Delenda Est Carthago

Why not delve into a twisted mind? Thoughts on the world, history, politics, entertainment, comics, and why all shall call me master!

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

I plan on being the supreme dictator of the country, if not the world. Therefore, you might want to stay on my good side. Just a hint: ABBA rules!


Comics for 16 February 2005

Before I dive in, there's some things I'd like to expound upon:

First, over at Comics Should Be Good, there's a fabulous post that has devolved a little bit in the comments section (the post is about a porn comic, so be warned -- the language is a little rough). The poster compares the art in the porn comic to Birds of Prey (a little unfavorably, I might add), and interestingly enough, Gail Simone, the writer of Birds of Prey, shows up to make a comment and explain it's all because the poster has an issue with her (this is when it gets a little snide). I don't buy Birds of Prey, but isn't it just accepted that many regular superhero books are, to some degree or another, soft-core porn (especially when Ed Benes is doing the art -- it's very nice art, but come on)? I mean, check out this month's issue of the book. Thorn is wearing what can only be described as a bondage costume, and Huntress's hot pants look awfully uncomfortable. I have no problem with that, but Simone should know about this, don't you think? Maybe I'm naive. And the other point is -- she's never going to win against the blogiverse (maybe that's why Bendis hates bloggers). If Dan Rather can't win against the blogiverse, Gail Simone certainly isn't. On the same web site, the same poster makes a comment about nerds who like Batman punching out Guy Gardner. I'm not conceited enough to think he saw it on my 100 Things I Love About Comics list, but considering he already thinks I'm an idiot because I don't like the Pixies, maybe he is taking a shot at me. Who cares? Life's too short. Gail Simone is writing a popular book that gets a nice measure of critical acclaim. Who cares if certain people think it sucks? Let them write a freakin' comic.

Moving on, since my rant against Mark Millar, I've noticed some others ranting too. Since Wanted #6 came out, Millar's work has included: a lame ending to the "Trial of the Hulk" story in which Bruce goes on the run -- how original!; a story in which the Green Goblin kidnaps Mary Jane and takes her ... to the top of that bridge where Gwen Stacy died (the George Washington?) -- how original!; and a story in which Wolverine kills off Marvel's only openly gay superhero! Yes, Northstar is unbelievably boring and was never actually in any kind of gay relationship, but what does it say about Millar in particular and Marvel in general when of all the lame characters they have, they kill off the gay one? Join me in my anti-Millar boycott!

And finally, Faust #13 came out. Holy bleepin' bleep! I listed the first 11 issues in my 100 things I love about comics (see below) and now I learn #12 is out there somewhere (I'll get it eventually) and #13 came out the day after I posted. It's a weird world. For those of you who have no idea what Faust is, it's a ridiculously violent, almost hard-core porn, pretty Satanic comic book about a guy (Satan) who is also a mob kingpin and how he creates the perfect killing machine, who naturally rebels against him. If it doesn't sound like your cup of tea, so be it, but it's cool. Tim Vigil's art is unbelievably gorgeous, even when it creeps you out because so many people are being slashed to pieces. The writing is a little over-the-top, but David Quinn tells a gripping story. It's been over 15 years since this story started, so back issues might be hard to find, but if you're interested in trade paperbacks, check out this site. Incredibly enough, they made this into a movie on the Sci-Fi Channel a few years ago. Without the ridiculous violence and disturbing sex, what's the point? Someday I'll do an in-depth look at this. For now, I have to track down issue #12.

So now we have the rest of this week's comics. Given my financial situation, you'd think I'd have more restraint. But, considering this is the only thing I spend money on, I guess I'm entitled to indulge myself. Soon, the culling will come!

303 #3 by Garth Ennis and Jacen Burrows
$3.99, Avatar

The last page of this says "End of Part One." What the huh? I thought it was a mini-series. Maybe it still is. The second part looks like the Russian sergeant is going to get some revenge. I hope not. He's not the Punisher, Garth!

Still a nice book. We learn what the plane crash was about, and we find out what happens when you piss off Afghan women. The dialogue between the Russian and the Brit is very nice, and reminds you again why Ennis is the perfect person to write war comics. Avatar continues to put out nice stuff, and they're starting to get some more press. Go support them instead of buying, hell, I don't know, Teen Titans!

The Ballad of Sleeping Beauty #7 by Gabriel Benson and Mike Hawthorne
$1.99, Beckett

The bad guy is back, even after Cole killed him. Of course, their are Indian ghosts roaming around, so that's not such a horrible thing. Cole and Red have reached the town where Beauty is, and the whole issue is a set-up to the big, and possibly final showdown between Cole and Drake and Red getting the girl (presumably). Unfortunately, this is kind of a treading water issue, which the big companies can get away with, but I don't think Beckett can. It's still a bargain for 2 bucks, but I wish more had happened. Check it out, because it's still a nice comic. Buy it instead of the New Invaders!

Captain Gravity and the Power of the Vril #3 by Joshua Dysart, Sal Velluto, and Bob Almond
$2.95, Penny-Farthing Press

Boy, this is a nice-looking book. Velluto and Almond and Mike Garcia (the colorist) really make this art beautiful. The story is cooking along, as Joshua fights Nazis who have the same power that he does, we learn more about the Vril (an interesting little idea), Chase meets Hitler, and fun stuff abounds. I'm a little less than thrilled with the framing story, which takes place in 1962 (during the Cuban missile crisis), because it abruptly pulls us out of the story, but it's still a good comic. Pick this up instead of, let's see, the latest issue of Wolverine!

Catwoman: When in Rome #4 by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale
$3.50, DC

In conjunction with this comic book, I should mention this article. It's good stuff!

Catwoman is kind of limping along. I'll probably finish buying this, but there's no reason you should. It's kind of disappointing, because Loeb and Sale are capable of such great work. I think they've mined "Year One" enough and need to move on. Or maybe they need to split up, get a divorce. I don't know.

Sale's art looks sloppy and rough. Maybe that's what he's going for, but I don't think so. The fight between the Cheetah and Selina is just ugly, an adjective I never thought I'd use when discussing Sale's art. The dream sequence at the beginning is nice, but all in all, not his best work. Loeb's story moves along glacially along, and we get more hints about what's going on, but who really cares at this point? That's a sad statement, but it's true. And Selina making out with Edward Nigma is something I don't think anyone wanted to see -- it's not quite Helen Hunt making out with Jack Nicholson, but it's pretty much the comic-book equivalent. Oh well -- a disappointment from a good art team. Go read The Long Halloween for good stuff by these guys.

Daredevil #70 by Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev
$2.99, Marvel

Sigh. A nice fight scene by Maleev. Another story that ends weakly, as Bendis does quite often. And Alexander Bont flies too close to the sun. Shocking! Bendis and Maleev are finishing their run soon, and I hope that when I re-read these in one sitting, it will all fit together better. Bendis's run on this title has been excellent, but occasionally, it feels tired, and this is one of those times. The last time I felt this way was #50, when Matt Murdock declared himself Kingpin. After the excruciating Echo storyline, it seemed Bendis and Maleev came back stronger than ever, but now ... I don't know. Bendis fills us in on the year when Murdock was Kingpin starting next issue, so that might be cool. I hope, because I really like what Bendis is doing on this title, and don't want to see it ruined.

Ex Machina #8 by Brian K. Vaughan, Tony Harris, and Tom Feister
$2.95, Wildstorm

Boy, this is a nice title. Vaughan does some brutal things and does not flinch from uncomfortable things. It's sometimes unpleasant, but it works in the story, and makes for good storytelling. We find out more about the mysterious symbols in the subway, Mitch goes on a date, and the FBI pays the mayor a visit. We keep jumping back and forth in time, which is not really disorienting at all. The art, as usual, is excellent. This title is really good.

Human Target #19 by Peter Milligan and Cliff Chiang
$2.95, DC/Vertigo

And so the final story of this title begins, and Tom McFadden, Christopher Chance's one-time assistant, returns, and he has some issues with his identity. More problems than Chance does, actually, which is saying a lot. He wants Chance to help him, but at the end, he decides to just take Chance's life instead, and there's a big DUM-DUM-DUHHHH! at the end of the book. Chance's life, however, isn't all it's cracked up to be, since he gets a bigger sexual rush out of impersonating people than getting it on with his hot wife. Poor Chris! More craziness from Milligan!

I'd say you should read this, but it'll be gone with issue #21, so it won't matter. Of course, you could always pick up the last three issues and see what a great book this is and then buy the trade paperbacks. It's a cool book.

JLA: Classified #4 by Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis, Kevin Maguire, and Joe Rubinstein
$2.95, DC

The sequel to Formerly Known as the Justice League is notable because it features Sue Dibny, and again shows why killing her was a dumb idea. No one misses Ice (well, I do, a little), but Sue will be missed. This is an okay issue, but I worry that the boys are getting a little smug. In the old JLI, things happened occasionally. Here, nothing much happens. Yes, Booster Gold is a gold-digger. Yes, Blue Beetle is trying to be mature. Yes, Sue and Ralph fight. Yes, L-Ron makes snide comments. Yes, the boys make penis jokes. Yes, Guy Gardner's back. It's amusing, but not laugh-out-loud funny, and I want it to be funny and exciting. Please, gentlemen, use your considerable talents to make a great comic book!

Oh, and Beatriz DeCosta bonds with Mary Marvel. Actual funny stuff. I love Bea.

Livewires #1 by Adam Warren, Rick Mays, and Jason Martin
$2.99, Marvel

I wasn't planning on buying this, because I'm not a manga fan and Warren is the closest thing to manga in the U.S., but I liked the preview I saw a few months ago, and decided to pick it up. I like it a lot. It flies along at a breakneck pace, and Warren introduces the whole team, throws threats at them, and dazzles us with the best technobabble this side of Warren Ellis (and it's more of a fun book than Ellis usually writes -- not that it's better, but it's definitely more fun). It's genuinely humorous, with a touch of creepiness, and lively art and story. This is a fun comic. Buy it, because it's only a six-issue mini-series, so you can get a nice taste.

Noble Causes #7 by Jay Faerber, Gabe Bridwell, Kris Justice, and Fran Bueno
$3.50, Image

This is a nice issue, with Race trying to keep his promise to Liz about not getting involved so much with superheroing. They have an interesting conversation about the differences between their lives, and it's all very sappy, but nice. The art, by Bridwell and Justice for most of the issue (Bueno provides an epilogue about the heroes on the other planet, where bad things are happening) is much better than Bueno's, actually. We also get a cameo by various superheroes from the Image Universe, including Savage Dragon, reminding us again that all of these heroes do exist in a "Marvel Universe" kind of place. Anyway, it's a very good issue, and highlights Faerber's strength -- characterization. And Laura Gjovaag, who has a charming fixation with Aquaman, gets a letter published in it. It's weird to see someone I've heard of get a letter published.

Ocean #4 by Warren Ellis and Chris Sprouse
$2.95, Wildstorm

For an issue where nothing much happens, a lot happens in this issue. What the huh? say you. But lots of hints are dropped and we learn a lot of junk, even though there's not a lot of action. It's the kind of issue where decompression works, because the story moves slowly, but the dialogue really adds a great deal to the overall story. Although the art is a lot of talking heads, it's still wonderful. And the manager of the corporate space station turns out to be a lot more menacing than he appeared. Cool stuff. This is good Ellis. Ultimate Nightmare, on the other hand ...

Trigger #3 by Jason Hall and John Watkiss
$2.95, DC/Vertigo

I still haven't made up my mind about Trigger. I want to like it, and I do, but I don't know if it's blowing me away, and that means it might be on the chopping block soon. We find out why Carter was covered in blood at the end of issue #1, and we learn a little more about Deirdre's mysterious benefactor, and there's a creepy guy at the center of the spider web, and there's a Minority Report kind of prison thing going on. Ethicorp is being revealed as even more insidious than already, and Carter's piecing some things together. It's a good book, and I do recommend it, but I'm still on the fence about it. Why oh why are comic books so freakin' expensive?!?!?

Big week, and I know I didn't do justice to every book I got. Oh well. I'm sitting here typing as I watch television (I can waste time multi-tasking with the best of them!) and Virtuosity is on. I saw this in the movie theater back in 1995. Can I get a shout-out for Virtuosity? I love it -- it's crap, but glorious crap. Come on, Denzel and Russell Crowe? How can you not love it?


Blogger David said...

It's good to see someone else enjoying 303 - I was confused by the Part One thing as well - because this is something that Ennis does very, very well. Jacen is doing a great job on the art, too.

I too prefer Ellis on his own stuff, even if it doesn't always work (didn't particularly dig Tokyo Storm Rising), and Ocean is shaping up very nicely.

I thought I had a large haul with 11 comics this week - how does your wife let you buy so many comics? :)

21/2/05 10:40 AM  
Blogger Greg said...

I actually keep track of how much money I spend on comics (it's a sickness, I know), so she's more cognizant of it than she might otherwise be. As I mentioned, it's really the only thing I spend money on, and whenEVER she goes anywhere NEAR shoes, she has to buy a pair (I'm kidding, but not by much), so we have a nice compromise.

21/2/05 12:32 PM  
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