Oh Man. John Bought Comics and Hates to Waste Words

 Well! Here I am again. I’m a bit put out at myself, as I’d really wanted to keep up a regular update schedule on this blog. This weekend defeated me, however, what with the play that I was in coming to a close and the deluge of foodstuffs associated with the Thanksgiving weekend (I did get to hang my niece upside-down by the ankles for a few hours, so who am I to complain?). And with the fact that I am kind of lazy. But I had written most of this already and damn it, my opinions deserve to be fired onto the Internet, right? I still owe one post, though.

Back on track with me then: here are some extremely late reviews:

Final Crisis Aftermath: RUN! No. 6 (of 6)

And so the first of the Final Crisis Aftermath series ends. Honestly, I’m not too sure how I feel about the whole thing. I really enjoyed the self-centred asshole aspect of the Human Flame, and I had a good time with the bit where he was getting more and more powerful and screwing over everyone who got in his way, but right about the point in issue 3 or 4 where he jumped out the window and messed himself up I was kind of hoping that he’d go into some sort of horrible spiral that led him back to where he had started, only with everyone in the world hating him and he could end up a horribly-broken cyborg living under a bridge and feeling sorry for himself. The route that they did take (spoilers, I guess, though you probably saw this coming at the end of the last issue. If you read the last issue - not sure if I’m the only one reading this series or not) wherein he just gets more and more powerful and ends up defeating himself by his own hubris, well, it’s just not as emotionally satisfying to me, though that last panel was cute. Hey, at least he’s still alive at the end, so the opportunity for him to wind up under that bridge still exists.

You know, I haven’t been mentioning the covers on this series, but they’ve been fantastic, every one. Who did these things? Kako, eh? Kako, you’re magnificent. Aw, griping aside, this has been a pretty solid time. God job, folks.

Planetary No. 27

Jumpin’ Jehosephat! I know that the fact that it’s been about three years since the last issue of this came out is going to be a highly popular element of any review of it and so might be something to avoid lest I be tiresome, but I nevertheless must exclaim a little bit. That is a long-ass time, three years. That’s a tenth of my life, and one hundred thousandth of my projected lifespan, assuming my scheme to get me a fusion-powered robot body comes to fruition.

I have to admit that this is a bit of a bittersweet ending for me, as Planetary is one of the series that really initialized my transition from being a nerd who liked comics to a full-blown comics nerd. On the one hand it’s going to pretty great to sit down and read the whole series end to end, while on the other, it’s basically time to admit to myself that there just won’t be any more Planetary in my future, barring the occasional special.

As for the story itself, well, as you know (and if you don’t know, well… you had three years) last issue dealt with the schooling of the Four. Having beaten the end boss of the comic, Elijah Snow has turned his attentions toward the matter of his missing friend Ambrose Bierce, lost lo these many years after being shot up by some dudes. It’s a wrapping-up issue and it works well with the rest of the series and all, but I’ll probably enjoy it more at the end of a long evening of reading Planetary by a roaring fire than in the temporal isolation that this release was nestled in. So that’s what I’ll do next time I have a long evening free and a roaring fire, I guess. In the meantime, I shall enjoy that superfly foldout cover.

I… I foresee a purchase. It’s… it’s whatever equivalent to Absolute Planetary they eventually put out. The buyer, I can see his face *gasp* it’s me!

Irredeemable No. 7

I need an acronym or a euphemism or something like that for when I read an issue of an ongoing series and really enjoy it but have either nothing new to say or fear spoilers because all of my thoughts about the issue revolve around plot elements. HNNTS/FSTRAPE? Naw, too consonanty. How about a non sequitor? Okay, if there’s a non sequitor instead of a review then the comic has continued in a favourable direction.

*ahem* The dachshund is the noblest of dogs. His ability to fit under any standard furnishing assures that your floor will remain forever free of crumbs and edible debris.

R.E.B.E.L.S. Annual No. 1

Hey, an annual!

It’s not just my fondness for the Legion of Super-Heroes or for its child L.E.G.I.O.N. It’s not just that Vril Dox is the most entertaining total bastard in comics and not that Tony Bedard is just knocking him out of the park, writing-wise. Hell, it’s not just that this series has managed to tell its own story without a hint of getting drawn into Blackest Night or any other such malarkey (and done so while looking damn good, to boot). All of these are terrific reasons for me to love R.E.B.E.L.S. but what is primarily on my mind right now is the fact that Starro the freaking Conqueror has finally gotten an origin story, one that neither invalidates any past appearances by the giant starfish nor precludes future starfishery He worked so well as a giant starfish who just showed up without reason and rained super-hero on super-hero fight scenes down on things for so long and with such panache that if the decision had been left up to me I might have decreed that he be forever origin-less. Shows what I know, I guess.

And good call on making Starro the Conqueror a multigalactic barbarian warlord. If there’s one archetype that’s going to have staying power, it’s got to be the barbarian. I guess that theoretically they could become next year’s pirates or zombies but I reckon that a lot fewer people are comfortable running around with their shirt off than in a puffy shirt. Plus it’s harder to get the dialogue right.

I Sell the Dead

I very much picked this up because of the title, and because the EC-style cover was so nicely realized. Turns out that inside was an engaging yarn about a couple of grave robbers who have drifted from digging up corpses for anatomists to selling various undead or otherwise unusual corpses to a variety of strange customers. Why yes, I do enjoy the undead, thank you. And lovable rogues? Loveable corpse-stealing rogues? Delightful.

And then I got to the end and it turns out that this is a… comic adaptation of a movie based on the concept for the comic? Is that right? I have no idea. I do know that I could stand to watch a movie featuring 19th-century misadventures in zombie-napping. And featuring Ron Perlman, yet! Only trouble is I don’t think that my ladyfriend will go for it, being no fan of such horror-style tomfoolery. Maybe if I play up the whole anatomist angle, tell her that she should watch it in order to get a sense of the sort of things that her pathologist forebears had to go through in order to have a lot of corpses to learn from?

I’ll let you know how that goes. (Update: it worked! Now we just have to use our powerful mind-beams to compel the people responsible for distributing such things to show it here and we’ll be set!) (Second update: wait, IMDB says that this came out last year. Maybe I can rent this? I have no idea what's going on any more)

Batman Unseen No. 1 (of 5)

You know, I could get very used to this. Since Bruce Wayne is dead, the majority of his appearances are places like Superman/Batman or Batman Confidential, which work in short arcs, or else in miniseries like this. Do you know what that means? I’ll tell you what that means: a lot of stories in which Batman fights dudes without a lot of extraneous bullshit. Not that it’s not possible for extraneous bullshit to creep into these stories - Widening Gyre seems to be more bullshit than Batman - but with ties to the ongoing DCU the Batman is able to shine of fail on his own.

So: Batman Unseen. A story about Batman vs an invisible man with the not-quite-as-bad-as-some-Silver-Age-names-but-still-groan-worthy moniker of Nigel Glass. The art’s by Kelley Jones, and looks just as moody and interesting as in last year’s Gotham after Midnight (man, I should pick up that trade. I never did finish getting that series after missing two of the 700 or so issues). You got Batman worrying about not being scary enough, you got Harvey Bullock investigating a weird crime, which is always fun to watch, and you got a very crazy and very fun invisible guy, who kind of looks and talks like the Mad Mod.

Now: the question is will Batman make himself invisible in order to be more scary? Will we have an invisible, crazy and buck-naked Batman running around? Oh what fun!

Batman and Robin No. 5 - Gah! Dangit, the Red Hood is evidently Jason Todd. Again. I guess that I can get behind that as long as the whole “Batman Reborn” mandate is followed and the guy gets straightened out once and for all - no more half-assed plotlines where he comes back and tries to be a badass and nobody takes him seriously (or takes him way too seriously) and then he seems to die. Just… establish some sort of status quo for the guy that isn’t terrible and I’ll be okay.

But as long as Jason has to be around, I’m happy that Morrison managed to sneak in a joke about the phone-in that killed him in the first place.

Strange Tales No. 2 - Not only does this issue have a super-delightful, super-weird Iron Man story by Tony Millionaire and not only does it have a whole lot of great Thing moments, but I think that it might have given me my Hallowe’en costume for this year. Wait and see, I guess.

Sherlock Holmes No 5 (of 5) - Man, I’m usually decent as far as figuring out mysteries is concerned. Really, I should have read the first four issues again before cracking this one. I don’t think that I would have figured everything out but I might have gotten a bit closer than I did. Basically, I got Watsoned. Hopefully there’ll be more Holmes from Leah Moore and I’ll have a chance to regain my honour.

Man, Holmes just has the sassiest look on his face on that cover.

Sir Edward Grey, Witchfinder: In the Service of Angels No. 4 (of 5) - This was a pretty good week for comics set in the Victorian period, wasn’t it? Just wanted to note that I love the electro-prods that the Heliotropic Brotherhood of Ra cart around in the Hellboy comics, even though they never quite seem to get the voltage right. Seriously, every time these guys show up they get their asses handed to them (see The Dark Horse Book of Hauntings, in which they are beaten up by a demon monkey). Some quality technology nevertheless.

Red Tornado No. 2 - How creepy was the fact that the Red Torpedo’s controls were all behind her boobs? And not, like, sticking out, either, so that a hollow space was needed. Totally flat. Why did T.O. Morrow build giant hollow boobs that flipped open and had circuits and stuff underneath? Whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy?

Doom Patrol No. 3 - You know, I’ve been wavering back and forth on this title, but I do believe that this issue has sold me on the whole thing. Something about this issue was just right for the task of selling me on the way the characters are being… characterized. It took a while to come through but these are definitely the original Doom Patrollers, although of course the passage from the 60s to today has left them kind of creepy, particularly the Chief, who is one decapitation away from being the Vertigo incarnation reborn. Dare I hope for a humbling? All this and the return of Rita Farr’s unsettling use of her power to grow just part of herself - always very weird and terrific.

As for the Metal Men, I like them, too! Especially if the whole thing where Copper is very forgettable goes away soon!

Strange Adventures No. 8 (of 8) - Was… was this whole series just to straighten out a few characters? That’s it? Nothing happened? What the hell? And why did everyone who got a new costume get a creepy thong? Argh! Boo! BOOOOO!

Sweet Tooth No. 2 - When approaching a horse from behind, it is important to speak to it, or it may kick you.

Dangit, I think I missed an issue of Jersey Gods.

Other news:

I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts to make the workday fly in recent months, and I feel this extra-strong urge to plug a few. Super Future Friends I have mentioned before, but I will again because it is delightful. Also good but way more nerdy is the Legion of Substitute Podcasters, which may not be for those who cannot find a place in their hearts for at least one member of the Legion of Super-Heroes (Shrinking Violet, maybe? Quislet? Come on). But man, War Rocket Ajax. I almost want to warn you away from it. Not that it’s not good - to the contrary, it’s consistently entertaining - but with every single episode I listen to I find out about something that I had no idea about and feel an immediate need to own. It’s like Chris Sims and our own Dave have hatched a plot in order to bleed my wallet dry. Well, I'm on to you. And now, I'll... plug your show. Damn it, I'm bad at revenge.

Also noteworthy: I got a Dear Dr Capitalism email pointing me toward this video that has been created for the song 'Aquaman's Lament' by the Motion Sick. Say what you will about the man (for instance, say that he is a horrible zombie) but he has some pretty decent moves, I reckon.

5 or 6 days late, I remain,