Thursday, December 01, 2005

What I bought - 30 November 2005

Ah, the floppies. The anachronistic remnants of a bygone era. I'm such a sucker for nostalgia.

The Expatriate #4 by B. Clay Moore and Jason Latour
$2.99, Image

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Moore does a nice job extending the story after last issue's shocking ending, and it will be interesting to keep up with this "Pop Noir Spy-Fi Chiller!" as the cover says. The story is derivative of The X-Files, but the fact that it's set in 1964 makes it more interesting and the fact that Moore is aiming for a much smaller audience means that this shouldn't lose focus like the television show did. There's a lot of scientific technobabble, but it doesn't distract from the story, and Jack Dexter sort of shows up at the end to re-enter the story, with some help from Russian sex bomb/doctor, Anna Novosi, who has plans for him. Big plans!!!!

This continues to be a nice little book. And although it's been a while since the last issue came out, at least it's showing up. How's that Hawaiian Dick mini-series coming along, Mr. Moore????

Fell #3 by That Cranky British Bastard and Ben Templesmith
$1.99, Image

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This was a weaker issue of Fell because, well, it's not that good. How's that for trenchant insight? Actually, it's not bad, but I miss that chick who branded Richard (whatever her name is). She's cool. It's more interesting and better than Jack Cross or Down, because Ellis shows us again that he does understand human nature, and what makes people do what they do and why they might crack. Richard talks down a suicide bomber by using precisely what the suicide bomber thinks should make him commit suicide. I don't mind that every issue of Fell doesn't feature an actual "crime," because Ellis can write these kinds of things, but it feels a little more lazy this month. I'm torn, as you can see. It's still a very nice book and I'm looking forward to a long run on it. And the nun who looks like Richard Nixon is totally freaking me out.

JLA: Classified #14 by You-Know-Who and Jackson Guice
$2.99, DC

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The name on the cover says "Michael Stribling." I don't know who Michael Stribling is, but he should never be allowed to do a cover for a comic book again. He should be tied up and dropped in Kashmir or someplace where there are no comic books. These covers can't be attracting readers, can they? They're repellent. I don't use that word lightly, but they are. Crap.

The issue is filler. Arrrrgggghhhh! Ooh, the Justice League isn't afraid! Ooh, they overcame their fears long ago! Ooh, Ellis does scientific technobabble! He has admitted in the past that he doesn't know anything about science, but he keeps putting it in his books. It's not that it's bad, it's just that it's somehow silly. You know what I mean?

Another lame ending. Oh well. I hope he will pull it together for the stunning conclusion, because I do like the characterization, but it's one of those stories that is too long. Much like another book this week (see below), the origins of this story feel like a MacGuffin. I don't like MacGuffins.

The Keep #2 by F. Paul Wilson and Matthew Smith
$3.99, IDW

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I think I'm done with The Keep. I want to like it, and it's not bad, and it's spooky and all, and the art is sufficiently minimalist, and there's some good tension, but I think I'm done with it. For two reasons:

1. I'm tired of the "noble World War Two German soldier." Sure, I know a lot of German soldiers were not Nazis and just wanted to kill Allied soldiers honorably, but I'm sick of it. If Klaus Woermann didn't like the Nazi policies, Klaus Woermann should have done something about it.
2. I'm tired of vampires. The thing in the keep is apparently a vampire, and I'm tired of vampires. I don't have anything against vampires - I'm sure they're lovely people when you meet them socially, as long as they're not, you know, hungry, but I'm tired of them. They bore me. Please don't tell them I said that.

So I may be done with The Keep. Next issue I may pick it up, glance through, and make up my mind. We shall see.

The Middleman #4 by Javier Grillo-Marxuach and Les McClaine
$2.95, Viper Comics

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The first mini-series comes to an end, and there's really no excuse, if you haven't bought this, to skip the trade paperback. It has a clever premise, it has snappy dialogue, it has killer monkeys, it has evil scientists, it's action-packed and it's fun. And it has killer monkeys. Oh, did I mention that already? And it has an Animal House joke. If you buy it, maybe McClaine will be able to buy enough drawing materials so that he can give Wendy more of a shirt. That poor girl.

Buy the trade! It's ten dollars!

Silent Dragon #5 by Andy Diggle, Leinil Francis Yu, and Richard Friend

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See, now, here's another series that appears to have a MacGuffin. Diggle sticks with it longer than Ellis did, but it seems like this entire series is just about getting Reizo into a big throw-down with Hideaki. I don't have a problem with that, but did we need five issues to get there? It's an enjoyable read, and the art is absolutely gorgeous, and there's a great deal of slaughter in this issue, but it just feels like Diggle wanted a big ol' martial arts sword fight at the end and thought, "How can I get the story there, consarnit?" Am I missing something? Shouldn't this resonate more? Next issue: Japanese dudes kicking ass.

X-Men #178 by Peter Milligan, Salvador Larroca, and Danny Miki
$2.50, Marvel

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Boy, that's a cool cover. I think Larroca got ahold of The Iron Giant DVD and was inspired. Still, it's cool. Nice that the scene doesn't actually occur in the comic book. Marvel should bring those disclaimers back: Warning! This scene does not actually appear in this comic book!

Oh, the issue. Well, we learn that Valerie Cooper and the friendly Sentinels (the ones that you can control yourself!) are going to be hanging around the mansion for a while. I have no idea what's going on because I'm not reading the rest of the "Decimation" crap, so I read it and zipped by it. What was really interesting was that something bizarre happens to Bobby at the end (it's not that big a spoiler, but I'll still keep it quiet) and that the whole space sub-plot that began a while back and comes to head in a few issues gets a few pages, and it's intriguing and weird and a little goofy and pure Milligan. I mean, come on - Phantom Torso? Good stuff. One wishes Marvel would just ignore this book and let him go nuts on everyone's favorite mutants. Whoops, sorry, they're not everyone's favorite mutants, they're the mutants that nobody wanted, so Milligan should be allowed to do all sorts of wacky shit to them. It's still an okay issue, but I want this whole Decimation thing to go away so we can get back to the main story.

That's it for this week. What say you all?

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Anonymous Ron said...

It's not a vampire in The Keep, but you might want to just watch the movie and be done with the story once and for all. Not to mention you get to marvel at what passed for special effects in 1983!

12/02/2005 12:04:00 AM  
Blogger Sleestak said...

I'm reading the Keep because I'm a big fan of F. Paul Wilson and the Adversary Cycle.

Repairman Jack!

12/02/2005 12:17:00 AM  
Anonymous Brad said...

Did you review the Middle Man on the blog before? I don't remember if you did, or having ever heard of it at all in my whole life. But I'll look for the trade, if it's really just $10 for those killer monkeys you mentioned in passing. Also, Fell's on the third issue? I was sure I'd missed more than 1 issue since I'd last read it. Oh, and my word verification code is owlpp. I am puerile enough to be amused by that.

12/02/2005 01:38:00 AM  
Blogger Chris said...


I guess there's no use posting the 2 Guys Buying Comics reviews for Fell, JLA Classified, and the Keep, because you sucked the thoughts right out of my brain.

Damn you, Greg.

Damn your cold, black heart. I forgive you solely on the basis of turning me on to Iron Ghost.

Great job! :)

12/02/2005 01:41:00 AM  
Blogger ninjawookie said...

so did anyone else get the fountain hardback?

12/02/2005 03:55:00 AM  
Blogger JP said...

The Middle Man review has me intrigued, but I can't find this tpb of which you speak either on amazon or on the Viper site, even though a google seach reveals several news stories mentioning it. Any clues where I can locate the damn thing?

12/02/2005 04:48:00 AM  
Blogger Greg said...

Many questions and information in the comments. Thank you, people.

Ron - I see. That's good to know. As I mentioned, I was going to flip through the next issue anyway, so I may buy it. And 1983 special effects are awesome.

Sorry, Chris. My cold, black heart feels nothing but remorse.

I didn't get The Fountain HC, because it just doesn't grab my interest. I'm not sure why. Maybe I'll see the movie.

As for The Middleman - the trade is supposedly on sale in January. It was solicited in the November Previews, but since it's a way indy book, who knows when it will actually come out. So don't worry, JP - it's not actually out yet! As for reviewing it before, I have. Issue #1 is in this post, issue #2 is in this post, and issue #3 is in this post. They're brief reviews, but maybe they'll help you decide whether you want to buy the trade or not.

And I can't help you with your word verification issues, Brad. Sorry.

12/02/2005 09:44:00 AM  
Blogger Matthew Craig said...

I miss that chick who branded Richard (whatever her name is). She's cool.

Mayko, and whenever I've seen people talk about her, I've got the distinct impression they were hoping to see her get together with Fell.

My god, people, does she actually have to show you the cigar cutter and collection of severed penises she has on her bedside table before you realise that She's Not The Wacky Love Interest?

Also, if you cross out the "S" in Snowtown, you get Nowtown, which I find very interesting indeed.

Also also, I thought this issue was pretty good. No flashy narrative tricks, but no bad thing, that.


12/02/2005 10:45:00 AM  
Blogger Greg said...

I definitely do NOT want to see Mayko (thanks) get together with Richard. I just think she's a cool character.

12/02/2005 11:32:00 AM  
Blogger Shane Bailey said...

"The name on the cover says "Michael Stribling." I don't know who Michael Stribling is, but he should never be allowed to do a cover for a comic book again. He should be tied up and dropped in Kashmir or someplace where there are no comic books. These covers can't be attracting readers, can they? They're repellent. I don't use that word lightly, but they are. Crap."

The guy is from Jacksonville. He just had a big write up in the Jacksonville Times Union here in Florida. He lives in Cali now. I'm not a big fan of his work either, but DC seems to like him. In the article he says he has more assignments from DC lined up and on the way.

12/02/2005 12:27:00 PM  
Anonymous thekamisama said...

I thought the disclaimer was "This Scene DOES Actually Appear!" or something like that. It is almost against the rules of comics to have a cover that actually happens like it does in the book.

12/02/2005 10:10:00 PM  
Anonymous greyglobe said...

I agree that those JLA covers are absolutely horrible. They may have been cutting edge in 1986, but they are emotionless and static now.

I also kid you not that one of the better reads this week was the first issue of the Generation M mini series. It's the first time that the actual problems of mutants losing their powers is adressed. For such a supposedly powerful plot idea, the power loss has only been briefly mentioned, if it has been mentioned at all. The art is also fairly nice.

12/03/2005 10:10:00 PM  
Anonymous The Super-Absorbent Alex Freakin' W said...

I think there was a Newsarama interview with Michael Stribling where they started off by saying "So there's been a lot of criticism of your covers..." and he said something about loving comics and it being a dream come true and that's his style of art and if people don't like it then that's sad but nothing he can do about it...

Really, being nasty about it is like punching a beagle puppy in the face, but it looks diabolical, so what can you do? Maybe someone can get him a job illustrating how-to manuals just to get him out of comics?

12/03/2005 10:20:00 PM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...


I don't think Stribling is really all that much worse than Horn.

I think both of their work is poor, but I certainly can see the appeal.

People seem to enjoy looking at superhero drawings that purport to look like "real life folk".

It's just a quirk comic readers have.

12/04/2005 02:30:00 AM  
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