Thursday, December 22, 2005

What I bought - 21 December 2005

Kind of a in-the-doldrums kind of week in comics. It's also Showdown Time at Last Chance Gulch, and some books won't make it out alive!

The Book of Lost Souls #3 by J. Michael Straczynski and Colleen Doran
$2.99, Marvel
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First on the chopping block, I think, is this title. It's not that it's really that bad - it's just not doing it for me. Doran's art continues to be spectacular, and the stories haven't been awful, they just haven't wowed me. I keep getting the vague feeling I've read it all before. Like this story, about a street artist who is tempted by what she thinks is the ghost of her dead, heroin-abusing boyfriend to commit suicide by overdose so they can be together. Lord Byron - whoops, I mean Jonathan - shows up and explains what the ghost really means. It's nicely if slickly done, and it teaches us a valuable lesson about life, but that's all it does, and it does it in a ham-fisted way, too. And it seems that JMS nullifies his point on the final page by copping out and giving us a happy - actually, a happier - ending than is warranted. I just can't see spending 3 bucks on this, even though it's pretty.

Elk's Run #4 by Joshua Hale Fialkov and Noel Tuazon
$2.99, Speakeasy/Hoarse and Buggy
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During a week of kind of blah comics, Elk's Run stands out. If the sales figures are to be believed, I'm one of about 3000 people in the country reading this. Let's go, people! This is a very good comic. It's a horror comic without being outlandish and featuring deformed creatures - every character in the book is very real, which makes it even more horrific. In this issue, the kids decide to escape the village, but things go horribly and possibly tragically wrong. The nice thing about this book is the use of flashbacks to give us background and tie into the present situation. In this issue, it's a hunting trip, and although it starts off all The Deer Hunter, it quickly turns into something else. Fialkov does an excellent job of building the tension, and when we reach the climax, he's still able to throw more at us that leads into next issue. This is a really good book, folk. Find it if you can and read it and love it. Maybe not in the creepy way that Mark Fossen does, but maybe half as much will be sufficient. I'm kidding, Mark! Actually, read his breakdown of it - it's better than I could ever do. Why does Cronin let me write here, exactly?

Buy Elk's Run. You'll feel shameful in a few years if you don't.

The Goon #15 by Eric Powell
$2.99, Dark Horse
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Critical darling! Loved by millions! A fun letters column! Pretty art!

Why don't I like The Goon more?

I've given it a few issues. I may even get the next one, although it is Showdown Time at Last Chance Gulch, so maybe I shouldn't. I laughed a bit while reading this. The union joke was inspired. The parody of Charlton Heston as Moses was hilarious. So why do I feel empty inside after reading each issue? Why doesn't the love for this comic flow from my pores until I am shouting its praises from the rooftops?

I don't know. Seriously. I like the art. I like the cleverness. But I don't like the totality of it all. It's bizarre. Am I going into it convinced I won't like it? I don't know. I have a sneaking suspicion that Powell is a little too smug about his creation. I get the feeling he's thinking, "If you don't like my comic, you're obviously a tool." It's the same feeling I get from Millar's recent work. Maybe that's why I don't like The Goon.

Weird. We'll see. Maybe one more chance. Maybe.

Seven Soldiers: Bulleteer #2 by The One To Whom We All Bow, Yanick Paquette, and Serge LaPointe
$2.99, DC
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In lieu of talking about this comic, since I didn't read it, I want to tell you about the strange green thing I found in my navel this morning ...

What? No? Okay. Remember Paquette on Wonder Woman? I thought his art was pretty good back then. It's a lot better these days. Sweet.

Oh, and that whole "separate mini-series that won't interlock with any of the others"? Did anyone really buy that? Did The Bald Deity Of Graphic Literature expect us to? Did he say it with a smirk? Come on, Grant!

Supreme Power: Hyperion #3 by J. Michael Straczynski, Dan Jurgens, and Klaus Janson
$2.99, Marvel
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This is better than the other Supreme Power mini-series, but it's still just fair-to-middling. So this is already an alternate universe to the "real" Marvel U., and now we're in an alternate to that? Help me, Marv Wolfman - you're my only hope!

Bad stuff happens. Come on, this is a book that if you haven't been buying it, you're certainly not going to pick it up in the middle, and I don't think I can recommend the trade. I've said it before about these two mini-series: I'm just buying them to bridge the gap between the old Supreme Power series, which I really liked, and the new one, which I'm going to buy and see what happens. And they're not that horrible, honestly. They're just not that great.

Ah, my enthusiasm for comics knows no bounds! We all have down weeks, I suppose, and I wasn't about to buy Infinite Crisis or Flash of Ultimate Wolverine vs. Ultimate Hulk (as much as I love Lost) just to pick up the slack! Nosirree!

Buy Elk's Run. You will so not be sorry. Make Jason happy. Frankly, I think Jason could beat me to within an inch of life using only a puppy, so that's why I bought the issue!

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Blogger Singles said...

I typed stuff out to respond to what you said about Bulleteer #2, then I remembered that you didn't read it. It doesn't totally spoil the premise of the series, but it does explain a lot of what's going on in the larger story. The stories were always supposed to interlock, though.

It would have been a much better week if you read Runaway's, though. This issue was great.

12/23/2005 02:00:00 AM  
Anonymous Dizzy D said...

So this is already an alternate universe to the "real" Marvel U., and now we're in an alternate to that? Help me, Marv Wolfman - you're my only hope!

Actually the original Squadron Supreme was an alternate universe to the "real" Marvel U. So we're in an alternate to an alternate to an alternate right now.

12/23/2005 07:13:00 AM  
Blogger Jason said...

Glad you enjoyed Elk's Run and thanks for the push. I wouldn't have beaten you up, though, I'm not that much of a fighter and the few I've gotten into usually resulted in my wallet being taken.

Oh, and about the 3000 number, try cutting that in half.

Maybe taking a few hundred off of it.

So, yeah, support would be nice.

12/23/2005 10:27:00 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

Alright already, I'm sold! Between you and Mark Fossen, I'm convinced into picking up the first 4 issues today.

Look forward to reading it.

12/23/2005 11:53:00 AM  
Anonymous Dan Coyle said...

Whoa whoa whoa- are you telling me that there's an issue of Supreme Power where something actually HAPPENS??

12/23/2005 12:46:00 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

Actually, Dan, the bad stuff that happens in Supreme Power takes up only a few pages, and it's not a lot of stuff. So even the bad stuff happening doesn't pick up the pace of the book.

Another convert! Seek, Chris, and you shall find!

12/23/2005 01:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Kelson said...

On Supreme Power, I'm not convinced this is an alternate reality. I think it's a possible future -- namely, the one in which Burbank and co. succeed in their original mission.

(It's also a dark mirror of the Mark Gruenwald Squadron Supreme mini-series, which saw the Squadron taking over America (or possibly more, I forget), using mind control, etc. with at least benign intentions -- with Nighthawk as a dissenter.)

On Seven Soldiers, there's a difference between stories that interlock but can be read individually and stories that don't make sense unless you read every single piece. What I've read of Seven Soldiers so far seems to be doing a good job at sticking in the first camp. I've certainly had some "Oh, that's what's going on!" moments, but I think I'm following it OK on only half the books.

12/23/2005 04:37:00 PM  

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