Bah. My life has become disconcertingly full lately and so *gasp!* I skipped my reviews last week. A quick rundown of some of the highlights:
Red Tornado No. 1 (of 6) – The best thing about the latest iteration of Justice League was the cool character stuff in the first story arc: Dr Impossible and the Solomon Grundy and so on. And the most intriguing bit was T.O. Morrow’s offhand mention of a “Red Inferno”. Never thought I’d hear anything else about that particular character, but I’ve been wrong before: get ready for four times the Reddy! Seems like it should be some self-contained fun – will JUDGE next issue.
T.O. Morrow’s attachment to his prison chair is a thing of beauty, by the way.
Strange Tales No. 1 (of 3) – Marvel equivalent of Bizarro Comics? Paul Pope cover? A She-Hulk story that references The Yellow Wallpaper? The promise of two more issues? How could I not be behind this with all of my tiny heart and withered soul?
Chew No. 4 – I’m not sure what makes me happier: getting to read a super-fun oddball comic like this every month or the fact that the super-fun oddball comic that I like has gotten very popular, which will hopefully ensure that it is around for years to come. This issue: dissolute scientists! A very intriguing cosmic plot development! And of course, more cannibalism!
North 40 No. 3 – The town’s teenage population gets a restructuring as crazy supernatural powers vie with the gifts of puberty as agents of popularity. Good lord I hope this comic has a long, healthy run.
The Last Resort No. 2 – SECOND ISSUE OF JUDGEMENT time! God bless this reviewing thing. If it weren’t for the fact that I sit and think about new comics for a little while after I read them then I might have grumped about how I was having a hard time getting into this particular iteration of the zombie horror comic. Spark a few brain cells, however, and I realize that this isn’t a weird zombie horror comic but rather a cheesy zombie horror film being told in comic form! And I love cheesy horror films! Seriously, this explains a lot about this comic: the particular character types that are being set up for protagonist status, the cute animal companion, the slow monster reveal, the gratuitous boobs… I’m definitely going to check out the rest of these books, especially as I don’t really have anyone to watch cheesy horror movies with right now.
Daring Mystery Comics No. 1 – Phantom Reporter = best Golden Age character since Dr Midnite. Now we need some more Mister Mind Excello.
And that’s last week. This week, a special treat! In anticipation of the eventual LBW “Make Your Significant Other Who Isn’t Terribly Into Comics Review Comics” Week, my SOWITIC, the indomitable Doc Erica, has amused herself by pre-judging my weekly purchases. She has recorded her impressions as a numerical score, so I’ll give you a taste of what she said, along with the total.
Having said that, she wrote nothing about the new Achewood collection Worst Song, Played on Ugliest Guitar, because I was hogging that thing like nobody’s business. I have read a lot of webcomics over the years, my friends, and Achewood is just plain great, the sort of comic that you discover and read through the archives of and then get disappointed when you catch up because you can’t just keep going. Despite being volume 2, this collection starts at the very beginning of Achewood, complete with strip commentary and supplemental material. A highly interesting look at the introduction and development of characters that have been developing for seven or eight years now – a peach of a book, and it includes one of my favourite Achewood strips of all.
The Shield No. 1
Hey, neat! The series gets off to an intriguing start as the Shield goes looking for missing army guys in the ravaged country of Bialya. This is cool on a couple of levels. First off, it definitely answers my whining about the Red Circle characters not interacting with the DCU very much, as Bialya is a fictional country that has been nearly depopulated by an angry Black Adam and I would call that a pretty firm part of the universe. Secondly, there hasn’t really been too much action in this part of the fictional world since that Four Horsemen series and the exploration of the aftermath of what happened has the potential to be very compelling - Black Adam killed millions of people in a day! What the hell does that do to a country?
I’m not familiar with anybody in the creative team by name (and those names are Eric Trautmann: Writing, Marco Rudy: Pencils, Mick Gray: Inks, Art Lyon: Colours) but I like what I see. Everything looks great, for one, and for another this is a refreshingly cliché-free story so far. I know that it’s just the first issue, but the prospect of reading a story featuring a military-aligned super-hero who doesn’t end up finding out that he is the pawn of a corrupt and well-hidden conspiracy is almost physically exciting to me. This is not any sort of political leaning coming to the fore, I assure you, but rather a heartfelt desire to not read comics whose events I can predict three issues in advance (and then the Shield, despite his misgivings, wipes out the extremists. And then he finds out that they were unarmed and it was just a test of the Sadistic General’s control over him. And then the Sadistic General’s Misguided Patriotic Aide looks resigned and sad). By all means, let’s have some stories about people who are in the army and aren’t de facto villains that isn’t set during WWII.
Not too much to say about the Inferno backup yet – I’ll SECOND ISSUE OF JUDGEMENT it.
ERICA SAYS: First 3 pages: Great artwork: +20pts. Artwork generally very nice even though war stories are very boring to girls like me: +20pts. Looks more boring and less awesome later in story (possibly the Inferno backup – John): -10pts. Total: 30 pts
Red Robin No. 4 – Glad I gave this one a chance. Tim Drake is acting all Dawson’s Creek and irrational, yes, but the longer this series goes on the more it becomes apparent that the character that is running around with the League of Assassins and fighting the Wild Huntsman and so forth is coming from the same place as the kid who figured out who Batman was.
ERICA SAYS: Red Robin is wearing a bathing cap made of black leather: -5 pts. Total: -7 pts.
Secret Six No. 13 – Oh dang! Catman is going to be feeling the sting of moral ambiguity for weeks after all that. I’m still trying to figure out what’s up with the antagonists in this story – you’re building a prison, yes, but what’s with the hairy guy. Ah well, all in good time, I suppose.
ERICA SAYS: Man in short shorts with silly hair who I think is supposed to be sexy or some kind of hero, not a ‘roided out gigolo (Catman? Yeah, he needs a haircut. – John): -10 pts. Total: 29 pts.
Green Lantern Corps No. 40 – Instead of talking about this issue (a fine issue) I shall relate a tale of folly. Way back when, when Larfleeze the Orange Lantern made his first appearance, reader Esther declared that she would be crafting a wee plush Larfleeze for cuddling purposes, and then she DID, and sent me pictures, and it was AWESOME. And I asked if I could put the pictures up the next time Larfleeze made an appearance and she said yes. And then I forgot to put them up a couple of weeks ago when there was a GREAT Larfleeze appearance, so here they are (click on the picture below to go to a page featuring the whole set):
IS HE NOT ADORABLE?
ERICA SAYS: Weird cleavage shot on the first page: -10 pts. Glowy effects: +7 pts. The girl with green lipstick (heart-hungry Black Lantern Jade – John) seems like she might be kind of cool: +2 pts. Total: -6 pts.
Adventure Comics No. 2 – Okay Adventure Comics, here’s the deal: you have one, maybe two issues more for Superboy to get the soap opera aspects of his life sorted out (“Boo hoo I kissed your best friend while you were dead and you’re such a great guy and waaaaaaaaaaaahhh!!”) and then you get on with being the awesome story of small town superhero life with aliens and such. And I will be happy. As for the Legion backup: this is probably going to be awesome.
ERICA SAYS: Cover… so… lame… it hurts: -10 pts. Why does this Cassandra chick have a shiny gold… item… over her very skin tight sweater? Is this some kind of external brassiere? -10 pts. Krypto: -10 pts, but +5 pts for at least being a dog. Total: -30 pts.
Doom Patrol No. 2 – As standard as the “I wish to study you. By the way, that will destroy a lot of you.” motivation of the sentient black hole is, it is a pretty great Doom Patrol villain. I hope it has a good name. Was this supposed to be a SECOND ISSUE OF JUDGEMENT? If so, it passed. The Metal Men feature is floundering a bit, though – Gold’s egomania and Copper’s fawning are falling a bit flat with this guy, as is the “nobody remembers Copper” joke. I swear that Copper was really fun in the miniseries, so why is she boring the hell out of me now? Why is a comic about the METAL MEN boring the hell out of me? Maybe… maybe it’s a one-issue thing?
ERICA SAYS: Lady in red suit has nice hair but sometimes no nose: 0 pts. Total: 0 pts.
The Unwritten No. 5 – You know, I reckon that the first two pages of this issue could have been presented to me without explanation and I would have started reading this series. THIS is the way to exposition! With style, and with Rudyard Kipling (Rudyard Kipling may not be applicable to all storytelling situations).
ERICA SAYS: Cover art: +17 pts. Is that… Albert Einstein? No… wait. Samuel Clemens. Artwork & layout: +10 pts. Not Albert Einstein: -5 pts. Whale: +7 pts. Total: 29 pts.
It's way too late again. Cursed Pirate Girl No. 2 is fantastic. I sleep now.