Weekly Comic Book Discussion 9/14/2005

Does anyone have their books yet? Mine have been purchased but still await me across town. Oh, accursed workday, when will you finally end?

Heh–when I was at my LCS, the owner invited me to “Byrne-steal”* All Star Batman and Robin since he knew I wasn’t going to buy it. Holy hell, this was bad.

I’ve got both issues of “Brother Power, The Geek”. I’ve read MLJ super-hero comics (The Mighty Crusaders), I’ve got every appearance of The Green Team. I have Tom Holt (?) Super Green-Beret. Hell, I’ve even got the pre-Marvel issues of Street Poet Ray and none of them compare in badness to this steaming pile of puke.

I’m gonna spoiler box stuff just in case, but really there’s nothing that could spoil this load of crap.

  1. Batman apparently drives Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang? Um. Doods? That’s not cool, that’s stoopid. And I’m the guy who complains that we don’t have more “Mort Weisinger-esque” stories. But even lame '50s Batman would be embarrassed to drive that monstrosity.

  2. And Chitty-Chitty-Bat-Bat has a Saturn 5 rocket (based on the blast effect) built into the back so they can go stratospheric in seconds?

  3. And Batman doesn’t hesitate to murder a TON of cops with the blast effect of the Saturn 5 rocket going off?

  4. And Bats hits the traumatized kid like, what? three times in 20 pages?

  5. And everyone talks in terse little sentences?

  6. Or fragments?

  7. And stuff is repeated and repeated? We get told like 4 times that Robin’s parent’s brains were on his shoes (or whatever it was)

  8. And (IIRC) Batman calls people “retards”? What, he’s in 3d grade?

How did this slip past DC? Hell, after the (apparent) sales disaster that was Dark Knight 2, how or why would DC ever let Frank Miller touch one of their properties again?

This just sucked.

On the other hand, there’s a spiffy little indie title called “The Oz-Wonderland Chronicles” that so far is fantastic. Great art, tightly plotted story, high level of attention to detail.
*“Byrne-steal”–per my Local Comic Shop, apparently Byrne, in one of his rants, had a hissyfit saying that anyone who read a comic in a comic show was robbing from the creator (not the store).

Is this the place to ask this?

In the one-off Spike: Old Times (set in the Buffyverse)…exactly when does this take place? It has to be post-souling, but is it after Season 5 of Angel. too?

I think Peter David said it was not too long after the incident at Dawn’s birthday party (BtVS 6.14). Given Halfrek’s destruction in BtVS 7.5 and Spike’s insanity for the first half of Season 7, it’s got to be somewhere in the end of Season 6. I read it, but I can’t remember if Spike mentions having a soul yet. And of course, no word on why he’s in L.A. Overall, I wasn’t that impressed with the book, though the art was pretty nice.

Heh. Byrne-Steal. I’m gonna use that one. I Byrne-Stole Firestorm (nothing impressive, would ahve been unintelligible if I wasn’t reading VU, which sucks for its fans) and Action Comics (very cool, I wonder just how deep Psycho’s got his claws into Adam) myself this week. Byrne-stealing is tolerated at my shop, but the last time I put someone in a Byrne-Lock, I was asked to leave the premises.

I’m glad to see I made the right decision when I passed on All-Star Batman and Robin (I HATED #1). He actually *hit *Robin? That’s the point I would have fired Miller. Then taken a shower.

Aside from that, a very light week for me:

JLA #118: Aquaman holding his own! Yay! Loved the use of Zatanna. I can’t wait for teh climax.

Rann-Thanagar War #5: Wha? Why did she… Huh? I don’t understand Kommand’r’s plan at all. Aside from that, solid stuff. Loved the GL business.

I wouldn’t have read it anyway, but the cover of All-Star Batman featuring Bats towering over Robin hit in the “Just plain wrong” part of my brain. It reminds me of the superdickery cover with Supes undressing in front of a crying child. : shudder :

JSA #77: The first issue of JSA to leave me cold. Maybe it was the lack of PG, SG, and JJ in the story. I can’t help but feel that that was just filler and Johns is marking time 'til Inf-Cri. Even the art felt off to me.

Firestorm #17: I’ve had better. It sucks that Jason is using his powers just for nuclear blasts as opposed to the nuclear alchemy I came to know and love from Ronnie and Martin. Still, not bad. I loved Teth Adam calling Jason Firestorm’s “Baston.” I’ll pick up the next one, if just for the OMAC tie-in, but I haven’t been hooked yet.

JLA #118: Didn’t see Zee’s actions coming, but they make sense. Loved seeing Wondy and Supergirl. I might need to Byrne-steal the latest Wonder Woman to see the showdown between Wondy and Bats. Also loved the rationale behind the votes. Look! Its’ Aquaman and he’s doing stuff! The image of Desparo’s nails under J’onn’s skin won’t be leaving me anytime soon. Ouch.

She-Hulk #12: And on that day, fat comic book geeks saved New York city (-There’s a huge metahuman brawl going on blocks from here. Aren’t you guys going to flee? -Nah, they never kill the main character. Maybe a secondary character to pull at a few heartstrings.). I can’t wait for this series to come back (December, right?).
Rann-Thanagar shipped? I need to go back for Action Comics, but I didn’t see R-T.

Thanks for getting it started.

I picked up All-Star Batman and Robin - ow. I feel less sane for having read it. It’d be sort of entertaining, if it weren’t Batman. Green Arrow was pretty interesting - we get a little bit of time with Dr. Light II. Thunderbolts was awesome - the “credits” page completely disses House of M, and we get right back into Purple Man Showcase.

Nightwing - Uh… wow. If this is on the level, this is seriously interesting. Fantastic Four Presents : Franklin Richards - Son of a Genius - cute and cartoony. Firestorm - Not half-bad, really. Looks like he’s made contact with the disembodied Professor Stein out in the void…** Majestic** - I really love this book. Action - Heh heh. Rocking on all cylinders. Especially the Bizarro subplot.

Rann-Thanagar War - The crap’s hitting the fan. Our heroes are gathered - we learn a new use for the GL rings, and a hero dies! JSA - Airwave pops by, and we get nods to each of the mini-crises. JLA - Wow. I really enjoyed this this month, and the ending is just kinda scary. Fables - Incredible as usual.

I got two Hellblazer trades, marked down to half price: Dangerous Habits (the story the Constantine movie was loosely based on) and Fear and Loathing, the first two Garth Ennis TPBs.

Then my store hooked me up with the new DC Direct Captain Atom action figure (for free), the final component of a big trade we pulled off last week. Cap has stubby arms because he’s based on Ed McGuinness’ puffed-up art style, but he won’t look too out of place in the back row of my Justice League International display.

JLA #118 - sold out at my LCS, goddammit. I don’t understand this shit. Why would issue 4 of a five-issue story arc be the one to sell out? So all I got was Rann-Thanagar which, like the whole series, left me kind of cold.

I knew they were going to regret trusting Komand’r.

See, I’m so pissed about missing JLA that I can’t even code.

JLA 118: The bit between Wonder Woman and Zatanna was absolutely perfect - and Diana’s comments summed up my thoughts on their actions. (See also Wally’s comment before Zee split.)

The bit where the League was going to speak to J’onn…I’ll repeat my objection from #115 - WHITE MARTIANS!!! Granted, most of the people in the room at the time weren’t around for the White Martians, but Superman and Flash were.

About the end…

The eyes, the chess references…I’m beginning to wonder if Despero manipulated Max into diverting Checkmate into OMAC…

That’s the only new one I’ve read yet, but I had to make my comments, so I rushed here to post as soon as I finished.

That was different. That was an execution, Martian-style, after they’d had their day in (Martian) court (remember, they’d already been exiled to the Phantom Zone, J’onn’s alternative was hardly worse). This would be meddling with their minds simply because it would be inconvenient not to.

I can buy the apparent contradiction here. There’s been several indication that the Martian view on mind-tampering is nuanced. It’s their highest crime, and their highest punishment (see also Malefic). Rather like our view on killing, really.

New Books for Sept.14, 2005.

Previously, when writing about Johnson, Williams and Fisher’s “Snow” story arc in BM: LoDK, I’ve emphasized Fisher’s quirky rendering, but I also have to praise Johnson and Williams for the way they’ve fleshed out the individual members of the young Batman’s earliest team of operatives, and the teams gradual unraveling under fire, in Batman: LEGENDS OF THE DARK KNIGHT #195. Very well done overall. Recommended.

Most of the action in DESOLATION JONES #3 was taken up by an informative interview between Michael Jones and a porn star who often finds herself playing “mother hen” to new girls on the set… It’s so interesting that I found myself wondering how much research Ellis put into day-to-day life in the L.A. porn industry for their dialogue this issue, as well as the precise nature of Jones’ botched “enhancements”. Interesting stuff. Recommended.

P&G confirm a bit plot twist hinted in HAWKMAN #43, with Charlie Parker, the Golden Eagle and “new” Hawkman, showing unexpected menace and the unkillable Carter Hall on the “road to revenge”. That revelation that Parker may have been behind the year-long assault the Hawks have endured, actually caught me off guard. That plus the big catfight between Hawkgirl and Satana (my favorite P&G revamp), makes HAWKMAN #44 the happy surprise of the week. Recommended.

Valenov, the former Soviet Rocketman search for the girl he suspects might be genetically enhanced product of the old Soviet super soldier program, by infiltrating the Brooklyn mafiya in WINTER MEN #2. On the whole it’s a decent enough continuation of the intriguing story set up last issue. This issue featured a couple of nicely executed twists. With a little bit more humor, sex and violence, this mystery story could be as good as Brubaker’ and Philips’ Sleeper. Recommended.

Jim Lee’s exciting pencils are the main reason to pick up ALL STAR BATMAN & ROBIN #2 this week. Particularly good is the way he renders Batman’s rapidly shifting moods, and the suprising use of a flying Batmobile as a weapon against corrupt Gotham cops. The problem is Miller’s crazed characteriation of the character, which is closer to his Batman: Dark Knight STrikes Again than his much lauded Batman Year One shocks, and ultimately distracts from the story. Becoming Batman is crazy enough, but if Bruce Wayne was this loony early on in his career (as opposed to driven in Johnson, Williams and Fisher’s “Snow” Arc, discussed above) a compassionate Alfred would have had him committed ages ago. I’m not sure how long I can hang on to this all too wild ride.

FRANKLIN RICHARDS #1 - Not quite the “Calvin & Hobbes” meet the Fantastic Four laugh riot I had hoped for but an enjoyable, if light read. Makes for a nice break given the high drama of the other titles I picked up this week. Would make a good kids’ book, as well, if your child knows the basics of FF continuity.

Aquaman shows up to help out a flailing Jonn Jon’z[ take on Despero in JLA #118, on the whole, a decently scripted continuation of the ongoing “Crisis of Conscience” DC Countdown spin-off arc. Yet, while I enjoyed the confrontation between Superman and the “Satellite Era” League and Zatanna’s conversations with Supergirl and Wonder Woman on Paradise Isle, I can’t deny there’s something static about his storytelling that drains the potential drama from many scenes in the story. We really should be feeling more here. I hope he does something about it in the last two parts of the story.

An icy cold Agent Graves checks in on Jack Daw’s progress from junkie to bare=knuckle boxer in 100 BULLETS #64. Having gotten used to the heavy intrigue of the last few issues, it was hard to shift gears and accept so little happening in this issue. I found myself really straining for some clue why Graves is keeping Jack in reserve, esp. now that Lono, Loop and Victor are out there somewhere, killing off members of the Trust. I wonder if the bit about hard heads and hard hearts presages a showdown between Jack and Lone. We’ll see.

As ever, it’s good to see Grifter and Zealot looking a bit more like their old selves in WILDCATS NEMESIS #1 (There’s even a nicer, more solid looking Zealot in Majestic #9 this month, though precious little seems to happen in that issue.) However, the new protagonist, an outcast Kheran who was raised Coda, seems awfully generic as a character. I will likely check out the next issue to see more glimpses of Khera in flashback next issue. (I’ve generally enjoyed seeing how Abnett and Lanning have built on Alan Moore’s take on Khera in Majestic and am curious to see what Robbie Morrison does with it, but other than that As yet I see no compelling reason to give a damn about Nemesis and her lifelong crusade against Kherans in general.

Rann-Thanagar War # 5 Other than Komand’r’s betrayal and Hawkwoman’s death, it didn’t seem much happened in this issue. Hopefully the final issue will be a worthy payoff.

JSA # 77 A catch-your-breath issue. Nothing happening (except to Air Wave, who absolutely no one was wondering what he was up to beforehand), a meeting with Donna Troy popping up out of nowhere, and terrible art to boot. The penciller here was Jim Fern, who I remember only from a few issues of L.E.G.I.O.N. which were an island of suckitude in a sea of beautiful Barry Kiston art.

Basically, a week that made me go “meh.”

Rann-Thanagar War #5: : Shrug : I don’t really care about Hawkwoman that much. You’d think a GL freak like me would love Kyle and Kilowag rebuilding a planet, but it didn’t do much for me.

Action Comics #831: Could have done without the Zoom/Bizzaro race, but pretty good. I loves me some Teth Adam. Nice to see a fight between Supes and a SHAZAM powered foe that didn’t use SHAZAM lightning. Then again Adam was holding back. Hate the cover though. Adam’s face looks like somebody attempted to carve Sinestro’s face out of a potato.

Almost forgot. Don’t know if anyone else here is a Something Positive fan, but they took a swipe at Liefeld a couple days also. See the second frame. Not the funniest thing in the world, but it made me smile.