John Patriotically Buys Comics.

Because I got completely sidetracked and didn't write anything, here are last week’s comics, the highlights:

Bullet to the Head No. 1 – It’s hard to go wrong with a comic that kind of looks like a Seventies movie, featuring a pair of likeable cops trying to solve a crime committed by a pair of likeable hitmen. We saw the crime take place at the top of this issue, now it’s time for some Colombo-style trying to figure out how/if they’ll solve it.

Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne No. 3 – Time Travel Batman plus pirates equals megafun. That a series that started with Caveman Batman could keep getting better like this is a real achievement.

Power Girl No. 13 – You know what? For a regular issue of a series that commits the cardinal sin of spending a quarter of its pages reiterating what happened in another comic, this wasn’t bad. Of course, it looks like Winick’s next move is going to be the classic “completely explode everything that has been developed in the run up until now so that I can tell my own story” manoeuvre, but I won’t condemn him before he actually does it. In short: not as bad as everyone feared… yet.

Sea Bear & Grizzly Shark No 1 – I have a firm belief that some of the best and funniest ideas in the world start their lives as stupid jokes in friend-style conversations, so my affection for this comic started out a notch above where it might have been. “Bear in ocean, shark in woods – they got mixed up!” is just about all the background detail you need for a one-issue humourous comic. Add on the ridiculous background story and you’re done!

Superman No. 700  

Batman No. 700 took some flak for not being the best anniversary comic ever, but never fear: like the best bat-pal that he is, Superman will distract everyone with one that is downright terrible!

Not that the quality of the art or writing is that bad – here’s a rundown of the contents:

1. Story in which Lois and Clark reconnect and go on dates and stuff, wrapping up the last Superman event.
2. Story about Dick Grayson as Robin teaming up with Superman.
3. Story setting up next Superman event.

So, the two ends of the ongoing story arcs and an adorable story that was mostly about Robin and which, honestly, is just like a dozen other stories from the last five or six years. Terrific.

This Week:

Joker’s Asylum II: Clayface

I keep starting to type something about how it’s a shame that this is the final entry in this series, because it’s the weakest, but then I hesitate. I certainly enjoy Kelley Jones’ rendition of Batman, and there’s nothing wrong with the exploration of Basil Karlo’s motivation. Heck, I even like the ending better than I did the first time I read it.

I think that it’s the Joker’s role in the story, in that he has none. All of the previous issues of this series have featured him as an incredibly unreliable storyteller, someone who sets things up, puts his own spin on the issue, etc. This time, it might as well be the Cryptkeeper, except he doesn’t even get to deploy terrible puns. Bah, I say.

Werewolves of Montpellier

Odds are pretty good that you either love Jason or have no idea who he is. If you fall into the latter camp… Remember in Strange Tales, the one where Spider-Man wants to get into a bar fight, and also everyone is dogs and birds and dogs? Yeah, that guy. Everything he does is so… melancholy, but with moments of hilarity. And also, everyone is dogs and birds. He’s one of the most unique creators in comics today and I can’t believe that it took me so long to start picking up his books.

Werewolves of Montpellier is about a thief who dresses up like a werewolf, his unrequited love for his gay friend/neighbour and the real werewolves who object to the high profile that he’s bringing to their kind. It’s melancholy and hilarious and everybody is birds and dogs. Honestly, if you're not convinced already i don't know what to say.

Abe Sapien: The Abyssal Plain No. 1 – I just read Charles Stross’ The Jennifer Morgue again, so I’m already all skeezy about the very things that this comic is about: death and danger at an unhealthy oceanic depth. The Peter Stejbjerg/Dave Stewart visuals here are only serving to freak me out further. Good job!

Atomic Robo and the Revenge of the Vampire Dimension No 4 – I declare this series a resounding success! Heck, even if it hadn’t been a complete joy to read and set up half a dozen sure-to-be-entertaining plot hooks, the Dr Dinosaur issue alone would have justified a series 5 to 7 times the size of this one.

Captain Swing and the Electrical Pirates of Cindery Island No. 2 – Why is it that I can be so excited by electricity in a comic book while simultaneously being completely surrounded by it at home? Maybe I need more visible blue arcs in my life.

Green lantern No. 55 – We all know that the best new character in DC Comics over the lat few years has been Larfleeze, the Orange Lantern. I think that the heart-warming/rending origin in this here comic cements Red Lantern Dex-Star as number two.

Turf No. 2 – Is it going to surprise anyone if I describe a comic that features gangsters and aliens versus vampires as completely awesome? No? Probably for the best.