Sorry Power Girl: I Just Can't Do It.

In honour of the end of what will surely be remembered as the best run of Power Girl appearances (that's right, not just in her own comic: anywhere) I was going to put together a timeline of PG appearances that would necessarily showcase the changes to her costume and *ahem* carriage over the years. The longer that I worked on it though, the more it became evident that I was going to end up with a thirty-year history of one character's boobs. Which was kind of the point, I admit, but it was far to creepy for me to go on. Instead, here's an abridged form of the same. From her very first appearance in All-Star Comics No. 58:


And from last year's astonishingly good Power Girl No. 1:

Everything in between was either a variation on the same theme or an aberration best forgotten.

In a Surprise Upset, John Buys Comics

Welcome back to the 21st Century, where the comics aren’t perfect but they’ll always be a hell of a lot better than those of the 90s. In aggregate, I mean.

A few items from last week:

Citizen Rex looks to be a good time. I’ve always liked Los Bros. Hernandez and a new series from them is just dandy. It’s not too fresh in my mind, though, so I’ll expound further upon the release of issue no. 2.

Well, Tales of the Corps was a bust. Look, guys, the math is easy: 8 corps divided by 3 issues times about a million characters equals a series chock-full of stories about, say, that cat that Atrocitus has riding around on his shoulder. My tally shows two stories about background characters (Red Lantern Whatshername, Orange Lantern Giant Head Guy), two stories about important characters who haven’t been around forever (Young Mongul, Saint Walker), one introduction (the Indigo Tribe) and two stories about decades-old characters who have been thoroughly examined many times before (Kilowog, Carrol goddam Ferris). Oh, and no Black Lanterns at all. Booooooooooooo. Regardless of the fact that I enjoyed the Kilowog and Young Mongul stories, why the hell are they here? All I wanted were 7 stories about crazy aliens with crazy ring-based powers, plus maybe a yarn about a zombie Vibe going breakdancing or something - heck, if you’d given me just one or two more looks at the minor Lanterns I wouldn’t have even complained about your bullshit “Director’s Commentary”. I really shouldn’t have been bored for as much of this series as I was.

Two things that I will not be bitching about: Thomas E. Sniegoski and Dark Horse put out Lobster Johnson: The Satan Factory, a pulp-style novel featuring everyone’s favourite pulp-style Hellboy character. As you may know, I love me some old-school pulp action, so this was a treat. Sniegoski has done a bang-up job on replicating the flavour of a team-style book like Doc Savage or the Shadow without overusing pulp clichés. Like the pulps of old it was a fast, fun read.

And of course, Beanworld Book 2: A Gift Comes! came out last week. This volume consisted entirely of comics that I hadn’t been able to track down, so I had a joyous time reading it. There’s a lot of exposition about the history and ecology of the Beanworld, and I was left very excited for the new material that is due out this Fall. I think that I may expound on my love for this series in a separate post some time but in the meantime I shall once again use my astonishing hypnotic abilities to compel you to pick it up. Doooooooooo iiiiiiiiiit…..

On to this week:

The Hangman (One-Shot)

Oh boy, the first of the Red Circle characters to sidle their way into the DCU proper! And it’s the Hangman! Who I don’t know very well!

As I recall, the Archie Hangman was the Comet’s brother and was a standard vigilante type in the Batman style, only his suit was pea-green. This ain’t that guy (and there’s a question: is DC intending to bring all of the Red Circle characters into the fold? I sure hope so). This Hangman is a Civil War-era doctor, reborn as a spirit of vengeance and protector of the innocent.

Now, I know that the DCU already has two or three guys that match that description - the Spectre, Deadman, maybe Ragman - but this variation on the theme could work. For one thing, the Hangman isn’t quite sure who he works for: could be Heaven, could be Hell. For another, he looks pretty cool and DC doesn’t really have much in the way of Old West style characters running around. Actually, he only kind of looks cool. I like the costume, but the messy, dirty-looking art suits the Civil War battlegrounds better than the latter-day stuff. Also… the Hangman has the physique of a steroid-soaked early-Nineties Image character and it doesn’t suit him. I mean, if you’re going to have a character who is supernaturally strong and impervious to harm, why not stick with the weedy book-learnin’ physique that his alter ego already has?

Other than that, though: not bad. I look forward to the rest, particularly The Web.

Doom Patrol No. 1

Well, well, well. The comic that I’ve been waiting for has snuck up on me. And how was it? Not bad, not bad. I’m going to hold off for now and SECOND ISSUE OF JUDGEMENT it next month.

And why do I feel so ambivalent? Eh, I don’t know. It’s not like there’s anything glaringly bad, just a collection of things that I like and things that I’m not so sure about. Let’s list them!

The good: The Doom Patrol as agents of the government of Oolong Island. I sure do like the idea of a scientocracy and it’s nice that this one survived the end of 52.

Negative Man and Robotman are looking good. I particularly like the more mummy-like look that Larry’s bandages have, especially as compared to the bondage gear look he was sporting under Byrne.

Looks like there are going to be plenty of crazy science-villains.

Niles Caulder is his delightfully bastardly self.

The not so sure: Is Caulder too bastardly? Even in the Morrison era he had some humanity buried under his cold exterior.

Elasti-Woman looks terrible. Maybe that costume will grow on me, but I doubt it.

Casual character kill-off, eh? And super-duper telegraphed? Bah.

It is the first issue, so I can’t really say that they’re not using all of the characters that they could, but I’ll be keeping an eye on that. If you have an expanded Doom Patrol you might as well use it, right?

So, we’ll see. On the other hand, the Metal Men Backup was terrific. Seven neurotic robots plus crazy adventures plus nosy neighbours equals good times. The book is worth my nickel for them alone.

Young Lovecraft: The adventures of a young HP Lovecraft, as promised on the cover, done in a comic strip style and with a distinct hint of Calvin and Hobbes, if Hobbes were a ghoul. I like ol’ Howard P. to an unreasonable degree, so I can’t really say if this book will appeal to everyone, but like Unspeakable Vault (of Doom), Young Lovecraft succeeds in mixing goofy humour with macabre source material. Of course, also like Unspeakable Vault (of Doom) the occasional joke falls flat due to wonky translation, but chubby-headed Lovecraft is adorable enough that I can forgive. For the faint of heart: there are a few boobs. Watch out.

Saga of Solomon Kane - Somehow, Dave knew that I would be buying this. Possibly it was because I bought every issue of the recent Dark Horse series. And then the trade paperback of the same series. And also the old Marvel series (well, he gave me those, but I would have bought them). And the original stories, which I then declared to be some of the best pulp fiction of all time and a million times better than Conan, much as I enjoy him. What can I say, I love reading about Puritans fighting ancient evil and sometimes Frenchmen. If someone ever makes a god Solomon Kane movie then I will see it twice. (Oh great. Now the Dark Horse web site tells me that there's another Solomon Kane collection coming out in December. Guess who's going to buy it?)

Irredeemable No. 5 - Remains entertaining, as the Plutonian gets all creepy and seldom-seen hero Volt gets some time in the sun. I’m still pretty interested in learning the cause of the Plutonian’s change of alignment (Lawful Good to Chaotic Evil, my heavens!) but it’s becoming more of a mystery story with every issue, so I’m willing to sit back and gather me some clues.

Jersey Gods No. 6 - Barack and Zoe go house-hunting! Barack meets the future in-laws! A mysterious new villain appears on the scene! All this and a new installment of “Tales from the Great War”! Man, Jersey Gods is one of the comics that just consistently brings me joy, on both a cosmic-super-hero and drama-laden-romance level. And next month: a fashion show!

Final Crisis Aftermath: Run! No. 4 (of 6) - More hijinks of the Human Flame. I find myself hoping that the big dumb asshole survives this series, but I’m not sure that it’s going to be possible, given the speed at which he garners enemies. In other news, the last page of each issue of this series has been a great segue to the next, and this is the best one yet.

Chew No. 3 - Chu falls in love! With a savoscrivner, which is yet another excellent new mental power that John Layman has given us. Good show, sir! This is another one of those series that delight me every month. Even though there’s lots of barfing.

Secret Six No. 12 - And a series that I enjoy makes it past the magic number without being cancelled! Celebrate in the streets! Dance! Pat a dog! I was going to harp on about how the Secret Six/ Wonder Woman fight at the beginning of this issue was unnecessary, since none of them actually killed Artemis, but in retrospect I guess that they figured that she might not believe ‘em, which is reasonable. Highlights: lots of boxer short fun, some bullets & bracelets and Gail Simone building on established DCU banshee lore instead of just making up something new.

Astro City: Dark Age Book Three No. 4 - So Astro City is going monthly, hooray! As much as I’ve enjoyed The Dark Age, it’ll be nice to have it finished and see some other stories after a couple of years with this one.

Absolution No. 1 - It ended up on the bottom of the stack this week, so it doesn’t get much text. Luck of the draw, I guess. Absolution’s about an officially-sanctioned super-type named John Dusk and features his slide into moral ambiguity. It looks good and might just be worth following but be warned: this one’s not for the kiddies - it’s fulla blood, guts and brains.

Well, good night everybody. Read more comics.

Archie Sunday: The Triple Threats of Riverdale

It's been three years since the first Disney High School Musical movie was released. Three movies later the kids have all grown up, and are moving on to star in indie films or more mature Hollywood fare. The trend is over.

That means it's the perfect time for Archie Comics to jump on the bandwagon.


The Archie kids decide to put on a High School musical, because that's what kids do these days when they're not texting jpegs on their mp3-pods. The gang throws around some ideas of musicals they could blatantly rip-off, and we get to see Archie being his usual skeevy self.


"The Little Mermaid—topless! Or The Sound of Music—topless! Les Miserables—only, here's the catch—the girls are topless!"

Christ. You know while Archie's saying that, he's just unabashedly staring at Betty and Veronica's boobs, never looking away, even when they're like, "Hello? My eyes are up here!"

Chuck and Nancy suggest West Side Story, which would rule!

Nancy is like, "By putting on this musical, we could subtly examine the racial tension experienced by members of the Riverdale community, and create a dialogue about how..."

And the rest of the gang is like, "Nope!"

Instead they decide on a Grease-style musical, 'cause that's real current. Every twelve-year-old girl these days has a poster of John Travolta on her wall.

The whole gang pitches in, with the regular cast of jerks—Archie, Betty & Veronica and Jughead—doing the music and choreography and relegating the rest of the kids to the crappier jobs. Dilton does the lighting, even though it's been established that he's an accomplished musician and basically a hit-writing machine. But make the nerd do the technical work, right Riverdale douchebags?

Moose and Midge collaborate on costume-making, which is actually pretty adorable. They slave away in front of sewing machines while Archie sits around going "What rhymes with Jalopy? Girl with no toppy?"

Archie actually complements Moose and Midge's hard work, albeit while staring directly Midge's chest. He inevitably ruins the moment by yelling, "I LOVE BAZOOMS!" and then doing a cartwheel off the stage.

So, their musical blows. It's completely derivative, and the lyrics are brutal.

Plus, Archie is popping boners through the whole thing.

Zac Effron, he ain't.

Giant-Size John Buys Comics

Well, giant-size in that I bought a butt-load of 'em this week.

Hey! Have I ever mentioned Super Future Friends here? I have? Well, I'm mentioning them again beause they are awesome. They speak of the Legion of Super-Heroes with great joy and some swears and bring me delight. Seriously, it's the only podcast that I listen to multiple times, plus they just did the first appearance of matter-Eater Lad, my fav'rit!

Zeke Deadwood, Zombie Lawman

Hee hee hee! This was a terrific comic to start my weekly read-on with. I know that “disdain for zombie-based entertainment” is the new chic attitude (uh, new as in for the last year or two), but like “disdain for Jimmy Olsen” and “admiration for tapered jeans” I can’t really get behind it. A good comic is a good comic and a bad comic is a bad comic, zombies or no. And nobody looks good in tapered jeans.

Anyway: this is a fun comic. It has a good premise (a zombie would make a great lawman), a couple of good running gags (Zeke smells very bad, zombies are very slow), lots of good sight gags (as outlaws take over the town a man is seen reading a paper with the headline OUTLAWS ARRIVE) and a framing sequence that preys on my love of old-time radio. Zeke and his zombie horse look great. Zeke sings some Johnny Cash. Johnathan is delighted. Also: a Guy Davis pin-up (and did I mention that Guy Davis drew a little Hellboy for me when Rachelle saw him at HeroesCon? He totally did! Wotta guy!)

Good job, T.A. Boatwright and Ryan Rubio.

Poe No. 1 No. 1 (of 4)

Oh man. There was a preview for this in the back of something I read last week and it didn’t look very appealing, mainly because whoever put it together chose pages that focused on Edgar Allen Poe as a crazy dude mourning his dead child bride and possibly seeing through time, instead of the far more awesome Edgar Allen Poe who does all of that stuff and also solves mysteries like an insane Sherlock Holmes.

This is a great story. Poe is the grand-daddy of detective fiction and also the godfather of the American horror tradition and also a crypto buff and general crazy genius, so casting him in an investigative role is a natural - if this is the first time that it’s been done then I’m surprised. He has this terrific nervous energy that is accentuated by the art of Dean Kotz so that you can almost hear him blurting out all of his deductions in one long blather, all talking with his hands and pacing around.

On top of that, this is shaping up to be an interesting mystery that I actually care about and try to figure out, which doesn’t happen often in the comic books. And the villains look terrific.

Oh, and also the magic in this book appears to have been cribbed from D&D, which is awesome.

Last Resort No. 1

Dang it, this looks like a candidate for the SECOND ISSUE OF JUDGEMENT treatment, as this issue was all setup and that could be a good thing or a bad thing.

See, this comic can be summarized as follows: plane heading for Aruba is forced by a storm to land on an island that is probably covered in zombies. Between the first couple of pages (zombie-esque dude washes up on resort beach) and the last couple (the plane lands at the resort) this issue is basically concerned with establishing the cast of characters: the angry lesbian, the fornicating couple, the nerd, the old lady, etc. They’re okay character sketches, so the really key thing that will make or break the series for me is going to happen in the second issue. Will the characters that I like get horribly killed after making an optimistic prediction? Will the irritating characters get killed in spiteful and ironic ways? This is the axis of judgment for a character-driven zombie book. I’d love to see everyone with a personality survive for once, while nameless extras are mown down around them.

Two further things strike me as worth mentioning. First, that Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray need to run the script for the second issue past a proofreader one extra time if they don’t want people like me to be rendered sad by the punctuation and spelling errors. Editors read comics too, guys. And weep.

Second, either the script contains three separate art directions that read “the girl’s shirt is hiked up over one boob so that you can see her nipple ring” or Giancarlo Caracuzzo loves drawing girls with their shirt hiked up over one boob so that you can see their nipple rings. Either way, I think that someone is letting their freak flag fly a bit. “I LOVE BOOOOOOBS!”, they are saying.

Creepy No. 1

Ah, good old Creepy. I’m glad to see this title out and about again. And it’s good! Someone at Dark Horse understood exactly what magazines like Creepy and Eerie and so forth were good at: telling stories with a twist at the end, some of which were clever and some of which were amusing and some of which were a little scary. The only really important stipulation was that they should all be as interesting as possible and look good in black and white.

And in the back: a story that manages to be the other thing that a good horror comic tale can be: touching in a weird way. It's called "Daddy and the Pie" and just touched my tiny heart, I swear. Much more than the racists earlier, I swear.

The Brave and the Bold No. 25

This issue continues the merging of the Milestone and DC universes, as well as the theme of pairing up guys with something in common, with an all-armour team-up between Blue Beetle and a dude named Hardware, of whom I know little since my Milestone reading has only progressed by about five issues since B&B No.24 (and how odd is it that I feel disappointed in myself for letting my having a life get in the way of reading comics?). His created-in-the-Nineties roots are really showing here, though, as he spends a lot of the issue acting like a mistrustful dick who HAS TO DO IT FOR HIMSELF!

There’s also a villainous team-up in this issue, as Hardware’s enemy the System (or possibly SYSTEM) hires a shadowy, bald technologist to consult on their battlesuit designs. I spent the issue figuring that it was Luthor and then at the end - POOF - it turns out to be Gizmo, only not the zombie Gizmo from Birds of Prey but rather a full-sized guy in the Gizmo costume who implies that he’s the original’s… son? Brother? What really matters is that the costume looked stupid on him.

Oh, and this was a pretty good comic! It may be recovering!

Domino Lady No. 1

I bought this comic because I love pulpy stuff and detectives and so forth, so a masked detective in an evening gown should have been right up my alley. Man, I shoulda bought that Blonde Phantom book instead.

Maybe the giant breast implants on the cover should have tipped me off, but some part of me said “Nah, they must have had fake boobs in the Twenties or Thirties or whenever. Probably made ‘em out of wood or something.” And so I blundered on, into a comic that started badly and then went downhill.

The Domino Lady! Makes a big deal about how rare it is for someone to know her secret identity but wears a domino mask, the mask that does nothing to conceal your identity! The artist forgot to draw the mask for a page and I thought that it was on purpose!

The Domino Lady! Featuring a pointless appearance by Sherlock Holmes! He disguises himself as a clown!

The Domino Lady! There are lots of shots of her in her underwear! She puts her evening gown on over top and the underwear disappears! Oops!

I could go on. This is bad. This is… this is Alan Moore’s Cobweb as written by, well, not Alan Moore. It’s T&A (which I have no objection to, in theory) with nothing to back it up, story-wise (this I object to). Booooo.

Blackest Night No. 1

Okay, here it comes. Blackest Night, the War of Lights, etc. Black Hand is tongue-kissing Bruce Wayne’s skull and there are zombies everywhere. This is probably going to awesome if it doesn’t suck.

You know what I liked best about this comic? At the beginning there’s a sequence showing people celebrating the holiday that started in memory of Superman and then became a general costumed hero memorial day once he came back. Everybody’s visiting graves and remembering their pals and it’s all so nice. I know that it was just setup for when all of those pals come back as awful creatures of the night, but I kind of wished that the comic could just be fun all the way through. Hey look, the Rogues have their own secret cemetery! Hey look, Barry Allen is more interesting in this book than Rebirth, even though they’re written by the same guy!

ZOMBIE WATCH (there will be spoilers in the ZOMBIE WATCH): Every dead member of the Green Lantern Corps (including Ch’p!), Martian Manhunter (and who didn’t expect that), Sue and Ralph Dibny (and who wasn’t dreading that). I’m sure that future ZOMBIE WATCH installments will be more action-packed.

R13 No. 1

This actually came out last week and I somehow missed it, which is weird because it's directly up my alley. Check it: a fishing boat hauls up a crazy-cool robot with a dome head. Inside that dome is a skull. The robot fights a tentacled beast of the sea and also there is a giant lobster. There is a mystery.

How could I resist any of that, let alone all of it? It's like these people (these people = Thomas Hall and Daniel Bradford) are hiding in my house and taking notes. And it looks really nice, too - the art lives in the same neighbourhood as Mike Mignola and Guy Davis' and maybe picks up their mail while they're away. There is some inconsistancy in the resolution of the panels but looking at Blacklist Studios' website I think that a) It's their first comic and b) it's just these two guys, so I'm willing to forgive some minor loss of crispness in exchange for more robot vs. mollusc action, delivered quarterly.

Edward Grey, Witchfinder: In the Service of Angels No. 1

Speaking of Mignola...

This comic has been a long time coming - Edward Grey has been lurking around the edges of the Hellboy universe for many, many years now. Heck, he even had a little solo adventure in the prequel to the recent Abe Sapien miniseries.

Now, I know that I might not be the most unbiased person on this subject, but this is a great comic. Edward Grey is a Victorian occult investigator looking into a series of murders that are all connected to an archeological expedition and there are crazy skeletons and pre-human societies and things in jars... It's just distilled joy for me.

Actually, now that I think about it, this might be a good jumping-on point for someone who wants to check out the Heellboy family of comics but is daunted by the interconnectivity of the whole thing. Sure there are a few references to earlier series here (Hyperboreans, eeeee!) but they aren't in the least bit essential to the story. And how can you resist Victorians versus pre-human ape-guys?

And it's pretty much bedtime. Quick reviews!

Buck Rogers No 2 - Passes the SECOND ISSUE OF JUDGEMENT! Good fun here!

Wednesday Comics No. 2 - More of the same, the same being goodness!

The Unknown No. 3 - What? Insane monk? Hooray!

Final Crisis Aftermath: Escape No. 3 - I am so confused.  This is going to be great!

Sherlock Holmes No. 3 - Mycroft: not fat enough. Otherwise terrific.

Good night everyone!

The Something Something John Buys Comics

I've shuffled the comics and fed the cat and now it's time to revieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeewwww!

Detective Comics No. 854

WHOOOEEE! Good goddam! This, my friends, is a pretty, pretty comic.

JH Williams is the arteest on this one and has just destroyed it. The art style shifts to reflect mood and tone! The panel layout is astonishing (and enough too make my poor rectangular-marquee-using panel sampler's heart cringe with sympathy for the mento-bloggers of the future)! Batwoman's outfit actually looks like black leather, rather than a thin sheen of body paint! Actually, all of the clothing looks pretty darned good.

On top of this, Dave Stewart, the World's Greatest Colorist, is on the job. If you've been reading DC comics at all this month then you've probably seen the preview for this book. Well, it continues in that incredibly vibrant vein. Woo Dave!

Meanwhile, the story. Basically, it boils down to the Church of Crime setting up shop in Gotham again and Batwoman wanting this not to happen. You know, because they stabbed her in the heart that one time. The Crime religion is something that could have some legs, I reckon - this might end up being a pretty damn good run. But even if it isn't, even if this story ends up going nowhere... I can maybe forgive that if it keeps looking this good. Anyway, the dialogue is decent and they don't avoid the fact that Batwoman is a lesbian, so I shall wait and see with my trademark optimism.

ALSO: there's a Question backup to this tale, featuring Renee Montoya taking a missing persons case via her website (which is also the Web's shtick... that's two similarly themed comics on the shelves in August again, DC. This is a weird pattern).Looks like it's shaping up to be a decent detective tale with good art by Cully Hammer, but I'm going to have to pass on going into specifics while still under the lead story's influence. These two-featured books are making me happy so far - now to wait impatiently for the Doom Patrol/Metal Men book to come out.

Final Crisis Aftermath: Ink No. 2

You know, I'm still not too sure what to think about this comic. It's a decent book, sure, but it just doesn't have the high-concept trappings of Escape or the intriguing subject matter of Run or Dance. Super-villain turned super-hero attempts to remain heroic in the face of adversity, that's not a bad theme, just not a new theme. Still, the Tattooed Man was always an interesting if slightly goofy villain and it was nice to see his newest incarnation get some time in the sun in Final Crisis. Hopefully this series puts him in something like a good position at the end and doesn't just turn him back into a cheap and/or rage-filled villain again, like my John-sense is warning might happen.

Good thing there are lots of interesting uses of the tattoo superpower to keep me interested. Bat-winged skull ahoy!

The Actress and the Bishop No. 1

I bought this one one a whim, I must admit. How could I pass up that title, huh? How?

The Actress and the Bishop live in domestic bliss in a wee house in a British suburb or small town, stock characters from a dozen jokes brought to life and drawn real nice.

I mean, really, really nice. Brian Bolland did both the art and the writing on this, and he has produced some damn fine black and white pictures. The whole thing reminds me strongly of the Italian comics that I have read like Dylan Dog or... okay, mostly Dylan Dog. We need more translations of Italian comics. Back on track: as in these Italian comics of which I speak, Bolland has drawn this thing with a lot of clean, precise, beautiful art, lovingly detailed (check out the neato illustrations on the Bishop's robes) and inked. Be warned, prudish-at-heart: the "MATURE READERS" tag on the front is code for "there are some boobies".

As for plot, well, there isn't really one. As I said, the Actress and the Bishop are stock characters living in a house, so this is one of my favourite set-ups: a strange situation with no explanation and no apologies, just further strangeness. The A and the B take a trip, throw a party and have something living in their shed - no origin story necessary. AND: the whole thing's told in rhyme! Pretty decent rhyme, too, though I reckon that I say a few words with a different number of syllables than Brian Bolland does. Curse you, regional differences in the English language!

(UPDATE: I guess that this is collecting appearances of the Actress and the bishop from other places. I felt that I should mention that, in case rabid A&B fans got mad at me after buying it for more A&B action and found none)

Superman No. 689

Hot damn! now this is the sort of thing that I've been talking about! I don't know if there's some sort of editorial mandate to show off more of the super-human--infested world over at DC but they've been doing a decent job of it for the past month or so. And in this issue things get crazy, as Mon-El, newly interested in the joys of life and the pleasure to be found in experiencing new things, takes a trip around the world, encountering old favourites like the Rocket Reds, Freedom Beast and Rising Sun as well as a wide selection of (as far as I know) new international characters including a super-cool German paranormal detective type named Will von Hammer (!!!) and a disturbing new Blockbuster. Seriously, James Robinson could write a monthly series consisting entirely of one-page super-hero vignettes. Especially if he had the same art team. But Blockkbuster should not wear Daisy Dukes.

Good lord I hope that some of these characters/concepts get expanded upon in the future and not just trotted out as cannon fodder during the next crossover. DC! I will buy The Very German Mysteries of Will von Hammer! For real!

Gotham Sirens No. 1

Cue mixed feelings.

I have no idea whether Birds of Prey was cancelled in order to make room for this book. I hope not, because they could have played off of one another in interesting ways, as the good and the bad-ish ladies of the DCU went about their business. I'm also not sure whether this book is supposed to sell based on T&A potential, but that doesn't seem to be its mission statement, cover aside. Am I conveying my problem here? I want to be cynical about this comic, especially given its kind-of-lousy name, but none of my snark seems to be panning out. The basic idea behind the story - Catwoman, Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy teaming up in the face of the dangerous times going on in Gotham - is sound enough to pass, given the characters' history. Hell, they even bothered to set it up during Battle for the Cowl.

So I can't find anything ideologically wrong with Gotham City Sirens, so what? What's up with the contents? Well, they're not bad, not bad at all. Paul Dini and Guillem March team up to write and draw these characters with a good deal of individuality - Ivy is cold and slightly inhuman, Harley is goofy and slightly insane, etc. There are lots of good facial expressions (particularly on Harley and chump-super-villain-of-the-issue Boneblaster), plenty of nice kinetic fight scenes and yadda and yadda and yadda. The colour ain't up to Dave Stewart levels, but it looks real pretty.

You know what the trouble with this issue is? It's a set-up issue. It's concerned with getting the characters to the physical and interpersonal places that they need to be for the rest of the series to play out. So while the lameo title and cheesecake cover and the vein of cynicism that runs through my tiny heart say that there is way too much potential for terribleness here to give it a pass, the characterization and potential for nutty fun and the inventiveness that's been shown so far swing me back the other way. I'm afraid that I'm going to have to reserve judgement for now. Check with me after Issue 2.

The Last Days of Animal Man No. 2 (of 6) - You know what's really nice? The occasional tale set in a non-apocalyptic future. Here's Animal Man, some time in the future, and there hasn't been a giant war or a plague or a zombie uprising. Time has continued to pass and things have changed somewhat, as is the nature of comics (blue whale Green Lantern is possibly the best idea of the week. Okay, tied with Will von Hammer), but being set in the future has not been taken as license to destroy the world to a level just below that of the average issue of What If? or Elseworld featuring the Justice League. Good show, guys. May this book continue to be a good time for the next four issues.

Buck Rogers No. 1 - This looks like it could be a very good time. We shall see how the old "stranger in a strange land" scenario pans out over the next few issues as Buck figures out a) that he is in the future and b) that this is an opportunity to kick a lot of ass. Features a cybernetic bear and an air force man too dumb to wait until a plane lands to try to commandeer it.

Viking No. 2 - Ivan Brandon and Nic Klein have put together another incredible comic here. Amazing and atypical art and colouring, crazy-good and definitely not comics-norm story... This is fast becoming one of my go-to comics for giving people who claim not to be into comics. Man, and the final page on this one is incredible. I don't often lust after original art, but... damn.

Batman: The Brave and the Bold No. 6 - Batman plus Kid Eternity! Plus - thanks to the Kid's powers - Vigilante and Shining Knight and Viking Prince and GI Robot! Versus General Immortus! This series is doing a great job of capturing some of the down-home good times of the cartoon, including the great dumb jokes and the very loose adherence to DC continuity in favour of reinterpreting characters as necessary to tell a better story. Good show!

Rapture No. 2 - The post-apocalyptic fun continues! Our heroes, Evelyn and Gil, are struggling to survive in a world that has been devastated and subsequently abandoned by its super-heroes. Evelyn seems to be becoming some sort of devine avenger type, righting wrongs and fighting cannibals. Gil plays his guitar. Featuring! A very amusing old man named Old Man! This series looks like it's going to be a good time, as superheroics in the rubble so often is.

Breaking the Glass Ceiling...With Nunchucks!

Temping agencies have discovered a way to market themselves as something other than a last resort for broke artists and musicians.


Sure a guy can dream of being a cowboy or an astronaut or heck, Superman, but us ladies don't have such high hopes.

Iris is your average executive assistant: hot, demure, loves serving tea.

But when a business deal goes awry...

BAM! Iris fucks shit up!

Trading one racist, creepy fantasy for another? Sure! Completely trite? Of course!

But then, this comic breaks new ground.

WHAT? I've been lead to believe that's impossible! I hope Batman never meets this dude, the most perceptive random thug ever!

Anyway, don't expect a comic full of Excel spreadsheets and dry cleaning that needs to be picked up.

But do expect to be told "I'm an executive assistant" over and over again.