Game Tape

There comes a time in a man’s life when he looks back wistfully and reviews the choices that he has made. For me that time happens most Thursday. This is the Game Tape; let’s review shall we?

First up is a look at the best issue of any book that I’ve read in a long time. Goon #39 points out every gimmicky things that Powell sees as being wrong with big company comics today, and for my money he’s not wrong. From reboots and seeming pointless costume changes to poor story craft and jab at a certain rainbow corps, this issue lampoons with a sharp wit.

Next up was an enjoyable done-in-one issue of FF. Without going into detail, this is Peter Parker and Johnny Storm being Peter and Johnny. One’s frustrated, and one is oblivious. I won’t spoil it, but the last two pages are the funniest I’ve seen in a Marvel book since Ego the Living Planet fell in love with Earth. The last page is so great and weird that I’m probably going to use it as my facebook profile pic.

Secret Avengers #26 was fairly meh. It had potential and great art, but it wasted an inordinate amount of time throwing Thor and some b-listers at the Phoenix Force.

All-Star Western #8’s minimal use of the simpering Dr. Arkham was a pleasant read. It’s hampered a little by plot exposition, but it was a decent read.

I also found a copy of Supreme #63. It was as enjoyable as I remembered earlier issues to be. That’s certainly a pleasant surprise, as I’ve recently been burned on things I’ve reread early last decade.

Game Tape

And now it’s time for another Game Tape… the continuing story of a comic buyer gone to the dogs. Or something like that.

This time around we’re going in alphabetical order…no good reason. No bad reason for that matter.

Action Comics #891 would have been much more enjoyable if I hadn’t seen “Inception” last week. Mr. Mind’s “son” plays a frantic DiCaprio here. Lex Luthor being who he is, the story ends as it has to, but there’s still the mysterious hand behind this manipulation. That’s not to say that the book is dull. Going through it was quite a bit of fun. The down side is that it feels like more should have happened than actually did.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I love time travel stories. Time travel is the one scientific conceit that is guaranteed to get my engines going. Fantastic Four #581 fired on all four cylinders. A minor mystery is resolved and Reed goes to college. Thanks to his dad, he gets a heady education. Mr. Hickman, continue the good work.

Secret Avengers #3 was a little muddled. It’s a middle part issue that isn’t too bad, but it wasn’t overwhelmingly good either. The crown business is sort of making more sense, and they’ve thrown in alternate dimensional travel to boot. Anyway, I’m still enjoying this most of the new Avengers books. As a side note, alternate dimensional travel is not nearly as interesting as time travel for me…although theoretically they’re the same thing.

Speaking of the theoretical, I should theoretically be enjoying Thor: The Mighty Avenger. It’s written by Roger Langridge. In practice, it feels like a Year One story without much meat to it. It’s curious because there is no Donald Blake, but there’s a Thor and there’s a Jane Foster. On reflection, this is really more of a Jane Foster story. It’s just sort of boring; I certainly didn’t expect that from Langridge. The first issue was decent, but heartless. This week’s second issue drags down.

In the Also Ran category are Buzzard #2, Muppet Show #8, Batman, Return of Bruce Wayne #5, and Bill Batson and the Magic of SHAZAM!

Game Tape

It’s a surprisingly strong showing this week. There were only two books from my pull list, but quite a few that I grabbed from the shelf.

Last week I mentioned that I was looking forward to Secret Avengers. It didn’t disappoint. There’s a nice set-up here with a mysterious threat. There’s action starting from page two and going all the way to the end. It’s well done all around. Brubaker manages to craft a first issue that gives the reader just enough info on how and why the team was formed. Unlike some books recently (looking at you JLA: Cry for Justice) we aren’t treated three issues of finding everyone and building a team. Something else that’s refreshing is how seamlessly and logically Steve Rogers steps into this new role. At his heart, Brubaker’s Steve Rogers is a leader. Take the red, white, and blue trappings away and he’s a guy with a plan. No moaning about being too old for this new fast world. No feeling sorry about any thing. It’s really solid story and character. The art is great too. I’m going to ask though, why isn’t this book called Defenders? I don’t want to spoil anything, but if you read it, you’ll understand. I’ll add this one to my pull list. The main Avengers book will have to pass the flip test each month… for now.

Honestly, I only have a vague notion of what was happening in Batman: Return of Bruce Wayne #2. It’s not bad, just confusing. I trust and respect Morrison, but even he couldn’t make Puritans interesting for me. The moments away from 1600’s Gotham were only slightly less confusing. I’m hoping Pirate Batman is much more coherent.

The less said about Green Lantern #54, the better. Johns has stolen the plot from Pokemon’s theme song/ catch phrase. Not to mention it reeks of the main theme of at least half of the 1980’s cartoons. Green Lantern, we need some time away from each other to clear our heads and find out who we are.

The thing I’m enjoying about this new theme of the Heroic Age is exhibited well in Fantastic Four #579. It’s not naive optimism that makes it brighter or more hopeful. What makes it brighter is that the stories are geared more toward a proactive approach without being authoritarian. Reed and gang are going to make the world better. Hank Pym is Scientist Supreme of this universe, but no one is laying down the law and saying, “We’re going to make your world better whether you like it or not.” There’s a sense of cooperation here. Reed trying to reform the Wizard; Sue working with the ancient Atlanteans; Then there’s the hint of the ominous. All four civilizations highlighted in the previous arc are connected somehow…in spite of no obvious relations. On top of the story and thematic elements, Neil Edwards art is hitting the right notes. Gone is the beefy hyper-muscular Reed. Good riddance.

Imagine my surprise to walk into Ye Olde Shoppe and see that Thunderbolts written by Jeff Parker is out this week! I had no idea. This one take the opposite tack from Secret Avengers. The issue is all about team building. It’s got Parker’s usual panache for character and dialogue. There’s also a surprise ending. Check it out.

There are some nice parallels in Transformers #7. In one issue we see how the space marooned Decepticons are handling the new peace time. Megatron narrates as we see some disturbing scenes of the camp run by Starscream. In someways they’re reacting in a grotesque mimicry of the Earthbound Autobots. Megatron also has some interesting insights into Optimus Prime’s character. Surprisingly, it does not seem terribly distorted. Also, what’s the dark secret of Section 82? Sounds like a plot device to tear the burgeoning human/ Autobot alliance to shreds.