This Week’s Comics

I wasn’t expecting so many titles to be coming out all at once! Here’s this week’s noteworthy titles.

  • BATMAN THE DARK KNIGHT #3 – The third issue comes out just in time for DCNu to take away everything.  Well played, DC.
  • CAPTAIN AMERICA #1 – And now we get a new Captain America #1 for Marvel to make a cash grab for, just in time for the movie.
  • FF #6 – Of all the titles I’ve been skipping, FF is the one I miss the most.  I’ve finally managed to pick up a few of these, but I don’t have all the gaps filled in yet.
  • GHOST RIDER #1 – A 0.1 then a #1?  Alright, then.
  • GODZILLA GANGSTERS & GOLIATHS #2 (OF 5) – I really had no intention of picking this book up, because for some asinine reason the title made me think of Monster Island creatures in hats and suits with tommy guns. The real book isn’t quite as solid as Kingdom of Monsters, but isn’t bad.
  • NEW AVENGERS #14 – I’ve now plowed through most of New Avengers and don’t care for it at all, so it’s off my list.  Expect reviews of all the various and sundry Avengers titles soon.
  • RED WING #1 (OF 6) – This is the book I’m looking forward to the most: Jonathan Hickman’s new creator-owned title at Image.
  • X-MEN SCHISM #1 (OF 5) – Yet ANOTHER event.  Nothing you know will be the same until it is again!  Bleh.

Well, that’s it for this week.  What are YOU looking at?

Game Tape

A new year has begun, and it starts off with a pretty good selection of books.

I’ve talked here and there about the ongoing Transformers series, but issue 15 marks the first time a Transformers comic has ever truly amazed me. That’s not to say the series hasn’t been interesting. There have been some clever moments and ideas. The relationships between the various Cybertronian and human factions are less contrived than the cartoons usually are. Still, Transformers is probably the one book I read for the characters as much for or more than the stories. It’s especially enjoyable when I can take pleasure in both.

If you didn’t figure it out at the end of last issue, Megatron is back. That’s not surprising. His grand plan for taking the Earth is novel and deceptively simple. It’s insidious in a way the Morrison’s Darkseid could only ever dream of. I’m actually excited to see how it all comes out.

Fans of the Infinity Gauntlet or Bendis’s Illuminati will enjoy Avengers #8. This issue has both. On the whole, this arc is turning out better than the excessively talky first arc involving time travel. Still it feels like there’s a lot of padding here. If you take the time to read the text piece on the title page, you’ve effectively read about half of the issue. This is always going to be the problem with writing with trades in mind. Padding takes a great two or three issue story and stretches it to a mediocre four or six issues.

Last week’s SHIELD #5 was really good too. It moves much faster than the previous issues and shows the evolution of the group with both Newton and Da Vinci “in charge.” We also get to see Howard Stark and Nathaniel Richards doing stuff other than shoot at people. We see why they’re around. AND there’s a special (if slightly overused) guest at the end.

In addition to the usual books, I picked up the majority of Grant Morrison’s Invisibles. David and I were talking about this series over the holiday. We had both tried it and found it nearly incomprehensible. A couple of days later, I found 80% of both series and the millennial maxi for a price point where cheap trumps incomprehensibility. I’ll let you know if it’s been easier going as I get into it.

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.