This Week’s Comics

Man, the Christmas holiday must have destroyed my brain’s ability to determine what day of the week it is, because we’re at New Comic Day and I think it’s Monday. So with a week so light I thought Diamond’s web site loaded incorrectly, here’s a look at this week’s new and noteworthy titles.

  • AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #700Behind this cover is a graphic designer who had to read a LOT of bad Venom comics. I have OCD price points, it’s one of my least endearing qualities, and yet $8 for over 100 pages of material is an terrific deal. Factor in that this is a huge anniversary issue and the “last” issue of Amazing, I’m definitely on-board here.
  • AVENGING SPIDER-MAN #15.1 – The “missing link” between Amazing and Superior, for three bucks on a light week I’ll definitely pick this up.

And aside from some Justice League, that’s just about all that’s even coming out this week, so I’ll just take the opportunity to wish everyone happy holidays and good reading.

Game Tape

This was a pretty good week. At least for me, issues ran from pretty good to not too shabby. So let’s see what we see.

Months and months ago, I dropped Green Lantern because I didn’t want to read a story pretending not to be Dragonball Z or The Thirteen Ghosts of Scooby Doo (ie a story where the characters are on an search for x, y, and z mcguffins over an indefinite period of time). Johns was shoe-horning a hamfisted plot over his  search for the dragonba…er…ghos…er avatars of the lantern power. This said, it may be a surprise that I really enjoy Paul Cornell’s Action Comics. Lex is essentially collecting Dragon Balls, but that’s all he’s doing, and he’s doing it shamelessly. Of course Cornell’s/ Luthor’s shamelessness is infinitely more fun to read about. Specific to this issue, Larfleeze shows up with one of the spheres and words are bandied regarding the nature of desire, power, and want. If you’re a fan of avarice and the color orange, the last two Larfleeze pages are worth the price of admission. We also get a clue as to who might be partially responsible for this business.

This week also saw a return of something that has not been true in almost a decade: I walked out of the shop with three X-books. In quick order, here are a few thoughts on each.

1. Age of X continues in X-Men Legacy  #245 this week. I’m still enjoying this look at dystopia. The X-writers have gone out of their way to create relationships and back stories for characters that we haven’t seen before. Rogue serves a unique and chilling purpose in Age of X that makes sense for her power set. It’s also fun to see Cannonball busting Cyclops’s chops like a drill sergeant to a buck private. The use of Wolverine in this issue and the previous installment of this crossover are also intriguing and well done. Finally, we get glimpses that suggest that readers should not be pulling for Magneto to win the day. Poor Kitty Pride.

2. X-Men #8 continues the teams trip back to New York. I was interested in seeing how the X-Men and Spidey might face Lizard. Now, not so much. It reads similarly to Gischler’s first arc. Find vampire and replace with lizard man. Find San Francisco and replace with New York. Find Cyclops and replace with Storm. Done. There is a mystery as to who is behind all of this reptili-mania (hint: it’s not Connors). If you haven’t picked up the book, go back and read the vampire arc. It’s better and surprisingly more novel even though it’s lacking cannons that shoot vampires from the moon.

3. Astonishing X-Men is back, and Daniel Way (of Wolverine, et al. fame) is at the helm. Like X-Men, this issue involves lizards. It also involves, a certain island, Mentallo and Japan. I don’t want to say much more, but I feel confident that Jesse will be picking up to book based on certain words in the previous two sentences…oh, there’s also a death in family, but it’s more of a plot point to get the mutants to Japan.

Which brings us to the “final” issue of Fantastic Four. Pardon me if I sound incredulous; twelve issues before a big 600th anniversary and they’re canceling the title? Right. That aside, the issue is enjoyable. It’s not really a memorial for Johnny; rather it shows how each member of the family deals with his death. Valeria’s reaction is chilling, while read has an  impotent moment with Anihilus. My favorite moment was watching Ben handle the loss. Hulk and Thor are there with shoulders to cry on in a way that made me a little teary. At the same time, Hickman (as always) is building a foundation. The back up story with Franklin and Spider-Man was decent too in spite of the annoying “Hey there little guy” voice that Peter uses when talking to Franklin. I hate that voice.

Finally, there’s Nick Spencer’s Iron-Man 2.0. It was okay. Yeah.

So all in all it was a good week to read comics. Hope you enjoyed your stack as much as I enjoyed mine.


Aunt May — Secrets!!!

I can tie a knot in a cherry stem with my tongue. And 85 years of circus performing has left me QUITE limber.

Secrets!

Other super-villains I almost married: Norman Osborn, J. Jonah Jameson, Mac Gargan, Eddie Brock, and The Kangaroo.

Secrets!

I made one ill-fated attempt at villainy in the 1970's, but getting defeated by Hostess fruit pies got my head straight.

Secrets!

Yes, my becoming the heard of Galactus is canon. Golden Oldie will ride again!

Secrets!

After Peter moved out I found some of his old textbooks, and they had CENTERFOLDS of the periodic table in them! Shocking!

Secrets!!!

Selections from the J. Mysteryman Catalog

Second Sight


“WHY IS THERE NEVER A PHOTOGRAPHER AROUND WHEN YOU NEED ONE!!! THEY’RE ALWAYS HERE BEGGING FOR HANDOUTS BUT NEVER TO BE SEEN WHEN THERE’S A JOB TO DO!”

“Easy, JJJ,” I said.  “I’m here for you.  And I’ve got my Nikon D3X with me.  With 24.5 megapixels,  exceptional noise control, and Nikon’s EXPEED image-processing system, it’ll get whatever pictures you need, better than you could hope for.”

“SHUT IT, PARKER!  THE RHINO’S IN MIDTOWN MAKING A WRECK OF THE PLACE AND I NEED THAT NEAR INSTANTANEOUS SHUTTER RELEASE TIME LAG OF APPROXIMATELY 0.04 SECONDS AND  51-POINT AUTOFOCUS SYSTEM TO GET DOWN THERE AND GET PICTURES!”

I swung by Midtown and there was my odd-toed ungulate.  I got in close and started snapping pics when he saw me.

“Parker!,”  Rhino yelled.  “If you’re here then that spider-creep can’t be far away.  If you take one more picture, even the durable, lightweight magnesium-alloy construction and comprehensive weather
sealing won’t stop me from tearing that camera into a million pieces.

The camera cost $7400, but I took the picture anyway.*

Camera only available in black.  Strap available in any color, sold separately.

* Apologies to Frank Miller

This Week’s Comics

As happens this time each year, Jesse has to go into the studio to record with The Electric Mayhem. That leaves me responsible for all aspects of this educational and “entertaining” web log.

So here we go with a preview of Wednesday’s books. The exciting thing for me this week is that the LCS is back in business. The guys that were running it for the owner have taken over and are up and running. No more dealing with creepy guys and cramped confines. No more paying full price for books. It’s back to a regular 20% off! So what am I getting a low low discount prices?

Green Lantern #52 – I’ve written some pretty harsh, but not untrue, things about Geoff Johns and his “epic.” Why am I still getting this book? I guess I’ll never know. It’s like a kind of torture to have to read… Mostly I guess it’s an affinity for Hal Jordan. I’ve also got a morbid curiousity.

Amazing Spider-Man #626 – I’ve been picking this title up regularly provided it’s not being written by Joe Kelly. Waid is writing this second part to an arc about the newest incarnation of the Vulture.

A-Team: Shotgun Wedding – I’m hoping this will be promising for more than nostalgia. That’s mostly why I’m waiting for the trade. IDW usually does a good job on the licensed projects: Transformers, Star Trek and GI Joe being most notable.

Speaking of Transformers and GI Joe, they’re out this week too. The TF mini-focusing on the Wreckers has been fun, and I’m looking forward to seeing what Cobra does with the M.A.S.S. device now that it’s finished.

That’s it for me, what are you getting?

Game Tape: The Ultimate Sacrifice

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 return comes with that not so fresh and not so clean feeling. There were two stores in town: mine and the other. I got this week’s comics from the other store…feels dirty. The guy behind the counter was, if you’ll pardon the expression, practically creaming his pants at the thought of another customer moving from my old store. Anyway…

How lucky to get two GI Joe books in one week. Origins #11 featured Beach Head. I want to say it was great, but I’m going to say this one was only okay. I think my judgement’s clouded on this issue. I love Beach Head. The more Beach Head, the merrier. As much as I appreciate the prevalence of green in his character design, it’s the voice got me. Really, it’s the voice casting as a whole that made the show so enjoyable for me. But I digress. Boilerplate story about soldiers sent to South America to stop a drug cartel. Things kinda go south. It’s Beach Head though so…Yay!

The regular series saw issue #14 come out. It’s enjoyable, but there wasn’t much to it. Extract Professor MacGuffin before Cobra does. Could have been better if it hadn’t felt so rushed. Bazooka fans will enjoy this though. Oh…and we see Snake-Eyes having a one-sided “come to Jesus” talk with the Hard Master.

I’m curious to hear what Jesse thinks of Starman 81 (Blackest Night). We were both really big Starman fans back in the day. This book is the reason I gave in and drove out of the way to this other store this week.

For me, this issue was a little schizophrenic. Some scenes were classic Robinson with hip (or at least obscure) pop culture references and a charming talkyness. Other parts of the book felt too fast. Scenes that should have taken their time were written in a choppy short hand. On the plus side, it gives readers a nice picture of Opal post-Jack. If we’re all lucky, Jesse will finally regale us with the story of how and why he was stalked and accosted by James Robinson.

Dan Slott is back on deck for Amazing Spider-Man #618. There’s a new arc with Mysterio and the Maggia crime family. Beating up gangsters and getting beaten up by Aunt May make for a pretty good issue. I think my favorite moment in the book is on the very first page, but I’m a sucker for a good (read: bad) pun. Looking forward to seeing where this is headed.

I also picked up Spider-Man 1602 #4 and Avengers vs. Agents of Atlas #1, but I haven’t read them yet. I want to savor these two Parker gems so I’ll post those over the weekend.

Unfortunately, this other store does not carry the Muppet books. I’m out last week’s regular book and this week’s Peter Pan #4. I’m beginning to suspect that the universe is conspiring against me and my comic collection.

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…

Like Jesse, I have no use for Joe Kelly’s issues of Amazing Spider-Man. This is sad because he wrote my absolute favorite issue of Deadpool back in the day. Fred Van Lente’s issues are a whole other kettle of fish. Along with Slott, Van Lente’s the reason I’m picking up this title at all. After Waid’s (topical, yet already dated) Electro story, this one dealing with Sandman was fun. Remember Jesse’s review of #600? 615 and 616 harken back to the quality of those stories.  We see a Sandman torn between being the thief/ thug he has often been and the man skirting the side of the angels that shows up from time to time. The division is a rather viceral one, but it works. This two parter also shows a Peter Parker that can’t win for losing. I found the ending a bit heart wrenching, and I have a heart three sizes too small. The art tells the story as well or better than the words. We see hatred, shock, disappointment, and pain in these pages and panels. Well done, gentlemen. Well done.

It wasn’t a light week for me, but most everything I have to say would be a repeat of things I’ve said before. JSoA, Superman, Fantastic Four, and X-Men Forever showed but didn’t move me to comment.

Green Lantern #49 was not so lucky. The main story wasn’t bad, it’s just that we’ve read it so many times before. Hero is forced to face his/her “ultimate fear” or “greatest regret.” Said hero (John Stewart in this case) shows great strength of character in overcoming fear/ regret, coming out of the encounter stronger. Only completists should by this issue. There, I just saved you pretty much money. Plus you didn’t have to read the fecal matter that was passed off as a back-up story.

That’ll wrap it up for the year. Merry Christmas and happy New Year, gentlemen.