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 March 2005

I'm actually going to post twice today - look for the next one later tonight! (I know, you can barely contain your excitement.)

Before comics, let's look at the weird world that is comic-book sales. Today the dude at my store was talking about how much he's looking forward to the new Star Wars movie. I called him a sucker. He does not like Grant Morrison, so he called me one back. That's fine, but doesn't anyone know the "fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me" vibe? Lucas has fooled me twice. Screw him and his "Revenge of the Sith" crap.

I went to the other comic store (long story) and some employee was coming out of the store with a hat on that was part of the neck and head of Godzilla. I kid you not. It was about a foot high. Sheesh.

Okay, on to this week's comics!

Angeltown #5 by Gary Phillips and Shawn Martinbrough
$2.99, DC/Vertigo

Angeltown comes to a close, and it was fine, and things got wrapped up, and Martinbrough's art was purty, and I liked it, but it was just okay. Not anything great, but fine. That's probably not good enough to spend the money on it. It's a nice noir kind of thing, but Phillips kind of throws in some "life lessons" that we don't really need and can figure out for ourselves. I don't know - it didn't really blow me away. It's a shame, because there was some nice stuff, but put together, nothing great.

Ex Machina #9 by Brian K. Vaughan, Tony Harris, and Tom Feister
$2.99, DC/Wildstorm

Marc Singer recently had a Brian K. Vaughan hate-fest (he didn't intend it to be, but it turned into one) about Y: The Last Man (and he just linked to me - thanks, Marc!), but because I don't read that title, I was just along for the ride. Some of his comments dealt with this book and how much the people hated it, and that makes me scratch my head. I guess you can hate it if you want to, but that's weird - this is an excellent book. Enough action to keep you satisfied (not a lot in this issue, but enough), lots of suspense, creepiness, politics, interpersonal relationships - lots of good stuff. Vaughan's take on gay marriage is a tad simplistic (although it's a shame that it can't be solved in the way he suggests; it makes so much sense!), but it's nice to see a book actually tackle issues beyond "What would happen if the JSA of today met the JSA of the 1940s?" We see the fall-out from September 11th, tying nicely into the weird stuff going on in the subways. Mitch gets slapped and shot - it's not a good day for Mitch. And Mitch's NSA contact Jackson Georges has some nasty words to say about the world's only superhero, and later he ... well, read the book! Harris's artwork is stunning, as usual. It's a great book.

The Human Race by Ben Raab, Justiniano, and Walden Wong
$2.99, DC

Why do these comic book creators need to have one name? They're not Cher! They're not Madonna! They're not even a Brazilian soccer player!

Anyway, remember Xenobrood? Yeah, I didn't think so. It was a seven-issue mini-series that came out about 10 years ago, and it introduced a bunch of new superheroes to the DC Universe. Moench wrote it and Tomm Coker did some of the art (I can't remember who did the rest). It was okay, but nothing great. And now we have The Human Race, which has potential, but it looks like it's going to turn out to be another Xenobrood. Fine, but nothing great.

Nice art, vaguely reminiscent of Tim Vigil (or is that crazy?). Decent story - an alien virus (Raab even uses the term "xeno-virus" - see what I mean???) came to earth and invades its host and "resequences its DNA and creates an entirely new species for it to dominate." Oooh, scary. The kid in the story (his name's Ulysses, in what I'm sure will have meaningful import in the series) is the first successful transplant. The bad guy (Paracelsus - at least he has a cool name, and Raab actually deftly explains who the "first" Paracelsus was) wants Ulysses because he wants to create a new breed of human so he can rule the earth. The fraternity (I'm not kidding, they really are a fraternity!) of heroes want to stop him and help Ulysses get his humanity back. Mayhem ensues!

Like I said, it's nice art and the story is moderately intriguing. I very much doubt I will pick up the rest of the series. It just doesn't blow me away, and that's what we need with comics.

Human Target #20 by Peter Milligan and Cliff Chiang
$2.99, DC/Vertigo

And so it's almost over. Next month, this title goes the way of the dodo. That's life. Enjoy it while you can. Seriously, if you're not reading this, you should buy the back issues - there aren't a lot! It's a wonderful book, and proof that Milligan should never write superhero stuff and stick to weird stuff like this. Tom McFadden is back to steal Chance's life, but first he has to get rid of Chance. He takes Bruno hostage, and we're led to believe that bad things will happen to Mary next issue. I hope not - we've seen enough violence against women in comics recently, and Mary's a pretty good character. The nice thing about this issue is that you're always sure who is McFadden and who is Chance - which, to be honest, is one of the weaknesses of the series - sometimes you have no idea if it's actually Chance. Wait a minute, that's probably Milligan's intent. I should shut up. Anyway, a fantastic book getting the kibosh after next issue. Bump up its sales a little before the end!

Incredible Hulk #79 by Peter David, Lee Weeks, and Tom Palmer
$2.99, Marvel

We think we get some answers with this issue, but do we really? More weirdness from the mind of Peter David, and I'm getting a little more comfortable with this arc. General Ross is clearly sinister (as he makes sure we know on page 2), we get some more of Bruce's teenage years (why was it necessary, Peter, to turn him into Peter Parker? I plan on asking David that on his blog), and toward the end of the issue, Ross gets a fantastic line when the girl (Gwen) says they're in hell, and Ross says, "But since I don't see any three-headed dogs around, I wouldn't be -" just before a three-headed dog leaps out and drags him away. Bwah-ha-ha! (Cerberus is the three-headed dog guarding the entrance to the underworld in Greek myth, for the uninitiated.) And the Hulk fights Fin Fang Foom. Seriously. The last time I saw Fin Fang Foom was in Legion of Night (what a cool mini-series that was!), and it's just neat seeing him here. He should hang out with Lockheed more often. David really loves giving the Hulk great dialogue, and it's fun here. Again, things are not what they seem, and we think we get answers, but I'm still not sure. Jesus, Wolverine shows up next issue (it's probably not really him, but again ... Jesus). Do guest stars in Marvel comics even work anymore to increase sales?

Noble Causes #8 by Jay Faerber and Fran Bueno
$3.50, Image

Crap, it's still $3.50, but this was a good issue. Last issue was good, this issue was good ... it's renewing my faith in the title and makes me not mind as much spending the money on it. Lots of stuff going on, after last issue's focus on Race and Liz. Here Rusty gets in a "whose-dick-is-bigger" fight for leadership of the expedition on the alien planet, and gets his ass kicked. Unfortunately for him, it's not the only ass-kicking he endures this issue. Zephyr learns something disturbing about Liz, and Doc Noble escapes from the bug house. See what I mean? Lots of stuff going on. I even enjoyed the back-up story, because the Quizzard (yes, he's a Riddler rip-off, for those who don't buy this) has henchmen that he forces to dress like women. It seems he wanted "hench-models," but they charged too much, so he improvised. Now that's funny stuff! (Okay, I ruined the joke. Sue me.) All in all, a good issue. Worth the money.

The Question #5 by Rick Veitch and Tommy Lee Edwards
$2.99, DC

Not much to say about this - if you've been buying it, you're probably still buying it, and if you're not ... well, there's only one issue left, so you're probably not going to. More beautiful art from Edwards, more machinations by the Subterraneans and Lex Luthor and Miles Van Vliet, and more chi crap from Six True Words and Vic Sage, although Six True Words does get thrown off a building (I'm not spoiling anything, it's on the cover, for crying out loud!) when she finds out that Lex isn't as munificent as she thought. Why do people keep falling for Lex's act - don't they read comics???? It's a good story, and like I said, the art is spectacular, and you should buy it. That's all. Superman's kind of rude in it, although he is not necessarily a dick.

Ultimate X-Men #57 by Brian K. Vaughan, Stuart Immonen, and Wade von Grawbadger
$2.25, Marvel

The other Vaughan book this week is really good. I'm serious. This might be the best Ultimate X-Men issue since ... well, I hate to say since Millar was on the book, because of my hatred for all things Millar, but I think I have to. Dazzler continues to rule all creation, Spiral turns out to be pretty cool (although not as cool as she could be), the X-Men lose (sort of), Kurt is still blissfully ignorant that Peter is gay (nice panel of Peter all alone after Kurt says, "You and I are quickly running out of available young women, no?"), and we get nice moral ambiguity that used to be a hallmark of the X-titles (as you well know, I don't read them anymore, so I don't know if that has shown up again, although I doubt it - seriously, Claremont, SAURIANS????). Really excellent stuff. I have no idea when Vaughan is leaving the book (it might be now, for all I know), but I know I'll stick around at least until then.

No, I didn't buy The Ultimates. Yes, it was pretty. Yes, I'm still boycotting Millar.

Another post later tonight! Exciting stuff! I will be giving something away soon! How can you not read about it????


Blogger Woody! said...

Haven't finished reading everything I got today yet, but I'm with you on the Hulk. Thank God Peter David is back. It doesn't matter what incarnation he's using, he always seems to make the character worth reading.

Ultimate X-Men has been very good in Vaughan's hands. I'm worried how it will be when it gets handed off to Brian Singer.

16/3/05 8:42 PM  
Anonymous GreyGlobe said...

Dear Mr. Greg,

I will be the first to admit that I'm not shy when it comes to buying and reading my share of comic crap, but I find it hard to believe that you waste your money on two flat and boring titles.

The Hulk. I was excited as any reader to discover that Peter David was coming back to write on this title. Imagine my ultimate disappointment to find that he comes back with a fantasy tale that has no bearing on history, storyline or anything else for that matter. Oh look, the Hulk facing off against Bruce Banner. Oh my! The Hulk faces off against ANOTHER Hulk. Boring. Not even a talking dragon-yes, I did flip through the issue- can rescue this slop. It's one thing to run out of ideas after being on a title for a long period of time, but Mr. David should have spent his vacation from this book on better plotlines. It's hardly a triumphant return when your first story involves throwing in a bunch of characters from Hulk history and placing them on some mysterious island. I just spent five years reading the Hulk with Bruce Jones involving a weak storyline shrowded in a lame mystery. I'm sure this current storyling will end on some "shocking" note that will try and make up for its lack of direction. Belive me, I do not want to drop this book. I have collected the Hulk for many, many years and stuck through many bad storylines, but this is the first time I've just dropped it from my reading list. Shame on you Peter David for getting the fans all worked up over nothing. I'm sure that you and Chris Claremont call each other and laugh about the fact that you can still get fans to read your sub-par books because your name was once associated with quality on said book.

Ultimate X-Men.
Again, I have been reading this book from the start and weathered it through some good storylines and some bad ones. This current storyline is just plain bland. This Ultimate book throws in too many "ultimized" characters without lending any creative twists to their new identity. In this world, Arcade is the Kraven of mutants. Why not think of some great new way to reinvent his character and write a whole story about him? Mojo, who was always a bit creepy in the regular Marvel universe, is just a big fat albino with really bad hair. Didn't anyone put any thought into these relaunches? Longshot isn't any better, nor is Spiral. The storyline felt dragged out over too many issues, also. It could easily have been a good, tense shorter storyline. I thought the whole purpose of the Ultimate line was to create new ways of seeing these characters. Other than a few physical changes, this story wasn't anything that hasn't been done time and time again.

What baffles me most about your decision to purchase these titles, is the amount of GOOD books you passed over in order to purchase them. Birds of Prey, while certainly not a masterpiece, is a solid book both in art and storyline. Invincible. Ultra. These are books worthy of your dollar month after month.

I also have to say that I was curious enough about the Ultimates to purchase it, thus ending my support of your Millar ban. It happens to be an excellent issue. The whole is Thor crazy or is this a scheme of Loki's is actually a fresh and exciting take on the character. If Loki did indeed exist, wouldn't he warp the minds of the other superheroes into turning on Thor? If Thor is just crazy, then that presents another interesting aspect as to the issue of individual power and how the goverment would allow it to be used. Plus, the art is real nice!

Man, I really went crazy there.
'Til next time.

16/3/05 11:39 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

Well, Greyglobe, you certainly make valid points. I'm waiting for the whole storyline with David, because I trust him for a while. As for Ultimate X-Men, I just like it - maybe I'm a sucker because I like Longshot and Dazzler and Spiral in the "real" Universe, but that's the way it is. I agree with you that the Fenris storyline was kind of weak, but we'll see. The thing about Ultimate X-Men is it changes so quickly in quality that next month I might hate it. That's strange.

I have never bought Birds of Prey. I don't know why. I have heard good things about it, so I might have to buy a trade to check it out. I bought the first trade of Invincible - it was okay, but nothing that blew me away. I missed the first couple issues of Ultra, but I'm planning on buying the trade and I'm already on board for Girls. Sound good?

And I'm sorry, but a few months of a Millar ban is too short. The Ultimates is certainly pretty, and I think the Loki story is really cool, but ... I can't do it! not yet! Maybe if he stops shitting on the audience for a year, I can go back!

17/3/05 7:28 AM  
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