Wednesday, June 15, 2005

What I bought - 15 June 2005

All right, let's fire it up!

Batman: Dark Detective #4 by Steve Englehart, Marshall Rogers, and Terry Austin
$2.99, DC

Eh. There's a useless addition to the Batman Origin Canon, which goes on too long, and the Silver St. Cloud breakup scene with her fiancé, which also goes on too long. This goes in the big post I'll do one day - mini-series that could easily be told in fewer issues without losing ANYTHING! Maybe I'm just cranky. Still, thought balloons from Batman! With exclamation points! Whoo-hoo!

The Black Diamond On Ramp by Larry Young and Jon Proctor
$2.95, AiT/Planet Lar

Brian JUST posted about this, but I'm going to do it too! So there! The story is intriguing, and I think this has the potential to kick some serious ass. I also have reservations about the conceit. In fact, I think it's dumb. An elevated freeway from San Francisco to Washington, D.C. with no laws? Dumb. But - it sets up the story, and once you get past it (and you should) you can move on into the story, which is intriguing. The art is very nice and moves the story along well, and Young gives us interesting characters with not very much screen time. It's nice. The flip story, Smoke and Guns, looks interesting as well. I only hope that Young isn't going to exposit as much in prose as he does in this book, instead telling us these things through the narrative (I'm sure he will, I just wanted to mention it). There's still time to get this! It looks fun.

Captain Gravity and the Power of the Vril #5 by Joshua Dysart, Sal Velluto, and Bob Almond
$2.95, Penny-Farthing Press

Yeah, I didn't read this. I mentioned that I didn't get #4 yet, and I ordered it today at my comics shoppe, because I think they dropped the ball and didn't get it for me. Crap. Hey, check this series out anyway. Beautiful art, fun pulpy story, and I opened this and saw bipedal cats dressed in Nazi uniforms fighting. How the flying fuck can you go wrong with this? It has to be better than the X-Men fighting Mojo, right?

Daredevil #74 by Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev
$2.99, Marvel

Wow. Really. If you're not reading this (in monthlies or trades, I'm not picky), can you explain why? I'm just curious. If someone asks me why I'm not reading, say, New Avengers, I would explain that I think that what they did the original Avengers was stupid and I don't like the new team and that I don't think it's going to last and I'm only a lukewarm fan of Finch. Fair enough? So please tell me why you're not buying this.

This is good stuff. We learn more about the creepy creature from last issue, we learn more about Matt's marriage to Milla, we learn something strange about one member of the group, and we learn something about another member of the group, which Brian already gave away. Thanks, Brian! It highlights everything Bendis is good at - realistic dialogue, tension-building, creepiness - just a nice issue. And Maleev's art is gorgeous.

Daredevil has been one of the finest books around for a long time. Please explain why you're not buying it. I really am curious. And I won't pick on you. I promise.

Ex Machina #12 by Brian K. Vaughan, Tony Harris, and Tom Feister
$2.99, DC/Wildstorm

Vaughan starts a new story, and there's some strange stuff going on. There's a "disciple" of the Great Machine running around beating up punks. Apparently Mitch is a comic book fan, but he's embarrassed about it and has to have them sent to him in secret. He also goes to jury duty, and there's some sinister dude checking him out there. This is another one of those books that is an excellent read. It's beautiful to look at, it's interesting, it has action, this issue has nudity! Just go buy it.

JLA: Classified #8 by Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis, Kevin Maguire, and Joe Rubinstein
$2.99, DC

Well, last issue was the best comic book released this year (although Action Philosophers is up there!), so this was a little bit of a downer, but it was still an excellent read. The Super Buddies have apparently come out of Hell in a parallel universe (Earth-2? Earth-X? Earth-P?) with bad-guy Marvel Family people, a giant G'Nort, and an evil Maxwell Lord (oh, wait a minute ...). Ted has amnesia after his trip into Hell. Things are bad. I miss comics like this. I really do. Nothing earth-shattering, just fun, exciting, interesting, gorgeous to look at, and chock full of neat details. Why can't a comic book be like this?

Mnemovore #3 by Hans Rodionoff, Ray Fawkes, and Mike Huddleston
$2.99, DC/Vertigo

This continues to hum along, and it really is quite creepy. It's nice to read a comic that goes for that effect and achieves it. We're still unsure where everything is going, and I'm not quite positive these guys will pull it off, but so far, it's going very well. Nothing is as it seems, and even though we know that, it's still unsettling. It's just the little stuff that's disturbing, like Kaley's grandmother cleaning the sink. This is a nice little horror comic, and I'm keen to see what the heck is going on.

Seven Soldiers: Klarion #2 by some weird bald Scottish dude and Frazer Irving
$2.99, DC

Here, I'll review without having read it! Whoo-hoo, look at me! Okay, weird, somewhat beautiful art. Klarion meets evil people who speak cryptically about events happening in the other Seven Soldier books. Animals talk. Things die unexpectedly and bizarrely. There's a reference to some ancient prophecy, because what's a Morrison book without an ancient prophecy? Someone gets a weapon that has a strange but on second thought obvious name and uses it to open a portal into a new dimension. People dress weirdly.

How'd I do? I'll read it in a year.

Trigger #7 by Jason Hall and John Watkiss
$2.99, DC/Vertigo

See, if they did more single-issue stories like this, maybe this title wouldn't have died! Maybe people would have said, "Well, they told a story in one issue, and although there are residual things that still need to be resolved, this was a pretty good issue and I don't have to wait five more months for a resolution!" Stupid writing-for-the-trade. This is probably the best issue of the series, and next issue is the last one. I miss single-issue stories. Now writers just do them as stunts - "Look, I can still write single-issues stories!" I would kill a midget if I could read a year on a title and read nothing but single-issue stories. (I don't mean to pick on midgets, it was just the first thing that popped into my head.)

Vimanarama #3 by that bald-headed Scottish dude and Philip Bond
$2.99, DC/Vertigo

Bond really cuts loose in this issue, and it's a joy to watch. He's always been an interesting artist, and here he goes all Brendan McCarthy (remember those covers from Shade, The Changing Man?) Ali's trip through the afterlife is just super-trippy, and his Hindu demons and angels are magnificent. His rendition of the Earth when Ben Rama defeats Ull-Shattan is spectacular. It's a gorgeous book.

Oh, the story. The usual Morrison madness. Ali breaks the fourth wall and finds Ultraman holding a nuclear bomb. At the end he flies off to defend Danny the World against some madcap supervillain. You know. The art is fantabulous.

Okay, your assignment: Tell me why you're not buying Captain Gravity, Daredevil, Ex Machina, and Mnemovore. I won't insult you - who the hell am I, with my four Cinderella albums, to insult your taste? - but I do want to know. Oh, and tell me how I did on my Klarion review!

Read More


Blogger Joe Rice said...

Captain Gravity: Read the first two issues, bought the third and never read it, realized that I just didn't care.

Daredevil: I can't stand Bendis' writing affectations. I don't care about Daredevil intrinsically. Superheroes are dumb, especially when they're taken so seriously.

Ex Machina: I AM reading it. It's great.

Mnemovore: Couldn't even get through the first issue. Snoresville.

You're batting about .333 for your Klarion review.

6/16/2005 06:53:00 AM  
Anonymous John said...

Daredevil, I cna't read in individual issues. I find them slow moving and boring. when I read it in trade format, the story is livlier. How? I don't know.

6/16/2005 08:16:00 AM  
Blogger Ali Choudhury said...

I read Dark Detective at the store and was pretty underwhelmed.

Engelhart's take may have been compelling in the 70's but it's kind of eh in the here and now.

6/16/2005 11:37:00 AM  
Blogger chasdom said...

The alt-universe Marvel Family isn't evil, just kinky.
Maybe punching is just their way of saying "Hi!" in a sadist way?


Captain Gravity: nice art team, but I've never seen it on the shelf. You want to try to sell it harder, maybe give me more info than just that it's weird?

Mnemovore: Gothy horror? Uh, that's up there with "Tennis Romance" for me. I'll buy it only if it comes highly recommended. But you seem pretty keen on it, so I order a TPB if one is released.

6/16/2005 11:58:00 AM  
Anonymous red_Ricky said...

Daredevil #74 by Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev
$2.99, Marvel

Wow. Really. If you're not reading this (in monthlies or trades, I'm not picky), can you explain why?

Alex Maleev's art, basically. It just doesn't agree with me.

I read his first couple of issues and I felt I was the one going blind (as oppossed to the Kingpin and/or Daredevil.

Then, his other issues looked like he took a million pictures, scanned them, then traced over them. So I was like "Hey, I could do that too! It seems all I need to become a comicbook artist is a digital camera and some tracing paper."

Bendis' pacing doesn't help either. He takes half a year to tell a story, and after all that waiting, he resolves everything in a panel or two (worst yet, sometimes he leaves it hanging like it was no big deal.) I'm happy to say that I've been Bendis Free for at least a year and a half and have only missed 2 of his stories overall (the Powers Relaunch and the Hobgoblin intro, from Ult.Spidey).

And on both of ocassions, I still can't tell if he's even done writing them.

6/16/2005 12:08:00 PM  
Blogger Lex said...

I'll be very interested to see what you think of the Seven Soldiers books when you actually read them. I'm sure it'll be a much different experience from mine as I'm reading them when each issue comes out.

6/16/2005 12:53:00 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

I wouldn't call DD a superhero book, but I agree that Bendis take it very seriously. And if Maleev's art isn't your thing, that's fine. As for Captain Gravity, chasdom, I didn't read this issue, so I can't give more information, but the first three issues were very fun (ignore Joe!). Dysart is ripping off Indiana Jones and The Rocketeer, but the story zips along, there's a lot of Nazi-punching action, there are dark archaeological secrets, there are fifth columnists, the hero is a black man in the 1940s who is very likely in love with the white starlet he always has to rescue, and the art is beautiful. It is a throwback kind of comic, just telling a fun story with a nice little touch of social commentary. It will probably be out in trade, so you can probably check it out there, but if you see an issue in the store, flip through it and see for yourself. Fine stuff.

I'll take .333 as an average. That gets me a call-up to the Show!

6/16/2005 02:50:00 PM  
Blogger Loren said...

I gave the "Daredevil: Golden Age" tpb a shot at a bargain price, but my general reaction to it was 'Eh.' I read the thing just a couple of weeks ago, and though I'm usually pretty good at recapping stories, I honestly can't remember much at all of it. Stuff happened, but none of it was terribly interesting to me. I fully expect to get rid of it the next time I do some eBay selling.

6/16/2005 04:50:00 PM  
Blogger Bill Reed said...

Captain Gravity: I've only barely heard of this, and haven't seen it anywhere.
Daredevil: I never managed to jump in, even when I tried. And now I can't really afford to buy seven or so trades. Ahh well!
Ex Machina: I really don't like Vaughan's writing... at all.
Mnemovore: I'm too cheap. And it didn't look all that interesting.

I *am* reading JLA Classified, Klarion, and Vimanarama!, though! Or I will be. When I finally get off my ass and go to the shop.

6/16/2005 05:21:00 PM  
Anonymous GreyGlobe said...

I will take a minute to detour away from the nature of comics to discuss this week's comic related movie. I happened to see Batman Begins the other evening and I must say I thought that it was incredibly average. I don't want to give away anything or spoil it for anyone, but I would like to know what anyone else thought of it.
As for a comic that I haven't seen mentioned here yet that I feel is worthy of attention is Battle Hymn. PICK IT UP!

Battle Hymn

Battle Hymn

Buy it!

6/16/2005 05:49:00 PM  
Blogger Chaz said...

I think this might actually get me into reading comics!

6/16/2005 06:09:00 PM  
Blogger R.Gorman said...

True, Comics can be good but try to create one of your own..

6/16/2005 09:43:00 PM  
Anonymous J. Kevin Carrier said...

Captain Gravity, Mnemovore: Never heard of 'em.

Daredevil: Not a fan of Bendis, Maleev, or "gritty crime dramas" in general.

Ex Machina: Hated "Y: The Last Man" so much that I've avoided Vaughn ever since.

6/17/2005 12:17:00 AM  
Anonymous Martin R said...

I just have to say that Ex Machina is a lot better than anything else that I've seen Vaughan write. And that "Golden Age" was Bendis's weakest Daredevil story arc so far. "Hardcore" was probably the best, although both "Out" and "Lowlife" were great.

6/17/2005 01:15:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Checkout the books Drawn & Quarterly is putting out. SOme great stuff.
"Paul Moves Out", Frank King Volume 1 collection...great stuff!

6/21/2005 02:41:00 PM  
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