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(Again, despite the category I’ve filed this post under, these comics are actually from last week. Shhhh, don’t tell anybody!)
So a long time ago, back in the initial heyday of Image Comics, back when people were buying full sealed cases of The Pitt
#1 and we could get a line down the block of folks just itching to purchase Rob Liefeld’s Youngblood
, there was this oddball thing. It was nominally a superhero comic, I guess
. There was certainly a dude in a costume, and there seemed to be a villain involved in the story. But it was all so weird and dark, and not “dark” in the “comics by people who learned the wrong lessons from Dark Knight Returns
‘dark,’” but as in creepy and moody and mysterious. It was right up my alley…
…but then I apparently went through one my periodic “purge the reading list” moods, and I dropped The Maxx after issue five or six. Not sure why, other than I needed to save money, but I kind of regretted it ever since. And somehow, despite the fact that, oh, I don’t know, manage a comic book store, I never did get around to going back and buying the back issues or trade paperback collections to complete the run.
Part of the problem was accessibility. Back issues of The Maxx have been hard to come by, at least around here, for years. Well, not the first six issues, which we’d ordered plenty of. After that, we scaled back the orders some, particularly since the Great Comics Market Crash was in full effect by that point and orders were cut on purt’near everything. As a result, issues 7 and up were in limited supply, only sporadically in stock. In addition, the Maxx TV show helped create a whole lot of fans for the series, it seemed, and to this day I think it is at least partially responsible for maintaining the back issue sales the series enjoys at our shop to this very day. At least, when we have those back issues available.
Yes, yes, I could have bought the trades. Never got around to it. Sorry!
But here we are, I’ve been given a second chance at buying the series, with improved reproduction and coloring and (ahem) a steeper price, but I intend on sticking with it this time. Here’s hoping sales allow them to finish the entire run.
Once again I jump into other people’s Twitter conversations
, this time to opine upon Larfleeze
, a comic about reprehensible beings acting awfully towards other deeply flawed characters, and what fun it is. It’s Giffen, DeMatteis and Kolins getting to have some entertaining space adventure that’s kinda sorta tied to the Green Lantern franchise, while staying mostly its own thing and not getting too involved in the other two dozen or so GL books DC’s currently publishing. We’re also getting yet another backstory for Stargrave
, which should be amusing to the longtime Legion of Super-Heroes fan.
Speaking of backstory, this issue starts to look back at Larfleeze’s origins, which make him seem even more terrible, and his own reaction to this revelation are a few more steps toward rounding out the character a bit. Who knows if this supposed history is really true at all, of course, but seeing a crack or two in Larfleeze’s wall of greed and self-centeredness makes for interesting reading.
Full disclosure: I’m Twitter-pals with this comic’s writers, Adam P. Knave
and D.J. Kirkbride
, which is why I picked up this book in the first place (not to slight the swell work by artist Robert Love, of course). I enjoy the idea of a short-run superhero book exploring one specific problem (in this case, an immortal superhero looking to become not-immortal…i.e. end his life), you’re in, you’re out, no set-up for a Whole New Superhero Universe, no ongoing franchise…just “here’s our idea, here’s how it plays out, The End.”
Unless of course it is a set-up for a new universe/franchise. I guess I’ll find out in a couple of issues. But the first issue is fun, with the reader’s sympathy for the hero established very solidly early on, so that you want to know how this all turns out for him. It’s all a lot more light-hearted than the premise would imply. There are a couple of chuckles to be had, honest!
I was already buying Justice League Dark
, so I didn’t have to go out of my way to pick up this Swamp Thing appearance. I’ve definitely received what I wished for, a Swamp Thing more directly tied to the DC Universe, what with him discussing the evil parallel dimension (or whatever) Crime Syndicate with John Constantine, which is probably not something the me of, oh, four years ago would ever have imagined as happening. In a Justice League
book, no less. It’s all goofy adventure-drama, in the middle of a crossover event I’m otherwise not reading, but I get the gist. Swamp Thing also has these massively long word balloons which always seem wrong to me, despite the ol’ restriction on Swampy’s ability to speak having been done away with at the end of Alan Moore’s first storyline on the book.
Oh, and I also felt compelled to buy the 1:25 ratio black and white variant as well as the regular cover:
…because apparently I have the word “SUCKER” stenciled on my forehead.
(SPOILERS ahead, most likely.)
A long time ago, a particular image fixed in my mind. It was inspired by the various reimaginings of older, innocent comics in the light of deconstructive reconsideration, like The Dark Knight Returns
, with a bit of Alan Moore and Don Simpson’s “In Pictopia”
thrown in. It was an image from a comic story that will never happen, not within our lifetimes, at least not officially, unless with some changing of names or just straight-up Air Pirates
The basic set-up is that Goofy is visiting Mickey Mouse at his home. At some point, Mickey leaves the room, and Goofy follows. The panel I picture in my head is of Goofy glancing down at Pluto, who is dozing near the fireplace. There is some nearly-unreadable expression in Goofy’s face as he gazes upon his fellow dog. Is it pity for a distant cousin, separated by evolution, like a Homo sapiens sapiens looking at a chimpanzee in a cage? Is it disgust at another canine, one who settles for a life of sloth and pampering, not struggling to better himself as Goofy did? Is it sadness for a dog whose options in life have brought him to this low position, unable to escape? Guilt that he, Goofy, was able to advance while Pluto remained simply what he was?
At any rate, it’s basically picturing a “serious” version of the old question of “if Goofy is a dog, and Pluto is a dog, then why…?” by making Goofy himself seemingly aware of the discrepancy between his own dogness and Pluto’s dogness. Yes, “dogness.” I tried “caninity,” which is actually a word, but I liked “dogness” better.
Broader still, it’s a layering of depth and meaning far heavier than the subject can realistically support. Does anyone really need a serious in-universe examination of what exactly the difference is between Goofy and Pluto, and what that difference means to both of them, personally? I can see gags based around Goofy and Pluto deciding to trade places, and the difficulties that arise there, and in fact I wouldn’t be surprised if there was such a cartoon at some point.
So anyway, Afterlife with Archie #2. Taking the Archie universe, throwing it into a horror/zombie genre story, and just plain ol’ going for it. It’s a mostly serious take on a group of characters designed specifically to generate gags based on their personality differences, so there is that small measure of reexamination of the Archie gang and how they relate to each other. Sure, there’s the darkly ironic gag of Jughead, the character defined primarily by his love of eating, becoming the first zombie in the story. But the other happy, upbeat stories that usually abound in the their world are replaced with darker and / or more complicated issues: Betty and Veronica’s usually friendly adversarial relationship is suddenly a lot less friendly. Moose thinks maybe the zombified Jughead is “juicing.” There’s the reimagining of Sabrina’s aunts…what if they were scary witches? There’s the oddly incestuous subtext between Cheryl and her brother Jason. There’s the closeted lesbian couple who aren’t nearly as comfortable about coming out as prominent gay Archie character Kevin Keller.
And, unlike my Goofy ‘n’ Pluto thing, and against all odds, this works. If you told me a year ago, “hey, what if they the Archie characters and put ‘em in a zombie story,” I would have thought that was a terrible idea. Even when this series was solicited a few months ago, I thought…well, the creative team of Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Francesco Francavilla inspired some confidence, but even still I thought this was some chance to take. But going all out as they did, making the zombie genre a framework on which to build an alternate Archie universe where not everything works out in the end, not every relationship problem is solved with a pratfall, a laugh, or a humorous comeuppance, and where tragedy is not just a mild plot bump in the middle of an eight-page story…that’s what makes the project work as well as it does.
I probably really shouldn’t be racking this on the kids’ shelf.
Almost the exact opposite of Afterlife with Archie
is this comic, reviving the Batman/Scooby-Doo team from those decades-old episodes (and, okay, a relatively more recent Batman: Brave and the Bold
installment). No darkness, no grittiness, no ironic reconsiderations of milieu or character, no snark, no winking at how silly this all is (aside from a knowing gag or two kicking at the fourth wall a bit). You just get delivery on the promise of the cover, with Batman and Robin teaming up with Scooby and the gang to solve some crimes and catch some bad guys. It’s all light and fun and certainly a much-missed version of Batman. “Dark Avenger of the Night” is fine an’ all, but sometimes it’s okay to turn on the lights and let Batman see what he’s doing for once.
Also, for not having seen an episode of Scooby-Doo in years (aside from the aforementioned Brave and the Bold cartoon), it’s so ingrained in my head that I could easily hear all the gang’s voices as I read this comic. Nice nostalgic flashback for an old coot like me, and probably fun for the young folk, too.
This series is over, with a follow-up mini-series coming early next year, and, well…it was okay, I suppose. Felt like it was maybe an issue too long, the art felt a little uneven at times, but overall, I enjoyed it. It fills its function as side stories to the books, and specifically
the books, as the comics are written by Dexter’s creator, novelist Jeff Lindsay. That’s the primary selling point; it’s that these are
written by Lindsay is the reason I’m reading them.
I will note that this cover, while still obscuring the face of the title character to avoid confusion with the television show version, comes the closest thus far to making Dexter look like his portrayal by actor Michael C. Hall. Not complaining or criticizing, just acknowledging the difficulty involved in managing this particular license, where the literary version of the character is at a disadvantage when translated to a visual medium, when another, slightly altered but much more in the public awareness, version preexists.
And like I said, next year, “Dexter Down Under.” “You call that a knife? This is a knife!” (Dexter unfurls carrying case of terrifying blades in all sizes.)
It takes a lot to get me to buy any of the comics review/interview/history magazines nowadays. I used to buy a lot
of them, back when I had more time to read them, and before I started writing a comics weblog, which I’m sure is only a coincidence. Today, I’ll pick one up if the overall subject matter interests me (like Back Issue
‘s special treasury edition
), or, like this week, if the mag covers all those extra-sized anniversary issues I so enjoyed when I was a kid. I’ve written about anniversary issues here way back when, not long after I started this site; Flash #300
and Detective Comics #500
are two favorites that are in fact discussed in this very magazine, and it’s nice to get a little behind-the-scenes information on them after all these years.
She’s not on the cover, but this issue features my favorite Catwoman, along with a cute musical in-joke, in a story drawn by Colleen Coover. …Remember when people thought Adam West Batman was something to be ashamed of? How wrong they were.
Well, here they are, the DC Comics with the 3D covers, in quantities sometimes approximating the orders retailers placed months ago. And to be fair, the covers are
pretty neat, adding to the tragedy that there’s not nearly enough around to meet demand. Saw several new faces over the last day or two, folks driving from out of town trying to track down the covers their local stores ran out of so quickly. Not that we were much better, with the increased demand meaning faster departures off the shelves, and once people have seen what the 3D covers looked like, the 2D covers DC offered to supplement the allocated orders were, for some, unsatisfactory replacements.
Not for everyone, though! I actually had some people with in-store pull lists request they not get the 3D covers, and believe you me, I thanked them for that, given the allocations have left me with barely enough to cover the regulars, much less the extra demand. And employee Timmy was a step head of me, looking up the 3D covers on the eBay and, sure enough, the panic buying has set in, resulting in relatively crazy prices for books that have barely been out for 48 hours. That makes the one-per-customer signs I put on some of the 3D books seem like an even better idea now, though Timmy reported to me that some folks were buying one 3D cover and the 2D version. (I can’t really say anything, since I plan on doing the same for the Swamp Thing issue that’s coming later this month. Sad when it happens to someone you know, isn’t it?)
As for the comics themselves, I did like the ones I bought well enough, though that’s bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy in that I restricted myself to buying the Villains Month issues from the series I was already reading. The Green Lantern one, Relic, was probably my favorite, giving us the backstory for this new villain, as well as finally providing full context for the story being presented on the 1:25 ratio black-and-white sketch variant covers being offered for the GL family of books over the last couple of months.
“Based on George Lucas’s original rough-draft screenplay” says the blurb on the cover, both a warning and an enticement to the remaining Star Wars fans still devoted to the minutia of the property despite it all. That would include me, apparently, since I bought this comic, more out of a deep-seated need of the Young Mikester still within me to draw a narrative thread through all the memories of the preproduction images I absorbed back in my Starlog
-and-such days. I’m not the only one, it seems, since I saw more than a few new customers around my age showing up just for this comic, thanks likely to its presence in the real-world news media.
The comic itself is, well, what it is. It certainly gives the impression, whether or not this is what actually happened, that there was once a time someone could tell Lucas “no,” resulting in his beating this rough draft into the lean, mean fighting machine that is the original Star Wars movie from 1977. The emphasis in The Star Wars #1 on political intrigue, the lack of a central sympathetic “point of view” character (at least one as strong as Luke Skywalker)…you can see where the prequels came from. That said, it’s still an interesting comic, with familiar names and concepts not quite in their final form. We’ll see if that novelty carries us through eight issues.
A combination of the writing of Jonathan Hickman with the premise of the book (the return of the gods of assorted pantheons to Earth) is what got me to pick this up. That title is certainly something else, though I haven’t really noticed anyone at the shop giving it the stinkeye, so the no-such-thing-as-bad-publicity strategy hasn’t really come into play here yet. Nor is there too much of the usual bit of the old ultraviolence that you usually get in your typical serving of Avatar comics. I mean, there’s some
, and I bet there’ll be more in the future, so hang in there, guys!
Seriously, though, I like the set-up here, and am hoping it pays off and isn’t just an excuse for over-the-top gore. But, you know, c’mon. I mean, I might still read it, but I’ll cast a socially-responsible upturned eyebrow upon the proceedings, see if I won’t.
The first issue of this series came out in the first week of January of this year. It is now the first week of September. There have been seventeen
issues of this comic in eight months, and that’s not counting the recently launched companion series, or the Age of Ultron one-shot tie-in. But that’s okay, since you’re all rich, right?
A little context for the post’s subject line.
So this is yet another one of those crossover event series where I’m only getting the chapters that happen to appear in comics I’m already reading (in this case, Justice League Dark
) and missing the chapters that are in comics I don’t read (the other two Justice League series). I even took home part one, in Justice League
#22, but still it sits there, unread. But I’ve been down this road before, and we’ve all read enough comics to put the pieces together, and I’m not going into this completely blind since I’ve read that Pandora
#1 which leads into this whole hoohar. Excuse me, Trinity of Sin: Pandora
, which is the official title, I guess, though I’m just racking it under Pandora
on the shelf, though I suppose if I rack it along the title now suddenly known as Trinity of Sin: Phantom Stranger
and put ‘em both in the Ts, perhaps that’ll goose sales on the both of them, even though they’re selling just fine as is so who am I to upset this delicate funnybook balance and now to end this sentence before I use the word “though” again.
Anyway, I liked seeing the JL:D cast interact with the other, more traditional superheroes, which was fun, and there was a lot of shouting and running about regarding Superman being under the thrall of some bad guy or ‘nother and I’ll just assume everything’s going to work out in the end in one of those other Justice League titles I’m not reading. Also, as one might expect, JL:D sales, usually only about 1/2 to 1/3 of its JL brethren, sold just about equal numbers to his city cousins, so hey, sometimes crossovers work, gang. Not sure how long it’ll work in this case, but I’ll find out when I see my sales on a non-crossover issue of the series.
Speaking of crossovers, Constantine and Captain Shazam or whatever his name is now wander out of the pages of the previous comic and into issue #5 of John’s own series, and like I said on the Twitter last week:
This seems to have been the issue where folks still holding out hope this series would be more Hellblazer
-ish than not have decided that it’s not what they wanted, given the couple of pull-list drops I’ve experienced. I thought the particular sequence in this issue I won’t spoil here was kind of amazingly crazy and enjoyed the heck out of it, though I suppose I can understand why someone might be put off a bit. Plus, it’s hard to read that sequence and not think of this,
the link to which you probably shouldn’t even mouse over if you don’t want to be spoiled.
I do enjoy this direction, both in Constantine and in the new Swamp Thing series, in which they give weird and horrific interpretations of DC’s traditional characters. It’s a bit of nostalgia, I suppose, for the early days of seeing the Justice League in Saga of the Swamp Thing and thinking “whoa, what the heck” while immediately plowing through the pages. I may be all old and jaded and stuff now, but sometimes a little youthful exuberance slips through the cracks.
Another one of those cases where I know what numbers Rocketeer
usually sells for us, what numbers The Spirit
used to sell for us, and then getting sales on the crossover that exceed both numbers combined. Ah, well, What Can You Do? Reminds me of the story that the comic crossing over Cerebus with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles received orders well in excess of their usual monthly printruns combined. (Should also note the same thing happened to me on that Army of Darkness/Hack Slash
crossover that also came out last Wednesday.) People (Or At Least Retailers Doing The Ordering) Like Their Unlikely Intercompany Crossovers, is the lesson learned here.
It helps that Rocketeer/Spirit: Pulp Friction is a good, fun comic. Alas, Paul Smith has left the book after drawing the first issue, but Loston Wallace takes over with #2, though his work looks like it’ll fit right in.
That this series reprinting the original 1940s/1950s Popeye
comic books made it this far frankly surprises the heck out of me. (The companion series by Roger Langridge is apparently over and done with, which I didn’t realize…I just figured it was late or on a planned hiatus or what-have-you, but nope, it’s gone
, which is a real shame.) I don’t know if Classic Popeye
, featuring work by Popeye
strip artist Bud Sagendorf, will be around to reprint all
, what, 70, 80, whatever, of the original comics, but I certainly will appreciate whatever we can get. And, at the very least, I hope they get at least to 1962 so I can have a print copy of this cover
I have to be completely honest with you, when I started to read this comic, for about half a second I thought “oh dear, the color printing is off-register” until I realized I was being stupid and that it was entirely intentional. It’s a pseudo-retro look that doesn’t really look like anything associated with this particularly property before, but still works perfectly well, like you’re watching an old TV show on a color television that doesn’t have the “hue” and “tint” dials set quite right…a feature, not a bug.
The comic itself gets the tone of the TV show about as close as it’s able, given that most of the actual impact of the show comes from seeing actual adults dressing in these costumes and acting out plots and situations right out of the comic books. (I went into more detail about this some time ago.) Twisting it back into a comic book makes it a peculiar artifact of a short-lived fad from before a whole lot of us were born…but that’s okay, because the comic gets much of what made the show so endearing. The earnestness and sincerity of the heroes, the goofiness of the villains, the moral lessons, the big ol’ sound effects, the overall cheerfulness…it’s a Batman comic that makes you smile, and when was the last time that happened? Yes, it lacks Adam West reciting the dialogue out loud to you, but trust me, you’ll hear him in your head anyway as you read.
This is one of those comics that I buy every month, out of my long-standing interest in Clive Barker’s creations, but is another case of my perhaps having lost the thread of the plot(s) over the last, what, couple-or-three dozen issues, reading one a month, every month, for years. I should, like I did with B.P.R.D.
, bust out all the issues of Boom’s Hellraiser
run and read ‘em in a row. Like with B.P.R.D.
, I still “get” the general thrust of the series, but I certainly feel like I’m missing some nuance and some subtle points here and there. I mean, as nuanced and subtle as you’d expect a Hellraiser
comic to be. Anyway, while I’m still enjoying the individual installments as they come, a reread is definitely in order.
So the last few issues of this series, formerly Batman and Robin
until the latest Robin’s untimely death, have been sort of entertaining in a completely bonkers kind of way, with Batman teaming up with various members of the Bat-family and generally yelling at them and being a jerk in the context of apparently mourning and rejecting the finality of his loss. Which, you know, that’s a not-unheard of response to someone’s death, but it makes for some odd funnybook reading. A few months of this was probably enough, and it looks like there’s some turnaround in this new issue…some closure and healing, I guess, in the appropriately superheroic and melodramatic manner…but not completely closed in order to string along the subplot of Carrie Kelley still thinking her former-student-who-was-secretly-Robin is still alive.
And that’s another weird thing about this series, taking Carrie Kelley from Frank Miller’s beloved Dark Knight Returns (and slightly less beloved but still, I think, bizarrely wonderful Dark Knight Strikes Again) and plugging her into the New DC Universe. The conventional wisdom is that, like in Miller’s works, she’ll become Robin…the subplot of Bruce allowing her to think Damien is still alive certainly seems like one road to that result…but really, who knows. It still feels a bit odd to see her removed from her original context, but maybe if she does eventually become the new Robin, maybe when Marvel and DC start their intercompany crossovers again she can team up with Elektra.
Pretty much Superman’s only horror story, brought to us by Steve Gerber and Gene Colan (with a follow-up drawn by Rick Veitch), finally under one cover and
with non-muddy printing. There is a bit of dissonance seeing the art reproduced so cleanly and brightly after reading it on decaying newsprint for so many years (similar to my reaction to the Irv Novick Batman book
), but it really is one of the best Superman stories of all time, and if you haven’t read it yet, you should read it now. I wrote a spoiler-filled review
of it for another website if you want more info. But really, just get it. It’s great.
Well, it’s definitely in the Dexter
novel continuity as opposed to the TV show continuity, based simply on the fact that his sister’s name is spelled “Deborah” and not “Debra.” Oh, and the fact that the comic is written by the novelist who created Dexter, so it’s probably a given that it’d follow the books over the show.
Actually, all things considered, there’s not really anything here to trip up a fan of the TV show who’s never read the books, given that likenesses of the characters are general enough to be kinda/sorta like the show’s actors, if you squint a bit, and the presence of one particular character who’s…no longer around can be chalked up to the series being a “flashback,” if you’re really that concerned. And Deb is called “Sarge,” which is a rank I don’t think she ever held in the show. And the familiar supporting cast of the rest of Miami Metro Homicide aren’t involved, thus far.
Of course, this can all change with #2. An interesting trick they’re doing with the covers, which they’re apparently continuing based on the “next issue” ad in the back, is covering most of Dexter’s face, sidestepping the whole “this doesn’t look like Michael C. Hall” problem that might turn off folks browsing the racks.
The comic’s good, by the way. Dex goes to his high school reunion, encounters a former bully of his, and suddenly murders ensue. I think Dexter fans of either stripe, or both stripes (like me) will enjoy this.
It’s odd, but Clive Barker comics, aside from that brief period in the ’90s when anything that was vaguely comic-shaped would sell, are not big movers for us. The Hellraiser
anthology from Marvel/Epic was the biggie, followed by Eclipse Comics’ Tapping the Vein
, and then Nightbreed
a distant third. Everything else (and frankly there’s not much
else) never really sold that well. (Don’t get me started on Razorline
.) Even the recent Hellraiser
series from Boom!, which started off strong, has withered away to only a few hangers-on (including me, in case you’re wondering), as the structure of the series is mostly nonforgiving to latecomers (aside from the mostly self-contained Road Below
mini, which had slightly
I had high hopes for Next Testament (formerly New Genesis, until DC Comics suggested otherwise) which is perfectly fine religiously-themed horror and an entertaining read, but, well, the first issue sold okay, not great. Having “Clive Barker” splashed across the front cover isn’t the sales incentive one would think, at least with our clientele. Your future-of-horror mileage may vary at your own funnybook store.
SWAMP THING COVER CAMEO
Well, it’s tying into the “Trinity War” event, but I like the premise of the first issue, following Pandora over the centuries as she lives out her eternal curse, so we’ll see how it goes. I’ve read enough comics that tie into events I’m not otherwise reading to know how to deal with it, and so have all of you.
Yup. Still good. Still feels like classic pre-Vertigoization Swamp Thing comics. I’m not quite committed to the “actual Alec Holland in Swamp Thing’s body” status quo, but I’m coping. The vapors no longer come upon me quite so suddenly.
So basically, if someone out there is trying to complete your set of all 5,000 copies of the Marvel Milestones Spider-Man statue from Art Asylum, you’d better cross production number 1213 off the list, because alas, it’s shuffled off this mortal coil. And it didn’t jump…it was pushed. By me. With a bulky ol’ Diamond shipping box I was hauling into the store and, not seeing where I was going, I accidentally knocked the poor statue off the counter upon which it sat and sent it to its doom.
The only somewhat good part of this is the fact that we acquired the statue as part of a collection, and we actually didn’t have that much money into it. But let me tell you, I’d much rather have sold that statue than swept it up.
The worst part: I can’t yell at an employee about it. The only person to yell at is me, and I can’t yell at me, I’m too wonderful.
Anyway, here are a couple of comics that came out this week:
Now I certainly would have preferred it if this issue, wrapping up the “First Lantern” storyline, had actually come out a couple of weeks ago, when the Green Lantern Corps
issue containing the first epilogue to said storyline did
ship, since that would have saved a whole lot of explaining that, no, I didn’t forget to order Green Lantern
#20, it’s late, it’s not my fault, it’s DC’s. Alternatively, I would have been okay with DC simply delaying GLC #20 ’til GL #20 finally was released, since DC obviously wasn’t shy about putting out Red Lanterns
#20 and Green Lantern: New Guardians
#20, also containing epilogues, this week as well, so what difference would one more
GL book have made?
As for the comic itself…it’s a nice send-off to the Geoff Johns era of the franchise, so if you didn’t like any of the GL comics that came before, you’re certainly not going to like this one. I’ve generally enjoyed the GL run over the last few years, myself, and I thought the different colored Lantern Corps was a fun concept. It would be nice to have just a plain ‘ol “Hal versus Goldface” story now, but I don’t know if we can go home again after years of GL Cosmicness.
One interesting bit of business in this comic is an interspersing of full pages of pull-quotes from various comic creators, filmmakers, pals and family members, all congratulating Johns on his GL run. Don’t know if I’ve seen that ever done in a comic before, particularly for someone who’s still alive, but, well, there it is. Looking forward to DC doing the same thing for Grant Morrison when he leaves Batman.
They certainly crammed a whole lot of stuff into this issue, along with a couple of nice surprises, so if you are a fan of the GL books, this actually is a satisfying ending to the last few years’ worth of storylines. But here’s hoping things are a little more…accessible in the GL books that follow.
I don’t read the Dark Horse Presents
anthology on a regular basis…I picked up the issues with the new Concrete
stories, which were eventually collected into a standalone comic that I could have waited for instead if I’d known that was coming. (I figured they would end up in one of the eventual Concrete
trade paperbacks, if anything.) Of late, I’ve been picking it up because of the new Nexus
stories, which I suppose may also be collected into their own comics or trades at some point, but I’m not taking the chance, because it’s Nexus
and there are few comics I love more than Nexus
I do read the rest of the comic, too, though like most anthologies, not everything is going to be to everyone’s taste. The other ongoing adventure serials don’t really do anything for me, but the more oddball stuff, like Shannon Wheeler’s “Villain House” and “Hunter Quaid: Armageddon Out of Here,” are a lot of fun. I do wish there was more Geof Darrow in these books aside from the spot drawings, however.
Ah, I see my paperwork requesting a Swamp Thing Versus Frankenstein cover has gone through. Excellent, excellent.
This is kind of what I wanted when I clamored all these years for Swamp Thing’s release from Vertigo’s mighty grip…more “Swampy Versus The DC Universe.” I suppose I should have specified which DC Universe (“not one hastily rebooted with an indeterminate history, please!”) but beggars can’t be choosers. Justice League Dark has, to the surprise of most everyone, turned out to be the best of the new comics with the words “Justice League” in the title, even though most people hate that title while realizing this is probably the only reason it hasn’t been cancelled yet. Well, that, and the fact the series itself is very enjoyable, nicely utilizing DC’s supernatural characters in a more superheroic context.
Believe it or not, I haven’t read this yet, because I’m spending my free time writing this post about it instead. There’s something somewhat self-defeating about that.
• • •
If you give a bull a comic, he’s going to post about it on his site, and that’s just what Bully T.L.S. Bull, Esq. did, discussing the comic in question and very kindly thanking me in this blog entry right here
. You’re very welcome, Bully!
Trying to get a read on Batman’s expression on the cover, there. Bemusement? Concern? Anger? Bewilderment? Who can say.
Anyway, this is a freebie book that should be available at your local funnybook slinger emporium, spotlighting DC’s back catalog of trade collections divided up by character, imprint, panicked line-wide relaunch, kid-friendly reading, et cetera. There’s even a section spotlighting graphic novels by Alan Moore, which probably thrills him to pieces.
Of note is a section devoted to “suggested reading order” for books featuring some of their major superhero characters, which is useful since I kinda lose the thread of the Batman continuity after Final Crisis. The Superman section appears to give up on continuity order about halfway through its list, placing New 52 reprints before, like, all the pre-New 52 Superman/Batman reprints, among other things, and lumping all the non-continuity-ish books like Red Son and All-Star Superman and Birthright at the end. Superman Vs. Muhammad Ali is also near the end of the suggested reading order, when in fact it should be first in line. Heck, it should be the only Superman comic you need to read.
At the end of this book are three “blank” pages with a “NOTES” heading, in case you need to jot down your thoughts and feelings about Superman: Earth One being placed in the “25 Essential Graphic Novels” section of this freebie. The notes pages are designed to look like original art boards, which is a little strange…make sure your notes don’t result in more than about nine panels per page; you’re not George Perez.
In conclusion…I like the cover. Ryan Sook did a good job. Even Superman’s new costume is almost bearable. But surely the Justice League has better things to do than waste their time reading comic books.
Also out this week:
Okay, I figure if they make at least two
more Smurfs movies, that should give us enough time, and the publisher enough incentive, to keep reprinting the Smurfs comics in U.S. editions ’til they’re caught up.
…I have big dreams.
I think what surprised me the most about this issue was despite the hoohar
over Carrie Kelley (Robin from Frank Miller’s Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
) making her first in-whatever-passes-for-DC-Universe-continuity appearance, there wasn’t an immediate rush on copies by folks looking to make a quick eBay buck. It’s selling…okay, like a normal issue of Batman and Robin
, without the recent sales bumps fed by “Death of a Family” and the death of Robin follow-up issues. I suppose in a few months, if Carrie Kelley sticks around (and that linked article explains that is the intent) sales will pick up on this issue. It helps that the Kelley material in the book is actually the best part, compared to the very odd Batman/Frankenstein Agent of S.H.A.D.E. crossover that makes up the rest of the story. Always nice to see Frankenstein again, even if pitted against what feels like a strangely out-of-character-even-if
-grieving Batman. Interesting, even if it didn’t…feel right, you know?
This is the “DEMO” cover for the Mad Magazine variant for Batman
#19 (even says “DEMO” up in the corner, there), provided one per comic shop to allow interested parties to see the fold-in in action without daring to damage their rare collectible item. …Well, I have to admit, decades of funnybook-sellin’ have instilled in me a deep resistance to deliberately folding creases into a comic book cover, even on comics explicitly intended for that purpose. I suppose if I had
to, if someone insisted
on it, I, with tears in my eyes and a trembling hand, would fold the cover over to reveal Mr. Jaffee’s hidden image. Or I could just take that scan and do a little area selection/dragging to do the same thing on the store computer.
Judging at least by our store’s sales, most of the people who read Constantine
#1 came back for #2, either still in the “trying out the book” stage or, maybe, are attracted by the prospect of long-consigned to the Vertigo universe properties once again tied back into the DC Universe. The direction for the series seems to be tying itself together a little further…it’s a quest storyline, with John chasing down various pieces of a mystical artifact while running into a couple of old magical DC folks. It’s a stronger effort than the first issue, I think, presenting John trying to squeeze out of some tight spots with the gift of gab and a wee bit of magicking, which, you know, is pretty much what I want from a Constantine comic. And yes, I’m enjoying the novelty of the DCU tie-ins, too.
So after my recent Great B.P.R.D.
Reread Project (status: complete; next Great Reread Project yet to be decided) and the issue numbering concerns thereof
, I thought I should mention that this new Abe Sapien
#1, “An All New Ongoing Series” as it says there, is in fact, according to the inside front cover, #11 in the overall history of Abe Sapien solo series and / or one-shots. So:
Anyway, the series takes off from recent events in the B.P.R.D.
comics, following the even-further mutated Abe as he eludes his former pals at the Bureau. I don’t know if this is really a good jumping-on point for new readers…dialogue-driven exposition for recent Hellboy-Universe-Events-That-Don’t-Really-Involve-Hellboy, in particular Abe’s recent changes, catches folks up, but it seems more like preaching to the converted rather than its own thing. This may just be symptomatic of the series’ origins in B.P.R.D.
and the ongoing circumstances there, and it feels more like another B.P.R.D.
mini rather than an Abe Sapien solo title. We’ll see what happens once the series begins to form its own identity a few issues down the road.
As I said on Twitter
yesterday, I was bracing myself to read a Thanos story that didn’t involve Jim Starlin somehow, but so far Jason Aaron and Simone Bianchi aren’t doing too bad a job telling the adventures of Li’l Thanos. It lacks the inherent weirdness of Starlin’s storytelling, and thus is a more conventional “here are the bad things that formed this bad guy” tale. Still, it’s a solid enough introduction to the character, and will likely make a nice trade paperback (or, more likely, hardcover) to sell to the curious once Marvel’s Phase Two films (presumably involving Thanos) start making more of an impact.
It’s Hulk versus Thor as drawn by Walt Simonson. If reading that sentence doesn’t make you immediately pull out your wallet and start throwing money at the computer screen, well, I don’t know that I can help you. But pick up that money and go throw it at Ye Olde Local Comic Booke Seller instead, because publishers getting Simonson to draw comics is a behavior I’d like to encourage. And things look like they really begin to pick up in Part the Second, so jump on now, he said like the funnybook salesman he is.
This is probably the first of the New 52 Swamp Thing
comics to feel like an old Swamp Thing
comic. In particular, like the Alan Moore or Rick Veitch issues where Swamp Thing would encounter some established bit of the DC Universe and we’re suddenly given a new and almost certainly creepy take on it. Well, that was then, this is now, and it’s hard to do a creepy take on a character like the Scarecrow when the trend lately in the Bat-books has been to make things especially weird and creepy in the first place. Instead, the fun here is in Swamp Thing’s reaction and interaction with the Scarecrow, rather than any kind of dramatic reinterpretation.
Also, new writer Charles Soule takes a few panels to explain the deal with Swamp Thing’s New 52 status quo, his relation to the previous Alec Holland-less Swamp Thing, recent events in the comic, and so on. Probably a good issue to sample if you’ve been tempted, but didn’t want to jump into the middle of the 300-part “Rotworld” crossover.
It’s Popeye and Barney Google! CRISIS OF GRANDPA’S INFINITE COMIC STRIPS! I actually didn’t get into this issue as much as past installments of this series…Barney Google isn’t a strip character for whom I have any particular affinity, and the horseracing gags weren’t really my thing. But, even an issue of Popeye
that doesn’t quite butter my bread is still a whole lot better than just about anything else, so I ain’t complainin’. Plus, series writer Roger Langridge takes on the art chores yet again and everything looks flawless and beautiful…and Langridge even gives us a boxing back-up story starring Swee’pea, and it’s plenty cute.
And for the digital comic inclined, there’s Task Force Rad Squad
. Click the link, pay what you want (or even nothing at all, but c’mon, give ‘em a buck at least) and download in your choice of format. It reminds me of late ’80s/early ’90s crazy indie comics…I sort of get a Tank Girl
vibe off it, but maybe that’s just me. Anyway, it’s lots of fun packed into 36 pages, and you get a sizable preview prior to throwing your money down. Go check it out
, and tell ‘em Mike sent you. If they ask “who’s Mike?” just say “you know, Mike
” and that should do it.
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