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What I bought – 28 November 2012

What theater do we have besides beauty contests? (Maxine Hong Kingston, from Tripmaster Monkey)

This won't end well Don't fuck with Josephine! Who is everyone except Scott Lang waving at? Everyone loves chogs!That can't be good, can it?Is this foreshadowing???? Why so dark?!?!? Who's going to pay for that window? You can't hide! I dig his syringe! Two volumes in a year!

Batman Incorporated #5 (“Asylum”) by Grant “Working in the DCnU has sucked my sense of whimsy away!” Morrison (writer), Chris Burnham (artist), Nathan Fairbairn (colorist), and Dave Sharpe (letterer). $2.99, 20 pgs, FC, DC.

The God of All Comics revisits the future of Batman #666, and the results are an odd tonal shift from the first issues of this series. Morrison’s Batman work has always been on the “dark” side of the Comics Fun-O-Meter, but with Batman, Inc., he seems to be setting a tone of hope even though Talia’s been doing horrible things. Now, I suppose, we’re shifting further into the “bleak” range, and this is a strangely depressing issue, as everything goes to shit. I mean, it’s not surprising the Future Batman can’t stop things (if you don’t know who Future Batman is, I’ll just refer to him as that so as to not give anything away), but that’s just Morrison going all nihilistic on us because he can. When shit really starts happening in the present, as it does at the end of the issue, then it seems like it’s just piling on.

It’s kind of hard to describe, because there’s nothing really bad about this issue at all. Sure, it’s bleak, but Morrison has done bleak before, and he’s pretty good at it. And it’s not like his Batman work hasn’t been bleak before. I don’t know if it’s the relentless nature of this issue – Future Batman seems to get a ray of hope which turns to shit, and then, when we’re back in the present, we immediately get a really depressing final page. I don’t know why I’m feeling more bummed out by this issue than others, especially because one part involves a future that doesn’t exist and the other is a fairly standard SHOCK! ending that might turn out to be nothing. I know I’m a terrible reviewer, because I can’t articulate what it is about this issue. It just bummed me out, man.

But dang, Burnham’s art is freakin’ cool, isn’t it? So many impressive details and such good storytelling, and Fairbairn’s colors are superb. Maybe that’s why it bums me out, because Burnham makes it all look so wonderfully horrific. I can live with Morrison’s depressing stuff when it’s drawn by Tony Daniel, because it doesn’t look very good. But Burnham helps us believe Morrison’s gut-wrenching script, and maybe that makes all the difference!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

You don't have to rub it in like that

Chew #30 (“Space Cakes Part 5 of 5″) by John Layman (writer/letterer), Rob Guillory (artist/colorist), and Taylor Wells (color assistant). $2.99, 22 pgs, FC, Image.

Well, damn. Chew reaches its halfway point with an issue that really changes the game. It’s very intense, as Toni prepares for her wedding (with a rather hilarious sequence at the beginning), but then the tone shifts darkly, and things just keep getting more and more disturbing. Layman has given us some horrific stuff in this comic before – Tony has, of course, been in a coma recently because he got beat up so badly – but this really gets bleak quickly. Unlike Batman, however, I don’t feel as conflicted about it. I’m honestly not sure why. I like Chew more, but that’s not it. I think it’s because ever since this series began, I’ve been waiting for the other shoe to drop. There’s always been a dark undercurrent to this comic, and Layman hasn’t been afraid to do horrible things to characters, so it’s not like when shit. just. gets. real. that I’m all that surprised. What he’s able to do in this comic, however, is keep the delicate balance between the serious and the humorous – even as the plot gets darker, characters are still cracking jokes, and he ends the issue with the pay-off of a long-running gag, which is awkward (deliberately) but well done, because there’s often a lot of awkwardness in real life. Guillory himself keeps up the humorous tone, as the Easter eggs in the issue continue, with a fairly pertinent famous painting (which I won’t mention) in the background when the book gets darker. Layman and Guillory have managed to make this comic so funny at times, but they’ve also done a very good job with the characters, so whenever something bad happens, it seems to hit harder.

I have one worry about the book going forward, but I won’t discuss it for fear of spoiling this issue. Other than that, I cannot wait to see where the book goes. Dang, this is a good issue. It’s definitely not where you want to start with Chew, but for long-time readers, it’s something!

Oh, and who knew about Jim Mahfood? If you think about it, all the clues were there!!!!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Everyone wants to catch the bouquet!

Fatale #10 by Ed Brubaker (writer), Sean Phillips (artist), and Dave Stewart (colorist). $3.50, 26 pgs, FC, Image.

Man, these issues are raw this week, aren’t they? Well, they are if you do them in alphabetical order, and the third consecutive one gives us some really gut-wrenching scenes, as the second arc of Fatale comes to an end. As you can probably guess with a pulp/noir comic written by Brubaker, some serious shit goes down and not everyone survives. Miles and his friend, Rat, get what Josephine asked them to get, but in the meantime, all the bad guys head to Josephine’s house to get her. Oh dear. It’s another brutal confrontation, and there’s a good thing and a bad thing about it. The good thing is that it’s nice that Josephine get pissed off and does something about it (see below), but the bad thing is that it seems the bad guys are awfully stupid about Josephine even though they seem to know what her deal is. I mean, come on, bad guys! Anyway, Brubaker wraps that sucker up and checks in on Nick, whose life is going to shit a bit. Oh dear. Such is life when you’re a dude in a noir story – your life is going to go to shit!

Phillips and Stewart are brilliant as usual – Phillips seems to be using a slightly thinner line for some stuff, which helps contrast the more “innocent” parts of the book (as much as anything in the book is innocent) from the more evil parts. Stewart does a nice job keeping the book dark until he needs to light things up, which helps make the lit parts more lurid and stark. It’s not surprising that the book looks great, of course, because these dudes know what they’re doing!

So we have two arcs under our belts. Fatale continues to be an interesting mash-up of a gritty criminal drama and a weird monster tale. I’m enjoying it immensely – probably not quite as much as Criminal, but more than Incognito (which is still pretty good, of course). So there’s that.

(I do have a question that I’m going to try to phrase without giving too much away. Are we to assume that Miles lacks a certain skill? It seems like he’d be able to extricate himself from a fix if he had a certain skill that a lot of people have, unless I missed something else that causes him to find it difficult to extricate himself from said fix. Am I missing something? Am I being too obtuse? Let me know!)

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Look out, motherfuckers!

FF #1 (“Parts of a Hole”) by Matt Fraction (writer), Michael Allred (artist), Laura Allred (colorist), and Clayton Cowles (letterer). $2.99, 20 pgs, FC, Marvel NOW!

Fraction’s companion title to Fantastic Four launches with Reed and his cohorts trying to convince Ant-Man, She-Hulk, and Medusa to be a team for four minutes while Reed and the rest of them go off to other dimensions. Reed calculates that they will be gone for four minutes. Obviously, there’s no way in hell that the Fantastic Four will only be gone four minutes, so already we know that something will go horribly wrong in Dimensions X, ð, and Σ, which makes Reed’s decision to not tell his family why he’s really going – Scott Lang figures it out pretty quickly, by the way – even dumber. Unless Fraction is going to write this as the most avant-garde comic EVER, and the next 11 issues will last four minutes, with the substitute Four sitting around the kitchen table drinking beer. Each panel will represent one second of time!!!!!! So if Scott wants to say something to Jennifer, it will take him the entire issue to get a sentence out. I would buy the shit out of that series.

Anyway, it’s an okay issue. I mean, I’m already prejudiced against this entire idea, and when Sue says something like “Well, you’re a parent [she's talking to Medusa]. You know what it’s like to have your heart running around outside of your body all the time,” I want to scream at this drawing of a fictional character, “You’re a terrible mother, Sue, so shut the fuck up!!!!!”, but that’s a me problem. It’s a “gathering the team” issue, which means Fraction again gets to write Johnny as not only childish, but as just about the stupidest person on the planet – I mean, really, Fraction. What the fuck? I’ll spoil it for you, because it doesn’t really matter – Johnny is so busy banging Darla that he forgets he’s supposed to recruit her, even after he checks his calendar. Now, his calendar doesn’t help because he was probably so busy gazing at himself in a mirror that he doesn’t write anything helpful on his calendar, but still – he’s dumber than a box of rocks in this comic, and so after three pages of Fraction writing him over two different comics (THREE PAGES!), we get a completely self-obsessed moron. I mean, it’s impressive how quickly Fraction has established that he’s an idiot. Usually it takes a writer an issue or two and far more pages to do that!

So while I think the concept of the comic is idiotic, Fraction does a decent job with it. The team recruits people, Scott Lang resists until Reed, like the douchebag he is, actually uses Scott’s daughter’s death to guilt him into babysitting the rest of the FF kids for four minutes while Reed, like the douchebag he is, takes his own children to another dimension, which won’t be fucking dangerous at all. I mean, really, Reed? Fuck you and the fucking horse you rode in on. But Fraction does a nice job with the various kids of the Future Foundation selling the benefits of the babysitting gig to Scott, so that’s fun. And it’s always nice to see Allred’s art. I don’t love Allred as much as some, but I do love the fact that he gets work on superhero comics, because he’s such a quirky artist and he always makes superheroes look as weird as they should.

Finally, notice when the next issues are out. Fantastic Four #2 is coming out on the 12th of December. Issue #1 came out on 14 November. That means Marvel is not double-shipping it because it’s a companion title to FF, so they figure every two weeks, we’ll get one of these books (I assume; in December FF #2 is coming out on the 19th, presumably because there’s another “skip week” on the 26th because of some holiday celebrating a dude who was killed for being a socialist). That’s not a bad plan at all. However, with regard to Fantastic Four, Marvel is employing one of the few artists – Bagley – who could actually keep up with a twice-monthly schedule. Is Marvel giving a break to their slow artists, or are they flogging them to get books out twice a month until they collapse and they have to call in lesser talent? Don’t answer that! I don’t get what’s going on in the heads of Joey Q. and Axel A. I guess they know what they’re … sorry, I couldn’t even make it through that statement.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Oh, Bentley - he's incorrigible!

Morning Glories #23 by Nick Spencer (writer), Joe Eisma (artist), Alex Sollazzo (colorist), and Johnny Lowe (letterer). $2.99, 28 pgs, FC, Image.

I mentioned this last time, but it’s still true – it’s getting difficult to actually review an issue of Morning Glories properly, because it’s firmly into “It’s all part of Spencer’s Grand Scheme” kind of thing, and so what am I going to say? Stuff happens, people are killed, old characters reappear, some mysteries are answered and others are just deepened, and we just move along. The biggest problem I’ve always had with the comic is just that it’s so big and so convoluted that I’m not really sure where everything and everyone fits in, and now that Spencer has enlarged the cast, it’s even harder to keep track. Maybe when we reach issue #25 or 30 I’ll go back and re-read the whole thing, which should give me a better handle on what Spencer is doing. The book does seem to go through cycles, though – the first 6 or so issues were weird and mysterious and weren’t as good as they could have been, but then Spencer seemed to hit his stride for about 10-12 issues or so, and now he’s introduced more characters, and we’re kind of back to the weird and mysterious but not quite as good phase. If the book keeps going through cycles like that, I might get sick of it. I don’t mind that Spencer wants to keep expanding his universe, but I’m not sure if the way he’s doing it is working. We’re in a slight holding pattern right now with regard to the forward momentum of the book, and I’m hoping Spencer pulls out of it soon.

And yes, this issue is 28 pages of story, all nicely drawn by Eisma. I can’t stop stressing how impressive his work is on this book, not only from an artistic standpoint (again, Eisma is a pretty good artist, even though he’s not great yet), but also from the speed with which he works. Artists at Marvel and DC tend to be a bit more technically accomplished than Eisma is, but there’s still no excuse for him to be able to do stuff like this pretty much monthly while artists at Marvel and DC can barely finish three issues in a row.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

That might be a bit upsetting

The Tower Chronicles: Geisthawk volume 2 by Matt Wagner (writer), Simon Bisley (penciler), Rodney Ramos (inker), Ryan Brown (colorist), and Sean Konot (letterer). $7.99, 68 pgs, FC, Legendary Comics.

The second “volume” of this odd duck of a comic arrives (it’s obviously meant as a movie pitch, but with Wagner and Bisley on it, it certainly works as a comic), and it’s better than the first one – I guess Wagner could concentrate a bit more on the evil organization running the world behind the scenes and its vendetta against John Tower, our hero, and that focuses things somewhat. He still fights a few odd beasties and Nazis (which is a pretty cool mission, because I thought Wagner was going one way with it – Hitler is involved – but then goes a nice opposite way), but the main part of the book concerns the big evil organization setting a trap for him using their contacts inside the Vatican. So while there still aren’t a ton of surprises in this comic – it’s a mysterious dude killing strange creatures, and there’s an evil organization that doesn’t like him – it’s still entertaining. And it has Bisley artwork, which means that even if Wagner slips into the banal just a bit, Bisley is there to make it look bizarre and crazy, which is nice. He gives us some tremendous creatures and spooky shit, and even though I don’t love the fact that Brown’s coloring makes Bisley’s faces far too soft, when Bisley draws Tower in action against the monsters in the book, it’s really impressive.

I don’t know – this is a strange thing, but it’s enjoyable. You get a nice, thick package for eight bucks, and both Wagner and Bisley are very good comics creators, so even though you never quite lose the feeling that this is just a creation so that Legendary can cast Gerard Butler as John Tower and make a chunk of money on the movie, it’s still fun to read.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

To be fair, it's packed with protein!

Wasteland #41 (“Sleeping Satellite”) by Antony Johnston (writer), Russel Roehling (artist), and Douglas E. Sherwood (letterer). $3.99, 23 pgs, BW, Oni Press.

This is a strange issue of Wasteland, as Johnston wraps things up from the previous issue very quickly and moves on. It felt like Abi and Michael would be hanging around Thomas and Diana a bit longer, but they don’t. It’s not a bad issue, of course, but I guess I assumed (yes, I know what happens when you assume!) that when Thomas and Diana were introduced, they’d play a bigger part in the comic. They still might, of course, but not next issue, at least!

Johnston does add some important points to the “Wasteland” mythos this issue, so there is that. Diana gets injured, and in order to heal her, Abi has to come clean with Thomas, who then is forced to come clean with her. Every so often, when you’re writing a comic like this, you need to do some world-building, and this issue is a bit more of that, even though Johnston does give us an exciting chase early on, which is nice. He also hints at the problem with finding the place Abi and Michael are searching for, which I hope doesn’t mean they won’t find it. I think it’s fairly important for the book to get to A-Ree-Yass-I, and I hope Abi and Michael’s difficulties are just temporary.

Roehling continues to do a nice job with the artwork – the first two pages are a flashback, and they looks painted, which helps set them off well against the rest of the book, and the chase sequence is very well done. As I mentioned last issue, I do hope the book has a regular artist again, because Roehling is pretty darned good.

I forget how many issues Johnston is planning for Wasteland – I think it’s around 60, but I haven’t spoken to him recently about it. It continues to be a gripping and fascinating comic, and I always look forward to it!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Sorted!

Witch Doctor: Mal Practice #1 (of 6) by Brandon Seifert (writer/letterer), Lukas Ketner (artist), and Andy Troy (colorist). $2.99, 22 pgs, FC, Image/Skybound.

Witch Doctor was one of the best comics of last year, so it’s great that Seifert and Ketner are back with a new mini-series. If you happened to miss the series the first time around, it’s about a doctor who deals with supernatural cases, assisted by a strange girl who’s possessed by demons (well, I can’t remember if she’s exactly “possessed,” but close enough) and a paramedic, who acts as our point of view character, because he’s pretty much normal. Dr. Vincent Morrow is definitely not normal – he’s like a jerky version of Gregory House – but he certainly knows what he’s doing. Which is why the beginning of this new mini-series is so interesting – Morrow is seduced one night and then has no idea what happened. He eventually does figure it out, but Seifert wisely cracks Morrow’s façade enough early on so that even when he does figure stuff out, he’s still not confident about what’s going on. Plus, he does a really interesting job with “Penny Dreadful,” who works for Morrow only tenuously, and Seifert shows what happens when maybe she doesn’t want to anymore and why. It’s pretty keen.

Ketner is a very good artist, especially on this book, which requires a lot of creepiness. His Penny Dreadful is tremendous, and the creature that attacks Morrow is horrific, especially because Ketner is also good at drawing the hot woman who seduces Morrow. This is a beautiful comic – Ketner’s quirky art and Troy’s excellent colors help make Seifert’s weird scripts even better. There’s a panel where Penny Dreadful turns and looks at the reader that is terrifying – Ketner’s pose is wonderful, and Troy keeps it dark enough that we can imagine it being a lot worse. The way Morrow reacts is great, too, as he realizes that maybe he’s lost control of Penny, and that’s not a good thing. It’s a really cool page.

Go check out Witch Doctor. It’s a groovy book!

(I don’t know why it’s subtitled “Mal Practice.” Why two words? I’m sure we’ll find out, but right now, it seems odd. But maybe that’s just me!)

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Man, sucks to be him

The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service volume 13 by Eiji Otsuka (writer), Housui Yamazaki (artist), and Toshifumi Yoshida (translator). $12.99, 191 pgs, BW, Dark Horse.

Yay, my favorite manga! Two volumes in one year! It’s a Festivus Miracle!

**********

I don’t have much that’s not comics-related this week, although Suzanne Venker’s article about “The War on Men” has been making the rounds. Stephen Colbert ripped it to shreds, and Venker has tried to “explain” what she really meant. I love articles that generalizes men and women and any other group of people. They never get you in trouble! I’m not sure what Venker’s point is – that men can’t change? That women shouldn’t change because men can’t change? That all men should work and all women should raise kids? I don’t know – she doesn’t seem to know, either. I would like to point out that I haven’t worked in about seven years, and I have no interest in doing so. I’m not threatened by my wife’s ability to make money in the least. I mean, why would I be? I get to sit on my ass for a good portion of the day blogging while she’s out dealing with assholes and idiots! Yay, feminism!

I also got the results of my physical this week. I always find it interesting to go to the doctor. I’m probably 70 pounds overweight and I have high cholesterol and high blood pressure, but I’m fairly healthy. It’s kind of strange, because I never get sick (well, except for colds) and I don’t have weird diseases. I just need to lose weight. Yeah, that sucks. I can lose weight, but man, I’m lazy. It’s so much easier to sit on my ass and blog!

Anyway, let’s get to the Ten Most Recent Songs on My iPod (Which Is Always on Shuffle):

1. “Paper Doll” – P.M. Dawn (1991) “Life surrounds what’s presumed as wise; it wouldn’t be wise until the fist uncurls”
2. “You Cause As Much Sorrow”Sinéad O’Connor (1990) “It’s too late for prevention, but I don’t think it’s too late for the cure”
3. “Drunken Boat”Pogues (1993) “We squared off on a dockside with a coupled hundred Finns and we dallied in the ‘dilly and we stoaked ourselves in gin”1
4. “Know By Now”People in Planes (2008) “Is there blood in your system, are there stones in your heart?”
5. “Last”Nine Inch Nails (1992) “Dress up this rotten carcass just to make it look alive”
6. “Beautiful”Marillion (1995) “Don’t have to be the same, don’t have to be this way”
7. “Beat Me Up” – Mary’s Danish (1991) “Tomorrow you tell me that you love me, but it don’t mean a thing”
8. “Sign “☮” the Times” – Prince (1987) “Some say a man ain’t happy unless a man truly dies”
9. “No Kid”Urban Dance Squad (1989) “Absorbing the words, it’s absurd; people go with the crowd like a herd”2
10. “Solid Gold”Eagles of Death Metal (2006) “We are the stars of your real teen dream”3

1 I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ll mention it again: This might be my favorite Pogues song, which is surprising considering that MacGowan didn’t sing on it. But damn, it’s awesome.

2 My iPod works in mysterious ways. I don’t have too many Urban Dance Squad songs on it, and now it spits out two at about the same time in the week two weeks in a row. Hmmmm ….

3 Eagles of Death Metal just came up at my comics store yesterday. The owner and another dude were talking about the various bands they’ve seen live recently, and the owner mentioned Eagles of Death Metal. The other dude hadn’t heard of them, but a quick Internet search convinced him he needs to check them out. I do agree with him, though, that it’s a bad name, because it’s certainly not “death metal,” and both fans of that genre and not-fans of that genre might be a bit confused. Eagles of Death Metal makes great frickin’ videos, though.

What say we check out some Totally Random Lyrics?

“Not long now ’til the ultimate experiment
He’s breaking all the rules
He wants to cure all matter of imbalance
In this world of fools
He locks the door and looks around nervously
He knows there’s no one there
He drinks it down and waits for some reaction
To all his work and care”

Come on, that has to be an easy one, right? I can’t be the only one who loves this song, right????

Have a nice day, everyone! I hope you have a grand weekend – I’ll be cleaning up leaves for some of it, so that sucks, but I guess it’s a fair trade for sitting on my ass all day!

48 Comments

This column is my favorite one. Not only on this website, but the whole internet.

Johnny may be dumb as shit and different from Hickman’s take….but I’ve still gotten a laugh out of Fraction’s portrayal of him, so I’m entertained. I had a different interpretation of that scene though: I don’t think he was SUPPOSED to recruit Darla specifically. I guess we’ll find out next issue, but I strongly suspect he’ll end up recruiting her because he totally forgot to find someone appropriate and couldn’t be bothered.

Re: double-shipping – normally I’d agree about Bagley, but looking at February’s solicitations, it seems that Marvel is, thank God, ending its double-shipping experiment, or at least severely curt-tailing it. Well, at least for books that aren’t on a regular, twice-monthly schedule. I’m a big fan of that as it means more diversity: I’d rather seen one of my favourite writers offer two completely different books a month as opposed to two of the same.

carlos: Well, thanks. That’s very flattering. I always hope to entertain!

Alex: If you like it, that’s fine, and you make an interesting point about Darla. It doesn’t make Johnny any less dumb, but if Fraction comes out with the idea that Johnny was supposed to recruit someone else, that might be an interesting idea. Johnny is still stupid, though!

I haven’t taken a closer look at Marvel’s solicits for February, but I would LOVE it if they eased off the double-shipping completely. I know they’re still doing it for some books, but even if they get rid of it for some titles, that would be really nice. We shall see!

Goddamn Chew took me for a ride, for the sake of spoilers let’s just say it was my favorite character and I’m still upset.

@Greg

I believe there are only like 4 titles double-shipping in Feb. X-Factor, Avengers Arena, the debuting Uncanny X-Men, and something I can’t remember. That’s far, far less than the norm. I totally agree though. I’ve hated double-shipping for a wide number of reasons.

I will say though, if you don’t like Johnny, what’s your take on Fraction’s Ben? I mean, I kind of enjoy it, but he seems like an old timey caricature of himself.

It’s weird: Fraction’s Johnny and Ben make me laugh, but they also make my brain hurt and feel regressive for both characters. So it’s a mixed bag.

Scott Lang is alive now and his daughter is dead? When did that happen?

I really wish Marvel would stop doing stuff like this all the time.

Alex: I mentioned this in my review of Fantastic Four, that it felt like Fraction was just trying to show us that yeah, this is the FF – here’s Johnny acting dumb, here’s Ben getting pranked, here’s Reed being a secretive dick – and while it’s mildly humorous, I felt like it’s a waste. We know about the character traits of the Fantastic Four, so Fraction doesn’t need to do it. Perhaps that’s what you’re feeling?

Mary: In the Young Avengers Children’s Crusade comic, there was time travel (ow, my head!) and Scott was saved before he could be killed, but then his daughter was killed later in the book. Yes, more regression from the Big Two! It’s shocking!

It’s implied that Franklin and Valeria are doomed as well, since they inherited genes from both parents who are decaying from the cosmic radiation.

I enjoyed FF #1. It amuses me if/that Darla is on the team because Johnny forgot he was supposed to recruit someone, and seeing the Allreds on a Marvel book always makes me happy. And Chew… seriously. #@$*. That comic almost made me cry.

I agree with your last point about Fatale. That scene was unearned.

I believe the band chose the name Eagles of Death Metal after practicing a bit and while trying to come up with a band name one of the members basically said ,”We sound like The Eagles… of death metal.” Or that could be apocryphal.

I’m a little surprised to see that you didn’t get Thor or Legacy.

jjc: According to Wikipedia, the founders of the band thought they sounded like the Eagles crossed with death metal. I get that, but it’s still kind of a misleading name. I think it’s quite fun, but if you don’t know anything about them, it’s a bit misleading.

Yeah, I just didn’t get that scene in Fatale. I thought I missed something, but maybe Phillips didn’t draw something that was in the script or Brubaker forgot to put something in the script?

Duff: Much like the DCnU, I’m trying to switch to trades for the Marvel NOW! stuff. I did buy Deadpool, but I really, really liked Deadpool. I enjoyed Legacy, but it does seem like something that will read better in trades, and I’ve really gotten to the point where I don’t want to spend 4 bucks on Big Two comics, especially ones that are “regular-sized,” so I’m skipping Thor in single issues. I’ll probably get that in trade, though, because I did like it. So that’s why!

Thanks for asking that, Mary. I missed that as well.

I was also going to post the exact same thing as Mary.

Comics!

I’m still a bit of a wreck after reading Chew. I didn’t realise anything odd about Fatale as I had just finished Chew and was still thinking about it when I read Fatale, but Greg is right about Miles not having a particular skill. It is mentioned in issue 8 (I looked that up btw, not from memory).

Your angry reviews are always a lot of fun.

That backhanded compliment: “So while I think the concept of the comic is idiotic, Fraction does a decent job with it.” quickly turned into hating on Reed and concluded with a beautiful “Fuck you and the fucking horse you rode in on.” It’s magical, sir. Magical.

I’m also surprised that you took Batman, Inc so hard. I felt it was business as usual. Though, -that- one scene was certainly too graphic and potentially nightmare-inducing.

Just to add a little: Now, that I think about it, this is the second such graphic scene in Inc. The first one was in the Reservation issue. Isn’t this foreshadowing to something? Damn you, Morrison!

Damn, Chew was good this month- reading it was like getting punched in the heart. How will I be able to enjoy #31 when I read it?

In Fatale, I think that Miles was so physically drained that finding Josephine was the only thing keeping him up (there’s a caption that says something like that), so I guess that’s why he wasn’t able to “extricate himself” from that fix. Although in my case, even if I was in perfect physical shape, I’d be screwed in his situation :-)

Rolacka: Thanks for looking that up. I was hoping it had been mentioned, but I didn’t remember. Brubaker – thinking ahead!

cich: Well, I guess Fraction is writing Reed as a pretty good asshole, so there’s that. I happen to hate this characterization of him, but he’s a convincing dick in these two comics, which is something!

I’m glad you enjoyed it, though. I really don’t like being so angry, but I can’t stop thinking about the dumb crap in some comics, and it drives me batty!

As I pointed out, I’m really not sure why Batman, Inc. hit me so hard. So yeah, I’m surprised, too. It happens, I guess!

Dean (and everyone else who’s commented on Chew): I think that’s why it’s such a good comic – this issue is really devastating, and it’s a measure of how good Layman has been creating these characters.

Pedro: That’s a good point. He was kind of tired!

Sigh. I’m disappointed you didn’t get Nowhere Men, because selfishly I had decided that your review would be what determined whether I got it. Damnit Burgas, letting me down. Did anyone else get Nowhere Men? Thoughts?

And I’m still surprised you’re not getting Joe Kubert Presents. It’s 48 pages of story and art (no ads) for five bucks, it features great talent, and I’m not convinced its selling well enough for a trade to be a sure thing. Plus it’s on cool paper that feels kinda prestigious. If you’re retailer still has the first issue, you really should give it a whirl.

I mostly liked FF, but I do see your complaints. I had also read it that Darla ends up getting recruited because Johnny forgets to recruit whoever he was actually supposed to. My complaint about the issue is that, because I haven’t read any of Hickman’s run, I didn’t know who most of these future foundation characters are, and I was surprised/disappointed that the issue didn’t really bring people up to speed in that regard. Does anyone want to give me a tutorial? And why does Valeria seem older than Franklin? Shouldn’t Franklin be twice her age?

Anyway, the first issues of ff and fantastic four have been the “putting the concept in motion” issues, and while I don think Fraction did a particularly great job in either case, I still think the concepts are strong. I’ll give each series 3 issues to see where the concept goes and whether Fraction’s stories improve.

[...] What I bought – 28 November 2012 | Comics Should Be Good … I mean, it's not surprising the Future Batman can't stop things (if you don't know who Future Batman is, I'll just refer to him as that so as to not give anything away), but that's just Morrison going all nihilistic on us because he can. When shit really starts . Roehling continues to do a nice job with the artwork – the first two pages are a flashback, and they looks painted, which helps set them off well against the rest of the book, and the chase sequence is very well done. [...]

Forgive me for sounding thick as I’m not up with modern comics: what is double-shipping (in a one-sentence summing up) – published twice-monthly? And why does Marvel think it’s a benefit (this’ll be obvious once it’s explained)?

I chunter and grumble that The Queens Of The Stone Age have released sod-all in the last half-dozen years (Era Vulgaris, er… that’s it), but then Josh Homme has so many other projects that it’s no wonder: Eagles/Death Metal; that supergroup with Grohl and Zep’s John Paul Jones whose name escapes me; Desert Sessions (is that still ongoing?); production work with the likes of Arctic Monkeys….

@ Cich – I agree ‘Fuck you and the fucking horse you rode in on.’ was magical. I laughed out loud.

@ Greg – You’re welcome; I’m always happy to give back. And Bru IS a good planner.

Yay at the impression Marvel is reducing its double shipping. Hopefully we can get some consistent artists on titles again.

Forgive me for sounding thick as I’m not up with modern comics: what is double-shipping (in a one-sentence summing up) – published twice-monthly? And why does Marvel think it’s a benefit (this’ll be obvious once it’s explained)?

Yes, twice-monthly shipping. Marvel likes it because it makes them more money, as the sales remain steady even though there are two issues coming out in the same month.

FF: I enjoyed it. I sort of took it as the rest of the Marvel Universe’s impression of the Fantastic Four rather than how they ‘actually are.’ Kind of living up to their pop culture caricatures. I enjoyed it, though and it’s probably the NOW book I’m most interested in.

Twice Monthly Shipping: It’s a double edged sword for me. If it’s a book I like, I get it twice monthly. If it’s a book I don’t like, I couldn’t care less. The important factor (to me): if it’s a book on the borderline, it’s gone. I’m not going to pay twice as much a month for a book I’m barely enjoying. That’s just me, thougj/

Third Man: Sorry, but Nowhere Men just didn’t grab my fancy. I really appreciate that Image is bringing out a ton of new books, but a lot of them seem like random, sort-of espionage-y, sort-of horror-y, sort-of crime-y, maybe supernatural-y kind of things, and while I do enjoy me some spy comics, there’s also a limit. Some of the comics sound much better as television pitches than comics (I imagine the creators are thinking that way), and I know that if Thief of Thieves actually makes it to the small screen, I’ll probably watch it. But a lot of the new books aren’t making me leap up and take notice. That new book, Clone, has Juan Jose Ryp on art, which I should love, but the idea of a clone fighting some evil corporation just didn’t do it for me. So it was with Nowhere Men, which sounded like a fight against an evil corporation … with a twist! I don’t know. I already one fairly positive review of it, so maybe I’ll get the trade if I keep hearing good things about it.

As for the Kubert book – I looked through issue #2 (my shop sold out of issue #1), and I don’t know if it was the mood I was in, but it also didn’t grab me. It does look nice – maybe I’ll have to go back and take a better look at it!

Valeria acts older than Franklin because she’s a super-genius. I guess she’s supposed to be about four and he’s supposed to be about eight or nine, but she’s way, way, way smarter than he is, so she acts older. I don’t like how either of them has been written, pretty much ever (although I don’t read a lot of FF comics, to be fair), and I don’t like this idea. But that’s the deal!

Pete: What Brian said. I don’t like it because it means that Marvel needs to use even more artists, diluting the creative vision even further.

Them Crooked Vultures is the Homme/Grohl/Jones group. I’ve heard they’re pretty good – I should check them out.

D Eric: That’s kind of an interesting take. I’m not sure I agree with you, but it’s an interesting idea!

Even with books I like, I get a bit fatigued with twice-monthly shipping. There’s been a LOT of X-Factor this year, and while I think David is a good enough writer to keep things interesting, it just feels like I haven’t had time to absorb any of it before we zip on to the next thing. It’s been very little time since David blew up the team, and we’ve already had two issues since it happened. It’s exhausting!

Thank you all for not posting spoilers about CHEW # 30, as I haven’t gotten to reading it yet. I can’t wait, tho’.

Well now I totally have to spoil CHEW for Tom.

Damn, I don’t read it, though.

More tom-foolery later.

Travis: Man, you’re dead to me. You don’t read Chew? Do you hate good comics? Are you insane? Seek medical help, man!!!!!!

It was established a few issues ago, and there was a visual reminder last issue, Greg, about Miles’s lack of that certain skill.

Hey, I’ve read the first 4 trades, but I haven’t gotten a chance to play catch up yet. I will in 2013, ok?

Tell Layman to do an Omni of the first 30 issues, and I’ll be all over that. (or is there already a big omni of the first issues?)

Hey Bru, any chance of ever going back to Detour? I really liked that first issue of that. (Kickin’ it old school, mofos!)

Ed: Yeah, I figured you’d probably established that, but I plumb forgot. Sorry, my bad!

Travis: I think Layman is planning a 20-issue omnibus (there are already two 10-issue hardcovers), but I think he’s trying to get them out after issue #40. The 10-issue hardcovers are very cool, but since I get them in singles, I can wait for the 20-issue monsters!

If anyone was interested in the “Why Argo will win Best Picture” debate from this column a week or two ago, I finally finished and posted my detailed argument:

http://thirdmanmovies.blogspot.com/2012/11/why-ben-afflecks-argo-will-win-best.html

Tom Fitzpatrick

December 1, 2012 at 7:06 am

It’s long been established that TP has a medical problem: he blogs too much and reads little.

Solution: A trip to the Witch Doctor ought to fix him up but good. ;-)

Read Chew # 30. Whew! What a gut-wrenching, soul-wrenching, heart-wrenching issue. Completely bowled me over.

Well, now I feel bad for saying the scene in Fatale is not earned. Christ, now I have to pay attention when I read? What’s next?

jjc: Yeah, me too. I do read something like 40 single issues a month plus 10-15 collections/graphic novels, so I hope Brubaker forgives me for forgetting that detail!

I expect more from both of you going forward.

Yeah, I’m 70 pounds overweight, have high blood pressure and cholesterol too. But is sure is fun to sit on my ass and read your blogs (well, yours and Other Greg’s too).

Sir, you have great taste in comics, very similar to mine. Keep it coming.

Dang. Schooled by Brubaker!!!!!

DonW: Thanks for the nice words, sir. Every so often I get off my butt, and in the nice winter weather, it’s far easier!

I say this without having read Fatale, but if you have to specially establish that a character lacks a certain skill that most people have that would get them out of a certain situation, you’re maybe stretching things a bit. (I assume the skill is the ability to vomit at will. I know that’s gotten ME out of a lot of sketchy situations!) Especially if a few people are forgetting that said lack has been established.

On the flip side, I now wanna now what is being talked about here, so I’ll be picking up Fatale trades when they come out, so score!

All this comics business aside, has no one guessed Men at Work, “Dr. Heckyll and Mr. Jive” as the Totally Random Lyric?

Jack: You’re the first one!

More yapping!

Batman Inc. 5 was disappointing because if I read it right, that was the big reveal of what Bruce saw when he tripped through time after getting shot with the Omega Beams back in Final Crisis. That was it? And that last page was such a lame cliffhanger. I’m blanking on the scene that cich is talking about, though. Have to look at it again.

FF 1 was decent. The Johnny bit was definitely that he was supposed to have recruited someone, but not necessarily Darla. She’ll be the one he gets because he am too dumb to have gotten anyone else. I quite enjoyed the “ask someone about the thing”, as it appeared it was not The Thing that he was supposed to ask about.

Morning Glories 23 — I agree that with the world building and expanding it’s difficult to keep track of what’s going on. I’m hoping we get some more insight into the underlying conspiracy of the whole thing (if you will) before too much longer. We get a lot of hints of what’s underneath, but there’s still so much mysteriousness.

You have leaves to clean up in Arizona? I guess I just picture vast deserts.

I believe I just heard that Eagles of Death Metal are working on a new album, with Dave Grohl on drums again, and Trent Reznor on a few tracks. Sounds cool. (Oh, wait, after reading Pete’s comment, I think it was Queens of the Stone Age, not EoDM. Glad I had a reason to mix the two up, though.)

Thor 2 was pretty good, focusing mostly on the past Thor this time. And a fun little text piece by Aaron.

Third Man, I was totally going to get Nowhere Men, but didn’t find it at any of the local shops. I’m hoping, though, that the one shop that seems to be getting books late (they had DD End of Days 2 this week, and that was supposed to have been out a couple weeks ago, so I was pleasantly surprised that I was still able to pick it up) gets it in in a few weeks. Or else I’ll hit up my main shop guy for the second printing.

And seconded on the Joe Kubert Presents paper. That, to me, is the selling point. I haven’t read 2 yet, but I’m sure it’s awesome.

Also agreed with Third Man on the Future Foundation kids. Bentley that you show up there would be even funnier if we knew who the hell he was.

I’m wondering with double shipping: have the per issue sales remained fairly steady? I’m able to get to the comic store pretty much every week, and it seems like whenever I turn around, there’s a new issue of something out already. Egads! (Of course, this is happening to me even with other comics, so I think I’m just getting old or something.)

Blah Blah Blah.

Travis: Southern Arizona is a vast desert, but Phoenix and the environs have wrenched water from deep underground to force an oasis onto the landscape. We have a lot of trees, not just palm trees (which are not native to the area), and they shed their leaves like other trees, just a lot later in the year. The Chinese elm in our front yard won’t be completely stripped of leaves until late January/early February, for instance.

Travis: Batman, Inc potential spoilers: I have a really weak stomach for baby murder and Burnham seems to love to draw it as gruesomely as humanly possible. He did the same in the previous Batman, Inc volume (#7). It’s either me just remembering these things, because I hate them, or Morrison is setting up the death of our favorite Batbaby. Superheroes can’t have children, right?

Man, I still don’t remember those bits in Batman Inc. I’ll look it up, though (didn’t get a chance to yet). I highly doubt that Damian will be killed off, though. He’s become too interesting a character.

Yeah, Greg, I guess I just never thought about the flora of Arizona. Just the cliches from the Tee Vee. F’r instance, I assume that since Chad is a Canadian, he probably lives in an igloo, or is a Mountie, or perhaps has ridden a moose at some point, but I am guessing that is probably not true. Amusing to ponder, though.

And for anyone’s who’s wondered what I look and/or sound like, I may be appearing with my pal Mark on his live stream where he’s working on a new album. Watch me tell lots of inside jokes, interrupt the work he’s trying to do, and maybe I’ll even sing. Egads. I am not 100% sure that I will be there, but even if I’m not, I’m sure it’ll be entertaining. It’ll be Tuesday night around 7 PM Eastern time. The link is http://www.markscudder.com/live (which I believe will only work when the live stream is up). If you go to Mark’s site (the link here without the live bit at the end), there are links to his twitter and whatnot where I’m sure he’ll update everyone about the status of the live stream. I’ll try to update y’all if I am going to be there, but no guarantees.

@Burgas & Brubaker

So I just read the whole second arc of Fatale, and it was quite good. Definitely one of my 4 or 5 favorite ongoing books right now. But I do take issue with one element of #10…

Beware, thar be SPOILERS ahead matey.

(wait for it)

(stop reading if you don’t know what happens)

Okay, so I just don’t buy Miles Drowning. At all. Yes, I know it was established two issues prior that he can’t swim, I know some people really can’t swim, and I know the character probably had a concussion at the time from the windshield that hit his face. I also freely admit that I’m no swimming or aquatics expert, so take that as you will.

I simply don’t believe that a non-physically disabled, not-under-the-influence-of-drugs-or-alcohol adult in relatively good shape can drown in a swimming pool. I truly don’t see how it’s possible. I understand that he didn’t know how to swim, but doggie paddling is a pretty normal physical reaction, just like crawling, for the desire to create movement in yourself. Yes, if you drop a person who can’t swim in the middle of the lake, I’d believe that he/she would probably drown instead of reaching the shore by doggie paddling. But in a backyard swimming pool, where you’re probably a maximum of ten feet from the ledge even if you’re in the exact center of the pool, I refuse to believe that a normal adult who isn’t drunk or high couldn’t figure out a way to propel themselves ten feet, if the choice is that or dying. And even for people that don’t know how to swim, there’s an extremely high likelihood that they have, at one point or other, seen what swimming physically looks like. So when faced with the “move yourself ten feet or you’re dead” situation, figuring out what type of movements are helpful doesn’t seem like a stretch. And even people that can’t swim can figure out how to tread water for at least a minute or two.

Yes, I know people drown in swimming pools. I know it happens. But aren’t they mostly young children, or people under the influence of substances? Does this happen to normal adults?

And yeah, maybe this is nitpicky, and I know reading comics demands a suspension of disbelief, but this scene bothered me. For a major character to die in such a completely ludicrous (at least to me) way, it bothered me.

However, I loved the last four pages of the book, and the narration about coincidence. I’m really looking forward to the next four issues of stand alone stories.

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