Yikes! has it been three weeks already? Well, with three weeks of comics to discuss I’ll have to trim down my reviews of each one. I present to you now the Wednesday Winners Lightning Round, wherein I quickly talk about one thing I did or did not like about each comic (a format borrowed from the Warren Ellis forums) for those in-stores 5/28, 6/3 and 6/10/09 :
I APPROVE AND HERE I TELL YOU WHY: There are a lot of superhero-gone-bad stories on the market today (Irredeemable and The Mighty immediately spring to mind) but Christos Gage and Roberto Viacawa’s Absolution strikes a very different tone. It’s a strange sort of blend, mixing Law & Order: SVU with The Boondock Saints, and also superheroes. I love Gage’s “some people just need killin'” essay included at the end of this preview issue, and really look forward to seeing where this series goes. Also, Juan Jose Ryp does the covers, and I’d probably buy an issue of Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers if he was drawing it.
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN: THE SHORT HALLOWEEN #1
I APPROVE AND HERE I TELL YOU WHY: This issue read like some of my favorite episodes of Doctor Who, specifically “Blink” and “Love and Monsters.” That is to say, the titular character is sidelined for most of the story, and heretofore (as well as hereafter) unknown characters with only tangential connection to the hero get their day in the sun. I guess that would make it a bit of a throwback to Spider-Man’s Tangled Web, a series that I’ve never read but would like to someday. SNL writers Bill Hader and Seth Meyers turn in a funny (but not bwa-ha-ha) story, and Kevin Maguire (speaking of bwa-ha-ha!) provides some of the best Spidey art I’ve seen in years.
ANNA MERCURY VOL.2 #1
I APPROVE AND HERE I TELL YOU WHY: Ellis and Percio kick this second volume of Anna Mercury off with a bang, specifically an action-packed chase sequence that features a few great one-liners amidst the chaos. Some of the story conventions are ones sci-fi readers have seen before, but with that uniquely Ellis charm to the characters and an obviously extensively-“built” world for a setting. Percio does a brilliant job rendering the action scenes, and the issue is surrounded by yet another stellar Juan Jose Ryp wrap cover.
ATOMIC ROBO AND THE SHADOW FROM BEYOND TIME #2
I APPROVE AND HERE I TELL YOU WHY: The action kicks into gear with this issue, as Robo takes on the eldritch horror that has possessed H.P. Lovecraft. The entire page where Robo is explaining how to use the lightning guns is pure Clevinger excellence, and should sound right at home to any fans of 8-Bit Theater. Wegener’s art is top-notch as usual, and his Lovecraftian monster is creepy without being disgusting, which is quite an achievement.
BUCK ROGERS #1
I APPROVE AND HERE I TELL YOU WHY: I’ve never had any particular interest in this landmark character or his franchise, be it in comic, film or TV incarnations. This latest version by Scott Beatty and Carlos Rafael is rather fun and exciting, though, and brings modern storytelling techniques to the classic character without falling into the “redesigned for the new millennium” trope trap. The psuedo-science sounds plausible enough and gives enough character to the fictional world to make it engaging, and this incarnation of Buck is very reminiscent of an Adam Strange/young Hal Jordan hybrid (I know he pre-dates both characters, but I’m far more familiar with them.) Alex Ross designed the characters and costumes, so they look fantastic even when normal human artists are drawing them.
BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER – TALES OF THE VAMPIRES #1
I APPROVE AND HERE I TELL YOU WHY: Becky Cloonan turns in what seems to be a straightforward side story about a kid falling in with the wrong crowd (REALLY wrong,) but delivers a nice twist by showing how accepting society is of vampirism in the current Buffyverse. I’d swear that his mother is actually intrigued by the idea of having a vampire son. The star-crossed lovers theme is used interestingly at the climax, and the way slayers are viewed as enemies seems increasingly Kafkaesque (sp. The Trial) but I’m not exactly sure what to make of the ending. I’ll need to consult with Petpluto on the nuts & bolts of the Buffyverse to understand it a bit better.
I APPROVE AND HERE I TELL YOU WHY: It’s got quirky charm, a strangely prescient storyline (if only he had used swine flu instead of avian flu!) and is immersive and engaging, which is no mean feat for a book about a police officer who gets psychic impressions from anything he consumes in a world where chicken is outlawed. I swear, Image is making all the best comics these days.
DAREDEVIL NOIR #3
I APPROVE AND HERE I TELL YOU WHY: Tomm Coker. It’s as simple as that. His artwork is absolutely incredible, and fits the “Noir” theme of the series better than any of the artists on previous series. The story is a fairly straightforward Daredevil plot with a few twists here and there, but it’s the art that keeps me coming back.
IGNITION CITY #3
I APPROVE AND HERE I TELL YOU WHY: The story is starting to gain momentum now, and that means treachery, intrigue and awesome anachronistic sci-fi gunplay. Plus, it’s written by Warren Ellis with little to no editorial interference, and that’s a delicious recipe right there.
JERSEY GODS #5
I APPROVE AND HERE I TELL YOU WHY: Woohoo! The big climax of the first arc is here, and it’s everything I had been hoping for. Glen Brunswick proves that mighty cosmic gods battling thugs in a Newark waterfront warehouse can be (and is) awesome. More than that, though, he writes the romantic moments between Barock and Zoe with such charm that you can perfectly believe their relationship. I can’t wait to see where the series goes from here. All those who felt like the series was spinning its wheels until it caught up with the original preview, jump on board here or with #6 and you won’t be disappointed.
I DO NOT APPROVE AND THIS IS MY ARGUMENT: Well, somebody had to draw the short straw, right? This issue gave me flashbacks to Gail Simone’s issue of Gen13 where the Gens run into The Authority, which proved to me that Gail should never ever write an issue of The Authority. The weird thing about this issue of Runaways, though, is that Chris Yost is a decent X-Men writer and a passable Runaways fill-in writer. I blame the issue’s flat fall on the fact that he doesn’t understand how the Marvel U reacts to the Runaways outside of major crossovers like Secret Invasion. Nothing about the dynamics between any of the Runaways and any of the X-men felt at all right, and it seemed like Marvel published someone’s bad fanfic (but, to his credit, at least there’s no Mary Sue.) The second story was not as bad, but was so forgettable that I can’t recall any details about it. Hopefully next issue will be better (or, alternatively, Marvel will cancel Runaways until Vaughan can come back and remind everyone why they were reading in the first place.)
There were a few other comics I picked up but didn’t feel strongly about in either direction: Muppet Robin Hood #1, The Muppet Show #3, Pride and Prejudice #3, and X-Men Forever #1. I hope that Forever picks up soon, though, because I love the precedent its existence sets.
Okay, that’s it for these weeks. Hopefully things will be back on schedule from now on.