Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Three 5/18 Book That I Read So That You Did Not Have To

Same as always...I tell you about three comics that I did not hear a lot about this week, and then I ask you all to fill me in on comics that I did not read this week.

Spoilers ahead!!

Conan #16
- I was not a fan of the last issue, so I was quite pleased to see this issue get back to the standard I have grown to expect from Busiek, Nord and Stewart's Conan.

This story begins the next Conan storyline, and really, this would be a GREAT issue to pick out if you wanted to show someone what Conan is like, particularly young Conan.

His ill-informed rant about how cities are "evil"? Totally Conan.

The way he treats everyone pretty much equally, whether they are a high muckety-muck or a little kid? Totally Conan.

The way he goes to a haunted hill without any regard of the warnings? Totally Conan.

The way he figures he can stop (or at least he BETTER stop) the supernatural beings with his sword? Totally Conan.

This issue was a microcosm of Conan, and what makes him so cool (and so easy to parody).

The art by Nord and Stewart is stellar, as usual.


Toxin #2 - I don't like repeating the same issue in back-to-back months (as I like to use this as, like I said, books that aren't talked about as much), but man, this book is just too much of a pleasant surprise NOT to talk about!

This issue followed #1 by ALSO being a good comic, only this issue was even BETTER than #1!

That's right...a GOOD comic.

It is a comic of the spawn of Carnage.

Who was the spawn of Venom.

The Spider-Man villain.

So what I'm saying here is that a comic about the spawn of the spawn of Venom is actually a GOOD comic.

It is so shocking of a claim that you almost feel compelled to check this book out, don't you?

In any event, this issue Peter Milligan continues his valiant attempt to make Marvel villains cool (which is kinda fruitless, as a writer who never read this book is bound to kill the character off for SOME story or another).

His target this issue is Razorfist, and the shtick he gives him is that Razorfist calls out to all those youth out there who self-mutilate themselves. He draws power from them, and in return he cuts them - without leaving marks. They also feed him and so stuff for him because, well, the dude has blades for arms.

Darick Robertson's art is strong, and there is even time in the book for deeper thoughts. For instance, Milligan is clearly trying to write this comic, like Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde, as a metaphor for the dual nature of man.

Yes, that's right, it is a comic about the spawn of the spawn of Venom, and he is writing in metaphors.


In any event, the guy who is hosting the symbiote also didn't exactly tell anyone that he was running off because he was afraid of what he has become, and only his former police partner knows, so there is a real good scene between the hero's father and his partner.

Finally, to find Razorfist, the hero befriends/intimidates one of Razorfist's followers, and the exchange is so real and well-written.

And it all leads to a very interesting final page.

Recommended (yes, I understand, it is a book about the spawn of the spawn of Venom and I am recommending it to actual human beings as a good comic book)!

Hero Camp #1 - This book is a fun concept (the kid of famous superheroes has no super powers of his own, but his parents still send him to superhero camp every summer hoping he comes around), and the opening is really cool.

The kid in question is thrown off from a high landing to hopefully jumpstart his flying abilities - and instead is just falling to his death.

Luckily, his superpowered dog saves him.

Great opening.

And the rest of the issue just meanders from there.

I understand that this may not be the first time these characters appeared in a comic book, but really, it is like we picked up issue #569. A whole lot of characters with a whole lot of connections to each other, and not a lot of explaining what was what.

In addition, the plot (the kid's dog rescues him and drops him off in the jungle, where he runs into some bad guys while the camp is off searching for him, and there is a tussle when they all converge) is kinda...well...silly.

The bad guys apparantly just wander around in the forest?!!?


And you never can tell for sure if these bad guys are like, bullies who pick on people from the camp, or are these guys actually the kind of bad guys who will kill you.

Basically, you don't know WHAT is going on.

The art by Robbi Rodrigues was good, very reminiscient of Ryan Ottley's art on Invincible. Good stuff there.

In addition, Greg Thompson (the writer and creator) does a shorter story on one of the character, Block (a Hulk analogue), that is a lot of fun. The kind of fun I really EXPECTED in the main story...but I really didn't get.

However, the concept is fun and the second story was fun, and the art is nice, so I still have hope for #2.

But this issue?

Not recommended.

On to the books I did not read that I would like you all to fill me in on:

ABC Warriors Vol. 2 The Black Hole

Books of Magick: Life During Wartime #11

Freedom Force #5

Freakshow #6

Strange Eggs #1

Read More


Anonymous Nevin said...

Strange Eggs is a great idea (an anthology about two kids and their pet alien who receive a new egg -- which could hatch into anything -- every week), but Slave Labor just wastes it. A few charming and humorous stories are mixed in with typical Slave Labor fare: people die messily, a young girl gets raped, and this is all supposed to be "funny" in the way that Johnny the Homicidal Maniac is "funny". I had high hopes for this comic, as it had some good talent (like Roger Langridge) mixing in with the Slave Labor usuals. Unfortunately, they don't write anything that great, either.

All in all, it still is a good idea with a few good stories in it. If you like reading those "goth" comics, then you'll probably find that this is a particularly good one. If not, then this is Not Recommended.

5/24/2005 09:10:00 AM  
Blogger Guy LeCharles Gonzalez said...

I second Nevin's take on Strange Eggs, a real disappointment. Great premise but the editors really needed to provide some parameters to make it work. Because they didn't, it's a complete mish-mosh lacking any thematic consistency. Excepting a couple of strong efforts, it's something of a circle jerk.

Freedom Force #5 is more of what you've come to expect from the title. You either like the throwback sensibility or not.

5/24/2005 11:39:00 AM  
Blogger chasdom said...

Strange Eggs - Great Premise indeed. Let a bunch of good indy creators loose on this book and it would be extremely cool. Unfortunately, that's not what we get here. One page of Langridge does not a quality anthology make.

The amusing part, though is that these stories were produced for the Christan Learning Network, whatever that is. The first couple stories are not inappropriate, but once Langridge's magician beats a pterodactyl to a pulp, and then Woodrow & Phoenix's egg shows up ribbing himself on cracked-bitches.com . . .

So, yeah, this isn't a good indy anthology and it's not a good book for kids. It's merely a mediocre entry in Slave Labor's goth / cute-horror line.

5/24/2005 01:08:00 PM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

Heh...apparantly, html code is hard for me, as I accidentally put the wrong read more tag in...hehe.

Fixed now.

5/24/2005 09:06:00 PM  
Blogger Chris Reilly said...


I edited the book and am a firm believer in no publicity is bad publicity, so thanks for talking about the book.
I do have to comment on the fact that anyone online was actually gullible enough to believed that there was such a thing as the Christian Learning Network. That guy's a bit out of the loop. Also; no comment on the fact that the animation studio in Atlanta, GA is surrounded by palm trees? You don't find palm trees growing wild in Atlanta. Did you also believe the story in National Lampoon that the third Jaws movie would be combined with the Animal House sequel and be titled "Jaws 3, people zero"?
By the Way, the book was never advertised as a "good book for kids" in Diamond's Previews.
I was happy that what was written as obvious, ludicrous parody was actually believable to some folks. If you want to read the next Strange Eggs book, you have to purchase the bridge it's painted on.
Maybe we should have run a disclaimer that if you're burning on a six watt bulb, you should not read the inside back cover.
The reason I'm posting this is because of the jabs that you guys merrily take at the creators involved in this book (you guys actually refer to my story as not being "inappropriate" so I'm not personally offended). I hand picked/invited everyone who was involved in this book, and take offense that you lump them together as part of a
"mediocre entry in Slave Labor's Goth / cute-horror line." Nothing against "Goth" but how are Roger Lang, Ben Towle, Steve Ahlquist, Dave Ray, Woodrow Phoenix, Ian Carney, Joey Weiser, Darron Laessig, Jon Adams, Kerry Callen or Derf even remotely "Goth"? As for the "Goth" stories, what were your particular gripes with them, aside from the fact that they weren't a Venom/Carnage tie in?



6/01/2005 01:53:00 AM  
Blogger Chris Reilly said...

Oh Christ. I didn't realize this was a blog. I can't believe I actually got worked up over a blog critique. I though this was an actual web site.
Sorry guys. I feel like I just got angry at a diary.



6/03/2005 01:46:00 AM  

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