Once again it’s time to settle in with a bowl of Fruity Pebbles and peruse this week’s comics offerings. It’s a strong showing with the return of The Goon and a couple of monthly favorites.
Wolverine and the X-Men #14by Jason Aaron (w); art by Jorge Molina (p) and Norman Lee (i); published by Marvel Comics. This issue was a huge improvement over the previous one. Although it’s tied to the A vs. X story, it’s more relevant to the book as a whole. We see that the school is woefully understaffed thanks to the war. There’s some Toad-related disturbing humor and a date that doesn’t go so well. Kitty and Colossus are written well here, and their discussion seems to show the direction for the ending of the overall crossover. The only down side to this issue is that gag of Deathlok spouting probabilities is a little over played. Relegating him to a C-3PO type of role is a waste.
Manhattan Projects #5 by Jonathan Hickman (w); art by Nick Pitarra; published by Image Comics. This alternate-history is equal parts wonderful and deeply disturbing. The way Hickman handles Earth’s first contact is interesting and surprising. One thing I really appreciate about the series as a whole is the cover design. It’s spare. This series stands out on the comic racks because of its covers.
The Goon #40 by Eric Powell; published by Dark Horse Comics. While waiting for another long-form story, fans of Eric Powell’s Goon are treated to three short tales related to prohibition and fast cars. The second of the tales stands out; it’s a spoof on The Dukes of Hazzard complete with Waylon Jennings style narration. The problem with these last several issue (and problem is a relative term) is that these are stories that, while featuring Frankie and the Goon, don’t need either of the book’s two main characters. Why not end The Goon and pick up with an anthology of weird tales? These last three issues have shown that Powell has the chops to do something like that without being shackled to a specific character.
This Week’s Covers
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.
Not much I’m excited about this week. So here are three briefs.
Uncanny X-Men #8 is just okay this month. Basically, the story and the dialogue are more boilerplate than I’ve come to expect from Gillen in this series. There’s a prison break, our superhero team is called to wrangle them, and the Avengers show up to lend a hand. The sense of threat and anything really being at stake are negligible. If this issue was intended to show buddy-buddy status quo of the Avengers and X-men pre A vs X, it didn’t do much outside of tell the reader, “Hey we’re both good guys and we’re fighting bad guys together.” At the end of the issue, I was left feeling like I had finished reading a plot outline rather than an actual story.
The main reason I’ve always enjoyed Eric Powell’s works isn’t the (often excessive) potty humor, nor is it seeing a guy punch the hated slack-jaws into submission. The man knows how to tell a story. This has certainly been evident in the last two issues of The Goon. #37 & 38 actually have little to no involvement from our titular character. In spite of this fact, they have been enjoyable. Both issues deal with (literally and figuratively) strong women surviving in the depression era world of The Goon. As much as I’m looking forward to further stories involving people punching, shooting, and knifing the undead, as long as Powell remembers how to tell a good story I’m on board.
Regarding Batman #7: “Court of Owls” needs to end. The song has played too long. This issue’s “revelation” had the impact of a balled up sheet of paper. While the issues aren’t badly written, this Johnsian decompression is giving me the bends.
With this week gone, here’s to better days.
A quiet corner,
Just let him finish his beer,
Then he’ll bust some chops.
After the abundance of last week, I shouldn’t be terribly disappointed that there’s so little I’m picking up this week. Still, there are some good books out, and it’ll give me the opportunity to rave about Avengers and the Infinity Gauntlet. Here’s what I’m looking at this week.
- 1 FOR DOLLAR GOON – If you’ve been curious to check out The Goon but haven’t known where to start, here’s a good place. You cannot go wrong with this book for a dollar. And then once you’re hooked, pick up the Fancy Pants Edition hardcovers and get the whole thing in chronological order.
- BATMAN #702 – It can’t be a good sign that I remember #700 but not #701…I’m wondering if I missed it somewhere. But it’s Grant Morrison and it’ll be awesome, so you want this.
- MUPPET SHOW #9 – Roger Langridge is back on art duties on this book, and as much as I enjoyed Amy Mebberson’s arc, he was greatly missed. (I will say the opposite when the next arc starts, I’m sure.) This is the Muppet comic we’ve always needed but never had.
To harp more on cheap comics, kudos to Dark Horse for hopping on the dollar book bandwagon. They’re not all winners (I’m looking at you, Aliens vs Predator), but I took the plunge on last week’s issue of Hellboy and really, really enjoyed it. Part of it was John Byrne’s writing, but I found Mike Mignola’s art to be detailed, moody, and engrossing. I don’t know what in his art has driven me away in the past, but none of that was in the first issue of Hellboy.
One of my favorite comics ever is the original Infinity Gauntlet series, which came out just as I was getting into comics enough for everything to still be new and fresh, but after I had been reading long enough that I was still able to recognize who everyone was. I tend to be wary of coming back to it for fear it won’t be as good as I remember, but I read it again this weekend in order to give the new series an impossible goal to reach and it was still incredible, with wonderful scripting by Jim Starlin and amazing art by George Perez and Ron Lim.
With all of that preface out of the way, I LOVED the new issue. It streamlines the story, as these Marvel Adventures-style minis do, and gets burdensome continuity out of the way in order to focus on the event itself. There are some special and unexpected appearances, a great entrance by Dr. Doom, and high-stakes superheroing. I’m really looking forward to the rest of the series, and Brian Clevinger’s story has convinced me to pick up his Atomic Robo work, so it’s a success in all ways.
That’s it for me this week. What are YOU looking at?
It’s a pretty disappointing week in terms of new comics this week. Here’s what I’m looking at.
- BUZZARD #2 (OF 3) – The story of The Goon’s Buzzard continues here. If you like The Goon, you know what you’ll be getting with this one.
- MUPPET SHOW #8 – The last story arc, featuring “Scooter’s sister” was great, and even though I never cared for Skeeter in the past I liked her here. I just can’t figure out what “story reason” they would have for not saying her name until the end of issue 7. Anyone who saw a certain early-80’s cartoon would already know who she was, and anyone who didn’t wouldn’t care. At any rate, The Muppet Show is hilarious, and a great example of stories that stand alone while still working as part of a larger arc. I just hope Roger Langridge does the art on this new story. As much as I love Mebberson’s art, Langridge conveys a wonderful sense of kinetic energy and claustrophobia in the Muppet Theater, and his panels always contain tons of background jokes.
Even though it’s a light week, I’ve picked up plenty of back issues this weekend that I’ll be catching up on, including the little-known yet strangely hard-to-find Flashpoint Elseworlds mini and wrapping up the Shed story from Amazing Spider-Man that everyone has been raving about.
I also just finished the first “season” of Sleeper, and while I won’t do a full review here, I will say that every good thing you’ve heard about this title is true and well-deserved.
That’s it for me. What are YOU looking at?
I’ve been saving this batch up for a while. Enjoy.
That’s it for this week. Have a good weekend, everyone.