“More Water, Ma’am?”…Comics? They still make 'em and I still read ‘em!

Enter my personal four colour nightmare! Gonna make your eyes boil like eggs! Or bore you senseless. Hard to tell really. Anyway, I read some comics wrote some words - it's a story as old as Love itself! Like my face. (You look lost, stranger - The Shipping List is the next post down)

You know, without your glasses and your hair down like that you look like you'd enjoy hearing about:

PUNISHERMAX#14 by Jason Aaron(w), Steve Dillon(a), Matt Hollingswoth(c) and VC’s Cory Petit(l) (Marvel/Disney, $3.99)

“FRANK Part Three”: Then: Back from The ‘Nam Frank continues to brighten up the lives of all around him while exploring new career opportunities. Now: A wholly expected riot erupts. Will Frank learn to hate again. Will he learn to kill again? Time may just be running out for everyone’s favourite sad mass murderer…

Yes, every story element in this comic is so totally unoriginal that every scene is as familiar to me as my sainted mother’s “disappointed” face, but it cannot be denied that it still retains narrative power and wrongful fascination enough to stick a shank right into any misgivings and jerk that sucker about until the toothbrush handle snaps in half. Nick Fury is a bit of a cranky man though; I think Frank would make a great dishwasher. Keep him away from the cutlery perhaps.  Also, I hope Big Jesus’ surname is Trashcan. Oh, I see, I see how it is. It’s just David Bowie references that are Da Kewl. Fine.

Meanwhile Steve Dillon’s backgrounds continue their audition for a revamp of the Simon MacCorkindale detective/body horror series but they appear to have misheard the title as “Minimal”. It’s too late. I made that joke thirty-five minutes ago! Somewhat predictably this was VERY GOOD!


FLASHPOINT BATMAN: KNIGHT OF VENGEANCE #1 by Brian Azzarello(w), Eduardo Risso(a), Patricia Mulvihill(c) and Clem Robbins(l) (DC Comics, $2.99)

Thomas Wayne is The Batman! The Joker has kidnapped Harvey (not Two-Face!) Dent’s twins(!). How nasty will it get before someone tranq darts Brian Azzarello? Very, I'm guessing.

I really like Brian Azzarello’s Batman and the reason I really like Brian Azzarello’s Batman is because he is so very, very unlikeable. There’s no way this is accidental. Of course in regular DCU continuity Mr. Azzarello’s apparent experiment in aversion therapy is hampered by the fact that Batman can’t just machete open Killer Croc’s head like a coconut. Luckily the very special, very Geoff Johns-ian, magic of Flashpoint is that Batman can in fact do just that. So he does. So here’s Batmaniac, kids; everything everyone who ever got upset that Batman didn’t just kill The Joker has ever wanted. Now eat it. Eat it all up. Eat. It.

Mr. Eduardo Risso brings his usual experimental theatre production approach full of weird lighting sources, minimal stage design, excellent blocking and fine character acting and it is a dreamy thing indeed. This comic also has the dubious honour of having a last page so nasty the thoughts it provoked made me ashamed of my own brain. Relentlessly foul and repellent and, since that seems to be wholly the point, - EXCELLENT!


DOOM PATROL #22 by Keith Giffen(w), Ron Randall(a), Pat Brosseau(l) and Guy Major (c). (DC Comics, $2.99)

“Doomsday (No, Not Him)”: Mother of God, is this the end of The Doom Patrol? Like any of you lot care, right? Waaaahhhhhh!

I say, I say, I say, why do trade waiters read with gloves on? Because their hands are wet with the blood of cancelled comics! Bwa ha, and indeed, ha! Despite art that barely lurched above serviceable Keith “Take Me For Granted, Please!” Giffen served up a series that was loopy, clever, dense and oddly moving. Like a crab with a wooden leg. One that’s really good at telling stories, mind you.

The climax to the issue/series was a hilarious piece of rug pullery; the sort of thing that might upset some, but probably only because they forgot that in THE DOOM PATROL anything can happen and probably already did while you were separating your socks. It’s the sort of “4th Wall Breaking” that’s been going on since the ‘40s but that’s still inexplicably taken as modern and has folks breaking out “meta” (your flexible friend!) and in all likelihood blaming the series’ demise (but only if the series is sexy!) on the incredibly difficult demands it made on the poor audience (The Ben 10 Defence).

Not here, though, none of that will be happening here because Keith Giffen just thinks making smart comics is part of his job and that’s just not going to give anyone a pup tent in their pants now is it? Well, y’know what, every time I read an issue I was entertained and call me unfashionable (that’s your cue…) but that made this series VERY GOOD!


T.H.U.N.D.E.R. AGENTS#7 by Nick Spencer(w), Cafu/Bit(a), Mike Grell(a), Nick Dragotta(a), Santiago Arcas(c),Val Staples(c), Lee Loughridge(c), Patrick Brosseau(l)

“On Victoria”: What if the original Dynamo and The Iron Maiden had shacked up in suburbia? Would a panel consisting of her hand holding a cucumber make you turgid?

Oh dear, no. I rather think not. Here it is, my nightmare made paper – a whole page consisting of four panels the sum total of which is that a woman on a plane is asked if she wants a glass of water. She accepts. The only useful narrative information transferred is that she is preoccupied and reading a file about The Iron Maiden.

Enough, already! That’s a whole page up the Swanee right there. You only have 20 of these things now, y’know. Either writers today cannot see the very real differences between ALIEN: THE ILLUSTRATED STORY by Archie Goodwin and Walter Simonson and ALIEN: THE PHOTONOVEL or they think their readers can’t. You want to do cinematic comics see the aforementioned Goodwin/Simonson masterpiece or read AMERICAN FLAGG! Howard Victor Chaykin didn’t nearly kill his fragrant self breaking new ground just so you could all drive away readers with lazy tat! Nothing personal to all the talented individuals involved but this approach is helping no one because it is AWFUL!

BONUS! Courtesy of the preview of CAPTAIN AMERICA #1 here’s Steve “Did I mention the shield is quite important to me?” Rogers with Comic Book Scripting Secrets #2398:

“If I narrate something quite ordinary/but spread it out/over enough panels/by Sterile Steve McNiven/ or maybe Banal Bryan Hitch/by the time/I have finished/saying it/you will assume/you have read/something of substance.” Repeat. For ten years. EH!

Yeah, I'll probably read some more comics and, yeah, I'll probably tell you about 'em too later, see?  'Cos you can't stop me copper, see? See?

(PS Working on the scans thing but don't hold your breath is my advice.)

Thanks for letting me into your eyes!