A tri-purpose post. One, to announce this will definitely be my last post until I get back from the honeymoon, and two, to test the theory that people getting married in a week should not review comic books on the Internet. Although I feel perfectly relaxed, comfortable and cheery, I’m having trouble remembering my own name, much less what happened to Scorpion in Amazing Fantasy #12. Either it’s early Alzheimer’s or I am freaking the fuck out on a level at which I’m only vaguely aware. It’s cool. Oh, and three is, I got to hang out at the shop on Friday with Fanboy Rampage’s Graeme McMillan who is cool and funny and gives very good wedding advice. (So does Geoff Johns, as long as I’m namedropping.) I’m tempted to say I want to be Graeme when I grow up but since I’m already older than he is, I should admit I've missed my chance. “Grim” was a very welcome addition to the regular crew of crazy bastards, and I’m really glad he stopped by to chat. Thanks, dude!
AMAZING FANTASY #12: Uh…so, like…stuff happened? I’d missed the last couple of issues of this but still kinda enjoyed it. And the back-up story had nice art and a guest appearance from Werewolf By Night, which is enough to make an old-school Marvel geek like me happy. Let’s say OK, despite my shocked realization that Leonard Kirk is apparently drawing one out of every four comic books on the stands.
AUTHORITY THE MAGNIFICIENT KEVIN #1: I’d skipped the last couple of these (in fact, not sure I ever got past the first issue of the first mini) but thought this particular issue was funny, in a very, very cheap way. Also, since I’m an old school Marvel geek, I thought Ennis’ (more than likely unintentional) updating of Gerber’s “dwarf…with a gun!” shtick to a demonic whirlwind that shouts “I…Am…A…Vagina!” while hurtling coma-inducing cream pies was pretty darn keen. Almost makes up for having to read about The Authority. OK.
BAKERS #1: The price point stings, but it’s self-published, whattya going to do? The character design and body language are top-notch, the gags can be a little threadbare, and it’ll be a delight to read in a format where the price point doesn’t make me quiver. If $3.00 for you is the equivalent of a dime, you’ll find this Good. The rest of us reading three wordless black and white panels per page will probably be more Eh-ish about the whole thing.
BLOOD OF THE DEMON #7: I thought it was pretty cool that Etrigan was in a prison formed by cross sections of Jason Blood’s face. And then when he busted out? Dude. Apart from that and some vivid drawn and quartering, nothing made any lasting impression on me whatsoever. Eh.
CABLE DEADPOOL #19: I guess it’s an attempt to show why these two characters should still be sharing a book by casting some light on their respective pasts. And it works, I think, along with a nice little narrative mix-‘em-up at the end. My problem is that the art is just—I dunno—too cute? Too flat? I mean, Christ knows, Cable and Deadpool don’t deserve the Alex Ross treatment but this seemed so coloring booky. OK.
EXILES #69: I’m kinda sick of House of M tie-ins, frankly. For a company-wide crossover, I’d say the quality has been pretty good (as in this issue here) but I just…don’t…care. Eh.
FELL #1: I thought this was really Very Good. The reduced page count means neither Ellis nor Templesmith can fart around, and they don’t: the storytelling is brisk, fresh and open. The story reminds me of a bit of the Frank Ironwine one-shot Ellis did for his Apparat, but I liked the approach there and I like it here. And it’s under two bucks! Worth getting your grubbies on.
GHOST RIDER #1: I don’t know if the artist can do motion yet, but man, has he got an eye for light! Some of those panels were just gorgeously lit. But his people can look a bit stiff, and Ennis spends enough time making fun of the original premise that the whole enterprise seems on shaky ground. Still has a chance to transcend its limitations so I’m going with OK, but I admit to being a little worried.
HOUSE OF M #6: Yakkita-yakkita-yakkita…Just shut up and hit something already! Also, I hate books where someone comes up with a half-assed plan (“Let’s find Xavier!”) and it just happens to be the correct plan on which everything hinges. Why not find the Cosmic Cube, for example, or the Infinity Gauntlet? Eh.
MARVEL TEAM-UP #12: I thought this was big lousy pile of padding, but maybe that’s because I missed the last few issues. Or maybe because Scott Kolins didn’t draw the issue. Or maybe because it was a big lousy pile of padding where one of the more pointless villain origins in recent history was dragged out to an entire issue. Ow. Awful.
OUTSIDERS #28: Normally, I’m a sucker for these issues where characters get all introspective and deal with their grief, etc., but hasn’t this book already had five or six issues like that already? And it’s only on issue #28! Eh.
SEVEN SOLDIERS GUARDIAN #4: Unsurprisingly, I loved this. Oh man, that Newsboy Army crew was just great (I haven’t gone on to double-check, but I assume those kids are all littered through the other minis. Like, does Kid Scarface grow up to become the gangster in Shining Knight?) and even though it ends on an even more dramatic cliffhanger than Shining Knight, I feel like I got more than my money’s worth out of this mini. Very Good stuff.
SHAZAM SUPERMAN FIRST THUNDER #1: Looks mighty pretty, but why am I paying so much for it? Just for the pretty? Cuz I don’t think it’s $3.50 worth of pretty. OK.
SUPERMAN #221: I more-or-less liked the interpretation of Bizarro here, and the character stuff worked okay. But I was still wondering what the hell was going on with that cover until I got to the last page. Is this another storyline running through all the Super-titles? I hope not. OK.
SUPREME POWER NIGHTHAWK #1: I’m not sure I want to see spin-offs from Supreme Power—it just seems like a great way to dilute the power of the product—but Steve Dillon art, so… I also liked how Way’s script toys with our expectations by introducing a hardened police commissioner talking to Nighthawk in one scene and then introduces a creepy-seeming clown in the next. Considering I was kinda opposed to the project overall, I’m surprised I found this OK.
SWAMP THING #19: The art was alternately creepy and charming, and the reference to the original Swamp Thing story worked nicely, particularly since the digest came out on the same day. I don’t see why I should care—I don’t think they should have relaunched this book without a stronger follow-up to Diggle’s first arc—but it might make peek in next issue to see if things are getting better. Eh.
ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #82: Back when the whole Ultimate Universe was announced way back when, this is just what I was afraid it would become: stories where the only resonance revolves around the introduction or reappearance of this or that Ultimate character. I give Bendis credit for restraining himself for so long (God bless selective memory. It’s like every trace of Ultimate Marvel Team-Up has been completely wiped from my mind…) but after Ultimate Black Cat tried to hump Ultimate Spider-Man, and before Ultimate Kingpin hired Ultimate Elektra to wipe everyone one out-—in short, right around the time I had to read more than one page about Ultimate Moon Knight—it became clear to me that’s what this has become. Pity. Eh.
PICK OF THE WEEK: Shit, either Guardian #4 or Fell #1. Morrison’s canny updating of Kirbyesque energy is nearer and dearer to my heart, honestly, but Fell #1 is impressively strong work from Ellis and Templesmith, plus it’s a rather daring format that deserves to succeed. Get ‘em both.
PICK OF THE WEAK: It was busy enough at the store and my brain hurt enough that I decided I wasn’t going to read any books I didn’t think I’d like. But Marvel Team-Up #12’s was a really shocking waste of time. Glad I hadn’t pre-ordered it, otherwise I would have been pissed.
TRADE OF THE WEEK: Oooo, a lot of good stuff. I’m a sucker for Englehart’s Avengers run so I got that Serpent Crown trade. I actually was surprised what a good deal the Swamp Thing Digest was (232 pages of color comics for $9.99? That’s really quite good.) I’m shocked Vol. 13 of Iron Wok Jan is here so soon. But what really caught me off-guard was Following Cerebus #5: Dave Sim picks up the phone and calls a bunch of cartoonist pals about the role of an editor so you’ve got short interviews with Paul Pope, Chester Brown, Neil Gaiman and Craig Thompson (all in one issue!) which, while far from groundbreaking, are still funny, chatty and revealing. If it had only managed to hype Fell #1, this would have accomplished everything Ellis launched The Engine for. Pick it up if you get a chance.
NEXT WEEK: Who knows? But I won’t be around for it, is the point. Thanks again to everyone who took the time to wish me well or throw a compliment my way. I’ll see you again in October!