Weekly Comic Book Discussion 9/1/2005

Here 'tis.

Wha… Huh? finally shipped, yay!

Everyone who got fooled last week, the real new issue of Wonder Woman is out today…

Wha…Huh? Wha… Huh? What is that?

Flash #226: Barry pops in for an all-to-brief appearance. The next writer has huge shoes to fill.

Green Lantern #4: A quick glimpse at the new corps. I can understand why the Guadarians wouldn’t want Hal around and why they would want Kyle and Kilowag, but Guy? I guess we’ll find out next month. No sign of the F Sharp Bell in the crowd. I like that guy.

Freshmen #2: Finally. At least it was worth the wait. Read the Behind the Scene blurb on The Quaker.
I also read JLA #27 and #28 earlier today. #27 contains the infamous “thigh cheese” line from Guy. #28 features a few Human Torch jokes as Fire (with coaching/scolding from Barda) learns her new powers. It also features not-Nabu going though Blue Beetles thoughts, the inspiration for the awesome cover (BB in a sea of fantasy women).

Ahh, Young Avengers 6 is finally out. I can relax a little. :slight_smile:

Letters page, as always, was interesting. I wonder if the gay relationship will gain the title more readers than it costs?

This week I finally took the opportunity to read The Bunny Suicides and Return of the Bunny Suicides, which I’ve heard praised on several message boards. Both books are exactly what I’d been led to expect: inventive, sickly funny, and very quick reads.

What’s Michael?: The Ideal Cat is like all the other books in the series I’ve read - and for once, that’s a compliment. The author’s deep appreciation for, and understanding of, our feline companions shows through on every amusing page. From the photogrpaher stalking the wiley alley cat in search of the perfect photo, to the wonderful swipe at the dangers inherent in apartment complexes that don’t permit cats, it’s a great little read.

Days Like This tells the story of the formation of a 1960’s band consisting of three young black women, and the impact of their success on the relationships among not only the girls and their families, but also between husbands and wives. It’s a love letter to an era, and while I enjoyed it, I’m sure it’s even more beloved by people with an interest in that time and movement. Good stuff.

Although not technically a comic in the strictest sense, I’ll take this opportunity to plug the Visions in Poetry illustrated rendition of The Highwayman, on the shakey basis that my public library racks it with the GNs. This book is one absolutely gorgeous work, with the unaltered text of the poem illustrated with sumptuous paintings of the events set in an art deco New York. Painter Murray Kimber reveals in the afterword that each painting took approximately 40 days to complete, and it shows. Absolutely beautiful to look at, and each graphic page could stand alone as an album poster. Highly recommended.

Astonishing X-Men #12: Well, that kinda just… ended. That’s Xavier’s big secret? I mean, it’s pretty bad, but it’s also not much.

Green Lantern #4: Already? Anyway, great issue. Hammond is mucho creepy. What’s his backstory? And… The Shark? Didn’t he used to have an invisible yellow aura?

Flash #225: Ha! So called it. It’s interesting how many loose ends Johns left for the next writer (or perhaps himself on other titles). Especially Boomer’s mother (and I’m not sure how that gets him speed). good wrap-up. The next guy has big shoes to fill, but I said the same after Waid.

Superman #219: Completing my run of “Sacrifice”. A nice wind-up to what was to come. If I had seen it first, it would have made the whole thing very shocking.

Shining Knight #4: Huh. Didn’t see that coming. A bit disappointed that they’re leaving us hanging. This has been the weakest of the series so far, despite the cool Arthurian stuff, primarily because it’s the closest to the Sheeda metaplot

JLA Classified #11: A bit filler, but cool filler.

Wonder Woman #220: More fallout from Sacrifice, and the breakup of SM, BM and WW. Looks like Diana is going to run with the idea of “human monsters,” that can be justifiably killed just as real monsters such as Medusa can be. Takes place before

Kitty Pryde - Shadow & Flame #3: Continues it’s solid run with an issue that is mostly a fight scene, but it’s a good fight scene so I don’t mind. I’m really enjoying this.

House of M #5: The plot sickens as more heroes have their memories returned to them. Spidey says that he’ll kill Magneto because he wouldn’t be able to help himself. Wolvie says not to worry cause he’ll get there first. The end shows Magneto standing next to a boulder with a plaque that reads “Xavier Memorial Garden He died so Genosha could live.” Very interesting stuff. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens at the end of the series. Betcha Magneto dies again (Figured that wasn’t a spoiler since he dies every weekend anywho).

Astonishing X-Men is out and my local comic book store didn’t carry it? For shame. I’ll have to swing by my local grocer and grab the issue and a bag of fresh donut holes while I’m there. Maybe Amazing Spider Man will be out as well.

Given the brief appearance of a member of the Gotham supporting cast, I can see how people might think Catwoman #46 was suppose to come out earlier, as well as be a Villains United tie-in, but with all the books involved in the DC Crossovers, there were bound to be scheduling screw ups, so I can excuse’em so long as the number of them doesn’t reach endemic proportions. At this rate it won’t be hard, 'cause I’m less likely to buy very many of them after the “Sacrifice” and “War Crimes” story arcs.

Now that we’re three issues into Pfieffer and Woods run on this title, I have to say I still really like Anderson’s colors over Woods pencils and inks. The storytelling is fine and the individual panels, and the coloring/lighting looks real good. However, I’m sorry to say I have pretty mixed feelings about Pfieffer’s writing. I enjoy what she’s doing with the interaction between Selina and Holly, the Alleytown kids, and the relationship Brubaker previously established between Capt. Cold and Selena Kyle. I still have problems with the main plot thread: criminals nationwide were already aware Selena’s East End was up for grabs. Thus the whole encounter with Hush wasn’t necessary. Nor have I seen any reason, yet for why she chose to trust him, halfway, two issues back. That never made sense given their history. If i decide to continue buying the book, it’ll be interesting to see who generates more suspense with their under cover story, Pfieffer on Catwoman or Greyson on Nightwing.

While not quite as interesting and consistantly entertaining as the last two issues, I liked Robin #141. The silent, stealthy breakout at the Veteran’s compound definitely points to some kind of Villians United tie- in which could be pretty interesting. And i really enjoyed Connor Kent’s scenes this issue, though Tim Drake’s scheme this issue really isn’t quite up to Willingham’s usual standard on this title. As for the plot thread involving Darla Aquista, I find it kind of hard-hearted of Tim to treat her this way. If he gave her a bit of a break on the attempt on Connor/Robin’s life, the very same people he could contact to subdue her (the Phantom Stranger, Zatanna? Jason Blood?) could also free her of Johnny Warlock’s dark spell and murderous influences. All I can assume is Willingham has plans for her becoming a recurring member of Tim’s personal Rogues Gallery.

The second part of Ellis’ “New Maps of Hell” storyarc, in JLA Classified #11, makes me feel as I wish I did reading Alex Ross’ Justice which felt ponderous compared to this story, which is both light and iconic at the same time. And the spped with which they mobilize recalls both Ellis’ Authority as well as his Global Frequency. The central role played by dangerous magical letterforms here makes me half expect someone like the Phantom Stranger, Jason Blood or Zatanna will show to help the big guns deal with the new threat. And I’d love to see much more of Guice’s art on a superbook. If Marvel really wanted someone to maintain the feel Hitch has lent the Ultimates, Guice is clearly the man to hire. (After Crossgen, he could probably use the break.) What is he working on these days? (Is the art here as old as the script?)

I love Jonn’s line: “I hear you all” - you can just hear it echo in everyone’s mind.

The abortive raid in Captain America Vol 5 #9 did feel a bit like Brubaker and Lark were treading water this week, but I think it served a purpose, giving the creative team time to move forward some subplots, the bickering nature of Cap and Sharon’s relationship, raise the fear of Sharon capping the Winter Soldier before Cap gets his answers, or that Nick might kick off an international incident by prematurely capping Lukin. At first I had trouble believing the current administration wouldn’t approve a strike against a suspected terrorist on the flimsiest of evidence and vague, unsubstantiated theories. It just didn’t make gel with reality until we found out the administration and American oil concerns were negotiating with Lukin. Then it all made sense.

As for Michael Lark’s work, I agree it wasn’t the best of fits, but I think that’s a function of our expectations. We expect a look more akin to Eptings on a character like the good Captain, though in terms of storytelling, Lark fits Brubaker, like Phillips on Brubaker, or Mazzuchelli on Miller’s Batman or Daredevil. I have to disagree with the argument that the story could have used a brighter, color palette. I think that would clash with Lark’s style here. Perhaps if the colors were richer, like the coloring in Gotham Central.

I flipped through Young Avengers #6 at the shop. Looking forward to reading this carefully in trade paperback. (Speaking of the shop, where the hell was Body Bags Fathers Day #2? I can’t believe my store didn’t get this! Bummer.)

Haven’t gotten through Solo: Jordi Bernet #6, Supreme Power #18 and Wha…Huh? yet. Looking forward to seeing Bernet’s work again. I loved what little I was able to find of his Torpedo and Betty By the Hour in translation.

Doom Patrol 15: I wonder if Byrne wrote this knowing that he wouldn’t have the series much longer. All previous story arcs have covered two issues; this one is the first self-contained story. The actual story is strikingly unoriginal and uninteresting (and the DP come off as completely ineffectual and extraneous to the action)–it’s all the stuff that’s going on around the main plotline that is at least mildly diverting here. Byrne is finally getting around to the issue of Cliff’s painkillers, a thread that has been dangling unmentioned for nearly a year, as well as addressing a couple of other loose ends. And one thing that has bugged me all along about Byrne’s DP is that it seems to be aimed at younger readers. So what do we get in this issue: a boobie joke and a dick joke. (An ethnic dick joke no less.) Is this Byrne’s way of being “adult”?

Also purchased: Shining Knight #4 (whoa!) and Neverwhere #3 (didn’t I see Door’s father in Topsy-Turvy?).

Hey, I don’t have time to read my comics until tommorow but Kyle Rayner is the Green Lantern in Ellis’ JLA Classified, right? Not John Stewart or Hal Jordan because if it is I’ll be pissed.

I meant if it isn’t Kyle I’ll be pissed.

I disagree. I think that what he did was inexcusable, given that
she was alive and he knew

He was this guy who found a meteor that super-evolved things. He went and stood by it and got a '50s style future BIG HEAD (and was paralyzed as a side effect). He’s got high grade psychic powers, he can project emotions, IIRC, he can make mental illusions, etc. He’s probably in the top five of Hal’s rogue’s gallery (Star Sapphire, Sinestro, Sonar (or Doctor Polaris), the Shark and Hammond)

He also used to hang around with a guy called (God help us) “Bill Baggett” who’s power was that his will power was considerably higher than Hal’s and he could take control of the ring from a distance.

It’s Kyle. The story seems to be set somewhere around the Morrison era of JLA. Oracle’s a full member, Luthor’s the president, and Kyle is the Green Lantern in question.

Myself, I’m a Hal man now. Especially now now as written by Johns. The stuff I’ve read with him before pretty much gave him “generic Silver-Age superhero personality” (“warmer than Joe Friday, less funny than Rob Petrie”), long after such a thing was fashionable.

Now Hal’s badass. Bad Ass. Without being an asshole (like Guy, I HATE Guy) or a sadist (like the lesser portrayals of Batman or the Punisher).

It’s not a fair contest, I admit. Kyle never had anyone of Johns’ caliber writing him solo (Morrison did a lot for Kyle in JLA, but there’s only so much room in a team book).

Astonishing X-men #12 - This second arc was pretty ho-hum, and Xavier’s “big secret” was a gigantic yawn. That’s it? I was expecting to find out something really hairy, not a nitpicking, hair-splitting question of ethics.

Shining Knight #4 - Wow, Justin’s a chick! Never saw that one coming. Still, not a very satisfactory wrap-up. I guess we’re really going to have to wait for all of the other books and then the big #1 issue next April before any of this stuff really starts to come together in a meaningful way.

New Avengers #9 - Is now my favorite book on shelves. The writing is just killer, and the art is phenomenal. I’m curious to see where this whole Sentry thing is going - I’m re-reading my trade of the original Sentry series to get the context again.

Wha…Huh? Was nice, but I’d hoped for a little more punch after waiting so long.
**
Wonder Woman** - Not bad. Good ‘aftermath’ issue.
**
JLA : Classified** - Meh. I’m waiting to be impressed.

Somebody spoil Astonishing X-Men for me?

Shining Knight - yawn … wow, so he’s a girl. If this were somehow foreshadowed or made relevant in the preceding issues, that could be an interesting twist.

Young Avengers - Hee. Stature? They’re really running low on names. I wonder how much this book will get screwed up in the post-M Marvel U.
**
New Avengers** - Very very nicely done, with regard to the Sentry.

Green Lantern - Wonderful. Sets up the new Corps nicely.

Flash - Love the writing, hate the art. Some of the panels are really sketchy.

Supreme Power - A nice conclusion. Oh, I realize they’re spinning it off into two minis, then relaunching as a Marvel Knights title, but since that’ll mean softpedaling it, I’m done.
**
Invincible** - Finally got last weeks’. I loved the extra pages - nice origin blurbs.

Powers - Also has extra pages this week - seeming to consist entirely of an extended letters column. Whatever.

New Books for August 21, 2005, Part II:

Solo #6: Jordi Bernet A sharp, biting collection of shorts, all the more appreciated after the disappointments of “War Crimes”, “Sacrifice” and other Countdown spin-offs. A reminder of how much a good storyteller can pack into so few pages. I particularly appreciated the dark undercurrent running underneath most of the stories, in particular the Poison Ivy and Batman story. Such skewed looks at a characters sexual psychology are fairly common in European comics, but almost unheard of on these politically correct shores.

JMS’s parodies of the Preseident speaking to the nation, and the varied audiences’ responses made for a humorous start to Hyperion’s dramatic declaration of independence in Supreme Power #18. I guess with Hyperion and Nighthawk heading up their own miniseries soon, the focus in the main title will shift to the new heroes they introduced so swiftly this issue. And don’t the Major & his Fish Lady come off as so domestic? It’s almost as though the honeymoon is already over. A pretty satisfactory read overall.

I don’t have much to add to what’s already been said about Wha Huh #1, ‘cept that armed with 30+ years of background reading comics, I caught a lot of the in jokes, which produced chuckles, if not outright laughter most of the time. Bits like the identity crisis parody fell flat: other, shorter, sharper jokes like “what if Wolverine really appeared in every marvel title?” worked fine. Very much a mixed bag. The gags about internet message boards like this one felt like an act of payback which lost a bit of it’s edge when I recalled how marvel almost never published highly critical letters back in ’65, ’75, and ‘85.

That’s it for this week,… anyone else?

They fight the Sentinel for a while. Emma disappears to talk with a shadowed figures about her “facade”. Beast seems to go a bit feral while fighting Danger. Ultimately, Colossus throws Kitty into the Sentinel, where she unlocks it’s memory of the Genosha massacre. As the Sentinel was now “alive” thanks to Danger, it felt guilty about killing everyone and flew off. In the aftermath, it’s revealed that Xavier had always been aware that the Danger Room was alive but felt that it was a necessary evil, which pisses everyone off. The final page reveals that the shadowed figures Emma was speaking with were Sebastian Shaw and a new Hellfire Club.

Thanks!

Astonishing X-Men:

[spoiler]Any guesses on who the person in the purple cloak is? I’m guessing it’s not Spoiler, raised from the dead in the wrong universe.

This arc was pretty ho-hum, but it was vintage Whedon. The father figure disappoints his “children” with his fallibility? Scott & Emma’s ill-advised relationship threatened by her hidden side? Must be Tuesday.[/spoiler]

I only read *Astonishing * and *Flash * last night, but I have a pretty big stack waiting for me at lunch today.

Also, I’m seeing a screening of Serenity tonight. Shiny! :smiley: