3/29/06

Blue Beetle #1 - DC (2006)



I haven't been reading any of the Infinite Crisis titles but I have been keeping up with the general events.

The cover and the creative team on Blue Beetle caught my eye enough to pick this one up. Plus, I really like the two previous incarnations of the Blue Beetle character so I thought I'd give this a shot.

I'm glad I did because Keith Giffen and John Rogers are doing a fine job with the writing and Cully Hamner is drawing the hell out of it. The design on the title character (arguably the most important visual element of the book) is spectacular. Check out the cover above. The interior art is just as good and the cool things that the Beetle armor can do are, er, cool.

There are no surprises in the story but it's well told. It's a typical kid-finds-a-doodad-and-has-to-discover-his-powers-on-the-job. It's like Iron Man meets Greatest American Hero.

The only problem I have with this first issue is that it's a bit too much of an intro issue. I would have liked more of an actual story. This feels like half of an issue. Still, this half of an issue is enough to get me to buy #2.

3/25/06

Ultimate Extinction #3 - Marvel (2006)

Get. Off. My. Leg.

I have really been enjoying Ultimate Extinction. The conflicts and resolutions between the ultimate versions of the FF, Nick Fury and Iron Man are a lot of fun to read. I'm at MidSouthCon this weekend so I don't have a lot of time to go into great detail on how much I like it but you can read my review of #2 for many of the details.

Issue #3 has a much better cover than #2 (not like that was hard) and it has me wondering if they are going to break out the Ultimate Ultimate Nullifier to destroy Gah Lak Tus.

3/19/06

The Circle is Complete

The Hurting has published a new Doom's Mailbag featuring a question by Dorian with mentions of Tegan and Mike.

The following letter is from some guy named Kevin.

3/15/06

CBDR

I hate it here


Scott from Polite Dissent is compiling a Comic Book Drug Reference which is fitting, since he's a doctor and a comics geek. Also fittingly, there's an entire appendix devoted to Transmetropolitan

Jimmy Olsen gets his own section which covers his "experimental" phase.


Snakes.  On.  A.  Stick.

3/14/06

Lazy Tuesday

Actual content is on the way now that I've picked up my metric ton of comics from the FLCS.

Until then, here's a little linkblogging action for you:

Check out this frighteningly complete list of comic-character religious affiliations in which The Atheist is outed as an atheist! You heard it here, first, folks.

The lovely and talented Dave Campbell reviews one of my favorite comic issues ever. Alpha Flight #6 is one of those comic gimmicks that worked. Kinda like the G.I. Joe Silent Issue except this one is full of pictures of polar bears eating marshmallows in a snowstorm.

Now, go buy some comics tomorrow!

Elsa commands it!

Badass!

3/6/06

I apologize in advance...

Spoiler Alert!









































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Vroom, baby

3/5/06

Green Lantern Corps: Recharge #5(of 5) - DC (2006)



This miniseries was almost everything I hoped it would be. I thought I was a big Green Lantern fan for years but it turns out I was a big Green Lantern Corps fan.

I discovered that stories about individual GLs didn't captivate me like those of the Corps. I'm sure Hal, Kyle and John are perfectly nice fellas but during the time that the Corps didn't exist I found their tales no different from those of any other mega-powerful superhero. The structure of the Corps, however, allows many different kinds of stories to be told. Stories about camraderie, stories about duty vs. "the right thing", stories about teamwork. Stories I really like.

Fortunately, Dave Gibbons and Geoff Johns like those kinds of stories, too. It's obvious that Guy Gardner is the favorite Lantern of either or both writers because he gets to Always Be Right but that's OK, he's a good character and in their hands he shines.

This mini had epic space battles, enormous power levels and reflections on the nature of morality and belonging. Hell, issue 5 had that. Oh, by the way, if you are even a little arachnophobic, you might want to read certain panels of #5 with caution.

I am quite pleased with the overall story but I do have a few quibbles with the writing. For example, much is made of how the Corps has brought beings from all over the galaxy together to serve a Greater Purpose. Corps members who were at each other's throats in issue one were bestest buds by the end of the miniseries. I have no problem with that, in general. In fact, that can be very powerful and touching when it's well-told. The turnarounds in this case were a bit abrupt. I would have liked it better if some of those rivalries and hatreds hadn't been so neatly smoothed over.

If I have a few quibbles with the writing, I have some major problems with the art. I don't know whether to blame the penciller (Patrick Gleason) or the inker (Prentis Rollins) but there are several panels in this issue in which it is nearly impossible to tell what's going on. In a comic featuring many, many characters who all dress pretty much the same it is vital to be clear with your visuals. Also, there's a weird forshortening/distortion effect that shows up on many of the faces which throws me off.

Having bitched about that, there are some moments of artistic brilliance, especially in this last issue, but for the most part, the lines are way too heavy which obscures the differences between individual faces. There were a few points at which I had no idea who was supposed to be speaking.

Despite these shortcomings, I can recommend this miniseries to anyone who likes the GLC or who would like to get in on the ground floor of this new incarnation. Flip through a few pages first to make sure the visuals are your cup of tea.

If you missed the individual issues, the trade will be out on June 21st. The new GLC ongoing series should show up around that time, as well. No clues about the creative team on that one but I'll keep you informed as I get news. Anybody else know?

3/3/06

Nextwave #2 - Marvel (2006)



I love Nextwave like an illegitimate child who showed up on my doorstep with a suitcase full of twenty-dollar bills and porn.

Nextwave is funny.

It is also a damn good action comic.

These things are to be expected from Warren Ellis and it's nice to see them coming together in this manner. Stuart Immonen isn't just drawing this thing he's designing it! His style for this book is sort of a Bruce-Timm-Meets-Jerry-Bruckheimer thing that works really well with the mescaline trip that is the storyline.

Wade von Grawbadger's inks are spot on and enhance the pencils beautifully. The colors by Dave McCalg are vivid and over the top just like everything else about this book. Also, I will take any opportunity to type the words "Grawbadger" and "McCalg".

I am having so much fun reading this. So is Mike Sterling. If two comics bloggers agree on something it's officially a movement, you know. Perhaps we should have chosen something more earth-shaking than "I'm really enjoying this comic". Eh, we'll do better next time.

If you missed the first issue you can still pick this one up and, thanks to the Primer on the first page, catch up on the story, such as it is. Really, all you need to know is that Nextwave (led by Monica Rambeau, aka Photon, aka Capt. Marvel) is fighting Fin Fang Foom.

Yeah, this guy:



Ellis and Immonen are really kicking ass on this book. If you're the type who takes comic continuity too seriously, stay away from this one. If you like to laugh at the many quirks of this hobby of ours, check it out. It's lowbrow, violent, irreverent and hilarious. Ellis has put three of my favorite characters from Marvel's history (Captain Marvel, Boom-Boom and Machine Man) on a team together blowing lots and lots of stuff up. Also, he takes a much-deserved stab at the "Scarlet Witch goes bonkers and kills, like, everyone" storyline and then uses it as the setup for a dick joke.

Genius!

It's like The Authority mixed with a frat party.

I will now refrain from using the term "high-octane" in this review.

Damn.

A simple declaration

I am hereby declaring my desire to see Batman with a bird on his head as soon as is humanly possible.

Who's with me?



Also, dang! Check out Any Eventuality. It's a well-written, very cool comics blog that I just now found out about.

3/2/06

Welcome Melissa!! & Legion #15 (sort of)

I'm Chalk

I was gonna post about how much I am still enjoying Legion of Super-Heroes despite a few cheesy decisions on the part of Mark Waid but The Shrew Review beat me to it wth her post about issue 12 and said it better than I would have.

So, um, check out the picture from issue #15 above. You don't have to be a total Legion geek like I am to appreciate the humor in this issue but it helps. It involves dimension hopping, time travel and crossovers with many, many old-school DC titles. Good stuff. The illustrated letters column is particularly funny this time.

Also, join me in welcoming my wife, Melissa Gay, to the blog! I was going to post my review of Nextwave #2 tonight but the aforementioned wife grabbed it before I could read it. **sigh** It'll be up tomorrow.

Signs and Portents

Hi!

Hi!

I'm the Wife of Brian, "Mr. Noetic Concordance". Stretching that Julian May reference-that-only-about-five-people-will-get to the breaking point, you may just call me "Atoning Unifex". I'm atoning because I've been saying I'm going to join Noetic Concordance and post comic booky love for a long time now and am just now getting around to it. So here it is, my first post-- let's please have the rotten tomato-throwers to my right, livestock-hurlers to my left, thank you.

I just read the 50-cent Preview Edition Buckaroo Banzai comic, and I did not get my money's worth.

A quote from the "Dodging Bullets on the Comeback Trail" essay at the back pretty well summarizes what I found wrong with the comic:

"One remarkable aspect of Buckaroo's return to comic books is the degree to which the original creators of the property are involved in every step of the process. 'Rick [Richter] has been very hands on in guiding the look of the project, especially in the early days,' noted penciller Stephen Thompson. ' He okayed every design and threw in a lot of great ideas that would spark your imagination. Even though we're past the design stage, he still goes over every page and gives his two cents. Sometimes ten.'"


Yes, this book *looks* like a filmmaker (as opposed to experienced comics writers and artists) had his hands all over it. The action is disjointed from panel to panel, it's difficult to follow what's going on. The visual coherence isn't there. I found myself thinking, if this were on film, we'd be seeing the intervening frames which would help all this make sense. I found myself wishing it were a film so that I wouldn't keep having to read pages twice to figure them out.

As it turns out, there is a reason for the first few pages to feel so disjointed, which I won't spoil here, but allow me to humbly submit that it was a damn poor choice for a preview selection. Previews are supposed to make you want to buy the comic... this one made me want to avoid it.

Diehard Buckaroo Banzai fans may end up buying this book just for sheer nostalgia or fandom or whatnot, but my being a fan of well-told stories in the comics medium trumps my Buckaroo fangirl-ness. (And I am one disappointed fangirl!) The art and the story fragment in the preview-- and now that I mention it, the writing and the character interactions-- turned me off, and the tone of the essay and character dossiers at the end struck me as self-congratulatory. I may pick up the first issue despite my misgivings, just to give it a fair shake, but I think I'll be bending over backwards to do so. After reading this Preview Edition, I'm not sure how many other comics readers will do the same.

Melissa

3/1/06

Look upon my comics, ye mighty and Despair!

Spooooky Eyes

Speakeasy Comics is calling it quits which is too bad, really. The Comics Reporter has details including a link which will download a Word document with a short email from a former "unofficial" company representative, whatever that means.

I know nothing about the guy who ran the company other than reports of some bad experiences from some creators, one of whom told me of his woes first-hand during a signing at my favorite local comic shop. I liked two of their titles but didn't read any of the others which, I suppose, was part of the problem. I looked over their ads and solicits and it was obvious that this was a case of "Too Much Too Quickly".

I hope that The Gatesville Company finds another home. Their site doesn't have any news on that front, yet. The first two issues of that book were outstanding. You can find my glowing review of the first issue earlier in this blog.

Stories of hubris are always good for a refreshing splash of Schadenfreude but it sucks that a lot of creators got banged up along the way.