What I Read This Week – 12/28/11

JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK #4

I was expecting more out of this comic, and so far it’s just circling around and not going anywhere. All the characters are all separated from each other, and even though Weird Apocalyptic Shit is happening everywhere, it’s apparently not happening where the heroes are so there’s no sense of impact. I suppose in a couple issues they’re all going to take down the bad guy and team up for good. I’d like to just fast forward to that part now please? Because this prologue is boring.

SECRET AVENGERS #20

So far every issue I’ve read of this series has seemed fun but inconsequential. It’s just a different weird action setpiece each time, and then the heroes defeat the bad guys, who apparently have a master plot but really it’s just a bunch of unconnected doomsday devices that always get disabled. This issue has time travel though, and I do love me a good time travel story. Plus it’s less slight on character than most other issues, it actually takes its time instead of just blowing stuff up while driving cars.

THE FLASH #4

As an artist-written comic this is of a piece with Batwoman, and I’d say that Flash has the better writing and Batwoman has the better art of the two. Flash is lovely of course, but how can you compete with J.H. Williams? By having a pretty keen villain concept. Hopefully this book will keep going to ultra-science weirdness, the kind of science that makes lightning + chemical lab = super-speed. Also more sailbuggies.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #676

This actually came out last week but I didn’t remember to get it until this one. I thought it was bigger than normal, but I counted the pages and the extra space is all ads to compensate for the two-page spreads, because there is So! Much! Bluster! that it needs bigger pages to fit it all in. I hope Doc Ock keeps getting rebuilt into progressively bigger robotic bodies until he’s like Galactus-sized and Sentai Spider-Man shows up to take him down. That’s a book I’d like to read. As opposed to this book which is okay. Spider-Island was really enjoyable but Slott has failed to really wow me, even though I keep reading his stuff. I’ll stick around for the Daredevil crossover but after that, this book’s on notice. NOTICE.

SPACEMAN #3

For whatever reason I thought this was going to be a permanent ongoing like 100 Bullets but then I realized it was only gonna be 9 issues and it threw me for a loop. Let’s hope it can build to something more satisfying in 6 more issues. I suppose the shit’s about to hit the fan (or however they say that in future-slang) so things are probably going to start moving. Risso’s always worth looking at even if it doesn’t work out.


What I Read This Week – 12/21/11

If you know me, it goes without saying that there’s gonna be spoilers sprinkled in these. I just don’t believe it’s really possible to have a critical discussion without SPOILERS. Especially where Stephanie Brown‘s involved.

 

BATMAN INCORPORATED: LEVIATHAN STRIKES

I was really enjoying the whole Leviathan arc. It was kind of a slow burner at first, but once it got going it was every bit as nice and weird as I want from a Grant Morrison Batman book, all Borgesian and spiraling in on itself. Did it lose that mental momentum by not putting out an issue in months? A little bit. But we’re at the center of the spiral now, and it circles around faster and faster the closer it gets to the end.  The evil schoolgirls issue up front is fun too, but rather hurried. That’s Morrison’s superhero stuff though, just spitting out ideas at lightning speed with no time to get into them.

DAREDEVIL #7

Daredevil’s been excellent and all, but this is just a somewhat inconsequential one-off. Children in danger notwithstanding, there’s not much drama there. Stuff happens, then it’s resolved in a moderately heartwarming way. Oh, and Matt Murdock is all smooth with the ladies. Aww yeah.

TALES DESIGNED TO THRIZZLE #7

I remember thinking the last issue wasn’t up to the usual standard of extreme hilarity (which is I suppose kind of a tough standard) but this one’s back up on top, featuring bathtubs, shouting, and a sequel to Reservoir Dogs.

INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #511

I’ve always wanted to enjoy this series, but mostly it just doesn’t do it for me somehow. I loved the Fear Itself arc, which was impressive since Fear Itself itself was 95% dullness, so I promised I’d stay on board as long as the drunken swearing dwarf was around, and he’s still here. Looks like things are ramping up for some ultimate evil plan, but aren’t they always in comics really? I’d be enjoying this book more if it was about Stark Resilient trying to build a utopian society around superhero tech than if it was about guys in hi-tech suits punching each other in the air.

S.H.I.E.L.D. #4

Well this is certainly building towards something, isn’t it? I guess? You tell me. So far it’s epic in scope but shallow in character. Also this issue has the same three pages repeated three times which is a nice multiple-timelines trick but a waste of writing space when you could’ve done it in one or two pages instead of six. I still enjoy it, don’t get me wrong.

VENOM #11

Venom’s unexpectedly my favorite Marvel comic. It’s like Breaking Bad, you know it’s gonna all end in horrible tragedy, you get that bad, bad feeling in your gut. And this is maybe the most gut-wrenching issue yet. Most supervillains these days are all over-the-top violence and psychosis and while Remender’s Jack-O’-Lantern is definitely that, he’s just done so well. So charismatic that when the nastiness comes out – and this issue is top-grade nastiness – it just makes you feel icky for kind of liking the guy. That is some real sociopathy on display there. Though maybe I’m just a softie when it comes to violence against cats.

DEADPOOL MAX II #3

It’s just not the same without Kyle Baker on visuals. It’s the usual maximum bad taste grossness, but without the Baker pizazz. Still good dirty fun though. I must say I wasn’t expecting the morbidly obese hooker to be given so much respect, but I suppose Lapham knows the difference between being in bad taste and being a bad person. This is sort of the South Park of superhero comics isn’t it?

B.P.R.D. HELL ON EARTH: RUSSIA #4

The Hellboy books are the one superhero comic that actually feels like it’s building to an end and it’s gonna stick with it. But with one issue to go I doubt Johann is permanently dead, plus, you know, he’s already dead so what more can happen? There’s the requisite amount of gross creepiness in here because Hellboy/BPRD are dependably good. Not always great but definitely good.

JUSTICE LEAGUE #4

At this point in the series we’ve pretty much settled in to the formula: new member shows up each issue, shows off their talents in some badass way. I don’t ordinarily like Geoff Johns but he’s running a pretty tight show here, now that he’s just working with the basics and can’t get distracted by all that continuity crap. Justice League is just a generic superhero story, with the most generic version of Darkseid ever, but it’s a tightly-polished generic superhero story. If they ever make a Justice League movie, you hope it’d be like this. Well maybe you could hope it’d be better than this, but they’re never going to make a mainstream superhero movie as good as you want it to be.

BATMAN #4

So far this is solid Batman but it hasn’t really become great for me. The continued presence of creepy owl masks might help with that though. Also maybe if the artist learns to draw more than one face. Sometimes I have a hard time telling Bruce apart from, well, any other adult white male in the book.

WONDER WOMAN #4

I just wish they’d make a Wonder Woman series that doesn’t bother with all the Paradise Island family drama. I mean, I suppose all that is out of the way now and we can get back to the mytho-horror. And those gods are proper bastards aren’t they? I hope Azzarello gets to take his time with the plot, because obviously he can do great things with convoluted power plays. Diana still doesn’t have much of a personality but at least the supporting cast’s likable.

 

Also turns out there was an issue of Amazing Spider-Man which I forgot to buy and am considering just not buying to pick up one of the new X-series instead. Even though I’ve said multiple times that I was “done with X-Men.”


Rewrapping the Bandages

Hush.

There are many secrets in Gotham, many things never spoken, many dead lips sealed tight and buried in unmarked graves. Gotham, city of closed doors, backroom deals, ancient mysteries, the underworld city always cloaked in darkness. Stone faces peer from every cornice, but they never speak of what they see.

Hush.

The ultimate secret. A name that cannot be spoken. A face hidden behind an invisible man’s mask.

You see, I first heard of Hush back when I wasn’t really keeping up on superhero comics. He was just a name and an icon floating around whenever I’d stop by the comic shop, a reoccurring echo that kept calling to me. He was the Dark Knight Detective’s greatest mystery. His very name was unspeakable. Wearing a trenchcoat and wrapped in concealing bandages, he was an enigma, a secret made flesh.

So reading his actual comic was a bit of a letdown. Hush, the Batman’s deadliest enemy, turned out to be just some angry rich brat who was jealous of Bruce Wayne. Worse still, he didn’t even get to be the mastermind in his own story. He was just another anti-Batman, Killer Moth with a better costume. The mask came off, and the haunting secret was revealed to be just another stock psychopath.

He could have been so much more. So let’s wrap those bandages back around Tommy Elliot’s face, and bring mystery back to Hush…

Hush is the word on the lips of the Gotham underworld, a new player in the game, crueler and cleverer than all the old thugs. Nobody knows his real name or his real face. He’s a shadow at the back of an alley, a whisper on the night breeze. An ultimate mystery for the ultimate detective. And when Batman finally does track him down and unmask him, the mystery doesn’t end there…

Strip off all the layers and beneath… nothing. Like the invisible man whom he so resembles, there’s only emptiness behind that mask. Hush is a living secret, a riddle that changes every time you solve it. You can’t catch Hush, because a secret is not a secret if it is known, and Hush is the embodiment of secrets. He has no origin and no end. The case that Batman can never solve.

Or when the bandages come off, it could be anyone beneath that mask. Just some random no-name thug who wakes up like from a nightmare. You see, Hush is the name you must never speak. For if you speak it, you open yourself to its power. You become the secret. Hush inhabits you. You wrap yourself in bandages and head out into the night.

Or behind the bandages is your own face grinning back at you. A killer doppelgänger, a blank man looking for someone to become. He will kill you and take your place, and nobody will ever know. Perhaps he already has…

Anything could hide behind the mask of the unknown. Gotham’s biggest secret. The faceless man. The silent name.

Hush.


To Begin

Inaugurate things with weird poetry, I say.

Now here’s the mission statement: this is probably mostly going to be a pretentious comics blog. Probably video games and other nerd crap as well. But I spend a significant portion of my day thinking about superheroes so I may as well write about them, what they mean, what they should be, race/gender/sexuality issues therein, etc. I can’t guarantee how often I’ll update. But it’ll be sometimes.

As for my previous blog: http://allrpgsareterrible.wordpress.com/, if you want me to continue that, the truth is that I stalled can’t think of anything interesting to say about Wynne. Haha, funny video game joke. But I actually liked Dragon Age 2 where everybody else apparently didn’t, so I might write about that at some point.


(no title) – draft

When that one dies

Transfer the ,motion o,f  that object to this,

The sun is further away today&

where was that thing had it been lost displaced misfiled or

at another location entirely meanwhile all in the sky we

drug ourself through the night in cloud wrap warmed

by mundane minor thoughts the taste of hot flesh

then it comes screaming bearing ghost or hope

and what do ghosts hope for in their antiworld

they continue as they were always

rote trods fade with each step

so do they dream of one or the other?

fade or take form?

don’t know that there = difference

form = fade (in the end

an idle hour here or there ++s up & then before you know it

1 you are dead

2 so is the universe

though you won’t be around for 2.

+ of course there are infinite steps between the 2. not quite but you g#t the ide4.

live in an age of broken things so make your time in the spaces between.

if you gain a minute every hour save and hoard them up let’s make a bank of minutes

not all the time in the world was used

there’s hope between the gear teeth

or in the gears themselves

that everything turns out

to the finish

the feel of broken l%anguage that incomplte sensation

nags like the ab<sent tooth

whwn the mind struc`true collapses

all words/meaning /fall in ;pon eac other

W/           was unsure if it could be s

S/   could not be i@@@@@@@@@@

It was the perfect phrase except for the lack o%&

and the univers, is made of imcomnplete

or to put it another way:

ggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggg

dredge the antiworld, pull up the corpses of ghosts

the ethereal press-gang, pale mist hands work levers and cranks

death, the motive force behind the universe

or to put it another way: