Thursday, March 30, 2006

Four Color Commentary - Books Shipped 03-22-06

Batman #651
James Robinson, Writer
Don Kramer, Penciller
Keith Champagne, Inker

Welcome to the era of Batman is not a Dick! I have not read any of Robinson’s work in the past that I am aware of, particularly his seminal work on Starman in the 90s, so he is a breath of fresh air in the Batman mythos for me. I don’t really have a lot to say about this issue except that I am really, REALLY enjoying the new take on Batman in the OYL series and I hope it lasts.

Captain America #16
Ed Brubaker, Writer
Mike Perkins, Art


There were a couple of things going on in this issue I just totally did not get/dig. First of all I would have liked for them to have left Bucky out of the story for an arc or two. I realize with his return there is a desire to strike while the iron is hot and use Bucky while he is on everyone’s mind, I fear they are running the risk of sucking all the coolness out of Bucky by way overusing him. That having been said I like how Cap is trying to track him down and the elation he shows when he ascertains that Bucky is indeed still alive. It is what happens right after this that I did not get. We have a sequence where Cap is excited about discovering, for the second time, that his long lost friend is still alive and then he lays a big fat smooch on Sharon Carter. After an awkward moment they go back to the hotel room and GET. IT. ON. Now as much as I can appreciate the desire to play a few rounds of monkey football with a hot blonde secret agent who has a skin-tight uniform and a flying car, it seems a bit out of place here. Here they are in some weird little hamlet that makes Springfield feel normal and they’re taking a moment to bump uglies. Doesn’t seem like something the Sentinel of Liberty should be doing at a time like this, but then Brubaker is getting paid to write Captain America comics and I am not, so maybe he’s on to something. My final “Huh” moment of the comic is at the very end where the A.I.M. minions tell Cap that they need his help. If you’re going to ask someone for their help why in the hell would you sneak into their hotel room in the wee hours of the morning all gussied up in your, lets face it, REMARKABLY dorky uniforms. Why not wait until the morning, or better yet, ask him the night before when you’re acting all creepy and trying to get him to stop asking questions and leave town. I suppose this comes from the same school of thought that leads to groups of heroes fighting each other before they are able to buckle down and fight crime.

(I LOVE that Springfield has so many connotations in modern pop culture. Though it works here, I am not thinking of the Simpsonian Springfield. Care to guess what 80s comic/cartoon I am referencing?)

Catwoman #53
Will Pfeifer, Writer
David Lopez, Penciller
Alvaro Lopez, Inker

There are times where I hate the fact that I read so many of the comics blogs and news sites as I would have liked some of this issue to be a little bit of a surprise. On top of that I think Angle Man, or whatever his name is, is in the running for absolutely crappiest villain in existence. “I’m a draughtsman gone bad!” Ohhhh, scary! Overall I enjoyed the issue, although I was REALLY getting into what was going on in this book before OYL reared its ugly head. I have faith that Will will continue to do this book justice. Oh yeah, and there is another Batman is not a dickhead appearance in this book. That makes me happy.

Cyberforce #1
Ron Marz, Writer
Pat Lee, Pencils
Alex Milne, Background Design Assists
Erik Sandler and Rob Armstrong, Inks

I have to admit that I was not a big Cyberforce fan back during the original run of the book. Having said that I am not sure why I picked up this book. I think I am going to have to beg off and use Pat Lee’s anime-influenced style as the reason. Yeah, that’s it. Having said that, I have pretty much no desire to pick up the rest of the series, whereas I have enjoyed other work from Ron Marz, this bad boy pretty much fell flat on its face for me. I took nothing away from this story besides a re-emphasis on the fact that Cyblade is just a crappy version of the X-Men’s Psylocke and Ripclaw is Wolverine in Top Cow’s clothing.

Daredevil #83
Ed Brubaker, Writer
Michael Lark and Stefano Gaudiano, Artists

They seriously need to change DD’s subnomer from “the Man Without Fear” to “The Man Without Friends.” This makes me wonder how many times writers have asked if they could kill the Black Widow, particularly in light of the semi-recent revelations that there are multiple Black Widows, only to be told no. Immediately after I finished this issue I had a really evil thought that would be brilliant if Marvel could pull it off without leaking anything. For the next April issue they need to have Matt Murdock wake up in his house only to be greeted by Karen Page, who has just gotten out of the shower. He stumbles through a day in a haze, trying to tell if what has been happening is a dream or not. He goes to work and there is Foggy Nelson. They’re handling cases just how they always did. At the end of the day Foggy asks Matt if he has made up his mind. Matt is taken back by the question, unsure what Foggy is talking about. Apparently Matt has been talking about giving up the mask and asking Karen to marry him. The ring is sitting in his desk drawer. He takes the ring home to ask Karen, having decided to give up being Daredevil. He asks Karen. She says yes. They celebrate and then go to sleep as he decides it does not matter whether this is a dream or real life. Then he is awakened by someone coming into his cell on the very last page of the story. Oh yeah, this issue? I really liked, although I am really worried about what they are going to end up doing to Matt.

Hawkgirl #50
Walter Simonson, Story
Howard Chaykin, Art

There has been a lot of complaint amongst the comics bloggers about this issue. Apparently I am one of the only people out there who enjoyed the story and the art, although apparently it was cold in St. Roche for most of this issue. Admittedly there were some rather amateurish turns in the story that made it feel like a Nancy Drew mystery and the cliff-hanger is a little over the top, “Behind her, in the dark, something cleared its throat,” however I feel that some of these elements are in the best tradition of comics when comics, even serious horror comics, were fun. Also, was I the only one to see hints of Cthulhu in the bas-reliefs towards the end of the book? Cthulhu, even faux-Cthulhu, makes me happy.

Loveless #5
Brian Azarello, Writer
Marcelo Frusin, Artist

Okay, I have to admit I am not 100% sure what is going on in this comic. There is a lot of killing, some with six-shooters, some with shotguns, and some with dynamite, so I am marginally okay with my ignorance, but there is something bothering me. I can’t figure out if Wes and his wife are in cahoots or not. I guess I am going to have to sit down and read all of the issues so far to see if I can figure it out. Putting that aside I have enjoyed this series so far and intend to continue reading it.

Robin #148
Adam Beechen, Writer
Karl Kerschl, Penciller
Wayne Faucher, Karl Kerschel, & Prentis Rollins, Inkers

Oh yey! Another OYL book in which Batman is actually nice to someone! Be still my beating heart. As much as I joke about the Batman is not a dick OYL I am really enjoying it. The allusion to Tim, Dick, and Bruce spending the last year in semi-seclusion seeking to build trust has me intrigued to see what we learn in the upcoming 52 series. I also really liked the line, “I got this gig because I’m a pretty solid detective myself.” I like the feeling that Robin is confident in his abilities and willing to remind some of his elders that he is ready to play. I did have some issues with the art in this issue as it felt like they were taking their art cues from Teen Titans GO! which bothered me, but is something I can get past. I really enjoyed this issue however one of the adverts, the first one in fact, stopped me dead in my tracks. Here it is for your viewing pleasure:

WTF! Devo 2.0? As teenagers? Damn you Disney! DAMN YOU!
(Incidentally you can get a free download by visiting and entering the claim code WHIPIT1. I am going to partake of this, but I shudder in anticipation of the crappiness that I know will ensue.)

Sgt. Rock: The Prophecy #3
Joe Kubert, Everything

My worst fears were realized in this issue as the puppy gets killed by some monocle-wearing Nazi f@ck. This is why I hate it when authors include animals in comics. 99% of the time the animal ends up getting killed in a fairly rough manner, such as the puppy that gets vaporized in JMS’ Supreme Power and the one villain who, as a child, puts his puppy in the oven. These things make me sick to my stomach as I really empathize with animals and I get a little teary-eyed when they meet untimely ends. Fortunately fourteen panels after the puppy makes his exit the Nazi f@ck gets his via a chunk of wood to the jugular courtesy of Sgt. Rock. Rock then goes on a killing spree from which no Nazi escapes alive. That will teach Jerry, huh Rock? Once again Kubert delivers an excellent story that contains everything I have come to expect from a Sgt. Rock story. I can’t wait for the next issue.

Squadron Supreme #1
J. Michael Straczynski, Writer
Gary Frank, Pencils
Jonathan Sibal, Inks

I am not sure how I feel about a super-heroes-in-the-real-world series. I have enjoyed, to varying degrees, the lead-in series for this, however I really feel like this is territory JMS has already covered in his Top Cow series Rising Stars. I am sure there will be some twist in here, and I am interested to see where things go so I am going to stick with the series for a while, but it is on the short list of things to drop.

The Rest:
  • Exiles #78
    • Tony Bedard, Writer
    • J. Calafiore, Penciler
    • Mark McKenna, Inker
  • JSA Classified #10
    • Stuart Moore, Writer
    • Paul Gulacy, Penciller & Cover Artist
    • Jimmy Palmiotti, Inker
  • Nextwave #3
    • Warren Ellis, Writer
    • Stuart Immonen, Penciller
    • Wade von Grawbadger, Inker
  • Red Sonja #8
    • Michael Avon Oeming, Writer
    • Mel Rubi, Art
  • Sable & Fortune #3
    • Brendan Cahil, Writer
    • John M. Burns, Artist
  • Supermarket #2
    • Brian Wood, Writer
    • Kristian, Art
  • Supreme Power: Hyperion #5 of 5
    • J. Michael Straczynski, Writer
    • Dan Jurgens and Staz Johnson, Breakdowns
    • Klaus Janson, Finishes
  • Ultimate Fantastic Four #28
    • Mark Millar, Writer
    • Greg Land, Pencils
    • Matt Ryan, Inks
  • Wolverine #40
    • Daniel Way, Writer
    • Javier Saltares, Breakdowns
    • Mark Texeira, Finishes
  • X-Men #184
    • Peter Milligan, Writer
    • Salvador Larocca, Artist

Trade Paperback:
  • Preacher Vol. 2: Until the End of the World
    • Garth Ennis, Writer
    • Steve Dillon, Artist

AggieCon/College Station Plunder:
  • Nightwing #118
    • Bruce Jones, Writer
    • Joe Dodd, Pencils
    • Bit, Inks
  • The Legion #35
    • Gail Simone, Writer
    • Dan Jurgens, Breakdowns
    • Andy Smith, Finishes
  • The Legion #38
    • Gail Simone, Writer
    • Dan Jurgens, Breakdowns
    • Andy Smith, Finishes
  • Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters #1, 2, and 3
    • Mike Grell, Writer/Artist
    • Lurene Hanes, Assistant
  • Sgt. Rock #308
    • Bob Kanigher, Writer
    • Lee Elias and Romeo Tanghal, Artists
  • Sgt. Rock #344
    • Robert Kanigher, Writer
    • Frank Redondo, Artist
  • Sgt. Rock #362
    • Bob Kanigher, Writer
    • Frank Redondo, Artist
  • Sgt. Rock #369
    • Bob Kanigher, Writer
    • Frank Redondo, Artist
  • Sgt. Rock Special 1977
    • Bob Kanigher, Writer
    • Doug Wildey, Artist (I think. There is no artist credited on the title page, however Doug signed one of the first panels in the book.)

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