Thursday, August 26, 2010


AVENGERS #4 – Another week, another $4 issue of AVENGERS, and it’s still time for me to bang my drum about how much ass this is kicking. Of the three main titles (does AVENGERS ACADEMY count as a main title? I’m not reading that. No disrespect to Gage, just didn’t fit it in, there), this one’s my favorite, which I guess is maybe a no-brainer, this being the premier team and all, but there’s a perfection in the way Romita/Janson/White give us Marvel’s heavy-hitters with Bendis just nailing and knocking out of the park every single beat, and, you know, time travel, so yeah, I’m pretty comfortable listing this and FF as what I’m absolutely adoring most from Marvel at the moment. And by moment, I mean until these creative teams change or die*, I’m looking forward to this marvelous output the most. What else have I not already said? Bendis writes Spidey dialogue maybe better than anybody? Nope. The cover shouldn’t have given away the last scene of the issue? Eh, surely that’s happened before now. Bendis is still killing the oral history and it’s really obvious that he’s got some serious Mamet affection going on? You’ve heard it all before. Buy this book. As solid as the first volume of NEW AVENGERS was, this is the first time that I really feel like this is the Marvel equivalent of the Justice League, and it’s a beautiful thing.

Horrifying cliffhanger, by the way. I mean, just list the principals and what they’re doing. Can’t imagine what’s in the hopper for the next arc after (I presume) we shut this one down next time.

CAPTAIN AMERICA #609 – Ah yes, in which everyone tells Bucky not to charge headlong into the trap and then it takes him literally two pages to fight through all of that common sense wisdom (dispensed, incidentally, by Miz Romanov. Dude! Did you skip IRON MAN 2? Meditate upon last night and do what she says! She’s meeting you at the safe house. Where there’s nothing to do. Think about it for another couple pages and stand down, Boss, and then get your ass right on down there). You’ve got to love the panel after Steve crushes Hauptmann’s hand, Guice does a fantastic job of evoking Kirby (most of all on Natasha’s face). If Sam Wilson is flashing the Not Cool sign, then you had better stand down yourself, there, Mr. Rogers.

I don’t even read the NOMAD strip anymore. That extra dollar is just a little monthly donation I like to make to Marvel. Thanks for signing up Whedon! It’s going to be great!

JUSTICE LEAGUE: GENERATION LOST #8 – Is this the first time Giffen hasn’t been in the credit box? It’s the first time I’ve noticed, and my spider-sense is tingling. Though Winick holds it together well enough. Glad to get Lopresti back. I’m now exactly halfway through hitting the original JLI run, so it’s a bit wacky to see these folks running around in the Brightest Day and all that. It’s good that Captain Atom’s mullet has not made the transition. Crucial, even. THE EVENT adds are still driving me crazy (plus, I need a mirror-effect on my keyboard so that the appropriate E can be flipped when I type it)(and, am I just blind, or is it insane that it took me until this week and, candidly, mid-rant for Blessed Wife to point out that the dude on the fourth page is the ubiquitous Zeljko “jel-ko” Ivanek? You know what, though, I guess these ads are working, because as much to say about a TV show I haven’t seen a minute of than this issue, so huzzah). Fire’s insight about the “right as rain” coming from farming seems really right on. Solid effort, Bea. It’s maybe time for Maxwell Lord to change clothes, he’s already beaten the Jack Bauer record, I think he killed Beetle in that outfit, did that whole 4-parter runaround with Superman and Wonder Woman, got his neck broke, got resurrected at the end of BLACKEST NIGHT, and has been running around for at least nine issues, all while rocking the same duds and, I guess, finding the time to pump some pretty serious iron throughout. Dude’s got some guns. Hey, where the hell is Oberon? And Scott and Barda, for that matter? I’m almost afraid to hear the answer, but I just realized that I haven’t heard a peep out of them all this time. Did Barda even sit out FINAL CRISIS? Mm, this is not good. Let’s move on.

BRIGHTEST DAY #8 – Yah, this came out last week, but I just picked it up now (left X-FACTOR behind, for the record, along with NEW MUTANTS and UNWRITTEN, and, truth be told, probably also going to be picking up Jane’s Riley one-shot that I dodged as well, if only so I can have a hard copy of Scott Allie’s Big Angel Announcement**). Was Reis only on that two-page spread of Hawkgirl? There were some pretty hurting scenes in most of this issue, artwise. The first one with the Martians was the worst. I want to hang on for this one, because I really trust Johns/Tomasi, but the round robin art needs to get better. I hope this was just a slump. I’d never heard of Eddy Barrows or Chris Batista or I wanna say one other guy before, but they kept 52 at a level of quality that we’re dipping dangerously far beneath now, especially with those purty Finch covers.

ACTION COMICS #892 – There’s possibly too much hype going on about this run (I don’t know if this is an “epic-in-the-making” or not, but there’s really no way to read that on the editorial page of the third issue of the run and not have it kind of sour you). But, hey, it is in fact really, really good. Cornell’s decision to bring in a Lois AI as Luthor’s foil is definitely getting more and more brilliant as things progress. Is this arc going to be 12 issues long? Do we know how long it’s going to be LEX LUTHOR’S ACTION COMICS? Because this definitely has the vibe of, say, HUSH, and I’m not trying to be insulting, but there’s this joy that’s been apparent since the get-go, I mean, hell, it’s exactly what I’d do, but every time, it’s like, “And now, we play with THIS toy, and now THIS one,” you know, Slade Wilson and Gorilla Grodd both show up this time. I rest my case. And they’ve already announced/spoiled a huge character who’s going to show up eventually. This is not a bad thing, though, the sandbox diving, as long as it’s hanging upon a good story. And Tommy Elliott never shows up.

Too, man, I thought I could give two shits about Lemire on SUPERBOY, and found the ATOM back-ups not insulting but not spectacular either, but I’m sold and sold on their new book. Fantastic energy. Glad to see that Simon kid Johns and Manipul introduced get put back into play. And the last page is completely insane. Both panels. Really, the back-up is worth the cover price alone. Not even counting the whole meta-textual element to Smallville attacking, because all it makes me think of is the show, and I want there to be a beat where Raven yells, “Smallville’s throwing everything it’s got at us! Everything!” and Connor’s just like, “It won’t amount to a hill of beans. Smallville sucks.” But I’m maybe the only one hoping for that. Killer back-up strip.

LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES #4 – A lot of quality books came out this week! Levitz does a really deft job of splitting up the scenes here, cutting back and forth at points of maximum tension so that no matter where you are, you want to be back in the other place. I appreciate the 30 pages. Sodom Yat speaking in the third person cracks me up, for some reason. Poor guy. I read two comics with Darkseid in them tonight. Though if this is the only return that the Great Darkness has, kind of a limp call-back, I’m sorry to say.

ASTONISHING X-MEN #35 – Man, don’t you just wish this team would go on and on. That’s not a question, I know the answer. Top drawer work, all around. Ellis gives us such a tight and lean script. I love Logan apostrophing out the first letter of Storm’s name. And even paraphrasing Dark Willow, which, you know, the ping-pong levels of that***. And the following “Wheelchair of death here!” really just shocking coming out of Ellis, such a Whedon tone. “Years and years of murder science,” however, is the best line of the night, even beats everything Morrison gives us by way of Wayne. What an odd and perfect last page, too. This whole thing’s almost a black sitcom with Ellis. That works here, but I’m not sure that anybody else could come close to hitting it as well. Jiminez is a god, have really enjoyed his work on this, as ever.

FANTASTIC FOUR #582 – The Anachronauts! Kirby enough for me. “And now for knowledge” is a keeper. Oh man, and those last two pages. I adore the line about Franklin’s favorite hero, pitch-perfect balance between the familial love and cosmic wow that holds this book together. Love it love it.


BEST OF WEEK: BATMAN #702 – You know, I can’t be objective about this at all. Apparently, Grant Morrison can literally take us back through scenes that we already saw less than two years ago, and even trade out Jones/Pacheco/Mahnke for Daniel on art, and all he has to do to make me gobble it up with a spoon is add narrative captions in Bruce Wayne’s handwriting (first popularized by Miller way back in YEAR ONE, natch). I need to track me down a trade of FINAL CRISIS and just slam through it on one sitting, this convinces me it will be a much more crushing experience. But fastforwarding through it like this, with the benefit of Bruce’s surprising but totally understandable doubt and caution, does a fantastic job of not only humanizing the character and showing that for all his iconic status, he, like Ivan Drago, is only a man. It’s also kind of a cool foil for what happened with Turpin back in FC. When it started out, I was thinking he was our street-level POV guy, only he turned out to be possessed by Darkseid, elevated to god status, so, nice turnabout here, way way after the fact, to bring one of the main icons back down to base-level humanity, so much so that he doesn’t even remember his name or who he’s talking to by the end of the issue (that was the one hiccup I had, how did they get that recording? That I guess he was making at the dawn of time? Tim’s presence in the room suggested to me that that’s maybe been the point of RED ROBIN this whole time, like Bruce made the tape and buried it in the Batcave or something). Just so many great lines, the opening passage to Kal, the inner monologue while killing Darkseid (“There were bells” is a fantastic end-of-the-page line), and a final page that evokes the end of SUPERMAN BEYOND 3D and Greatest Single Issue Of All Time ALL-STAR SUPERMAN #10 with the whole never-ending bit. I'm also really a fan of the new scene we get with Wally quoting Neo and Bruce dropping the whole bit about the platonic bullet and the New Gods representing ideals, it makes that shooting in FINAL CRISIS #6 even more resonant. Fine work, throughout. Old Daniel even does his best to make you forget what he’s been doing the last year, I haven’t gone back and checked, but this might be his best effort yet. As musclebound and kind of ugly as it is. The best trick about this issue, though, is that after last month, we’re totally thinking this is just filler, but it pulls off the trick of — while, yes, filling in the blanks to some business that went down while my little girl was still just barely hanging out in the womb — accelerating the overarching Bat-narrative that Morrison’s been killing over in BATMAN & ROBIN and THE RETURN OF BRUCE WAYNE and catapulting us toward the climax of the second act, just as soon as we can get another three issues in our hands, which will then leave us waiting for #16 and #6, respectively, of the aforementioned titles. All of which to say, I can’t wait I can’t wait I can’t wait, and that’s the only yardstick that really matters when it comes to measuring this serial sequential fiction that we all love so much, at least these last couple hundred thousand of us still hanging on.


*those last three words I can never hear or type without thinking of Gaiman’s foreword to, probably, ENDLESS NIGHTS, when some Italian reporter told him to sum up the 75 issues of SANDMAN in 25 words or less and, legend has it, he thought about if for a minute and comes back with, “The Lord of Dreams learns that he must change or die and makes his decision.” I mean, the compression of that is crushing and startling and really only brings ALL-STAR SUPERMAN to mind as anything approaching a worthy peer (except, maybe, for FLEX MENTALLO, but we all know that shit is inSANE and it’s probably best not to tangent over there, we’re just about to make it through another week with our hearts and souls intact, let’s not push it).

*and I guess Dude’s just got a serious boner for the Angelus, this is the second time he’s dropped some premature business on us about this guy. But hey, at least this time it didn’t spoil a three years and counting storyline. Cheers, guy! (Read my pitch, though! Please!)

***specifically, calling the alternate version of Willow from, I want to say, episode 2.09 of BUFFY (“The Wish,” my first favorite episode of that one, there), calling her “Dark Willow” is of course a callback to “Dark Phoenix,” and Dark Willow’s famous line/catchphrase is “Bored, now,” and, you know, Whedon is the reason this title exists in the first place, also the reason that Ellis jumped on after he and Cassaday were done, so when Ellis has Logan say, “Bored with this crap now,” well, all the geek cannons are aimed at the sky and summarily firing in conjunction and all is right and all is well and Joss is doctoring the Cap script and writing the Avengers and we are In Good Hands, for a little while longer, thank you so much and good night, at long last.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


Man, it’s a huge old week and on top of that, I found the last eight volumes of LONE WOLF & CUB that I needed to fill out my set over at glorious Half Price Books. Wonderful news, but it meant I had to leave a few titles in the old pull folder. I’m talking about NEW MUTANTS, BRIGHTEST DAY, and last week’s THE UNWRITTEN. So, I’ll get to them eventually, but in the meantime, there’s more than enough to talk about right here.

THE NEW AVENGERS #3 – Bendis cannot be stopped! Abetted to thunderous effect by the A-list art team of Immonen, Von Grawbadger, and Martin, we have nothing less than another slam-bang issue of Avengers action, with Spidey dropping a mid-combat lecture to Benjamin J. Grimm on the importance of maintaining catchphrases and Iron Fist’s spirit getting bushwacked by, I guess, the Ancient One? The thing about this is, it’s not like it’s setting the world on fire, but it’s just a gorgeous book. The art team could not have done a better job. And Bendis continues to kill it on the oral history, folding Kang into the mix. Still loving this relaunch. Which brings us to . . .

SECRET AVENGERS #4 – Said it before, but it bears repeating. This black-ops crazy sci-fi Avengers team is everything that I was hoping for but didn’t get out of Brubaker’s UNCANNY run. I don’t know if it’s just because he knows Rogers cold or these characters are a better fit or what, but it’s terrific fun. Steve takes on the Nova Force and of course it doesn’t drive him insane, he just opens up a can of whupass on a Serpent Crown-possessed Rich Ryder. Next issue should be interesting.

UNCANNY X-MEN #527 – The cover is brilliant. Makes perfect sense that Namor would roll in and stir things up like this, it’s exactly what he’s been doing since the 60s. Unfortunately, the Dodsons on the front make Portacio’s interiors seem that much scratchier. I was delighted to see him return to his last pre-Image title a few months back, but the work here looks rushed and sub-par. I want to like it but, frankly, if I didn’t already have so much affection for this guy, I think I’d be quite a bit more hacked off that the interiors for a $4 22-page comic with no extras look like this. Is this the deal now? I hates it, because it’s not like I’m dropping Fraction’s UNCANNY, but it would be nice if they’d at least throw us a back-up or something, not like there aren’t enough stories to tell or corners of the island to explore. Miz Frost sure gets around, dines and flirts with two of the Marvel Universe’s most eligible bachelors while making a Pryde/Rasputin love connection in between. The scene between Scott and Logan felt right.

ATLAS #4 – I am going to miss this one! We finally get to see what Bob really looks like and get a whole lot of backstory on the 3D-Man's insignia, but it's all fairly captivating. But, best of all, Mr. Lao opens up a hot can of molten dragon-breath on the invaders. Much more than a premiere strategist, our Mr. Lao. The best part, though, is that the backup isn't a backup at all, really just the next part of the main story, which, of course you can complain that we lose Hardman & Breitweiser on art, but given that we're in an alternate/parallel universe, you can kind of let it slide, especially since it's one in which Jimmy Woo founded the Avengers. Just a hell of a cliffhanger, it's really going to be a bittersweet purchase next month. It was about Jimmy Woo!

DV8 #5 – Man, those THE EVENT ads are driving me insane. Just because they really do their job and draw you in, but that means they wreck a solid 16% of the story. That’s going to have to be one charming motherfucking pilot to keep me on board, tell you what. But Wood & Isaacs! Another good-looking issue. Though, like last month, I didn’t care as much, just because I guess I don’t find the characters as relatable. Wait, that’s not it, I’m trying to say that at first Wood was really doing a solid job getting me dialed into these folks, and I just haven’t been feeling it last month with Matthew and now here. I expect this to change as we pick up toward the home stretch, though. Still better than most superhero comics on the stands, yes. I’m maybe holding Boss Wood up to a ridiculously high standard, but I think his work merits it. What a madman. (I mean, NORTHLANDERS and DMZ every month, this, and he and Cloonan just wrapped the already-badly-missed second volume of DEMO, that is some serious prolificacy)

FABLES #97 – These guys are getting it done. A serious ramp-up to #100, which I imagine is going to really be one for the ages. Rose was so bad! Very cool to see her finally get up out of bed, Willingham let that go just long enough, it felt very natural and unforced. This series is really going to go on forever, I think, it’s already been, what, eight years, and we’re only just now picking up steam after what would have been an excellent series finale in #75. The tales, they demand to be told, I guess.


BEST OF WEEK: EX MACHINA #50 – Again, no matter when this one finally landed, nothing else on any week could have even a hope of coming close. But it really all just makes me sad. Which I’m positive is what the crew was going for.

Tuesday night, with maybe an hour a half left in the day, I realized that this was maybe probably at long last coming out this week and scrambled, got going on what I’d meant to for weeks, page 1, THE PILOT, doing just like I did for The End of Yorick Brown and hit every single page starring Mitchell Hundred and all of his friends and enemies, or opponents, I guess he’d say after getting sworn in. So, the upshot was, 25 hours and 49 issues and four specials later, my eyes were bleeding God and it was at long last time to transfuse the last pages on in, find out what went so horribly wrong after the somewhat anticlimactic way that Mitch beat Anti-Suzanne & All the Forces of Hell and the Nether Dimensions last issue (and, I have to say, with all the publishing gaps, this thing read so much better in one insane gasp, but that resolution in #49 still seemed like a total gyp, even if you hadn’t been waiting for extra weeks and weeks).

So now it’s time to start actually talking about the comic book? Great bit on the second page about nomenclature, guess my subconsciousness has been trying to codify that one for a while. They certainly don’t call them tragic books, no. But, yeah, at long last, after all this time, back to Page One Mitch, doomed doomed doomed. The end of this first scene is yet another example of something bothering me over the course of the entire back end of this series that I’d never realized until now: Mitch using The Voice but not really talking to a machine, not giving a command. Kind of like bold text, just used as punctuation, but every single time, it makes me think of Weeping Gorilla from PROMETHEA, and, brother, that is not something you want to conjure unless you are trying to be funny, I promise.

Very cool bit with Mitchell redesigning the fallen tower. Phallic enough for you? Makes perfect sense, though you could just hear the mosque joke anger seething up from the gallery. Or, I could.

So, he turned 40 last year, placing our narrator in the year 2009. Kind of weird, all this mournful narration he’s giving us, all but looking at the camera. Because there’s never anything in his actions or really past tense at all besides immediate momentary shock to suggest regret. Meaning, the entire thing about this series, the initial sale, was, O how fucked up and awful it got once they elected ME, and this entire time, we’ve been waiting for things to really and truly fall apart, and they do kind of and mostly, but it’s a solid bait and switch Vaughan pulls, we’re all definitely looking for the invaders to pour on through and decimate life as we know it, but it’s only the quiet deaths, the relationships shattering, that provide the tragic.

It’s funny and unfortunate and of course synchronistic, I’ve been nurturing this parallel universe invaders concept for a couple of years, and then of course that’s what this and FRINGE turned into. Hey, better men than I. Especially since I guess BKV is really a Beatles fan. I mean, sincerely.

Oh, and that last Bradbury scene read so totally awkward and impossible the first time, but really true and inevitable the next time through. And I guess his parting line kills the ambiguity for me. Mitch is gay. That’s certainly the way things have been leaning for the better part of the series, but surely Bradbury wouldn’t have put himself out there if he wasn’t just about totally certain of reciprocity.

Aw man, and Kremlin. Really nothing to say, except how much Harris apocalypses this scene. You know how it’s going to go, especially when he points the gun at his own head, but the page turn is still such a shock. Really, those two pages together, so affecting. And sad.

God, and then the phone call. Putting the splash page revelation on an odd-numbered page is bad strategy, but it didn’t ruin it for me one little bit, had my eyes trained right where they were supposed to be the entire time. So that’s what happened. Is happening? Somewhere? They’re in charge? Presumably getting ready for the multi-brane invaders? And the charismatic young senator from Illinois getting ready to give them just a hell of a run for it in 2012?

Aw, God, man, it really just makes me so sad. I mean, these things always do, the clearing at the end of the path, Roland or Luke or Dale or Frodo or Tony or Harry or Jack*, or Ben Hawkins or Al Swearingen if they’d only ever had the chance, closing their eyes and finally figuring out what a big circle it’s all really been all along, but this one really cut my heart out a little, that look on his face while looking down at his friends who helped him do what he always wanted to do, be a hero, and then he left them, and still abides, just keeps on going and going, so so heartbreaking.

Fine work, all around. Fade to black, indeed.

*and you want to throw Jon in here, or really Adrian or Dan or Laurie or even Rorschach, but saying Jon would miss the point entirely, because there’s no clearing or end for him, and mentioning any of those other folks without him would just be wrong.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


STEVE ROGERS: SUPER-SOLDIER #2 – This is nothing less than Brubaker and (it’s so hard not to type Epting there, E and p really almost made it out), Brubaker & Eaglesham, I mean to say, dropping a definitive Steve Rogers arc on us. I really haven’t enjoyed the character this much since Brubaker’s first insane year+. I really can’t imagine what he’s got planned for the back half of this, given the caliber of the two cliffhangers we’ve been given. Fantastic work, all around. If this is how we’re going to roll with the character in this mini, AVENGERS: PRIME, SECRET AVENGERS and in, you know, the ongoing periodical entitled CAPTAIN AMERICA, then I really don’t care if he’s inherited that nigh-infinite ubiquity mantle from Logan and Stark.

THE INVINICLE IRON MAN #29 – Larocca’s art kind of bothered me on this one. The cover is great, but his characters’ body language and facial expressions came across as stiff throughout, and the layouts seemed lazy. If the look on Tony Stark’s face conjures up Boss Ford delivering the clunkiest of Lucas’s dialogue, we’re not in a good place, you know? Not that it’s so dire. Fraction’s narrative, as ever, seems to be picking up steam. And I love where he leaves it. This is still probably my favorite Iron Man run and counting. Just need a bit more dynamic from the art.

JUSTICE LEAGUE: GENERATION LOST #7 – Isn’t it Lopresti’s week? Bennett was serviceable, as ever, but I was looking forward to the former’s more delicate and balanced touch. Can’t decide if I’m more annoyed by the new Rocket Red or those THE EVENT ads (though I’m actually leaning pretty hard toward the latter). This series really seems like it’s going somewhere, I just hope it actually does in the next couple of issues.

ADVENTURE COMICS #517 – I don’t think Sharpe is a good fit for this book. I don’t want early Image comics anywhere near the back of my mind while reading a title set during the early days of the Legion. And that doesn’t even count the insane development that happens at the book’s end, that, if it came from anyone but Levitz, I would simply dismiss as total hack work, but given that there probably isn’t anyone living who can better lay claim to the title of Writer of Legion of Superheroes, I can only protest but grudgingly allow into my own personal legionnaire canon this story that climaxes with (SPOILERS? Is anybody even reading this?) a cop dying in front of Saturn Girl, who responds to said tragedy by getting drunk, sleeping with Cosmic Boy, then waking up first and wiping the entire encounter from his mind. If JT Krul had written it, I would just say, Of course, but the fact that the authority drops this pretty much straight-up IDENTITY CRISIS-style retcon in here, literally right before the kids go make their first appearance in DCU continuity, really just disturbs me. The first misstep of what’s been an enjoyable franchise reboot.

(Digging the writing on THE ATOM second feature, cool comic book science. The art, less so. Why not have Lemire draw it?)

BEST OF WEEK: DAYTRIPPER #9 – This would be the first issue to hit after INCEPTION. Um. I loved it. Dave Stewart is a god. The THE EVENT ads really drove me insane, here. What’s with the paper stock? Why is it less glossy? I maybe like it better, for this one, right here. I love that the first time you realize it’s a dream within a dream, it’s from the kitchen sink overflowing, repeating that INCEPTION water motif. I maybe still love that movie too much to talk sensibly about this comic book at the moment. There’s already a huge lump in my throat about #10 coming out next month, and I’m lusting after the trade paperback of this that doesn’t even exist yet.

Important work done right here, people, quickens my heart. Yours, too, if you let it.

Saturday, August 7, 2010


BEST OF WEEK: CASANOVA #2 – I think last time we pretty much established that I love this thing far too much to even share the same solar system with words like “objective” or “critical” when discussing it, so let’s just accept that and barrel on, as ever.

As expected, this first double-dose was almost too much for my body to accept, the way maybe when you’ve been drinking too much all night and them some joker or, really, temptress, almost trips over you and decides to pour a bottle of whatever’s handy down into you and that maybe works out swell for about five minutes but then your body just can’t stand any more of all that good, that poison, and so just sends it right back up the hatch? Well, I was dry-heaving Ba after about 20 pages of this, see, so so close to just splashing inbred hyperdimensional espionage goodness up all over the carpet.

And THEN with the old #3 cut into three equally riveting scenes unfolding one page at a time, straight up cribbed from Minear’s fantastic “Out of Gas” episode of FIREFLY (I think you ladies know the one I’m talking about. The ladies reading these words. Ladies?)(no, wait, shit, I think I’m getting that one mixed up with Mal waking up naked in the desert because Joan gave him what for. Never mind about the ladies and Mal’s ass. But that Joan has always been a star, we knew it way back when).

So, had me and had me, and then with the Fraction/Chabon e-mails. Christ Jesus. Kind of makes you want to burn everything else without even giving it a chance. Easily the best $4 anyone can spend this month.

And, actually, writing this made me cough up this e-mail to a friend, which sums it all up much better than the preceding:

For $3.99, released this week, you get colorized versions of the original #s 2 & 3, both of which are just so tight they make my teeth hurt, 32 pages all told, then, when you can't be any more grateful, the fucking backmatter is 8 pages of Chabon/Fraction e-mails basically geeking out over Bond and really lusting after Faye Dunaway. It has to be read to be believed, but you will wish that they were your best friends, too.


THE BOYS #45 – The Female appropriating UP’s colored balloons turns out not to just be a great idea for the cover. Man, this series has never been better and Nicky B and company absolutely could not have picked a more opportune time to jack up the price, because I was just so indignant maybe eight weeks ago and am now wondering why they didn’t just jump up to $5. On the edge of my seat.

BRIGHTEST DAY #7 – And wow, Johns & Tomasi totally read my last review and cranked it right the hell up (yes, I realize that this was written a long time ago, but this flippant tone thing I’ve got going is really working for me right now, so please to let’s roll with it). I probably would have picked a cover concept that didn’t give away such a prominent plot point. And, while I’m grousing, those tight-shot ads for NBC’s THE EVENT have just about put me completely off the fucking thing, just because they derailed me about eight times in one night from enjoying stories that I had already paid money for. I mean, I’m all about the Blair Underwood, Jonathan Rollins forevah, but recycling THE MATRIX’s ad campaign 11 years later isn’t really blowing anybody away, you know? Maybe it’ll be great, but I don’t appreciate them just elbowing their way into my Wednesday night.

But the issue. Fine work. Acceleration appreciated. Looking forward to the next issue. Still not quite 52, but you know. Red sky lightning in a bottle, that.

HOUSE OF MYSTERY #28 – The page stock is not as swell as BRIGHTEST DAY. They maybe want to look into that, this one’s going to stand the test of time much better, I’m thinking. Sturges does, has always done in this title, this really amazing trick in the captions where you can totally feel him writing, trying as hard as he can, but where that will usually put me off from about everybody else, I’m always rooting for him, and he always delivers by page’s end. I can’t put it any better than that. Normally, any other time when the author’s voice just crashes into the narrative, it seems like amateur hour, but here it works for me. Maybe because of the premise of the title? I don’t know. Two years+ and going strong. Rossi is a hoss.

CAPTAIN AMERICA #608 – Love Guice’s choreography for that initial fight. Things look worse for poor ol Buck. And, in the last panel, Sam says, “We gotta go now.” That’s totally the “Louie, Louie” quote that Ennis grabbed for that interminable sidekicks arc in the 30s! Oh my head, the connections! This issue is another fine slab of serial goodness, but I can’t for the life of me, all love to McKeever, understand how the second feature got greenlit, let alone not pulled by now. I want my talking heads to be David & Tina, not Liefeld’s reboot of Bucky. I mean, that doesn’t even take math to illustrate.

AVENGERS PRIME #2 – Yeah, I’m just so glad to see Davis/Farmer knocking these pages out, think I’d be a lot more forgiving even if Bendis wasn’t again delivering top-shelf work. This is the issue when our three leads don’t even interact and it’s all still wildly compelling, at least if phrases like “the rainbow bridge across nine worlds” do anything for you. Bendis is a master of the beats. I think anyone who talks shit about him really fails to grasp that, and how important it is in this medium.

S.H.I.E.L.D. #3 – And the telescoping Newton issue! The five-fold understading! The Greater Science, The Hidden Arts, The Secret Alchemy, The Quiet Math, and The Silent Truth.

Say no more, right? Well, we could talk about Being Mentored by Galileo, or How Nostradamus Sees, or What Newton Knows, or How One Smites Galactus, or The Mechanics of Laying with Deviants, but all I really have left is that I probably won’t ever be able to decide if I love this one or DAYTRIPPER more, but will forever revere this calendar year for the chance it gave me to read both of them almost at the same time.