John Takes a Moment Away From Floating Down the River in an Inner Tube to Buy Comics

The mid-February statutory holiday has been shot down in flames once more here in Nova Scotia, so I’ve taken matters into my own hands and cashed in a week’s vacation. You might think that that would mean that my reviews of the week’s comics would be all shiny and done as early as can be, but if you did you would be a fool. A FOOL I SAY! Here they are, as late as can be:

Mesmo Delivery

This is one of those comics that I like so much that I want to open my review with a swear (today’s swear: holy hot damn!) and barely want to review at all, for fear of giving away plot points that were essential to my joy.

I shall persevere, however. I am nothing if not strong. First, the bare bones of the plot: a gigantic ex-boxer and a grizzled Elvis impersonator are driving a big rig, on their way to deliver a mysterious cargo. As you can see on the cover, there is a fight at some point. And that’s all I can bear to give away – even though I’ve reread this book at least two times the initial unfolding of the plot was so unexpected and enjoyable that I couldn’t in good conscience deprive another of.

What I will comment on, however, is the art, which is both insane and insanely terrific. Heck, this book would be worth noting for the super-nice logo designs alone, but Rafael Grampá has done a beautiful job here on both character design and crazy super action. This is an amazing first book - hell, this would be an amazing twenty-first book – there’s no question of me not eagerly snatching up any further books by Grampá.

Resurrection No. 8

I bought this issue of Resurrection because I enjoy reading the ISB and I like supporting folks, so I can’t really comment on the main story since I have no idea what’s going on (though having still-living former president Bill Clinton as part of the cast is a pretty damn novel idea. Usually a president’s got to be at least fifty years dead or Nixon to get that sort of starring role). I caught the basic plot pretty easily: aliens have invaded, stayed for ten years and then left again and now folks are trying to put the world back together. It’s interesting enough and looks good enough that I’ll be checking it out further.

But as I said, I bought it for the backup by Chris Sims/Chad Bowers and Rusty Shackles, and that backup features teenage boys in an apocalyptic future trying to get some lady-time and using the wisdom of 80s cinema to do so. And as much as I like to think that I would be concerned with higher things in such a situation, I know that this is not true – I too would probably be overly concerned with propagating the species. So: looked great, well-written and spoke to me on a spiritual level. Hurrah!

Almost Silent – For many years I only half noticed Jason as the guy with the weird animal-style comics with dark overtones that showed up in a lot on anthologies and such, and then I looked a little closer and saw that he was incredible and delightful to mine eyes and brain, respectively. This book collects four of his earlier works, which is great for me as I haven’t had the free cash to pick them up yet. Also, I love swank little hardcovers, especially when so much of the interior is taken up with the antics of zombies, vampires, wolfmen, skeletons and Elvis.

Atomic Robo: Revenge of the Vampire Dimension No. 1 (of 4)

Sometimes I think that I should pay more attention to what’s coming out in the near future, just so I can claim to be well-informed, but that would preclude things like this sneaking up on me like they do. I learned that there was a new Atomic Robo series when I held this issue in my hand, and that’s a very good feeling – a man could go mad waiting for something as beloved as Atomic Robo.

This series looks like it’s going to have more of the Fightin’ Scientists of Tesladyne, but more importantly, it’s going to have more Dr Dinosaur, and more Dr Dinosaur means more joy.

Joe the Barbarian No 2 of 8 – This is an astonishingly fun take on the old “youngster transported to a magical kingdom” plot, and it’s one of those joyous times that a Grant Morrison series is exactly the right length for Grant Morrison’s writing, so that I don’t get all confused and sad.

Streets of Gotham No. 9 – Not only was the second half of this two-part story just as boring as the first but it tried to fool me by being really easy to figure out. I almost let my triumph influence me into going easy on it! Well, pleeeaah, “Hardcore Nights”. You are a bad story. I look forward to the return of the regular plot next issue.

Power Girl No. 9 – Is it just me or does this book have some of the best facial expressions in comic books going on inside? Even if it is just me, I applaud - every month this comic is a treat.

Incorruptible No. 3 – Okay, I withdraw 60 to 70 percent of my complaints about this series, as with this issue Waid starts to hand out some pretty interesting clues as to why Max Damage might have flip-flopped on the issue of whether to be evil or not, clues which retroactively make his earlier actions make a lot more sense. However, there was still a heinous amount of ham-handed exposition in the first two issues.