Saturday Morning Comics

Once again it’s time to settle in with a bowl of Fruity Pebbles and peruse this week’s comics offerings. It’s a strong showing with the return of The Goon and a couple of monthly favorites.

Wolverine and the X-Men #14by Jason Aaron (w); art by Jorge Molina (p) and Norman Lee (i); published by Marvel Comics. This issue was a huge improvement over the previous one. Although it’s tied to the A vs. X story, it’s more relevant to the book as a whole. We see that the school is woefully understaffed thanks to the war. There’s some Toad-related disturbing humor and a date that doesn’t go so well. Kitty and Colossus are written well here, and their discussion seems to show the direction for the ending of the overall crossover. The only down side to this issue is that gag of Deathlok spouting probabilities is a little over played. Relegating him to a C-3PO type of role is a waste.

Manhattan Projects #5 by Jonathan Hickman (w); art by Nick Pitarra; published by Image Comics. This alternate-history is equal parts wonderful and deeply disturbing. The way Hickman handles Earth’s first contact is interesting and surprising. One thing I really appreciate about the series as a whole is the cover design. It’s spare. This series stands out on the comic racks because of its covers.

The Goon #40 by Eric Powell; published by Dark Horse Comics. While waiting for another long-form story, fans of Eric Powell’s Goon are treated to three short tales related to prohibition and fast cars. The second of the tales stands out; it’s a spoof on The Dukes of Hazzard complete with Waylon Jennings style narration. The problem with these last several issue (and problem is a relative term) is that these are stories that, while featuring Frankie and the Goon, don’t need either of the book’s two main characters. Why not end The Goon and pick up with an anthology of weird tales? These last three issues have shown that Powell has the chops to do something like that without being shackled to a specific character.

This Week’s Covers

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.