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.

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…

Pardon me if I mix up this week and last.

Honestly, I was buying Giffen’s relaunch Doom Patrol relaunch because of the Metal Men back up story. It’s not that I don’t like everyone’s favorite expendable heroes; it’s just that their story didn’t really interest me as much. Outside of the 1960’s and Grant Morrison, no one has made them as weird as they really should be. They always end up as another team run by a grumpy man in a wheelchair. Giffen has come close though. This Metal Menless issue was pretty good and it brings back one of my favorite aspects of Morrison’s run: Danny the Street. I’ll continue to give it a shot as long as it’s weird.

This remains one of the most consistent books I read. It’s always at least good. Mostly it’s great… if you can accept the abandon with which these characters commit some horrendous acts. This month’s issue starts of pretty basic mission to stop some crazies (acolytes of Brother Blood in this case). As always the character interactions are where it’s at. From the bromance of Deadshot and Catman to the burgeoning romance between Ragdoll and Black Alice, Gail Simone creates pitch perfect dialogue. The ending knocked my socks off. I can’t wait to read next month for the resolution of this cliff hanger.

If you ignore the maudlin ramblings of Thundercracker, the schemings of Hot Rod (referred to as Rodimus Prime) and Swindle are interesting. Like the autobots themselves, I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop on this alliance with the Decpticons. Taking place 3 years after Megatron’s defeat in All Hail Megatron, some of the transformers have come to see that the war is over and there’s no need for factions… maybe. Ultra Magnus’s appearance and subsequent disappearance doesn’t really make any sense though. Still, it’s a pretty good story as a whole.

The GI Joe books continue to be solid. This month Cobra completed the MASS device. Still loving the reinterpretation of Dr. Mindbender. On the other hand, we still have not seen a glimmer of a Cobra Commander. It’s almost making me crazy.

Ever wonder what Kurt Wagner would look like if he were normal looking? Checkout the latest issues of X-Men Forever. I can’t say enough good things about this title. You should be reading it if you were in love with the X-Men back in the 1990’s. It’s all that and a bag of chips.

That’ll round out this edition of Game Tape except to say that I really dig the mystery Morrison is setting up in Batman and Robin. I’m also glad to see some depth to Daimian finally. I’ll let Jesse go into more detail.

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…

This week’s theme is caveats.

Doom Patrol #4 looks into the team’s proverbial closet. Given it’s a Blackest Night tie-in (which books aren’t selling well? Must be the ones with BN tie-ins), there are a lot of skeletons hanging out. This is the first issue where I really enjoyed the main story. I’m finally beginning to understand the structure of Oolong Island as a sovereign nation of “mad” scientists and Doom Patrol’s place within that frame work. I like that a lot. The dialogue was fun especially the bit between Robotman and Negative Man. I can honestly say I didn’t see the last page coming. Maybe I’m slow, but my mom doesn’t think so. The Metal Men story was enjoyable too. It puts to bed the age old question, “which is more important to a female robot: taking over the world, shopping, or bickering? It was an enjoyable read for me because I like the characters, but the title is still a little too “not-ready-for-prime-time.”

As much as I love Jeff Parker, this hasn’t been my favorite. As usual the dialogue is crisp, fun, and shows character. It’s the cookie cutter team meets team story that disappointed me. It ends more suddenly than feels natural too. The art in both present and “flashback” was fantastic. It was also nice that the story is building to something bigger in AoA regarding the Siren known as Venus. Again, Parker fans are going to love this, but Johnny-off-the-street-X-fan is going to get the wrong impression of the glory that is a Jeff Parker written book.

Guest writer John Ostrander penned a good Deadshot piece for Secret Six #15. Fans of Simone’s psychotic team probably won’t enjoy this shift of gears from the manic pace of the last several issues. Me? I was thankful for it.  Maybe it’s just because I like Ostrander and miss the old Suicide Squad. At any rate, it’s a good book for Suicide Squad fans more than Secret Six fans.

Jonah Hex #49 was a nice blood bath with a bit of a tease at the end. It’s the last of the Six Gun story – arc that ties into the up coming movie. If you like westerns, gun play, or guys getting the crap kicked out of them regularly, pick up this next issue. The title is never bogged down in continuity, and the few arcs there have been are short. Very accessible to new readers.

GI Joe #11, much like the previous issue, is finally better than just good. Everything is coming together so well. Destro and Mindbender squabble enjoyably. Snake Eyes and Breaker are coming back into the fold, and Scarlett does more than sit in a chair while people yell at her. It won’t be long now before we finally see Cobra Commander.

I also picked up this week’s Astonishing X-Men. I just haven’t read it yet. Actually, I’m sort of dreading it. The Brood have always bored me to tears.

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.