Without J.H. Williams on art I find the book to be a lot less interesting. No offense to Amy Reeder et al who can draw a very competent superhero book (and I really like this cover, quiet and ambiguous yet iconic), but Williams’ art layered a whole other supertext over the book. Supertext, get it? GET IT? His art made it about identities and masquerades and not just fighting things and improbable family difficulties. There’s still a subtext about creating and participating in stories working its way through there and that is enough to boost this above the average super-book and keep me engaged. Basically I demand that my super-books are either insanely energetic and over-the-top, or entirely about people talking with as little fighting as possible, or layered with hidden meaning.
FRANKENSTEIN, AGENT OF S.H.A.D.E. #6
Coincidentally with the announcement/furor of Watchmen: You Want Watchmen? We’ll Give You All The Damn Watchmen You Could Ever Want Lemire shows up with a degraded Dr. Manhattan. I’m sure that wasn’t planned, though maybe this is like that part in Call of Cthulhu where the rising of R’lyeh sends out psychic terror waves that register in the minds of psychically sensitive artists.
I didn’t realize this four-parter was going to have basically a different writer every issue. That seems like a weird way to tell a story. No complaints so far though!
UNCANNY X-FORCE #21 and SECRET AVENGERS #22
Remender is really getting to carve himself off a nice little chunk of the Marvel universe and do weird stuff to it, and that kind of thing usually results in developing some really interesting ideas which subsequent writers will either totally ignore or completely screw up. I still wish X-Force had better art, because this whole comic seems to take place in a series of backgroundless voids. It’s fantasy, damn it, and I want to see some fantastic landscapes!
DEMON KNIGHTS #6, LOBSTER JOHNSON: THE BURNING HAND #2, THE PUNISHER #8
These are all good comics, I just don’t have anything interesting to say about them. Other than maybe imploring you to read Demon Knights so we can be damn sure it doesn’t get cancelled. It’s fun and unique and focuses on new and underused characters instead of just Batman or something, and that means it is inevitably marked for death. The world would be a poorer place if we couldn’t watch Medieval Wonder Woman smack down a Triceratops.
Here’s how you do horror: keep it nice and quiet, let the weirdness trickle in slowly, don’t let them see the teeth until it’s too late. One of the hallmarks of Lovecraft was, basically, powerlessness in the face of incomprehensible cosmic forces. Curiously enough that’s also a hallmark of noir – the bad guys are untouchable because they have the power, the entire system is corrupt, all of it arrayed against the protagonist. But Lovecraft says it’s not just here on Earth, it’s the whole universe, there are mysteries you’re better off not trying to solve because you’ll see the true uncaring structure of it all and get pulled into a world of darkness and madness. Too many Lovecraft homages only see the tentacles, they miss the real point. Not Fatale though.
ACTION COMICS #6
Classic Morrison superhero stuff, setting up a whole world in a single issue. Let’s talk about the art in that backup though: it’s very much unlike the usual uninspired superhero stuff. It’s bright, clean, confident, and above all different. Why can’t they put out a full book with art like this?
SECRET AVENGERS #21.1
So far in the tradeoff between Ellis and Remender it looks like this series is going to lose some of the total weirdness (count me disappointed that they just fight run-of-the-mill supervillains this issue) and gained some actual characterization. The cast members actually have distinct personalities now! It’ll be interesting to see what the rest of the team dynamic is like. Please add more hyperdimensional threats though.
JUSTICE LEAGUE #5
I am officially bored of this book though I will probably stick around for the next issue to see Jim Lee draw Apokalips. Though with Geoff Johns writing it it’ll probably just be boringly generic. Also EVERYBODY KNOWS OMEGA BEAMS CANNOT BE TRICKED INTO HITTING OBSTACLES, THEY WILL JUST GO AROUND THEM. Darkseid is supposed to be all-pervasive, inevitable, yet fatally human. Here he is just another bad guy to be smashed. Read the rest of this entry »
We’ll say it’s late due to snow, yeah, that’s as good an excuse as any.
The internet said this was going to be good and indeed it was! You know what this reminds me of actually is a hyperviolent Rice Boy, what with them both beind about an outsider journeying across a weird land to resurrect God. Between this and Spaceman it might be a good time for science fiction comics. Break the superhero’s hold on the direct market! Fight the power! But I suppose a lot of the enduring power of superheroes is that you can take any kind of genre and wrap a superhero costume around it. I mean, Green Lantern is basically 100% sci-fi-action-adventure. Maybe we can see some more quiet and socially oriented science fiction comics, like the New Wave authors of old? No, there is no room for that in comics. It must have explosions! And alien sex!
I actually consider it a sign of a good series when I pick it up in the middle and have no idea what the hell is going on. That means it’s taking advantage of the unrestrained insanity of superhero mythology. The incomprehensible arcana. Something like that. There is Nightcrawler in this now but he isn’t the regular Nightcrawler, instead he is a jerk? I enjoy that. What I do not enjoy as much are those thick, chunky lines which render things visually incomprehensible too. Read the rest of this entry »
Well telling the same story twice from slightly different perspectives is one way to save time while scripting a crossover, I guess. Mark me up as disappointed because I was definitely expecting more insane burly-monster-on-burly-monster action.
This incarnation of Stormwatch is a little lacking in the transgressive quality that made the original Stormwatch fun, but it’s still a good read. Apollo and Midnighter are just so cute together. They even finish each other’s sentences! Admittedly that’s because Midnighter is such an advanced human being he can calculate peoples’ behavior, but still, I look forward to them again becoming comics’ cutest/most hyperviolent couple. Read the rest of this entry »
Maybe Action Comics hasn’t been the classic I was hoping for, but it’s still quite good with an exuberant sense of energy. And with what appears to be a full spectrum of Kryptonite-powered villains from the future it seems it’s going to be going full-on Silver Age at some point. I’m 100% OK with that.
Criminal with tentacles! When I first saw the previews I was afraid it was just going to be a mashup of noir and Lovecraft stereotypes, featuring your typical evil seductress. That’s an archetype I find a bit problematic for feminist reasons, but since it turns out it’s actually A) from her point of view and B) she’s not particularly evil or in command, I feel much, much better about this comic. It almost seems like Brubaker’s going to be deconstructing the occult noir archetype from the inside, which should be really interesting.
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.
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.