Sunday, January 22, 2006

Four Color Commentary - Books Shipped 1-18-06

Sgt. Rock: The Prophecy #1 (of 6)
Joe Kubert, Everything

War Comics = Good.
Joe Kubert = Good.
Ergo a war comic done by Joe Kubert must be better than good. Excellent perhaps? How about too awesome for mere words to express.

As I have only recently become interested in the history of comics, I have to admit that my exposure to Joe Kubert’s work has been limited. In fact the only two pieces of Kubert’s work I am familiar with are the sublime Yossel April 19, 1943 and Sgt. Rock: Between Hell & a Hard Place hard covers that came out a couple of years ago. Both of them were artistically outstanding works, which is really not surprising considering Joe Kubert’s status as one of the grand masters of sequential art. This being the case I knew I was going to pick up this miniseries back when I first heard about it. Not only is this another chance to see a master ply his trade, but it happens to involve WWII. What could be better?

This book. Quite simply this issue surpassed my almost unreasonably high hopes with Kubert’s artwork, which he penciled, inked, and colored. From the first moment when I saw the dog peering out of the rubble (I am a sucker for cute animals) until the final panel, I was sucked into the world Kubert has created for us. I HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone who has even a passing interest in the medium. Oh yeah, and kudos to DC for placing all the ads in the back of the book, therefore not breaking up the flow of Kubert’s artwork. Bravo, sirs, bravo.

All-Star Superman #2
Grant Morrison, Writer
Frank Quitely, Penciller
Jamie Grant, Digital Inks & Colors

Ready for a confession? I really did not like the first issue of this series. Primarily because I do not like the way Frank Quitely draws faces. I do not know how to tell you what I do not like about it, and since I seem to be one of the two people on this planet who have a problem with his art, this is the last I will say on it. The second reason I did not like the first issue in this series is that there are times where I just do not understand Grant Morrison’s writing. An excellent example of this is The Filth. I dutifully read each issue but I did not understand what was going on. Thinking that this may have been due to the time gap between the receipt of each story segment, I went back through and reread the series once I had all the issues. I still did not get it. (Plus I had to shower right after I finished reading the series as I felt some of the wrongness present in the book might have accidentally gotten one me.) I felt like there was something missing from the first issue, or rather that I was missing something.

Therefore I do not know why I picked up the second issue. With sixteen other books to buy its not like it was a light week AND I still have some unread books from last week, however I am very glad that I did. As I read this issue I began to understand what Morrison was trying to do. I needed to strip away all my adult sensibilities and wallow in the innocent glory of a pure superhero tale.

A key made from material from a neutron star that weighs half-a-million tons (that’s 1,000,000,000 pounds)? A creature that eats stars? A cosmic anvil where one can forge stars? A Lois Lane panty shot?

All totally ridiculous ideas that I would have embraced without question when I was eight. Well, all except for that last one, which had me wondering whether Morrison and Quitely are taking a piss at Miller and Lee’s Vicki Vale shot from the premier issue of All-Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder, taking inspiration from it, or trying to one up them. Regardless, this issue won me over and if you give it a chance, will do the same for you.

Conan #24
Kurt Busiek, Writer
Cary Nord, Artist

The first thing I noticed about this book, the thing that made it really jump out and grab me, was Cary Nord’s artwork. Throughout the preview issue Nord’s artwork, even more than Busiek’s writing, conveyed the savage nature of the world which Conan inhabits. This is not to say that Busiek’s writing was not up to his usual superlative standard, but something about Nord’s art just clicked with this character in a way that few other comics do.

Now we come to the 24th issue which follows the formula for almost any good Conan story. There are some attractive women, something to be stolen, some complication, and a daring escape. Despite this the story still feels fresh thanks to the team of Busiek and Nord. I feel that their work on this title will come to be as highly regarded as the work done on the title by Barry Windsor-Smith.

The rest:
  • Batgirl #72
    • Andersen Gabrych, Writer
    • Francisco Rodriguez de la Fuents, Penciller
    • Jesse Delperdang & Rodney Ramos, Inkers
  • Birds of Prey #90
    • Gail Simone, Writer
    • Paulo Siqueria & Adam Dekraker, Pencillers
    • Robin Riggs, Inker
  • Ex Machina #17
    • Brian K. Vaughn, Writer
    • Tony Harris, Penciller
    • Tom Feister, Inker
  • Gotham Knights #73
    • A.J. Lieberman, Writer
    • Diego Olmos, Penciller
    • Bit, Inker (I'm glad Bit finally got a part.)
  • Green Lantern #7
    • Geoff Johns, Writer
    • Carlos Pacheco, Penciller
    • Jesus Merino, Inker
  • Infinite Crisis #4 (of 8)
    • Geoff Johns, Writer
    • Phil Jimenez, George Perez & Ivan Reis, Pencillers
    • Andy Lanning, Lary Stucker, George Perez, Marc Campos, Oclair Albert, Jimmy Palmiotti & Drew Geraci, in Holy Crap Batman, that’s a lot of inkers!
  • JSA Classified #7
    • Jen Van Meter, Writer
    • Patrick Olliffe, Penciller
    • Drew Geraci, Inker
  • Nightwing #116
    • Devin Grayson, Writer
    • Wellington Alves & Marcos Marz, Pencillers
    • Eddie Wagner & Rodney Ramos, Inkers
  • Red Sonja #4
    • Michael Avon Oeming with Mike Carey, Writers
    • Mel Rubi, Art
  • Robotech: Prelude to the Shadow Chronicles #5 (of 5)
    • Tommy Yune, Story
    • Jason and John Waltrip, Script
    • Jason and John Waltrip & Omar Dougan, Art
  • Seven Soldiers: Mister Miracle #3 (of 4)
    • Grant Morrison, Writer
    • Freddie Williams II, Art
  • Spider-Woman: Origin #2 (of 5)
    • Brian Michael Bendis & Brian Reed, Writers
    • Jonathan Luna, Art
  • Uncanny X-Men #468
    • Chris Claremont & Chris Bachalo

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