“This Fixation With Twentieth-Century Super-Heroes Has Got To STOP!” COMICS! Sometimes Everything Is In Fact Awesome When You Are Part of A Team!

In order to belay any simmering suspicions that I loathe and resent super-hero comics I look at a comic filled to the brim with them. A whole mess o’ super-heroes, a veritable Legion in fact!  photo DCPSL06B_zpsyrcvoek0.png SUPERBOY'S LEGION by Davis, Farmer, Horie, Horie & Prentice

Anyway, this… DC COMICS PRESENTS: SUPERBOY’S LEGION #1 Art by Alan Davis & Mark Farmer Written by Mark Farmer Lettered by Pat Prentice Coloured by Richard & Tanya Horie Legion of Super-Heroes created by Al Plastino & Otto Binder Superboy created by Joe Shuster & Jerry Siegel DC Comics, £2.99 (Comixology) (2001)

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I don’t know if it’s because I’ve never been a big joiner(1) but the Legion of Super-Heroes has always left me cold reading-wise. They always seemed like a bunch of stiffs, basically. Running around the place with their simple-minded names(2) and, worst of all, sitting in judgement over their peers like some frightful clench of Prefects(3). And then there’s Superboy, like the kid from the council estate who got a scholarship to The Good School and now has to jump through the hoops of his “betters” before they’ll let him join The Debating Society. Super Class Traitor more like. His only weakness is kryptonite. And peer pressure. Ugh, who’d want to join that bunch of joyless inverts anyway? Jumped up chumps, every man Jack of them. Legion of Supercilious Bores. So, no I don’t know how to “fix”(4) the Legion of Super-Heroes(5).  Anyway, the failure to love them is of course mine(6), because I am a maladjusted misanthrope with a chip on each shoulder(7) rather than the well-adjusted, thrusting  young shaver the concept is designed to appeal to. And yet I bought this comic(8). Was I looking for something to trash in order to temporarily quiet my raging personal insecurities via the belittling of other more talented people’s work?(9) No, because I don’t do that(10), not on purpose anyway(11). No, I was looking for an Alan Davis comic(12). Because I like Alan Davis comics, but do I like Alan Davis Legion of Superheroes comics?

 photo DCPSL02B_zps9btyqmmc.png SUPERBOY'S LEGION by Davis, Farmer, Horie, Horie & Prentice

Yes. It’s GOOD!

NEXT TIME: I recall a gypsy woman, silver spangles in her eyes. Actually, scratch that, I’ll probably just look at some COMICS!!!


Just kidding, of course there’s more(13)! Think of this as one of those post credit sequences that are so popular today(14).  It’s not just an Alan Davis Legion of Super-Heroes comic though, more precisely it’s an Alan Davis and Mark Farmer Legion of Super-Heroes comic. While Mark Farmer predictably enough continues his robust, decades long, and largely unsung support on Alan Davis’ classically joyful art, here he also scripts. This is clearly his “Shining Time”(15). Second fiddle’s an honourable role, but here Farmer steadies his nerves, clears his throat and takes centre stage (16). He doesn’t disappoint either. Farmer’s script eschews grandstanding and pandering, being a thing of efficiency, event and momentum which despite its space-spanning scope and cavalcade of characters retains focus and clarity throughout. There’s plenty of exposition but it all slips past smoothly thanks to the art’s creamy cheeriness, which jollies things along even when people are saying things in a less flamboyantly discursive way than the is the apparent modern preference(17).  The strength of the writing is easily missed, as it’s the kind of ‘invisible’ writing that would rather tell a tale well than draw attention to itself (or its author), still what no one can miss is the level of affection for the Legion herein. But which Legion?

 photo DCPSL04B_zpsnaei3vfl.png SUPERBOY'S LEGION by Davis, Farmer, Horie, Horie & Prentice

Because, even more precisely, SUPERBOY’S LEGION is an Alan Davis and Mark Farmer Elseworlds Legion of Super-Heroes comic originally published in 2001 as two-issues. DC hasn’t done Elseworlds for a bit, so quick recap for the chap at the back: these are stories where familiar characters are presented in a new way, usually heavily imprinted with the DNA of an atypical genre. So in one story Steampunk Batman might fight Jack The Ripper, in another Superman might have landed in Wales and wondered what to do with himself, in yet another Aquaman might be a PI with the power to talk to his own arse, or perhaps Wonder Woman sells hot dogs in Central Park by day and sleeps fitfully at night, or what have you(18). Much of the fun comes from recognising the deviations from the accepted norm and the little thrill of uncertainty this lends the narrative(19).

 photo DCPSL07B_zpsmfetqro5.png SUPERBOY'S LEGION by Davis, Farmer, Horie, Horie & Prentice

Alas, I got none of that entry level fun as I am basically unversed in the Legion of Super-Heroes(20) and, anyway, they keep dicking about with it(21). Proper Legion of Super-Heroes fans will thus get a lot more out of this than me(22). But I got plenty as it was. Because what I got was a rock solid exercise in Old School Super-Heroics. The set-up is that Superboy’s rocket is found in the 30th Century instead of the 20th Century, and he is adopted by a fabulously wealthy grump, R J Brande, rather than a folksy farmer and his wife. It’s a future of cleanliness and conformity(23) monitored by the Science Police and dependent upon the Universo supercomputer(24).

 photo DCPSL05B_zpsefpmtxfs.png SUPERBOY'S LEGION by Davis, Farmer, Horie, Horie & Prentice

Superboy is a typical young lad on the cusp of adulthood, chafing against both the restrictions of the Science Police, who are always on at him for the property damage his larks incur, and his dad who wants him to settle down a bit. The book opens with Superboy buying two Future Ice Creams(25) to patch things up with his dad but the Science Police get all shirty, and in a fit of pique Superboy flies off and bumps into a Green Lantern who he helps fight a right bunch of Khunds(26). Inspired by the example of the Green Lantern Corps, who pick up the space sector slack of the Science Police but are undermanned, Superboy decides to form his own team. Space being a frisky place he immediately aids a luxury space cruiser being mounted by a blister beast and ends the encounter with two new team mates who take the names Saturn Girl and Cosmic Boy(27). Televised try-outs ensue so we get the classic image of the three sat behind a desk in judgement as new peculiarly powered members gravitate to the trio, like peculiarly powered iron filings to three judgemental magnets. Then the plot proper kicks in with an asteroid to be averted, internal squabbles, the Fatal Five proving their name’s no lie and a special guest 20th Century villain with universal enslavement on his mind. Gosh, what capers ensue!

 photo DCPSL03B_zpsdfmua9qx.png SUPERBOY'S LEGION by Davis, Farmer, Horie, Horie & Prentice

Thrilling capers they are, to be sure. And delivered with an enviable level of clarity and zest. Surprising no one who has ever read anything by the team, Davis & Farmer’s art is a quiet masterclass in large scale super-heroic storytelling but also excels at the quieter stuff. From Space battles and inter-dimensional wing-dings  to smaller moments when a smile says all that needs to be said, this team spins a magical yarn as colourful as Superboy's speed trail flattened to fractals like a  sparkling sherbet space trail. Yeah, sherbet. You know, for kids. GOOD!

 photo DCPSL08B_zpsavvruqhu.png SUPERBOY'S LEGION by Davis, Farmer, Horie, Horie & Prentice


 The Irritating Footnote Section:

(1) i.e. joiner as in joining groups, rather than as in joining pieces of wood. I mean, I’m crap at that too but that’s not what I’m on about.

(2) Bouncing Boy! He’s a boy who bounces! Matter-Eating Lad! He’s a lad who eats matter! Flaming Anus Lass! She…that’s right.

(3)Yes, a clench of prefects. See also: A colon of Politicians. A shit of bankers. A Cameron of tax evaders. A PM of lies. Etc. Etc.

(4) Judging by comic book site comments this is a subject which taxes the minds of more middle aged men than is strictly seemly. The relative merits of “guest beers”, smirking at the casual racism of Jeremy Clarkson, wearing a caramel coloured leather blouson with the sleeves rolled up, and giving a chuff about how to “fix” the Legion of Super-Heroes are, apparently, to the menopausal male as pianos were to Liberace.

(5) Unless it’s like you “fix” a cat, in which case I’ll bring the bricks.

(6) Obviously.

(7) “Chips on my shoulder/More As I grow older...”, 'Chips on My Shoulder' by Soft Cell taken from the LP 'Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret' (1981).

(8) In fact a “digital file”. Did you know that the first recorded digital files can be found on cave walls in Indonesia and date back 40,000 years. Remarkable.

(9) Yes, this is the only reason people don’t like something. Clearly.

(10) Trust me, I have read some real crappers and refrained from banging on about them. That HELLBREAK for e.g. was a load of refried beans with all the character and depth of a 1980s 8-Bit arcade game, but with all the charm and intelligence left out. There was at least one whole page in the second issue (hey, I gave it a chance) devoted to a guy smoking silently while stood next to a jeep. I cannot be doing with that kind of Bendisian page wastage. But also, around then the artist was legitimately bemoaning the fact that he barely made enough coin to, well, play a 1980s 8-Bit arcade game. So, you know, since the art was the best bit and I wish him no ill, I didn’t feel like adding insult to injury. Christ, my big heart, it beats for the entire world! HELLBREAK is still going so I hear. Had I intervened, who knows? Such is the scary Amy Irving in The Fury-like power of my critical voice.

(11) DKIII: TMR, however, see, is an absolute botch job for which everyone involved should look as guilty as a startled masturbator. Great Hera, if any book should be good it’s this thing. It’s DC’s Big Ticket Book of 2016, supported by all the marketing muscle and sales inflating methods available, and it’s even by people who have done good work previously on occasion, and yet it’s ineptitude is so great and unwavering in its consistency that it’s tempting to suggest it’s most entertaining display is of its contempt for the audience. And the Talent involved in DKIII:TMR will not be short of coin, you betcha. So, yeah, I’ll be nailing that one to the wall as long as it deserves it. I mean, there are bad comics and then there’s just flat out taking the piss.

(12) Alan Davis the UK comic artist of CAPTAIN BRITAIN fame, not Alan Davies the tousle haired and reliably unthreatening UK comedian.

(13) Brevity being the soul of wit, I am of course possessed of little of it. So, wiping the tears of self-satisfied laughter from my eyes I shall continue…

(14) Insert dismissive remark about people choosing of their own free to sit in the dark for fifteen minutes to catch a glimpse of Thanos’ ring. Then run.

(15) Thomas And The Magic Railroad (2000).

(16) Unfortunately comics is(are?) a visual medium and Alan Davis’ (and, ironically, Mark Farmer’s) art is a pretty visually arresting thing. So Mark Farmer’s moment in the spotlight can’t help but be a bit a bit like when Ernie Wise comes out on his own, but everyone’s really looking at Eric Morecambe walking across the background in his mac with his little carry case. Still, better Ernie Wise than Tommy Cannon, eh? Small mercies, Mark. Small mercies, son.

(17) I mean, I think it’s fair enough, personally. Exposition, that is. At work I don’t mumble and stutter, and lurch disconcertingly into BOLD without cause in a kind of flamboyantly exaggerated distortion of human speech patterns. That sort of jibber jabber has nothing whatsoever to do with realism and everything to do with paying writers by the page. Exposition isn’t the sin, clumsy exposition is. There’s no such sin on these pages.

(18) Basically Elseworlds then are like a lot of Grant Morrison’s cape work, particularly that typified by his MULTIVERSITY “project”. But, regrettably, Elseworlds are usually done by lesser talents who haven’t the wit to limit themselves to waving slightly different versions of B’wana Beast about while an intimidatingly intelligent coterie of fandom maintain they have gleaned the Face of The Returned Christ in such skeletal concepts.  No, these Elseworld schmucks instead are reduced by the paucity of their talent to attaching these rejigged characters to such jejune concepts as stories. The poor fools. They should have done a metafictional Mobius loop which on closer (i.e. any) inspection was just fancy window dressing adorning an attack on narrative devices Alan Moore (Boo! Rapey! Boo! Rapey rapey Boo Boo! Etc.) stopped using twenty years ago. That Frank Quitely’s good though. He did an Elseworlds with Alan Grant(?) where Batman went to Scotland. Actually it might not have been an Elseworlds, I don’t think Batman going to Scotland is enough of a paradigm shift to merit an Elseworlds label. There has to be a bit more to it than that. Scotland has its quirks but not enough for an Elseworlds, I think. Hmmm, I’m kind of drifting lazily away from any point whatsoever here aren’t I? Which, funnily enough, is what happened to the Elseworlds stuff in the end.

(19) e.g. in SUPERMAN: BOOGIE NIGHTS (by Brian Wood and Frank Cho) Jimmy Olsen chokes to death on his own balls.

(20) When I rashly accepted Brian Hibbs’ generous (and no doubt in hindsight much regretted by Old “Two Shops” Hibbs) offer to ruin everything he had worked for on this site he asked me to suggest a Legionnaire so I could have an icon next to my name. I didn’t have a clue. I’m sure he thought I was prevaricating (which I was; I am made of Fear) but (also) really I didn’t know what he was on about. I can’t even remember whose icon I ended up with. Is there a Ball Breaking Lad? Bad Taste Boy?  Who am I? Who is the fictional construct to which my virtual identity has been attached? And I thought I was in an existential crisis when I was fourteen!

(21) Sorry, I mean “fixing” it. See (4) and (5).

(22) A big old Legion of Super-Heroes chubby, pulsing like a beached fish gasping for breath. Unless they are so deep in senescence(4) that it’s just a flicker of a twitch.

(23) It’s a future that’s creepily free of wear and tear in that special way which suggests somewhere out of sight there are planets full of stooped and hollow eyed thralls doing all the proper graft its upkeep requires.

(24) I know, we can all see where this is going, right? If you are going to build a supercomputer don’t cut corners and be sure to develop a super-virus checker, or have a big OFF switch. Did no one heed Colossus: The Forbin Project (1970)!?!

(25) Solar Swirl, natch.

(26) That’s a pretty dodgy pun to slip into a kids comic. Kudos!

(27) Yes, it is awfully convenient. You’re going to have to go with a lot of stuff like that. Just relax and let it happen. It's called - COMICS!!!

"You Dropped The Coffee, Stephanie." COMICS! Sometimes They Shaped Us In A Million Invisible Ways!

I was a bit rushed this week so I thought I'd save some time by doing a gallery instead of a bunch of words arranged in upsetting orders. Hilariously, I saved no time whatsoever but I can now present to you a cover gallery of all the issues of WARRIOR Magazine I own (i.e. no issue 1). They are old, stained, dog-eared and read to within an inch of their lives but they still look nice and give a savoury taste of the groundbreaking early '80s anthology that thrilled me from the age of twelve and up, up and away. Anyhoo, have a look if you want. (Also: How To Make a Zirk! Really!)  photo IntroB_zpse02fb8fe.jpg Alan Moore and Alan Davis correctly predict the reaction of the Internet to those Miracleman reprints coming in January 2014. Who sez he ain't magic!?!

Anyway, this...

Oh, WARRIOR was VERY GOOD! there, now I can categorise it as a review. Tricks of the trade, my loves. Tricks of the trade.

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WARRIOR ISSUE 6 COVER ART by Steve Parkhouse

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Mick Austin's cover unadorned except by age and stains.

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Mick Austin's cover unadorned except by age and stains.

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Garry Leach's cover unadorned except by age and stains.

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WARRIOR ISSUE 12 COVER ART by Steve Parkhouse

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WARRIOR ISSUE 16 COVER ART by Steve Parkhouse

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WARRIOR ISSUE 18 COVER ART by Steve Parkhouse

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WARRIOR ISSUE 19 COVER ART by Dez Skinn?Garry Leach?David Lloyd? I know not.

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WARRIOR ISSUE 23 COVER ART by Jim Baikie & Garry Leach

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WARRIOR ISSUE 24 COVER ART by John "Joz" Bolton

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How to Make a Zirk Art by Garry Leach!!!

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As you've probably gathered by now, those were - COMICS!!!

Hibbs? Why is HE stinkin' up the joint?!?!

Hi, it is me, the y'know, original founder of this blog.  You might have noticed I've been just a little slack in posting since around Christmas time. The Season soaked up my time, then I started my new consulting business, but mostly, I needed a break from writing reviews.  It happens! I was going to start posting a few weeks ago, but that was the week where Abhay descended out of the blue for a solid week of posts, and I didn't want to step on his toes.

This week, we welcome our newest SavCrit -- the artist formerly known as J_Smitty (Yes, eventually every regular commenter will be given a seat in the big chair*), now unveiled as Jordan Smith, whose first post is directly below this one, but I felt like I couldn't put off my return for much longer (it is MAY!), so join me below the cut, would you?


Now, I am hella hella rusty, so forgive me as I get back up to speed... and I also picked a maybe not so great week to do this, since it be a little thin on the new comics beat, but let's see where we get how we get when, shall we?

AVENGERS ASSEMBLE #15AU: I haven't especially been a fan of this title since it launched -- I really don't feel like it has had a point or direction of any particular value (Except, maybe, "Let's try to capitalize on the Avengers movie 15 months ago"), and THIS issue is a tie-in to one of the most drama-free Big Crossover Events. I mean, let's face it, "Age of Ultron" isn't really going to have any real impact, even if they DO take away Logan's healing (though, looking at the new Wolverine movie trailer, one assumes that that is REALLY being done to tie in with the film...), or bring Angela into the Marvel universe.

(which, by the way, is a real "WTF?!!?" moment and, honestly, feels more like a vindictive swipe at McFarlane ["Hah! I'll give it to MARVEL!"] than anything resembling a cohesive creative plan.... or, for that matter, something that any fan, anywhere was looking for)

So, one generally assumes that tie-ins to such a beast would also be inconsequential and uninteresting -- and I think they mostly have been so far to date.

Not so this one, however.

Well, I guess it is "inconsequential" because nothing that happened in this comic will matter in 6 weeks or 6 months, or, probably, even be referred to in the parent book, even -- but so far this was certainly the most interesting bit of  AoA to date, being a look at how AoA is impacting Britain, introduces at least one interesting new character, and had a really tremendous "What If...?" status change for another major character.

AA#15au is written by Al Ewing, who is very rapidly becoming  my favorite new writer, and whom I'm very much suspecting really is The Real Deal, y'know? I want to see Ewing on an original US series of his own creation because based on his doing other people's ideas I would guess he's got his own SANDMAN, TRANSMETROPOLITAN or PREACHER in him (if, y'know, you're about my age, those are big big touchstones....)  I thought this comic was the best Avengers thing I've read in a really long time, and was absolutely VERY GOOD.


BATMAN AND ROBIN RED HOOD #20: Snyder's run on the main title, and Morrison's various perambulations through the Bat-mythos have largely overshadowed Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason's title, which some months really is the best of the bat-books. I like what they're doing here post-Damien, using the other bat-family sidekicks as stand-ins for the Stage of Grief. On the other hand, I'm decidedly uncomfortable with "Carrie Kelley" (The "Dark Knight Returns Robin"), one because she doesn't seem even remotely like Carrie Kelley in DKR to me, two because it some how seems disrespectful to DKR, and three because bringing in a new Robin this close to the dispatch of the last one, seems like a really lousy idea. We'll see, we'll see, maybe they're just fucking with us, I sure hope so.  I thought (with the exception of the pages she appeared on) that this was pretty GOOD.


CHIN MUSIC #1: You'd think that 30s Gangsters and The Occult would go together like buttah, especially when you've got Horror-Guy Steve Niles teaming with Tough Guy Tony Harris on a new creator-owned series, but I got to tell you: I could hardly follow the who and the what and the why do I care here. Interest almost always comes from character, not situation, and there aren't any realized characters on display here.  EH.


GARTH ENNIS BATTLEFIELDS #6 (OF 6): Even though you really needed to read an entirely different series of "Battlefields" comics to appreciate the end of this issue, and even though Russ Braun's art is a little too... flat for my tastes (though, good on Garth for loyalty and keeping Braun working), I thought this was a pretty wonderful, poignant, and moral and human ending to the story -- Ennis' specialty, really. This kind of work will never find a wide audience, but I'm so appreciative that Ennis makes sure it keeps coming out. VERY GOOD.


JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #3:  Three issues now, and I've yet to feel a moment of interest in this set-up or collection of characters -- the story is so Plothammer-y that it ain't funny, and David Finch looks like he had about an hour to draw the issue. Plus, that whole "WTF" thing didn't really work, did it? Most of the "shocks" weren't, or, worse, were merely rhetorical questions. Plus that they're still shipping into May... ugh. this book may represent everything twhat's wrong with the New52 as a whole: plothammered and ugly. But maybe I'm just cranky. Either way, I thought it was fairly AWFUL.


UBER #1:  I don't get this comic. I mean who is it for and all that. I can see (somewhat) the intellectual appeal of a story about nazi superman, but when the rubber meets the road, these are the antagonist, and, for this to work as a story, we're required to have protagonists for whom to root. I don't see any in the first issue (or in the #0, for that matter), and the art by Caanan White is "Avatar House Style" enough (and ugly) that that won't be bringing me back. Avatar, trying to harness the Power of Bleeding Cool tried to convince people that the book is "hot" somehow, but it's pretty icy cold on the real world racks (besides the coupla speculator-types that bought #0). I generally like Kieron Gillen's writing, but I think he's pretty much entirely missed the needle here, not just the eye. AWFUL.


UNCANNY AVENGERS #8: I truly don't get the point of this comic either, if it's not a showcase for John Cassaday. I like Daniel Acuna's art fine, I guess, but he's pretty far in style from Cassaday, and the story has felt to me like the worst excesses of Rick Remender, trying to do Big Story with characters that aren't strong enough to support it, using obscure and uninteresting bits of Marvel history to do so. This is pretty EH for a "flagship" book.


WOLVERINE #3: If you had told me that there would be a Wolverine comic where I'd only be ordering 1 single rack copy by issue #3, and that, by Friday, it would still just be sitting there on the shelf, despite being by Paul Cornell and Alan Davis, I'd laugh at you. But here we are. Honestly, it's not that bad -- really, it is OK, so why are people just not buying this?


Right, that's enough to start, I thinketh. Like I said: rusty. But, as always, I want to know what YOU thought....





* = Note: This will NOT be happening; don't get your hopes up, you!

Trying to get back on track: Hibbs' 7/4 & 7/11

I posted the Batman Earth One review last week, so that covers my "quota", I guess. I'm going to mix up a little of this week and last for this week's post from me... ADVENTURE TIME MARCELINE SCREAM QUEENS #1: I've actually not read this, but I brought it home for Ben, as I've brought home every issue to date so far. Eight minutes of silence later, he handed it back to me, and said I should bring it back to the store. "What's wrong with it?" I asked, puzzled.  "Eh, I don't know," he said, "I don't think it had enough action is, and it wasn't very funny." So, that's what a comics-consuming eight year old boy thought. I'll go with that first word then and say EH.

  FUCK ALAN MOORE BEFORE WATCHMEN OZYMANDIAS #1 (OF 6): I kind of don't even want to discuss the "plot" (which, I shit you not, added a "Women in Refrigerators" moment to WATCHMEN as the grossest of its sins), but, oh my god what a crazily lovely comic book. Jae Lee just killed it here, invoking the sense of design that WATCHMEN had, and totally putting his own spin on it with a moving "round" design on every page. this may well be an execrable, money-grubbing project that is being told soullessly and clumsily by most of the writers, but fuck me if this isn't the most beautiful comic of the month by far. That's some Eisner-level art, yo. Too bad it is in service of such a horrible comic book. Two poles of rating for art and writing, landing it smack in the middle with an OK for overall rating.

BLOODSHOT (ONGOING) #1: Wow, that's a gory comic. Like really crazily keep it the fuck away from kids level of gory. Do people actually like that, actually? There's an alright set-up, I guess, in here, with "weapon for the government" and "everything you think is a lie" and all that, but there wasn't a thing in here that got me considering to actually come back and read issue #2, because I don't really see any signs of it going in anything other than a regular Frankenstein direction. Fairly EH.

BTVS SEASON 9 FREEFALL #11: Oh, I liked this issue. Actually, it might have made a better issue #1 than issue #1 was. I very much need Buffy to stop being such a whiny girl by now -- the character has been going backwards for most of the last year, and this plot line seems like it gives her a chance to move forward again. GOOD.

CROW #1: Uh, what? I know I've been saying this a lot lately, but IDW really has to get their shit together on the editorial level -- this comic's script is barely first draft where the title character appears on the last page, and the 21 before that is a ton of boring, endless repeating set-up -- the antagonist says or implies what they're going to do multiple times, AND we see it from another angle as well. This entire first issue should have been set-up in no more than eight pages, max, not padded out horribly like this.  I also think this new set-up completely upsets the straight-forward revenge of the original, AND misses the "sorrow is my fortress" vibe of O'Barr's gothy original. Almost as clear of a miss as I can possibly imagine, and I didn't even really LIKE the original very much (it remains a product of its time, very much) -- sadly AWFUL.

EARTH 2 #3: Honest to god, I wish ALL of the New 52 books were as solid and world-buildy as this one is. THEN we would have had something magic on display. This is really VERY GOOD stuff.

FANTASTIC FOUR ANNUAL #33: This year's annuals for this, DD and Wolverine are an interconnected story by Alan Davis, with connections to Clandestine. Clandestine has never quite worked for me, and I can't say why exactly, but I really love-ity love Davis' clean superhero art, and if I can't have him drawing silver age DC characters (or a variant thereon), then, yeah, have him draw what is very clearly his baby. I wonder though if he gets some kind of character participation or something for him to keep coming back to this when it keeps not clicking with the general audience? Anyway, this was solidly GOOD, and made for a nice stand-alone, star-drawn annual.

INFERNAL MAN-THING #1 (OF 3): In case you all were wondering, Jeff really IS sticking with his Marvel ban -- I could not get him to budge on what I thought would be the easiest tempt of all: new Steve Gerber, doing his #2 best known character, ooooh, with yummy art by Kevin Nowlan. It's a clear follow through on an old MT story, and I thought it showed a lot of strong maturity and growth in balancing the "Gerber wacky" with actually affecting human emotion -- that is to say: this is less of a lark than, say, NEVADA. I don't really like much of Gerber's tics, but I thought this was really solid stuff, well drawn and grounded. You can see why they let this take ten years (or whatever) to get drawn. Hm, maybe if I repitch it as "originated two editorial regimes ago"? GOOD.

PUNK ROCK JESUS #1 (OF 6): Wow, nice! It's a profane title (and probably a profane execution, if I was sensitive to such things, which I'm not), but I really really liked the setup of a morally screwed up entertainment corporation creating a reality show where they clone Jesus. Hijinx, as they say, then ensue. It's a little early to say whether Sean Murphy has the writing chops to stick the landing on this one, but this first issue was a pretty wonderful read. VERY GOOD from me, and my pick of the week!

SPACE PUNISHER #1 (OF 4): I didn't necessarily expect much from this (the name tells you most of what you need to know), but I did expect less toy-etic takes on the "normal" Marvel U (example: "Doctor Octopus" is a "Space Criminal" with octopus legs for a body) -- sadly AWFUL, and not the awesome I know you were hoping for.

ULTIMATE COMICS X-MEN #14 DWF: OK, the Ultimate universe has reached that point that it seems like all "alternate super hero universe" (CF: "The New Universe", the "Supreme Powers" Universe, etc.) finally end up at -- they don't know what to do with the CHARACTERS any longer, so they think "Well let's make big big changes to the WORLD". This issue opens with a map so you can keep track of all the fucked up things that have happened in Ultimate America -- DC nuked, the southwest an internment camp, and so on, and suddenly it is no longer "a world outside your window", it's something utterly unrecognizable and (this is more important, I think) unsympathetic. Even without the "We're officially out of ideas" stench that SPIDER-MEN brought to the line, copying the general throughline of (ugh!) THE PITT isn't going to lead to anywhere good for the Ultimate Universe. I have a hard time, other than from stubbornness, understanding why these books should still be published a year from now. AWFUL.

WALKING DEAD #100: That may be the single most fucked up thing that has happened in a series where all kinds of crazy fucked up things happen all of the time. Brutal, absolutely brutal -- but it sets the book out along what I hope will be a solid new direction that should shake all of the complacency away. I thought this was an EXCELLENT installment (And, ooh, MONSTER seller, too) -- may they have another 400 more issues after this! My ONE complaint? I was really hoping the 6 page (?) Michonne story that was in that issue of PLAYBOY would have been reprinted here after the letter col.

OK, that's me... what did YOU think?


Wait, What? Ep. 58.2: A Set of Steak Knives

Photobucket No idea. No idea. I remember I had some brilliant idea about the image to go with this episode and it's just...gone. Thought I wrote it down and everything. Fortunately, I still feel comfortable ganking images from Mr. Tim at the amazing Our Valued Customers. In fact, this wasn't even the image I'd planned to use but I jumped over there and thought this was brilliant enough to disseminate widely.

(Man, those two words seem pervy next to one another. "Disseminate widely." Brrrrgh.)

So no, be warned, we do not talk Big Bang Theory on this latest not-quite-forty-minutes-and-therefore-is-considered-wee-by-our-standards installment of Wait, What? But Graeme and I do talk Green Lantern Corps, Birds of Prey, Daredevil #4, Witch Doctor #3, LoSH #1, Captain Atom, the original Legion Lost, X-Men: Schism #4, and some thoughts on buying digital.

Also, we are holding a fantastic contest with amazing prizes. Well, okay, it's a "prize" actually, and your working defintion of "amazing" will have to be pretty loose but....hey, we read superhero comics in 2011! Our definition of "amazing" is pretty darn flexible, right? Listen in and enter!

This teeny-tiny podcast, incapable of being seen by the naked eye, is already floating through coursing bloodstream of iTunes. Or, alternately, you could shrink yourself, Raquel Welch and a kick-ass submarine down to microscopic size and view it through your auditory canals here:

Wait, What? Ep. 58.2: A Set of Steak Knives

As always, we thank you for listening and hope you have el viaje fantástico!

Oooh, colors

Look, Jeff has changed the template! What a mensch! And yes, go read his Fanboy Rampage, as linked below, GO NOW NOW NOW!

(Huh, we need to add those links on the side... and I need a lot more "away from here" links too... give us a few more days folks!)

Ben's asleep (for the mo'), and I dinged 28 in City of Heroes, and I have 30 minutes before I have to get to work, so let's see what else I've managed to read, shall we?

MAJESTIC #1: Wow, fuck yah. I expected nothing from this (not of the previous iterations were all that hot), but I thought this was wicked funny and well characterized all the way through. Silver-age Superman level powers can be FUN, sometimes. Excellent, and barring some big surprise later in the pile, I'm willing to call this one The Pick Of The Week.

UNCANNY X-MEN #447: Damn Alan Davis can draw. Daddy likee. The story was a bit meh -- we've seen this one before from Claremont, more or less. I seem to recall essentially the same conflict circa the 200's -- that Sentinel from the future? Wossname? Nimrod, I think? (heh) But, this looks fab, so let's go with a real strong OK.

MILKMAN MURDERS #2: Despite how shocking this book is looking to be, I like that the first 3 pages were so understated and elegent in what they presented. I liked this quite a bit -- might be the strongest narrative I've seen from Casey, and Parkhouse art is always a joy to look at. Very Good.

HARD TIME #7: "Meanwhile, back at the ensemble..." Now that the Focus "line" has been winnowed down to 2, it's time for a little of that comics Activism for this and Kinetic. Both are very strong books focusing more on human reaction than the garish zow of super-books. Both books have found their rhythm and both should be selling at least twice as well as they do. While I'm not giving this PotW, I really do urge you to pick up a copy the next time you're in the LCS, and give it a chance. Very Good.

MONOLITH #7: It's always smart to try and guest-star Batman to goose your numbers, but, folks, the bottom third of a cover is THE SINGLE WORST part of your cover to put any sales information. MOST stores overlap covers, and that's "dead" sales space. Seriously. (Wake up, there in DC -- Vertigo, especially, has been putting out a lot of covers lately with "misplaced" logos). Very nice art from Tom Coker, a good solid story from Palmiotti and Gray, and now that the story has started moving at a slightly brisker place, you should give this one a gander on the racks. Good.

SOF' BOY #3: Great cartooning from Archer Prewitt. While I've been a bit turned off by the sadism this has sometimes shown towards it's indefatigable, invulnerable lead, this I thought was wonderful and sweet and joyous. And god-damn nicely drawn. $4.95 is kinda a lot to swallow, but dem's the economics of doing askew work like this. This was a terrific issue: Very Good.

And so endeth this session of the Savage Critic. Wow I kinda liked everything is this part of the pile! More later.....