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 2 March 2005

It's the weekly update!

The Ballad of Sleeping Beauty #1 by Gabriel Benson and Mike Hawthorne
FREE! (Well, I had to pay 8 bits for it, since it came out almost a year ago, but it was free, back on Free Comic Book Day), Beckett

I finally got the first issue of this very interesting series, thanks to Robert at Greg's Comics (unfortunately, I don't own the store), who went to San Francisco (wasn't that where the con was?) a few weekends ago and tracked this down for me. I like the idea of launching series on Free Comic Book Day and wish Marvel and DC would do it instead of the insipid crap they always put out (Beckett is doing it again this year, with Roninhood of the 47 Samurai, something I will be picking up), but when that first issue instantly becomes unavailable, it's frustrating. So I was glad to get this.

It's actually a good story, and tells the whole tale of why Beauty falls asleep in the first place, and what happened to Cole's wife, and it sets up some nice mysteries for later in the series. Those of you who are buying this title probably already have the first issue, and those who don't -- apparently, if you go to a convention, you can find it! Beckett continues to do a nice job with their titles, and you owe it to yourself to at least pick up a sample issue. Hey -- how about this year on Free Comic Book Day! It's free!

Detective Comics #804 by David Lapham, Ramon Bachs, and Nathan Massengill
$2.99, DC

Boy, I really like what Lapham's doing in Detective. This is Batman as I like him -- not the superhero take that Winnick is doing over in Batman (which is fine, but not as good as Batman the vengeful detective -- and kudos to DC for trying to make the two titles separate, so that, I think, all Batman fans can be appeased). In this issue, we see the aftermath of the Penguin's (apparent) death last issue -- Mr. Freeze goes a little more nutty, the Ventriloquist (sigh -- he's such a one-note villain, and it was played years ago) shows up, the psychiatrist who was treating Mr. Freeze offs himself, and a new gang of weirdos show up, prompting the best line in the book (by the omniscient narrator, about Bats): "Right now, he is grinning. Finally, men he can feel good about hitting." That ends this issue, and how cool is that? There's other nice touches, too -- Robin actually yells at Batman, because Bats does not seem to care about the crazy man who killed his wife and almost killed his baby before launching himself out the window, only to disappear (a very cool sequence at the beginning of the book) -- Batman is so focused on Mr. Freeze and the disappeared girl that he ignores Robin. It's a great scene. The funeral of Haddie McNeil is nicely done, as well, as Bruce realizes that even the girl's parents are uninterested in their daughter's death, and later, Batman understands that the people at the funeral were strangely excited by it. This is disturbing territory, even for Batman, and I love it. This is shaping up to be one of the best Batman stories in years. Go fetch!

Fallen Angel #19 by Peter David, David Lopez, and Fernando Blanco
$2.99, DC

Fallen Angel returns, along with Peter David's creations Sachs and Violens, about whom I know nothing, so I'm not even going to try. The nice thing about this issue is that you don't need to know who they are, because David does a good job allowing the characters to tell you all you need to know. This issue is, apparently, the penultimate one, as DC hasn't solicited anything after #20, but David owns the rights, so perhaps Lee and the gang in Bete Noire will show up at some other publisher. It would be nice, because this is such an intense and gripping title that it would be a shame to see it go by the wayside. I know a lot of people don't like it because David gives answers to questions so freakin' slowly, but that's okay -- even though this title reads better in one sitting, each individual issue has enough emotional turmoil that it keeps this reader coming back. After the events of "Hurlyburly," the last storyline, Lee has returned to the city and is kind of grumpy -- chucking-people-through-windows-at-Furor's grumpy, and Dolf doesn't like it. He tells her she needs to get laid, so she goes to Bumper Ruggs' brothel for a professional. Ruggs finds out that Sachs and Violens are coming to get her, so she makes a deal with Lee that if she takes care of the two of them, she gets services for free for the rest of her life. Sounds like a set-up for a violent conclusion to me!

I'm sure nothing I can say can save this title (at least in its current form), and that's a shame. David is dealing with interesting themes here, including the consequences of violence (there's a nice page about Shadow Boxer's death) and the ways people seek redemption. Heavy stuff, but David pulls it off nicely. Who knows what the future holds for this title, but if you're looking for at least 20 good issues of thought-provoking comics, seek this out.

The Intimates #5 by Joe Casey, Giuseppe Camuncoli, and Sandra Hope
#2.99, Wildstorm

It's issue #5, or "Edition Tres Speciale" (with all the accents in the right places) as the cover says. And you know what? It is a very special episode of The Intimates, as Casey pulls in the reins on the madness and focuses on teen suicide. It's actually the most interesting issue yet, since the newest Seminary student, Dead Kid Fred, is so typically teenaged, and that makes his whole arc (told here in 22 succinct pages -- wow!) especially tragic. He doesn't kill himself -- fret not, it's not that dark a book -- but his thoughts and feelings, as expressed on an on-line journal (which takes you here (sneaky bastards!), are so typical of real teenaged feelings about suicide and their relationship to the world that you wonder why he doesn't (he chickens out, by the way). Punchy is also given some depth, as he is the only one who takes Dead Kid Fred's ramblings seriously. There's also a funny sex education lecture. All this, and we still get the crawl at the bottom, but with some more serious stuff than usual. All in all, this is a very good issue, and one that I've been hoping for with this title, since Casey obviously wants to tap into a "teenaged rebellion" kind of thing, and up until now, some others have expressed reservations about this series because all the kids were snots. Well, as I've said before, of course they are -- they're teenagers! Teenagers, however, can be remarkably empathetic (I'm speaking from experience) and will usually (not always) band together when one of their own is threatened. Nice stuff.

Rising Stars #24 by J. Michael Straczynski and Brent Anderson
$3.99, Image/Top Cow

Well, it's over. JMS's tale of 113 superpowered individuals who reshaped the world started, well, a looooong time ago (but, not necessarily in a galaxy far, far away). July of 1999, to be precise. It's unfortunate, because this series had such potential to take its place among the icons of the comics world, but in the end ... well, it's still a good series, and it's still worth having, but it lost so much momentum that many people won't care. Poet receives all the powers of the all the dead Specials, and uses those powers to change the world even more than he's already done. In the end, this story is another in a long line about superheroes failing to create a utopia because of man's free will, but it is more hopeful than many of them. JMS has done stronger comics work (this is better, I would argue, than Amazing Spider-Man, but Midnight Nation is his best stuff), but nothing as ambitious as this. It's a shame it dropped so far off the radar.

The Twilight Experiment #2 by Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray, and Juan Santacruz
$2.99, Wildstorm

Another good issue in this mini-series, and I'm anticipating learning more about the characters, which is always a good thing. There's some weird alien stuff, and we find out more about Rene and what her deal is (she's more interesting than Michael, but he has potential, too), and the ending is suitably dramatic. The art is very pretty and conveys a nice sense of superheroics while keeping the quieter scenes grounded. It's another title that questions what superheroes really are and why humanity seems to need them, which, if it's done well, I don't get tired of. There's a statue of Serenity in the Rockies with names carved into the base, and I was a little confused -- these people are obviously dead, but why are they associated with Serenity? I'm a little puzzled -- and Tim Roth and Paul Giamatti should make sure they call their agents, because according to this book, they're missing. Anyway, it's a nice book, and it's interesting, and there's a neat little mystery. Good stuff.

Holy crap, nothing from Marvel! Not even Ultimate Iron Man by renowned anti-gay writer Orson Scott Card! Whatever will I do?


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