§ July 20th, 2005 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on

Boy, I haven’t reviewed comics on this here site for a while. Part of the reason is that I’m terrible at reviewing…I’d much rather be smart-alecky or put up a link to something weird, since reviewing involves “effort” and “work.” Plus, some of you out there put up some great reviews, and I find myself a little imposed by them. For example, Focused Totality’s look at Desolation Jones #2, or pal Tom’s rave over Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck. And, not to mention, I’m just a wee bit embarrassed that the majority of my purchases from the last couple of weeks have been predominantly superhero funnybooks. I do like comics from other genres, I swear…just nothing I’ve wanted has come out lately. Honest. Would I lie to you?

Anyway, let’s have a brief glance at a few goodies from days gone by:

All Star Batman and Robin #1 – woo boy, this book got some folks a bit riled, didn’t it? Several pages of Vicki Vale walking around in her delicate underthings is not what some of you were expecting in a Batman book, it appears. But, you know, this is a completely unabashedly trashy comic book and is a hoot because of it. Pal Ian notes, quite rightly, that there’s a conflict between Jim Lee’s straightfaced approach to the art and the seeming smirk in Frank Miller’s writing. I was trying to figure out just what it was about this book that bothered me, and thank you to Ian for putting your finger right on it. However, it’s not a fatal flaw, and I’m looking forward to seeing what Miller does next in this title, regardless of the artist.

The Comics Journal #269 – yes, it’s the issue that has quotes from me, me! Don’t let that dissuade you from picking up this issue, focusing on shoujo manga. I have little interest in shoujo manga, but it’s a testament to the magazine that it’s got me interested in articles on the subject. Don’t miss Dirk Deppey’s editorial on how American comic publishers have lost the young female market to the manga publishers. The conclusion he reaches is similar to pal Dorian’s usual reminder that kids want comics…they just don’t want the comics pop and grandpa used to read.

Mad Magazine #456 – nice gag in the Revenge of the Sith parody: “Our sensors indicate that this opening battle is the best scene in the movie…and we still have two hours to go!” Sergio Aragones’ contribution, “A Mad Look at Summer Jobs,” is top-notch, as usual, and Johnny Ryan and Greg Leitman’s “The Fantastic Four has A Crap-Tastic Two Weeks!” is a shamelessly crude, and amusing, spoof on the FF that thankfully doesn’t depend on a knowledge of the movie (though that may be the only way most of Mad‘s fan base knows the characters). It’s no comedy masterpiece, to be sure, but it made me laugh, and that’s good enough. And, since I started reading Mad again over a year ago, I have yet to read a “Monroe” strip all the way through.

Villains United #3 – bad people doing bad things to each other for 32 pages, and it’s really a lot of fun. Gail Simone has a light, witty touch to her writing that makes it a pleasure to read. This is probably my favorite of the Infinite Crisis spin-offs (though Day of Vengeance is a close second, what with Detective Chimp and all).

Desolation Jones #2 – I don’t know what I can add that this fine review hasn’t already said, other to express my admiration for a series that appeared at first to be a detective series with a nasty sense of dark humor (“Hitler porn?”) and, as of this issue, has become an exploration at how damaged people act, alone or with each other.

DC Special: The Return of Donna Troy #2 – it’s pretty.

Incredible Hulk #83 – apparently Peter David is leaving this title soon, which is a shame. This current issue is tying into that crossover series that nobody seems to like (no, not that one, the other one), but David manages to give us a good alternate-universe story in which Banner and Hulk try to find peace with a tribe of Aborigines, only to find him/themselves defending said tribe. If David were staying on the book, I’d imagine that events in this alternate-universe story might have some kind of lasting impact on the title’s regular continuity, but since David is leaving…ah, well.

Fables #39 – Now, I know full well that The Jungle Book is hardly a Disney creation, but there’s still a little voice in my head that tells me “that’s not what Mowgli and Baloo look like.” That’s what Disney’s control over my young brain has done to me. It’s still fun to see new takes on characters that, due to popular perception, are usually imagined solely in their Disney incarnations. (Like Pinocchio, from previous issues.) And while I do love Fables, I’m not sure we need a second ongoing series.

Batman: Dark Detective #5 – maybe you can’t quite go home again, as this new series by Steve Englehart, Marshall Rogers, and Terry Austin doesn’t have quite the same polish as their initial 1970s teaming. I’d still take this over the usual grim-n-gritty Batman we normally get. Okay, the Two-Face clone was pushing it a little, but this series is so — amiable? unpretentious? –that it’s easy to overlook the occasional excesses.

JSA #75 – okay, I’m not the biggest Alex Ross fan in the world, but I do love his version of the Spectre.

In other news, we had some DC solicitations:

Now, the solicitation copy says that this is the 16th (“16th?”) anniversary edition of Arkham Asylum, though it looks like the cover says “15th.”

This new Elongated Man figure creeps me the hell out. Those arms, those arms. It’s like something out of Urotsukidoji.

I’m sorta ambivalent about Joey Cavalieri taking over writing chores on The Flash. Nothing against the man, but I remember his writing on Firestorm and Atari Force back in the day, and his dialogue work was, well, a bit on the awkward side. It’s been 15 or 20 years, so maybe he’s improved since then. I’m fairly certain he wrote at least the first issue of The Huntress series, which I read and, as I recall, wasn’t completely appalled by, but then again, I didn’t keep reading the series either.

One of my favorite Jim Aparo covers (totally stolen from the Grand Comic Book Database, since I can’t get to my copy right now):

The man gave us Swamp Thing as Christ-figure. Fan-tastic.

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