Thursday, August 18, 2005

What I bought - 17 August 2005

Gadzooks, lots o' crap this week! And more Marvel than DC! I should have my head examined. Isn't DC so much better than Marvel?

Before I begin, I should mention I'm giving reading material away again. Only one comic, but it's Superman: It's a Bird ..., which is brilliant. If you don't have it but want it, check out the details here. I'm also giving away more Larry Young-related goodness, so if you like Larry, check it out. Even if you don't like Larry, check it out.

Anyway, onward and upward!

Atomika #4 by Andrew Dabb, Sal Abbinanti, and Buzz
$2.99, Speakeasy

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Let's start with that cover. I asked Mr. Dabb over on his blog why Michael Turner drew something that seemingly has nothing to do with the interior. He answered, and I quote, "It's mostly just a nod to the discussion of beauty and Atomika's failure to grasp it in #4. So it doesn't really reference the plot so much as the theme of the issue." Uh-huh. Anyway, if it gets people interested in this book, so much the better. It's still a neat read.

The problem I have with this book is relatively minor. Atomika keeps confronting other mythologies and consolidating his reign, but it seems to me that he would have already done this. He's been in power for forty years, after all. I understand that by doing this, Dabb and Abbinanti are exploring the aspects of Russian mythology and how power works, and that's fine, but it seems like it could be done a different way, because Atomika going out to fight various deities can get old quickly. It appears, at the end of the issue, that the book is moving in a different direction, and that's cool. The idea of Atomika losing his humanity even though he was once human is interesting too. There's a lot to like about this book, and you really should be checking it out. The art remains perfect for the bombastic tone, too.

This book is leaving Speakeasy, but according to all concerned, the sales are fine. Go find it and buy it just to make sure.

Bonerest #2 by Matteo Casali and Giuseppe Camuncoli
$2.95, Image

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Why don't I like this? Camuncoli's art is cool, it's creepy and icky, it has religious undertones (or maybe overtones?), and it has a backstory brewing. When issue 1 came out, someone (sorry, I can't remember who) mentioned that the translation may have been part of why I disapproved of it. Maybe. Anyway, I just don't like Bone. He's a jerk. Anti-heroes are fine, but not when they're jerks. All these people who hang out with him need to reassess their standard for friendship. I'd say more, but I don't want to be mean. I think I'm on the hook for a couple more issues, but I doubt if I will keep up with it. Maybe it will get better.

Defenders #2 by Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis, and Kevin Maguire
$2.99, Marvel

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That's an ugly cover. What's up with the Hulk's neck?

Anyway, the problem I have with the boys here is the same problem I have with situation comedies. I enjoy it, but isn't everyone just a tad too clever? Well, not Hulk, and maybe not Doctor Strange, but Dormammu and Umar and Namor are just too quick with the quips. I can deal with it in the short term, but I'm glad this is only five issues.

It's pretty. It's funny. The Silver Surfer is excellent. Why does Namor have no nipples?????

G.I. Spy #1 by Andrew Cosby and Matt Haley
$3.99, Boom!

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Now, see, there are a lot of flaws in this book. Holy cow, are there a lot of flaws. Let us count the ways:

Yet another cover that has no relation to what is going on inside.
Why are the Russians working for the Germans in 1937?
Jack Shepard takes all that time to infiltrate a fancy dinner, and then blows his cover instantly?
Kaitlin found the mine? When did that happen?
Kaitlin says "What am I saying? He never thinks." She has known Jack for, what, three hours?
If Jack is such a terrible soldier, how the hell does he defeat the metal Nazi guy?

Anyway, it's still a fun book. It zips along and doesn't tax your brain too much (hey, I'm for mindless entertainment as much as the next guy), and Einstein makes a cameo, and it's fun. As with the other Boom! book, Hero Squared, however, it's four dollars. Definitely not worth it. FOUR DOLLARS????

Girls #4 by Joshua and Jonathan Luna
$2.99, Image

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I'm sorry, but this has to stop. I read the letters pages and realized I have nothing in common with people who like this book. We can never be best buddies. It's sad, but true. I just don't get it. The characters are still unlikeable, the mystery is boring, the rednecks aren't terribly interesting, everything is going poorly. Why is this out there? I wanted to give it a chance, because I dug Ultra, but this is a mess. A complete mess. It's halfway done, but I will have to find out what happens from others, because I ain't getting it anymore. Can anyone tell me why this is worth it?

Gødland #2 by Joe Casey and Tom Scioli
$2.99, Image

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Okay, the Kirby homage might get old, but for now, this is still a rollicking adventure and I'm digging it. The question I have is: how does Casey keep getting work? That's not to say he doesn't deserve it, because in the past five years he has brought us some of the most innovative and interesting comic books around. But the man is a curse. Let's look at the list: Wildcats 2.0 and 3.0 - both dead after not even 30 issues - and that's his good run. Automatic Kafka - 9 issues. The Intimates - gone as of #12. He's the kiss of death, I'm telling you! How long will this book last? Get it now before it's gone.

Why is this? I could go the snotty route and say Casey is just too highbrow for most mouth-breathers who read comics, but I won't. Sure, Kafka was a weird book, but the others are perfectly accessible superhero/thriller books. Is it me? I have liked all those book A LOT. Am I the curse? Help me, fans of Joe Casey! I don't want him to come to my house and beat me up for buying his books!

Seriously - why do all his books fail? Buy this one. It's cool. Guest-starring Friedrich Nickelhead and his brass balls!

Livewires #6 by Adam Warren, Rick Mays, Jason Martin and Norm Rapmund
$2.99, Marvel

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How to write a good mini-series for Marvel without making it feel like you're writing for the trade:

1. Have lots of action in EACH ISSUE! Check.
2. Keep the characterization in context and within the flow of the ACTION and reveal it through quick conversations rather than idiotic, pages-long banter. Check.
3. Tie it in vaguely to the Marvel Universe so the hardcore geeks can say, "Look! A Life Model Decoy!" and the casual fans can say, "Oh, an android." Check.
4. Make it light but not too light, with some darkness around the edges and the possibility that all will work out in the end. Check.
5. Have a nifty little twist at the end on which the whole story doesn't rely, but works within the framework of the larger story. Check.
6. Use a lot of high-falutin' soundin' comic-speak about technology that doesn't really mean anything but sounds like it makes sense. Check.

Damn, this is a good series. Buy the trade. You won't be disappointed.

Rex Libris #1 by James Turner
$2.95, SLG Publishing

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Okay, so I didn't read it. Holy crap, it's about the densest book you're ever going to see, and it will probably take me a week to read it. You should still buy it, though. On the first two pages, and undead demon samurai tries to check out a library book (Evil Made Easy) WITHOUT A CARD! Mayhem ensues. Funny stuff. It's by the guy who brought us Nil: A Land Beyond Belief, and long-time readers know how fond I am of that. Trust me. Search and purchase.

Seven Soldiers: Klarion #3 by That Guy and Frazer Irving
#2.99, DC

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So, is the world that Klarion comes from actually under Sir Justin's big toenail? Wouldn't that be just so Morrison? And then when he escaped, he magically grew to our size?

I should write this shit. I can out-weird anyone. And I don't need peyote, man!

There's a cat. Cats are awesome, so this comic must be awesome.

Small Gods #10 by Jason Rand and Juan E. Ferreyra
$2.99, Image

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Okay, it's a new storyline, and the perfect place for all you slackers who are busy buying, hell, I don't know, Supergirl to lay down your hard-earned cash on something that's not anorexic porn. This is one of the best comics out there, and you need to at least read one issue, and it might as well be this one. I'm serious. Don't make me tell Joe Casey to come to your house and beat you up!

The new story is about a CIA assassin and her handler, both of whom are telepaths. This makes Crissy, the assassin, better than anyone. It also makes her a bit crazy, and a danger to pretty much everyone. She has to be kept sedated. If you guess that she escapes at the end of this issue, well ... you're not that clever, because it has to happen for there to be any drama, but give yourself a gold star anyway. All sorts of shit is going to hit the fan next issue, I feel.

Damned good book. DAMNED GOOD BOOK!

Ultimate X-Men #62 by Brian K. Vaughan, Stuart Immonen, and Wade Von Grawbadger
$2.50, Marvel

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Wow - look at Magneto in his costume sitting on a pile of wreckage (or are they bones? - it could be, but I'm inclined to go with wreckage). I'm sure glad that scene takes place in the comic.

More machinations. Yes, Lorna was set up. By interesting people, as it turns out. Alex is going after her. Cannonball is a big ol' coward in the Ultiverse. Immonen's art is sketchy is some places, but is still good. Magneto becomes a mouthpiece for the conservatives in the country who want to bring back "old-school" education - Vaughan should keep his politics in Ex Machina, because here it feels forced. Wanda turns Longshot into a cat. Yee-haw!

I didn't notice this before, during the Longshot story, and I don't know if anyone else who is far cleverer than I did either. Longshot's real name is Arthur. Arthur Adams co-created him. That was cool of Vaughan.

Sorry I seemed grumpy this week. There was some very good stuff, but some really bad stuff as well, and it made me grumpy. Feel free to tell me I'm a jerk who should shut up. It won't work, but it might make you feel better.

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Blogger Brian Cronin said...

It was actually worse than just that, Greg.

Ultimate Longshot's full name was Arthur CENTINO.

Centino is an anagram guessed it, Longshot's OTHER creator, Ann Nocenti.

I honestly don't know if that is cool or creepy.

8/19/2005 03:36:00 AM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

"Okay, it's a new storyline, and the perfect place for all you slackers who are busy buying, hell, I don't know, Supergirl to lay down your hard-earned cash on something that's not anorexic porn."

My pal Grant just made the exact same joke the other day.

Only he was talking about Amazing Joy Buzzards.

8/19/2005 03:46:00 AM  
Blogger Greg said...

I forgot his last name. I think it's cool, not creepy. A nice nod to two people who probably never got any compensation for creating him.

I keep forgetting about the Amazing Joy Buzzards. I have to check out the trade.

8/19/2005 08:51:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess you could call it cool. Vaughan seems a bit influenced by Nocenti.

She can still write circles around him, and 99.9% of the superhero writing community, though. ;-)

8/19/2005 10:25:00 AM  
Blogger Bill Reed said...

Okay, okay, if I make it to a comic shop I'll look for Godland and Rex Libris.

Damn your hide.

8/19/2005 01:13:00 PM  
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