Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Sunday Open: Third Week of March

Did you know that if you compared the number of comics I bought in January 2002 from Marvel and DC to the number I bought in January 2008, there is a 1400% increase? For Tim Callahan, looking just at DC, the increase is 433.33%. It's official: comics are somewhere from 433.33% to 1400% better now than six years ago. Truly a Golden Age we live in now. But let's get to some of these awesome, awesome comics now...

The Death of the New Gods #7

Okay, so it wasn't Himon that was killing everyone, it was the Infinity Man. Because Himon's already on the Second Wall, meaning he was already killed... and, yes, my valued reader, I checked previous issues and there were no Himon sightings, although Takion did see Himon on the Wall, but was then killed back in issue three. Not that any of that is really that important, because the best part of this issue is when Scott Free confronts the newly whole Source and realises that the god he's worshipped all of his life didn't care at all--and that the tenets of the religion were false. He realises his god killed his wife to manipulate him into using the Anti-Life Equation just as the Source wanted. It's some heavy shit and fits perfectly into Starlin's overall body of work where so-called "gods" are always revealed to be petty and corrupt like "mere mortals," only interested in their own goals. Free requests death, as does Metron--who also feels betrayed, particularly at the nature of the universe.

The issue ends with the Source going after Darkseid, who swallows some potion that makes him fiery and, most likely, tough as fuck. Should be a good final issue, leading into Final Crisis. I wonder how much of what Starlin's done here was dictated by what Morrison is going to do with the characters. Although, if these forms are just avatars, what does it matter?

Detective Comics #842

Read a review of this issue a couple of weeks back and it mentioned that Peter Milligan did a decent job here, so what the hell let's buy us a Batman comics right. It's a decent issue that acts as a bit of a follow-up to the recent "Resurrection of R'as al Ghul" storyline, focusing on the armour Batman got from Talia in it. Turns out the armour is cursed and Batman tries to find out what's the story--and even when he learns it, he still wears it to prove that he is more powerful than any cursed armour. A weird little story with some great art by Dustin Nguyen, whose work I've long enjoyed.

Ghost Rider #21

Well, two issues in and Jason Aaron has quickly made this a "must read" book with his combination of gothic, grindhouse and, well, let's go with Milton. Ghost Rider learns more about the impending war in Heaven and his role in it--he also takes on some pyscho nurses and gets ready to fuck up a ghost highway.

I have only two little complaints:

1. The war in Heaven shit always bothers me, only because not enough is ever defined about the "God" character in shit like this. If this God is omnipotent and omniscient, what's the big deal?

2. The deputy's little moment in the morgue... it's very mechanical and a little too out there.

Otherwise, a great comic.

The Immortal Iron Fist #13

Another solid issue--the dialogue gets a little cute with the references to Danny having a plan and the (lack of) confidence that inspires... and the "Your revolution has arrived" getting the response is does. Also, David Aja only provides three pages of art, which is a shame, but Tonci Zonjic's fill-in art is pretty good and matches the tone/style of Aja well enough. I'm really looking forward to how this storyline is going to end--it's becoming clearer as the various threads come together. And that last page is one of those fantastic last pages.

Thor #7

Another good issue from Straczynski who is really hitting his stride on this book, focusing on the recreation of Asgard rather than typical superheroics. The meetings of Thor and Odin here is really well done and examines the father/son dynamic in an interesting fashion. The Don Blake stuff is only marginally interesting right now, but we know very little about it, so who knows where it will go. Marko Djurdjevic's art is decent.

War is Hell: The First Flight of the Phantom Eagle #1

Quite a mouthful, that title is.

I've somehow managed to miss all of Garth Ennis's previous war comics, excluding Punisher: Born (and any flashbacks in Punisher or Preacher). I really need to pick up some trades, don't I? But, I'm not missing out on this series, which looks promising and impresses me just for the fact that it takes place during the first World War when air fights were new and very different from what we're used to. Ennis uses that to his advantage in one scene where Kaufman (the eponymous Phantom Eagle) kills a German pilot by blowing his head off... and can see it quite clearly in all its graphic detail because the pilots flew out in the open air. Howard Chaykin's art still doesn't wow me, but some pages are amazingly beautiful, I'll admit.

Skrull Kill Krew

Ah, the nearly forgotten "classic" from Grant Morrison and Mark Millar... finally, she is mine and I have read her and... yeah, it's not that good. No, really, this is very, very mediocre with a few moments of brilliance. The concept is that after the Kree-Skrull War, the US military turned three Skrulls back into cows (like Reed Richards had done) and instead of letting them graze, they slaughtered them and they became hamburgers. Their DNA carries a virus for humans that some are immune to, some die from right away, and some gain the ability to see Skrulls in their natural form and shapeshift. They band together, call themselves the Skrull Kill Krew and, well, kills Skrulls. Not much else to it than that. The characters are broadly drawn, the plots are superficial and it's easy to see why this book only lasted five issues. If Grant Morrison and Mark Millar weren't who they are, I doubt this book would have been collected by Marvel.