Welcome back to John Buys Comics in the year 2010, the most futuristic-sounding actual year yet. I must say, I’m somewhat relieved to be reviewing single issues again after the whole “Best of” marathon. So much easier than summarizing entire series.
Red Robin No. 8
I’ve been waffling back and forth on this title for its entire lifespan, but I’ve also bought all eight issues and looking at them together I reckon that I quite like it. Check it: Tim Drake now has a costume all his own and consequently a chance to develop a Batman-separate identity. Of course the costume is fourth hand by way of Dick Grayson and Jason Todd, and the “finding your own vigilante path” thing is very Nightwing, but that’s a part of the fun, as Tim is being presented as a synthesis of all of the bad-asses that have had a part in training him over the years. Plus, who can hate a group of spider-themed super-villains, even if one of them is named “Sac”?
Doom Patrol No 6
So, the Doom Patrol is one of my Silver Age loves, of the kind that many nerds hold deep in their hearts; a second- or third-tier character or team that appeals to them on some primal level and has - of course - been redefined and mistreated and torn down and built up over the years. For me, it’s the Metal Men, the Legion of Super-Heroes, Metamorpho and the Doom Patrol.
And man, has the Doom Patrol had a lot of ups and downs: blown up in the Sixties, revived and Eighties-fied to dismal effect, Morrisoned (some of his best stuff, I swear), disbanded, slick and shiny Nineties-fied, Byrned (some of his worst stuff, I swear) and now Giffened. That is a lot of very divergent history that was pretty much explicitly stated to all be in-continuity back in Infinite Crisis (thanks, Superboy-Prime!). So what’s a nerd to believe? Does Negative Man being dead and then being a Russian Woman and then a hermaphrodite made out of two people and then a leather man all fit together?
Turns out that it does! And in such a way that none of the older stories are explicitly thrown out the window! Good job, Giffen!
Orc Stain No 1
First: this is a nice looking comic, the kind that’s full of insane amounts of detail without, you know, looking like ass. And in colour! What’s more, colour that looks very good on the non-glossy paper that it’s printed on. James Stokoe, who looks to be the sole creative force behind this thing, has done good.
As for the story, well, that’s great too. A lot of folks since Tolkein have taken his vision of elves and ran with it, and a lot of those people have written some very poor stories. Orcs, however, food-, sex- and violence-obsessed, chaotic, rude, unkempt orcs… well, maybe I’ve just been lucky but I’ve never read anything from the orc’s point of view that hasn’t been a good time. Orc Stain looks to be following in that tradition, featuring a nameless orc thief who’s shortly going to be embroiled in the militaristic ambitions of the up-and-coming orcish emperor, the Orctzar. All this and a crazy-style fantasy setting? I am very into this.
Stumptown No. 2 - As with so many other genres, mystery stories in comic books are usually either fantastic or absolutely terrible. I’m so glad that this series is the former.
Blackest Night No. 6 (of 8) - I know, it came out last week. I swear I woulda picked it up if I hadn’t been so a) full b) poor and c) lazy. Anyway, exactly one thing happened in this issue, which was each member of the All-Lantern Corps deputizing a super-hero or super-villain to help out, so now there are gonna be 14 people vs. seven billion Black Lanterns, instead of only 7. The odds are falling, folks!
B.P.R.D.: King of Fear No 1 - *sniiiiiifffffff* Ahhhhhh. Just smell that beautiful first BPRD of 2010. And such a Johnathan-pleasing story, too, with Lobster Johnson, those little troglodyte guys from Hollow Earth and Austrian-style romance for Kate! Delicious.
Batman Confidential No. 40 - Man, I was pretty much done with this series after that terrible last story. But then I was like, “Ooo, pretty Sam Keith art!” and I bought it. But jeeze… when did Sam Keith get so damned melodramatic? Batman’s ears had better be four feet high on the cover of issue 41.
World of New Krypton No. 12 - So yeah, I’ve been buying and enjoying this all along. It’s fun to read about Superman operating outside of his normal environment, after all. Like a lot of series that I enjoy, it’s consistent enough that I really don’t have something new to say every time. This time, though, well, just look at that cover:
Firstly, ‘Rumble in Kandor!’ is a great title. Secondly, Superman and Adam Strange are shooting each other <<adorable>> “We’re about to have a team up!” faces. Huzzah!
Sweet Tooth No. 5 - Oh hell. This book is going to get a lot more depressing, isn’t it. Well, you can't get rid of me that easily, Lemire - bring on all the crazy medical experimentation and such that you want, I'll just keep coming back for more!
Okay, see you later.