Sunday, May 11, 2008

The Sunday Open: First Week of May 2008

I'm in London and since I now have pull lists in two cities, nearly every week is only half-complete. Actually, my list is heavily favoured towards Windsor, so most weeks are fine--I miss a couple of Ellis Avatar books, Punisher War Journal and Gødland. Ah well. On to this week's short-as-hell "reviews," which are lacking many, many books...

Black Summer #6

"In which shit gets even more fucked up..."

The Seven Guns take on similarly enhanced soldiers and people die. John Horus discusses things with a commanding officer of some rank. More enhanced soldiers are sent at him. Things go boom. See you next issue for the conclusion.

Cable #3

Still on the fence over this comic. It's alright; some good ideas; some pretty shitty art at times. I give it to issue six.

Gødland #22

Love Nickelhead's opening. Great stuff. This book is great stuff. That ending makes me want the next issue now. Gotta love Joe Casey.

Holy War #1

Fuck you, I'm not calling it by its full title as that title is pretty stupid. Why not just call it "Holy War" and act a little mature, DC?

I have no idea what this comic is about. Okay, I do, as it will obviously be about two races going to war over religion (despite having a longstanding conflict that has nothing to do with religion--perhaps espousing the idea that religion is merely a tool or excuse for violence). What I do love is that it has DC superheroes attempting to destroy an entire culture's religion. Adam Strange, Hawkman, Animal Man and Starfire want to build an anti-god ray.

This issue is all over the place and Ron Lim's art is worse than I've ever seen it--but, I do love it when Starlin gets to be a crazy-as-fuck guy. Particularly enjoy the new Comet who briefs the JLA on the fact that most alien races think humanity will wipe itself out within a couple of decades and, therefore, have no plans on invading Earth when they can simply wait around.

The Invincible Iron Man #1

Fraction mentions the alcoholism! Right there, he won me over with his take on Tony Stark. Good first issue.

Iron Man: Viva Las Vegas #1

Favreau writes a horrible comic. Bad first issue.

Punisher War Journal #19

This would have been a much stronger issue if combined with last issue. Otherwise, pretty decent. About damn time, too.

Scalped #12-16

I said I would get caught up, didn't I? Actually, I also bought #11 because I am a moron who forgot that Casino Boogie collected #6-11...

This comic is as good as everyone says it is. The characters are complex and unique--often contradicting themselves. Aaron's writing is compelling and difficult to predict. R. M. Guera's art is dark and expressive. But, most of all:

I bought the first two trades and have now caught myself up via some singles and will be buying this comic every month. I don't do that very often. Normally, I will buy a book like this when a new trade comes out like I do with DMZ (which I really enjoy). But, this book is so good that I can't wait the six to nine months for a new trade. I want a monthly fix. Fuck me, you should be buying this comic.

Global Frequency: Detonation Radio

The final six issues of this series. All good stories, all good art. I particularly enjoy the Lee Bermejo-drawn issue. Creepy as fuck is what it is. This is another book that shows us all that Warren Ellis's dominant theme is one of hope and people doing their best to make the world better. If you don't get that, you're missing the point.

Hellblazer #85-88

Since I'm on a bit of a John Constantine kick, I wrote down the issues that aren't collected (and probably won't be), and picked up these four--a small story Eddie Campbell wrote with Sean Phillips on art. It's an odd one as John is suckered in by a ghost to help stop reality from unravelling and winds up travelling the world. It's a solid enough arc--not fantastic, but very entertaining at the same time. If you like the character or Eddie Campbell or Sean Phillips and see these issues cheap, get them.

Aztek The Ultimate Man

Ah, finally, Grant Morrison and Mark Millar's cult superhero title is collected. Is it worth it?

Sure, why not.

This is a pretty decent read, although I can see why it failed. Morrison and Millar are very guilty of not laying out the premise of the book at the beginning--we need to get it doled out in chunks. I think it's not until issue six or seven that we even learn what Uno's mission is. Which, you know, fine, it doesn't actually matter that much, but all of the intelligent commentary on superhero books isn't going to save you if the average reader doesn't know what the book is about. Morrison and Millar trust the reader, but I wonder if they trust him/her too much.

The stories are good, though. M&M play around with superhero conventions like secret identities and modern superhero ethics, and shit like that. Morrison continues his depiction of the super-sane Joker here as we get "cosmic trickster" Joker. Some nice team-ups with Green Lantern (Kyle Rayner), Batman and, even, Superman. The JLA issue is quite good, too. I am a little baffled why the last issue contains set-ups for subplot that never get explained, because the writers knew the book was being cancelled. Probably ties into the commentary side of the book. Hell, maybe Uno's half-brother will show up in Final Crisis and we'll get a new Aztek.

This book is worth picking up. I do have to ask, though: what happened to N. Steven Harris? His work here is decent and shows a lot of promise. Where'd he wind up?

And that does it (aside from the Garth Ennis Hellblazer trade I bought and don't feel like discussing--even briefly--and the final four Doom Patrol trades I got today as I haven't read them--I want to reread the first two before jumping in and those books are in Windsor).