John Buys Comics and Then Buys Comics Again

That's right, I have returned. I let myself get distracted by such things as "making my Hallowe'en costume" and "going to Saint John" distract me from the comical books that I love so well, and so have a pretty big damn pile of things to read through. How many will I get through? Nobody knows!

World’s Finest No. 1 (of 4)

This is a neat concept for a comic! I like it when comics have neat concepts!

Uh, sorry. My lack of sleep/hot brown liquid stimulant ratio was slightly off when i wrote that. I shall take a step back and tell you about the concept in question, since you, like me, might have completely missed this one until it was directly in front of you.

The concept in that I am speaking of is tied to the fact that Batman and Superman, being respectively dead and banished from Earth, are unavailable to fill the role of World’s Finest Team, and so the folks who are filling in for them are getting up to a series of team ups. This issue: Red Robin and Nightwing. Uh, the Kryptonian Nightwing.

It looks like this will be a series of one-off stories with some sort of interconnectivity and a pan-series payoff at the end, or possibly a series of one-offs that feed into one another. Either way, I approve. Get a couple of guys together, have a few fights, solve a problem… what a nice formula. Plus this is - as far as I know - the first time that a member of the Bat-family has met a member of the Super-family named Nightwing and Sterling Gates did not miss the chance to have them talk about the weirdness of the shared alias.

Tim Drake must be getting pissed, though. This is, like, the third time that his Bat-quest has been interrupted in the last couple of months, and as far as I recall, all while he was in Germany. Was he in Germany for very long?

“Ah, the next phase of my quest is beginnin-”

“Dude, come back to Gotham! Zombie parents!”

“Finally back to finish my ques-“

“It’s me, Superboy! I need to pal around!”

“Back again. Now down to busines-“

“You’ve never met me but I need your help!”

I reckon that the next person that shows up asking for him to drop everything and come with them (and how are they all finding him, anyway?) is getting a Red Robinrang to the ear.

Superman: Secret Origin No. 2 (of 6) 

Superboy meets the Legion of Super-Heroes! Yay! Geoff Johns expands on the scene that we got a glimpse of in Legion of Three Worlds, as Cosmic Boy, Saturn Girl and Lightning Lad sneak back in time to meet their hero and end up inducting him into their club. Sadly, no goofy original costumes are in evidence. I really like the way that this is being played: as in the recent cartoon, the transition that Clark Kent is making from being a regular kid to being a super-powered alien crime fighter isn’t going as smoothly as it could be, and the appearance of the Legion in his life is a key formative event, giving him both a peer group and a costumed, crimefighting example to follow. And incidentally exposing him to dames who are into capes. It’s too bad that Lana Lang already knows about Clark’s powers, though - a real Superboy book needs more snooping.

Invincible Presents: Atom Eve and Rex Splode No. 1 (of 3) - It’s a dream come true, really: one comic bringing me both the incomparable team of Benito and Nate and the much-mourned Rex Splode. This issue retells and expands upon Rex’s origin from way back when. And with two issues left, dare I hope for some hot Teen Team action?

Ambush Bug Year None No 7 (of 6) - So... something went horribly wrong with Ambush Bug No. 6? Or something? This was a fairly confusing issue, I gotta say. And not a funny one. And a really bitter-seeming last page. What's the deal? (Aw, nertz. Nobody on the Internet seems to know either). 

Final Crisis Aftermath: Ink No 6 (of 6)

And what was the raison d’etre of Ink, when all is said and done? I think that it was either to build up the Tattooed Man’s supporting cast and so forth or to back him up from being a full-on super-hero and put him in a greyer place. Maybe a combination of the two? It’s the only one of the four that segues directly into another series (no, not a Tattooed Man series. Titans), so it’s very possible that both of the above are true. Of course, given the somewhat dues ex machina feel and super-speed plot of this last issue, the whole Titans thing might be a result of some last-minute decision-making. All I know is that I will always like any character, hero or villain, who gets around on a giant flaming bat-winged skull.

Final Crisis Aftermath Aftermath!
RUN! Was fun.
Escape was confusing and great.
Dance was entertaining but ended poorly.
Ink was way more entertaining than I expected it to be.

Good job, spin-offs!

Green Lantern No. 47 - Ah. Do you feel that? My soul is at peace once more. I am only buying/reading the three core Blackest Night books and I feel good. I feel entertained. I am calm.

Now the question is: will free rings be enough to quell my murderous rage next month when Black Lanterns start cropping up in the ongoing series that I’m reading? Wait and see!

Or see right now: Doom Patrol No. 4

Hmm. this might be an unrepresentative sample. First off, the comic hasn't really been going for long enough for this sudden intrusion of crossover to be terribly disruptive. Sure, the confrontation between Elasti-Girl and Steve "Has Gotten Steadily More Pathetic Since the Sixties" Dayton will have to wait until everyone stops being zombies, but that's probably for the best for ol' Mento.

Secondly, this seems to be one instance in which the appearance of Black Lanterns is more interesting than irritating. The Doom Patrol's history is littered with corpses as well as continuity breaks, so it's fun to see exactly who is getting resurrected and which iterations of the Patrol are being acknowledged. Zombie Tempest is a product of the Morrison run - does this mean that all of that is in-continuity? Lord I hope so. Plus: the closest that we are ever likely to get on the whole Caulder/Arani thing!

As for the Metal Men backup: is there anything more enjoyable than a story where the Metal Men fight another group of themed robots? No there is not.

Abe Sapien: The Haunted Boy

Oh, fun. These Dark Horse Quick Shots are the perfect cure for my poor diseased brain. They soothe me with their complete stories. I didn’t have anything intelligent to say about Sugar Shock last week, but that was real, real fun. They are so. Good. For to read.

Man, you can’t really go wrong with an Abe Sapien story, especially a creepy one about a ghostly drowning victim (although I’d really enjoy seeing him investigating something out of his element in his next solo story. Abe Sapien and the Mountain Climbing Snake Men, maybe, or Abe Sapien: Desert Fulla Vampires. Or Abe Sapien Flies to the MOOON!). Patric Reynolds draws one heck of an Abe, too.

The most disconcerting thing about this issue, though, was that it was set in 1982. Evidently, I have grown so used to the sliding timelines and ageless protagonists that seeing one of the stars of a current book do something twenty-seven years in the past weirds me out. I really hadn’t expected to see the early 80s in a comic book again until I was old enough that super-heroes’ parents' younger days might be set then. Thomas Wayne all dressed up for the disco, wearing a neon bat-suit...

Batman No. 692

I mentioned last time that this would be a six hundred and ninety-SECOND ISSUE OF JUDGEMENT, so here goes.

See, I've been enjoying Batman okay. Two-Face was being all devious, Two-Face's goon was unusually smart, etc, etc. And then, last issue basically drove home the fact that the whole purpose of having Two-Face around was to get him into that split-down-the-middle Bat-Suit for a couple of pages, presumably to justify it having been in the house ad for Battle for the Cowl. That's garbage.

I mean... just look at our favicon, there's nobody here who doesn't at least like Batman and I personally could name more Arkham inmates than Prime Ministers, but blech. I know that the creative team has shifted, but basically this book is going to have to look amazing for me to pick it up again. Involving the Falcones and their old-school mob types might do it, I don't know.


Batman Unseen No. 3 (of 5) - In contrast, this remains great. Batman wrestles naked greasy invisible man: how much slash has already been written about this?



Eternal Conflicts of the Cosmic Warrior No 1

Paul Grist presents the further adventures of the Eternal Warrior, a guy who has gotten almost zero face time in the pages of Jack Staff. There is nothing that is not delightful about that.

By his very nature, the Eternal Warrior doesn't say much - he's more of a "talk with your sword" kind of guy. This leaves a lot of the responsibility for being entertaining in the hands of the bad guys of the story, and they're great. Some of the most entertaining evil in fiction is done in the name of doing good, so Bernadette (seemingly an eternal foil tot he Warrior) and her high-tech sword fighting lackey Captain Uriel are pretty satisfying in that regard. Add on a messiah named Leonard and an opening scene with a king, a soothsayer and a pit and you have a very happy Johnathan.

North 40 No. 5 - I missed number 4 and so had a double-length dose of this this week. Everyone: go buy this comic. It's so good, I swear.

Hunter's Fortune No. 1 (of 4)

So: a down on his luck dude and his shiftless friend, thrust into a life of adventure and archaeology by a mysterious will?

A globe-trotting quest for Excalibur? Conniving dames? Unlimited cash? A villain who evidently fights bears for a living?

This is going to be great! Fans of adventurous fun, take note.



Age of Reptiles: the Journey No. 1 (of 4)

I know that at least 80% of the people who read this thing were at one point human children, so there should be no need to stress this too much: DINOSAURS.

Wait, I want to stress it a little: AWESOME DINOSAURS. Dinosaurs in great numbers, traveling and acting like actual animals, instead of eating and combat machines. That said, there is a classic confrontation of Triceratops vs carnosaur in this issue, although without the usual puncture wound to the thigh. Plus: at least one dinosaur having a poop.

If this was already out in trade, my nephew would be getting it for Christmas. I wonder if I can hunt down the first two...

Okay, there you go. Buy North 40.