Thursday, May 04, 2006

What I bought - 3 May 2006

I tried to regain my street cred this week, as I bought a bunch o' independent comic books and resisted the siren call of the two "event" books that came out (I'm sure you all did to, right, since I begged you to). Unfortunately, a lot of what I bought were mini-series that I didn't read, but I will still tell you why you should have bought each of these issues instead of Infinite Crisis #7 OR Civil War #1. Because I gotta take care of my peeps, yo!

Detective Comics #819 by James Robinson, Leonard Kirk, Andy Clarke, and Wayne Faucher
$2.99, DC

This series-within-two-series is just blazing along, which is nice to see, and Robinson keeps throwing nice touches at us. Gordon is still not terribly happy with Batman leaving Harvey Dent "in charge" of Gotham, especially now that it appears Harvey has gone 'round the bend. The body count continues to rise, as Orca gets hers (and yes, this is one bat-villain who deserves two bullets in the head). There's a fight with Killer Croc that I really hope is not gratuitous, because it smacked a little of Loeb and Lee's "Hush," in which every bat-villain in existence just happened to be wandering around. If Croc doesn't figure into the big story somehow, I'll be disappointed. Because if he doesn't, he just a page-waster.

(Why is it, whenever I see Croc, I think of the classic Moench story where he went to Louisiana and disappeared into the swamp and Swamp Thing was going to look after him? Other characters more meaningful than Croc have been brought back from fates that were perfect for them, but for some reason, it really offends me that Croc is back from that perfect ending. Strange. I don't know why it bugs me so much.)

Anyway, the issue is strange because it flies along so quickly, with really only two main things happening - Batman and Robin find Orca's body and Harvey Dent looks in a mirror and sees Two-Face. The real meat of the issue, interestingly enough, is in the Jason Bard back-up story, as he interviews Orca's husband (yes, Orca has a husband), who is quickly dispatched by an assassin just as he's about to name the person who just might be behind everything. The assassin, who calls himself "the Tally Man" (and he will tally me no bananas, I can tell you that much) appears to shoot Bard, but we'll see. Wouldn't it be cool if a comic book assassin, when asked his name, said, "Chuck. Call me Chuck."? Or am I the only one who thinks that?

This is shaping up nicely, despite some reservations. I really hope it's a mystery and our boys solve it. It seems like it's going to be, but you never can tell. It might just turn into a slugfest. That would stink.

Why you should buy this instead of Infinite Crisis: Didn't you read the rest of this? Orca dies! Oh, and Alfred whistles while he works. Is anyone in IC #7 whistling? I doubt it.

Hard Time #6 by Steve Gerber, Mary Skrenes, and Brian Hurtt
$2.99, DC

Not really much to say about this, is there? Next issue is the last one, so what's the point? It's a weird issue, certainly, and it bugs me because it's obvious Gerber and Skrenes are trying to wrap everything up. Cancelled titles like this bother me because I'm sure DC could afford to publish it for a few more months to let the authors wrap things up at a normal pace. Sure, go ahead a cancel it, but don't just cut them off like that. Gerber is writing something else for DC, so he's not bitter, but it just bugs me that DC is making money hand over fist with schlock like Infinite Crisis and they can't give this just two or three more months. Shit.

Why you should buy this instead of Infinite Crisis: Duh. It's better.

Team Zero #6 (of 6) by Chuck Dixon, Doug Mahnke, Sandra Hope, and Drew Geraci
$2.99, DC/Wildstorm

You know, you can keep your universe-spanning, Superboy-punching, Anti-Monitor-resurrecting (don't you love the ad for "Brave New World" with "the shock ending featuring the return of the most unexpected character of all!" and the silhouette looks suspiciously like the Monitor?), minor character-slaughtering mini-series. This mini-series is truly excellent. First, it has beautiful art, and except for some sloppy inks in this final issue, it's consistently beautiful. Second, it's a Chuck Dixon war comic. A Chuck Dixon war comic! You have your hardass Americans trying to get scientists and documents out of Peenemunde before the Russians get there. So of course their glider that they were going to use to get out is destroyed, and the roads are watched, and the Red Army arrives, and the shit hits the fan. Team Zero is a bunch of manly men who do their country's work and make sure the womenfolk are treated well, and of course there's a traitor, but he gets his! The Russians are all scumbags, just like we know Commies are, and it's all very Spartans at Thermopylae - we know things will end badly, and many of our heroes will die, but just who dies and how and how they get the German scientists out is why we read. And you should read it, you know. Buy the trade!

And even though it's a Chuck Dixon war comic and is therefore about as subtle as Al Gore when he's talking about global warming, it still shows us the horror of war without getting all mushy about it. Nicely done.

And people die! In a 22-page comic, I count at least 23 people getting killed, and that's only the confirmed ones (when the tank blows up in the beginning, I don't count those soldiers, because they don't appear to be blown to bits). That's good killing value for your dollar!

Why you should buy this instead of Infinite Crisis: Infinite Crisis = Clash of the Titans; Team Zero = Where Eagles Dare.


Atomika #7 (of 12) by Andrew Dabb and Sal Abbinanti
$2.99, Mercury Comics

I had been reading this, but once I learned it was a twelve-issue "maxi-series" I decided to wait it out. But it looks as cool as ever!

Why you should buy this instead of Civil War: Atomika could kick Iron Man's ass!

Elsinore #5 (of 9) by Kenneth Lillie-Paetz and Mark Sparacio
$3.25, Devil's Due

Lillie-Paetz may be more famous these days for other reasons than his writing, but you should still check this out. Apparently they're collecting the first four issues in a small trade. Perhaps you could buy that.

Why you should buy this instead of Civil War: Are you kidding me? Did you not see the killer monkey bellhop on the cover? A killer monkey bellhop!

The Middleman Vol. 2 #3 by Javier Grillo-Marxuach and Les McClaine
$2.95, Viper Comics

Once again, I can't stress enough how much fun this comic book is. Please buy it!

Why you should buy it instead of Civil War: I shouldn't have to do this, because the name of the issue is "The Sino-Mexican Revelation," which should sell it already, but here goes:
a. Wendy is carrying what appears to be a seven-barreled shotgun on the cover;
b. Mexican wrestlers, people!;
c. Wendy's roommate is wearing an iguana suit. Whoo-hoo!

Mouse Guard #2 (of 6) by David Petersen
$3.50, Archaia Studios Press

You missed the boat the first time, and the issue sold out. So they printed more! Don't miss the boat this time! Mice fighting evil!

Why you should buy this instead of Infinite Crisis: Does Alexander Luthor have to fight for his life against crabs? Yeah, I didn't think so.

Rex Libris #4 (of 5) by James Turner
$2.95, SLG

It says at the end of the issue that it's "to be concluded" next issue, so I assume it's a mini-series. Look for the trade, good people! Gun-wielding chick librarians!

Why you should buy this instead of Civl War: Gun-wielding chick librarians not doing it for you? Check out the back of the issue:

It's a map. I don't know what it's a map of, but it's pretty cool, ain't it?

Robotika #3 (of 4) by Alex Sheikman
$3.95, Archaia Press Studios

This blog's domination of the Internet is not yet complete, because my and Cronin's glowing reviews of this book are not reproduced on the back cover. For shame, ASP, for shame! Oh well. This is still a gorgeous book. And it has a pretty J.H. Williams III pinup in the back.

Why you should buy this instead of Infinite Crisis: It is a futuristic Japanese western. What more do you desire?

Sorry for the paucity of reviews because I didn't read anything, but blame the evil publishers who sell us mini-series and then make us wait months between each issue! Damn you, independent publishers! Luckily you give us alternate-universe Russkies, weird hellish asylums, Mexican wrestlers, mice warriors, ass-kicking librarians, and ninja! How can I resist????

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Anonymous Iron Lungfish said...

God bless you, good sir. And I think the answer you're looking for is, "because that ending was so perfect and so haunting and because no one has done anything worthwhile with him since."

5/04/2006 11:25:00 AM  
Blogger Bill Reed said...

I'm dying to read Rex Libris, but I can't find the singles anywhere. And it's on #4? There had better be a trade.

5/04/2006 01:04:00 PM  
Blogger RAB said...

"Why you should buy this instead of Infinite Crisis: Duh. It's better."

Thank you. If I had read one more mention of IC #7 that didn't also point out a new issue of Hard Time came out at the same time, I was about to scream. Oh, my people!

5/04/2006 01:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Dizzy said...

Does Alexander Luthor have to fight for his life against crabs? Yeah, I didn't think so.

Well... DC isn't going to tell this story, but really...

And I'm resisting the lure of events (except Annihilation, but that's more because they have solid writers and artists on semi-obscure characters and that always draws me)

5/04/2006 01:19:00 PM  
Blogger Bill Reed said...

Oh, and it's neat to see the return of someone as obscure as the Tally Man, who I think first appeared in Shadow of the Bat during the AzBats thing, IIRC.

5/04/2006 05:26:00 PM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

There WAS a character named the Tally Man, but since he looked nothing like this guy, I wasn't sure if it was meant to be the same guy.

By the by, Orca could turn into a normal-looking woman, right? So her being married isn't weird, right?

5/04/2006 05:32:00 PM  
Blogger MarkAndrew said...

Dizzy --

Well... DC isn't going to tell this story, but really...

And I'm resisting the lure of events (except Annihilation, but that's more because they have solid writers and artists on semi-obscure characters and that always draws me)"

Uh. Yeah. Is that any good?

I avoid crossovers, too, but they gave Super-Skrull his own book. That's tough to resist.

5/04/2006 05:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Darren J. Gendron said...

How did Archenemies not get on this list? Roommates trying to kill each other. C'mon.

5/04/2006 06:10:00 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

I'm not terribly interested in Archenemies. Not sure why. So I haven't bought it. If I hear more good things about it I'll get it in the trade.

Ah, Cronin, your encyclopedic-like knowledge helps again! Could Orca turn into a normal-looking woman? Really? See, I know very little about her. Why would she choose to look like a whale? I guess it doesn't matter, because she's dead.

5/04/2006 06:53:00 PM  

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