This past week has been an extra-especially good one for me... Mie (the woman I recently started dating and about whom I wrote that lovely song many weeks ago) and I are getting along wonderfully and spent last Tuesday strolling around, looking at the Cherry Blossoms.
Sweet, sweet bliss.
Also, a big ol' box of comic-books arrived a few days ago, with some mighty fine new comics in it. And my dissertation is coming along well, and I'm not sick anymore.
Hurray for life!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anyway, I just placed my order for June and WOW! there are a lot of good comics coming our way. My pull list, by far the longest I've had in years, looks a little something like this:
ALL NEW ATOM #12
ALL STAR SUPERMAN #8
ANNIHILATION CONQUEST PROLOGUE
AVENGERS INITIATIVE #3
Batmen of America! See my column from two weeks ago.
BIRDS OF PREY #107
I don't normally buy this, but I'm picking it up for the Secret Six storyline.
BLACK PANTHER #29
BRAVE AND THE BOLD #4
Really, really enjoying this series...
BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER #4
CAPTAIN AMERICA #27
The Minx title I talked about a couple of weeks ago...
I continue my bizarre policy of buying approximately one issue per month. Why does this make sense? It doesn't, unless you're me. Which I am. See, I figure that if I actually picked up every weekly issue, it would quickly bore me. I just don't think it's going to be that good a story.
But, if I just pick up an occasional issue here and there, mostly at random, it will make the story more interesting. I'll have the fun of filling in all the missing pieces in my head.
This is the sort of thing that makes perfect sense to me but that makes my friends scratch their heads in confusion.
DETECTIVE COMICS #833
GREEN LANTERN SINESTRO CORPS SPECIAL #1
Haven't been enjoying the ongoing series for a while, but I think the idea of a Sinestro Corps. is pretty neat and the art is by Van Sciver. My guess is that this is going to be a LOT of fun!
INCREDIBLE HULK #107
IRREDEEMABLE ANT-MAN #9
JUSTICE COVER A #12 (Of 12)
Last issue. Sigh.
JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #10
LEGION OF SUPER HEROES IN THE 31ST CENTURY #3
MARVEL ADVENTURES AVENGERS #14
MARVEL ADVENTURES FANTASTIC FOUR #25
NEW WARRIORS #1
I have no interest at all in this title, but it's one of the featured titles from the company I order my comics from, so it's only 74 cents.
SHAZAM THE MONSTER SOCIETY OF EVIL #4 (Of 4)
Last issue. Double sigh.
SILENT WAR #6 (Of 6)
Last issue. Why are all my comic-book friends abandoning me?
SPIDER-MAN FANTASTIC FOUR #3 (Of 4)
ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #110
WORLD WAR HULK #1 (Of 5)
X-MEN FIRST CLASS HC
Collecting the Jeff Parker limited series. Yes!!!
X-MEN FIRST CLASS Vol. 2 #1
And this starts up that series again as an ongoing. Extra-triple-super-deluxe Yessss!!!
Our LINK OF THE WEEK is a sequel, of sorts. A couple of weeks ago I linked to a review column by Tracy and her two kids, Sarah and Shelby, called All Ages Reads. As you may recall, I lamented at the time that there's no archives for their column, which made me weep uncontrollably.
Well, I just heard back from Tracy and they have now archived their past reviews and so, as promised, here's the link. I really cannot recommend their columns enough. They're funny, clever, and it's the only source of reviews I know of that almost always discusses comics that I'd never heard of before but, after reading what they have to say, I realize that they're exactly the kind of comics I'm looking for.
Hurray for All Ages Reads!!!
Anyway, we've only got time for two comic-book reviews this week (insert usual excuses) so I thought I'd pick one that nobody's really talking much about, that being Silent War #3. Written by David Hine with art by Frazer Irving, Silent War has been consistenly unpredictable since the very first issue. A part of that is because the story features the Inhumans, who are such peripheral characters in the Marvel Universe that Hine is free to do pretty much whatever he wants with them. There's no firmly set status quo that needs to be restored by the end (it's a six issue limited series) so that opens up a lot of possibilities.
As mentioned in a previous column, the opening premise of Silent War is that the Inhumans have declared war with the U.S. government. [Actually, everyone in the comic keeps insisting that they've declared war with Earth, but thus far there's been no mention of any country other than the U.S. and no real reason why the Inhumans would want to pick a fight with, say, Uzbekistan or Somalia.] They want to retrieve the Terrigen Mists, which were stolen by Quicksilver and then taken from him by the U.S. military (hence the conflict).
In issue #3, the Inhumans have tracked down Quicksilver only to discover that he's... um... well, you really need to see what he's done. Suffice it to say, he has a few fragments of the Terrigen Crystals (from which the mists come) and he's sort of... er... well, let's just say that getting them back doesn't seem to be a viable option. And, too, that Quicksilver is perhaps a little bit nuttier in the cabeza than anyone originally suspected.
The Inhumans are rather unhappy about this situation and things only get worse when Madrox and Layla (of Peter David's X-Factor) show up, we get some weird time paradoxes tossed into the mix (courtesy of Pietro's new powers and Layla's manipulations) and meanwhile, from behind the scenes, Black Bolt's creepy brother, Maximus, is mucking around with people's minds.
Despite everything that's going on, the story reads well; I had to go back a second time to fully understand what had happened with Pietro's time-jumping, but it all made perfect sense the second time around. The art, as mentioned in the previous review, is gorgeous. Frazer Irving is not an artist I'd expect to see on a (sort of) mainstream Marvel title like this, but his art really brings it to another level. Pietro looks totally deranged, Black Bolt looks super creepy (especially on the bottom of page six, when seen through Luna's eyes), the Inhumans all look thoroughly pissed off, and that final page of Maximus is phenomenal.
Frazer Irving, I salute you.
The second comic I wanted to talk about is Batman #664, written by Grant Morrison with art by Andy Kubert.
I didn't like it.
The opening seven pages are a quick glimpse of Bruce Wayne skiing and then eating dinner with a beautiful woman named Jezebel. I don't think we've seen her before, so perhaps Morrison is setting her up to be a reoccuring character? Or, then again, perhaps not. It's a cute scene but there's nothing particularly noteworthy about Jezebel or about the scene itself. It's just kind of... there.
From there, the scene shifts abruptly to Gotham City at night. It's raining and Batman is watching some cops argue with a pimp and some prostitutes. It seems that the prostitutes are being killed by some kind of monster. Batman investigates.
I'm not quite sure what Morrison is going for but the whole scene is kind of ugly and not at all entertaining. One of the prostitutes is a young girl who looks to be about 12 years old, with a clown face, who's trembling with fear as she huddles near a garbage dumpster. On the following page, as Batman goes in to find the big bad, we see one prostitute (again with a clown face) lying dead amongst a pile of pizza boxes and another, blood dripping from her many wounds, hanging from a couple of ropes.
Are we having fun yet?
The villain, when we finally do see him, is a cop wearing a Batman mask and who's pumped up on that testosterone-ish drug that Bane uses. There's a brief fight and quasi-Bane stamps his foot down on Batman's back and wanders off.
To be continued, I suppose.
Clearly I'm not the target audience for this, and that's fine, but I'm not quite sure who the target audience actually is? The few reviews I've seen of this particular issue have focused on the humor of the James Bond line from the first half of the issue and the 'wacky' pimp in the second half, but to me the whole thing just doesn't fit together very well. It's not as if the lightness of the first half and the darkness of the second half are being used as a sort of juxtaposition; they're just two unrelated pieces stuck together with some Grant Morrison Crazy Glue. And neither of part is insightful, clever, or fun.
So, I say "Blah" to that.
Happy birthday, Sarah. You rock.
Chompy the Crocodile says, "Happy birthday, Sarah!"
See y'all next week!