Thanks to Memorial Day down South and having to work late a couple of nights, I didn't actually get my comics until Saturday this week. I wouldn't even do this post, actually, except for the fact that there are a couple extraordinarily good things that I want to shout out to.
First, the rundown of the regular stuff:
Batman in Barcelona: Dragon's Knight (One-Shot) - This is a good solid standard Bruce Wayne Batman story, which would be much more unremarkable even two years ago but is almost a rarity now. Batman vs Killer Crock in Barcelona is a good time, it turns out. Bonus: someone being disappointed in Bruce Wayne for not making anything of his life.
Gotham Gazette: Batman Alive? (Also a One-Shot) - This was fun. There were an assortment of art teams and a lot of shots of ladies' heineys, which I can't quite bring myself to complain about, sensitive New Age leanings or not. Leslie Thompkins rehabilitating the Cavalier and Vicki Vale becoming a bit less of a poor man's Lois Lane (in that she's finally becoming a bit more interesting) are the high points.
Final Crisis Aftermath: Ink No. 1 of 6 - Not bad, but definitely the weakest of the four Aftermath first issues. The theme of this one seems to be "super-villain going straight and the challenges thereof", which has been done quite well at various points in tthe past (Astro City: The Tarnished Angel, I'm looking at you), so Ink's going to have to work at things to keep my attention. Bestt part: the Tattooed Man getting mad and unleashing the scorpion that's inked on the back of his head. It rides him likee a creepy hat!
Green Lantern No. 41 - Still good. More info on Larfleeze and some interesting art experimentation for this title. Does anyone else want the Orange Lantern shirt that's on sale now to an ironic amount?
The Last Days of Animal Man No. 1 of 6 - Animal Man losing his powers an indeterminate amount of time in the future while fighting a late-Nineties reject named Bloodrage. It's okay, but I was hoping for another origin story for A-Man so I could bitch about how many of those there have been. The biggest question that I had after reading this was from the cover and was "What kind of useful power could Animal Man get from a giraffe?"
Muppet Robin Hood No. 1 of 4 - Eh, this is okay. Not as good as the Muppet Show comic that BOOM! Studios is also putting out. My girlfriend made me read this to her with funny voices, so I can vouch for its suitability for that, if you have kids.
Rapture No. 1 of 6 - Earth has been devastated by a big ol' super-hero battle and is now devastated and hero-less. Into this mess drop two young star-crossed lovers, one of whom is the appointed savior of mankind. Not bad so far - I'll be checking out No. 2.
Superman No. 688 - Oh, Mon-El. Why can't you swim? As good as ever. Features the return of the two philosophy-spouting guards that endlessly stand outside the door where Tellus is kept.
And now, the feature reviews:
Jan's Atomic Heart
Jeepers Christmas! This is great! Set in "the far-ish future", Jan's Atomic Heart features the trails and tribulations of a man named Jan who has been in a terrible car accident and must wear a loaner body while his regular one is in the hospital being repaired. Things get freaky weird, though. I don't want to spoil it - even the back cover blurb is too much.
The art is black and white and super nice. It shares that sort of weird expressiveness that Guy Davis' work has. The Frankfurt of the future is extremely well-realized - lots of multi-lingual signs and advertisements for products that will likely be of interest someday and robot-headed pedestrians. Likewise, the future society and its problems ring true.
Plus, Simon Roy, the guy responsible for all of this, is a 19 or 20-year-old student living in my old stomping grounds of Victoria BC. Cripes - if he keeps up the comics-work he could be turning out masterpieces some day. If it weren't for the unfair competition of the next comic, this would be the best thing that I read this week.
Cursed Pirate Girl No. 1 of 3
Dang it, I can't find the cover to this thing. Trust me, it looks great, and is printed on unbleached cardstock, which is neato.
Jeremy Bastian, how did you make something this good? It's... it's so good! It warmed my jaded heart!
First off, the art is amazing. It's like people never stopped making those 18th and 19th century-style political cartoons, with all of the intricate linework and the teardrop-shaped speech baloons and eccentrically-shaped heads, and they evolved into comic book form. There's a pretty astonishing menagerie of weirdo characters, with the titular Cursed Pirate Girl standing out like a beacon in the centre of it all by virtue of her (comparative) normalcy. It's by turns delightful and extraordinarily delightful. I heartily encourage you to check this one out.