This Week’s Comics

After a relatively surprising burst of posting, I’m excited to keep the momentum going.  Here’s what I’m looking at this week.

  • AXE COP BAD GUY EARTH #1 (OF 3) – I’ve expressed my love of Axe Cop in the past.  The trade was incredible and well worth picking up, but I have trouble keeping up with webcomics.  Apparently the Nicolle brothers are catering to my demographic now with an Axe Cop miniseries of new material, not reprinted from the webcomic.
  • BATMAN BEYOND #3
  • FIRST WAVE #6 (OF 6) – I thought this wrapped up months ago!  I’d been wanting to read this for a while, but the $4 Rule prevented me.  I’m doing pretty well digging up cheap back issues, though, so this gets added to the pull list.
  • JOE THE BARBARIAN #8 ( OF 8 ) – As opposed to First Wave, I have noticed the absence of Joe’s concluding issue.  Grant Morrison and Sean Murphy’s modern-age Narnia adventure has been a lot of fun, and I’m quite anxious to see how it wraps up.
  • MARVEL ZOMBIES SUPREME #1 (OF 5) – Can we just agree that the Marvel Zombies thing was awesome, but best left concluded?  Mashing MZ up with Squadron Supreme seems to be the crossover nobody demanded.
  • THUNDERBOLTS #154

One book I forgot to mention was Skull Kickers #6, notable because one of the four short stories is written by Chris Sims of L.E.M.U.R. favorite blog The ISB. You may recall I gave the first issue a try and was fairly nonplussed.  In the months since then it feels like the entire Intarwebz has rallied around it, so I was eager to give it another try and support Sims’ burgeoning print-comic writing career. The result was a decent comic that gave me some good chuckles, but not really enough to get me to continue with the book.  There are good laughs in Skull Kickers, but I think my problem is that the two nameless main characters are blanks slates and seem to exist not as characters in and of themselves, but as excuses to link jokes together.

Sims’ story — “The Blood Curse of the Amazombies” — kicks off the book, and is a fun little story that starts off with a nice premise and ends with a fun twist, but never really sucks me in.  I suspect that is mostly due to issues printing or inking, because I had some issue making out some details of Joe Vriens’  artwork.  Adam Warren’s story, a long digression on the pros and cons of axes vs swords, was quite funny, but the real highlight of the book was the short tale by Brian (Atomic Robo) Clevenger and Jim Zub.  Brief yet hilarious , Clevenger jumps right in, tells his joke, and gets out without too much padding that would have killed it, and seeing Zub’s Chimerihydraskluuaag gave me the biggest laugh in the book.

That’s it for this week.  My monthly pull list has been updated, and now that March is right here I’m hoping books from this year start showing up in discount bins soon.  What are YOU looking at?

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Quarter Bin Treasure Chest

There are so many Wolverine mini-series these days — in addition to his main titles and spinoffs — that I tend to just miss them as fluff out of hand.  I’ve read my fair share of unnecessary Logan stories already, so the character alone isn’t enough to sell me on any of his titles at this point.  A couple weeks ago I stumbled across one of these minis in the discount bin but one credit on the cover caught my eye: Jason Aaron. The book was Wolverine: Manifest Destiny and — not to ruin the end of the review — it was amazing.

Jason Aaron is something of a comic book  mash-up artist, taking what he loves from other media and incorporating it into his comics.  Ghost Rider was heavily influenced by the Satansploitation grindhouse flicks, Scalped draws from The Departed, and Manifest Destiny is Wolverine meets The Last Dragon.  Set just after he regains his memories and the X-Men move to San Francisco, we find Logan remembering an old wrong and returning to Chinatown to correct the problem he caused after killing the local warlord and not stepping up to fill in the power vacuum.

“Wolverine in Chinatown” probably would have been enough of an elevator pitch to make the book good, but Aaron really sells it.  He throws in new gangs, any one of which you’d want to read a mini-series about, new villains (ever want to see Wolverine get punched in the soul?), and a villain whose motivation and connection to Logan make perfect sense.

I wouldn’t do this book justice if I didn’t heap some praise on artist Stephen Segovia as well.  It’s rare that I’m surprised by an artist I’m reading for the first time, because I prefer to think I’ve already heard of any penciller in comics already putting out great work.  However, Segovia knocked me out with his Leneil Yu-inspired draftsmanship and Simone Bianchi-style panel layouts.   Especially with panel design, overly-creative attempts can easily become disruptive, but here they contribute to the style of the artwork while still making the flow of reading easy.

To some extent we’ve everything in this mini before: an ex-girlfriend, a mysterious past, a new direction for our hero.  But if you take out all of the  bad stories we’ve read with those elements, with Manifest Destiny it’s like reading it all for the first time.

My only real quibble with this book comes on the very last page.  There’s nothing wrong with it, it’s just Aaron setting the stage for more stories in Chinatown.  My concern is I’m afraid we won’t get to see what happens next.  With a Wolverine title this good, it would be a shame for this stand-out to stay buried with the other minis in your comic shop’s discount bins.

Oh, and just because I’m me:
Cover Price – $11.96
My Price – $6.35

Random Links For Your Weekend

I hadn’t realized how long it’s been since I threw up a list of links until I opened up Firefox and it took 17 minutes to launch.  Here’s the noteworthy linkage for the last 9 months.


It’s Saturday Morning, Fool!

Transformers, G.I. Joe, and He-Man were all very successful toy lines and cartoons in the 1980’s.  But for every Thundercats or Voltron, there’s also a Bearriors.  Here’s our LIST of 80’s cartoons you may may not of heard of.

Before you dive in, though, this week’s LIST comes with a soundtrack.  Please press play before moving forward.



Tarot, Witch of the Black Rose Adventures

  • When in Time is Vandal Savage

  • My Little Gorilla Man

  • 3…2…1…Mutant!

  • Black Widow: Communist Super-Spy of Power

  • Sing-a-long with Dazzler

  • Reading Rainbow Raider*

  • On the Farm with Ant-Man

  • L’il Arkham Asylum

  • Rip Hunter’s Shining Time Station

  • Jim Henson’s Doom Patrol Babies

  • The Rorschach/ Nite-Owl Power Hour!

  • Preacher’s Playhouse

*(not a cartoon, but still…)

Game Tape

This was a pretty good week. At least for me, issues ran from pretty good to not too shabby. So let’s see what we see.

Months and months ago, I dropped Green Lantern because I didn’t want to read a story pretending not to be Dragonball Z or The Thirteen Ghosts of Scooby Doo (ie a story where the characters are on an search for x, y, and z mcguffins over an indefinite period of time). Johns was shoe-horning a hamfisted plot over his  search for the dragonba…er…ghos…er avatars of the lantern power. This said, it may be a surprise that I really enjoy Paul Cornell’s Action Comics. Lex is essentially collecting Dragon Balls, but that’s all he’s doing, and he’s doing it shamelessly. Of course Cornell’s/ Luthor’s shamelessness is infinitely more fun to read about. Specific to this issue, Larfleeze shows up with one of the spheres and words are bandied regarding the nature of desire, power, and want. If you’re a fan of avarice and the color orange, the last two Larfleeze pages are worth the price of admission. We also get a clue as to who might be partially responsible for this business.

This week also saw a return of something that has not been true in almost a decade: I walked out of the shop with three X-books. In quick order, here are a few thoughts on each.

1. Age of X continues in X-Men Legacy  #245 this week. I’m still enjoying this look at dystopia. The X-writers have gone out of their way to create relationships and back stories for characters that we haven’t seen before. Rogue serves a unique and chilling purpose in Age of X that makes sense for her power set. It’s also fun to see Cannonball busting Cyclops’s chops like a drill sergeant to a buck private. The use of Wolverine in this issue and the previous installment of this crossover are also intriguing and well done. Finally, we get glimpses that suggest that readers should not be pulling for Magneto to win the day. Poor Kitty Pride.

2. X-Men #8 continues the teams trip back to New York. I was interested in seeing how the X-Men and Spidey might face Lizard. Now, not so much. It reads similarly to Gischler’s first arc. Find vampire and replace with lizard man. Find San Francisco and replace with New York. Find Cyclops and replace with Storm. Done. There is a mystery as to who is behind all of this reptili-mania (hint: it’s not Connors). If you haven’t picked up the book, go back and read the vampire arc. It’s better and surprisingly more novel even though it’s lacking cannons that shoot vampires from the moon.

3. Astonishing X-Men is back, and Daniel Way (of Wolverine, et al. fame) is at the helm. Like X-Men, this issue involves lizards. It also involves, a certain island, Mentallo and Japan. I don’t want to say much more, but I feel confident that Jesse will be picking up to book based on certain words in the previous two sentences…oh, there’s also a death in family, but it’s more of a plot point to get the mutants to Japan.

Which brings us to the “final” issue of Fantastic Four. Pardon me if I sound incredulous; twelve issues before a big 600th anniversary and they’re canceling the title? Right. That aside, the issue is enjoyable. It’s not really a memorial for Johnny; rather it shows how each member of the family deals with his death. Valeria’s reaction is chilling, while read has an  impotent moment with Anihilus. My favorite moment was watching Ben handle the loss. Hulk and Thor are there with shoulders to cry on in a way that made me a little teary. At the same time, Hickman (as always) is building a foundation. The back up story with Franklin and Spider-Man was decent too in spite of the annoying “Hey there little guy” voice that Peter uses when talking to Franklin. I hate that voice.

Finally, there’s Nick Spencer’s Iron-Man 2.0. It was okay. Yeah.

So all in all it was a good week to read comics. Hope you enjoyed your stack as much as I enjoyed mine.


Wonder Man… Secrets!

Wanna know the difference between me and Wilt Chamerlain? It's six and a half.

secret…

I'd be all for women's rights and feminism if those chicks were pretty.

Secret…

These specs? Totally x-ray. I had my buddy, Beast, make them for me.

SECRET…

I'm a published author. I wrote a companion to the Kama Sutra.

SECRET…

I've been one of Tupperware's top sellers for the last ten years.

SECRETS!