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DC Archives - Comics Should Be Good! @ Comic Book Resources

Flippin’ through Previews – August 2015

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Oh, it’s a special edition of the latest tour through the Previews catalog! Will it be the new normal? We shall see!
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1987 And All That: The Spectre #1-9

A column in which Matt Derman (Comics Matter) reads & reviews comics from 1987, because that’s the year he was born. Click here for an archive of all the previous posts in the series.

Spectre1The Spectre #1-9 (DC) by Doug Moench, Gene Colan (#1-6), Cam Kennedy (#7-8), Gray Morrow (#9), Steve Mitchell (#1-6), Adrienne Roy (#1-6, 9), Michele Wolfman (#7-8), John Costanza (1-5), Agustin Mas (#6-9), Robert Greenberger

The Spectre is kind of a jerk, but that’s ok, because so is Jim Corrigan, the man who serves as the his human host. They’re jerky in different ways, which causes a lot of friction between them, and also makes them quite the entertaining pair to follow as a reader. Their relationship is kind of a mixed-up buddy cop thing; the Spectre is in some ways the loose cannon character, because Corrigan never knows what he’ll do next and can’t really trust him not to overreact to any given situation. Yet the Spectre is also the more serious of the pair, and all of his actions are motivated by the demands of a higher authority. Meanwhile, Corrigan is a wise-cracking rogue and anti-authority in general, yet wants to reign in the Spectre and stop him from always being so severe in his treatment of the various villains they face. So neither one of them fits neatly into a recognizable character mold, yet as a duo, they have a very familiar dynamic, one partner trying to keep the other in check as they work toward common goals with very different methods. And all the while, they are both largely unlikable as people, yet interesting as characters, and because they’re always fighting against much worse people than themselves, I’m on their side even when they’re being aggressively pigheaded and annoying. The Spectre does a fantastic job of making compelling figures out of its two miserable leads by pitting them against each other morally despite the fact that they are ostensibly on the same side. They’re both good guys, technically, but neither of them are necessarily all that good at being good. Instead, they make each other better, while simultaneously making one another feel worse, a conflicted team bound together against their wills who only barely make their partnership work. Continue Reading »

Flippin’ through Previews – July 2015

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It’s the dog days of summer (or is it? – here in the AZ, the dog days last from May to October, so I’m never sure when they actually are), but Previews #322 offers hope for the future! Let’s take a look!
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1987 And All That: Captain Atom #1-10

A column in which Matt Derman (Comics Matter) reads & reviews comics from 1987, because that’s the year he was born. Click here for an archive of all the previous posts in the series.

CaptainAtom1Captain Atom #1-10 (DC) by Cary Bates, Greg Weisman (#10), Pat Broderick, Bob Smith, Carl Gafford (#1-4, 6-10), Bob LeRose (#5), John Costanza (#1-3), Agustin Mas (#4-5), Duncan Andrews (#6-10), Denny O’Neil

It’s not always an easy distinction to make, but there’s a difference between doing good and being good, and Captain Atom is all about skirting that line. The title character is a good man who does bad things for good reasons, and then uses those bad things to allow himself to do good things, too. After gaining his powers, he is coerced by the U.S. military into being a superhero, but I believe that he probably would’ve chosen that life (or something close to it) for himself anyway because of his core decency and sense of responsibility. He’s a good person doing good deeds, but doing them in an arguably bad way, lying to the world about his past and present in the name of protecting the less-good men who control his life. And there are consequences for his deceptions, sometimes serious ones, meaning that for all the positive work he does, there’s always a certain taint around him, a hidden shame he can never entirely shake. It makes him an extremely interesting character to follow, because even when he’s saving the day as a superhero, the reader understands that he’s still trapped as a soldier, following orders and keeping secrets he doesn’t always like. Captain Atom is a sad but also hopeful figure, improving his life and earning his freedom inch by difficult inch. Continue Reading »

What I bought – 24 June 2015

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She even learnt the language of a strange country which, Signor Tosetti had been told, some people believed still existed, although no one in the world could say where it was. (The name of this country was Wales.) (Susanna Clarke, from Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell)
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DCYou and You, Week Four

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After a big week 3, this week DC only released three of the DCYou books. That seems like poor planning. They couldn’t have held a few from last week for this week? Oh well – let’s check them out!
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DCYou and You, Week Three

Big week for DC this time around – third weeks always seem to be huge – but were the comics any good? Go below the cut … if you dare!
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What I bought – 10 June 2015

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“The real revolution will be when women carry arms.” (Italo Calvino, from If on a winter’s night a traveler)
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DCYou and You, Week Two

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All right all right all right, we have Week Two DCYou comics to check out! You know you love ‘em, and you know I do too!
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Flippin’ through Previews – June 2015

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It’s a week late, but for some, it’s still too soon! Let’s dive into Previews #321 and see what’s the haps!
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What I bought – 3 June 2015

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A man haunted by a fixed idea is insane. He is dangerous even if that idea is an idea of justice, for may he not bring the heaven down pitilessly upon a loved one? (Joseph Conrad, from Nostromo)
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DCYou and You, Week One

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So DC just finished their latest big, continuity-fixing event, their this-time-it-really-counts and honest-and-for-true this-is-the-last-time-we’re-doing-this and don’t-worry-we-got-it-right-this-time event, in which I guess they decided the last 30 years didn’t count? Is that it? I don’t know, I’m just here for the aftermath. After less than four years of the New 52, now we have DCYou! Wait, DCYou? Really, DC? Okay, then. But along with new branding comes … new comics! All that was old is new again! All that had failed before will definitely not fail now! Let’s kick out the jams, because there’s one thing we can all agree on:
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1987 And All That: Wild Dog #1-4

A column in which Matt Derman (Comics Matter) reads & reviews comics from 1987, because that’s the year he was born. Click here for an archive of all the previous posts in the series.

WildDog1Wild Dog #1-4 (DC) by Max Collins, Terry Beatty, Dick Giordano, Michele Wolfman, John Workman, Mike Gold

I have sort of a weird relationship with Wild Dog. Unlike most of the comics I review for this column, this is one I’ve read before. Multiple times, in fact. But I don’t revisit this series because it’s one of my favorites; on the contrary, I find it mostly disappointing, with too much wasted potential, mostly flimsy characters, and a glorification of violence that’s extreme even for a superhero comicbook. Wild Dog is arguably not a superhero title since the main character has no powers, but if you put on a mask and have a fake name, you’re a superhero in my mind. If Batman and Green Arrow count, Wild Dog certainly does. Anyway, my original point is that I’m not a very big fan of this comic, but even after all this time, I want to be a fan. I wish this book was better, meatier, more worthwhile. It seems like it wants to do a lot of things that I would really enjoy, but it never quite gets there, too trapped in its own weird structure and mixed-up priorities. Continue Reading »

What I bought – 27 May 2015

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“The scene was night in a summer garden. Pinprick stars gleamed down on shaking summerhouses. Plotters glided behind pasteboard hedges. I saw a woman, dressed in her maid’s clothes, hear her husband utter the first tender words he has offered her in years only because he thinks she is someone else. Could one catch a realer moment? And how except in the net of pure artifice? The disguises of opera had been invented for Mozart.” (Peter Shaffer, from Amadeus)
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