Game Tape

The euphoria of Wednesday books has worn off; now it’s time to review the game tape and see what worked and what didn’t.

Jesse is apparently reading JL: Generation Lost. I don’t care for Winnick enough to even try it. Booster Gold #33 ties into this title directly, and it manages to make sense while not being bogged down as an integral part. Booster travels to the past to try to find some proof of Max Lord’s existence. Where else would Booster go except to Giffen and DeMattis’ favorite stomping grounds: the JLI era. Naturally, this is entertaining and smart. The ending is a little too pat though. If you’ve seen “Bedknobs and Broomsticks,” you’ll see it a mile away. Doom Patrol #11, by Giffen too, was out this week. My interest in this title has waxed and waned since Metal Men was pulled from it. It’s story telling with an eye toward trades. The idea that DP is on Oolong Island as a research/security force is really interesting. Unfortunately, along with this a reader must suffer through a shoehorned retread of Grant Morrison’s ideas. Dan the Street visited, as has Crazy Jane. Of course the team needs to fight weird challenges, but Morrison hasn’t cornered the market on strange. I’m probably dropping the book under the idea that there’s nothing new here.

SHIELD #2 came out this week. Johnathan Hickman’s long form “What if?” story continues to be interesting, and issue two comes in at a cheaper price of $2.99. Last issue worked to establish the world and the protagonist. This issue we get a clear idea of what the conflict will be. Leonardo Da Vinci shows up and all Hell begins to break loose. There’s an interesting appearance by Nostradamus also. If Doom Patrol is retread of old material, Hickman is providing readers with something different and unfamiliar while having hints of things we can recognize. Set in the 1950’s, we’ve got a prior generation of Stark and Richard. It will be interesting to see how or if he handles a certain (then) frozen captain. We’ve also got some interesting cosmic, almost Inhuman or Atlantean, ideas going too.

At HeroesCon this last weekend, one of the panels featured a conversation with Hickman and Jeff Parker. At one point they talked about their mutual love of letter columns and the insertion of text pieces in a story. Traditionally, text pieces supplement the main story. It is odd to see a text page replace what could have as easily been a traditional paneled page. It wasn’t a bad thing, just a strange and slightly jarring choice near the end of the issue. On the same panel, Hickman admitted that this story was meant to be a 12 issue maxi. Editorial mandates forced it to be cut in half. I hope this decision does not cause the story to suffer. Some of you may be waiting for the trade on this one, I can’t blame you. I would encourage you to give it a try in some form though.

I picked up Batman #700 this week, but I’ll wait for Jesse’s review. I know, despite his hemming and hawing over the price, that he’ll pick up this book. It’s Batman; he’s Jesse. It’s inevitable.

What surprisingly wasn’t on Jesse’s radar for this week is Eric Powell’s Buzzard #1. This mini promises to be an interesting a gruesome tale of one of The Goon’s more interesting and gruesome supporting characters. What’s especially appealing to me is that the story is essentially a western tale. A weird western tale to be sure, but it is a western tale none the less. There’s also a back-up feature for the short lived Billy the Kid’s Old Timey Oddities. This staunches the thirst during our Eric Powell drought.

In brief:

Amy Mebberson admitted that there’s a story reason Skeeter has not been called by name. It does not have anything to do with legal issues as some might guess. Langridge continues to tell nice done in one stories with an over arching story thread. Last week’s Muppet Show #6 brought back Wayne and Wanda and presented some truly weird and inspired bits. The frog scout mime-version of Death of a Salesman springs to mind first and foremost. This issue was made especially sweet by my custom hand drawn cover. I’ll include an image of this in a post this weekend of the arty things I picked up at the convention.

GI Joe: Cobra II continues to give us disturbing glimpses into the broad expanse of the world wide terrorist organization. This arc will focus on something we haven’t seen before: a Cobra controlled cult not unlike Scientology. There’s a mysterious Serpentor-like figure and a new take on the old  Joe, Scoop. No Chuckles this go round.

Secret Six wrapped up it’s rather disturbing look at Catman. His future with the team is called into question and…yikes. Just yikes. If you’re a fan of stone cold stone-coldness, here’s a book for you.

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Booster Gold — SECRETS!

Before I was part of the "Blue and Gold" team, I was on the "Red and Gold" team. Yup! Me and Ma Hunkle!

Secrets…

You know what's great about living in the past? The fresh, minty smells of the New York subways!

Secrets…

I found Gorilla City once, but when I knocked on the door they pretended they weren't home.

Secrets!

Rip Hunter makes me sleep curled up in a ball under the chair in his time bubble. Like a DOG!

Secrets!

Most people think I'm an unintelligent pinhead, but I'm really an unintelligent pinhead with a heart of gold. Take THAT!

SECRETS!!!

Game Tape

The euphoria of Wednesday books has worn off; now it’s time to review the game tape and see what worked and what didn’t.

First off, I too bought Brightest Day #0. I can’t say anything about it except what Hannibal Tabu pointed out at Buy Pile. I will say that, like the Countdown to Infinite Crisis and Brave New World, this book should have been a dollar. It’s not a book to read; it is a book for laying down and avoiding, to borrow from Monty Python.

I don’t know why I didn’t mention this last month, but I picked up X-Factor Forever #1. This week, #2 hit the shelves. These Forever books are pretty good. They’re essentially long-form “What If?’s” I’m liking it. In this particular case, Havok and Polaris did not re-form the team. Simonson is giving us a story of the original five being manipulated by Apocalypse. The weird thing is that he’s not as megalomaniacal as sometimes portrayed, and it all ties back into the Celestials. Simonson is also rewriting/ expanding on his origin. Ol’ Lypse is now something closer to Vandal Savage. It really enjoyable so far. If I cared about the characters, I might consider picking up What If Rob Liefeld hadn’t take over New Mutants? too.

John Byrne’s Star Trek: Leonard McCoy, Frontier Doctor #1 shows promise. I wasn’t completely sold until I saw that Bones was sporting his wicked slick beard. So that got me in the door, and the general quality of the sci-story there in will keep me picking up the rest of the series. Surprisingly (?) Byrne really knows his Trek. I mean he’s got the character voices and tone down cold. McCoy is both brilliant and crotchety all at the same time. Lesser writers tend to focus on the grumpy old man, and they forget that this is the Enterprise’s chief medical officer. That’s nothing to sneeze at.

There was also a Parker book out this week. Hulked Out Heroes doesn’t really make sense as a title. Deadpool is the only one we see with Hulk powers. It’s a book I really should have liked more. It’s got Devil Dinosaur, The Thing as a pirate, and it’s Parker penned. Maybe it was the Deadpool; it just fell flat. It wasn’t bad. I simply wasn’t great.

Booster Gold #31 was a heartwarming wrap up of Jurgens’ run on the title. Giffen will take over with the next issue. This one also set up for Booster and Rip to investigate the return of Bruce Wayne.

Secret Six was out this week too and it was a by the book issue.

Game Tape

Wednesday has come and gone. The heroes have fought their battles and villains have hinted at things to come. Now it’s time to review the game tape…

A warning, the last review is really grumpy. You’ll know it when you see the appropriate image.

I know I mentioned a while back that we should accept the genius of Langridge, but this issue needs comment. Muppet Show: The Treasure of Peg Leg Wilson #4 is a good ending to the arc and a nice segue into the next. This is the problem with the issue. It works too hard to serve the story. The clever variety of sketches are mostly gone because this issue has to wrap up the arc. Still, a poor Langridge issue is better than a good issue of most other writers. Next month: ROAD TRIP! WOOOOOO!!!

 

 

X-Men Forever #11 continues to demonstrate how far through the looking glass we’ve come with the book: Wolverine is still dead, Cyclops has still got a healthy son, Shadowcat has an adamantium claw, and Colossus is back in Russia as a champion and boy toy of a certain Black Widow. Seriously, this is the most enjoyable X-book out there.

Tony Daniel’s second issue of Batman was pretty uninteresting and mildly confusing. Daniel drew a passable issue, but he forgot to tell a coherent story. On the upside, Edward Nigma remembered something useful: he’s really the Joker…if a certain panel is to be believed. Morrison’s Batman and Robin #6 was adequate. The dial-in poll run by Jason is a nice moment for those of us who remember back in the day. On the other hand, Hannibal Tabu at CBR’s Buy Pile called it nicely when he said Flamingo is the Batman equivalent of Darth Maul. I’m waiting to hear Jesse’s take on the Doc Savage cross-over book. I do know the background and history of the character, but I’m not sold on the idea of needing him in the DC Universe.

Anyone remember the DC cross-over events MILLENNIUM, ALIEN INVASION, or BLOODLINES? Of course not, they suck. I fear Blackest Night will be the same way. I came to the realization while reading this month’s Booster Gold. DC’s plan to connect it to books to boost numbers hurts both the book the story ties into and the over all story. My beloved BG suffers because we’ve already dealt with Ted and his death. I can understand that Booster feels guilt and shame and anger, but bringing Ted back is an unfortunately literal depiction of the old chestnut, “beating a dead horse.” The only readable part of the book was the funeral/memorial. Reading Booster go down the list and point out why each hero attending is really a douche bag was entertaining. Worse, by throwing all of these sub-par tie-ins and mini’s, DC has managed to turn the potentially best GL story in…ever into a drawn out and over exposed flaming piece of stupid.

On the whole: not a great week for books. I won’t be reviewing for a couple of weeks. I’ll try to post something on those Thursdays, but with my travels in the next two weeks, I won’t be around to get books.

Game Tape

Wednesday has come and gone. The heroes have fought their battles and villains have hinted at things to come. Now it’s time to review the game tape…

Quick, fast, and in a hurry, here are some things from last week.

Jonah Hex #48 reminds us once again why he the roughest, toughest bounty hunter EVER. Besides, who doesn’t like a book guest starring Bat Lash.

Batman and Robin #5 still solid. Scarlet has an interesting moment of clarity and we see that being dead didn’t teach Jason Todd anything. He’s still too arrogant. Bruce made him die his hair? Really Morrison?

Planetary #27 ends in the only way it could. A surprisingly cheery and happy ending from Warren Ellis while condemning every “genius” in the traditional superhero books. Where’s my flying car? It’s in the Planetary universe.

THIS WEEK.

I have no idea why this image keeps popping up as the cover solicit for X-Men Forever #9. Beast was on my cover and the story is about Sentinels. Unless something ungodly happens in this book, this is the last time I’ll mention it for a while. I love this book. I didn’t think I’d ever say that about a non-Parker X-book again. Say what you want about Claremont, and believe me I’ve said a lot, this is his A game. This is a fun X-Men book: no over arching and difficult plot threads, no “message” just mutants doing mutanty things. Thank you Chris Claremont.

I enjoy Secret Six as a whole, but I am also a fan of Suicide Squad. There are some parallels between the two, but they’re more tangentially related than anything else. This week’s book wrapped up a story arc that I haven’t cared for. In some ways, Gail Simone is repeating some of the ideas from the previous arc: the team divides too easily, there’s a wicked seeming betrayal, and a reuniting at the end with everyone buddy-buddy again. This isn’t the only thing that made this arc difficult to like, but won’t go into that here. Suffice it to say that this issue made some interesting promises for things to come. Finally, it was nice to see Bane as something more than the simpering strongman he’s been since he started in this title.

To those who picked up Booster Gold #25 wanting to give it a try: I promise this book is usually better. This is not indicative of how fun and enjoyable BG usually is. I did enjoy the back-up with the new Blue Beetle. Honest, this book has never been this dull.

Game Tape

Wednesday (Thursday this week…grumble…grumble)  has come and gone. The heroes have fought their battles and villains have hinted at things to come. Now it’s time to review the game tape…

I don’t know about you, but there wasn’t anything coming out this week that got my fires really hot. I almost didn’t get books this week because I knew it would cut into my precious time with Beatles: Rock Band. In the end, habit won out. While nothing is god-awful, nothing stood out for me (unfortunately, I didn’t get my copy of Doom Patrol #2). Let’s just do this thing.

Booster Gold #24 is a satisfactory wrap-up to this arc. Since I’m a sucker for time-travel stories and alternate realities in comics, this plays right to me. On the whole I really like this book. This week’s just left me lukewarm. Oh…and apparently there are multiple colors of Scarab…like a certain instrument for lighting dark places. Hela-lame.

I should have enjoyed Muppet Robin Hood more than I did. The Muppets have appeared in 2 previous (and enjoyable) retellings of Robin Hood: once in print and once on the original Show. While I don’t really like the characters from Muppets Tonight (Pepe and Co. leave me cold), this only marginally affected my enjoyment, but speaks to the bigger issue of the issue. I’ve mentioned this before, but it takes a certain sensibility to write the Muppets well. The writers of Muppet Treasure Island didn’t have it, neither does the writer of this mini. It comes off more as a bland gag riddled book that happened to have Muppets in the roles. It wasn’t a “Muppet” book though. I’ve been getting it mostly because it’s important for me to support books with Muppets in them. I will say this positively: this week’s issue exhibits unexpected moments of metafiction. From a reference to the next story starring the Muppets to the narration text being a character, this issue rivaled Grant Morrison for self-awareness.

Not much else to say on this week’s stuff. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a gig to play this evening in my living room with the Fab Four.