What I Read and How I Read it, Part I: Jeff and the 3/21 Books.

First, is it wrong to be a prayin' man about an action movie? Point of Impact is one of my favorite sniper dude novels (although I've loved all of the Swagger books by Stephen Hunter) and I'm kind of worried about its adaptation, Shooter which came out this weekend. I mean, they certainly could've done worse than getting Mark Wahlberg for the lead (at one point, our man Keanu Reeves was attached, which would've been awful) but I'm worried about the director Antoine Fuqua who's done at least one good action movie (Training Day) and at least one absolutely turdy one (King Arthur). Have any other Point of Impact fans seen Shooter? Will I hate it? It's times like this I wish Garth Ennis had a blog or something--I remember him recommending the Hunter books to somebody at some point, and I'd totally trust whatever he had to say about the film. Second, speaking of Ennis, anyone know if there are going to be letters pages when The Boys resumes publication? I sure hope so: Ennis always crafted an entertaining letters page and it'd be great to have those back.


52 WEEK #46: A weird, but not unwelcome, shift in tone as Black Adam fights the mad scientists of Crazy Island. Normally, I'd give it more points off for that but considering I didn't like last issue's tone very much, I'll just take the cheap way out and give it a very high OK.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #539: Very anticlimactic, as May gets shot but not much happens other than Peter getting very pissed. I did like how jarring it was to see him openly swinging around as Peter Parker, though, and May's not out of the picture yet so... I dunno. OK, I guess? I've really checked out of the storyline which probably doesn't bode well overall, but I keep checking in to see if/when I'm gonna start caring again.

AQUAMAN SWORD OF ATLANTIS #50: Williams is a witty writer, and the art by Sean McManus has a ton of charm, and I also appreciated that Williams was bringing back old plotlines (like good ol' Sub Diego)--but I also think that witty and charming aren't the main qualities I want in my underwater barbarian book. This was OK, though, and there are enough plusses that I'll be back for more.

ARMY @ LOVE #1: Fans of the batshit should rush out and pick this up--it's probably the closest book I've read to Prez #1 in a long, long time. Honestly, it's no more wrong-headed than Exterminators or Testament but it's both more puzzling and more enjoyable than either of those books thanks to the talents of writer/artist Rick Veitch. Veitch is armed with talent and a decent hook--how the sexual tensions in the ranks during the current war are translating into some very strange new dynamics on the battlefront (my favorite image from the book may be the black sacks placed over prisoners' heads that manage to conjure up both Abu Ghraib torture and a bondage club gear simultaneously)--and absolutely no idea how to connect that to the current generation. Despite the cell phones used by troops and the Wiccan sub-commander, Veitch's idea of sexual chaos springs right from the '70s, with two married couples each with cheating spouses, the workaholic husband, the young wife with the itch her hubby isn't scratching, etc., etc.--kind of a satire of John Updike novels where instead of cocktail parties you've got a war in the Middle East. It probably would've killed back in '72.

But in 2007, Army @ Love reads wrong--the same way goofy ol' Prez read when it hit the stands. Admittedly, this is just the first issue, but I'd think even the most casual observer of today would skew the idea of erotic-thanatic shenanigans toward Myspace pages, Youtube videos and the Missed Connections of Craig's List than the idea of War as a great big key party with landmines ringing the hot tub at Plato's Retreat.

Also, knowing Veitch's propensity for drawing ugly people, the editors have teamed him with Gary Erskine on inks so that now the people are now merely unattractive. While not a bad idea, it's kinda falls flat as everyone looks paunchy and middle-aged in a way that works against the book's conceit.

But, again, Veitch is talented and he's got something to say, and I found something deeply appealing about Army @ Love's wrongness. If nothing else, it is entertainingly apeshit in a way that I find more encouraging than Exterminators and Testament--the mark of a master off his game rather than new talents who still can't figure out the game's rules. If you like "teh cazy," you'll find it at least OK. If not, I only ask that you put up with it for as long as possible so freaks like me can enjoy it.