Thursday, June 24, 2010


Well, hell, I forgot to celebrate the solstice. I owe myself a pagan feast or something. It is also the 21st anniversary of Tim Burton and Michael Keaton’s second collaboration opening in theaters. I went and saw that one a few times. But enough of all that, let’s dance!

AVENGERS #2 – I love everything about this book, it’s even better than last month, which totally took me by surprise and walloped me. Really, just all of a sudden sliding in as ultimate flagship book for this particular corporate entity, which, given the shared history between the creative team and the franchise, that all of a sudden we’ve branded it an old name from I think the 30s and then all of a sudden started slinging six times sicker thunder than everybody, including your beloved narrator, had right to expect when tuning into Bendis’s first Avengers issue seven years ago, which, now that I think about it, was a serious Base-10 milestone, #500. But, the book. So much to say. BRJW is on fire. I love the respect that Noh-Varr got, how buddy-buddy Robert Downey, Jr. got with him, the page of rookies Bucky and Maria questioning the old guys, totally failed to glimpse that potential dynamic last issue, Parker, always with Bendis spinning the words for Parker, and of course that double-pg spread and just the way he weighs the beats, old Brian Michael is absorbing up into a pretty scary master of the form with every passing month, page, and word. Possibly the greatest panel of the week, well, so early and so much hyperbole left to spew, but the thing about Page 10, panel 3, the paused pre-execution shot of Immortus behind the 1-2-3 exchange of dialogue, where I’m just sure that it’s Parker on 1 and 3 and Logan in between, but what I love so much about this is that the only character in the panel is, as I said, Future Kang, and you just have to figure out, of the eight people who’ve just been yapping in the last couple of pages, who to attribute this dialogue to, but Bendis has you so attuned, so trained by now, that, at best, someone could make an argument that it isn’t Logan, but I certainly don’t care to, and there’s just no question about Parker. At any rate, well done. Ha, without even beginning to plumb or parse the collar-shaking crazy of the last two pages. The fact that this might not even break the Top 3 of best things that happened tonight fills me up.

FANTASTIC FOUR #580 – And then there would be this. You never know what you’re going to get with this book every month except quality, and Uncle Johnny, Franklin, and Leech teaming up in a toy store against Arcade, of all people, with the Impossible Man in the mix, well, we really don’t miss Reed and Sue all that much. The great thing about this book is that Hickman consistently drops the way out there sci-fi crazy, but never forgets to offset it with solid character work, such as Johnny relating to Franklin over dads gravitating toward the other sibling. Really cool dynamic, there. Those Nu-Earth fast-forwards are Hickman peaking on pure intravenous Morrison. Was sure sorry to read that Eaglesham won’t be back, what was that, two arcs? but Edwards knocks it out again, and of course it’s incredible news that Epting is coming aboard, though that obliges Guice to hang out on CAP at least as long as Brubaker does. This series should be selling in the Top 10 every month, it’s everything that I need a comic book to be, and I want so much.

AMERICAN VAMPIRE #4 – Albuquerque and those writer fellows continue to impress. Sure am getting spoiled on 16 pgs per month of Stephen King. I’m thinking Skinner could be a bit more fleshed out by now, really very little has been done to augment our first impression of him, but I’m enjoying the ride. The scariest thing about this book, though, is how sick Albuquerque is. I mean, man.

X-FACTOR #206 – The bit with Longshot was priceless. Aren’t they all? Nice to finally get the gang all back together. Am really enjoying watching the creative team hit their stride on this incarnation. Interested to see what comes next, which, as Smilin’ Stan will tell you, is the name of the game.

JUSTICE LEAGUE: GENERATION LOST #4 – Old Man Harris inspires us to enlist! Or defect, I guess, don’t know what the proper nomenclature is when you throw those wacky Rocket Reds in the mix. But, yeah, they know who’s buying this thing, old JLI fans, and are not afraid to serve up exactly what we want. Great ending, and the new bit with Max is intriguing. Four issues in, and I’m not so much as considering bailing out on this or BRIGHTEST DAY, fine work on the part of whomever decides what the weekly of the year is going to be.

LEGION OF SUPER HEROES #2 – Levitz is crushing it! After just the first pair of issues, I could not have been a bigger fan of his double-barrel assault, and he and the art team certainly maintain the greatness here. The notion of Earth Man as GL has got to be the most inspired way to run with the Johns lateral after that arc over in ACTION. Any Legion issue whose first page ends with Braniac riding off on a platform and dropping a HMPH! is just destined for greatness. Also, certainly worth the $4, I count 30 pages, with the back 13 uninterrupted or cluttered by ads. That’s what I’m talking about. Loving this series, such a good time to be a fan. Morrison might be right, we’re in the middle of a Second Golden Age.

SUPERMAN #700 – Interesting and kind of a rock show tactic to have the shorter stories warm us up for the headliner. I was pretty pleased with all three efforts. Old Chang does a fine job depicting Lois and Clark’s reunion to lead off, really nails it with the expression on her face right before the Big Kiss, knocks that one out of the park, too. All leading up to a final page that pretty much sums it all up, there. Beautiful. Then, writer/artist Dan Jurgens shows up and nothing but kills it with a Robin-centric story called “Geometry” that’s pitch-perfect. Wasn’t going to pick up that TIME MASTERS mini just because it seemed pointless, not like they’re going to actually find the guy over there, but that might be foolish. Another perfect last page. Just good old World’s Finest fun. And then we come to the much-anticipated debut of he who must be referred to only by his initials (people just don’t like spelling ‘Straczynski,’ I guess). Barrows showed us last month in the WAR OF THE SUPERMAN mini that he’d really stepped up his game, and he delivers headliner work here. Loved the Batman page. Also, great Flash interaction. You can tell Straczynski’s having fun in the big sandbox, getting out all the toys right away. As usual, I wish I’d stuck my head in the ground and managed to avoid knowing anything, because this prologue would have read better if I hadn’t already heard Mark Waid’s retort to the premise before I even bought the issue (which, yeah, was pretty funny). Looks like it’s going to be strong character work. I’m up for the walk, just wish the guy would head on down to Texas.

JOE THE BARBARIAN #6 – gaaaaaah, this is so good. I’ve been just adoring this mini, but the all-star team of Morrison/Murphy/Stewart/Klein actually manage to crank it up for this one. This is definitely going to be one of those I’m going to have to pick up in trade even though I’ve got the singles, which just almost never happens. How great is it to ride into a castle and have one-legged Jean-Luc Picard and Batman and Catwoman and Lobo and the original Master of the Universe standing there in the courtyard cheering? These guys can pretty much turn out the lights after Page 3, that was enough for this one. Cool trick, too, when the camera pulls back and Queen Bree goes down the staircase, we’re now charged to try to figure out exactly where Joe is back in his house. This is certainly ramping up well for the home stretch. An army to follow Joe. For Playtown! Singing fish. Was that freaking General Kael from WILLOW showing up at the end, there? Is Jack the Iron Knight? Will Joe find his can of soda? How much work is Sean Murphy going to get after this is over? Gorgeous gorgeous pages.

: THE RETURN OF BRUCE WAYNE #3 – My favorite first pages of all time are when Morrison just attacks you right out the gate*, and surely no one was expecting this one to kick off with the crushing callback to my favorite two pages in all of FINAL CRISIS, the #6 showdown. Remember & Gotcha. It's simply natural progression reflecting content for this mini's narrative to evolve in complexity as it hurls protagonist and reader on down the years, this here’s the best one of these yet, and we have every reason to expect that the back half will be better than the first. But this issue. First page beats all that came before, in this series or this week, and then just keeps right on barreling through. Yanick Paquette is such a talent. Feel like this is the first time we’ve seen just non-cheesecake straight ahead action from this individual, and you know what, it works.

One of the first newsstand comics I ever bought was DC COMIC PRESENTS maybe #37, Superman and Aquaman at the mercy of tentacles on the cover with a Black Pirate back-up feature, my only encounter with the character, but my first exposure whatsoever to the back-up feature or even concept of an anthology comic at all. More than one story bound by the same spine. So, insane for Master Bruce to don those particular duds, Morrison folds yet another identity/Bat-archetype in with such a deft touch.

And I mean, you could extol the virtues of every page. This is simply, like before, nothing less than optimization of the concept, but this time out, it’s not Caveman or Puritan Witchburner but Pirate Batman. What isn’t there to love?**

LAST SCENE SPOILER: Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t old Hex’s face mangled up on the wrong side? All mirror-image like? That couldn't be a mistake, right? Not this month, of all months. What could that mean? The implications of that are beginning to trouble me.


*-THE FILTH #3 springing to mind and demanding to be shuttled down here WITHOUT WARNING!

**-actually, I'll take that one, the editor or whomever's strange choice to let the issue run ad-free almost the entire way through, 31 uninterrupted pages, thank you so much, then, for no reason that I can fathom, break the narrative up at the very last chance, slap an ad for the BLACKEST NIGHT trade in between Page 31 and 32. Why not just put the last page on the left instead of cutting it off from the rest of the story? The effect is even more jarring because we've had this entire great issue without ads, and it badly undercuts the effect of turning to that final page. Really thought it was incredible to read up to that point with no ads, though, certainly quite the value for $4.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Bloomsday. 616. Marvel can’t help but win, but everybody does pretty well for themselves this week.

ATLAS #2 – This one’s hitting on all cylinders. Makes last month’s even better, we just did the whole origin POV thing again from a fresh three-dimensional perspective, but turns out he’s just the new guy and here the hammer drops. Mr. Lao’s presence was always what most of all did it for me about this book, and it’s simply wonderful to see him take the spotlight for a few pages before slinking off. The Hardman/Breitwieser combo is on fire. Simply, everything that’s good about comics. Bonus points for not having the Heroic Age banner splayed across the top. Doesn’t need it. Head of the class. Devastating backup, as well. When your dear friends run up to you frothing at the mouth and screaming about this book, take it and thank them so much.

NEW MUTANTS #14 – The art styles were a bit inconsistent, but man, that lock and load page with Hope and Rogue, the ‘Win first, Cry later’ bit, more than I’ve enjoyed an X-page in just a little while now, and that’s coming from a huge fan of Fraction’s run, whoever drew this killed it. Really thought Colossus was toast again for a minute, there. And felt bad for talking shit on him earlier this evening to the wife (the breakup with Kitty, #183, just reminiscing and taking her through it for the first time, yeah, it really is like that at my place). That ad for the second issue of ASTONISHING SPIDER-MAN & WOLVERINE is really making me feel like an asshole for daring to trade-wait when confronted with the Aaron/Kubert/$3.99 tag. Mistake! The Wolverine/Hank/Sentinel scene maybe should have ended the book instead of Magneto, such another great page, but well done, all around. Oh! ESPECIALLY Sunspot’s line about being strong but not invulnerable. In the past few months, I’ve been working my way through the entire first volume of NEW MUTANTS, starting with that old original Marvel Graphic Novel #4, and you just cannot believe how many times Claremont puts that in there, it’s impossible to tell when or if it becomes a joke to him, or if it’s all Weezie. But Mr. Zeb Wells hammers it to pieces tonight, could barely keep it together, have fantasized for really months about landing that exact kind of single-panel three-decade punchline. Well played, sir.

BRIGHTEST DAY #4 – Somehow even better than what’s come before, at least in the first third. The 4-5 and 6-7 double splashes are really just more than anybody has a right to expect, given the biweekly tag team set-up. Incredible. I wish I hadn’t happened today upon Johns’s burning urge to explain exactly who the new and eventual Aqualad is today as opposed to tomorrow or Friday, don’t really understand the need to hype usurping the importance of letting the narrative breathe. No pun intended. But did he really think more people would buy this book if they heard that the latest legacy hero was going to make his first cameo in its pages? It’s better when we don’t know, when we’re like, “Well, what, who’s this guy?” Instead of, “Geoff Johns told us this is the new Aqualad who can’t swim, what a concept, but we’re not going to have to worry about him eating up any more pages for the next twelve weeks, thank you Twitter or DC Source blog, wherever it came from first.”

Not to seem like a curmudgeon. I enjoyed the issue. Just probably need to stay off CBR.

THE BOYS #43 – Man, I have to say, I flinched at the price point, just the random, let’s go ahead and call it this crew and it’s not like I’m bailing out now, and hell if our guys don’t serve up a classic. I do find it unfortunate that Hughie’s being shunted off to another mini-destined-to-be-served-up-as-THE BOYS Vol. 8-or-what-not, but this was such a great read, I will pay four dollars every single Wednesday to watch the Butcher and Mother’s Milk scream at each other, cheers.

FABLES #96 – And then still, man, so on top of its game. This book might have achieved sentience during that interminable Flycatcher arc in the 60s, or maybe since, or maybe way way back before any of us had any idea, but I’m almost positive that it’s just using Willingham, Buckingham, Leialoha, everybody, as nothing but pure conduits, has revealed itself, shown them the true face, and none of them care, are honored. This is as good as this book can be. And that’s way way up there. The panel about island archipelagos and dark towers. You’ve got to be kidding me, and Series Best.

DV8 #3 – Wood! I’m getting more freaked out about him every day, now, am haunting Half Price Bookses for NORTHLANDERS vol. 3 with this increasingly glazed sickness about me. Sven the Diseased. But this book, everything I said in last issue’s review times ten. It’s just such a pleasure watch him building something in an almost mainstream set-up instead of crushing us 22 pages at a time. This one was better than the last two and has shot up my expectations for this entire endeavor. Rebekah Isaacs continues to thrill and delight.


BEST OF WEEK: THE NEW AVENGERS #1 – Bendis! I had pretty astronomical hopes after getting uppercut by the adjectiveless relaunch three weeks back, but this one still managed to smash me down into little bits. Stuart Immonen has long deserved to be on a book that’s selling in the Top 5, and here at last we are. The man is flawless. Bendis has also never been better, at the top of his game, after putting out hundreds and hundreds and thousands of pages of cutting dialogue, there just isn’t a line or beat wasted, almost running at a Mamet/Milch/Weiner rhythm here, and you get the feeling he’s holding back. The oral history is incredible, Bendis is a master at honing in on every little beat with an electron microscope and just making it sing.

Again, Marvel is in such good hands, such talented stewards.

Viva 616. I said Yes.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


This is one of the most impressive weeks that I can recall. Just everybody knocking it out of the park. I loved everything I read. Twelve times this happened!

UNCANNY X-MEN #525 – Fraction and Dodson firing on all cylinders, dropping in the FF and Avengers opposite the X-Club for good measure while X-Force reunites with Cable on a suicide mission to the future ordered by Cyclops, which of course makes his son’s adopted daughter hate him For All Time as the fuse on this latest and greatest sputters our merry mutants ever closer to extinction. Yes, this is why you buy this title.

CAPTAIN AMERICA #606 – The way that last arc bumped up against REBORN and SIEGE made me feel like the entire thing was filler, or maybe it was just Luke Ross, but everything’s better now, we have landed in the Heroic Age and Guice is over on the monthly title (where I'd love him to stay, especially if Epting never comes back) and Zemo seems poised to hurl himself into the big bad nemesis void we’ve had ever since that Red Skull malarkey finally played out. This has been one of Marvel’s best monthlies since Brubaker and Epting jumped on board. With Bendis and Fraction laying the groundwork to elevate several key franchises to the level these guys have been hitting for, what, five or six years now, glad to see this title not getting left in the dust but right up there with the best efforts in Marvel’s latest initiative du jour, or really, d’ane. I could still give two shits about McKeever on NOMAD, though, sorry to say, no idea how that pitch cleared the gate.

THE INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #27 – With that cover, it’s a shame this one couldn’t have been perched outside even only all the midnight screenings of Favreau & co’s latest. Not just a whole lot happens in this one, but it’s a testament to the dialogue and pretty pictures that I didn’t realize that until thumbing back through. The insane thing about Larocca is that he seems to be changing his style, evolving, at an exponentially increasing rate, and showing no signs of letting up, so that for the first time, instead of marveling at how far he’s come since #1, am suddenly horrified and worried and delighted at the notion of what this is going to look like a year from now, the landscape if these guys get to continue shaping it. I keep saying it because it’s so true, Marvel is looking really good right now for the long term, as long as they stick to what they seem to be setting up, here.

NEMESIS #2 – I liked this quite a bit better than the first outing and can’t really tell you why at first blush. Maybe because #1 didn’t really surprise me and this one did a couple of times? The bits just had a little more bite, you know? The secret origin with Mom at the electric chair and that aerial rocket launcher stunt. McNiven is, as ever, a treasure, one who should be locked down and horded, which I guess Millar realized first, and managed. Hoping that Matthew Vaughan eventually works his way over in this direction, can’t imagine great that flick would be.

JUSTICE LEAGUE: GENERATION LOST #3 – Another action-packed blast. Don’t think I’ve ever run across Dagnino before, but it looks like he can get it done. It will be interesting to see where this book goes after this stage, which so far has pretty much consisted of Max manipulating them and having his way. Giffen is one of the great unsung talents of the medium.

THE UNWRITTEN #3 – Well, Desmond never died, so I quite obviously had no way of knowing that Lizzie Hexam belonged to Dickens until Carey just went ahead and told us. And, man, it’s cheap and easy, but all of a sudden, that makes her a more interesting character here. Standing on the shoulders, and all that. The séance with blood flecked on the pages was pretty damn cool. Nothing beats the greatness of that first page, though, even a rip-off Tommy Taylor novel is more interesting than most. Really hope Carey eventually cranks one out for real. Cheers, Vertigo.

HOUSE OF MYSTERY #26 - And on that note: Surges and Rossi seem especially charged after last issue's round robin, or maybe they're just itching to show everyone why this book is, once and forever, theirs. Rossi's lines have never looked better. Sturges's have never crackled so. Ziggy might be my favorite story-within-a-story of the entire run. And this is only the first issue of the arc. Exciting times.

DAYTRIPPER #7 - Jeez, Vertigo. Quit battering me with all this sprawling maximization of the medium's potential. I bet that Neil Young graphic novel is pretty killer, too. But here we have one of my very favorite offerings currently on the stands, and good ol BaMoon does it, do it, again. Of course. With the gorgeous tones of Dave Stewart, as ever. I made it in a few pages this time before remembering how it was going to end again, a great feeling. It's interesting how the narrative is starting to stack up, we finally get a couple of references back to things we've already seen, meaning this isn't taking place in a bunch of isolated pockets of possibility, but (if we keep advancing and don't just jump back to crashing the car at 14 or choking on something at six months or something)(though you just know these jokers can even string out an entire flattening 22 pages out of just the shit going down with that baby Bras who can barely hold his head up before we hit that damn last page a lot sooner than anyone'd like) is really a single narrative that keeps getting derailed. Every time, Bras makes it a little further, gets a bit older. It will be cool to see him in his sixties. If that's the plan. Or, actually now really looking for that CHAPTER TEN: 1, now. Heavy stuff.

BaMoon, I love you and pledge fealty to you and your cause! Viva CASANOVA.

SPIDER-MAN: FEVER #3 - What a crowded day. I needed this book last week. Am almost at threshold, incapable of discussing. It did not disappoint. Surpassed expectations heightened by previous two issues. Had me at Harrah-Harrah! in the recap page. But the last page seals the deal. With Wacker's insane factory spewing out 36 exceptional issues every year, these might still be the best three of good old '10. Certainly the closest in tone to those raving Ditko years. I will never get over the way this guy uses color. A singular talent, Brendan McCarthy.

This series and DAYTRIPPER are usually locks for BEST OF WEEK whenever they come out. Tremble at the mere thought of what is yet to come!

ASTONISHING X-MEN: XENOGENESIS #2 – Now that is how you open up a comic book. You can bitch about the price point, and I certainly have been known to, but at the end of the day, if this is what gets put out and with a straight face marked up a dollar for no additional content, who is really going to say they’ll spend three dollars on this but not four? Not one goddamn X-fan, I’ll tell you what. Andrews continues to deliver memorable hyper-expressive work after outdoing himself in those first couple double-page splashes. The silhouette of Hank working feels instantly classic. And that last line, what a place to leave it. Already missing the Ellis on X-Men.

S.H.I.E.L.D. #2 – Maybe this is bimonthly and not late? That just occurred to me. Doesn’t matter, I’ll take it whenever I can get it. This one had a lot to live up to after the blast of insanity that was the first issue. It delivers. Hickman’s of course a madman for coming up with all this in the first place, but someone’s still got to draw it. I hope this series catapults Weaver to the upper echelon, he destroys it every single chance that he gets. To say nothing of Miz Strain, what a shot of the Immortal City. I remain way into the idea of making Agents Richards and Stark integral parts of this jaunt. AND WHAT WAS WITH THAT BIRD THAT SAID Oh, no RIGHT BEFORE THAT CORE GOT DISPLACED?!? That was barking batshit lunacy of the first order right there, yes? There is nothing in the story previous to this to explain why a bird should suddenly be pictured reacting opposite these other folks and uttering dialogue, correct? I certainly hope I haven't just missed something, because I loved that beat most of all. Also, what a stellar decision to just drop a page of text dialogue for the walk down the stairs, was sure that the issue was over and then shocked to see more sequentials on the next page. Everything about this was wonderful.

And, again, you would think it would be a lock for BEST OF WEEK. I mean, I think the week this came out was the one that I finally couldn't stand it and had to start doing this. Buuuuut . . .

* * * *

BEST OF WEEK: BATMAN #700 – Then this beautiful bastard comes barreling up out from the shadows, a white-hot pulsing dwarf star of a comic book that keeps giving and giving and bleeding ambient radiation out all over the living room carpet. I'm in the dark now, reading by its pulsing light.

This story is perfectly tailored to run through the typical bullpen's worth of artists that you usually find on these anniversary issues. Let's talk about them first.

I was having some trouble with Tony Daniel's style there in the back-end the last time Morrison's epic graced this title. I didn't hate it like some folks, but something definitely seemed off about it, and not just the anatomy. For whatever reason, I had no issues with his eight pages, here. It's interesting to contrast this style with previous work, these pages have a scratchier quality to them that I like. Looks like he really tried to soak up that pair of Kubert issues last year.

It was such an adrenaline delight to realize a few pages in that all of a sudden any minute now, the Morrison/Quitely team was about to reunite with the Grayson/Wayne duo they made famous. Fantastic! Those first three issues of BATMAN & ROBIN somehow managed to surpass all the post-ALL-STAR SUPERMAN-never-even-mind-FLEX-MENTALLO-NEWXMEN-WE3-etc expectations, which should have crushed further offerings from even this dynamic duo up into free range atoms and left us all feeling very very sad. But that fight scene on Page 4! Wow, indeed, Master Grayson. Shame that Quitely could only manage five pages. Don’t get me wrong, his last shot of Dick adopting the tough guy smile from Miller’s DARK KNIGHT is one of the greatest things ever, and Kolins did tear it up on the following three pages. Truth be told, the way the story accelerated to montage right then, I didn't even notice until like the second panel on the second Kolins page, but still, you want everything to be symmetrical and neat. To the point that I was sure that it was Frazier Irving there, which does tie us right back up to the latest RETURN OF BRUCE WAYNE and upcoming BATMAN & ROBIN arc. But still, that digital painting thing Kolins drops is a far cry from Quitely. How many more weeks would we have had to wait for three more Quitely pages? Okay, now I'm just being funny.

But then Kubert, man. Such a draftsman. A delight to welcome him back after that tour de force with Gaiman, finally finally bringing us back to that quick little detonation of narrative these guys dropped on us way back in #666 (the week of Comic-Con '07, even) by rocketing us into a future in which Damian has jumped from being a pompous little shit to worthy bearer of the mantle (by way of being responsible for Dick's death). Three years worth of speculation are trumped in just nine pages as we get weaponized Joker-venom rain hacked into Gotham's climate control system, an antidote for same synthesized from defiant spittle and hotlined on the run to the authorities, the rats devouring Roboto, Commissioner Babs telling Damian she'll arrest him in the same breath that she asks for all he's got, Brother-I reborn and masering the monster barbecue, 2-Face-2 firing Roboto's Right Eye of Death, and invisible ink that only the insane can read. Can you imagine what this thing would read like in 22-pg installments?!? Could even Morrison and all the most brilliant sequential visionaries in the world susTAIN such seething perfect glorious dementia? I love it and I love it.

And finally we come to Finch's impressive debut on DC interiors. He could not have picked six more insane pages to show up for. Morrison throws the throttle wide open for this last section, opens with a page starring a permutation we know before hurtling us through the years. Except, given the trend that each Robin becomes the Batman in the following story, does that mean that Morrison's got Damian helping out Terry McGuiness instead of Bruce (as in the cartoon)? That postapocalyptic one was new, right? I certainly never heard of the Iron Heel of Fura, but Morrison seems to have read like every issue since '39, so maybe they're hanging out somewhere. Almost my favorite part of the entire issue was making it back to the 853rd century to see the Batman from the old ONE MILLION crossover. Robin the Toy Wonder is unbeatable.

This technique of racing through several different new future Batmen and status quos on every single page serves to perform the ideal function for an anniversary issue released during a period when the protagonist finds himself an amnesiac lost in time: we celebrate not the man but the archetype that he forged all by himself, that will outlive him for hundreds of years, millennia even, the idea that one man can push his mind and body past the point of human endurance in order to make his city - his world, even - a better place and channel his grief into the fuel that enables him to save others from what befell him, all this as the narrative hits escape velocity, each page racing faster, burning brighter, jumping further, until bringing us right back around to where we've always been, silhouettes in the signal, up on that roof, no matter what year it is, there's a commissioner and a Batman and a job to do, and that's all that's ever mattered.

Friday, June 4, 2010


AVENGERS PRIME #1 – Essential reading, if you’re passionate about staying abreast of the weekly Marvel status quo, or if you just take a peep at the cover and the creative team and have any idea. An interesting way to work out the lingering trinity tension before, one presumes, all the other #1s. It’s a strange inversion, we’ve gone from Hitch’s masterwork in photo-realism on the ULTIMATES run to his master breathing life into these first fleeting instants of 616 newborn Heroic Age. And, man, the short review is Great. Taking a cue from those three fellas on the cover, everything about this book is A-game all the way. Rewarding on every level, the rising supernova tide of pumped that I feel toward this next and surely greatest act of Bendis Avengers thunder is already almost too much to bear and the first Immonnen issue hasn’t even hit.

Take a step back. Marvel is looking very very good for the next few years here. We’ve got Bendis performing this magic trick with the Avengers franchise, Fraction swinging for the fences every month on Iron Man and Uncanny and about to rock Thor if he can ever wrest it from Kieron’s clammy fingers, Hickman on FF and Secret Warriors, Brubaker still In Charge of Cap, and guys like Jason Aaron and Rick Remender darting around all over the place. Oh, and Wacker making Spider-Man an event unto itself. As Larry David will tell you, looking pretty pretty good. Even though I could still do with 60 or 70 more issues of Ellis X-Men. In a row, for once.

BRIGHTEST DAY #3 – Johns and Tomasi keep it hopping with the usual suspects on art. I have to say, they’re sure sustaining the momentum and excitement thus far, quite a few great little moments packed in here. This is still the best I've felt about a weekly since a few months into 52. And still such early days, if they can make my good will actually increase with how great the story manages to continue being . . . In other news, I guess I’m really a much huger fan of David Finch than I realized, because I’m becoming increasingly livid at seeing all these covers and, I guess the Luthor ACTION COMICS promo, and thinking like, “Oh, that looks great, definitely pick that up,” but then, you know, that’s not the guy on the inside. No offense to Pete Woods. But, David Finch. Tired of getting teased. I want the sequentials.

ADVENTURE COMICS #515 – Man, I loved Levitz’s first LEGION issue, and then this one’s even better. To think that, before this day, I have had the nerve to complain about this new situation, the fact that DC’s just plunging ahead with the double-shot of Levitz Legion, did we really NEED a new reboot right away without letting ADVENTURE accrue momentum on its own out of the gate, etc, but it’s just foolish to complain about such goodness getting released into the world. The chops Levitz shows. Just ridiculous. Had to cheer for the return to the checklist that Johns laid down in the first arc, too too great. I’m feeling a little crazed, though, am at the moment (moment defined here as “last few weeks”) engrossed in most significant portions of Legion continuity simultaneously, everything except the great'n'gritty Giffen reboot with the Bierbaums, but old Levitz/Giffen, making my way through Waid/Kitson for the first time, and rereading the Johns/Perez nonsense just because you have to, reeling through all of that, and then this thing’s like Robin Hood’s arrow flying out from the shadows in the wood and piercing you in the heart. Recommended.

DV8 #2 – This came out a couple weeks ago, but my shop ran out of it so I went down to Dragon’s Lair today and finally made it happen. Good people, there. And Daleks. Exterminate! Quite a fortuitous convergence for me, teaming this up with DEMO for this evening's finish. Though the experience really did make me feel like more of a fool for tradewaiting NORTHLANDERS and falling behind on DMZ, the sustained Wood brilliance is an intoxicating good time. This issue keeps up the fractured timeline structure that of course I’m still so close can’t help but identify with L O S T. Huge fan of the art, Isaacs and Strachan lay down some gorgeous images. With LOCAL and DEMO being my favorite Wood works, it’s a joy to see him frame something with parameters loosely similar to those initial launch pads, young kids with powers, into an eight-part serial as opposed to self-contained 22-pgrs that punch you in the gut.

BEST OF WEEK: DEMO 2 #5 – Again, maybe the best DEMO issue. Wood just packs so much into these, always does just an incredible job of creating almost fully realized characters in so few pages. And usually even resolving their situation. There's a lot going on between the lines in this one, and I dig how Wood throws out just enough that we can connect the dots, but he doesn't belabor anything. Cloonan is a treasure, as always. Sorry that this one's already winding up, I feel like it's just approaching escape velocity. Maybe they won't make us wait so long for Volume 3.