Friday, October 15, 2010

Comic shop comics: Sept. 15-Oct. 12

I really must remember to try and get to the comic shop more than once a month or so, in order to avoid getting a monstrous stack of twenty books all at once. I'm going to try and review my way through a month's worth of single issues in one sitting as best I can; I wouldn't recommend reading this post at all if I were you you though, as I have a feeling I'm going to be at this a while, and thus the first six or so will be about as poorly written as usual, and then I'll start making less and less sense and writing less and less clearly as time goes on. Don't say I didn't warn you! Okay, well, here goes...

Amazing Spider-Man: Back in Quack #1 (Marvel Comics) My first thoughts upon finishing this comic book all dealt with my disappointment in myself. Was I really this easy? Is all it takes to me to give Marvel $4 is a punning title, a great Skottie Young cover and the promise of a Man-Thing appearance?

Apparently so, as there’s little else going on here. The pun, and the cover design, refer back to the post-Civil War “Back in Black” storyline/branding exercise in which Spider-Man briefly wore his black costume again to show how dark his mood was over this whole his-aunt-getting-shot thing. That was in 2007, which makes this book’s existence a little puzzling.

Not that the story has anything to do with “Back in Black,” of course. The lead feature, “Human Slavery For Beginners,” finds Spider-Man investigating a bizarre cult called S.O.O.Ph.I. (which seems like a joke I should get, but don’t) that puts big yellow smiley-face orb helmets over devotees to brainwash them. Howard and Beverly are used as S.O.O.Ph.I’s mascots. Spidey helps break the cult’s influence on them and they confront the leader, who looks an awful lot like Boss Smiley, who oughta be remembered from Neil Gaiman and Mike Allred’s Prez issue of Sandman, if not from Prez.

It’s followed by an eight-page Man-Thing strip, present because Howard first appeared in Manny’s comic, I guess (Man-Thing has two cameos in the lead story).

Both are written by Stuart Moore and are technically decent, neither is really extraordinary enough to justify seeking out, which only adds to the random, almost quixotic feel of this one-shot.

The lead story is penciled by two different artists, Mark Brooks and Ray Height, for reasons I couldn’t even begin to guess at, and their Howards are of the more recent, redesigned by Disney lawsuit (or fear of Disney lawsuit) Howard—rounded, bird-like duck bill, realistic eyeballs and, of course, pants.

Since Disney now owns Marvel, it seemed at least possible that Howard could look more like the parody of a Disney duck he was originally designed as, but no go—he’s still in this weird realistic mode, closer to Beak from the X-Men than Scrooge McDuck, and he still can’t smoke a cigar. At least Young gave Howard a big old head, Donald-or-even-Daffy Duck bill and a silly little cartoon hat.

The Man-Thing story is called “Fear and Mister Dayton,” and is about a trouble Iraq War vet summoning Man-Thing through his troubled emotions and suffering the consequences. Joe Suitor’s artwork is fine, but colored so glossily and with so many effects that it seems to only underline and emphasize the fact that it’s a bog-standard Man-Thing story from the seventies, only lacking the weight and color of those mostly-empty melodramas due to the fact that it’s only eight pages.

Basically, this comic satisfied my curiosity (What will Howard the Duck look like, post-sale to Disney?) and raised a bunch of questions I’ll never know the answer to (Who is this for? Why was this made? Why now? Why the different artists, as if it were late and needed to be out at a certain time?), and, more than anything, just made me sad.

Atlas #5 (Marvel) This is the end of the writer Jeff Parker’s second go at an ongoing monthly series featuring this group of characters—following his original 2006 miniseries— and a good half-dozen minis, specials and guest-spots since. Marvel did everything they could to sell the book and the characters, but I guess ultimately the math wasn’t there.

I would have preferred a better send-off, as this particular issue seems to have crammed two, maybe three issues worth of content into a single, 25-page comic as possible—including shifting from comics to prose on three of those pages. There seems to have been an element of rush involved as well, given that a two-page sequence features oddly pixilated art, as if image files of two-small-a-size were blown up to fill too-big-a-space (the page with Venus and then the page with 3-D Man leading during part seven, if you’ve got a copy of your own to check).

Well, this is the last issue, so let’s not dwell on its weaknesses. Instead, let’s try to some up the overall experience of Parker’s Atlas storyline, from the first issue of the first mini on down to this conclusion to “The Return of the Three Dimensional Man,” the general quality of those comics and the pleasures we took in reading them.

I think Ken “Gorilla-Man” Hale says it best:

Batman: The Brave and the Bold #21 (DC Comics) I was originally planning on skipping this issue on account of the guest-star being Hal Jordan, since I already get my regular monthly allowance of Hal Jordan via Green Lantern, but then I read someone on the Internet mention that the comic featured a gang of dinosaurs called The Dinosaur Gang and, well, that sounded like something I would like to read a comic book about Batman fighting.

This issue is another Landry Walker/Eric Jones joint, and it does indeed feature Batman vs. The Dinosaur Gang, with “The Lady Blackhawks” coming to the Caped Crusaders aid (Who are the Lady Blackhawks? Imagine the Blackhawks you know and love, only instead of various ethnic stereotypes, each member is a sexy lady in a miniskirt with a jetpack and a bazooka).

As enamored as I was by the idea of the dinosaur gang (“I should have more sympathy,” Batman thinks, punching out their leader, “It can’t be easy going through life with a dinosaur head”), Jones’ depiction of their leader King Rex made me feel awfully uncomfortable……given the designs similarities to Stuart Immonen’s Devil Dinosaur from Nextwave: Agents of HATE:That aside, it’s a pretty decent issue. I think Walker does a great job of getting Hal’s voice, as I mentioned the other day (Those panels I posted don’t account for all of Hal’s lines, but he literally has only ten more lines in the book, including “Batman?” and “Must…use…ring…defend”), and Jones’ art is as strong as ever Actually, I think it gets a little stronger each time I see it. He does a wonderful Hal here, somewhere between a chunkier Bruce Timm and an “animated style” Alex Ross (if that even makes sense), and the villain designs are all pretty cool (my uncomfortability with the tyrannosaur in the smoking jacket aside).

Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #5 (DC) Grant Morrison’s writing the hell out of all his various intersecting Batman comics of course, but the gobbledygook elements of the mystery might prove more compelling if the various books were shipping anywhere approaching on time. For example, what I remember most about the previous issue was that Batman was dressed up like a cowboy. Now he’s in the Gotham City of his childhood, and references to Morrison’s own 21st century DC writing—“Batman: R.I.P.,” 52, etc—stand side-by-side to allusions to pre-Crisis Batman stories from the before I was born, and I think I’d rather just read the graphic novel one day, instead of remembering all the little details from month to month…or, in this case, however many weeks it takes DC to realize, “Man, Ryan Sook sure isn’t drawing this as fast as we’d like, we’d better call Pere Perez in so this is only a couple months late instead of super-duper late.”

My favorite part was the first page, because it featured Robinson’s current, wacky version of the League with some of the “real” Justice League all standing around, being in League with one another, and the last page, because Batman sure does look weird!

Meanwhile, DC said “Aw, fuck it” and went ahead and started publishing the sequel to the sequel to this series, which isn’t over yet (See below).

Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam! #20 (DC) The penultimate issue of DC’s latest attempt at a Captain Marvel comic, this one as a kid-friendly one following the rough model of Jeff Smith’s 2007 Monster Society of Evil miniseries, is little more than a victory lap for artist Mike Norton, but that’s fine with me. Mike Norton is a great artist, and he’s a particularly great artist on this title.

Black Adam has gathered every villain this version of Captain Marvel has ever fought, and he, Captain Marvel Jr. and Mary Marvel (now aged to teenage age), must fight them again, so we get to see Norton’s version of Smith’s version of Mr. Mind, Norton’s version of DeStefano’s version of King Kull and so on.

Light on story, heavy on splash pages, punches and cameos.

Brightest Day #10-#11 (DC) These two issues are mostly devoted to the Aquaman and Firestorm storylines. In the first, Aquaman meets up with Black Manta and the boy-who-we-know-will-be-Aqualad, while in the latter a new Black Lantern version of Firestorm calling himself “Deathstorm” appears shortly after Professor Stein explains that the Firestorm matrix is the original cause of the Big Bang (God?! Geoff Johns’ DC theology is increasingly thrillingly insane to me) and gets his hands on the White Power Battery at the behest of…someone or something that talks in a special font.

I’m still digging this series, and I like the way various story threads are gradually tied together, although it remains to be seen whether or not everything can be nicely tied up before the book finishes up, in just 15 more issues.

The low point of the two issues was, once more, the wretched art in the Firestorm sections, particularly a sequence on page 5 of #10 featuring a cameo by Einstein in the floating, original version of Tron land that the Stein apparently floats around in, and the high point was, quite surprisingly, seeing Aquaman save someone’s life. Like, I’m so used to seeing people randomly slaughtered in DC comics these days that I was genuinely surprised and delighted to see the wholly expendable father of a brand-new hero targeted for death repeatedly in this issue and yet not die, in large part because of superheroes saving people.

Bruce Wayne: The Road Home: Batman and Robin #1 (DC) Okay, let’s see if I can summarize this in as few words as possible. Batman Bruce Wayne was presumed dead after the events of Final Crisis, and the Bat-books moved on without him, with Dick Grayson becoming Batman. Bruce Wayne was supposed to return in a six-issue miniseries entitled Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne, which would be followed by a one-shot entitled Batman: The Return, which would itself be followed by eight one-shots about the returned Batman Bruce Wayne checking in on various friends and foes and letting them know he’s not dead any more or whatever.

Is that right?

Well, for whatever reason—a writer blowing deadlines, an artist or artists blowing deadlines, bad scheduling, a mummy’s curse—Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne is only five-sixths completed, which puts all those other Batman comics on hold…and, since next month’s entire Batman line reflects the events that occur in that storyline (that is, Batman no longer being dead), all of DC’s future Batman line is on hold.

Or it would be, if DC chose to hold back those books. Instead, they’re just going ahead and publishing them. So this particular comic, which is set after Batman: The Return (which hasn’t shipped yet) and Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #6 (which also hasn’t shipped yet) is available now.

I’m trying to think of a good analogy from another form of media, here. Maybe it’s like watching the first three-fourths of Empire Strikes Back, ejecting the DVD and then popping in Return of the Jedi…?

At any rate, this is a pretty weird thing to have happen…you’d think at this point the Big Two companies would have learned their lessons about these sorts of things, as it’s certainly not the first time it’s happened for either of them in the last five years (This one seems particularly insane because each issue is drawn by a different artists, so it’s not like Final Crisis or Civil War, where the amount of work eventually overwhelmed the single art team). For more on how fucked up the Road Home business is, check out this Brian Hibbs column at Comic Book Resources.

As for the comic itself, I suspect one of the reasons DC decided to go ahead and release it before the conclusion of the work it’s a sequel to is that it’s not terribly spoilery. Yeah, we see that Bruce Wayne is back among the living, but the titles of The Return of Bruce Wayne, The Return and Bruce Wayne: Road Home made it rather obvious that Bruce Wayne would be returning home already.

This story, “Outside Looking In,” is written by neither outgoing Batman and Robin writer Grant Morrison or incoming Batman and Robin writer Peter J. Tomasi, but Fabian Nicieza, whose byline often seems attached to this sort of quality work on a more or less unimportant project.

I have this vision of Dan DiDio with a special coin in his pocket. On one side, the name “Fabian Nicieza” is engraved, and on the other, “Tony Bedard.” Whenever DC decides to throw together a likely lucrative but not creatively necessary project like this, DiDio pulls out that coin and gives it a flip to see who he should call first.

The artwork is by Cliff Richards, and it’s ugly, ugly stuff. I might guess it were the work of Greg Land by it’s airbrushed looking finish, but for the fact that I couldn’t identify any celebrity models, and sometimes the female character’s mouth wasn’t open wide. (Some of this might be the fault of Ian Hannin, who gets a “color art” credit; I don’t know who did what, but I didn’t care for the results).

The story is solid enough. Batman Dick Grayson and Robin Damian Wayne stop a group of lame old Titans villains from some maguffin business, while Bruce Wayne observes from the shadows, disguised as one of the bad guys.

Gallingly, this “one-shot” ends with a cliffhanger and a “To Be Continued In: Brue Wayne: The Road Home: Red Robin,” which means this is more likely an eight-issue miniseries where each issue has a #1 on the cover.

My sympathy to anyone who has to try and explain the next few weeks worth of Batman comics to would-be customers of theirs.

Deadpool Team-Up #889 (Marvel) Hey remember how disappointed you were when you got to the second and third issue of writer Jeff Parker’s recent Gorilla-Man series and realized the series wouldn’t actually be following up on the protagonist’s conflict with Borgia Omega, that weird cyborg that was made of the preserved centuries-old heads of the infamous Borgia family? (And by “you” I mean “me,” of course). Well I’ve got good news for you! (And, therefore, for me). This issue of Deadpool Team-Up, written by Parker and guest-starring Gorilla-Man, is basically Gorilla-Man #1.5.

Sorry if that spoiled the conflict, but this done-in-one features the head of Lucrezia Borgia hiring Deadpool to kill Gorilla-Man and setting up an island full of various exotic weapons for his use.

I’d like to say hilarity ensues, but while there are some pretty funny bits here, the verbal jokes Parker puts in the so-called Merc With a Mouth’s mouth are generally pretty lame. I didn’t do the math, but I think maybe one of every eight is amusing at all, which is certainly higher than the one-out-of-every-ten that most writers manage, but I found myself pretty annoyed by Deadpool.

That may be the point—he is supposed to be an annoying character, after all—but I was rooting against the title character simply because I ended up wanting to spend less time around him.

This is still totally worthwhile though, if only because it allows Parker to put this word in a script, which Marvel then made into a comic book and sold all over North America: That’s right—Laserdactyls. That may be enough to earn this a best single issue Eisner.

Fantastic Four In…Ataque del M.O.D.O.K.! (Marvel) It’s a testament to writer Tom Beland and artists Juan Doe’s formidable talents that they can take put together a big old Fantastic Four special, use on the boring half of the team—Reed and Sue—and still turn out a pretty wonderful comic.

This is the pair’s third collaboration on an FF story set in Puerto Rico, and while it may lack a bit of the freshness of the first because of that, it’s still probably the strongest of the three.

Sue and Reed are in Puerto Rico sharing a romantic vacation, when they happen to get embroiled in a weird string of robberies committed by semi-intelligent monkeys with pistols and cute little A.I.M. uniforms. Trying to stop the monkeys and their big-headed master is a pretty sweet-looking new hero, El Vejigante!I don’t know what else to say about Doe’s art beyond “It’s incredible,” “It’s worth the whole cost of admission alone,” and “Holy crap, look at this!” over and over. (If I weren’t reviewing 500 comics for this column, I’d probably scan a few pages just to highlight how awesome they are, like the red, white and black flashback scenes, for example, but you should at least check out these preview pages).

Beland’s script is quite strong too, though, balancing a whole bunch of silliness and straightforward superheroics with some character bits.

Basically, this is a perfect superhero comic.

Green Lantern #58 (DC) I’d like to say this is the only DC comic I read today that featured a child molester as one of the villains. Doug Mahnke and his regular inking team keep this DC’s best-looking super-book, and I’m still enjoying Geoff Johns’ ongoing story arc about those crazy light avatars, but like far too many of DC’s books, this is ickier than it needs to be.

Image Firsts: Haunt #1 (Image Comics) I admit to a bit of mild curiosity about this book, a Todd McFarlane and Robert Kirkman collaboration that seemed at least symbolically important (old, original face of Image working with new face of Image), particularly about the division of labor (three artists with fairly different styles all work on it) and if the interiors are as gross as the covers (Maybe it’s the fact that my mental age is still about 12, but I can’t look at these covers and not see them as full of semen. Sorry, Image! If I put some effort into it, I can maybe imagine all that sticky-looking, viscous liquid is glue or milk, but semen is always the first, second, third and fourth thing that comes to mind).

I wasn’t ever curious enough to pay cover price, of course, but $1? Sure, I’ve got a dollar.

The division of labor is this. Kirkman and McFarlane share co-creator credits, so I guess maybe they hammered it out together before anyone worked on anything for the final product.

Kirkman, naturally, writes. Long-time Spawn artist Greg Capullo does lay-outs. One-time Invincible artist Ryan Ottley does the pencils and McFarlane inks.

The resultant art is…interesting. It looks a lot what I remember McFarlane artwork looking like in the early ‘90s, particularly in the way it’s laid out, but McFarlane’s inks lying atop Ottley’s pencils look like the work of neither man, like that of a third artist more than a collaboration between the two. I don’t know. I didn’t really like reading the comic, but I liked studying it—trying to see who was responsible for which line, how exactly a McFarlane-applied bit of ink impacts an Ottley drawn pencil stroke, and like that.

The hero is a weird mish-mash of familiar super-characters, but that’s really par for the course with superheroes, isn’t it? The ghost of a bad-ass special forces super spy type and his whoring, priest brother accidentally fuse into a new being that looks like a Spawn design where the dial was turned a few more degrees closer to Spider-Man.

They don’t get to that part of his story in this issue, but I assume the super-semen is actually supposed to be ectoplasm, which is obviously a lot less gross but still fairly gross.

Speaking of gross, I can’t say I was engrossed enough by the story to want to read more of it, but I did enjoy seeing familiar talents working in unfamiliar ways, as well as the certain, peculiar sense of subtlety employed throughout the book:There’s a charm to a panel like that.

Justice League: Generation Lost #10-#11 (DC) Okay, I’m not sure I understand Max Lord’s plan at all. If his job, assigned to him by the White Lantern or the voice of the Logos/Jesus/Alien/Life Mascot entity, was to stop a Kingdom Come-like war between Alex Ross designed heroes that starts rolling when Magog, Alloy and other heroes botch the apprehension of a supervillain, why exactly is he going out of his way to work with Magog and Alloy? I suppose it will be made clear soon.

Also, I’m a bit bummed out that we’re getting yet another story dealing with Kingdom Come characters, and this guy’s not one of ‘em.

Also, god God, can Cliff Chiang draw a cover or what? It’s almost cruel of DC to make Joe Bennett and Aaron Lopresti create pencil art that has to appear immediately after a reader sees those gorgeous, gorgeous covers.

Justice League of America #49 (DC) This is the other comic with an icky child molester-type in it. He’s The Bogeyman, who may be an original creation of writer James Robinson and may be an old character so obscure I’ve never heard of him (Robinson is quite the character reviver, after all), but in any case this guy has a creepy design, a kind neat costume and his power is that of limited psychic ability only powerful enough to effect the minds of children.

Here’s Donna Troy talking about him:
“I think he got off on it—being in the mind of a child, cuddling up with a kid’s guilty thought or sad memory. But more important still—He liked cuddling up in girls’ minds…The Mad Mod had me tied up once, whispering in my ear how he wanted to take me to Ichicoo Park, so I know from yuck.”

Can’t a supervillain called The Bogeyman just scare kids? Does he have to get off on being in their brains? Lick his lips while looking at Donna’s cleavage?

That aside, this issue is well-scripted, if perhaps longer than it needs to be. There’s no back-up this month, so the main story, “The Bogeyman,” occupies all 30 pages. Given that much of it is an extended fantasy sort of sequence, where Donna beats up mental images of various friends and foes attacking her while trying to break her spirit, it probably goes on a bit too long.

Otherwise, it’s a fairly decent breath-catching one-off between big story arcs, with Donna and Jade off confronting The Bogeyman while talking about their living arrangements for the majority of the issue, with check-ins with Batman Dick Grayson and Supergirl book-ending the story (and one-panel cameos by the rest of the team).

Mark Bagley is, strangely enough, not penciling this issue, so it’s up to Pow Rodrix w/ Robson Rocha to fill in on pencils and a whopping nine—count ‘em, nine—inkers. That’s less than four pages per inker. How does that even happen? (As I mentioned at the time, I enjoyed Tucker Stone’s theory).

It, of course, looks about as shitty as you’d imagine a 30 page comic drawn by 11 different artists to look. So I wasn’t surprised to see all the strange anatomy morphing from panel to panel and page to page, but I was shocked to see this, the most revolting image I’ve ever seen in a comic book:Tied for second most revolting image is, of course, every other image of Terry Long.

Knight and Squire #1 (DC) In the first issue of this six-part series, writer Paul Cornell and artist Jimmy Broxton pretty much invent an entire DC Universe worth of new British super-characters to go along with the two stars of the book. Given that Grant Morrison has kept The Knight and Squire in fan consciousness almost single-handedly over the last decade or so (Tony Daniel used them in Battle for the Cowl and…I think he’s the only writer aside from Morrison to do so since at least Young All-Stars, right?), it’s fitting that Cornell and Broxton do this deft bit of world-building (well, nation-building) Morrison style—allude to and refer to things that you say have happened, leaving it to your readers to imagine the events mentioned.

I didn’t count, but I’d guess there’s at least 50 new characters in this issue—plus Wildcat—which is all set in a magical pub that serves as neutral ground for all the villains and heroes.

It’s quite clever and quite British, and I had a blast reading it. Since this Knight and Squire are somewhat blank slates—Morrison never gave them an origin story, for example, they were just characters who popped up to react to reflect on the events of the stories they appeared in—this low-key approach was rather unexpected. But, again, a lot of fun. If the next five issues are as strong as this one, I’ll be quite pleased.

Tiny Titans #32 (DC) YES.

Tiny Titans/Little Archie #1 (DC) Art Baltazar and Franco reveal that Riverdale and Sidekick City border one another, even sharing several businesses. Including a dry cleaners, which is how Archie ends up with Robin’s costume and Robin ends up with Archie’s Riverdale sweater vest, and end up with one another’s running crews.

Also, Mr. Weatherbee calls Principal Slade on the phone…And Robin wonders if perhaps Ms. Grundy is related to the Grundy he knows…I suppose it’s unlikely that DC and Archie can make Tiny Titans/Little Archie an ongoing, huh?

Treehouse of Horror #16 (Bongo Comics) This issue of annual of horror features the usual exciting creative teams doing adventurous work with The Simpsons characters and, as always, makes for a must-read comic.

This time those teams include Evan Dorkin writing and drawing a story in which a giant monster kills seemingly every character that’s ever appeared on The Simpson’s save Bart and Professor Frink; Peter Kuper writing-and-drawing a story that works in as many Edgar Allen Poe plot elements as possible into a 13-page story, and Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead teaming with writer Tom Peyer and Tone Rodriguez to tell a story of Homer going to Hell (guest starring, of course, Motorhead).

But the story I was most excited about was “The Coff-Diddly-Offin,” written by Kelvin Mao and drawn by Kelley motherfucking Jones. And man, Jones “covering” Groening (and Groening-influenced designs) is a strange, yet beautiful sight to behold. The story, about a “smart coffin” that lures Homer in it with doughnuts and that scurries off to a cemetery plot to bury itself, features all sorts of little visual Kelley Jones trademarks…only applied to Simpsons characters, which sometimes seem like completely alien elements to the art work.

Here are a couple examples of Jones doing the Simpsons:
Now, why did they spell his name “Kelly” instead of “Kelley”…? Is that a typo, or have I been spelling it wrong all these years….?!?!

Untold Tales of Blackest Night #1 (DC) Well, this is a strange comic book. An over-sized $5, 46-page special, it seems like the comic book equivalent of a stew or casserole whipped up from leftovers and a few fresh ingredients (Sorry gang; this is review # 20 here, and I’m fading fast). Personally, I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone beyond those who read every single Blackest Night tie-in and found that they still just didn’t have quite enough of Blackest Night, but then I imagine that would be hypocritical of me. I probably read a few too many Blackest Night tie-ins, and I still dropped a paper Lincoln on this because how can I resist a book with The Scarecrow, Ragman and Animal Man on the cover?

Since my brain is shutting down as bedtime gets closer and closer, allow me to simply break this book down into its component parts and remark upon them individually:

1.) A six-page Peter J. Tomasi, Patrick Gleason and Sandra Hope story in which that blue lady who narrated the Tales of The Sinestro Corps back-ups kind of freaks out for a while and then meets that mysterious bad guardian who has been lurking around Green Lantern post-Blackest Night, which bookends the contents of the book. There’s nothing to it beyond some nice-looking art really, but it does justify the existence of the rest of the book, so it’s necessary.

2.) Two two-page "deleted scenes" from Blackest Night scripted by Geoff JOhns and illustrated by Ivan Reis and Oclair Albert; the first featuring Black Hand stripping Ragman of his suit of souls (each rag is a dead criminal, remember) and the second featuring the Rainbow Raiders apparently dying in a weird suicide pact (and not being slaughtered by Black Lantern Rainbow Raider? Lame). They read like what they are, deleted scenes rather than stories.

3.) A twelve-page Animal Man story entitled "The Evolution of Species" by writer Adam Schlagman and drawn by Jason Fabok and Ryan Winn. It follows Animal Man through the events of Blackest Night, from a Hero's Day celebration to an attack by the dead (here, extinct animals), to his time as first a Black Lantern and then a White Lantern. It's pretty poor, perhaps in large part because of how super-compressed it is...there's even a splash-page! (Most of the solo characters who had some spotlight during these events received about 65-pages). Schlagman's script reads like a bit like a couple of deleted scenes embedded in a trailer, and Fabok's art is...well, it's not to my liking. It looks awfully Jim Lee-ish and/or David Finch-y, but not so much like their work as someone drawing like them.

4.) A nine-page story from the Blackest Night: Titans creative team of J.T. Krul and Ed Benes that is basically just another scene added to the end of that series. From what I can tell. I didn't read it. It's full of boobs and butts and...nothing else, really.

5.) An eight-page story by Jeremy Love and Brett Booth that merely re-tells at length the scene in Blackest Night where The Scarecrow gets his yellow ring (with his origin retold in a few panels in the middle there). It is completely pointless, and I haven't quite made up my mind about Booth's art. I don't really care for it, and yet there's something somewhat appealing about it. (So...sleepy...) My main thought while looking at it was that this was the perfect opportunity for DC to get some Kelley Jones in their Blackest Night event (How did DC publish a thousands-of-pages-long story about superheroes fighting the undead, and not have at least a tiny fragment of it drawn by the DC Comics artist whose specialty is the undead, and other horrible monsters?!)

6.) A six-page story written and drawn by Ethan Van Sciver focusing on that one Yellow Lantern lady with who was raised by space dogs, confronting Black Lantern versions of those space dogs. It's tightly plotted and beautifully illustrated—man, can EVS ever draw space dogs!—and certainly a welcome addition to this particular comic book, but certainly not a must-read.

That is, I--zzzzzzzzzzzzzz........


Unknown said...

You know... about brightest day... by the time watchmen had eleven issues... ah never mind

LurkerWithout said...

You probably would have been better off getting your Man-Thing fix from Parker's Thunderbolts and your Howard the Duck fix from Marvel Zombies 5 by Fred Van Lente. The latter would have given you Howard and Machine-Man teaming up to travel across dimensions hunting samples from various varities of zombies...

Landry Q Walker said...

"…given the designs similarities to Stuart Immonen’s Devil Dinosaur from Nextwave: Agents of HATE"

I designed King Rex. Never read any Next Wave. I should have realized that someone would have already put a T-Rex in a smoking jacket with an ascot. It's comics after all.

Ah well. There's an original creation I no longer feel particularly excited about.

Michael Hoskin said...

>S.O.O.Ph.I. (which seems like a joke I should get, but don’t)

>their Howards are of the more recent, redesigned by Disney lawsuit

Is it correct to say "more recent" when the lawsuit is more than 25 years old and Howard's original look lasted about 10 years?

>Beland’s script is quite strong too, though, balancing a whole bunch of silliness and straightforward superheroics with some character bits.

Particulary sweet was the revelation of why Reed Richards calls himself Mr. Fantastic.

>“The Coff-Diddly-Offin,”

This sounds like a parody of Ray Bradbury's "The Coffin," which was adapated in an issue of Haunt of Fear; did they credit their source?

Eyz said...

Fun stuff~

Tiny Titans seems to kick as much ass as ever!

And gotta say, I love that Generation Lost cover^^

Laplace Zombie said...

I'm amazed at how DC has managed to publish both the most fun and the worst Titans book in recent memory side by side for the last twosome years.

Caleb said...

You probably would have been better off getting your Man-Thing fix from Parker's Thunderbolts and your Howard the Duck fix from Marvel Zombies 5 by Fred Van Lente

I'm trade-waiting both series...rather eagerly.

I designed King Rex. Never read any Next Wave. I should have realized that someone would have already put a T-Rex in a smoking jacket with an ascot. It's comics after all.

Ah well. There's an original creation I no longer feel particularly excited about.

Aw man, I hope that didn't sound accusatory or anything, and I'm sorry if I sucked any excitement out of a creation of yours by mentioning the other T-Rex in a smoking jacket and ascot (Ain't comics grand?).

If it helps, I don't think anyone else has ever put a triceratops in a bowler hat.


Is it correct to say "more recent" when the lawsuit is more than 25 years old and Howard's original look lasted about 10 years?

I suppose it's technically correct, yes, but your point is well taken. I think because of the force of those original stories though, the newer stuff...even if, like, there are Howard The Duck stories being published regularly over the course of the next 25-40 years, are still going to seem...what's the word...not-as-right-ish? No, I'm pretty sure that's not the word...

This sounds like a parody of Ray Bradbury's "The Coffin," which was adapated in an issue of Haunt of Fear; did they credit their source?

I don't know if there's a credit given to Bradbury outright, but if you click on the first of those two Jones panels, you'll see the background full of gag references to Bradbury (Stores called Dandelion Winery and Something Wicker This Way Comes, etc).

Landry Q Walker said...

Totally absolutely did not sound accusatory. I just wanted make sure that the design coincidence laid at my feet and not Eric's - despite him designing everything else in the book - that one I specifically dictated.

Is a bit of excitement gone? Yeah. But no fault of yours. Better to know someone else did it first, right?

Let's not hold our breath on that Triceratops thing. After the shock of seeing Devil Dinosaur, I'm not going to rule out the possibility that someone's already done it!

Quick aside: I was actually worried someone would think I was overusing the T-Rex thing because of my work on The Incredibles. In that book, there is a robotic T-Rex villain in a top hat. But that creation lies squarely with co-writer Mark Waid. He had already written that issue before he brought me on board, which was after I had written this issue of Batman: The Brave and the Bold

So comics and T-Rex's. Something I will avoid in the future.