Weekly Comic Book Discussion 3/03/2005

Looks like CandidGamera is away from his computer this morning, so I’ll start it off, if only so I don’t have to keep refreshing CS to see if it’s been posted yet.

Not much out there this week for me, all I picked up was:

**Ultimate Iron Man #1: ** I’m an Orson Scott Card fan, and this piqued my curiosity. Not too much meat in this one, other than some good Ultimate history. My shop was nice enough to not pull the limited variant cover from their stacks, so I got the cool one, not the freaky Tony-Stark-in-some-sort-of-evil-head-contraption.

Dead Candid, when come back, bring comics.

I went yesterday but didn’t get to read much last night, so I’ll post my thoughts later on.

–Cliffy

I was paging through Sin City during lunch today at the bookstore, and was wondering what the dealio with the title was. Are the various volumes separate stories, do they need to be read in order, etc.? Overstock.com seems to have a dandy pricetag on them, but wanted to check with you folks before I commit. Any insight?

If Hellblazer stands out for having the most bizarre TPB collection in the industry, Daredevil has to win for the most confusing numbering system. I read the hardcover Voluyme 3, which is not the same as the softcover volume 3. But I digress.

It’s no secret I’m not a big fan of costumed superheroes, but Bendis and Maleev on Daredevil write the title close enough to straight noir to lure me. Og, how I’d love to see Bendis pack writing straight noirs, either solo or with Maleev on pencils, but this will do. If this volume proves nothing else, it’s how essential the dark, gritty atmosphere provided by Maleev is for me to enjoy the stories. The fill-in that starts off the volume, while certainly well-executed, threw me out of the stories and back into the “shiney, happy superpeople place” that doesn’t do much for me.

Anyway, while I preferred the more Sopranos-ish vibe of the previous volume, this one worked well enough for me despite the presence of more costumed characters like The Owl and Typhoid Mary. There are plenty of moral dilemmas, believable character reactions, and logical plotting to keep it going. The pacing works fine for a TPB, but must have been torturous to read in singles.

Munch, I haven’t read all of the Sin City trades, but what I have read have all been stand-alones. The original Sin City, Sin City: The Big Fat Kill, and Sin City: That Yellow Bastard, are pretty widely regarded as the outstanding volumes in the series. I don’t know if I’ve ever heard anyone say nice things about Family Album, but can’t comment on it firsthand. Thanks for the heads-up on the Overstock, deal. I’ve been reading other people’s copies and really need my own, at least of my personal favorite, The Big Fat Kill.

To add on, you can read the Sin City volumes in any order, but you’ll pick things up as you read more and more. Some characters from one story will appear in another, presumably on their way to the events that will transpire in their own character arcs, and you’ll realize that the stories don’t necessarily take place chronologically. For example, A Dame To Kill For, a story featuring Dwight (and another one I like, besides the ones Selkie mentioned), takes place before the original Sin City (Marv’s story) even though the original Sin City came out first. The Big Fat Kill (another Dwight story) came out third and takes place third chronologically, but it should stand alone too. There are references to the different stories in each one, but by the time you read all three, you’ll piece the timeline together, and figure out who’s supposed to be alive and who’s dead. Long story short, they all stand up fine on their own, so don’t worry.

Sorry, folks, our internet access went down here before I got around to the usual thread. Thanks for starting it up, Munch.

No problem, ya slacker.

DEAR! DEAR! (See above.)

–Cliffy

Selkie, Marvel’s oversize HC’s are means to be more substantial than the TPB’s, which is why the spine numbering is different – the New X-Men HC’s, f’rinstance, for which I sometimes wake up in the middle of the night yearning desparately,* take three volumes to tell the whole story, which is in I think seven volumes in TPB.

–Cliffy

  • I’d never be able to resist were it not for the several issues worth of crappy art. Sigh.

I got Firestorm #11 - Ronnie Raymond is still around in this title, and I’ll read for a few more issues to see if they’ll drop this other guy and just bring back Ronnie already… GI Joe : Reloaded #13; Nodwick #27; Exiles #60 - Beak suddenly vanishes from the Exiles group during this issue, and one can only hope he vanished from the entire multiverse. Why, oh why is Marvel revisiting the Age of Apocalypse? It was a cute diversion. It’s done. Oh, wait, I forgot, Marvel’s stripmining whatever they can for ideas these days. IDentity Disk? Pfft. Shanna the She-Devil #2 - Mmmm… Shanna. Oh, no. “We named her after a comic book character.” Bad Cho! Bad Writer! Doctor Spectrum #5 - pales in comparison to Supreme Power, but I like it nonetheless.

Cliffy. I figured that was the case, but the lack of subtitles can wreak havoc with on-line ordering. At least with X-Force, both the softcovers and hardcovers had subtitles so you could clearly determine what you were buying. Daredevil’s not making it nearly that easy, and I can’t for the life of me figure out what Marvel’s thinking.

Ok, how about a title that most people won’t know?
From A.C. Comics, Mystery Men.

It’s a title that every stone cold Golden Age Freak (like me) will love-little known characters from various defunct comics publishers are reprinted. Sadly, it’s only a black & white title, but the early days of comics are unpretentious fun, & a serious geek, who loves the history of comics, can’t pass this title up. This month, an adventure tale from Gardner Fox!

Hear hear.

Also that Lex Luthor book was excellent: a Luthor that’s smart and nuanced. He’s not Kingpin lite or a wimpy version of Mephisto (that one Byrne story where Luthor apparently has nothing better to do with his time than drive around torturing waitresses.

And I give up on Knights of the Dinner Table. What was once a truely funny book is now just proof that 'art by comittee" never works. Plus, it’s getting too damned big–I’m tired of paying for all that extra gaming crap–all I want is the comic dammit.

Fenris

Deadshot #4- More gun-fu goodness. Also a Jonah Hex reference. I womder how they’ll wrap this up. I like this series because Floyd is presented as a villain doing good for once, not a hero. And he’s too cool a villain to reform or kill, so what’s left to do?

Lex Luthor #1: I too like this Lex. Maybe next issue he’ll do something. I hope they’ll remember that he is a bad guy.

I also picked up the fist Y: The Last Man trade. Holy crap! That’s really good!

Hell yeah. It only gets better. (Well, OK, “One Small Step” isn’t better, but it’s nonetheless good.)

–Cliffy

Finally got around to finishing:

Fables: The Mean Seasons (vol. 5) – This was great. Fables has always IMO been very good ideas with workmanlike execution (and sometimes less than workmanlike). The main story in this volume, though, hit all the right notes. There’s also a one-shot about Cinderalla and a two ish story of Bigby in WWII, but “The Mean Seasons” is the most important story here. (Spoilers) I’d never seen a change of administration handled that way in fiction – when Charming won the election I figured either some deus ex machina or a cunning plan from Bigby would keep him and Snow in their jobs at least. But no – even though they don’t want to leave, they simply spend a few issues trying to prepare their successors for the job, then they move on. Just like in the real world. Of course, the real meat here is the mystery. I figured it out well before the characters did, which the reader is supposed to (Willingham gives you enough clues), but just because you know what’s going on doesn’t mean there are any easy answers – quite the opposite. Heart-rending. This arc is the best this title has ever been.

–Cliffy

Despite reading fewer and fewer “superhero” comics, I’ve been very tempted by Deadshot. I guess I always liked the guy’s costume, and the fact that he’s such a badass (although I never read Ostrander’s Suicide Squad or the first Deadshot miniseries from the late '80s). How many issues are in this miniseries, and would you mind giving me a short “pitch” for it? Also, do you think there’s any chance DC would release a TPB of it?

What happens when the assasin with a deathwish finds out he has something to live for?

Stone cold asassin Floyd Lawton finds out that he has a daughter he never knew about, living in the Triangle, a neighborhood in Star City continually fought over by three gangs. He moves in and attempts to clean things up, mostly by killing everything in sight.

It’s a five issue series (#4 came out this week), and only the first two are directly about his one man war. The rest concern his attempts to hold it, and reconcile his lifestyle with the fact that he has a daughter, and a reason to not wander the globe, killing until something kills him. Green Arrow and a bunch of C-list villains also drop in. It’s not a modern classic, but it’s a fun read in the anti-hero/ urban combat genre.

I should hope so. I just ordered the first three TPB (I’ll pass on the extra to a friend, remember kids, recruitment is the key to keeping the industry alive!) and a few loose issues from the fourth volume from E-Bay.

OK, I dig this, if only because I like stories about villains acting like normal people, rather than twisting their mustaches 24-7 and prattling about taking over the world. I am a sucker for villains being forced to play the hero (or at least act with honor) or team up with heroes, so I’ll check it out.