rule #1 in action, but John ignores Sia to his detriment, doesn’t he? Due diligence!!!! John’s never been all that good an investigator (it’s not his job, of course, but he ends up investigating quite a bit), but you’d think he’d get better at it eventually – he’s almost 60 years old and he’s been digging into the occult for well over half his life, so it’s not like it’s his first rodeo. It’s not even that he’s thinking with his dick, which is stupid but can be understandable. Luckily, the magnificent Epiphany isn’t stupid, and she pays more attention to shit that’s going on. I still fear for her life, but at least she’s not an idiot. Plus, she’s hilarious. Don’t kill Epiphany, Milligan!!!!

Still, for all of John’s stupidity, Hellblazer is still a fine comic publication. Will it last past issue #300? Only the DiDio knows for sure!

* I said something was “not cricket” recently, and my beautiful wife didn’t know what that meant. It’s strange, because she knows a lot of weird shit, but I guess she’d never come across that phrase before. I think I first heard/read it in a comic, which makes yet another reason why comics are awesome!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Why would you flirt with anyone when you can hang out with Epiphany?

Shinku #5 (“Throne of Blood Part 5″) by Ron Marz (writer), Lee Moder (penciller), Matthew Waite (inker), Michael Atiyeh (colorist), and Troy Peteri (letterer). $2.99, 23 pgs, FC, Image.

It’s too bad that Shinku has been delayed so long, because it’s really, really good, and I fear that people will have forgotten about it, if they were on board to begin with. The story of a Japanese vampire hunter and the American schmuck she rescues (because he might be able to build a vampire-killing virus) is exciting, intense, bloody, and beautifully drawn by Moder and Waite and beautifully colored by Atiyeh. Three issues came out last year, and issue #4 came out in … January. (Marz writes a column for CBR, and he says he’s going to explain the delay, but as of now, that column has yet to be written/posted.) Now the first arc ends, with Marz setting up another arc nicely – Shinku can’t kill the big bad guy, but she does slaughter a great number of his followers. As the end of an arc, Marz doesn’t care too much about character development – Shinku is there to kick ass and chew gum, and she’s all out of gum – but he does a nice job once again showing how out of his depth Davis is, because he just doesn’t know what to do with himself (he’s not completely useless, but he’s far less competent at the action than Shinku is, mainly because this is her thing). Moder continues to draw the living shit out of this book, and Atiyeh colors it beautifully, but I have to go back and look at the other issues, because it seems like the lines are a bit thinner and the colors a bit softer – I don’t know if I’m imagining it or if someone in the art department changed their style a bit. It doesn’t matter too much – the art is still wonderful – but it is … different, in some way.

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I really hope that Marz et al. are back on track with this comic. While I don’t love vampire comics just due to the fact that they’re vampire comics, I do like well done comics, and this is a well done comic that happens to center around vampires (and those who hunt them). Marz is certainly wearing some of his influences on his sleeve, but when you’re writing with such verve, that doesn’t matter as much. If you’ve been waiting patiently for the trade, I imagine it will be out soon. It would be nice to see this comic come out regularly!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

She's so bad-ass - all that dude did was screw up her coffee order!

The Sixth Gun #26 (“Winter Wolves Part Three”) by Cullen Bunn (writer), Brian Hurtt (artist), Bill Crabtree (colorist), and Douglas E. Sherwood (letterer). $3.99, 22 pgs, FC, Oni Press.

We’re into the middle of the story arc, so things are moving along nicely, as we learn a bit more about how Drake knows so much about the Wendigo and we check in on Gord, Kirby, and the mummy, who are running away from the Knights of Solomon and are trying to find our intrepid hero and heroine. As usual, Bunn tells the story in a straight-forward way that nevertheless allows room for shocks, as the last page shows, while Hurtt draws it all superbly. What can I say? It’s a great comic book.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Why, yes, that is a giant white stag with human heads pierced by its antlers, why do you ask?

What the heck is a thunderbolt, anyway? #182 (“Nothing Stops Justice!”) by Jeff Parker (writer), Neil Edwards (penciler), Terry Pallot (inker), Chris Sotomayor (colorist), and Joe Caramagna (letterer). $2.99, 21 pgs, FC, Marvel.

Parker wraps up his grand storyline with the future Thunderbolts managing to get back to the past, where everyone has a group hug. Yay! I guess the biggest thing about this arc is that Cain Marko is the Juggernaut again. Is Peter still the Juggernaut over in X-Men Land? Either way, the way Marko gets to be Juggernaut again is clever, certainly, and we had to know it was coming. Otherwise, this is basically superpowered humans wailing on each other, which isn’t a bad way to wrap things up. The end of this run hasn’t been as good as most of it, mainly because it feels like Parker bit off a tiny bit more than he could chew and because Edwards just isn’t as good as Kev Walker and Declan Shalvey, who have drawn a good deal of it. He has some really awkward posing in this issue that looks rather silly, and the big dramatic shot of Juggernaut doing his thing looks like Marko is roller skating instead of running. Little things like that are really bothersome, and it makes the book a little less enjoyable.

Parker is still going to write Dark Avengers in the Marvel NOW! Universe, and of course I will get the first issue (as is my mission), but I won’t be continuing along with it. Next issue his version of the Thunderbolts ends, and that will be the end of my involvement. I’m curious how he’s going to write the characters out of the book. Death by monkeys, perhaps?

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Take that, bee-yotch!

Womanthology: Space #2. “Чaйka” by Blair Butler (writer), Alicia Fernandez (artist), and Rachel Deering (letterer); “The Agency” by Joelle Sellner (writer), Jean Kang (artist), and Rachel Deering (letterer); “All Cats Are Quantum” by Ellise Heiskell (writer) and Maarta Laiho (artist); “How-To” by Devin Grayson (writer). $3.99, 20 pgs, FC, IDW.

I’m a bit torn about Womanthology, mainly because it’s a comic I want to like – it’s showcasing some newer talent, after all – but it’s not really that good. It’s not even that the stories are terrible, they’re just kind of there, and that’s not good enough. Issue #3 was just solicited, and I haven’t pre-ordered it yet, so maybe I’ll have to think about it. I get bummed out when books that go out of their way to feature creators who don’t get much press aren’t that good.

Take the first story. Blair Butler writes about the first woman in space, which is fine, but there doesn’t seem to be much point to it except that Valentina Tereshkova was the first woman in space. I mean, that’s great and all, but there’s not really a story there. Fernandez does a decent job with the art, but again, it’s nothing special. Sellner’s alien invasion story is perfectly fine, with Kang providing manga-esque artwork, but it’s missing some crucial information about what’s going on (not surprising, given that it’s only 6 pages long). Heiskell’s tale about why cats are so important is clever, and Laiho’s whimsical art fits nicely with it, but again, it’s tough to get everything that needs to be said in 6 pages. Short stories in American comics are a bit of a lost art (we need our own 2000AD, it seems), so it’s not surprising that these stories feel like they’re missing something, because the writers can’t quite fit everything they need to into such a short space. It’s disappointing.

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Oh well – I’ll think about getting the next issue. We shall see, won’t we?

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Well, duh

X-Factor #245 (“Breaking Points Day Five”) by Peter David (writer), Leonard Kirk (penciler), Jay Leisten (inker), Matt Milla (colorist), and Cory Petit (letterer). $2.99, 20 pgs, FC, Marvel.

As I’ve noted before, you might not like Peter David’s writing – that’s your prerogative – but the dude thinks about how characters would interact with each other, and he’s not afraid to write an issue full of conversation just to get some things out in the open. In Uncanny Avengers, we saw Havok joining the team sans Lorna, and no mention of her at all. Alex also had a new/classic costume, with no mention of what happened to the other one he was wearing. David already made fun of the “Tron”-like aspect of his costume, so in this issue, he ditches it, paving the way for the new/classic costume he wears in the MN!U. But what of Lorna? David doesn’t ignore their relationship, and he doesn’t callously break them up – he gives them both interesting things to say and they come to an understanding about where their lives are going. Characters in comics don’t compromise, get married, and go off together, so that’s not going to happen, but at least David understands that something needs to be done if Alex is going to mosey off to join the mash-up. They certainly might be broken up, but it’s not an angry break-up – they just both need to be alone for a while. David writes a nice, adult conversation between two people who care about each other but don’t know how to stop doing what they’re doing. Even Lorna, who comes off as slightly more mature than Alex, doesn’t seem to know what to do with herself.

David isn’t quitting the book (in fact, it appears he’s about to revisit a long-dangling plot thread from his run on The Incredible Hulk, if you can believe it), but this is a nice way to clear the decks a bit and move things forward. The cast was getting a bit unwieldy, and the way he wrote this arc, the missing characters can still drop in from time to time (and certainly David has plans for at least one of them, because David always has plans!). So X-Factor continues on its merry way, acknowledging the greater MN!U but not getting too bogged down in it. Refreshing!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

That's really all you need to know of any language!

The Zaucer of Zilk #1 (of 2) by Brendan McCarthy (story/artist/colorist), Al Ewing (story/scripter), Len O’Grady (colorist), and Ellie de Ville (letterer). $3.99, 30 pgs, FC, IDW.

Ewing and McCarthy’s oddball 2000AD story comes to IDW, and those of us on this side of the pond are awfully thankful – we often hear of these marvelous tales in Britain’s premier comics magazine and wonder if they’ll ever be available to us poor schlubs who live over here in the colonies, where we’re stuck reading The Ravagers. Have pity on us, Britishers!

It’s somewhat clever how Ewing begins this story – in a typical damp English town, with a typical damp English bloke – because we know that weird things are coming, and we think that the typical bloke will end up in as a stranger in a strange land. Ewing turns that on its head, however, when it turns out the bloke is actually the Zaucer of Zilk, a potentate in a bizarre world, who has been trapped in the gloomy world by a gloomy villain. Once he returns to Zilk, he returns to his indolent lifestyle once more, until the villain reappears and kidnaps one of the Zaucer’s admirers, and as he feels responsible, he decides to track her down. Throw into the mix his rivalry with his cousin, the Zultan of Zilk, the ruler of the place (it’s unclear what the Zaucer does except be a celebrity) and the thing pulling the Zultan’s strings, and things are getting difficult for the poor Zaucer!

It’s a weird story, of course, made weirder by McCarthy’s hallucinogenic artwork. McCarthy is one of the visionaries of the comic world, and any chance to check out his imaginative artwork is a treat, and it’s nice that he and Ewing give us a solid story to back it all up. It’s not too freaky, but it does complement the wild art quite well. McCarthy uses computer effects very well and wisely, so they work with his wonderful pencil work but don’t overwhelm it. The effects and the coloring make the Zaucer’s world even wilder, and Errol Raine’s world even danker and weirder – the effects highlight the fact that it’s not a real world, which doesn’t help the inhabitants or the prisoners, but helps heighten the artifice of the book. McCarthy’s artwork has always had a high degree of artifice, which isn’t a bad thing at all. It actually helps ground the more “solid” drawings in his work, because McCarthy’s line work is strong enough to offset the artificiality of it all (yes, I know it’s all artificial, but work with me!).

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So, yeah. This is a tremendous comic experience. There’s really no reason not to get this, unless you don’t like joy. I suppose you might be someone like that!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

I know what that 'wand' is, you old pervert!

Journey into Mystery volume 3: The Terrorism Myth by Kieron Gillen (writer), Mitch Breitweiser (artist), Richard Elson (artist), Bettie Breitweiser (colorist), Jessica Kholinne (colorist), Ifansyah Noor (colorist), and Clayton Cowles (letterer). $16.99, 107 pgs, FC, Marvel.

Huh. I never got volume 2. Off to Amazon!

The Infernal Man-Thing by Steve Gerber (writer), Gerry Conway (writer), Roy Thomas (writer), John Buscema (layouter), Klaus Janson (finisher), Kevin Nowlan (artist/colorist), Gray Morrow (artist), Glynis Wein (colorist), John Costanza (letterer), and Todd Klein (letterer). $14.99, 91 pgs, FC, Marvel.

This includes the original “Song-Cry … of the Living Dead Man!” which the Nowlan-drawn story is a sequel of, plus Man-Thing’s origin, gorgeously illustrated by Morrow. Nowlan’s art is something else, I’ll give you that. Nowlan doesn’t do a ton of work these days, and who knows when he actually drew this, but it’s different than his more mainstream stuff, yet still beautiful. This looks really odd, and I’m looking forward to reading it.

Orion and Edge of Chaos by Gray Morrow (writer/artist). $39.99, 144 pgs, FC, Hermes Press.

Speaking of Gray Morrow, this book is stunning, and I’m very much looking forward to checking it out. The biggest problem is the re-production – a note at the front points out that Hermes didn’t have access to the production art or the original art from Edge of Chaos, so they shot it from the printed comic books. This means it’s a bit fuzzy, unfortunately. Still, fuzzy Gray Morrow art is better than a lot of clear art, so there’s that! Plus, you’ll notice it didn’t fit on my scanner. It’s giant-sized!!!

Pinocchio: Vampire Slayer: Of Wood and Blood Part 2 by Van Jensen (writer) and Dusty Higgins (artist). $10.95, 151 pgs, BW, SLG.

Chris Sims is quoted on the back of this book. Whether that compels you to buy it or not is up to you! Actually, this “trilogy,” which ends with this book (the third volume needed to be split into two parts), is quite good. I’ll have to re-read the first two volumes now that it’s all complete!


Apropos of nothing, Roger linked to this post about how to be a good commenter. I don’t agree with everyone Scalzi writes, but it’s an interesting read. My sole rule about commenting is “Don’t be a dick.” If you don’t know how not to be a dick, you probably are one already. I have no problem arguing with people who disagree with me, but once you start being a dick, you’re just, you know, a dick.

Speaking of Internet etiquette, famed CBR contributor (it’s true!) Jefferson Robbins wrote a bit about the unmasking of the biggest troll on the Internet. I’m not sure if “troll” defines that guy (I always thought a troll was someone who goes to other web sites just to stir up shit, but this dude was a moderator on Reddit … a site I’ve still never visited), but I do find it humorous that someone who posts all this horrible stuff on the Internet and says he’s allowed to do it because of free speech (which I agree with) gets all bent out of shape because his anonymity is compromised and he might have to face the consequences of other people exercising their free speech by calling him an utterly horrible human being. You know how you don’t lose your job because you post awful shit on the Internet? Don’t fucking post awful shit on the Internet! This gets back to being a good commenter. I don’t have problems with people not using their real names around these parts – that’s their choice – but I like the fact that people use consistent user names. I wish people would do that instead of using “Anonymous,” because at least if, say, Third Man makes a comment, I’m fairly sure he’s the same guy who always posts under that name. Back when I started blogging, I was naïve enough to think I could use my real name with impunity. I haven’t regretted it at all, but I wonder if I would have a different opinion if I started today, when things seem even nastier than they did a decade ago. Anyway, I’m an open book. And I don’t worry about anyone outing me for posting horrible shit on the Internet, because I don’t do that!

Story continues below

The Internet, however, is still a wild and glorious place, thanks to the magic of Photoshop. Last week there was a very bizarre streaker on the field at Texas Tech, and a photographer got a great picture from a great angle. And the Internet rejoiced! Then, of course, we had the presidential debate, and no matter what you think of either candidate and who “won” (you can’t win debates, people, you can only win elections!), you have to admit that Romney’s “binders full of women” phrase was a bit odd. And the Internet rejoiced! With a tumblr, even!

I don’t mean to keep having a “hot women” section of the links, but the Internet keeps chucking them up there! So here’s a good reason to love Halloween, here’s a list of actresses from the 1990s who grew up nicely, and here’s a tumblr showing hot actresses. See? The Internet is good for something! (I’ve pointed this out before, but in that first link, you see Sara Jean Underwood, who was a Playmate of the Year a few years ago. I recall watching ESPN a few years ago and seeing a story about Derek Anderson back when he was actually playing well. Anderson and Underwood are both from Scappoose, Oregon, which is up the highway from Portland a bit – if you hit St. Helens, you’ve gone too far! I just find it fascinating that a Playmate of the Year and an NFL quarterback not only went to high school together (Anderson mentioned that he was a year ahead of Underwood, I think), but they went to high school in Scappoose, of all places!)

Hey, let’s check out The Ten Most Recent Songs On My iPod (Which Is Always On Shuffle):

1. “Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic” – Prince (1999) “All you need is a good walk and a brand new position, then we can spread the real soul, doin’ it like a mission”
2. “Sweet-Lovin’ Man”Magnetic Fields (1999) “When love falls from the sky, nobody ever asks why, you just take it or you leave it where it was”
3. “The Confessor”Joe Walsh (1985) “On the bottom words are shallow, on the surface talk is cheap; you can only judge the distance by the company you keep”
4. “How Much Fun” – Robert Palmer (1974) “You got me higher than I’ve been since I started, couldn’t want you more if I tried any harder”
5. “Welcome to Your Wedding Day”The Airborne Toxic Event (2011) “And you know it’s begun from the beat of the drum and the screams from the mouths of babes, and we pray as we’re watching the charade”
6. “Cassandra”ABBA (1981) “She stood on deck, just a tiny figure, rigid and restrained, blue eyes filled with pain”
7. “‘Til I Whisper You Something”Sinéad O’Connor (2000) “If you’ve never seen a good time, how would you recognise one?”
8. “It Don’t Have to Change”John Legend (2004) “Do you remember how we’d gather ’round and sing all day?”
9. “What’s Left of the Flag”1Flogging Molly (2002) “With madman’s rage well they dug our graves but the dead rise again you fools”
10. “Jack the Ripper”LL Cool J (1988) “Moving my hand like I’m playing the piano, don’t touch the dial, don’t change the channel”

1 Holy crap, it’s a Craig Kilborn sighting in that video!

Well, that was fun, wasn’t it? Why don’t we just leave our post with the Favreau leer?

Oh, Internet. Is there anything you can’t do? Have a nice day, everyone!


Yeah I’m done with Hawkeye. The plot complaint is totally on the money. What good is fantastic art if the story is banal and uninteresting.

Also, can someone keep track of how many times Fraction uses “bro” over the first ten or so issues? It’s like he thinks it’s the funniest thing ever.

Someone asked Joe Keatinge on twitter why the cursing in Glory was blanked out, and he said he just thought it was funnier that way and fit the character better. So it’s a stylistic choice, not an attempt at censorship or not offending anyone in a book with buckets of gore and nudity.

I don’t think the character of Nanaja is supposed to be taken exclusively as some ultra-fearsome world-destroyer (though she is that I guess), given that her armor is pink and purple and her dual swords have tiny hearts on them. There’s some humor to the character.

Greg –

“I mean, maybe you have a great smile and that rogue-ish charm (I have neither), but has that ever happened to you?”

Yeah, more than a few times. Not in the same way (don’t have a car, never wanted one until about 2-3 months ago, and I always had enough tape), but if we’re talking about having a conversation taking anything between 1-10 minutes and then moving straight to bed/restroom/whatever is near and usable, yeah. Doesn’t mean I’m necessarily some sort of an alpha male, I’m just being honest about it.

So far, Hawkeye is the best comic Marvel is putting out, with the exception of Wolverine and the X-Men. Fraction and Aja’s book is laudable for taking Marvel’s Green Arrow and giving him a book at the other extreme from rubbish. This issue’s trick-arrow gimmick was a brilliant plot mechanism (and yes, clearly there’s more of an ongoing story arc than may be immediately apparent.) It’s meant to be 70s kitsch and it takes the best of that to produce Fraction’s first comic book to reach the heights of Casanova since… um… Casanova.

Philip: I thought of counting the “bro”s, but decided against it. It’s almost surreal how often it happens!

Nat: I see. That doesn’t make much sense to me, but at least he had a reason!

Ales: I guess I have less game than I thought! :)

Sky Shadow: That’s probably true, although I’m not sure if that speaks more to the quality of most of what Marvel puts out. I still don’t think it’s anywhere near as good as Casanova, though.

@sky Shadow

Yeah, it’s even a better green arrow book than green arrow. The first issue with the corrupt landlords definitely felt like sort of a Denny O Neil Green Lantern/Green Arrow nod.

Tom Fitzpatrick

October 18, 2012 at 8:09 pm

That bit about knowing the curse words in Arabic skit. Reminds me of a scene in a movie (the title I forget) about a teenager (or young adult) who for some reasons only knows the sign language curse words in all languages. It’s one of those racy and raunchy coming of age movies like Porky’s but came out in the 80’s.

dammit, the title’s on the tip of my tongue!

If you think that Hawkeye is Marvel’s best book, then you’re clearly not reading Uncanny X-Force.

I have tried time and again to enjoy Uncanny X-Force, and never have – every time I pick up a copy I find it miserable and humourless and not great in terms of jumping on points. I’ll give it one more shot. The only time I’ve found a book with ‘X-Force’ in the title to be truly great was Peter Milligan’s run.

I’m impressed you’re still getting Hawkeye in singles. Has your big 2 shock collar started malfunctioning?? Seriously though, I have similar opinions to you about the book. My big take is that it’s trying too hard to be a Brubaker/Phillips comic, as though Fraction and Aja are overtly trying to make their own version of a Brubaker/Phillips comic, and they figured Hawkeye was was the best available character to do so with. I LOVE Aja’s art on the title, but it does seem to me that he’s deliberately changed his style a bit. On Iron Fist, I thought he was a bit like a Jae Lee/Mazzuchelli cross, but now, it seems like he’s doing a Mazzuchelli/Darwyn Cooke on Brubaker’s Catwoman sort of style.

It’s almost like Hawkeye himself is a maguffin. It seems like he’s completely incidental to his own series, and Fraction and Aja knew what kind of series they wanted to make before they had even decided on a character to do it with. I think the series would work better for me if it was the New 52 Grifter, or something other than Hawkeye.

But still, I’m enjoying the comic from a stylistic standpoint so much that I’ll keep getting it for now. And it occurred to me that it’s strange that I’m willing to keep getting Hawkeye for visual reasons but not Batwoman, which I dropped a long time ago, despite having even better art than Hawkeye. I think the difference for me is probably that Batwoman, despite being beautiful to look at, doesn’t really display even basic storytelling acumen beyond the page layouts. Hawkeye, even if I think the stories are kind of slight and uninteresting, they’re at least told in incredibly competent ways, and the art makes the reading experience overall fairly rewarding. I never felt that way about Batwoman, which I dropped after the first arc.

And as for Sarah Jean Underwood, man. What a tragedy. I legitimately thought she was one of the hottest woman on the planet until she got her implants, and now she just looks like a blow-up doll with Jim Balent proportions and too much spray-tan. For the life of me, I cannot imagine why a girl that won PLAYMATE OF THE YEAR with her all natural body would then decide to get implants. Clearly the jury was out that her body was quite something as is.

And I hate cosmetic surgery under ALL circumstances and I would never, ever date a girl with implants, but they’re especially disheartening in this case. If you can’t muster up some self-esteem with a body like she had, what the hell does that say about you? Blech.

I think the reason that the action was stiff in Dark Avengers is that there might have been a lot of photo-referencing. Luke Cage was clearly modeled after Terry Crews in a few scenes. Maybe all of the, but a few definitely stood out.

*spoiler alert* (I suppose)

Colossus lost his Juggernaut powers this month. Editorial synchronization!

I’m glad to see Havok getting a larger role, but man I hope he doesn’t end up being the type of leader that always second guesses himself. It got old after 40 years of Cyclops’ leadership angst. Thank Moses captions boxes are out of fashion.

Err, I meant thought balloons, not caption boxes.

I’ve stuck with Shinku and I’m glad I did. Awesome series. I talked to Marz at a con and he said the book should be back on schedule after some family issues with the colorist. Let’s hope so.

Batwoman was a joy to look at. The labyrinth scene and your Air Wolf panel were awesome. I’ll be honest, I skipped most of the words. But there were soooooo many, it was kind of hard to do. Holy cows the opening and the lead up to the AW panel brought on the words.

And the double page spread in Chew was just great. Excellent use of turducken, which is probably the closest the real world will ever come to the wackiness of the Chewniverse.

If Hawkeye wasn’t already in the movies I’d have liked to have seen this style of story telling in a 1 hour (30 minute?) TV series. Something like the USA original shows.

Greg, thanks for sticking with Shinku. My column will be up later today.

speaking of good commenting – apologies for only commenting to pick a fight with something i disagree with! least it seems that way. i need to try and leave more positive ones where i’m just like, ‘yup. nice’, cause thats often what i think when i read these posts.

like Living Colour. they fucking rock!

Tom: I don’t know which movie you’re talking about. Sorry!

Linda: I’ve only read Uncanny X-Force through the end of the Dark Angel saga, and while it’s pretty good, it’s nowhere near as good as the first arc. Of course, we might look back on Hawkeye and say the same thing in a year or two!

Third Man: Yeah, Hawkeye is 3 bucks and Fraction is telling tight stories, so I don’t mind. My collar is not quite malfunctioning, but maybe it has a glitch or two!

I think Williams tells the story very well in Batwoman, but that’s fine if you don’t. I also think the story – if not the writing – is pretty interesting, which is why I’m willing to stick with it until Williams and Blackman are done telling it.

As for Ms. Underwood – I agree with you about the implants, and I don’t get it. I love breasts, but I also like well-proportioned women, and some women with breasts implants – and Underwood falls into this category – don’t have the bodies for large breasts, and they look weird. Some women think all they need are large breasts, though!

jjc: Thanks for the info about Colossus. We can’t have two Juggernauts!

That would be interesting about Hawkeye being a television show. Unfortunately, to fill an hour, they’d bog it down with extraneous crap. Half-hour action shows should be a reality!

Ron: Good to know! I remember you mentioning something about Atiyeh having some family issues, and I hope he was able to sort things out. I also think it’s very cool you guys put the book on hold while he dealt with everything.

noob: Hey, I don’t mind if you only show up to “pick a fight” – you’ve never been a dick about it, and I like debating with you. Positive comments are fun, too! :)

I had forgotten how much I liked The Sixth Gun. I read the first volume when it came out and enjoyed it a lot more than I had expected to. While waiting for the second volume, it just sort of slipped off my radar. Seeing the panel you posted has forced me to reevaluate how it is I’m running my life that I could somehow not be buying this book.

This is exactly why I continue to tune in every week, Greg: so I can discover my own personal inadequacies.

Greg and Epiphany sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G! Does Krys know about your feelings for this comic book character, Mr Burgas?! ;-). Man, I’ve just read that Scalzi post on Commenting Correctness and I’m using a comment to make a terrible joke, And So It Goes!
Peter David is still incredibly consistent, isn’t he? It’s a pity that Alex has gone over to Uncanny Avengers(yeeuch). I like Lorna, tho’ to be fair I have pretty much detested the resurrection of the “yes, she is Magneto’s daughter” thing , something that others go gaga over, for some reason. Yeah, I’m persnickety and old-fashioned, I wanted her and Alex to be married and live unmolested! Yes, I’m still upset that she got possessed by Malice… Heh.
By the way, I saq a Star Wars Clone Wars trade today by Ostrander and Duursema (sp.?), does anyone know if the material is any good? Off topic, I know. You featured some work that looks tempting this week, Greg, darn you! Oh, but you actually called “Dark” Avengers by its proper name in the body of the text. Boo.

Dude, you crack me up every week with this piece. BTW – If Hellblazer ends at #300 I will be so distraught I may just have to give up comics altogether. I’ve been getting that book every month since it started, through good times and bad. Please say it ain’t so!

If you only hear the “binders full of women” part, yes, it’s an odd turn of phrase.

But if you hear the 30 or so seconds before that where Romney is explaining (accurately or not) about how his group asked a women’s group for resumes, and got “binders full of women” [‘s resumes], and you can’t make the cognitive leap that Romney did not mean that there were binders literally full of actual women, you are too fucking stupid to vote. Sit this election out, folks.

And I’m no fan of Romney and I certainly enjoy funny things politicians say, but grow a damn brain, people.

More comments on comics later.

Hal: Ostrander and Duursema’s Star Wars work is pretty good. I don’t know about the Clone Wars thing, though. And the new book is called Dark Avengers and there will be a Thunderbolts comic as well, so I guess I can call it that when they split the titles!

DonW: Thanks, sir. I have no idea if Hellblazer is ending or not. It just seems with DC moving John to the “real” DCnU, that would be the place to end it if they’re going to. I haven’t bought every issue, but I’ve been really liking Milligan’s run, so I wouldn’t mind if he kept writing it well past #300!

Travis: Yeah, the entire answer wasn’t bad at all – it was a bit condescending, but having a binder in which you keep resumes is nothing egregious. The actual phrase just sounds weird!

That Kevin Nowlan/Steve Gerber Man-Thing series has been a longtime in gestation. I remember seeing it listed amongst Marvel’s previews for their 1990 offerings! It was supposed to have been a hardcover graphic novel called something like “Screenplay Of A Dead Man” or something like that. I can’t quite remember the reasons for why it got delayed, but following Gerber’s all-too-soon passing, Nowlan and Marvel showed interest in it again…

I, too, first saw that Man-Thing book in the Marvel Age 1990 Preview. I believe that “Screenplay of a Dead Man” is the name of the story in the book.

I got the thing (Infernal Man-Thing) in singles, but I should have waited for the fucking trade. It’s a bit more, but it also includes the first appearance of M-T (in B&W), which I’m not sure, but I think wasn’t in the 3rd issue as a back up. I’ll have to look.

But what really pisses me off is that the new story is a sequel to an old one, and Marvel reprinted the original as a back up in the first 2 issues of “Infernal”. Except there’s a double page spread (by Gene the Dean Colan, iirc), and the fucking reprint BREAKS IT UP! The left hand side of the spread is printed on a right hand page, and you turn the page to see the other half! Fucking Marvel.

Speaking of reprint fuckups, I can’t remember if you bought it, but the Alan Davis Legends of the Dark Knight HC is missing 2 pages, and according to bleeding cool, you’ve got only a short time to return it for a replacement. http://www.bleedingcool.com/2012/10/18/two-missing-pages-from-alan-davis-legends-of-the-dark-knight/ So in the interest of fairness, fucking DC.

Also on bc, someone ran into Sam Humphries at NYCC, and apparently Boom is cancelling Higher Earth. It’s too bad because it is an interesting book, but it also solves for me the idea of whether or not I’ll keep getting it. I will if it’s almost done. (Unless…this is a scheme to get the word out that the book is “cancelled”, but when sales pop back up again, it’ll be “saved”! Yeah!)

Actually, Higher Earth and the Giffen/Dolan series Reign of the Zodiac should crossover.

Thanks, Greg – apparently this Clone Wars trade contains issues of something called Star Wars Republic and other stuff too, presumably this came before Legacy which I have read some of and found quite good. For some reason I’m in a bit of a Star Wars mood (tho’ only the original movie and Empire are fantastic I’d say). Aw, I liked the many ways you found not to write Dark Avengers. Yes, I *am* childish! Skyfall looks to be good but unfortunately I can’t see it because of hearing problems. Boo-hoo. So I’m indulging in the books. Does Bond play well in the U. S.? My favourites are On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and The Living Daylights but I’m idiosyncratic!

Andrew (and Travis): I knew the Man-Thing was from 20 years ago, but I didn’t know how much art Nowlan did for it, or if any until recently.

Travis: I didn’t see the double-page spread yet; one would hope they fixed it for the trade. I didn’t get the Alan David collection, because I own all the issues and have a long list of things I want before it, but I can’t believe they screwed that up. Jesus.

That sucks about Higher Earth. Oh well.

Hal: I don’t know specifically how well the Bond movies do here, but they get lots of press and they show up on TV a lot! I like On Her Majesty’s Secret Service – it’s probably my second favorite after From Russia With Love, although I grew up with Roger Moore so I really like For Your Eyes Only and have a soft spot in my heart for fucking Moonraker, as that was the first Bond movie I ever saw. Yes, it sucks, but I can’t hate it! I’ve only read one Bond book – The Man With the Golden Gun. I probably should read some of the others!

I should have said — I did look at the Man-Thing trade at my LCS, and the double page spread is done right in there. That’s why I was ranting that I should have waited for the trade. Fuggin’ Marvel.

I dropped Shinku from the delays. I’ll grab a trade if I remember. The danger that I won’t is quite real, because I didn’t know there was any Pinocchio Vampire Slayer after the first one.

Personally, I like Hawkeye a lot. I can’t argue with the basic premise of your criticism, but I feel like it doesn’t matter. It’s pretty to look at. It makes me laugh. I’m entertained.

The “how to be a good commenter” thing bugged me. A couple of the rules are sound, but a lot of the others, especially since they’re being delivered by an author who in part uses his blog to promote his work, sound incredibly dismissive of anyone who wants to engage on a casual level. Like if someone said “hey, interesting post, and I’m a big fan of your books!” he’d just be like “fuck off, bad commenter!” I prefer the “don’t be a dick” philosophy (aka Wheaton’s Law). Especially since I rarely have much important to say.

Third Man: I’m mostly with you, but you lose me at “I hate cosmetic surgery under ALL circumstances and I would never, ever date a girl with implants.” All and never are really strong words, and if you’d shoot down the theoretical coolest, smartest, funniest, nicest, and otherwise-prettiest girl in the world over fake boobs, your priorities are way out of whack.

I wouldn’t have even noticed that Favreau was IN that gif if you hadn’t mentioned it.

And on that topic (sorta), Mecha-Shiva, if she’s the coolest, smartest, funniest, nicest, prettiest girl, she wouldn’t have gotten fake boobs in the first place! ;)

Anyway, stuff you bought that I bought, first.

As to that Morrow book Orion/Edge of Chaos — I actually have issues 2 and 3 of Edge of Chaos, from Pacific Comics, back in the day. If they’re shooting from the comics, that’s gonna look like shit, because those were colored with that muddy newsprint-y stuff. And it’s blown up, too? Ugh. I don’t know why you’d do a book like that if you can’t reproduce it in a really good way. It’s not like there’s a huge contingent of Morrow fans, is there? Plus, I have to say, EoC is a bad story. Sword and sorcery blandness, iirc. I will be amazed if you end up liking it much.

Bought Glory, but I am behind on this and Prophet. Because I’m a bad person.

Godzilla:The Half Century War 3 is actually getting a story. Cool. I do indeed like it, and a fine choice on the Airwolf panel(s). What is the orifice that the van came out of?

Now, I didn’t buy Hellblazer, but given that Milligan barely seemed to use John in JL Dark 1-6, John really should be used somewhere in a comic book.

Y’know, what IS a thunderbolt, anyway?

Got Womanthology 2, haven’t read it yet, but was glad to see Devin Grayson around still. Yay!

Hawkeye Hawkeye Hawkeye (3) — Jeezus, this issue really bugged me. It’s the whole “pat ourselves on the back we’re doing such a fucking BADASS comic!!!” attitude that permeates the comic that gets my goat. The description you quoted was accurate, too, though. Why make the book look this great if it’s just shitty lame plots? I find Kate to have no particular personality, myself, as well.

Rereading the issues, I thought 1 was fairly good, 2 was blah, and 3 is just crap. I thought 2’s whole plot didn’t make any sense (so, they knew they were all bad guys there? And that Ringmaster was there [they knew to wear the special glasses]? Then why was Clint so fucking surprised there were bad guys there?). Kate’s “blinded for life” thing I read as her trying to tell herself that she didn’t really just kill those guys. Even though she totally did. What a big girl!

3 was just…ugh. I will say, though, that the implication (Clint’s stuff is in her car, and convenient that the bad guys, who all have cars of their own, took her in “her” car) is that the girl (pop culture rule 1 is coming, we KNOW IT!!!) drove Clint around to get his tape and shit, and that car ride took long enough that they decided to go knock boots then. So not just a few minutes before sexy time happened.

I’m amazed no one took time out of making up letters for the letters page to berate you for not liking this book better (ooh, I went there! C’mon, the one letter about “books Marvel can be proud of” includes DD and Captain Marvel, which just so happen to be the two books featured as “also on sale”?)

Also, at the end of issue 2, I was reminded of a MST3K bit. Clint is excited to drive the boat — “I’m great at boats!” In Quest of the Delta Knights, the one character says “I’m great at maps!”, to which Mike wonders “how can you be great at maps?” and Crow says “it’s like being good at eating cereal”.

Damn, MST3K is so good.

All that crap said, The Zaucer of Zilk quickly shot up my list of best comics of this year. And this has been a really really good year for comics.

I forgot last week to brag about how good a week I’d had. This week wasn’t as good, but still deec.

Back on the 6th, I went to a comic show at a casino (the gambling was elsewhere, it was more like a food court. Honestly, the Subway kiosk was RIGHT THERE), and met Steve Ellis, Kevin “Fishtown” Colden (kickin’ it on the current Crow mini), Aaron Kuder (upcoming artist on GL:New Guardians, and artist of the covers of Marvel U. vs the Avengers and a couple Batman variant covers. I asked about the price of the original art for the Batman Inc 0 cover, and it was just slightly less than what I paid for my car. DAMN!), and a few other small press people. Like Fell Boley, who self publishes a neat book Great Battles:American Lore. The site for the show I went to is: http://www.riverroadexpo.com/ and the show was kind of a preview of the Elmira Hero Bot Con (which Ron Marz is scheduled to be at, so it totally ties in to what you said this week!), website here: http://www.pageoneentertainment.com/herobotcon/index.html I’d like to get out to Elmira for it, but I’m not sure I’ll make it.

Tori Amos’s new album came out, Gold Dust, new orchestral arrangements of various songs of hers. If you like her stuff, if you like orchestral stuff, this is pretty good. If you’re not familiar with her stuff, it’s sort of a greatest hits with orchestra, so it’s a good “jumping on point”, if you will.

What else what else? Ah, life’s just been generally pretty cool.

And I hope Tom read my post last week with the link to bleeding cool’s story about a couple unpublished, completed Quantum and Woody issues that will be available digitally. So he can shut the hell up about it already ;)

And now I’ll babble about the comics that I bought that you didn’t, and including last week, also, since I forgot then.

Best score of the week — Almost all of Morrison’s run on Animal Man, as well as Milligan’s last issue and the first 3 of Tom Veitch’s. For a buck a pop. Sweet!

I finally read Resident Alien, and if you didn’t get this, you ought to in trade. Good stuff, and I hope the next series of it comes out soon.

Ame-Comi Girls featuring Wonder Woman was surprisingly good WW comics. It helps that it’s got beautiful Amanda Conner art (redundant, I know), but the story is decent too. And Diana totally calls the outfit she’s wearing a whore outfit!

Marvel Universe vs Avengers 1 is ok, with the Avengers as the survivors in the Walking Dead, essentially. I was tricked into buying by the cool Aaron Kuder cover, the original I’d seen just days earlier (at that con I was talking about in the currently moderated comment. Damn my links!).

Arrow Special Edition 1 (based on the TV show) was dumb — why is Mr Queen a superhero now? Yeah, comic collector me knows why, but will potential fan of the show and maybe comic know?

Batgirl 13 and Batman 13 tricked me with their shiny mask covers. Batgirl barely has anything to do with the Joker, and Batman — how are we supposed to know that it’s not the Joker if the clue Batman has that it’s not the Joker is the SOUND of his voice? Bah! But my love of Sleepwalker and that title’s mask cover issue made me buy these for nostalgic value.

Another freebie — Batman Adventures/Scooby Doo Where Are You Halloween Fest. Scooby features aliens, which are colored differently than Shaggy describes them, but he IS a pothead. Batman is cool shorts by Slott and Templeton with the origin, the Cavalier, Ra’s, science win. Good stuff.

Spongebob Comics 13 — Al Jaffee back cover! Tony Millionaire Flying Dutchman story! Bissette on an Aquaman take off! Bissette on comics art again, period!!! Good stuff if you didn’t pick it up.

Damsels 2 — It’s decent stuff involving fairy tale princesses. The Linsner cover on 2 is nice, with his typical upward hooking nipples.

New Crusaders 2 — the first issue was a pleasant surprise, as I’d heard Archie was doing these characters again, but I hadn’t realized the print version was coming out. The first 2 issues are pretty good, with interesting characters, a nice set up (superheroes saved the world, and actually made it a nice place!), clean art. Worth picking up.

Creator Owned Heroes 5 — if you haven’t gotten any of this book yet, this is a good one to get. 2 new good stories, Killswitch is a hitman story, but well told, Black Sparrow is a short horror western tale that looks good. A preview of Retrovirus, about a cloned Neanderthal. Amanda Conner interview. Writing tips. A nice package.

The Creep 2 — this mini is pretty good stuff. A neat mystery with the Creep looking into the suicide of the son of his old flame.

Team 7 1 — yes, I got this. It wasn’t too bad, though. Damn zero issue interested me. The giant blimp prison is neat.

Phantom Stranger 1 — yes, I got this, too. Bland. He’s doomed to betray people, like Raven in this issue. Yet he’s got a family life. The opening echoes Sandman 8, also.

Thief of Thieves volume 1 TP — my retailer had a damaged copy that wasn’t sellable, so he gave this to me. Dunno if he’d kept it special for me, or if I just got to the shop at the right time. It’s good stuff, with 4 widescreen panels to a page, and the set up is good. Master thief Redmond has to come up with a clever scheme to get his son out of prison. I liked Scam 1 a little better, but this is good stuff. A bit obvious who they want for the title role in the movie, though. Can Kirkman get a meeting with Clooney based on the Walking Dead’s success? This book actually has the cool that Hawkeye wants.

Hoax Hunters 4 — I’m liking but not loving this book. I think it’s because the book focuses more on the team rather than the concept (a reality TV show that “hides in plain sight” all the weird bigfoot, etc stuff by “debunking” it — which they can’t seem to describe right in the blurb in the inside front cover). Axel’s art is cool, and the ads for issue 5 quote Our Dread Lord and Master, so it’s got that going for it.

Revival 2 and 3 — I like this book but don’t love it, too. Again, the concept seems to be described in the promotional material for the book more than the comic itself. If you hadn’t read the Image 20 FCBD story of Revival, you wouldn’t realize the concept right away — some dead people came back to life, and this town is now dealing with it. It throws you into the middle of the story, which can be fine, but I’m not sure works here as well as it could.

Saga TP 1 — Despite your reviews, I wanted to see what the fuss was about. And unfortunately, I think I was too negatively influenced by your reviews, as I wasn’t digging the book much at all. I think it was most of the same issues you had, too cutesy references to our modern life, no real sense of how or why this couple loves each other, the whole Sextillion section… I dunno, I just don’t dig it. Damn your brainwashing, Burgas!!!

Punk Rock Jesus 4 — I’ll save my comments for what I hope Brian would be interested in posting as my “dissenting view” on this book (dissenting as most reviewers are totally in love with it) — unless Murphy ends up sticking the landing just right. Great art, I’m not sold on the story.

I also read an earlier Sean Murphy book I had, Dark Horse’s Crush 1-4 (which may have been all of the issues of that book). A girl turns 18, performs a “spell”, turns into a creature, and rampages. Some neat stuff, conspiracy type stuff. Murphy was pretty good then and has gotten even better.

And I finally read Joe the Barbarian 1-8. Looks great, but dumb actions on the part of some characters made me not like the story as much. I’ll have to search out your reviews of that book.

Savage Hawkman 0 — damn me for needing to get all those zero issues (I did, at least). This one was just bad, though.

I re-read Morning Glories. Great stuff, but I hope this new group (the Echoes, we’ll call them, for they echo what our original 6 characters did) does something different soon.

Grim Leaper was a good mini that I finally read, but nothing of substance. Also read Wiebe’s Peter Panzerfaust 1 (nothing great) and Intrepids 1 (bland for the potential of the concept). Wiebe’s got good ideas but the follow through leaves something to be desired.

Space: Punisher 1-4: Dude, get this in trade. Fuckin’ great. Tex is amazing, the story is big dumb fun. Sci Fi Punisher shouldn’t work but it totally does.

Cyberforce 1 (volume 4, apparently). It’s free, dammit! Velocity (although she’s not named as such here, I think) has visions of the impending apocalypse, but this world appears to have already suffered it. Cool looking art, intriguing story. And free, so that’s cool.

Classic Popeye 3 — Ghost Island is fun, and the second story has Popeye punching anyone who comes near him. Good stuff.

Saucer Country 8 — I want to like this book more than I do, because it’s a cool concept. There were a few lettering errors that screwed with the reading experience, as well.

Haunted Horror 1 — Oh, IDW, I love you (THAT was the other good news last week — The Cerebus Covers book and hard copy of Digital High Society that IDW will be putting out! I love Ted Adams!!!) Haunted Horror is a collection of pre-Code horror stories, those short tales of vengeance from the grave, with Jack Cole, Simon and Kirby, and others. A few stories would have benefitted from having the last page be the one you turn to, and not the one on the right hand side of the book. Plus, the first story, from 1952, has a guy refer to a girl as “what a babe!” I didn’t know how old that phrase was! The Simon and Kirby story is fascinating on a sociological level, too, with apparent WW2 parallels.

Sword of Sorcery 1 — no near gang rape here, but boy, why didn’t Amethyst’s mother at least START to tell her about being from another dimension before she turned 17? Beowulf is ok. Good art on both, at least.

(and for the people offended by SoS 0’s near gang rape, get Robyn Hood 1, from Zenescope. The main character actually IS gang raped. On the side of a busy road. In broad daylight. But somehow the rapist’s father is such a bigwig that this offense would not be prosecuted. (although, given what’s coming out about the Boy Scout records, where some local officials declined to prosecute some allegations so as not to smear the name of the Scouts, I suppose it’s not so ludicrous, unfortunately))

Prophecy 1-4 — hey, more Ron Marz work! It’s decent, although 4 was just fight scenes with no real tension to them. Looks pretty, but it’s a bit of fluff. A fun bit, mind you.

Peter Cannon Thunderbolt 1 and 2 — I fell asleep while reading 2. Twice. Just doesn’t interest me. 1, though, has the origin of PC:T done by creator PAM(orisi), and it’s cool. I wonder if he read Watchmen?

However, the issues of the DC version of PC:T from the early ’90s were pretty good. Mike Collins wrote and drew them, and they’re neat. And the slang dictionary in the back of one issue helped me understand the meaning of the title of Morrison’s The Filth!

Plus, I got a copy of the ’78 Modern Comics reprint of a PC:T issue from Charlton (58). Underground lost valley with dinosaurs and lions and shit. Cool mechanical lettering…although…there are more ellipses…than I use. The back up of the Sentinels is SO Marvel influenced (by S. O’Shaugnessy, AKA Denny O’Neil, I think). Stan Lee-ish narration, bickering teammates. Secret identities are folk singers “The Protestors”. Funny.

I read the issues of Immortal Iron Fist I have, too. Pretty good, better than Hawkeye, and without all the self congratulations.

And nuValiant is pretty good. X-O Manowar is up to issue 6, and features Ninjak. Good stuff, but not as good as the opening arc. Harbinger is up to 5, and is damn good. One plot element happened a bit too quick for my taste, but overall this book is really good, and you should get the trade that should be out in the next few months.

Gawddamn, I type a lot of crap! That’s what happens when I have money and no willpower to say no at the comics store.

Mecha-Shiva: Yeah, I think the “Don’t be a dick” rule pretty much covers it. I have no problem with “frivolous” comments!

Travis: Dang, sir. Been reading a lot of comics?

Hermes must have cleaned up the art in Edge of Chaos somehow, because while it’s a bit fuzzy, that’s really the only bad thing about it – the colors are perfectly fine. I didn’t really have super-high hopes for the story, but I wanted to see the artwork!

I think the van created the orifice!

I like Kate in Hawkeye. And I think your contention that they’re making up letters is intriguing. Someone must investigate!

I’ll probably get Resident Alien in trade. I didn’t get the issues because I got the first part of the story in DHP and didn’t feel like having it in two different places. So I figured I’d wait for the trade! The same thing holds true for The Creep.

I looked at the Wonder Woman comic, but it didn’t thrill me (besides the art). I saw that it was continued, so perhaps I’ll get the inevitable trade.

Thief of Thieves just sounded so pedestrian. If I see a trade lying around, I’ll flip through it and see if it wows me.

I didn’t mean to negatively influence you against Saga! I still want to love the book, and I’m going to keep buying it for a while, but I’m not sure when the point of no return would be. It’s frustrating, because parts of it are really good.

I ended up liking Joe the Barbarian quite a bit. More for the art, but I thought the good parts of the writing helped mitigate the silly parts. A minor Morrison work is still better than a lot of other comics!

I have no interest in Space Punisher, but you’ve intrigued me. I’ll have to see if my retailer gets a copy of the trade so I can check it out.

I was actually going to get Cyberforce … and my retailer “sold” out. I guess everyone else wanted it for free, too!

Yeah, I’m going to get some of the Valiant stuff in trade. I’m behind!!!!

Man, I didn’t even respond to everything you wrote and I’m worn out!

@Travis and Greg,

Yeah, the AmeComi WW book was surprisingly entertaining for the story as much as the artwork. I was disappointed to find it was continued into the next AmeComi special, though in retrospect, I should have known better. I haven’t decided if I’m going to pick up any more of the AmeComi specials, though Ted Naifeh drawing the Duela Dent one is tempting. And of course, DC has ignored Huntress as the star of any of the announced AmeComi specials, meaning no automatic sale from me on that one…

And Travis, I used to have that same Peter Cannon issue, I think. From “Modern Comics” or something like that? Had an old issue of Peter Cannon and one issue of Peacemaker from them. Loved them as a kid, but I don’t know how much they would hold up for me if I read them now. I never read the DC Michael Collins series for PC:T, but I feel like trying it out now.

And tip of the hat for the MST3K reference. Always enjoy seeing those…

I did a big ol’ write-up of the Ame-Comi Wonder Woman issue on my blog: http://theidiolect.com/comics/hippolytas-secret-models/ I’d never heard of Ame-Comi, and once I kinda-sorta figured out what it was I was pretty dubious, but I liked this issue a lot, mostly because Amanda Conner is awesome. I don’t know that I’ll be following the thread to the other Ame-Comi series, though, because I’m not all that curious about how they’ll reinvent the other heroines, and Conner’s only doing the WW stuff. That said, I do like Palmiotti/Gray most of the time (Phantom Lady & Doll Man notwithstanding–even Conner couldn’t save that one), so I’m certainly open to sticking with it, if not entirely sold.

Oh, man, Buttler, I haven’t even read your post yet, but that’s a great title — “Hippolyta’s Secret Models”. Nice.

Oh my god, that Phantom Lady and Doll Man book is SOOO awful!!! Great Conner cover on 1, but the story…ugh! And then I was dumb enough to buy issue 2! Which was even WORSE!!!

It’s amazing, because Creator Owned Heroes by Palmiotti and Gray is pretty good stuff, so apparently, they’re saving it all for the creator owned stuff.

Andrew, that PCT issue was a Modern Comics one. I have a House of Yang issue as well that I haven’t read yet. The Collins DC series of Thunderbolt is pretty good stuff.

I did lose some shiny buttons that I rather liked, but then I found them, and things have been fine since. I have a good life. Thanks! — more MST3K for you, from the same ep I referenced above, iirc.

I liked DC’s Peter Cannon series, but man, I forgot that it was from the early ’90s. I had remembered it as being in the late ’80s. I didn’t realize he was still in DC’s clutches as late as that.

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