Thursday, April 28, 2005

What I bought - 27 April 2005

Weird, wild stuff below this post, kids - if you haven't been here in a few days, it's an interesting tour through comic book history. Read and soak up the knowledge! (No, I didn't write it, so I'm not pimping my own stuff.)

Let's get to the floppies!

Containment #4 by Eric Red and Nick Stakal
$3.99, IDW

I have only bought one trade paperback from IDW, so I'm a little confused about their pricing guidelines. This is a five-issue mini-series that will read a whole heck of a lot better as a trade (and I recommend you get the trade, because it's a neat series), but I don't know how much that trade will cost. The five issues separately will cost $20, so if the trade costs less, what's the point of bringing out each individual issue? I just don't know. It's just a weird pricing scheme they have going on. Anyway, despite this ripping off any number of science fiction and horror ideas, it's still a good read. Horrific, a little disturbing, grisly, and tense. It would actually make a pretty good movie. Buy the trade.

Daredevil #72 by Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev
$2.99, Marvel

Sigh. Just when I praise a Daredevil comic to the skies, we get this. I mean, it's a decent little story on its own, but I don't understand how it fits into the grander scheme of things. I don't mind that neither Daredevil nor Matt Murdock even appears in the comic (sorry, he does - on one panel, in the background), but it doesn't seem to have much to do with the whole "what happened while Murdock was Kingpin" story. I mean, the support group is about how these people are dealing with when Matt Murdock was Kingpin, but then we get a story that doesn't seem to have any connection to that at all, plus it's overly talky in the annoying way that Bendis occasionally has. When he's done the overly talky thing in Daredevil in the past, it's usually to advance the story a bit and it's mitigated by the other good stuff happening in the book, but here, that's all there is. I just wonder how it's going to tie into everything else. This is actually the first issue in Bendis's long run where I have thought it would be better to wait for the trade. That annoys me.

Easy Way by Christopher E. Long and Andy Kuhn
$3.99, IDW

The second of three IDW books I bought this week. It's all right, but nothing great. Decent, rough, semi-Tim Sale-type art, a story we've all seen before - recovering drug addict wants to get in on that big score so he can woo back his wife and their daughter - and an okay scheme to get said riches - stealing drugs that the cops have impounded from smugglers, then selling them. Danger is coming, in the form of a drug lord who is going to want his drugs back. There's nothing terribly wrong with it, but there's nothing fantastic either. It's okay, but that's no reason to run out and buy it.

Human Target #21 by Peter Milligan and Cliff Chiang
$2.99, DC/Vertigo

Now here's a title I'm going to miss. Simply excellent. More tangled identity problems for Christopher Chance and Tom McFadden, more violence, more uncertainty about not only who is really who, but what feelings those people actually possess. The whole series has been an examination of what makes us who we are, and the brilliant thing about this last issue is that Milligan doesn't let us off the hook and give us all the answers. Just as Christopher Chance still wonders who he is, so do we still wonder what makes us who we are. It's a challenging series, one that rewards you with many layers of storytelling and action and philosophy, so of course the general reading public never got into it. It's a shame, but 21 issues is 21 issues (plus the excellent mini-series and graphic novel that preceded it). Milligan is sometimes on and sometimes off (Elektra, anyone?), but here he was totally on. Pick up the back issues or the trade paperbacks, because they're worth it.

Jon Sable: Freelance #1 by Mike Grell
$3.99, IDW

I never bought a comic with Grell's creation, but because I'm enjoying GrimJack so much, I thought I'd pick this up. The art is typical Grell - if you like his art, you'll like it, and I like his art, although I was kind of surprised and a bit disappointed by the similarities to The Longbow Hunters in the way he composed some of the pages. As for the story - it's kind of all over the place, and I don't know how it will all tie together. We have a guy testifying against the mob, a murdered African diplomat, Jon Sable appearing in disguise on a television show and avoiding some woman I he was involved with (like I said, I never read it, so I don't know), and carjackers. I think the biggest problem I have with it, in comparison to GrimJack, is that with Ostrander's new mini-series, I didn't know about the character, but it doesn't seem to matter. Here, it seems like you need to know about Sable, and since I don't, it doesn't work for me. The elements for a good comic are there, but I'm a bit adrift. Simply because of that, I will say that you should only get this if you already know quite a bit about the character. It's pretty to look at, though.

Otherworld #2 by Phil Jimenez and Andy Lanning
$2.99, DC/Vertigo

This is an exhausting book to read, because there's so much information packed into the pages. Again, this is probably something you can wait for, because Jimenez sure looks like he's going to take his time with the story. The whole issue is a fight scene between the people from our world and the people who want to stop them, and we find out about everyone's abilities. The problem with this issue as opposed to last issue is, whereas in #1 it was okay to give us snippets of each character's personality, now that we're a second issue in we really want Jimenez to slow down so we can start caring about them. The fact that one of the group betrays the rest doesn't resonate because we've hardly had a chance to get to know them. We learn a little bit more about Siobhan and why she's important, but again - it's a fight issue. That's all.

One more thing: I get really annoyed how "Vertigo" is shorthand, apparently, for "tits" but no "bush." Sorry to be crude, but why is it okay to see Siobhan's breasts but not her pubic area? Her clothes get shredded, but her pubic area remains covered. I know Jimenez doesn't do this sort of thing for puerile interest, since he's gay, but I'd rather both areas remained covered if the editors at DC aren't going to let it all hang out. It's just silly and worse, really than artificially covering up both areas - at least you can say you show no nudity then. If you're going to have nudity, have nudity! Okay, that's my nude rant for today.

Supreme Power #16 by J. Michael Straczynski, Gary Frank, and Jon Sibal with Mark Morales
$2.99, Marvel/MAX

I know there are a lot of people who don't like this series because it moves about as fast as an approaching glacier, and let's face it - they have a point, especially in this issue. Man, it moves slowly. And Mick Martin just posted an excellent short essay about black superheroes, including the two in this comic, that made a lot of sense and caused me to read this differently. That being said, I love this comic. Yes, it moves slowly, but the power politics involved and the dynamic being forged between the characters and the threads being woven by JMS keep me coming back. Each issue adds a little more to this grand drama, and this time, it's how the government plans to get Hyperion back under their aegis. It's an evil little plan, too, but doesn't involve supervillains or bombs - just good old American media attention. And Frank's art is simply stunning. His people look real and solid, and his superheroes look heroic and sometimes otherworldly. It's a beautiful book just to look at. This is one of my favorite books.

Ultimate Secret #2 by Warren Ellis, Steve McNiven, and Mark Morales
$2.99, Marvel

I keep buying these things, just so I can warn you to wait for the trade paperback. Remember those early issues of Planetary? Remember the first Strange Kiss mini-series? Ellis can pack a lot of stuff into 22 pages, but again, with this series, he's just taking his sweet old time. This is a long interrogation scene with Mahr Vehl and Nick Fury, and then some sexual banter between Reed and Sue Richards (it's nice to see a writer actually acknowledging that having a completely rubberized body might come with some perks in the bedroom), and then the Fantastic Four get involved in the big scary Galactus thing. It's all very pretty, but the first two pages shows Mahr Vehl flying through an explosion. Sigh. Not exactly a waste of money, because it's pretty and Ellis is actually writing an interesting story, but the thing that gets me is that Lee and Kirby did it in three issues. Ultimately (I can't stop the punning!) that's what this story is going to be, isn't it? FF #48-50? When is the Ultimate Ultimate Nullifier going to show up? We're seven issues into this epic. So far - probably three issues worth of material.

I'm not bitter, I promise. But there you have it! What do y'all think? How stupid am I? Should I have my head examined? Why, suddenly, does Batman notice the old members of the JLA act differently around him? See why retcons are difficult? If they brainwashed him some years ago, shouldn't they have been acting differently around him for some time? Why bring back a lame-ass villain like Eclipso? Oh, so many questions!!!!


Blogger Brian Cronin said...

A few points...

-Yeah, Paul DID do a really nice job, didn't he? I am pleased that enough stalk...I mean, pester...I mean, asking by me paid off...hehe.

-That whole Eclipso bit at the end seemed to kind of come out of nowhere in your post. Did you accidentally delete something?

-I enjoyed Ultimate Secret #2 a bunch, because I thought that Ellis WAS doing a bit more, story-wise, than he had been doing in #1...but you're right, with even MORE story, this book would be amazing, especially with McNiven's awesome art.

-Daredevil read like a decent fill-in story, but I do not think that it was meant to read like that.

-Human Target was GOOD, but come on, it's Milligan, of COURSE he's gonna give us an ending like that! Hehe. Still, good book. I want Cliff Chiang on a new title, pronto!

4/28/2005 06:47:00 PM  
Anonymous GreyGlobe said...

I'm guilty of also buying Ultimate Secret and there's actually a level to it that I find quite interesting. The Captain Marvel character follows very close to the original character that was created by Marvel in the early 70s. In that storyline, Captain Marvel was originally a Kree sent to spy on the Earth and help determine how to destroy the human race. Eventually, he came to like humanity too much and rebelled against his fellow warriors. He posed as Dr. Walter Lawson in those stories and was supervised and carefully watched by the head of security for the nuclear plant-none other than Carol Danvers! I think that this is a nice nod to Marvel history by Ellis and a great retro/update for fans of the character.

4/29/2005 12:45:00 AM  
Blogger Greg said...

Brian: I happened to flip through a couple of books I didn't buy, like Batman and Day of Vengeance, hence my little rant. I didn't delete anything!

And I do like the Ultimate Galactus story, but I do think it will work a lot better in the trade. Of course, I pull out my long boxes periodically and read bunches of old comics at one sitting, so having these in pamphlet form will be like having them in trade form.

4/29/2005 10:38:00 AM  
Blogger tomthedog said...

As a long-time Grimjack fan, I've been wondering how new readers would take to the new series. There are SO MANY references to the old series -- all of which I caught, and loved, but it made me wonder if those references were being presented in a way that would still hook those who had no idea who Sphinx or Dancer or Mayfair, etc. etc., were -- wouldn't leave them feeling shut out. I'm glad you're liking it. That puts my mind at ease, because I want to see a lot more new Grimjack. I hope you're buying the TPBs of the old series, too. Great stuff.

4/29/2005 02:03:00 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

Tom: Of course I'm buying the trades of GrimJack! I know there's a lot of references to the old series in the new mini, but I'm glad it doesn't get in the way of the story. As I read the trades, I realize that there are plenty of references, and when I go back and read the mini-series again, I'll pick up on them. That's why Ostrander is excellent.

4/29/2005 06:46:00 PM  
Blogger Lex said...

Legion of Super-Heroes #5 also came out this week. It was awesome.

4/29/2005 11:20:00 PM  

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