Giant-Size John Buys Comics

Well, giant-size in that I bought a butt-load of 'em this week.

Hey! Have I ever mentioned Super Future Friends here? I have? Well, I'm mentioning them again beause they are awesome. They speak of the Legion of Super-Heroes with great joy and some swears and bring me delight. Seriously, it's the only podcast that I listen to multiple times, plus they just did the first appearance of matter-Eater Lad, my fav'rit!

Zeke Deadwood, Zombie Lawman

Hee hee hee! This was a terrific comic to start my weekly read-on with. I know that “disdain for zombie-based entertainment” is the new chic attitude (uh, new as in for the last year or two), but like “disdain for Jimmy Olsen” and “admiration for tapered jeans” I can’t really get behind it. A good comic is a good comic and a bad comic is a bad comic, zombies or no. And nobody looks good in tapered jeans.

Anyway: this is a fun comic. It has a good premise (a zombie would make a great lawman), a couple of good running gags (Zeke smells very bad, zombies are very slow), lots of good sight gags (as outlaws take over the town a man is seen reading a paper with the headline OUTLAWS ARRIVE) and a framing sequence that preys on my love of old-time radio. Zeke and his zombie horse look great. Zeke sings some Johnny Cash. Johnathan is delighted. Also: a Guy Davis pin-up (and did I mention that Guy Davis drew a little Hellboy for me when Rachelle saw him at HeroesCon? He totally did! Wotta guy!)

Good job, T.A. Boatwright and Ryan Rubio.

Poe No. 1 No. 1 (of 4)

Oh man. There was a preview for this in the back of something I read last week and it didn’t look very appealing, mainly because whoever put it together chose pages that focused on Edgar Allen Poe as a crazy dude mourning his dead child bride and possibly seeing through time, instead of the far more awesome Edgar Allen Poe who does all of that stuff and also solves mysteries like an insane Sherlock Holmes.

This is a great story. Poe is the grand-daddy of detective fiction and also the godfather of the American horror tradition and also a crypto buff and general crazy genius, so casting him in an investigative role is a natural - if this is the first time that it’s been done then I’m surprised. He has this terrific nervous energy that is accentuated by the art of Dean Kotz so that you can almost hear him blurting out all of his deductions in one long blather, all talking with his hands and pacing around.

On top of that, this is shaping up to be an interesting mystery that I actually care about and try to figure out, which doesn’t happen often in the comic books. And the villains look terrific.

Oh, and also the magic in this book appears to have been cribbed from D&D, which is awesome.

Last Resort No. 1

Dang it, this looks like a candidate for the SECOND ISSUE OF JUDGEMENT treatment, as this issue was all setup and that could be a good thing or a bad thing.

See, this comic can be summarized as follows: plane heading for Aruba is forced by a storm to land on an island that is probably covered in zombies. Between the first couple of pages (zombie-esque dude washes up on resort beach) and the last couple (the plane lands at the resort) this issue is basically concerned with establishing the cast of characters: the angry lesbian, the fornicating couple, the nerd, the old lady, etc. They’re okay character sketches, so the really key thing that will make or break the series for me is going to happen in the second issue. Will the characters that I like get horribly killed after making an optimistic prediction? Will the irritating characters get killed in spiteful and ironic ways? This is the axis of judgment for a character-driven zombie book. I’d love to see everyone with a personality survive for once, while nameless extras are mown down around them.

Two further things strike me as worth mentioning. First, that Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray need to run the script for the second issue past a proofreader one extra time if they don’t want people like me to be rendered sad by the punctuation and spelling errors. Editors read comics too, guys. And weep.

Second, either the script contains three separate art directions that read “the girl’s shirt is hiked up over one boob so that you can see her nipple ring” or Giancarlo Caracuzzo loves drawing girls with their shirt hiked up over one boob so that you can see their nipple rings. Either way, I think that someone is letting their freak flag fly a bit. “I LOVE BOOOOOOBS!”, they are saying.

Creepy No. 1

Ah, good old Creepy. I’m glad to see this title out and about again. And it’s good! Someone at Dark Horse understood exactly what magazines like Creepy and Eerie and so forth were good at: telling stories with a twist at the end, some of which were clever and some of which were amusing and some of which were a little scary. The only really important stipulation was that they should all be as interesting as possible and look good in black and white.

And in the back: a story that manages to be the other thing that a good horror comic tale can be: touching in a weird way. It's called "Daddy and the Pie" and just touched my tiny heart, I swear. Much more than the racists earlier, I swear.

The Brave and the Bold No. 25

This issue continues the merging of the Milestone and DC universes, as well as the theme of pairing up guys with something in common, with an all-armour team-up between Blue Beetle and a dude named Hardware, of whom I know little since my Milestone reading has only progressed by about five issues since B&B No.24 (and how odd is it that I feel disappointed in myself for letting my having a life get in the way of reading comics?). His created-in-the-Nineties roots are really showing here, though, as he spends a lot of the issue acting like a mistrustful dick who HAS TO DO IT FOR HIMSELF!

There’s also a villainous team-up in this issue, as Hardware’s enemy the System (or possibly SYSTEM) hires a shadowy, bald technologist to consult on their battlesuit designs. I spent the issue figuring that it was Luthor and then at the end - POOF - it turns out to be Gizmo, only not the zombie Gizmo from Birds of Prey but rather a full-sized guy in the Gizmo costume who implies that he’s the original’s… son? Brother? What really matters is that the costume looked stupid on him.

Oh, and this was a pretty good comic! It may be recovering!

Domino Lady No. 1

I bought this comic because I love pulpy stuff and detectives and so forth, so a masked detective in an evening gown should have been right up my alley. Man, I shoulda bought that Blonde Phantom book instead.

Maybe the giant breast implants on the cover should have tipped me off, but some part of me said “Nah, they must have had fake boobs in the Twenties or Thirties or whenever. Probably made ‘em out of wood or something.” And so I blundered on, into a comic that started badly and then went downhill.

The Domino Lady! Makes a big deal about how rare it is for someone to know her secret identity but wears a domino mask, the mask that does nothing to conceal your identity! The artist forgot to draw the mask for a page and I thought that it was on purpose!

The Domino Lady! Featuring a pointless appearance by Sherlock Holmes! He disguises himself as a clown!

The Domino Lady! There are lots of shots of her in her underwear! She puts her evening gown on over top and the underwear disappears! Oops!

I could go on. This is bad. This is… this is Alan Moore’s Cobweb as written by, well, not Alan Moore. It’s T&A (which I have no objection to, in theory) with nothing to back it up, story-wise (this I object to). Booooo.

Blackest Night No. 1

Okay, here it comes. Blackest Night, the War of Lights, etc. Black Hand is tongue-kissing Bruce Wayne’s skull and there are zombies everywhere. This is probably going to awesome if it doesn’t suck.

You know what I liked best about this comic? At the beginning there’s a sequence showing people celebrating the holiday that started in memory of Superman and then became a general costumed hero memorial day once he came back. Everybody’s visiting graves and remembering their pals and it’s all so nice. I know that it was just setup for when all of those pals come back as awful creatures of the night, but I kind of wished that the comic could just be fun all the way through. Hey look, the Rogues have their own secret cemetery! Hey look, Barry Allen is more interesting in this book than Rebirth, even though they’re written by the same guy!

ZOMBIE WATCH (there will be spoilers in the ZOMBIE WATCH): Every dead member of the Green Lantern Corps (including Ch’p!), Martian Manhunter (and who didn’t expect that), Sue and Ralph Dibny (and who wasn’t dreading that). I’m sure that future ZOMBIE WATCH installments will be more action-packed.

R13 No. 1

This actually came out last week and I somehow missed it, which is weird because it's directly up my alley. Check it: a fishing boat hauls up a crazy-cool robot with a dome head. Inside that dome is a skull. The robot fights a tentacled beast of the sea and also there is a giant lobster. There is a mystery.

How could I resist any of that, let alone all of it? It's like these people (these people = Thomas Hall and Daniel Bradford) are hiding in my house and taking notes. And it looks really nice, too - the art lives in the same neighbourhood as Mike Mignola and Guy Davis' and maybe picks up their mail while they're away. There is some inconsistancy in the resolution of the panels but looking at Blacklist Studios' website I think that a) It's their first comic and b) it's just these two guys, so I'm willing to forgive some minor loss of crispness in exchange for more robot vs. mollusc action, delivered quarterly.

Edward Grey, Witchfinder: In the Service of Angels No. 1

Speaking of Mignola...

This comic has been a long time coming - Edward Grey has been lurking around the edges of the Hellboy universe for many, many years now. Heck, he even had a little solo adventure in the prequel to the recent Abe Sapien miniseries.

Now, I know that I might not be the most unbiased person on this subject, but this is a great comic. Edward Grey is a Victorian occult investigator looking into a series of murders that are all connected to an archeological expedition and there are crazy skeletons and pre-human societies and things in jars... It's just distilled joy for me.

Actually, now that I think about it, this might be a good jumping-on point for someone who wants to check out the Heellboy family of comics but is daunted by the interconnectivity of the whole thing. Sure there are a few references to earlier series here (Hyperboreans, eeeee!) but they aren't in the least bit essential to the story. And how can you resist Victorians versus pre-human ape-guys?

And it's pretty much bedtime. Quick reviews!

Buck Rogers No 2 - Passes the SECOND ISSUE OF JUDGEMENT! Good fun here!

Wednesday Comics No. 2 - More of the same, the same being goodness!

The Unknown No. 3 - What? Insane monk? Hooray!

Final Crisis Aftermath: Escape No. 3 - I am so confused.  This is going to be great!

Sherlock Holmes No. 3 - Mycroft: not fat enough. Otherwise terrific.

Good night everyone!