Sunday, July 31, 2011

Batman: Arkham City #3

Cover by Carlos D'Anda
Batman: Arkham City #3 (June 29, 2011)
Writer: Paul Dini
Penciller: Carlos D’Anda
Inker: Carlos D’Anda
Colorist: Gabe Eltaeb
Letterer: Travis Lanham

I’ve been avoiding the Batman: Arkham City comics mostly because I found the idea of reading comics about the upcoming video game abhorrent. I felt that I would be reading a commercial and it would be a giant gimmick trying to get me to buy this video game as soon as it comes out (which let’s face it, I totally am).

So on general principle, I refused to read any of the Arkham City comics. Then with a spur of the moment decision, I went what the hell? and read Batman: Arkham City #3. It’s out of five issues so it was probably a poor decision on my part but my overwhelming love for the Arkham Asylum video game blurred my faculties for a moment.

And while I went into this comic fully expecting to be cringing at the overt product placement, I was actually taken by surprise. It wasn’t half bad. Of course I missed the first two issues so I’m not exactly sure how the Joker managed to escape Arkham Asylum AGAIN (especially after being all toxin-ed up at the end of the first video game) or just why and how the Penguin is involved but nonetheless, it featured a fun look into both of these characters’ plans and strategies.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Captain America: The First Avenger

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
Director: Joe Johnston
Writer: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely
Cast: Chris Evans, Hayley Atwell, Sebastian Stan, Tommy Lee Jones, Hugo Weaving

I skipped yesterday’s post because I knew I would finally be seeing the new Captain America film on Friday. Now I finally have time to write down my thoughts. Do I have to say spoiler alert? This came out a week ago.

While the film was not as brilliant as The Dark Knight, as exciting as Iron Man or even as silly as Thor, it was definitely enjoyable and better than the average summer popcorn flick. I had fun while watching the entire movie and actually cared about the characters, which definitely does not always happen in comic book movies. Although, I have to admit, I cared a great deal more about the secondary characters than Chris Evans as Steve Rogers/Captain America.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Red Skull: Incarnate #1

Cover by David Aja
Red Skull: Incarnate #1
Writer: Greg Pak
Penciller: Mirko Colak
Colorist: Matthew Wilson
Letterer: VS’s Clayton Cowles

After spending so much time focusing on the art and the action of the comic books I’ve been reading, I’ve lost sight of what originally drew me to this medium: strong characterization and great story-telling. After drowning in so much mediocrity lately, I’m so happy I picked up Red Skull: Incarnate #1 and was reminded of how much I can love a comic book.

To be honest, it was merely the cover of this issue that drew me to Red Skull: Incarnate #1. Like other snobby people, I have a weakness for anything retro-looking and I fell in love with David Aja’s cover art at first glance. I knew immediately what the feel of the comic was going to be and I knew it would appeal to my love of history and politics. I had no real agenda with reading this comic: all I know about Red Skull is that he’s a Nazi and he has a red head. That’s it. Oh, and Hugo Weaving plays him in the new Captain America movie which I still have not seen!

So I had no real previous interest in this character or his backstory when I picked up this issue. I really think that was for the best, however, as this story arc focuses entirely on the origin of Red Skull/Johann Schmidt, beginning with this issue which focuses on his painful childhood in a home for wayward boys in Munich in 1923. There was very little action, at least in the traditional comic book sense, in this issue but it was a very violent and disturbing read nonetheless.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Deadpool #40

Cover by Dave Johnson
Deadpool #40 (July 13, 2011)
Writer: Daniel Way
Penciller: Carlo Barberi
Colorist: Tim Bradstreet
Inker: Walden Wong
Letterer: Joe Sabino

There are two things I really have to stop doing:

1)       Reading contemporary Deadpool comics
2)       Promising people that I’m not going to read contemporary Deadpool comics until I read some of the classics

I’ve been having trouble with these two items. I had sworn that I was going to forgo any more Deadpool but then I was able to get a hold of Deadpool #40 and I suddenly remembered how interested I was in the continuing story arc after finishing Deadpool #39. They sucked me in, damn it.

And of course, I was disappointed. Deadpool and I seem to have a very unhealthy relationship. I expect too much from him.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

100 Bullets: First Shot, Last Call

Cover by Dave Johnson
100 Bullets: First Shot, Last Call (2000)
Writer: Brian Azzarello
Penciller: Eduardo Risso
Colorist: Grant Goleash
Letterer: Clem Robins

This was lent to me by a co-worker. After I finished it, I told him I had two questions:

1)       Was I supposed to understand what was going on?
2)       Was I supposed to like this?

Those questions have still been unanswered. Supposedly, 100 Bullets in a masterpiece in the comic world. Maybe it is and maybe I don’t get it. The idea itself is interesting enough: you are given 100 untraceable bullets and a gun and the ability to right whatever personal wrong you have experience with absolutely no legal consequences. What would you do?

I would like to think that I would immediately run away, call the police and inform them that a crazy person is going around giving away bullets and guns for free but I suppose that wouldn’t make for an exciting graphic novel. Though to be honest, I didn’t really find First Shot, Last Call all that exciting either.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Batman/Evan & Robin/Justin versus Ghost Shark #1 - an in-joke of fanart proportions

As part of an increasingly complicated series of in-jokes among friends, this comic was written and illustrated by a co-worker, Sergio.

I suppose I should explain this to a degree: after assigning all co-workers as Batman characters, we decided to pit our co-workers/heroes against a character that I came up with over a year ago: Ghost Shark®™.

So here is Issue #1 of Batman/Evan versus Ghost Shark. Click and enjoy.

Written & illustrated by Sergio Ragno

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Green Arrow #13: Projectiles

Cover by Josh Middleton
Green Arrow #13: Projectiles
Writer: James Patrick
Penciller: Agustin Podilla
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Colorist: Ulises Arreola

The Green Arrow is one of those characters that I really liked watching in Justice League Unlimited; Ollie Queen was one of my favorite aspects about that show. Due to that, I never sought out Green Arrow comics because I assumed they would not be as much fun or dynamic as the Green Arrow of JLU.

That was wrong of me.

I am so glad I picked up Green Arrow #13. Though this depiction of Queen was very different from the good-hearted trickster smartass of JLU, Patrick still gave the reader a very engaging Green Arrow, one that I really care about and also am so excited to see where he goes in the next issue.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Iron Age #1

Cover by Joe Jusko,
 Lee Weeks, Dan Brown
Iron Age #1 (June 29, 2011)
Writer: Christos N. Gage, Rob Williams
Inker: Lee Weeks, Tom Palmer, Ben Oliver
Colorist: Matt Hollingsworth, Veronica Gandini
Letterer: Jared K. Fletcher

I quite liked this.

For now, I have nothing more gripping or clever to say except that though I have no doubt that this was not the strongest demonstration of Tony Stark as a main character, I did enjoy reading his narration. This was definitely a pleasantly straightforward introduction to him for me, though that may seem strange as the plot of this issue revolves around time travel, alternate realities and multiple Tony Starks. Still, underneath all this excess, the plot was simple enough: Tony Stark must stop an evil villain from completing his evil plot in the past and destroying the world in the future. I know I’ve read that before.

 Iron Age #1 contained two stories, the first (With A Little Help From My Friends) an ensemble piece featuring the entire Avengers working together as a team, first against future-Tony Stark whom they believe is simple contemporary-drunk-Tony Stark and then against someone called Ultron Omega. Stark was fun to read as he struggled to convince his fellow Avengers that he really was from the future and also confront his past alcoholic self. Sadly, Gage very often steered into heavy-handy woe-is-me territory. Stark was constantly worrying, pitying himself and lamenting his heavy responsibility. When he was just Iron Man, just focused on his mission and the battle at hand – he was great. In all the quiet moments, Stark was a bit unbearable.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Gotham City Sirens #24

Cover by Guillem March
Gotham City Sirens #24 (June 29, 2011)
Writer: Peter Calloway
Penciller: Andres Guinaldo
Inker: Lorenzo Ruggiero
Colorist: JD Smith
Letterer: Carlos M. Mangual

The thing with Harley Quinn is that she’s an awesome character in theory but she is almost always annoying to read. Her voice (even her literal one in Batman: The Animated Series or Arkham Asylum) can just be so grating and her doormat personality so disappointing, that I have to admit that I am a somewhat reluctant fan. She kind of goes against everything I love and look for in a female comic book character and yet, I can’t turn away.

Therefore, I wasn’t really expecting much when I picked up Gotham City Sirens #24. I am completely unfamiliar with this particular series and since there are about 8,000 different Batman story arcs going on at once, I figured the chances were pretty good that this would just be mediocre. And you know what? In some ways it was (the storyline didn’t really grip me and the conclusion was incredibly anti-climatic) but this issue has these moments that really took me by surprise and made me take notice.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Fables: Animal Farm

Cover by James Jean
Fables: Animal Farm (2003)
Writer: Bill Willingham
Penciller: Mark Buckingham
Inker: Steve Leialoha
Colorist: Daniel Vozzo
Letterer: Todd Klein

So I took the dive and read the second issue of the Fables series. Directly following the first issue, Legends in Exile, Animal Farm has an entirely different feel and theme. After establishing the central characters and history, Animal Farm delves much more into the politics of the Fabletown community.

Snow White, the deputy mayor of Fabletown, brings her estranged sister, Rose Red, along for an annual business trip to the Farm, the upstate New York community where folklore characters that can’t pass (ie. the Little Pigs, Shere Khan, the Three Bears etc) in normal society live. It quickly becomes evident that there is major unrest among the Farm’s residents, sowed in particular by the Three Little Pigs, in a not-so-subtle nod to the issue’s namesake.

A revolution is brewing, weapons are converted, Goldilocks raises a call to arms, a pig is slaughtered and Snow White barely escapes with her life. There was quite a lot of action to take in.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Birds of Prey #14: War and Remembrance Part I

Cover by Billy Tucci
Birds of Prey #14: War and Remembrance Part I
Writer: Marc Andreyko
Penciller: Billy Tucci, Adriana Melo
Inker: Billy Tucci, JP Mayer
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Colorist: Nei Ruffino, Rob Schwager

There was something very vintage-y and déjà vu-inducing about this comic and it wasn’t just because the plot featured flashbacks to 1950 and Nazis.

The plot itself was pretty recognizable to me, what with the inclusion of World War II references, elderly Nazis planning to resurrect one of their leaders and “bring about a new Reich” and the focus on the Phantom Lady, a Golden Age character that I have  always been curious to read more about but who also sadly instinctively reminds me of Silk Spectre. Damn you, Watchmen! Phantom Lady came first, stop making me forget that!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Fables: Legends in Exile

Cover by James Jean
Fables: Legends in Exile (2002)
Writer: Bill Willingham
Penciller: Lan Medina
Inker: Craig Hamilton, Steve Leialoha
Colorist: Sherilyn van Valkenburgh
Letterer: Todd Klein

So at work we sell Fables, the on-going comic series by Bill Willingham about fairy tale and folklore characters struggling to survive in the “real” world after being forced out of their magical homes by the Adversary.

Now there’s a ton of Fables comics, so I was always overwhelmed by them and never bothered to pick one up. Furthermore, I am a huge fan of folklore and am always disappointed whenever I read like a modernized fractured fairy tale work. They’re never that much fun or even that well-written but after the series was recommended to me, I decided why not and try my hand at the first Fables graphic novel, Legends in Exile.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

FF #5

Cover by Mark Bagley,
Andy Lanning, Paul Mounts
FF #5 (June 29, 2011)
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Penciller: Barry Kitson
Colorist: Paul Mounts
Letterer: Clayton Cowles

I kind of have no idea what’s going on. Normally, Marvel doesn’t fail me with their handy first page backstory but this time, Hickman decided to keep the exposition to a minimum. All I garnered from this comic was that there are multiple Richard Reeds(s) and they’re wreaking havoc and apparently Reed 1.0 is on the cusp of creating some sort of machine that’ll bring order back to the Marvel Universe. Oh yeah, and apparently the Thing is still mourning  the death of Johnny Storm aka the Human Torch.

Okay first of all, I had no idea the Human Torch has been dead since the beginning of the year. Nor was I aware that for some unfathomable reason, Spider-Man is now a part of the Fantastic Four… and they’re not even called the Fantastic Four anymore! They’re the “Future Foundation.” That’s a dumb name.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Fear Itself: Deadpool #1

Cover by Michael
Fear Itself: Deadpool #1 (June 8, 2011)
Writer: Christopher Hastings
Penciller: Bong Dazo
Inker: Joe Pimentel
Colorist: Matt Milla

So this sucked.

I may as well be straight up about it. This comic sucked.

Look, I really want to like Deadpool. He seems like just the sort of character that I would love and damn it, I refuse to give up on him. After reading his first entry into the Fear Itself crossover series, however, the last and quickly diminishing rational part of my mind is screaming to give up on the Merc with a Mouth. I won’t, though. He has so much damn potential.

But seriously, after this one, I honestly believe I could write a much stronger Deadpool comic and I’ve only read two in my life. I knew things were going to be bad when the first page was one massive MC Hammer reference. Well done, Hastings, at least that joke isn’t 20 years too late. Seriously, for such a smart ass character, you would think Deadpool would have some newer material.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Batman: The Man Who Laughs

Cover by Doug Mahnke
Batman: The Man Who Laughs (2005)
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Penciller: Doug Mahnke
Inker: Doug Mahnke
Colorist: David Baron
Letterer: Rob Leigh

Batman: The Man Who Laughs was another comic  I had heard a great deal about and was very anxious to read for a while now. Written as a contemporary retelling of Batman #1 (1940), Batman has his first encounter with the clown-faced killer dubbed by the police as the Joker.

As I’ve said before, Joker origin stories are usually hit or miss (more often miss) with me but since this is a retelling of the very first time comic book readers ever met the Joker, I suppose this one holds a bit more stock than other ones. It also contained many time-honored elements of origin stories, such as Red Hood, Joker toxin, smoke bombs, and poison in the Gotham water supply. Batman villains seem very keen on poisoning the water supply for some reason, and it never works.

While it contained all of these things, or maybe because it did, this comic didn’t feel like anything new. I was never really excited or intrigued by what was going to happen next because, quite frankly, I knew what was going to happen. Joker was going to threaten to kill some millionaires, he manages to kill a couple, Bruce Wayne survives, Batman and the Joker have a final confrontation, and Batman refuses to kill the Joker. The end.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Superman: Red Son

Cover by Dave Johnson
Superman: Red Son (2004)
Writer: Mark Millar
Penciller: Dave Johnson, Kilian Plunkett
Inker: Andrew Robinson, Walden Wong
Colorist: Paul Mounts
Letterer: Ken Lopez

Okay, this was sort of awesome.

Superman: Red Son has been recommended to me by a couple of different people and I’m so glad I was able to finally a get a hold of it. I was really intrigued to read it, especially after hearing that it is a re-imaging of the Superman myth, in which the Last Son of Krypton crash lands not in rural Kansas, but Soviet Russia.
First of all, this comic combined a good number of things that I have inherent weaknesses for: 20th century history and politics, a really angry and pretty crazy Batman, and a kickass Lois Lane and Wonder Woman.

In comics, women are typically either a femme fatale (Catwoman), ambitiously crazy (Harley Quinn), a good girl (Oracle… she’s even a librarian) or a victim, as Gail Simone famously pointed out in Women in Refrigerators. Which is not to say that there aren’t clichés when it comes to the male characters in comic books, as well. It’s just that with a fluid and ambiguous character like Lois, writers often seem to struggle with what neat little box she should fit into.

Millar, however, actually gave me a Lois I really enjoyed and believed in. She seemed incredibly real and dynamic to me. I was rooting for her, especially since in this re-telling, she’s actually married to Lex Luthor. Whoa. I realized right away that in this comic, everything was essentially going to be backwards, and it was probably going to be a lot of fun to read. It was.
Outside of these awesome comics by Kate Beaton, I haven’t really gotten a chance to read a Lois Lane that was completely satisfactory to me. You see, I love the idea of Lois Lane: a dedicated and talented reporter (I used to want to be a journalist, too, Lois!) with an awesome career and a no-nonsense attitude. But most of my encounters with Lois either remind me of these types of comics or she’s a super vixen who works in an office where it’s apparently acceptable to wear dangerously short skirts and massive cleavage. I think writers really have a hard time with Lois and are just unsure what sort of woman she is.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Mighty Thor #3: The Galactus Seed 3: The Stranger

Cover by
Olivier Coipel,
Mark Morales,
 Laura Martin, Alex Maleev
Writer: Matt Fraction
Penciller: Olivier Coipel, Mark Morales
Colorist: Laura Martin
Letterer: Joe Sabino

So apparently there’s probably three things Thor cares a great deal about:

  1. hitting things with his hammer
  2. declaring war
  3. sex
After these two comics I’ve read, both written by Fraction, I can safely say that sex seems to be very high on Thor’s list of priorities, so much so that he’s willing to neglect waging war against Galactus (he’s even already in his STELLAR armor) for a quickie with Sif. After the terrible come-on in the last issue, I am frankly amazed (and definitely side-eyeing Sif’s so-called badassery) that she is willing to engage in sexual congress with this guy. Speaking of side-eyeing Sif, her one scene involved her completely naked. She was wielding a sword, yes, but… you know, if someone could point me towards a comic that featured a somewhat exploitative scene with a naked Thor, then I’d be a little more tolerable of this scene. But then again, I don’t really need to see a naked Thor.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Secret Six #35: Caution to the Wind

Cover by Daniel LuVisi
Secret Six #35: Caution to the Wind
Writer: Gail Simone
Penciller: J. Calafiore
Colorist: John Kalisz
Letterer: Travis Lanham

After being thoroughly intrigued by Secret Six #34, I was very excited to get my hands on the next issue, Caution to the Wind. Once again, I am dealing with characters that I have very limited knowledge and background with but after these two issues (and a quick trip to Wikipedia), I am beginning to grasp a better feel for their personalities and motives.

The Secret Six are unlike any characters I have encountered in my still beginners-level of comic book collecting. I think because they’re the main characters and still somewhat unfamiliar to me, I expect them to be the heroes of their story arcs. Instead, I am repeatedly shocked whenever Simone reminds me that these are characters willing to engage in extreme violence and even murder. They’re barely anti-heroes, just straight up villains. I’m frankly not used to seeing the “bad guys” work together in tandem as a cohesive group and still enjoy it as a reader. Simone manages to not make the concept of the Secret Six seem gimmicky and the members themselves, even as they plot the murders of some of my favorite characters, still likable.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Secret Six #34: The Jagged End of the Chainsaw

Cover by Daniel LuVisi
Writer: Gail Simone
Penciller: J. Calafiore
Colorist: John Kalisz
Letterer: Travis Lanham

I follow the great Gail Simone on Twitter and there’s been a lot of talk recently on her work with Secret Six, a group of villainous anti-heroes that I really know nothing about I(and which sadly, is ending with the DC re-launch in September). Once again, as a very new fan of anything not directly Batman-related, I struggled for a bit with keeping track of each character and what their motives/goals were while reading this issue. But, as always, it was the strength of Simone’s writing that kept me entertained and thoroughly interested in this issue, even when I wasn’t completely sure what exactly was going on.

Secret Six #34 opened right in the middle of a tense situation: Knockout is being tortured by a murderous fanatic who claims he is doing God’s work by killing Knockout and, as Catman hints, a number of sex workers. The remainder of the Secret Six arrive to rescue Knockout and seek their own brand of justice on Knockout’s torturer.

As I’ve said before, Simone does not shy away from incorporating dark scenes of violence or extremely grim moments. I really appreciate that and find that instead of using violence as an exploitive measure, Simone manages to balance it and give the comic depth and a profound sense of despair. The violence in this comic is not glorified, which is a danger when it comes to comic books, but instead, treated as a grim reality of the Secret Six’s lives.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Power Girl #25

Cover by Sami Basri
Power Girl #25 (June 15, 2011)
Writer: Judd Winick
Penciller: Hendry Prasetyo
Letterer: John J. Hill

That’s really all I can say about this comic, to very loosely paraphrase an early Lady Gaga song.

I haven’t been this apathetic about a comic in a long time and my complete indifference is quite staggering.

It’s partially my fault; I picked Power Girl #25 totally arbitrarily (well, the cover has Power Girl taking a bolt of lightning to her dangerously exposed breasts and I was both curious and embarrassed for her) and of course, this was part 2 of a story arc though I have to wonder just how strong of an arc it was based on this very lackluster conclusion.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Avengers Academy #15

Cover by Billy Tan
Avengers Academy #15
Writer: Christos Gage
Penciller: Tom Raney, Scott Hanna, Andrew Hennessy
Colorist: Jeromy Cox
Letterer: Joe Caramagna

So yesterday was pretty bad and as I was feeling pretty miserable all day, I knew I wanted to read a comic that would not be too dark or dreary. So I steered clear of Batman and basically all of DC. Having so enjoyed the easiness and fun writing of the Avengers Academy, I decided to try their entry in Marvel’s Fear Itself series, which is basically a big crossover series that came out this year and something that, as a new fan, I only sort of understand. Whatever.

While Avengers Academy #15 was not as light-hearted or breezy as #14, it still gave me an enjoyable reprieve from reality (which I desperately needed at the time).

Friday, July 8, 2011

Batman: Close Before Striking

Cover by Scott McDaniel
Close Before Striking (2001)
Writer: Brian K. Vaughan
Penciller: Scott McDaniel
Inker: Karl Story
Colorist: Roberta Tewes
Letterer: John Costanza

I know, I know. Another Batman post. I really need to return this pile of books to the library.

I’ve been pretty used to being disappointed with Batman comics lately, so it was pleasant surprise to actually enjoy one for once. This was another comic written by Brian K. Vaughan and, unlike the really silly one I read earlier, Close Before Striking had a solid story, strong characterization and a decent enough mystery. While it definitely didn’t have anything jaw-dropping, it was at least well-written and actually suspenseful at points.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Batman: The Cat and The Bat


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Deadpool #39

Cover by Dave Johnson,
Marko Djurdjevic
Deadpool #39
Writer: Daniel Way
Penciller: Bong Dazo, Joe Pimentel
Colorist: Andres Mossa
Letterer: VD’s Joe Sabino

As I have gotten more and more into comic books, I’ve discovered a couple characters that I’ve become really interested in and anxious to read more of. Deadpool is one such character, though, based completely on an extremely superficial knowledge of his background and history, I am worried that he is one of those comic book characters that suffers from awesome-idea-poor-execution syndrome and I will be perpetually disappointed in comics about him (my beloved Question also suffers from this horrible disorder).

But I am interested in Deadpool and therefore was excited to actually read one of his single issues, Deadpool #39. Of course it was right back smack in the middle of a story arc but to be frank, I am used to that by now.

Marvel told me on the opening page that Deadpool wanted to get himself killed (it’s hard with that tricky healing factor he’s got) so he decided to detonate two nuclear weapons in the Hulk’s face in an effort to piss the Hulk off so the Hulk will Hulk!Smash Deadpool into nothingness. Seems reasonable, though I am curious to just how the Hulk would survive nuclear weapons to the face. I know he’s all gamma-rayed up but still, wouldn’t that at least negatively impair your Hulk!Smash skills? But I quickly realized that Deadpool #39 was not exactly relying on the strongest of plots.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Batman versus Predator: The Collected Edition

Cover by Dave Gibbons
Batman's teeth are so
distracting on this cover.
Batman versus Predator: The Collected Edition (1993)
Writer: Dave Gibbons
Penciller: Andy Kubert
Inker: Adam Kubert
Colorist: Sherilyn va Valkenburgh
Letterer: Adam Kubert

When I first got a hold of this comic (also lent to me by a co-worker), I was completely torn.

I love Batman but I also really love Predator. The original Predator film is one my favorites and I actively enjoy watching Alien vs. Predator, I don’t even care (seriously, I don’t even consider it a guilty pleasure; I just love it that much). So when I was given Batman versus Predator, I really didn’t know who to root for.

Then I actually read it and I realized that DC and Dark Horse kind of didn’t really try with this one.

Monday, July 4, 2011

RASL Volume 1: The Drift

Cover by Jeff Smith
RASL Volume 1: The Drift (2008)
Jeff Smith

A lot of people have been giving me recommendations and suggestions (which is awesome and please continue to do so! I’m still in the process of looking for a copy of Superman: Red Son but I promise to look for each suggestion I have been given) and even actual comic books to read. A co-worker of mine recently lent me his copy of RASL Volume 1: The Drift, written by the famous and well-respected Jeff Smith, author of the series Bone which is also on my ever growing to read list.

Anyway, RASL has been my third diversion from the superhero genre since I began casually reading graphic novels in 2003 with Blankets by Craig Thompson. I honestly can’t believe I read that that long ago. I’ve also read Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi but so has everybody so I won’t go into great detail about that text. I will say though that due to my experience with these three works, I tend to just assume that all non-superhero comics are in black and white. I just anticipate that a non-superhero work will have very stark artwork and crisp lines, as if to appear almost post-modern. It’s kind of like how I assume all independent movies will feature an ultra hipster soundtrack. They go hand-in-hand.

Presumptive thoughts on the artwork aside, I really enjoyed RASL and since this volume only features issues #1-3, it ended on a major cliffhanger and of course, I am dying to know what happens next.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Mighty Thor: The Galactus Seed 2: Neighbors

Cover by Olivier
Coipel, Mark Morales,
Laura Martin
The Mighty Thor: The Galactus Seed 2: Neighbors
Writer: Matt Fraction
Penciller: Olivier Coipel
Inker: Mark Morales
Colorist: Laura Martin
Letterer: VC's Joe Sabino

Damn it, Marvel!

I keep trying to read your solo hero single issue comics but each time, I end up stumbling in a sequel of another issue.

This time, I read The Mighty Thor: The Galactus Seed 2: Neighbors. Quite a title. I should have known I would be reading something quite out there and a bit confusing when the I read the opening paragraph of the backstory page:

“Yggdrasil – the World Tree – has been rendered in twain: now a giant geyser of strange light reflecting all of spacetime bursts forth from the center of fallen Asgard, a beacon of extraordinary power for all to see.”

Well, damn. I don’t even know how to pronounce half of the words in this comic, let alone understand just what is going on but there was one good outcome from picking up this issue: it made me really like the Silver Surfer.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Captain America #618

Cover by
Marko Djurdjevic
Captain America #618 (May 25, 2011)
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Penciller: Butch Guice, Chris Samnee, Stefano Gaudiano
Colorist: Bettie Breitweiser
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna

So you know how I’ve been talking about my experiences with jumping right into story lines whenever I pick up a single issue comic? I was wrong. I have never jumped straight into a story arc as blindly as I did today with Captain America #618.

When I opened it up to the first page to my trusty character web/backstory, courtesy of Marvel, I was instead greeted by the bold words: GULAG part 3. Whoops.

But my desire to introduce myself to the Marvel world of solo heroes overwhelmed any reservations I had about starting at a part 3 in a narrative. With my trusty page of backstory in hand, I figured that I would be able to handle any twists and turns of Captain America.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Batman: Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?

Cover by Andy Kubert 
Batman: Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader? (2009)
Writer: Neil Gaiman
Penciller: Andy Kubert
Inker: Scott Williams
Colorist: Alex Sinclair
Letterer: Jared K. Fletcher

When I took out a dozen Batman comics from my local library, I kept the bag of books in my room. My sister, unbeknownst to me, came in and raided this bag and one day began talking about one particular graphic novel, assuming I had read it first. When I stared at her dumbfounded, she realized she had actually read more Batman comics than me and seemed quite pleased with this fact.

“Well, I read one that was really confusing,” she said. “Batman was dead but he was also still alive watching his funeral and everyone was telling different stories and then he reborn as a baby or something.”

I guessed she was talking about Batman: Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader? by Neil Gaiman, as it is also a pretty famous comic and one I had heard of before (though I can’t believe it’s only from 2009; I could’ve sworn it was older than that).

“Yeah, that was it,” she said when I repeated the title to her. “Read it because I’m still confused by it.”

So I read it.