COMICS WHAT THAT I READ THIS WEEK (March 17th, 2011)

Hey! Hi! So this is still a thing I’m doing. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, etc etc etc. We’re here. I got a stack of six books to read, lets boogie-ooogie-oogie

Buy a damn toothbrush, A-M

Brightest Day #22

Decent issue! Decently done death of a pretty major DC supporting character and I like the new Firestorm status quo they’re setting up here. “Deathstorm” talking like a bro and quoting Star Wars makes me want to see the character stick around.

How have we not gotten a Superboy/Kid Flash race before now is a mystery to me, honestly.

Superboy #5

This is maybe my favorite issue to date? Lemire’s got a good grip on the Teen Titans if their appearance here is anything to go off of, I’d love to see DC put him on that book at some point. Nice to see Superboy and Kid Flash acting like guys who’ve been good friends for years, the Robin/Impulse/Superboy friendship is something I really liked when I started getting into comics and its kinda fallen by the wayside.  The race itself is well put together, ends perfectly. Pier Gallo’s art’s solid, strong Quietly vibe is going strong. Curious as hell as to how Lemire’s going to tie together the supernatural and sci-fi menaces he’s ramping up to.

Party Bus

Best of the week: Knight and Squire #6 (of 6)

Damn. That’s a helluva ending. Cornell has really just done a fantastic job of creating this little UK corner of the DCU that, despite having a rather different feel to it, feels like it fits. This issue, and really the mini as a whole…I think are Cornell’s way of defending and legitimizing “silly” aspects of British culture and kind of striking back against the gratuitously violent aspects of DC comics as of late. This is a wonderful read, I really hope Cornell has another chance to come back to all of this.

Morrison comics are golden brick into my BRAIN

Batman, Incorporated #3

First off, read THIS, because Uzumeri’s annotations are almost essential to working your way through this issue.

As an issue, it’s Morrison’s Batman, so it’s half of a two part puzzle. It’s not an easy read, but the challenging aspects of Morrison’s Batman stories are refreshing in a genre like Super Hero comics where that kind of thing is way too rare. As it stands, a rich read with a damn fine cliff hanger. Morrison’s skilled at making the international Batmen feel unique from each other.

Thor is like THE guy to put on covers if you want shit to get real.

Avengers Academy #11

WEIRD pacing in this issue. Like, just throws you right into everything. That said, Diggin The new Raney’Hanna art team, perfect fit for this kind of book. Korvac’s a weird and convoluted character to use in this situation but he works well as a believable threat to all the Avengers teams that show up in the issue. Fun issue all in all.

Witch-ay Woman

Thunderbolts #155

Luke Cage calling Man-Thing his “dawg”: The Best.

Parker gives us a fun Dr.Strange/Luke Cage team up story and introduces something he’s been building up to for alittle while now with Warden Walker. Felt like a short issue, but considering how quickly this book is coming out (FEELS bi-weekly even though it isn’t), I’m ok with that. Thunderbolts is really the big feather in Marvel’s cap in terms of their top, consistent books.

****

So that’s the last two weeks. I’m really going to miss Cornell’s weird little Knight and Squire mini. Strongly considered picking up the Fear Itself prelude Brubaker wrote but these Marvel events make me wish I waited for the collection. Whatever. A good week (fortnight?) for comics, it seems!

HIVE OF SCUM. STRANGE BONERS AFOOT, GENTS.

 

 

 

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COMICS WHAT THAT I READ THIS WEEK (March 2nd, 2011)

After a bunch of smaller weeks, I have 8, EIGHT, comics to review for you. Lets do it to it.

No clue why the last like 5 covers haven't been available online. Mine has a fiery Martian Manhunter

Brightest Day #21

Angsty? Oh Yeah. Stuff’s finally starting to kick up, atleast. This issue largely wraps up the Martian Manhunter plot and it does it…interestingly? The best thing about this issue was the panel of Aquaman’s severed hand laying on the beach!

Resident Evil-y

Secret Six #31

It took forever but we’re finally getting a follow up on the whole “Get out of hell free card” plotline from the first story arc. I dunno, issue was alright. Lot of Johnsian melodrama which, frankly, isn’t what I’m looking for in a book like this. I’m going to give this book until the end of the arc and if it doesn’t pick up, I’m dropping it.

Mignola! Rocket Racoon! Groot! Eeeee!

Annihilators #1

This book is really two books thrown together. The lead’s all about what is essentially a Super Band of cosmic Marvel characters (think “Traveling Wilburys” but with Silver Surfer instead of George Harrison). It’s easy to try and put that label on a number of teams (Morrison’s JLA, for instance) but true Super Bands usually are “off” by nature of their existence. This issue of Annihilators kinda goes along with that and it’s clearly something they’re going to deal with along with this great Dire Wraith/Spaceknights plotline. Second half of the issue is a Groot/Rocket Raccon team up. Timothy Green II’s art is very Aeon Flux-y and suits the goofy tone nicely. Excited to see where both these stories go.

"Listen up all you bopp...zzzz"

Heroes For Hire #4

Kinda hard to believe we’re at issue 4 so quickly. The second book from this weeks one/two punch of Abnett/Lanning and it’s a good ‘un. Gives some much needed focus on the Misty Knight main plot and throws a fun wrench into things with the last page. Love this book.

My eyes hurt.

My eyes hurt.

Avengers Academy #10

Disappointed by the down right Silver Age style cover that misleadingly depicts the inside contents but this was a great issue. Nice closure on that Speedball plot thread, good development with Hazmat and Veil. Pretty sure atleast one of these kids isn’t going to survive the next few issues.

Man-Thing is underappreciated.

Best of The Week: Thunderbolts #154

Man, can we just talk about how gorgeous the ART in this issue is? Frank Martin’s colors are perfect and subdued, Shalvey’s pencils are top notch. Thunderbolts is the best book Marvel’s putting out right now and its nice to get a fun one shot story that takes a break from heavy action and lets Parker kind of spotlight why Man-Thing works so well in this book. I’ve said it before, guy is the only writer I can think of who has a handle on how to use the character.

I just wanna frame all these covers

Incognito: Bad Influences #4

I don’t know what else you can say about this book that hasn’t been said by me in previous weeks. This issue was wonderful and Steranko-esque. Brubaker has a knack for bringing in these villain characters, making them feel human, then shows us something that reminds us how fucked up Zach Overkill’s former world is. Jess Nevins: Still the best scholar in comics.

***

Whew. That’s it. Very good week, all said. Go buy now.

HIVE OF SCUM. BRIGHTEST DAY WILL BE OVER SOON.


The Spider-Man Challenge Day 17: Amazing Spider-Man #16

The Spider-Man Challenge: Monday through Friday, I read a Stan Lee-written issue of Amazing Spider-Man and write crap about it.

You see, Daredevil is blind, so he fights crime with a cane.

Look, I’m going to level with you guys. The mailman brought an enormous stack of cheap tpbs (reviews forthcoming) and the Mattel Peter Venkman figure (review definitely forthcoming) to my doorstep today, so it’s because I love you all so much and that I haven’t retreated into my hermit crab shell and spaced out. But, because I should, because it’s THE RIGHT THING TO DO, and because I promised I would, I bring you today’s issue of Spider-Man.

“Duel With Daredevil”

Writer: Stan Lee

Artist: Steve Ditko

Synopsis: Our issue starts off with Aunt May bugging Peter about calling Mary Jane Watson. Peter says he already has a girlfriend and Aunt May more or less calls him a square.

A 90 year old woman is cooler than you, Peter.

He switches into Spider-Man and gets some fresh air in the city, and is happy to forget about his problems by beating on some nearby robbers. The hoods threaten a blind man standing in their way and Spider-Man swings down and takes them down “like a task force!”. The two men get to talking:

"Yep my life is constant, unyielding darkness! Really, I'm fine!"

The blind man walks into an alley and opens his suit to reveal that he’s actually the costumed crime fighter Daredevil. Using his enhanced senses, he makes some observations about Spider-Man:

Daredevil's classic suit is beautiful in it's hideousness.

Daredevil decides to head back to the offices of Murdock and Nelson, where his alter-ego of Matt Murdock is a lawyer, and uses the trip to helpfully explain to the reader his powers: His sense of hearing, smell, and taste are enhanced to a super-human level and can even “see” the shape of objects with his “radar-like” perception. He changes back to his alter-ego and greets supporting cast members Foggy Nelson (Holy crap Silver Age Foggy is skinny) and secretary/love interest/future-junkie/love interest Karen Page. Foggy and Karen invite Matt to the circus, but he declines out of his secret love for Karen. The focus shifts over to a New York arena, where The Ringmaster and his Circus of Crime are preparing for a big show. The Ringmaster, still sore from his defeat at the hands of The Hulk back in his first appearance, decides to advertise that Spider-Man will be there to draw a crowd (Note: The Ringmaster is apparently an idiot -Max). Peter sees the ad and decides to show up and do the charity show, figuring it’ll give him some good publicity. Peter tells Jonah he’s going and Jonah tells him to get lost and tells him not to take any Spider-Man pictures(“maybe if I stop writing about him, that publicity hound will go to some OTHER city”). Betty invites Peter and Aunt May over to her place for a spaghetti dinner, but Peter has to decline. She sees his circus ticket fall out of his pocket and, as with every issue, becomes upset and accuses him of  seeing another girl.Back at the law firm of Nelson & Murdock, Foggy discovers that Spider-Man will be performing at the circus and Matt decides to join them. Later, Peter notices Matt walk by him at the circus and wonders why his spider-sense is going off, but he brushes it off and gets ready. The Ringmaster tell his stooges to stall the audience until it fills up. Spider-Man comes out and everyone cheers, much to his surprise. He does tricks for the audience and Karen Page wonders how Matt can even appreciate the show. The Ringmaster is surprised to see Spider-Man actually there, but decides to go ahead with the scheme and uses his hypnosis hat on the arena, Spider-Man included.

Still not as weird as Circ du soliel

The only member of the audience not hypnotized is Matt, who quickly changes to Daredevil and confronts The Ringmaster. Ringmaster panics when his hat doesn’t work on Daredevil and orders Spider-Man to attack him. The two fight through out the big top and Daredevil holds his own until he is able to grab the Ringmaster’s hat and use it on Spider-Man.

Here's a fun game: What is the tackiest thing in either panel? There's no wrong answer!

Spider-Man thanks Daredevil for saving him and they take on the entire Circus of Crime. Daredevil notices that Spider-Man has everything well in hand and uses the opportunity to change back to Matt Murdock.

WHAM!

Spider-Man finally chases down The Ringmaster, who tries to hypnotize him again, but is Spider-Man closes his eyes and sock him in the face. He takes the hat and uses it to undo the hypnosis and we get this awesome panel:

He is wearing the shit out of that top hat

The issue ends with the police arriving, Matt giving The Ringmaster his card, and Spider-Man notes that between Betty getting angry and Aunt May’s nagging, “fighting for my life was the most fun I had all day!”.

Synopsis:

  • Not much to say here, really. This is the first time Spider-Man and Daredevil team-up and it’s cool to see where their longstanding friendship emerged from. Daredevil as a 60’s character is pretty mind blowing when you realize he’s one of the first super-heroes with a physical disability. No matter what anyone says, I love that yellow costume. It’s got character.
  • The Ringmaster and the Circus of Crime are great, D-list villains and they’re perfect for stories like this.
  • Spider-Man makes an off-hand reference to Thor in this issue, which I thought was a nice little touch. Marvel really perfected the idea of shared continuity and it feels so natural because of stuff like this.

Final Thoughts: Pretty straight-forward, fun issue and a very good team-up comic. However, tomorrow’s comic is the first Spider-Man annual, featuring The Sinister Six and, man, it fucking rules.

The Spider-Man Challenge Day 14: Amazing Spider-Man #13

"Find out in this book-length epic: 'USE YOUR ILLUSION!'"

“The Menace of…Mysterio!”

Writer: Stan Lee

Artist: Steve Ditko

Synopsis: The issue begins with a bombshell: Spider-Man’s turned to crime!

TEENAGE CRIME WAVE

Everyone is in shock! J. Jonah Jameson has his old Spider-Man editorials reprinted “So everyone can see how right I was!”. Peter sits alone in a classroom and comes to the conclusion that he may be becoming a “split personality?? Like Dr.Jekyll and Mr.Hyde?”. Back at home, Peter keeps dropping dishes! Aunt May comments that he must be worried about something, like their swiftly dwindling mortgage. Peter goes to bed and manages to fall asleep, but wakes up in the morning to discover that Spider-Man has committed yet another crime! Peter, as Spider-Man, decides to drop in on a psychiatrist and we get this profoundly uncomfortable panel:

Spider-Man is wary of the man offering to probe him.

Spider-Man wisely leaves before the doctor can take advantage of him (haha) and Peter ends up at the Daily Bugle. Peter, in an incredible asshole move, snaps at Betty Brant and she’s surprised and hurt. Peter goes to Jonah and asks him for an advance on some photos so he can help with the mortgage. Jonah tells him no dice unless he reveals to him how he gets those great action shots. Peter leaves, switches to Spider-Man, and is nearly killed by a lynch mob! He switches back to his civvies and is chased down by Liz Allan, who flirts with him. Flash shows up and Liz continues to blow him off. Back at The Daily Bugle, the GOB Bluth of Spider-Man foes makes his dramatic first appearance!

AM I NOT BEAUTIFUL TO BEHOLD?

Mysterio declares that he is Mysterio and gives Jameson some written instructions…THAT DISAPPEAR BEFORE HIS VERY EYES.

ILLUSIONS

Peter sees the notice in the paper and Spider-Man meets Mysterio on top of the Brooklyn Bridge. Mysterio attacks him and his tricks make it so that Spider-Man can’t even land a blow.

THE SIXTIES ARE UPON YOU, SPIDER-MAN!

Spider-Man flees, taking comfort in the fact that atleast he knows he isn’t crazy. The next day, Mysterio gets a parade!

This is the happiest moment of Mysterio's life.

Peter, Flash and co watch the parade, but Flash isn’t convinced that Spider-Man’s a crook. At The Bugle, Mysterio arrives for a meet and greet with the staff and Peter manages to slip a spider-tracer onto his cloak. Betty and Peter run into each other and Peter takes off quickly to nab Mysterio. Betty worries that he may be seeing another girl! Spider-Man tracks Mysterio to a “TV Movie studio”. Mysterio disorients and beats Spider-Man again and he takes the opportunity to monologue:

"MYSTERIO/MYSTERIO"

Mysterio was the imposter Spider-Man the entire time and his seemingly magic illusions were gimmicks he created. Spider-Man reveals he’s been recording him this entire time and punches Mysterio so hard HE FLIES INTO THE STUDIO.

Even his falls are over the top!

The two fight through the studio until Spider-Man beats him. He grabs his camera and Mysterio, dropping off the latter at the police station along with his tape recorder. Jameson finds out he was wrong about Mysterio and walks back to his office in shame. He discovers Peter’s photos on his desk and cheers up, but a fed up Spider-Man arrives and once again tells off Jonah for slandering him.

Costumed Hero to Miserly Publisher: "Go screw!"

Costumed Hero to Miserly Publisher: "Go screw!"

Peter comes across Liz and Flash discussing Spider-Man’s innocence and has a laugh at his high school nemesis and his devotion to his super-hero alter ego.

Observations:

  • You know, I forgot how awesome Mysterio is. Ditko’s design just kicks ass and totally plays to his weirdo-strengths. Stuff like the almost constant fog and the eyes on the suit just give off this weird, otherworldy vibe. Lee writes him as this scene-chewing asshole magician and it’s just great.
  • Another important thing about this issue: Liz and Betty get new haircuts!

Betty must've borrowed that outfit from Dana Barrett

That's some Clea hair, man.

  • The thing that really struck me about this issue was how…different Ditko’s art looks. I can’t quite place it, but it feels more detailed. There’s way more close ups, I feel. It’s not bad, just…different. Chalk it up to evolving art styles.

Final Thoughts: Fun villain, fun issue, a classic for sure. Tomorrow: The Enforcers! The Green Goblin! AND The Hulk! Let’s do this!