Saturday Rundown

I hate to say it, but I’m a sucker for a good cover, espcially on a first issue.  When I saw the cover Epic Kill #1 I was sold without any of the other evaluation I would normally do.  While Raffaele Ienco’s cover and pin-ups were solid, but his sequential art was not.  His figures look stiff and awkward, a series of drawings with no emotion or interaction.  The story is a mediocre “girl killer on the run” that’s by-the-numbers.  Ienco definitely has a future in comics, especially since he’s put together the entire package himself, but he’s got some work to do first.  Image approved Epic Kill a little early in his career.

Hoax Hunters #0 was another good example of a cover reaching up off the stands, grabbing my eyeballs and not letting go.  Fortunately, this was a better comic all around.  It’s a great idea: a TV show busting urban legends a la Mythbusters that REALLY seriously investigates the truth behind the rumors.  And the best part is that it could be done in any format but the creators chose to do it as a comic.  (Legitimacy!)  The art by JM Ringuet and Axel Medellin is adequate, but stiff and used fairly stock posing and acting. The previews for issue #1 appear to be a different artist in a different style, so I’m looking forward to seeing if there’s any growth there.

Roger Langridge would be a hero of ours if he had only ever done  Boom!’s first Muppet Show miniseries, but he has continually impressed us with work on Snarked and the rest of an incredibly well-written and drawn Muppet run.  So despite no more than a passing familiarity with the characters, I picked up Popeye #1 on the strength of his name alone.  It was a fine comic, and Bruce Ozella’s art seemed to mimic the original well enough for me, but to be honest, the sea voyage to retrieve a mystery creature was enough for me the first time in Snarked.  This just felt like the same story with licensed characters.  I’ll leave it to Matt or Brother of the Blog Stephen to decide how good it is in the context of Popeye, but I’m not really intrigued enough to go any further with  it.

It’s been a while since I read any Tick comics, essentially since the late 90’s when Luny Bin and Tick and Arthur came out.  I decided  that Tick #100’s Invincible crossover would be as good a place to jump back in as any.  And it was!  A great comic all around that brings both characters together in a forgettable enough way and then lets them go crazy together.  It’s a lot of fun, and completely accessible as long as you have a passing familiarity with the characters, even from the old TV show.  And kudos to Benito Cereno for referencing such craziness that’s been happening in this title lately that I have no choice now but to pick up back issues of the current run.  My only real complaint (and I find myself having this problem more and more lately) is the scene transitions are often abrupt or jerky.

NEC Press, knowing this was it’s chance to snag new readers (and recapture some lapsed ones like myself) then took the opportunity to explain the Tick’s publishing history, and how the original run and multiple miniseries since then fit in together.  It was an excellent chance to play catch-up, and quite appreciated.  However, there’s always a gotcha, and the catch with Tick #100 is that it was 7 dollars.  The main story was only 24 pages and the publishing history took up about half the book.  That is WAY too much for the amount of content.  The backmatter should have been more condensed (the pictures were beautiful, but filler) and it should have run 5 bucks.  Price aside, this was damn near a perfect comic.

This Week’s Comics

It’s reassuring to see all the independent titles on my pull list this week.  It makes me miss DC titles that much less.  Here are this week’s new and noteworthy books.

  • FEAR ITSELF #7 POINT ONE – Err…I thought the Point One issues were jumping-on points for new readers.  Isn’t Fear Itself over?
  • GOON #36 – Always a solid read, last month’s issue (written by Evan Dorkin) was more hilarious that usual.  I hope they get the band back together soon.
  • HULK #44 – I recently finished reading the first year or so of Jeff Parker’s Hulk and it’s everything you could possibly want.  Namely, the Hulk beating the tar out of Marvel’s classic giant monsters. Highly recommended if you enjoy big things hitting other big things without taking itself too seriously.
  • INFINITE VACATION #3 (OF 5) – I really enjoyed the first couple issues of Infinite Vacation, a sci-fi tale of hopping bodies with other-dimensional yous, but then…It dropped off the face of the Earth.  I’m really glad it’s shown up again, and looking forward to seeing where Nick Spencer and Christian Ward take us.
  • LAST OF THE GREATS #2 – With the grand experiment in full effect, I’ve picked up more Image and indie titles with strong covers that I’d ordinarily buy.  Last of the Greats had an amazing cover by Brent Peeples, but unfortunately the story by Joshua Fialkov was a somewhat generic tale of humanity’s betrayal of 7 godlike aliens and their attempts to get the last of them to save us from another attack.  Oh, and the “Great” is a huge dick.*  The interior art by Peeples was passable, but stilted and not very dynamic.  I’ll not be picking up the rest of this series, beautiful covers or no.
  • PEANUTS #0
  • ROGER LANGRIDGES SNARKED #2 – Roger Langridge’s new Alice in Wonderland-style book has impressed both of us, with Matt’s tolerance for the poetry a bit higher than mine.  This is an all-ages title that is truly for all ages, and the jokes don’t stop with the dialogue, as Langridge crams each panel full of jokes.  Highly recommended.
  • STRANGE TALENT OF LUTHER STRODE #2 (OF 6) – Much like Last of the Greats, Luther Strode is another title I picked up solely on the basis on a strong cover and an intriguing blurb on the Bullpen Bulletins (or whatever thing they’re calling it) on that month’s Image Comics.  Unlike LotG, I enjoyed this book a lot.  Luthor Strode sends away for a Charles Atlas-style bodybuilding kit and is turned into a huge punching machine.  While there are enough internal organs and splatter effects to fill a Mark Millar comic, I felt there was enough heart in the story to get me to come back and see how it turns out. Recommended with reservations, as it could turn either way.

Rick Veitch is an enormously talented comic creator, both as a writer and an artist.  When I saw The Big Lie in the aforementioned Bullpen Bulletins, I thought it had a solid chance of being a good read and expected something like Brought to Light, by his frequent collaborator Alan Moore.  Big Lie concerns Sandra Mansfield, who travels back to September 11, 2001 in an attempt to rescue her husband Carl from the World Trade Center before it collapses.  Armed with her trusty iPad full of evidence, she sets out to provide enough proof to convince him to evacuate.

In itself, great idea.  In practice, it’s a mess.  Veitch spends too much time establishing the pseudoscience for how time travel works, when we all know it’s just a plot device to cram in all of the evidence he wants to tell us that 9/11 was an inside job.  Once he gets to that, all we get is a bunch of rushed strawman arguments and proof that the Carl is such a huge douche** that I find it hard to believe she would cross the street to save this asshole’s life, much less invent time travel to do so.

In the end, the only people who would buy this book have heard this argument already, told better.  You may be tempted to check this one out, but it’s a book better suited for laying down and avoiding.

Godzilla: Kingdom of Monsters started off really strong with just it’s premise: Godzilla and a bunch of monsters are going to pound the stuffing out of each other.  And it started like that, but then it turned into The Walking Dead, where the monsters are just the backdrop for telling the survivors’ tales.  Which is fine, just not what I picked up the book for.  Phil Hester stopped doing the art with issue 4, Eric Powell and Tracy Marsh are leaving, and there’s no third act anywhere in sight.  Truly, it’s all middle, which is okay, but we still need story arcs with beginnings and endings.  KoM feels like it’s meandering along, and I’ll pick up the next issue to see what the next writer can do with it, but everything that got me hooked is now gone and unless something changes I will be, too.

Apparently I’ve had a lot to say this week!  My ongoing pull list is still a thing, and going well.  Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @LEMURComics (Hi Larry!).  What are YOU looking at this week?

*Seriously, I can’t believe that this is the only new take anyone’s had on Superman in 20 years, since The Rob created  Supreme in 1992.
**She’s 10 years older and he doesn’t recognize her at all.  Sorry, 10 years doesn’t add THAT much baggage to your face.