Friday, November 04, 2005

What I bought - 2 November 2005

In case anyone is interested, I'm blogging a novel for National Novel Writing Month. Go check it out if you have the time!

I had a ton of books to read this week, since I skipped so many last week, so I'll keep it short. I'm sure you all bought Liberality For All #1 and want to re-read it as quickly as possible, right?

Last week's comics will be reviewed in all-question form!

Black Panther #9 by Reginald Hudlin, David Yardin, and Jay Leisten
$2.99, Marvel

What would happen if a white writer depicted Africans as unbelievably superstitious as they are on the first page? Why on earth do writers forget that Wolverine's power is not "idiotic claws" but a healing factor? Why in the world is the Red Ghost in this story anyway? Are all Marvel superhero titles this dumb these days?

Black Widow: The Things They Say About Her #2 by Richard K. Morgan, Sean Phillips, and Bill Sienkiewicz
$2.99, Marvel

Do I like this title just because I like the character? Am I guilty of that against which I myself railed just yesterday? Didn't Natasha boink anyone else in the Marvel Universe beside Matt Murdock?

Catwoman #48 by Will Pfeifer and Pete Woods
$2.50, DC

Is this the best issue of Pfeifer's run so far? Is the interaction between Selina and Bruce one of the best conversation that Batman has had in a while with someone other than Alfred? Despite its goodness, why do writers always "kill off" the main character when we know it's bogus?

Daredevil #78 by Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev
$2.99, Marvel

How does Bullseye turn playing cards into deadly weapons? If I throw a card, it flips lazily to the floor, so does he line his with razor-sharp metal or something? What is up with the butt/crotch shot between Natasha's legs on page 16? Is everyone else tired of the ads in Marvel books, or is it just me?

Defenders #4 by Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis, and Kevin Maguire
$2.99, Marvel

What is up with the ribald humor in this book? Is anyone else just a tiny bit annoyed by it? Doesn't everyone just want the Silver Surfer to remain on the beach instead of helping out? Wouldn't that be cool?

JLA: Classified #13 by Warren Ellis and Jackson Guice
$2.50, DC

Why did they let these ugly covers grace this book? Why, in the midst of desperate battle, is everyone using articles in front of "the" Batman and "the" Flash? Is Guice's art worse this issue, or am I hallucinating?

Solo #7 by Michael Allred, Laura Allred, and Lee Allred
$4.99, DC

Why were there so many different covers for this book? Why is Allred yearning for the "good old days" in the Batman story but basically glamorizing drug addiction in the Hourman story? Wouldn't it have been cool to see Morrison's Doom Patrol in the Teen Titans story? I know it's in an old comic somewhere, but why doesn't Robin want to get it on with Batgirl? If this is an homage to the Silver Age, why is it so creepy?

Ultimate Secret #4 by Warren Ellis, Tom Raney, and Scott Hanna
$2.99, Marvel

Why is Hawkeye such a dick? Why is Natasha such a slut? Why did it take 9 issues to get to this point? Why am I such an idiot that I will more than likely buy Ultimate Extinction?

Okay, on to this week's books. More insight, I promise!

Batman: Gotham County Line #2 by Steve Niles and Scott Hampton
$5.99, DC

I was hoping this wouldn't happen. I was hoping, despite the presence of Niles on this book, that it wouldn't go completely into the realm of horror and unlikelihood. I was hoping the horror would come from the suburbs and the creepy things people do to each other when they're all living in cookie-cutter homes with perfectly manicured lawns and struggling to keep up with the PTA members. Unfortunately, he goes the "scary zombie" route, which is fine, I guess, but it makes me think of what Morpheus said to the Corinthian: "[You're] just something else for people to be scared of." The fact that Boston Brand knows who Batman is comes as absolutely no surprise. What's surprising is that Batman is surprised. Come on, Bruce - he's dead! Of course he knows who you are!

Beowulf #5 by Brian Augustyn and Attila Adorjany
$2.99, Speakeasy

I mentioned that last issue wasn't very good, and this was worse. Oh, the horrors of pre-ordering! I'm on the hook for the next issue, but then it's bye-bye-bye!¹

Desolation Jones #4 by Warren Ellis and J.H. Williams III
$2.99, DC/Wildstorm

Well, the art is still gorgeous this issue. The story is better than Ellis's "porn lecture" last issue, but it still feels like we're stuck in a bit of a rut. Yes, Jones gets to bash the crap out of a dude, and it's all pretty and violent, and we learn quite a bit more about this mystery he's exploring, but have we heard of the Temple Farm Massacre before this issue? I don't seem to recall it being mentioned before this issue. If it was, I'm stupid and need to give Ellis his props. If it wasn't, it should have been. I've argued before that mysteries need to be opaque the first time you read it, but obvious the second time. I know this isn't really supposed to be a "real" mystery, but it's still dirty pool if Ellis is hiding things from us. It's a good read, and so much better than Jack Cross it's almost like two different writers are working on it. As usual, it will read better in trade paperback form.

Detective #813 by David Lapham, Ramon Bachs, and Nathan Massengill
$2.50, DC

This is the penultimate issue of Lapham's "City of Crime," and while it's certainly bleak, it's still very good. I'm still waiting to see how the whole thing wraps up, but this has still been one of the strongest Batman stories in years. The scenes in the hospital with Robin and Gordon losing it are chilling, and the very idea continues to be creepy. Good stuff.

Jonah Hex #1 by Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti, and Luke Ross
$2.99, DC

Yes, it's a self-contained Number One issue! Can you control your excitement!

I'm lukewarm about this, just like I was lukewarm about Loveless. It's certainly better than that book, because Gray and Palmiotti don't hide anything from the readers just to make it "mysterious." Jonah Hex is hired to find the kidnapped son of a rich dude. Bad things ensue. The nice thing about this book is that the morality is the morality of the Old West, and it doesn't sit well with us. Hex is a bastard, of course, but he's also the hero, and we want him to act like one. When he doesn't, it bothers us. The moral ambiguity makes this an intriguing book, because we're not sure what's coming. And the art is beautiful. Of the two recent westerns, this is definitely better, and I'll stick with it for a while to see where we go.

Seven Soldiers: Bulleteer #1 by Grant Morrison, Yanick Paquette, and Michael Bair

Brian already said what needs to be said about this comic. Go read it. I didn't read the issue, as you well know. Lots of cheesecake, from the looks of it.

Supreme Power: Nighthawk #3 by Daniel Way and Steve Dillon
$2.99, Marvel

Yes, yes, the scary clown, who isn't in any way the Joker, is poisoning people, while Nighthawk, who couldn't be construed as Batman in any way, is trying to stop him. This is just marginally interesting, and I wouldn't endorse this book at all. I'm buying it, as you know, because I'm a sucker. The thing that bugs me about this is that Way seems to be going out of his way (ha!) to add cursing to the book. That's the worst attribute of the Vertigo and Marvel MAX books - writers get lazy and think "I'll just throw in some cursing because that's how 'real people' talk!" Well, fuck that - that's not how real people talk. Dillon's art is, well, Dillon's art.

The Winter Men #3 by Brett Lewis and John Paul Leon
$2.99, DC/Wildstorm

I read mini-series one issue at a time to give you, the good reading public, an idea about whether this is a series you should check out. I take my responsibilities to this blog very seriously! However, I'm wondering if I should just give up on this and read it all at once, which is what I used to do with mini-series. Holy crud, there's a lot of talking and a lot of characters and not a lot of identifying people by name and just a whole hell of a lot going on in this series. I like it - it's very nice to look at, and the story - when I can follow it - is intriguing, but it's overwhelming me. Can anyone tell me who half these people are? Maybe I'm just stupid. Wait for the trade, because I think this will be a very good story when it's all said and done.

That's it for this week. Sorry for the brevity of the reviews, although I'm sure you can understand. As always, shots about my reading choices are more than welcome.

¹ Yes, it's an *NSYNC reference. Take that!

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Anonymous D Walker said...

You brought them up w/ DAREDEVIL where they were as irritaing as they've been in The Winter Soldier arc in Captain America (that's some Soviet dossier dropped at the feet of Steve Rogers, with every page nearly seperated by advertisements for videogames, sports cars, and movies)....
The comic is already 2.99, dudes.... Must you whore out so much you spoil the drama from page 2 onwards, for some extra dough????
I'm so close to going fullblown trade.

But that being said, I loved Daredevil this month. If they kill off Mia it'll spoil the whole run for me. Daredevil's title kills as many women off as Bonanza ever did.
I hope Matt goes to jail for awhile- that would be a terrific spot for Brubaker to jump on.

And I dig the direction of Desolation Jones even though it is a bit familiar. There are some obvious Raymond Chandler elements working for the most part, but Jones is so unlike other heroes (except Ellis heroes) it's always exciting.

11/04/2005 02:25:00 PM  
Anonymous said...

Why am I such an idiot that I will more than likely buy Ultimate Extinction?

I've been asking myself the exact same question.

And I'm glad to hear that I'm not the only one who can only follow about 33% of the story in Winter Men.

11/04/2005 03:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Iron Lungfish said...

Marvel ads are just God's way of telling you to buy indie or wait for the trade.

If you haven't read Bulleteer yet, how do you know Brian said what needs to be said about it?

Milligan's Red Ghost is wonderful. Hudlin's... really isn't. And wasn't Claremont's Kenya pretty much implied to be all quaint and superstitious with backwards tribal types worshiping Storm as a "goddess"?

11/04/2005 04:00:00 PM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

Greg has faith in me, Iron Lungfish...hehe.

11/04/2005 04:06:00 PM  
Blogger Mo Soar said...

See, my big advantage in reading Winter Men is that it's one of the few titles the non-comics-reading spouse likes. Each month I hand him the comic and a beer and go wandering off, and generally about 5 minutes later I get the first "Mo! What the hell is going on here?"

Since I knew it was coming, I've already read the title 3-4 times. "No, dear, that's NOT the little girl we're looking for, that's Nina's daughter, and Kris and Nikki have come to hit Nina up for help in finding where the doctor she is guarding has the OTHER little girl hidden (but she turns them down flat). And let me give you a hint about the narration in the beginning - it's Kris, in future voice-over, thinking his way through what he's going to say at the hearing that we won't get to until about a third of the way through the comic."

Daredevil - I'm a huge Brubaker fan, though not a Bendis fan or particularly a Daredevil fan. But I've read the last 2 issues to see what's going on and to see if I'm going to test those reddish waters. This last issue reads like horrid fanfiction - "Everybody Loves Daredevil" - his exes line up to catfight over him (and over who is going to be the one to give him the bad news), poor Foggy is going down with him -- gah. It's all so... overwrought.

11/04/2005 04:16:00 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

Hudlin's Black Panther is like an extended version of the Chris Rock bit where Chris talks about how he failed a black history class because he didn't know anything about Africa.

11/04/2005 04:40:00 PM  
Anonymous said...

mo -
You're kidding about there being two different little girls in Winter Men, right? Maybe I should bump my estimated comprehension level down to about 20%.

11/04/2005 04:41:00 PM  
Blogger T. said...

It seems like a suprising amount of liberals are excited about reading this Liberality for ALL comic. Why? I just started hearing about it.

11/04/2005 04:41:00 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

T., I think that "liberals" are not excited at all about Liberality For All, but they are excited about deriding it. It made a minor storm when it was announced a few months ago because of its obvious conservative bent and most comic book readers, I would imagine, are liberal. However, now that it's out, I think the criticism will be reserved for the quality of the book, and from flipping through it (I didn't buy it), it looks awful. I'm just judging it on the art, which is awful, and the few pages I read, which are painful to read (not because of the politics, but because of the words used). Think Allred's Batman story without any of the whimsy. Total pedantic crap. It might get better, but I don't want to know.

11/04/2005 05:50:00 PM  
Blogger Mo Soar said...

jdonalson -

Nope, not kidding. About 4-5 pages in, Kris and Nikki have gone to talk to Nina, and they drive her to the secure daycare center (the one with armed guards? Yikes) to pick up her daughter. Kris is trying to get Nina to help them and Nina refuses, looking at her daughter (who is laughing and holding her soldier and prostitute - lol - dolls and being held by Nikki) and saying "I have responsiblities." Pretty sure that later on, when Nina's at Nikki's junk-strewn apartment, watching the video of herself as "Proletariat Girl" or whatever, she's having second thoughts.

Also note that when they find the little girl in a bubble they are actually looking for, Kris doesn't bother with a containment suit.

I don't mind having to do this level of analysis because it's REWARDED. I tried doing this with House of M and just got a headache from the inconsistencies.

11/04/2005 05:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Iron Lungfish said...

T., it's not just that it's conservative, it's not just that it's awful, it's that it's hilariously so, to the point where many of us still aren't sure it's not a brilliant satire. I mean, if I wrote a comic book about a bike-riding Michael Moore, a tough-as-nails Al Franken and a cyborg Ted Kennedy teaming up to overthrow an evil future dystopian one-world government run by George Bush and Hitler, you'd think the idea was hysterical, wouldn't you?

11/04/2005 08:18:00 PM  
Blogger T. said...

It sounds so awful that I wonder if it's secretly making fun of conservatives!

11/04/2005 08:55:00 PM  
Blogger ninjawookie said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11/05/2005 09:04:00 AM  
Blogger ninjawookie said...

Catwoman - Is pete woods art the best artwork to grace the title since cameron stewart? Is it the best his art has looked in his whole career even? FUCK YEAH!

Mike Allred Solo - wasn't there only one cover? the wonder girl one? Here chicky chicky! best panel of that week! Batman a gogo -was like deep man...

JLA classified - yeah he's cutting a few corners, it looked almost like byrne or something.

11/05/2005 09:05:00 AM  
Blogger kelvingreen said...

Are all Marvel superhero titles this dumb these days?
Sadly, yes. Although with things like New Warriors, it works.

Didn't Natasha boink anyone else in the Marvel Universe beside Matt Murdock?
Hawkeye, I think. Although Bendis has made him "go rogue" so he's out.

Is everyone else tired of the ads in Marvel books, or is it just me?
Nope. We're all farked off with their current policy of "more ads, less story".

Ninjawookie, there was at least one other Solo cover, featuring Batman doing that weird scissors-eye-dance thing he did in the TV show (remember, the one where he got drunk at the nightclub, but wouldn't let Robin drive him home because he didn't yet have a licence).

11/07/2005 02:29:00 PM  
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