John Buys Comics, Wants Nachos.

 The Brave and the Bold No. 24

Aha! This is why I have kept buying this comic! Aside from glimpses of Icon and the Shield in a couple of places over the last month or so I haven’t seen any of this integration of the Milestone and Red Circle characters into the DCU and this is going to be one of the places I watch. Because it’s easy. 

When I heard about the merging of worlds I started reading some books from the Milestone and Impact lines – both imprints had their heydays during the least John Buys Comics portion of the Nineties – but haven’t really gotten a sense of either of them yet. Not too big a deal in the case of Impact, as it looks like they’re going back to the original Red Circle characters and re-re-re-reinventing them as new to the DCU, but it’s kind of tough to judge how well they’re handling the Homage characters without actually knowing anything about them. Luckily, this issue teams up Black Lightning and Static and has them teaming up against Holocaust, and I have read enough to get a sense of them. 

I don’t know whether Static was given all kinds of supporting cast drama and secret turmoil and so forth in his own comic but I reckon that it’s likely. Doesn’t really matter here, though, in what is essentially one big fire-and-lightning-drenched fight scene with father-and-son-esque moments between electrically-powered black super-heroes. Static cracks wise Spider-Man-style whilst cracking heads. Easy. Meanwhile, Holocaust is a colossal ass, jibing with what I’ve read in my Blood Syndicate researches. 

Of course, that brings me around to the subject of race, which is a bit of a given when talking about Milestone characters, who were created as and by members of minority groups specifically because the comics industry tends not to adequately represent them in either. Given DC’s recent track record re: Vixen looking about as black as me after a week in the sun (note: I am very not black), how did they do? Eh. Not bad. They still seem to be scared of giving anyone a skin tone darker than “really good tan” but at least Static and Black Lightning’s facial features don’t look like they were lifted from Whitey McCaucasianoid wholesale. Holocaust, on the other hand, sports a biker ‘stache that makes him look like he just emerged from a Midwestern trailer park. Call it a C for minimal effort. 

It’s a standard comic when you get right down to it: hero, hero, villain, teamup, fight, nachos. It *is* successful in its mission to place the city of Dakota in relation to the rest of the DCU. I’ll do some more reading and get back to you on how well they manage the rest of the Milestone merge. 

DC Comics House Ads 

Just a quick look at the house ads for the Red Circle comics. First: hooray for good house ads. This isn’t quite up to the quality of the ads from the late Eighties – the Golden Age of house ads, as far as I’m concerned – but they are engaging, what with their faux newspaper article aesthetic. Rachelle keeps making fun of me for being excited about these comics, but I grew up reading Archie Comics and 60s/70s Red Circle stuff and by damn, I have a lot of affection for ‘em. I was kind of hoping that they’d be treated a bit like the characters in The Twelve – heroes out of time from a simpler age, a Silver Age version of what the Justice Society is, kinda. Instead, it looks like they’re introducing them as new heroes, kind of like when the Charlton guys got absorbed into the DCU after the Crisis. 

So who have we got? 1) The Hangman, cast as some sort of eternal vengeance spirit or regular guy posing as the same instead of a regular guy who was the Comet’s brother. No loss there, and I like the costume – I never could resist that style of jacket.

2) Inferno. I have no idea. They’ve either used a really obscure guy that I’ve ever heard of or renamed someone else. Regardless, he seems to be a villain or antihero sort, which is interesting, as the one-shot is out in August, meaning that for one month, DC will be publishing two comic books featuring fire-themed, mustachioed villains.

3) The Web. In the Sixties, the Web was a Batman-style vigilante who was known as “the Henpecked Hero” because his wife gave him a hard time about being a middle-aged crimefighter. In the Nineties, the Impact Web was a SHIELD-ish organization concerned with policing superhumans. *This* Web is a guy in an atrocious costume who advertises for clients via the Internet. His personality looks to be somewhere between Booster Gold and Crackerjack from Astro City. Aside from the terrible costume (and maybe that’s on purpose, I don’t know) this could be pretty good.

4) The Shield. The Shield, always and forever, is a strong guy in a Stars-and-Stripes union suit. This one is wearing a “profoundly experimental suit based on nanotechnology”. I like that “profoundly” in there. 

Verdict: cautious optimism. 

Invincible No. 63 – Let me tell you a story. Wait, some context first. My girlfriend isn’t a comics person. She is a reading person and an art-loving person, so she will read things that I recommend based on her tastes. That said, it’s pretty unlikely that she’ll ever start buying dozens of comics per week like me. She does, however, get me to show her what I buy each week so she can look at the art and occasionally make fun of me for reading something with such lovingly-rendered boobies. She’s also a doctor and is going to be a pathologist someday, meaning that she has performed autopsies. Okay, so this week I was showing her my comics and this one came up and she made a little grossed-out noise. This is a gory-ass comic, folks. If you’re kind of upset about how bloody Green Lantern is getting, avoid this one. Good news is, it looks like they’re going to be getting back into more of that juicy Invincible plot per issue soon, hooray! 

Action Comics Annual No. 12 – Was I complaining about how there aren’t annuals any more recently? It’s true, I miss those crazy guys. Mostly, I miss the opportunity that it gives the creative team to turn away from the ongoing story for an issue and tell an imaginary tale or highlight a minor character or, as here, tell an origin story. This issue is the tale of how Thara Ak-Var and Christopher Kent became Nightwing and Flamebird, reverse respectively. Nothing too fancy, but it fills in all of the missing parts of their story and some of the untold particulars of Kandor’s society to boot. Good times. 

Final Crisis Aftermath: Dance No. 2 – Issue 2 is holding up to Issue 1’s promises: the Super Young Team, dissatisfied with the remoteness of their satellite headquarters, are moved to a building in what I assume to be Las Vegas but is called “Las Vulgar” throughout. There are a couple of interesting encounters with super-villains – interestingly, this comic seems to be doing the “tour the corners of the DCU” thing that I was hoping that Red Robin would – but the emerging plot is that Something Happened to Japan during Final Crisis and a mysterious group doesn’t want either the Team or the world to find out. Also: Most Excellent Super Bat’s constant pseudo-profundities on “Twitteratti” remain amusing, as does Shy Crazy Lolita Canary’s focused drunkenness.

Groom Lake No. 4 - Karl Baur and the aliens have escaped from Groom Lake! Lotsa air-planing and sexual tension here. Not so much plot, but every series needs an action issue now and again. Next issue looks to have a lot of the excellent giant robot Barada-2, so count me in.

Mysterius the Unfathomable No. 6 - Well, out of six issues, there have been intrusive ads in the middle of two covers. At least this "North 40" book looks reasonably interesting. As for Mysterius? Let's just say that I own the series and I'll likely be buying the trade. If you have any interest in a well-plotted story with great art and lots of ladies with big bums and you haven't been getting this as it's bcome out, well, you should do the same.

Life is happening. Maybe more reviews later if it's not too demanding. Good night!