Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Comic shop comics: May 9

Captain America and Hawkeye #630 (Marvel Entertainment) Here's another potential downside to Marvel's accelerated publishing schedule for their "monthly" books: If you plan to drop a title from your pull list and forget to do so one Wednesday while in your shop, by the next time you visit the shop, there may already be a new issue sitting there waiting for you! Such was my fate, and so I bought and read Captain America and Hawkeye #630, featuring the second part of a pretty generic story by Cullen Bunn and Alessandro Vitti that I did not like the first part of at all (This installment doesn't even have the many instances of the two characters exchanging meaningful, silent glances that the previous chapter did, so the only real indication of their unspoken lust for one another remains the fact that their logos are totally doing it on the cover).
Above: See? Totally doing it.

This issue is pretty much all fighting, our heroes vs. what are supposedly resurrected lizard men, but just look like slightly more reptilian versions of Carnage and Venom-type symbiotes. Stegron appears, although he too is all sticky and tendril-covered, and thus doesn't look as awesome as normal.

Stegron, by the way, is a Stegosaurus man with psychic powers—that's a hard design to not make awesome, but the Vitti's interior art doesn't look as clear, bright or sharp as cover artiss Patch Zircher and Matt Hollingsworth's art is, and thus Stegron just looks like Killer Croc with Lady Gaga mascara (in a bad way).

By the way, having now seen the film The Avengers, I like Hawkeye's recent redesign even less. The costume seems like a compromise between something comic book Hawkeye and Jeremy Renner's movie Hawkeye would wear, but from the neck up Hawkeye looks like Smallville Green Arrow, with a fuller head of hair than Renner's military cut, and with Cyclops-like sci-fi style sunglasses apparently embedded in his face. Maybe it will grown on me. It's not like it's the worst superhero costume redesign I've seen in the past few months or anything.

Green Lantern #9 (DC Comics) This cover is notable for having almost nothing at all to do with the actual contents of comic beneath it, save for the fact that all three of the characters pictured do a appear within it (although Black Hand, whose giant head dominates most of the cover and whose MADNESS Green Lantern is DROWNING IN, only briefly cameos).

In this issue, Sinestro gets Indigo Tribalized, Hal Jordan uses his power ring in a series of gee-whiz, neat-o wish fulfillment ways for like the first time ever (Grappling hook! Racecar! Hang glider!), then he meets Yoda and has the whole Indigo Tribe thing explained pretty thoroughly to him, and, on the last page, artist Doug Mahnke and one of his four inkers draws a giant bat wearing a bondage mask:
That was my favorite part.

Hulk Smash Avengers #2 (Marvel) Joe Casey and Max Fiumara, extremely aggressively colored by Jean-Francois Beaulieu, pit a 1970s squad of Avengers against The Hulk, only this time much of the story is devoted to who's joining the team, who's leaving the team, who they would like to join the team, why the people leaving are leaving, and government liaison Henry Gyrich generally grinding The Avengers' gears.

Fight-wise, it's Iron Man, The Vision, The Beast and The Wasp vs. The Hulk, with Scarlet Witch, Captain America, Hawkeye and Jarvis making appearances around the mansion. As with the first issue, it's another fine throwback issue to a particular era, although with Fiumara's more highly idiosyncratic art—cartoony head shapes, long limbs and necks, expressive, slightly pinched faces—it doesn't visually reference its era of inspiration, and does a good job of looking very different than all the other comics on the shelf with the word "Avengers" in the title.

That's really something.

Mystery In Space (DC/Vertigo) This here is an $8, -page one-shot anthology borrowing the name of and old DC sci-fi comic to use as an organizing principal for the contributors' submissions. The quality varies from inspired to tedious, but each of the short stories is fairly well constructed around a stinger of an ending, and any comic boasting artwork from Michael Kaluta, Kyle Baker, Mike Allred and Ming Doyle is pretty much the definition of "worth a look."

I liked the premise of Duane Sweirczynki and Ramon Bachs's humorous story, if not where they went with it, and Doyle's story was nicely understated and sweetly effective. Allred's story was a little on the scary and depressing side, but beautiful as ever. The Kevin McCarthy and Kyle Baker story is most notable for the latter's artwork, which here includes a heroine who bears a striking resemblance to a Temuka heroine (although Baker's been headed in that direction with some female designs for a while now). The Nnedi Okorafor-written, Kaluta-illustrated story is full of lush visuals and awesome creature designs and conceptions, although the story left me a little cold. Andy Diggle and David Gianfelice's was probably my least favorite, with it's Ugh-generating ending.

One neat thing about this collection, however, is that it contains a story (Robert Rodi and Sebastian Fiumara) in which a gay couple of three dudes take a job on a sort of orbital garbage spaceship that collects and atomizes space-junk and (maybe) involves space madness, and that is nowhere near the weirdest story here.

That honor probably goes to Steve Orlando and Francesco Trifogli's story about a pair of centaurs who buck their caste system in order to do it and give each other wicked hickies, but not until one of them takes a drug-inspired vision quest that involves him imagining himself as a normal dude on a horse fighting to the death against a horse-headed horseman riding on a big dude. It's a fucked up story about centaur kids getting fucked up on drugs in order to...fuck, I guess? It wasn't necessarily a good comic story or anything, but it was a damn weird one, and that's something.


Captain America was created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby. Hawkeye was created by Stan Lee and Don Heck. Stegron was created by Len Wein and Gil Kane. Green Lantern was created by Martin Nodell (and Hal Jordan was created by John Broome and Kane—and maybe Julius Schwartz, I think?). Sinestro was also created by Broome and Kane. The Hulk, The Wasp, Scarlet Witch and Beast were created by Lee and Kirby. Iron Man was created by Lee, Kirby and Larry Lieber. Vision (this version) was created by Roy Thomas and John Buscema.

Of the four books above, three of 'em star and are named for characters created no later than 1964 by writers and artists other than the ones currently working on them, characters who are corporately owned. Of those three, the only one with a "created by" credit is Captain America and Hawkeye, and that credits Simon and Kirby for Captain America, while there's no credit assigned to Lee and Heck for Hawkeye.


JohnF said...

The best thing about Stegron is that his real name is Vincent Stegron.

You have to love '70s Marvel.

Nitz the Bloody said...

On the other hand, Hawkeye's costume was so resistant to change for so many years that it looked goofy and archaic, and since the character's not exactly an icon like Superman or Spider-Man, an update was long overdue. This version, which blends the texture of the movie Hawkeye with the colors of the comic Hawkeye, is a pretty good compromise between the aesthetics of both.

The only thing I'd change are the aforementioned shades. Unless there's some elaborate tech in Clint's glasses (and a marksman like him sure as hell wouldn't need that), they should just go with something like a simple pair of aviators.

Unknown said...

You may want to add Don Heck to the co-creator credit list for Iron Man, since he did draw the first story.