Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Sunday Open: Fourth Week of April 2008

I didn't know that the shop I go to here in Windsor doesn't open until noon... until this past Thursday when I arrived via bus shortly after eleven. Shits. Thankfully, there's a lovely little cafe nearby, so I was able to kill an hour by finishing South of the Border, West of the Sun by Haruki Murakami (my second time reading it--and if you haven't read anything by Murakami, you should). That has little to do with this week's comics, but I think an anecdote is a nice way to begin.

The Death of the New Gods #8

Since I haven't been reading Countdown at all, I have no idea how this relates to it. I've been reading this series because it's Jim Starlin and the New Gods will play a big role in Final Crisis. What I love about this issue is that the cover has Superman kneeling, looking like he's been trying to take a shit for three days, the New Gods in the background, and shouting "NO! / IT CAN'T END LIKE THIS!"... a feeling shared by many, no doubt.

Myself included, because this series provides little closure. Apparently Darkseid died in Countdown, killed by Orion (or was it Orion's soul as it appears in this issue?), which you'd think would happen in a book called The Death of the New Gods. Ah well. New Genesis and Apokolips collide to form a new planet that's half of each. Superman is powerless to do anything. Darkseid escapes after nearly beating down the Source.

I enjoyed this mini-series, because I like Starlin's work, but it works only on that level. Reading this book for any other reason than to appreciate Starlin would be worthless, I think.

That said, bring on Holy War. Starlin. Lim. Hells yes.

Mighty Avengers #12

See, this is the type of tie-in issue I can get behind despite the fact that the Skrull take on Avengers #4's cover has nothing to do with the comic itself. We get a glimpse at what Nick Fury has been doing since Secret War and how he's made it his mission to stop the Skrull invasion. It's a solid issue that fills in some blanks and raises more questions than answers--particularly those final two pages. I know Bendis must have giggled himself silly with those pages. What do the red and blue circles mean exactly? Is that who is a Skrull, or just how Fury thinks is a Skrull? Wolverine and Spider-Man are circled in different colours... Alex Maleev's art is its typical loveliness.

Star Trek: New Frontier #2

Goddamn, I love Peter David's Trek stuff. Seriously, he is probably one of the top five writers to ever touch the property. Here, he kicks off the second issue with a few laughs, which is always nice. However, I'm not sure the pacing for this series is completely down. Since I'm used to the novels, this is moving much slower than I want--it seems like where we are at the end of issue two would be only 30 or 40 pages into a 200-plus-page novel. That said, I'm enjoying the crap out of this series and find myself wanting the next issue immediately.

Thor #8

A decent issue with some nice moments between Thor and Odin--as well as shedding new light on why Odin adopted Loki. We're eight issues in and now the main story can begin, it seems. Finally. This book has been a little too decompressed for my tastes. Djurdjevic's art continues to impress--hopefully, he'll get more interior work soon.

Hellblazer: Dangerous Habits

And, so, I finally get into Ennis's Hellblazer run. It took me long enough. I've gotten into the habit of buying a trade each week with my comics and keep looking at Ennis's Hellblazer stuff and it hit me: why am I not buying these? So, here we go.

At this point, you could argue that John Constantine is the one character that I will follow with any real devotion. Thankfully, I've yet to read anything too horrible involving him--mostly because Vertigo seems to do its best to protect the character.

Ennis's run kicks off with its most famous story about John dying of lung cancer. The Ennis here is one we don't see too often now, but we get glimpses of. His focus is so specific, so narrow on one character that it's almost surprising as Ennis tends to focus on ensembles now--even Punisher is more about the criminals than Frank a lot of the time. Not here: it's just Constantine. And it's a leisurely stroll through the Valley of Death that ends in a typical Constantine way: him pulling it all together to save himself and then realising that he nearly killed us all and feeling like a piece of shit.

I'm looking forward to the next trade.

Scalped: Indian Country and Scalped: Casino Boogie

I mentioned last week that I picked up these two trades while in London--well, finally finished the second one this week. And, yeah, it's a good book. I forgot while in the shop on Thursday, but, if I remember this week, I'll try to track down the singles that have come out since the end of the second book, and then begin buying this monthly. Will that make people happy? Good.

Regular posting will not resume this week, because I'm taking the next few days easy in preparation for my thesis defence on Thursday.