Old Man John Buys Comics

Man, I seem to have lost all of my ability to write, so brevity may be the order of the day. Also lateness, because of that durned Canada Day that we have up here.

Also, I had a birthday party last night. Rachelle gave me the Eric Powell "Smokers of the Marvel Universe" poster (edit: sorry, that should be "the Eric Powell sketchbook and the Chris Schweizer poster"), my old friend Boudreau gave me a ceramic coffee cup that looks like a paper coffee cup and girlfriend Erica got me the entire Annotated Sherlock Holmes! Because she is the best girlfriend ever!

Batman and Robin No. 2

Whew. Good, good. There was no horrific second-issue drop in quality, just the Morrison/Quitely comic fun that most of us love. All of the players are on-stage and acting true-to-character: Dick Grayson is agonizing about maybe not being able to step up as the Bat, Damian is being insufferable and violent, Alfred is making with the heart-to-heart talks and the villains are being extra Morrison-creepy. The GCPD is proving themselves a bit less brain-dead than the rest of Gotham by noticing that Batman and Robin have both lost some size (and more than a few years). My only real beef is that it's occasionally tough to figure out what's happening in some of the more action-packed panels, though the fact that the big fight is between Robin and a set of cojoined triplets probably contributes to this. Eh, no matter - even if I have to squint at a panel now and again this is such a satisfying comic.

Run! No. 3 - This chapter is entitled "Step Three: Betray Your Only Allies" and the Human Flame does not disappoint. Last issue he fell in with a group of super-lamers headed up by General Immortus and including old favourites like Condiment King, Sportsmaster and Mr. Polka Dot and newbies such as Phoney Baloney and Miss Army Knife. He gets taken in, fitted with integral flame throwers and welcomed into the fold. This issue, he does his very best to screw things up. Lots and lots of good villain dialogue, from Condiment King's running stream of battle-puns to Sportsmaster's bravado to Phoney Baloney's generically broken English. I think that at this point the question might be not *whether* the Human Flame dies at the end but *how*.

Strange Eggs Jumps the Shark

I have no idea if this is an ongoing thing or not - I've certainly never heard of it before but there seems to be some sort of basic scenario - a deliveryman named Roger Rodgers gives an egg to two kids and a creature and then something hatches out of it - that a whole slew of comic-making folks play with and subvert. Jhonen Vasquez is present, as well as James Turner.

Okay, now I see. Strange Eggs was an all-ages comic with the above plot that I totally missed out on and now it's being savaged by various folks. So there's the potential for a child to witness the horrific vision of Jhonen Vasquez! Fun! The quality is all over the place here but it's worth it for Turner's contribution, as well as the phrase "Maliki and Llama, Creationist boy detectives".

Chew No. 2 - I like this comic. I like the setup, the main character, the art. Psychic adventures in the service of the FDA, yeah! Plus, the mystery that was introduced in this issue wasn't solved by the end! Hurrah! Actual detecting in a detective comic? Plus occasional acts of cannibalism? Oh my duckies, this could be a good one. Also, this issue reveals that there are three cibopaths in the world: Tony Chu, his partner and a Russian agent who I'll bet a dollar will turn up for a fistfight sooner or later.

Greek Street No. 1

Oh, bleah. I'm going to have to disagree with Grant Morrison on this one. This is not a good comic. Hey, but at least Vertigo's new first issue pricing means that I only paid a dollar to find that out, right?

The idea behind Greek Street seems to be that stories happen over and over and hey, here are some modern retellings of the Greek myths. Now, about half an hour ago you could have gotten me pretty excited with that little summary - heck, I was a Classics minor - but then half an hour ago I hadn't read this thing. It's just so... poorly executed. Oh hey, Cassandra is a crazy Goth chick, yeah! The Furies are a gang who are big on retribution, okay! There goes a guy, sleeping with his mother! Not that I object to a little darkness in my comics, but ramp up to it a bit. Greek myths are full of murder and patri- fratri- matri- and infanticide but on the other hand they aren't generally told seven at a time. Maybe if all of the stories going on here were told individually instead of at the same time I'd like the new sping better.

No, I probably wouldn't, because the dialogue is terrible. Bah!

The Muppet Show No. 4 (of 4) - All done... So sad. Hope that there's more, because this was a great series. Highlight of the issue: Fozzie and Gonzo imitating chickens.

Irredeemable No. 4 - I'm liking this one as much as ever, though I really hope that the eventual revelation re: why the Plutonian went bad is a good one. Going from Superman-clone to these supreme levels of dickishness is going to have to have a pretty good trigger. I think that Waid can step up, probably. We'll see. Anyway, this issue is all about enjoying Qubit, the eccentric genius machine empath cheese lover. He's very enjoyable!

Rex Libris Book 2

This came out last week and I put it on my "longer than twenty pages" pile and promptly forgot to write about it. As a former and hopefully future library worker I love me some Rex Libris, and as a fan of big guys who solve problems with their fists I love him again. And then a third time because James Turner's art is great and unique and uniquely great. I've had a busier-than-usual week and so haven't gotten to finish it, but I'd have bought even if it were just a two-page pamphlet containing the scene where Rex attempts to classify the zombie that is about to attack him. Dammit, I wanted to quote the scene but I am evidently the least-organized man on Earth. Trust me, it's great.

Speaking of James Turner, the next issue of Warlord of Io, that very fun comic was supposed to come out around now but was scuttled by Diamond's brain-enraging new distribution requirements (i.e., they won't distribute anything without a certain number of pre-orders). But! Mr. Turner is planning on bringing out the full Warlord of Io story as a graphic novel some time in the future, and currently has the unreleased issue available online here.

Tales Designed to Thrizzle Volume One

This book works out very well for me, as I somehow missed this series until it hit issue five and hey! this collects issues one through four, in glorious colour! I'm about halfway through and I've already busted a gut at least twice, with one gleeful cry of "with a bitter whore!", if that tells you anything. As my compatriots pointed out at the comic shoppe yesterday, this is probably the best book in a while to give as a gift, for basically anyone with a decent sense of humour.



Far Arden - As I said, I've had a lot to read this week, so Kevin Cannon's new book hasn't even been opened since I bought it. I'm mentioning it anyway, because I read one page in the store and was sold. On this page, a man was eaten by a bear, with the sound effect HUMAN-SIZED BITE! How could I resist? HOW? I'll be reading it this week - let's see if I can muster up the neurons to remember to tell you how it is (I'm guessing that it's going to be great). Update: I read the first chapter this morning and it is great.