SPOILERS ahead, but mostly just for All Star Western:
I don’t read the regular monthly Simpsons titles, for ultimately no good reason whatsoever except perhaps “I already get too many comics and I have to draw the line somewhere.” It’s clearly good work, very representative of the show and an all-around professional package…I just never got into the habit of following the ongoing series.
On the other hand, I do pick up the minis and specials, particularly the character-focused one-shots they release every few months. That’s generally enough Simpsons funnybookin’ to keep me going…they probably appeal to my childhood enjoyment of the treasury editions, the extra-sized anniversary issues, and what have you. Basically, I’m a cheap bastard who wants more bang for his buck, though if you’re going to be one of those people that does a page count and “number of cents per page” breakdown to tell me I’m better off buying the regular-sized $2.99 issues if I’m that concerned about pinching a penny…well, off with you, then.
Besides, these specials usually come with some kind of fancypants novelty insert, like the “Don’t Blame Me, I votes for Kang”/”…Kodos” bumper stickers that accompanied the special pictured above. Okay, I’m still too anal-retentive a fanboy to want to remove those stickers, but it’s nice to know that they’re there and I can enjoy ‘em every time I open this comic. Well, until that glue dries out and the stickers come loose, but that’s a problem for whatever creditors come digging through my house after I’m gone. So, you know, in a week or two.
This isn’t a specific review about Red Lanterns, though of the Lantern Bunch (“Here’s the story of some lovely Guardians / Who were bringing up 3600 very lovely GLs”) it probably is my favorite series, which is not something I’d expected to say way back when DC was originally threatening to publish such a thing. But there it is: the characters and situations are more exciting and compelling than those in the other Green Lantern books. Not that the other GL books are bad…I still like them, but Red Lanterns kind of brings it in a way the others don’t.
Anyway, not what I wanted to mention. It’s just that the DC Universe books (at least, most of the ones I read) are sort of wrapping up storylines in order to make way for the “Futures End” one-shots with the 3D covers an’ all that are debuting this Wednesday and hopefully not bankrupting all of us retailers by contributing to insane distributor bills. I talked about trying to order these things before, and at the time it didn’t occur to me that the weekly series event-thingie the one-shots are tying into might turn out to…well, underperform, thus cutting off that entry avenue. With not a lot of interest in the event, there is the danger of ending storylines giving readers jumping-off points on titles they were sort of iffy on, or maybe just to cut reading costs and spend that money on, I don’t know, feeding the kids or something. Hopefully the novelty of the 3D covers will still entice people to continue, but that sort of thing does make me worry.
I am getting requests from customers to pull all the fancy covers for them, so the interest in there. Still wondering if we’re going to get anything like the rush from last time.
When DC, and then everybody, cut page counts down to 20 pages from 22 in their standard books, it felt like the story content were slighter. I mean, technically, it was; comics were two pages shorter. Maybe it was just psychological, but it felt like there was some kind of event horizon crossed, that the two pages significantly affected the amount of content present, far in excess of the actual storytelling loss caused by the truncation of the page count. The feeling’s lessened a bit, as creators have adjusted to the page loss and I’ve just sort of become used to it, but I occasionally read a comic, come to the end and think “what, already?”
That’s a long intro to say I didn’t have that feeling with Flash Gordon #5. In fact, this is the first standard-sized comic book I’ve read in quite a while where it seemed like things just kept going, where I kept expecting to come to the end of the comic, but nope, there was still more comic coming! After I finished reading it, I even went back and counted the actual number of story pages in the comic, convinced this was some kind of unannounced extra-sized issue.
20 pages. Including a two-page spread. Amazing.
A clever twist on what has been one of the more…macabre and great “ultimate fates” for any of DC’s characters. We all know how Hex is supposed to go out (I cover his death and adventures afterward here) and it’s nice that the last issue of All Star Western pays homage to that famous death while finding a new spin on it, one that also doesn’t necessarily reset Jonah’s life to the pre-time travel adventures status quo.
And it’s all drawn by Darwyn Cooke, so it’s very pretty looking, which is not a descriptor one usually uses for Jonah Hex, but, well, there you go. I do wonder what they’ll do with Hex after this, but now that time travel adventures for the character are once again on the table, look for his future Justice League membership. …Actually, he’d fit right into Justice League Dark, wouldn’t he?
I’m just going to remind you that a new issue of this has come out whenever it does come out. It’s pretty great.