Thursday, November 16, 2006

Random Reading: Superman Confidential #1, American Virgin: Head, Human Target: Strike Zones

I had no idea that I would be buying any of these books today. I just went into the bookstore and picked up what I felt like getting.

Superman Confidential #1

Wow, the bookstore had a DC comic. No idea why this is the one actual issue released from DC they've gotten since I've been here.

This is an odd issue. I'm not sure if I hate it or love it. I must say that the beginning bit where kryptonite narrates, I rolled my eyes and wanted to get to an actual story.

Jump ahead to Superman only two months into his superhero career and he's up against the Royal Flush Gang. And it isn't much of a fight because Jack is a moron and fucks it up. What I don't understand is whether or not Ace is killed by an ice shard. That's never really explained. I sat up and was like "Shit . . . did Superman just participate in that guy dying? The hell?"

The rest of the issue is Parry White getting his three best people (which somehow includes Jimmy Olson) to help take down some businessman who is probably all corrupt and shit.

Basically, this issue was either boring as hell or somehow very subtle and brilliant. I'm thinking the former because I ws bored as hell with it. Tim Sale's art was nice, but I just cannot get into Darwyn Cooke's writing--I must be the only one who thought New Frontier sucked. Ah well.

American Virgin: Head

I don't understand the point of this book. Maybe if I talk it out things will become clear.

Adam is a youth minister who preaches virginity until marriage. He's suave, charismatic and could be the next big thing for the religious right.

He's also got a girlfriend who's saving herself for marriage too, but is in Africa doing aid work. Until she gets beheaded by some terrorists or tribe or rebel group or something, I dunno.

So Adam gets his sister and they go to Africa to find her killers and bring her body home. While there, he finds out she was cheating on him and kinda freaks out and . . . well, not much else.

There's some stuff about being angry at God and guilt over masturbation, but nothing much else here. I have no idea where this series is going and I can't say I care too much.

Human Target: Strike Zones

While wandering around, I found a few trades on sale and this was among them, so I picked it up. And I am glad I did, because it saved the day.

This is first of two trades from the 21-issue series that ran in 2003-04 written by Peter Milligan and it is some good shit.

The first issue begins with Christopher Chance, the Human Target, dead and his last client, Frank White (a movie producer) receiving threats from an irrate fan upset with the violent films he makes. Except none of that is actually true.

What I liked the most about the first issue collected was that it just jumped in, sink or swim, fuck the reader, on with the story. You get caught up over the whole issue, but never feel lost. I presume what happened before was Human Target: Final Cut, but whatever, I followed along fine.

The second story is about a man who fakes dying in 9/11 and makes Chance re-examine what it is he does. The third story takes a good look at the world of baseball and also shows us just how fucking good Chance is at what he does.

Milligan's writing here is superb and mature. As I said, he doesn't take time to explain things, but he also doesn't confuse. It is a confident style that pays off, but does demand a lot from the reader. Quick jumps, two-panel scenes, and a lot of subtext.

Javier Pulido's art is fantastic. Both realistic and cartoony, he never drops the ball and also gives some interesting layouts.

This trade was so good that I am definitely going to buy the other three collections (collecting the first mini, Final Cut--OGN, and Living in Amerika, which collects issues 6-10 of the series) plus hunt down the 11 uncollected issues of the series.

Next week: who knows? I was eying the second Legion of Super-Heroes trade along with the one that introduces Supergirl into the cast, so I may pick up those.