Good Book Readin'!

Here is were I will be reviewing a variety of comic books in my own inimitable style. Which hopefully is good.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Uncanny X-Mas!

Yeah, yeah, I hope to do more comics stuff next year. Meantime, Happy Xmas!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

These guys can go. The puppets convinced me.

Countdown #38

I love the Deep Six. Those guys are awesome. Unfortunately, every time they appear in a comic they get killed. I guess them's the breaks. Hey, maybe DC's just killing the New Gods so they can bring 'em back as zombies. Kids love zombies. In other news, the "History" of the Multiverse is finally done. I think that might make this my favourite issue of Countdown yet. Or perhaps it makes the next issue my favourite . . .

Green Lantern #22

Ya know, I always dug the Green Lantern Corps. I mean, Green Lantern is cool enough on his own, but to have thousands of nutty alien counterparts? That's tough to beat. And now they've all got more nutty alien evil counterparts? Glorious! Sadly, a lot of our boys (and gals) are getting offed these days, but I'm sure that's just to pave the way for more nutty aliens. Anyhow, the point is that the Sinestro Corps War is so exciting, fun, and dramatic that I don't even know what else to say about it. Not only does it have an Anti-Monitor (who is way cooler than any regular Monitor), but it even manages to make Cyborg-Superman awesome. That's a really difficult accomplishment, and deserving of high praise indeed. One small quibble: Shouldn't Kyle-Parallax's energy constructs be all yellow? Seeing as how Ion got yanked outta him there. And Hal makes a mention of his yellow beams. I'm looking at you, Moose Baumann. We're still pals, but don't think my high praise last week gives you license to get sloppy.

X-Factor #22

This here is a good book. Unfortunately, I think in order to enjoy it you not only have to have read every previous issue, but also any previous X-book by Peter David, as well as most of David Hine's X-work, and House of M, and God only knows what else. Which is a shame, since I don't think most people have done that. And the double shame is that David's doing such a good job using all of that material. And Pablo Raimondi's art just keeps getting top-notcher all the time. How about you give it a try anyhow, and if you don't understand something, just ask me. I like this book a lot; I'm willing to lend a hand. Bonus Review: Hey, there's an Endangered Species back-up! Well, I'm a big fan of the Beast! And I like Mike Carey! And Mike Perkins, as well! Too bad this whole story is dead boring and long and scattered to the four corners of the world. Feel free to yawn now. PS - Does Dark Beast really call himself Dark Beast? Because that's dumb. It is, in fact, so dumb that it makes regular dumb look like Nikola Tesla multiplied by Albert Einstein.

Fables #64

Hey, we got a guest artist here, and he's quite good! I'm rather sure I've never heard of Aaron Alexovich before, but he's got a really fun style. Like if a Phillip Bond comic was making out with My Faith in Frankie, and then someone took a picture of it with Rick Geary's camera. Delightful! Meanwhile, the book's story continues to entertainingly build to something I bet's gonna be big-time big. You heard it here first. I assume.

Daredevil #99

There's so much good about Daredevil right now I hardly even know what to say. So I'll just say these things: Ox. Montana. Fancy Dan. Yep! It's the Enforcers! It makes me giddy to see those guys show up in even the lousiest of comics, so I'm glad there's no glee-o-meter in my home. It just would've busted when I read this, getting mercury or some crud all over the place. Ed Brubaker is great. More on that in a moment.

Casanova #8

I've been loving this book from the get-go, and I'm so glad to have it back. I also somehow missed the fact that artist Gabriel B· has been replaced by his twin brother F·bio Moon on the book. Which was a little jarring at first. However, by the end of page one I was thrilled with the change. Make no mistake, I really dug B·'s work, but I think I might dig Moon just a little bit more. His work has a similar personality, and is just as kinetic, but his thick, languid brushwork lends everything a nice weight, and somehow makes it all seem just a little more alive. Not to mention his sketchwork in the back, which is brilliant. And if I ever find myself missing Gabriel B·, I'll still have Umbrella Academy, to which I am greatly looking forward at. My one qualm with the art is Moon's choice in blues, which may just be a titch too intense. It makes my eyes vibrate more than I'm used to. As for the writing, Matt Fraction continues along at a frantic pace, throwing delicious make-'em-ups at us willy-nilly as his story picks up, packs up, and takes off. I don't know where it's going, I'm not sure Fraction knows where it's going, and I'm probably more than a little confused, but that's why I love that zany Casanova. He's never, ever boring. Go now and check out the gorgeous hardcover. It's like eating the world's wildest peach.

Criminal #8

Remember how Ed Brubaker is great? Here it is. I can't say more, just read it. Then you'll also get to see Sean Phillips produce possibly the finest work of his distinguished career. I've been a fan for some long time now, and still can't even put a point on what makes his Criminal art so damn good. I can only assume it's got just a little extra heart and soul than, say, Marvel Zombies or any other decent bill-payer. This is the work that leaves no doubt that the artist really, truly cares about what he's doing. Beautiful.

Batman #667

Some artists care, and some are just lunatics. I'm becoming convinced J.H. Williams maybe a dangerous hybrid of both. I'd also forgotten that he'll draw any the hell way he damn pleases. Throughout this issue I see characters in the style of Rude, Cassaday, Sprouse, Chaykin, McGuiness, Gibbons . . . Williams ain't just great, he's got great taste! And while he may have toned down a little on the designiness of his pages, he's far from left it behind. He's just holding onto it like a concealed weapon to be unleashed on the unsuspecting. Pow! And that gives you pages 16 and 17. He simply can't make a non-incredible looking comic book. Which goes very nicely with Grant Morrison, who more than ever just grabs classic and modern sensibilities and mashes hem together like grapefruit and a face. Only less painful and demeaning. Absolutely fantastic, I eat it up like a spoon.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Why would you sleep with a woman who looks like Doctor Doom?

Let's have a look inside my magic sack of comics and see what we'll talk about today! (Ooh, I feel just like Santy Claus . . .)

All right, there's no magic sack of comics. But here's some I done read this week.

Countdown #39 (of what, 0? How does that work again?)

Back-up by Dan Jurgens and Jerry Ordway

What's that you ask? Who did the main story? Doesn't matter, I'm not talking about it. No, no time for that, we have more pressing matters here. This back-up is getting waaayyy too big for it's britches. Yeah, it first it seemed kinda handy; lots of people don't know the full history of the multiverse. However, most of that was quite irrelevant, as that multiverse is not the multiverse of today. Oh, but that's okay, we'll cover today's multiverse as well. Fine. Only, that history just happened. I mean, come on! Anyone who cares already knows! It's ridiculous, even the monitors are telling each other what they already know.

Monitor 1: "Then the worlds split apart"

Monitor 2: "I know, and Mr. Mind bit them."

Monitor 3: "Yes, and that changed them"

Monitor 1: "That's right."

Monitor 39: "Mm hmm."

So that's quite a waste of time. But now, now they're not even telling you the history, they're telling you the, well, now. And not of the multiverse, so much as themselves. And it's still. Boring. With at least two more chapters to go, since they didn't say "To be concluded" at the end. You know what? This is stupid. It wasn't enough for Dan Jurgens to kill Superman in the lamest most grueling possible way, now he wants to do the same to my love of DC comics. What a jerk.

The New Avengers: Illuminati #4 (of 5)

Wrote by Brian Michael Bendis and Brian Reed, Drew by Jim Cheung and pals

Sorry, more than one inker and you become "pals". Anyhow, my feelings about this series are more mixed than a girlie drink. So far one constant remains: it looks phenomenal. Jim Cheung should just draw a Marvel Universe time travel story or something. I'd like to see him draw everything. Ever. Just, maybe, if you could, get someone else to write it. It's weird, there was a time Bendis wrote my favourite comic book going (Alias, by the way), and I was delighted to see him use the Marvel U as his playground. Now I just want him to pack up and go home. Mind you, the first two issues of this were good fun, and nicely fulfilled the promise of the Illuminati's premise by showing us what this ultra-secret group has been doing behind the scenes throughout the years. Then there was a bit of a wait, followed by large dollop of pointless nonsense about the Beyonder being a mutant inhuman or some balderdash. That issue was, in many ways, dumb. This issue less so, but not by quite enough. It starts off with a lot of guy-talk about gals, with some witty, fun dialogue that unfortunately just seems out of place and often quite out of character. But then things pick up, as we visit Noh-Varr (of Grant Morrison's nigh forgotten Marvel Boy miniseries) (which is great) in prison and our heroes try to convince him to be a good guy, maybe even the new Captain Marvel! Which seems unlikely, since the old one has just time traveled to today and is getting his own series. And that causes me to wonder whether this is really such a major moment in Marvel history, as compared to previous issues. I mean, that is the point of the series, right? Then Reed Richard says something nice to his wife in a profoundly retarded way. Wotta maroon.

Elephantmen #10 (or 11, if you read the indicia. Odd.)

By Richard Starkings and Moritat

Is anyone else reading this book? It's quite good.

Justice Society of America # 11

Writed by Geoff Johns, Drawed by Fernando Pasarin and Rodney Ramos

Much as I disapprove of two "chill-out" issues in a row, Johns is delivering some solid backstory for a few of the team's newer members here. Plus there's a chunk of decent bad-guy stopping thrown in for good measure. I miss Dale Eaglesham when he's not here, but Pasarin and Ramos do quite and able job on the art chores. All in all, a satisfying issue of a really good series.

She-Hulk #20

Wroten by Dan Slott and Ty Templeton, Drowned by Rick Burchett and Cliff Rathburn

Things are starting to wrap up as Slott's damn fine run draws to a close. That said, this is easily the weirdest, most confusing issue of the entire series. I quite enjoyed it, but there was more than one point where I wasn't sure if I was meant to know what was going on, if maybe I'd forgotten something, or perhaps it's filling me in? I suppose that's the risk when so much is going on. Be that as it may, I feel well compensated by Man-Thing's squeaky kitty and Shulkie referring to the Ultimate Marvel Universe as the "cosmic equivalent of a hot trophy wife". Sadly, Ultimate Marvel probably took it as a compliment.

Metal Men #1 (of 8)

By Duncan Rouleau

Man, I used to hate Duncan Rouleau. Not no more, I don't. He's really cleaned up his work with nice, sharp lines and thoughtful yet kooky page layouts. It's like a snazzier, jazzier Tim Sale filtered through a less-crazy Chris Bachalo. This is then deftly coloured by Moose Baumann, who seems to be working hard to become my favourite colourist going. He knows when to get fancy and when to keep it low-key, and his colour choices are bang-on. Oh yeah, and Rouleau wrote the thing, too; his first writing gig, if I'm not mistaken. And it's fun, like the Metal Men should oughtta be. There's some mysterious ancient mumbo-jumbo in the prologue, a swell robotic punch-'em-up to get going, a classy origin-style flashback to fill us out, and a twisty, time-travely cliffhanger topping us off. Rouleau handles the characters well, using the team's dynamic quite well while giving us just a taste of new member Copper. I think she's gonna fit in nicely. But his Doc Magnus is the real star, a brilliant yet uncertain man, seen both long before and well after his bouts with mental collapse. Ice off that cake with some delightful early Metal Men prototypes and a charming guest appearance by pre-villainous T.O. Morrow and you've got one of my favourite new books in some time.

Midnighter #10

By Keith Giffen, Chris Sprouse, and Karl Story, respectively

You know, I'm never certain whether getting to know The Authority as actual people is a good idea or not. Sometimes it just seems like they're only real purpose is exciting, over-the-top, blockbustery razzmatazz. Otherwise, what's the point? And so far this series has just been a fun, slightly nutty action book. Neat! So yeah, I was uncertain about the idea of an origin story. These guys should be beyond origins. Well, I might take a little nibble at those words. Characterization, backstory, origins, they may not be appropriate for everybody, but if they're done well then it's hard to be a bad idea. And I gotta say, Giffen's doing it well. I think we're in for a good journey of self-discovery, and some swell action to grease those wheels. And that guy with the flag face, that's classic Giffen. Even when he's not drawing he's avoiding drawing faces. Beautiful. Speaking of drawing, I will admit: Even if Giffen was half-assedly writing a piss-poor story here, I'd keep buying it as long as Sprouse kept drawing it. That guy is amazing. Now if the colourist would just chill out a little. The colours aren't terrible; they're just a bit much. It's clean, simple art, try and complement that.

Spider-Man/Fantastic Four #4 (of 4)

By Jeff Parker, Mike Wieringo, and Wade von Grawbadger

Speaking of over-colouring. That is my only complaint about this book. Super-fun, highly entertaining, this is what every Spidey and/or FF book should try to be. Heck, it's what 94 % of super-hero comics should try to be. Jeff Parker is one of the guys who really remember why we all love this stuff in the first place. And Mike Wieringo, there's a fella who practically bleeds fun. I miss this series already.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Mary -- Please stop climbing on the seven deadly enemies of man. Thank you.

All righty, it's been a while, but as Rachelle's asked me to help pick up her slack while she's on tour, I'll try 'n' dust off the old reviewing keyboard. Which is encrusted with filth, let me tell you. Well, here goes. These are some comics I just read the other day:

Silver Surfer: Requiem #2 (of 4)

By J. Michael Straczynski and Esad Ribic

Straczinski's utter lack of a sense of humour isn't the problem here. It's his highly irrational conviction that he's got a great sense of humour. I already knew this, but had honestly thought this series would be hampered more by his tendency to be a pretentious blowhard. I mean, come on, the Silver Surfer tends to be a bit of a windbag himself sometimes. But somehow the two cancelled each other out just enough to make the first issue a tolerable read. Aside from a flimsy excuse for the Surfer to be dying: "Yes, it seems your power cosmic granted you by one of the most powerful beings ever, who predates our entire universe and is beyond almost all human comprehension is irreparably wearing out after, oh, ten, maybe twenty years? Tops? How long have you been doing this again?" Yeah, anyhow, if you buy into that, it's okay. Until Spidey shows up. And he just flaps his stupid gums for twenty-odd pages like he's got Tourette's syndrome. What a knob. Oh well, I'm only buying this for the art anyhow, which is gorgeous. Ribic's stuff is great, kind of realistic with a flair for the fantastic, think of Alex Ross way back when, before he lost the magic and all his heroes started looking down on me with contempt as though I just wet my pants in the 7th Grade (which, by the way, was totally not my fault).

Super-Villain Team-Up: M.O.D.O.K.'s 11 #1 (of 5)

Written by Fred Van Lente, penciled by Francis Portela, inked by Terry Pallot

All right, so they had trouble choosing a title. I won't begrudge 'em, on account of this book is terrific fun. A bunch of second-through-fourth rate Marvel villains are brought together for a big heist by the big head himself. I'm pretty much sold right there, but to back it up is some nice, solid artwork from a couple of guys I've never heard of before. Lurking somewhere between Steve McNiven and Clayton Henry, Portela and Pallot serve up a delightful looking smorgasbord of Super-Villain Team-Uppery indeed. This book also stands alongside other recent minis like Union Jack and the nigh-forgotten Spider-Man: Breakout for not just using obscure villains but using them well. Not as jokes, "Look at me, I dress like a goof and have a dumb name, ha-ha-ha", but as actual characters and/or threats who happen to live in a world where people do dress like goofs and often have dumb names to boot. That's the fun. So go read this book, M.O.D.O.K.'ll thank you for it.

M.O.D.O.K. - Mobile Organism Designed Only for Killing.
Shown here killing an ice cream.

The Programme #1 (of 12)

By Peter Milligan and CP Smith

This one I'm not sure about yet. I think I like it. The idea seems pretty cool, and I almost always enjoy Milligan's work. I just hope things clear up a little bit. Maybe that's just the art, which does have some neat shots and at times achieves a nice Sean Phillips-y vibe, but more often seems vague, cold and flat. Smith's got talent, though, and I like his work a lot more now than I used to, so this book gets the benefit of at least a few more doubts.

Captain America # 28

By Ed Brubaker, Steve Epting, and Mike Perkins

Great, as usual. Plus, the Eel shows up. I love that guy!

Justice League of America #11

By Brad Meltzer and Gene Ha

A bit of a cool-down after the break-neck thrill ride of the last few issues. Not amazing, but good, and elevated by Gene Ha's spectacular artwork. He's trying something a little different here, really roughing his stuff up, and it works really well. That guy draws like 7 maniacs and a looney tune.

Shazam! The Monster Society of Evil #4

By Jeff Smith
A wonderful conclusion to a fantastic miniseries. It certainly makes the otherwise passable Trials of Shazam look like a big pile of rotten stinkfish. I don't know what the hell Smith's gonna do to follow this one up. Hopefully a sequel, there's certainly plenty of the Captain Marvel mythos left for him to play with. The book is just so very much fun; in a way few others are these days. Totally kid-propriate, but not a simplistic as most Johnny DC or Marvel Age series. There's a very strong children's book flavour, as evidenced by the Maurice Sendakian big-head-little-hands physique on Billy, Mary, and even Sivana. And it's action packed, with a double-page spread I would love to see made into a poster. I'm pretty much gonna stop now, because I could keep vomiting praise all over this book for days, but there is one tiny nit for me to pick. They finally reveal the Monster Society Secret Code (a basic alphabetic sequence inversion), for those of you who hadn't figured it out, and proceed to misuse it on the very same page when you decode the final secret message:


Monday, July 09, 2007

I promise that there will be more comic book related content up soon, but in the meantime, here's the reason why there hasn't been any:

Monday, May 28, 2007

No Comic Books Today!

No sir! Instead I bring you an advance sneak peek-a-bout at the music video I'm working on. And here it is.

Stop Talking by The Stolen Minks. Coming soon.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Dig it, man!

It's Archie's Love Scene!
Looks pretty groovy, eh? There's probly gonna be some beat poetry, beads, maybe some - hold up! What's that logo up there?
Yessir, it's Christian Comics! At low, low prices!

I really don't have a lot to say about this comic. I think it mostly speaks for itself. I will say this: In no other Archie comic have I seen so much as an inkling that there is any such thing as sex and/or drugs. Only Christianity, man . . . Anyhow, here are some choice panels, make of them what you will.

At this point I would like to jump in just to mention that during the following story where Hot Dog fantasizes about being human, he still doesn't speak aloud during his entire fantasy dream sequence . . .
. . . however. Upon waking up to reality, he is faced with such powerful, important questions that he simply must speak out loud for the first and only time ever.

And there we have it, the bizarre and difficult to explicate world of Christian comics, summed up as succinctly as I can. Now I must go, but I leave you with the following words:

today's broadcast brought to you by: Archie's Love Scene (1973), written and drawn by Al Hartley. I think.