When John Buys Comics, That is not News. But When Comics Buy John...

Hello again. You may notice that it is a day two days later in the week than usual, as holidays traditionally interfere with the delivery of comics in a way that snow/sleet/rain/etc. wishes that it could exert over the US Mail (it is at this point that, were this a stand-up comedy act, some wag would begin heckling, probably on the topic of my reviews not ever being on time any more anyway. And then burly men dressed as Bouncing Boy would toss him out on his ear). I offer no apologies, but will give a small pirate figure to the first person who sheds a tear in my presence over this fact. He has lived with me for a year, you see, and it is time for him to move on.

The Anchor No. 2

The week that the first issue of this came out I got distracted by a moth or something and didn't get around to posting anything. This is a shame, as it was a really neato comic and I bet that I could have gotten quite loquacious about it. Luckily, issue 2 is also neato.

The Anchor is similar to characters like Atomic Robo and Hellboy, being a big dude who solves monster-related problems through the liberal application of violence plus the occasional very clever idea. This specific iteration of one of my favourite archetypes is distinguished by a couple of things: first by the fact that he is less a wise-cracking smartmouth than an introspective monkish type and secondly by the fact that he is kind of two guys. See, he exists both as a monster-fighting strongman here on Earth and simultaneously as a spiritual being who guards the border between Earth and Hell. Oh, and any wounds that the latter takes are expressed on the former, leading to a number of panels where wounds spontaneously burst forth on his chest and so on. It's a good basis for a comic about monster fighting - being God's appointed warrior or whatever generally works out pretty decently as a motivation, for example.

Issue numba one featured a fairly generic ice monster ravaging Iceland (though the Anchor defeating the thing by having his Hell-body pick up a flaming demon, thus causing his Earth-body to burst into flames, was way neat), but the centaur wood-god thing in this issue is far more creepy - hopefully the trend continues. Not that I wouldn't be freaked out if a giant frog/ape thing made out of ice was rampaging down the street, but knowing that and being a bit creeped out by what's on the page in front of me are two very distinct things.

Also, the Anchor stone cold rips out his own beard with one hand, which is BAD ASS.

Batman/Doc Savage Special (One-Shot)

If you read any DC comics at all then I’m sure that you’ve noticed the previews for this comic in the back of, like, everything for the last two or three weeks. What with my fondness for the pulp magazines and so forth I must admit that I was intrigued. What I managed to completely miss was that this special was serving as an introduction to a whole pulpy-style sub DCU, and from what I see here, it could be really cool.

According to the teaser info at the back, this First Wave (is this the name of the universe? That’s not a very good name) is going to feature a lot of adventurer and vigilante types of characters - you got your Batman, your Doc Savage and his crew, the Avenger, the Blackhawks, the Spirit… I got a little bit of nerd-rage over some of the changes that they looked to be making but then took a step back and realized that I was being an idiot. Even if I don’t agree that “the only way to make EBONY WHITE work is to make the character a brash girl.” that ain’t no reason that it won’t work.But seriously, Ebony has been written successfully as a non-brash non-girl at DC Comic within the last year.

This could be really cool if it's done right, you guys. As far as I can tell, the closest thing to a super-power in evidence is going to be the Avenger’s face-molding ability, and there are autogyros and dirigibles and also cell phones and computers. I feel like there’s high potential for a major confrontation in a long-lost temple, with the villain wielding a steam-powered, back-mounted device that harnesses etheric waves and maybe also controls an ancient stone robot. If there manages to be more than four or five issues without basically every regular DCU character making a sly cameo, that is (you know, like Bruce Wayne charters a flight somewhere and the pilot is Hal Jordan and then they team up to fight some non-magenta racketeer named Sinestro. Not that that couldn't make for a fun story, but it would really take away from the whole reinvention of the DCU angle. It'd be like Tangent Light)

As for the issue itself: Good intro. Looks great, does a great job of establishing the world and its synthesis of 1930s and present day technologies and aesthetics, has a lot of socks to the jaw, etc. Doc Savage and Batman are actually Doc Savage/Superman and the Shadow/Batman, and the relationship between the two very nicely reflects those that bind the four, both in terms of inspiration and historical interaction. And really, who hasn’t wanted to see Batman wielding twin .45s from time to time? (Oops, I caught a few reviews of the book after writing that and evidently not everyone does want to see that, at least partially based on the ridiculousness of a man devoted to the pursuit of not killing having guns. But who says that this Batman doesn't shoot to kill? It would totally work with the whole pulp thing, you know it would.)

So colour me intrigued, I guess. I’m very interested to see where this goes.

Batgirl No. 4 - Ah ha! I knew that this series could be fun! Batgirl and Oracle cracking wise at each other is great, and Stephanie’s completely un-Bat-family style of fighting crime (well, maybe not completely, but she does fall over a lot more than the rest of them). I am so very glad that the whole “trying to talk the new vigilante out of vigilanting” period has passed and we can get down to some good old-fashioned crime-stomping. Now hopefully there won’t be an appearance by Cassandra Cain around issue 10 in which she demands the Batgirl mantle back because of honour and all that bullplop.

However, if Misfit shows up in that role then I will be delighted.


And best twist ending to a comic in a long time. I’m highly eager to see how this wraps up.

Hellboy: the Wild Hunt No. 8 (of 8) - As I’ve said before, one of the great pleasures of the Hellboy family of titles is the changeability of the whole thing - from the very beginning there has been no such thing as a status quo, though the degree of change that occurs in each story arc has been increasing over the years. Back in the day, you might get one or two crazy revelations per storyline, with maybe one character being added to the cast or killed off or such. Nowadays, well… I personally was knocked on my ass at least twice during The Wild Hunt.

Okay, that's it for this week, as I've been super busy and haven't even read half of what I bought. Okay, substitute "eating out a lot and playing Fallout 3" for "super busy".