Wednesday, March 30, 2005

What I bought - 30 March 2005

I'm going to spoil the ending of DC Identity Countdown to Infinite Earths in Identical Crises because it sucks - it's like spoiling the end of Dude, Where's My Car? Blue Beetle gets shot in the head. By Maxwell Lord. I can't even begin to fathom the suckiness of this comic - Brian does a much better job than I ever could right below this post, so go there. God. It. Sucks.

Tomorrow's the last day to enter my Scurvy Dogs Contest - yes, I'm pimping it again, but if read Scurvy Dogs, you'll understand why. How about some out-of-context humor: "It seems we've saved the Jersey coastline from an incursion by the horrible Jerboa People of Io." Comedy gold!

Despite the suckitude mentioned above, it was a pretty quality week for the old pamphlets. Let's have a look:

Containment #3 by Eric Red and Nick Stakal
$3.99, IDW

Wait for the trade. It's a good book, but far too slow-moving to justify buying each individual issue. The zombie/vampires in space thing isn't the most original story in the world, but the homages are at least nicely done - the claustrophobic feel of the book, copped from Alien, is the best part of the book. The crew is getting whittled down, there's still treachery on board the ship, and the monsters are really fucking shit up. The art is worse this issue than the first two - everything is still murky and sloppy, but the composition of some panels is poor and doesn't really convey what's going on. It would still make a nice trade purchase, but I'm committed to getting the monthlies (for twisted reasons of my own).

GrimJack: Killer Instinct #3 by John Ostrander, Timothy Truman, and Steve Becker
$3.99, IDW

The problem with Containment is that the past two issues have been released on the same day as GrimJack, and old Gaunt blows it out of the water. This is such a fun book, even with all the grime and grit and double-dealing and noir-ish atmosphere of Cynosure. We get more back story about Gaunt and Roscoe (I have not read much GrimJack of old, so I don't know their story well), we get a vampire bar and a huge fight between Jack and Jo Chaney and some big, ugly, lampreys (not real lampreys, but vampire slaves), and ninja mimes. Yes, ninja mimes. In fact, Gaunt's line, "Next thing I knew, I was hip deep in ninja mimes," is one of those glorious lines that you can only get in a comic book. This series is loads of comic goodness, and well worth the hefty price tag.

Ocean #5 by Warren Ellis, Chris Sprouse, and Karl Story
$2.99, DC/Wildstorm

Ocean picks up the pace, since it's ending next issue, and things (holy crap!) start to happen. That's mean, since this is a very good mini-series right in Ellis's wheelhouse. We learn much more about the aliens buried under the Europan ice, and the Doors corporation makes its move (I hadn't tumbled to the fact that Doors is analogous to Microsoft until Ellis makes it clear, so I suck). Nick Fury, I mean Jackson King, I mean Nathan Kane (yeah, that's it) has to go rescue the doctor, and all manner of ass-kicking will commence on the Lido deck next issue, one presumes. Despite its occasional slow pace (I ranted about the first issue, when Ellis takes something like five pages for Kane to BUY COFFEE!), Ocean is a cool, big-idea kind of book with crisp, excellent art by Sprouse. If you're waiting for the trade, you won't be disappointed.

Otherworld #1 by Phil Jimenez and Andy Lanning
$2.99, DC/Vertigo

I've been looking forward to this ever since it was solicited, and it does not disappoint. Jimenez's art is stunning as ever, and despite its busyness and obvious Perez influence, it's still a wonder to behold. Jimenez shifts easily between the magical Otherworld and the "real" world, never missing a beat. The weird, reddish dimension where Sushil flies does get annoying, but it's a brief annoyance and doesn't detract from the story too much. Jimenez the writer continues to improve from his work on Tempest and Wonder Woman, as he gives us several brand new and fully realized characters without ever breaking the stream of the story. From one freakin' panel we get how shallow Angel is, and we also get how desperate Billie is for fame and love from one panel. These are people with real lives and real problems and real dreams, and Jimenez does a great job differentiating between them and giving them personalities with very little exposure. It's not exactly a joyous comic, as there are dark currents under the surface and mean-spirited pettiness on the surface, but at the same time, it promises action and grand adventure on a large scale. It's 12 issues long, and many of you will wait for the trade, but if you want to check out a very good comic, go pick it up.

The Pulse #8 by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Lark
$2.99, Marvel

So Jessica Jones wakes up from a very long sleep at the beginning of the latest issue of The Pulse. Why was she so sleepy? Probably because she had just read the latest issue of The Pulse! Seriously - those people who think Daredevil moves slowly will be in a coma if they read this. It's all about the temptation of Jessica Jones - join Hydra, Jessica, and we'll provide for your baby! Jessica tells them to shove it up their ass (as if she would ever do anything different) and Clay Quartermain rescues her. This ties in with Bendis's ridiculously over-hyped and ridiculously tardy Secret Wars mini-series, and it's just ... yuck. I miss Alias.

Rex Mundi #13 by Arvid Nelson and EricJ
$2.95, Image

I know Brian doesn't like Rex Mundi, but really, who cares what he thinks? This is a superb comic, one that rewards patience and a willingness to experience it like a novel. Yes, it's slow. The first two trades should be out now, and it's probably best to read them all at once. Yes, it's a little arrogant of Nelson to plan 36 issues of his opus without wondering if it will make it that far. But still - what a book. This is EricJ's last issue, and I get the feeling it was because he was too slow and the book came out too infrequently. We'll see if it will pick up now that they have a new artist. This issue highlights everything I love about the book - the beautiful art, the deepening mystery, references to the Merovingians and the lost son of Dagobert II, political intrigue, the mysterious monster who kills anyone who stands in the way of the Duke of Lorraine, real-life politics mixed with creepy sorcery - a lot happens in this issue. Julien is still cooperating with the Inquisition, and he and a cleric find more clues about the mystery of the Priory of Sion. This issue actually cleaves close to The Da Vinci Code, which is one of the small problems I have with it - Nelson has promised the book will diverge wildly from Brown's novel, and it has occasionally, but this issue pulls it back. It's still excellent. I'm glad to see it, and highly recommend it to anyone (except Brian, of course).

Ultimate Secret #1 by Warren Ellis, Steve McNiven, and Mark Morales
$2.99, Marvel

Yes, I'm a sucker. After the excruciatingly slow pace of Ultimate Nightmare, I promised I wouldn't buy this! Actually, I just promised I'd seriously think about not buying it, but in the end, I picked it up. McNiven's pencils did it for me - they're absolutely beautiful. As for the story ... well, if you want Ellis sci-fi, pick up Ocean. This isn't bad, but it looks like Marvel is going to drag this out over five issue again. I'm actually curious to see, when the Ultimate Galactus trilogy is finished, how many issues they really needed. I may have to break them down - my guess is four issues could have done the whole thing. We'll see. Things fall down go boom! in this issue. Ultimately (get it? - I'm a comedic genius!) it's sound and fury, signifying - well, not nothing, but do we care what it signifies?


Blogger Brad Curran said...

Ultimate Nightmare sure did look pretty on the flip through. I was meaning to try Otherworld, but the LCS didn't have it (or any new singles other than Astonishing and DC Countdown) and I wound up tapping myself out by buying some Morrison's first Doom Patrol trade. And I really ough to give Rex Mundi a try, since I like alternate history stories.

3/30/2005 08:48:00 PM  
Blogger Christopher Burton said...

"Ocean is a cool, big-idea kind of book with crisp, excellent art by Sprouse. If you're waiting for the trade, you won't be disappointed."

Oh, good. Because I was waiting for the trade. I suppose, too, that five pages of coffee-buying won't seem so interminable within the context of a complete story.

3/30/2005 09:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Dan Coyle said...

Wait, Clay Quartermain is ALIVE??

3/31/2005 12:17:00 AM  
Blogger Greg said...

Quartermain was alive a few years ago, in Alias. I don't know if that's when he came back to life.

3/31/2005 09:27:00 AM  
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