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.

Last Week’s Comics

Wow.  Last week was a pretty terrible week for comics.

Let’s get the good out of the way: Chronicles of Wormwood: The Last Battle continues to be excellent.  And to be honest, I didn’t expect such a compelling and complex discussion of relationships to come from the mouth of the Antichrist.

In Batman #693 Tony Daniel successfully proves that he should stick to penciling.  His normally solid, Jim Lee-lite style is completely lost now, and his idea — that the Falcone family is moving back in on Gotham — is really strong but poorly executed, proving (surprisingly) that Jeph Loeb seems to be the only one who can pull that off.

I’ve read a bunch of relatively poor comics lately (I’m looking at you, Blackest Night Superman and Batman), but Amazing Spider-Man #611 takes the cake.  This is one I was actually looking forward to, so maybe part of the problem is just me expecting too much, but  I think it was the burden of putting the two funniest characters in the Marvel Universe together, the whole thing collapses on itself.

Everyone involved seems to be trying way too hard, and it shows.  The first victim of this comes quickly: the recap page, a fumetti-style romp through the editorial department.  WOO!  That’s just one page, though.  Let’s work through this.

Eric Canete’s  art did nothing for me.  The 2D style seems like it’s meant to emulate Skottie Young (who drew the cover), but the sketchiness looked half-finished and over-emaciated.  I don’t know if there was an inker or if they went directly off the pencils, but it could have benefited from some inking or cleanup. Complicating the matter, the colorist tried adding layering and depth through the colors, which confused the art and didn’t match the style at all.  If it were Carlo Pagulayan or someone who adds a lot of detail and
definition it would have worked much better than with artist with a more flat style, which tends to benefit from flatter, more straightforward colors (think Bruce Timm).

The real train wreck here, though, is the writing.  Joe Kelly has been successfully writing Spider-Man for a while now, and (despite sales) had the only critically acclaimed run Deadpool has seen, but none of that seems to come through here.  The jokes feel forced, especially when they stop the action to play the  dozens in a playground.  Adding insult to injury, Kelly and Marvel decided that Deadpool MUST use
offensive language and then put [censored] bars over the naughty words (not that I’m offended, but if it was innocent it wouldn’t have been blocked).  However, they used the same faulty method DC did with
All-Star Batman and Robin, so we’re able to read about how Spider-Man’s dead mother gave Caligula a reach around.  Not offensive, but not funny.  (At least, not to an outside reader.  I certainly understand that “Your Mama” jokes are funny when you’re playing, but that doesn’t come across here.  I told Kelly his dead mother gave me a reach around and it was hilarious.)

I was really looking forward to The Gauntlet, which appears to start next issue, but ASM has used up all of the goodwill they generated with me from the excellent 600th issue.  The truth of the matter is — and this has been the case since Brand New Day started and they went to three times a month — some of the story  arcs/creative teams are great, and some are dogs.  We used to be able to separate them out by title, but since Marvel reduced the line to one Spider-Man title, it’s getting a little harder to ferret out the good stuff.

This Week’s Comics — And A Couple Reviews

It’s a good great week to be a Batman fan, and a bad terrible week to be an X-fan. (Sorry, Matt.)

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #611 – Yeah, I’m just curious to see what happens when Spider-Man meets Deadpool. If it’s happened before, I don’t remember it, so I’m excited.

BATMAN #693 – The last issue was a competent showing by Tony Daniel, though it looks like his art is becoming a little less consistent due to the addition of writing.

BATMAN AND ROBIN #6 – Still Grant Morrison, still on the pull list.

BATMAN DOC SAVAGE SPECIAL #1 – I’m no Doc Savage expert, but I’m interested in this one as long as the page count justifies the higher price tag. It looks to exist outside of the DCU, which is probably best, and the art by Phil Noto is a big, big draw.

Jimmy the Rabbit is the best Ennis character since...ever.CHRONICLES OF WORMWOOD LAST BATTLE #2 (OF 6) – I LOVED the first mini, hated the special that followed, and went back to love again with the first issue of Last Battle. This is Garth Ennis at his funniest and most offensive (without the horror aspects that turned me off of Crossed). Definitely not for the squeamish or easily offended, but that’s fine by me.

PUNISHER MAX #1 – I really, REALLY want to read Jason Aaron’s Punisher, but the $4 price tag isn’t going to let me. If his Ghost Rider run is any inclination, he’s perfect for this book. Maybe the collections will be more price-conscious.

X-BABIES #2 (OF 4) – Grrr…

Last Week’s Books

Haunt #2 was solid, and even though I was joking about Todd ripping off Spider-Man BEFORE I read it, I’m serious about it now. It’s one thing to reuse wacky poses and eye-holes, it’s another to incorporate webbing and sticking to walls. It’s the difference between your art style and your concept. Still, those looking for more McFarlane influence will be happy here, as his inks seem to be taking over Ryan Ottley’s pencils this time. Robert Kirkman’s writing will keep me coming back, at least for the first story arc.

Mommy, what happened to the nice Spider-Man?

Strange Tales wrapped up with #3, and it proved itself a classic. Cupcake by Chris Chua didn’t make any sense to me, but Michael Kupperman shows up again, and there was a terrific Beast/Morbius story by Jay Stephens and the end of  Peter Bagge’s The Incorrigible Hulk.

So…What are YOU getting this week?

Superhero SECRETS

Spider-man: SECRETS

I've actually got three web shooters. Two for the criminals...and one for the ladies.

I've actually got three web shooters. Two for the criminals...and one for the ladies.

SECRETS!

Listen, sometimes I'm on patrol and need to...you know...go. That's why I use Depends.

The Girl Scouts of America started the whole, "Friendly Neighborhood..." bit. Spidey loves him some Tag-a-longs

SECRETS!

My snappy banter with super-villains comes from long summers performing as a ventriloquist, Parker Peterman and Uncle Woody, in the Borscht Belt.

My snappy banter with super-villains comes from long summers performing as a ventriloquist Parker Peterman and Uncle Woody in the Borscht Belt.

SECRETS!

Google tells me that my pornstar name would be J. Boner Rameson...oh the irony!

Google tells me that my pornstar name would be J. Boner Rameson...oh the irony!

SECRETS!