COMICS: John’s Wednesday Winners for 3/25/09

Boy, the days just fly by, don’t they?  I had intended to post several reviews over the past week, but this is my first real opportunity.  Here’s a quick look at some of this week’s comics:

Runaways #8

Runaways #8

This week’s batch starts with Runaways #8, a surprisingly strong issue compared to the rest of Terry Moore’s run on the title.  Any issue that focuses on Chase and/or Molly (in this case, both) is pretty much guaranteed to satisfy me, though.  This “rock zombies” arc is shaping up to be far more entertaining than its predecessor, but the book still has a long way to go before it reaches a level on par with the “glory days” of Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona’s run.  Takeshi Miyazawa’s art is looking better than ever, and fits Moore’s style of story better than Humberto Ramos’s did.  I would say that casual Runaways fans could easily jump straight from Whedon’s issues and the Secret Invasion crossover with the Young Avengers to issue #7 of this series and be better off for it (though they’d have to consult the recap page for the current whereabouts of Xavin.) I’m excited to hear that there will be a new creative team on the book after this arc concludes, who hopefully will be better suited to capturing the style and feel of the series’ early issues.

Super Human Resources #2

Super Human Resources #2

I nearly missed this week’s  Super Human Resources #2, which would have been quite a shame.  Ken Marcus and Justin Bleep serve up another heaping helping of workplace-related hilarity, blending the mundane and superheroic worlds by examining parallel universe health insurance, purchase orders for land/lava hovercrafts, more evil office appliances, and a surprise birthday party for Zombor the receptionist  – with an ice cream cake in the shape of a brain!  Once again, the best lines go to the copy machine (“Fax machine, awaken.  Prepare to serve your unholy master.  *BEEP*)  and Zeus (“Thou loveth the ‘zesty cajun popcorn shrimp'” and “What is a ‘Greek Salad’?”) Justin Bleep’s art is even sharper and clearer in this issue, if such a thing is even possible.  I don’t remember whether or not the first issue had the panels on a black background, but the second certainly does, and it does a surprisingly good job of making the artwork stand out (possibly because most of the scenes at SCI feature white walls.)  Once this series finishes, I hope that the creators are able to continue it as a webcomic or comic strip.  Its best jokes are the quick ones, and a medium like the internet could help them reach a broader fan base, possibly putting them in the same league as loosely similar webcomics like PVP.  Watch out, Scott Kurtz!

Transformers: All Hail Megatron #9

Transformers: All Hail Megatron #9

As you may be able to tell by the cover, the game has begun to change in Transformers: All Hail Megatron #9.  This issue features more stellar work by Shane McCarthy and Guido Guidi, and the drama unfolding on Cybertron continues to show more humanity than the human’s struggle to survive on earth.  SPOILERS AHEAD:

While Spike and a few other uninteresting humans score their first minor victory against the Decepticons (why’d they have to kill Rumble?!  He was my favorite!) The Autobots struggle with the repercussions of last issue’s shocking revelation.  Mirage refuses to forgive Ironhide (and is probably right to,) Ratchet is stressed nearly to the breaking point, and poor Sideswipe has given up all hope.  Only the timely return of Optimus Prime could possibly stem the tide now!  *Cue Stan Bush’s “The Touch”*  Prime returns in all his 2-page splash glory, and in those two pages does what no other autobot could do in eight issues: Reminds them of what they’re fighting for and inspires them to fight until the bitter end.  I loved this series before, but I really love it now.  All hail Optimus Prime!

The Umbrella Academy: Dallas #5

The Umbrella Academy: Dallas #5

I’d be lying if I told you that I understood everything that happened in The Umbrella Academy: Dallas #5, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying the heck out of it.  This issue begins with Kraken and Spaceboy in 1963 Vietnam, struggling to protect a Vietnamese mummy from falling into the hands of V.C.Vs (Viet Cong Vampires, apparently) only to have the mummy turn on them in a spectacularly violent fashion.  Gerard Way takes his time explaining exactly how the characters reached this point from the end of issue #4, which I didn’t mind because the Vietnam action sequence was one of the most entertaining fights in the series.  Gabriel Ba and Dave Stewart continue to deliver a dynamite 1-2 punch of eye candy, once again making the book worth picking up for the pretty pictures alone.  Way’s writing talents show through here in the characters’ development far more than the plot, which is a bit convoluted and confusing (as time-travel plots often are.)  I shouldn’t complain, though, since it afforded the story another chance to bring back Mr. Pogo.  The pawns are in place for the series’ action-packed conclusion, at which point everything will (hopefully) make much more sense.

[IMAGE FORTHCOMING]

Just when I thought my local comic shop had no more surprises in store for me, I stumbled upon Jim Krueger’s Fly Boys #1, an extremely obscure spin-off of his extremely obscure (and extremely awesome) indie superhero series The Foot Soldiers.  It’s hard to believe that this comic is already ten years old, and it makes me sad because I’m fairly sure issues 2 and 3 were never published.  Fly Boys is the story of a team of special operatives for the RAF during World War II who, instead of flying planes, soar through the air on arm-mounted super-strong propellers.  These propellers also serve an offensive purpose, allowing the Fly Boys to land atop enemy planes and slice them to pieces, then fly away to safety.  Fly Boys is positively dripping with style and imagination and charm, and is presented in a somewhat unique format: The comic is bound at the top instead of along the left side, and is designed to be read in “landscape” orientation instead of the traditional “portrait.”  This is literally a “widescreen” comic, and benefits greatly from the added page width.  The battle scenes are spectacular, and the whole book conveys an attitude of childlike wonder that makes it a joy to read.  If you ever happen to stumble upon Fly Boys, you should absolutely pick it up (and while you’re at it, see if you can’t get your hands on the trade paperback collections of The Foot Soldiers!)

Well, that’s it for this week’s comics.  I’m going to try extra hard to get more posts in this week, I promise!

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