Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Comic shop comics: March 28

Sadly, my shop did not get any copies of Corey S. Lewis' new Sharknife ZZ, the long-awaited sequel to his fantastic Sharknife Vol. 1, which is actually so old it pre-dates my blog (I did review it for the alternative weekly newspaper I used to write and edit for, but when we were bought out by an evil media conglomeration, they took down are archives, so I can't link to a review of it.)

Knowing Sharknife ZZ is out there and not in my hands at the moment kinda bums me out, but I suppose it's just as well: It's been so long since I've read the original that I barely remember it, so I wouldn't mind re-reading that first. I'd definitely recommend that volume, which Oni Press re-released as Sharknife Vol. 1: Stage First this week. I do remember how much I liked it, even if some of the exact plot details escape me, so I'd highly recommend that volume, and can't imagine the second one isn't equally awesome, if not even more awesome, than the original. ComicsAlliance has a rather generous preview of it up, emceed by Chris Sims; check it out.

In other sad new comics news, I still haven't gotten a copy of Tiny Titans #50.

These are the comics I did get at the shop this week:

Aquaman #7 (DC Comics) Black Manta is introduced to the New 52iverse, and it's the knife-y, stabby version from Brightest Day.

He's a little more evil than I like my supervillians, telling a fallen foe, "After I kill you, I will go to Tehran and I will kill your family. Your husband. Your children. I will clean them like a fish." I may just be old fashioned, but I prefer villains who think they're actually the good guys, as opposed to the out-and-out, evil and proud, Joker-wannabe types.

This issue kicks off a new story arc (and the regular art team Ivan Reis and Joe Prado are back for it after an issue off) dealing with a group of super-types Aquaman used to hang-out with, each of whom was armed with a shiny golden Atlantean artifact. Black Manta wants to get his hands on those artifacts, and is apparently going to hunt down and kill Aquaman's old running crew to get them...unless our hero can stop him in time!

My favorite guy so far is the one on the far right of the cover—"The Operative"—who is holding aloft the ancient Atlantean golden dildo of power.This issue also introduces a brand-new Iranian female superhero...who is killed seven pages after her first appearance.


Captain America and Bucky #628 (Marvel Entertainment) This is the concluding chapter of the book's second story arc, the last one dealing with Captain America and Bucky (well, a Bucky). Captain America, the android Human Torch and an old man who used to be Bucky II thwart a plot to take over America by the new version of an old evil android, and his android helpers. And that's it.

It's a pretty light read, and the book is likely to get even lighter, as next issue it turns into a Captain America team-up title, with "Hawkeye" replacing "Bucky" in the title and a new creative team. The art component of this creative team was pretty strong, and helped make an otherwise forgettable story interesting to read. That is Franceco Francavilla, apparently coloring his own art, and it's some of the best coloring I've seen on a Marvel comic. Very little of it is natural lighting—an early scene is set outside a bar at night, the last scene is set outside during sunset, the rest of the comic takes place in dark military bases lit by the Human Torch and explosions, bathing everything in reds, blues and yellow.

It's a fine-looking comic book.

Daredevil #10 (Marvel) Holy smokes, look at that cover! I can't think of the last time I've seen a comic book cover—certainly a superhero comic book cover—that I could honestly describe as beautiful, but there you have it. That is one beautiful comic book cover.

The interior art, by pencil artist Paolo Rivera and Joe Rivera, is almost equally lovely.

This issue concludes the previous one's arc, in which The Mole Man had his moleoids, never creepier than they are as rendered by the Riveras, empty an entire graveyard of coffins, as he was looking for one particular corpse for...what turns out to be a rather disturbing reason, but not as disturbing as I worried it might be at one point (Maybe if this was a DC comic...).

Rivera does his usual amazing job capturing action and conjuring tricks to illustrate DD's radar senses and/or blindness, and the exotic underground setting allows for some particularly interesting images. I was pretty surprised by Mole Man's fighting prowess—something Waid does have DD himself comment on, acknowledging that something that seems off does indeed seem off—but liked the resolutions to the conflicts Waid came up with.

After this issue, Marvel will kick up their testing of Daredevil readers' patience and goodwill with an issue "#10.1" by an artist who is not Marcos Martin, Paolo Rivera or Chris Samnee (and who Christopher Butcher and C.B. Cebuski didn't really get me very excited about in this pretty fascinating discussion ), and then there's a three-part crossover story which would require Dardevil readers to first purchase issues Avenging Spider-Man #6 and The Punisher in order to read teh complete story that climaxes in the next whole number issue of the series. I'm not sure why Daredevil needs a jumping-on point ".1" issue given that the new series hasn't even been around an entire year yet, but I know Marvel's done ".1" books even earlier in the runs of new books, so whatever.


Diabolu Frank said...

I don't mind stabby Black Manta. Dude murdered a toddler during the Bronze Age, pre-Frank Miller/Alan Moore. Shame they made a point of pointing out Manta's blackness right before the act, but the dude was still Keyser Söze a couple of decades early.

That said, introducing a hero's "old squad" immediately before picking them off Ten Little Indians style does not help my increasing disillusionment with Geoff Johns as a guy who has clearly seen too many bad action movies and played the worst calibre of video games.

Josué Chaves (chrchaves) said...

*sigh* proving patience indeed. I bet I´ll stop buying it. :/

KentL said...

I've not been able to make it through the first Sharknife (I have trouble understanding what's going on in the art at times). I'll probably sit down with it again at some point. David Brothers compared it to Street Angel and Scott Pilgrim recently, but with those, I couldn't put them down when I started.

With regards to DD .1, I think it has more to do with testing the waters of multiple issues shipping in a month rather than providing a jumping on point. Otherwise, they're implying that the title continuity is already so dense after 10 issues that it needs a jumping on point, but given the writer, I doubt that's true.

David Charles Bitterbaum said...

Marvel and the .1 really isn't a jumping on point so much as a way to cram in an extra issue of the character that may not relate directly to a current story, although some writers use it well to set up a next arc. The most annoying thing is the .1 issue before a 1st issue such as with the female Ghost Rider we just had or Alpha Flight.

SallyP said...

That Daredevil cover is indeed exquisite.

JohnF said...

I'm very tired of them turning DC into 1992-era Image comics. The only thing missing is more heroes with white hair.

Dara said...

Caleb writes: "This issue also introduces a brand-new Iranian female superhero...who is killed seven pages after her first appearance. Diversity!"


That was exactly my reaction as well. Also the fact that instead of having a historically Iranian/Persian name, she's instead named after a Berber (North African) military leader.

I do appreciate the attempt at multiculturalism, I really do. And the fact that Kahina is (was?) a superhero (unlike the only other Iranian character in the DC universe, the supervillain Rostam, who was ironically named after Iran's most famous fictional hero) was a nice touch. But it doesn't really matter when you introduce and kill her in the span of just 7 pages.


Even more irony? I'm an Iranian-American writer interested in telling more multicultural stories, I wrote a Spectre story set in Tehran, Iran in the DCU Holiday Special 2010, and I've been keeping in contact with several editors at DC since, with no luck.