Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I Bought Comics: Fourth Week of July 2008

[In which I discuss the comics I paid legal tender for on this fine July Wednesday... I bought many comics with my legal tender... I also bought a coke slushy with legal tender... And I'm listening to a CD I bought earlier this year with legal tender... I like the term "legal tender" today...]

Oh, I haven't read Glamourpuss #2 yet. I began it, but it requires more attention than I feel like giving right now. Maybe I'll say a few words later this week or just jump it in with next week's books.

Gravel #3

...holy shit, I forgot this comic even existed. I missed it, because seeing how I buy Hellblazer in trades, having a monthly book (or something approximating one) that's devoted to magic is good. Particularly since William Gravel is a pretty unique figure within magic. In this issue, he continues to hunt down the Minor Seven and actually encounters one with some brains. Funny that. Normally, I like Oscar Jiminez's art, but his Gravel doesn't work for me. Too skinny, too ragged... Everything else he draws works for me; he just can't do the main character quite right. Jiminez's figures have always leaned towards the lanky side of things, so it's not surprising, but Gravel is a big guy who should scare you a bit with his size. He's a soldier and Jiminez draws him more like a Constantine. Ah well. I'm tempted to go back and reread the two-and-a-half issues that came before this one since it's been so long. Hopefully they'll get this book back on track since it's the closest thing Avatar has to a flagship book these days (well, one that someone may give a fuck about), which I find funny since Hellblazer is the spine of Vertigo (in my opinion, at least) and Avatar is a place that out Vertigos Vertigo (or seems to want to sometimes). A comparison between Constantine and Gravel would almost certainly point out many fundamental differences between Vertigo and Avatar. Someone up for that?

The Immortal Iron Fist #17

"New Iron Fist Creative Team Doesn't Suck!" the headlines read across the blogosphere... Not a bad start. Of course, not quite where the book was, but Duane Swierczynski does his best to continue the Fraction/Brubaker plots while also injecting his own stuff. Travel Foreman's art does little for me, but it doesn't interfere with the story, so that's a pass from me. I'm glad I didn't drop this book since Swierczynski's work here is better than it is on Cable. A lot happens in this issue compared to not much happening over with our mutant friend. I'm on board, boys.

Liberty Comics

Picked this up for three reasons:

1. New Boys story by Ennis and Robertson.

2. New Criminal story by Brubaker and Phillips.

3. Fantastic way of giving money to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.

There's a lot more here than the two stories I was interested in and most of them are decent. The Boys story is kind of funny as Hughie makes a sales pitch to all of the superhero fans out there--basically, donate money and your favourite heroes won't get fucked up by the Boys. It's a nice little joke.

The Criminal story does a good job of working within the context of that series and within the context of the overall book here. The message in most stories deal with freedom of speech and not being silenced by "authority." The Criminal story has Tracy Lawless visit a reporter and discuss what happens to reporters with integrity.

The other stuff here is decent, too. Some new work by Darwyn Cooke is always cool; I rather like Rick Veitch's Brat Pack pin-up--same with Arthur Adams's contribution. If you didn't buy this book, make sure to. It's easily worth the four bucks cover price.

The New Avengers #43

Insight into the ship full of "heroes" that are really Skrulls as "Captain America" dies. Whoo. Again, a whole issue given to this? It's not bad, it's just not great.

Omega the Unknown #10

The shop had a copy this week! YAY! An odd end to an odd series, but entirely appropriate. I always like it when the cover of a comic acts as the first panel, too. Am going to reread this series as a whole in the next week at some point. Really, it was good. The end here is chilling and depressing, in a way--but not, almost. I don't know.

Uncanny X-Men #500

Fraction joins Brubaker on the book here, so, what the fuck, let's check it out, shall we? Rather mediocre, really. Not bad, but nothing here that makes me want to buy another issue. The Magneto stuff wasn't too bad, but everything else was just too... I don't know... cutesy? This is a cute book. It's all "Things are so good that we're going to get pissed off about an art exhibit!" and shit. Really? We're at the point where it's the X-Men versus an art exhibit? Throw in art by artists whose work I don't like and... well, sorry, folks, but no.

Youngblood #4

Still not sure about this book. Casey seems to have a plan, particularly with how he moves the team away from its reality TV show here (leaving its new leader to fight the villains alone... ouch!), but... it's also kind of bland in how it does it all. There hasn't been any really insightful commentary on "superheroes as TV stars" nor any real drive towards rising above that beyond Shaft kind of telling them to. Maybe next issue will do it better since it looks like they're introducing a new Youngblood team and the return of Televillain... This book was supposed to reclaim Youngblood as the supposedly forward-thinking book it once was (and, if you look at the early stuff on a purely conceptual level, it was in its own way) and has yet to. And, like Gravel, it needs to get back on schedule.

That's it for this week.