Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Sunday Open: Second Week of June 2008

[Note: the reviews below are not full reviews. Nor are they objective. They are often intuitive responses to what I read and lack fully formed ideas. Why? Because I spend the rest of the week trying to be smart and sometimes I just want to talk about comics without worrying about that stuff. Sometimes, I just want to have some fun with comics.]

I spent a lot of money this week. Well, not that much, but more than I usually like to. Blame the bunch of Adventures of Superman back issues I picked up in an effort to complete my collection of Joe Casey's run (only need five more). Damn you, Joe Casey. Well, let's get to it...

Captain Britain and MI13 #2

Greg Burgas pointed this out, but right before that fucking awful Uncanny X-Men #500 ad by Greg Land that has polluted every Marvel comic this month by popping up right in the middle of each issue since it's a double-page ad, we get a two-page spred by Leonard Kirk that shows Land for the lesser talent that he is. Land's picture is bland, flavourless, uninteresting, and kind of creepy (I know, I know, the porn referencing has been beaten into the ground, but I'm disturbed that the newest teenage mutant, Pixie, is obviously waiting for someone to cum on her face... I don't want images like that put in my head, but it's so damn obvious...). Kirk's pic is dynamic, packed full of action and warrants some study to see how everything is laid out (as opposed to... holy shit, how can Storm's legs bend like that? What the fuck?). The writing on this comic is pretty good, too. The way Captain Britain dies is interesting, and the sense of doom is palpable. I really do think all of these characters are fucked and the Skrulls are going to win. Why wouldn't I? THEY HAVE THE GODDAMN MAGIC! I'm not worried about the rest of the Marvel universe, but Britain seems completely fucked and probably won't be around after "Secret Invasion." Shit, then who will star in this comic? Now, I'm really worried (and also know that this book won't survive past a year most likely, which is a shame because it's good).

Charlatan Ball #1

A new Joe Casey creator-owned title? And with an obvious Kirby influence? Oh my god, Gødland is entertaining it's final year? And Codeflesh is returning? What do you want me to say, really? It's a solid Joe Casey comics with some decent art. It's an interesting premise and contains that typical Casey protagonist of the down-on-his-luck-but-really-decent-underneath dude with some trippy shit. In particular, that trippy splash page where Weird Mind-Altering Shit Happens. This book gets bought every month. Hells yes.

Eternals #1

I discussed this a bit with Tim, but that was more a discussion about Jack Kirby, his work, his legacy, the molestation of his memory... this comic was more a means to that end. This was not a good comic. It was tedious, it was dull, it told me nothing, and contained cliche characters. Daniel Acuna's art is great (really, that Thanos panel... wow). I'm convinced Sue Storm didn't originally have a bathing suit or bra or whatever that is. Is that Lightray on the cover between Ikaris's left arm and thigh? Little explanation was given of the Horde. Where were the Big Questions, the Big Ideas, the Majesty? Where's the love?

The Last Defenders #4

I knew the problem was Nighthawk. Or, more importantly, Kyle Richmond. I believe Joaquin will become Nighthawk by the end of the series (hence the full mask on issue six's cover). Kyle Richmond can't be a superhero anymore and who better than the SHIELD agent whose father was a supervillain? But, yeah, the problem with each of these Defenders teams (and there have been three in the book so far) has been Kyle Richmond. He is a failure of a superhero. He is the problem ingredient, clearly. In the end, he must be excised from the group in order for it to survive.

I really enjoyed the scene between Richmond, Tony Stark and Henry Gyrich. A really great indictment of the Superhuman Registration Act and its corruption of heroic ideals. I'm really enjoying this book.

Narcopolis #3

Something about this issue didn't click for me. Maybe I wasn't in the mood for the language of the book. You need to be in the mood to read something like this and I don't think I was in it. Shit. I have not done Jamie Delano a service by reading this issue when I did. I should have just put it away and maybe waited for issue four and read the whole damn thing in one sitting. Waited until I was ready to embrace this world and its language. Because I do love the langauge of this book. It's a fun read in many ways. It's about a society that is both wonderful and shitty it's about love; it's about taking drugs, both illegal and legal. It is a reflection of our world, but only in the complexity of it. A lot of writers tend to ignore that societies are never all evil or all good. Things don't work that way. Yeah, a tyrannical dictatorship sucks for a lot of people, but it fucking rocks for others. Narcopolis is an agent of evil in many ways, but it's also a great place to live if you fit in and abide by the societal rules. And is there something all that wrong with wanting to do that? Gray Neighbour doesn't seem entirely sure--he's questioning the society, trying to see both the good and evil, maybe focusing a bit on the evil because everyone around him tells him the good. But, he is questioning and that is the key to this comic (maybe). No society is one thing entirely, but what matters is the questioning, the examination of what makes a society function, of the good and bad parts. Not simply believing one side of the story without question. Okay, maybe I wasn't in the wrong mood for this comic. Who knows.

newuniversal: Shockfront #2

A very effective issue. Ellis moves forward a few plots, including Phil Voight killing a superhuman in a rather clever way. He's talked about how he killed superhumans back in 1959 and now we see that he's still got it (and next month's one-shot will provide more background). The best part of the issue is the two-page explanation by Charlotte Beck (a new character) of the history of this world since 1960, allowing us to see exactly where it differs from our world. I love alternate histories, so two pages of a character just spilling details makes me happy. Things are pushing to a head it seems. Good stuff.

Red Mass for Mars #1

The third Jonathan Hickman-penned mini-series currently ongoing at Image and this one is just as interesting and unique as Pax Romana and Transhuman. I love how this issue begins with a few stock sci-fi doomsday plots and then discounts them. Basically, aliens are coming and they are really tough, so all of the superhumans need to pull together. In many ways, it's a typical superhero book; in many ways, it's not. The whole Lightbender monologue was rather funny as he exercises his racist, xenophobia by demanding English become the primary language of Earth again... and to prove he's serious, he defiled the Queen of England... three times... er...

The art by Ryan Bodenheim is decent. Like most Hickman books, this is pretty text-heavy, but the visuals work. Hickman is quickly becoming one of the few creators whose work I buy without question. Hell, he's already there, honestly.

I bought a couple of other things, but nothing I want to discuss yet. Or, stuff I haven't fully read. Either or. I dunno.