Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Comic shop comics: August 6

Batman Eternal #18 (DC Comics) Aw man, it's a Dustin Ngyuen-less issue. He didn't even draw the cover, a very slick-looking one featuring Killer Croc sneaking up on Batman and his new cop bro Bard, who is basically drawn like New 52 Commissioner Gordon without a mustache. That's why Batman doesn't trust him! He knows that a police officer stores all of his virtue in his mustache!

This issue is scripted by Tim Seeley and drawn by Andy Clarke, who inks his own work. It's a bit of a jarring transition from the previous few issues, but I like Clarke's art well enough, and the transition to different plotlines than those that have been the focus of the last few issues smooths the transition a bit.

We check in with the away team of Batgirl, Batwoman and Red Hood in Brazil, as they go after a bad guy whose office is in the back of a factory that forces Brazilian children to make Batman toys. I bet there's an unflattering thing to say about that and the publisher, but I can't think of the exact wording off the top of my head. Meanwhile, Batman and Bard follow some people in trouble into a sewer and, after a brief scuffle, team-up with Croc to find the real perpetrator. There's also a brief check-in at Blackgate, where we get to see how different another artist's design of Oswald Cobblepot is from all the other artists who have their own personal designs.

Red Hood has a nice little speech about what makes Batgirl so special, and how she differs from the rest of the Bat-Family in that she wasn't into it for vengeance or for a dead person, but because she wanted to be in this business, and she fought for a living person. Part of it sounded an awful lot like what I've heard Chris Sims say about Batgirl before, actually. The bit about all the Robins knowing that Batgirl was better than all of them was a bit hard to swallow in the New 52 though, where Batgirl's only been Batgirl for somewhere between two and three years now.

Oh, and "Cannibal Croc" is a decent name for a crocodile monster man; if Killer Croc were created today instead of in 1983, that might actually have been his name. Good turn of phrase, scripter Tim Seeley!

New 52: Future's End #14 (DC) Pencil artist Aaron Lopresti and inker Art Thibert have the sad duty of drawing the next installment of this collection of mysterious plotlines of little import or interest.

First, Deathstroke and Fifty Sue fight Big Barda and the girl with Big Barda who turns out to be Green Arrow's sister; I learned this via extremely clumsy, expositional dialogue ("My brother, Green Arrow, told me you were a degenerate scumbag," she says to Deathstroke during the fight; it took four writers to write that!). I'm glad to see that Barda wasn't taken out as easily as I feared she would be, in an effort to badass-ify Deathstroke; rather she punches him across the street, and the ladies get away after a brief, brutal fight.

Then Batman Beyond and the criminals he's teaming up with to Ocean's 11 Mr. Terrific fight for absolutely no reason at all (the same lady who started the fight last issue then stops the others from fighting, because she doesn't want any fighting...?).

Then Tim Drake lies to his girlfriend some more, his beard changing sizes between panels due to a coloring error. Then Grifter and Lois Lane both narrate scenes, which is weird in that there generally isn't any narration in this series at all (I think Grifter narrated one or two scenes of his in previous issues?). Lois Lane's narration boxes are, of course, pink, because she is a girl.

She-Hulk #7 (Marvel Entertainment) Regular (?) artist Javier Pulido returns for a done-in-one issue in which She-Hulk and Patsy Walker, Hellcat are hired by one of the super-scientists in their office building to rescue his scientist, who has shrunk himself using a cheaper shrinking process than the one invented by Hank Pym (and, it turns out, a less safe one). The ladies get some help from Ant-Man, and ants, sparrows and cats are all fought.

It's a pretty fun issue, made more so by Pulido's crisp, clear, simple-but-never-simplistic artwork and Munsta Vicente's bright, flat colors.

There was at least one art mistake (the scientist refers to having cut a chunk out of his little finger in the dialogue, but it's his forefinger drawn in a bandage), and it takes some extra-scriptular, No-Prize thinking to figure out why She-Hulk is even in this story (aside from the fact that it appears in a comic called She-Hulk) if the scientists already knew Pym, but otherwise, it's another nice issue.

Oh, and the last page reveals a person who I assume will guest-star in the next issue, a person who is old now...? I guess that happened in Original Sin or somewhere...? I haven't read Infinity yet, so I'm a crossover behind on the goings-on of the greater Marvel Universe...

Superior Foes of Spider-Man #14 (Marvel) This issue is, our always unreliable narrator Boomerang tells us, devoted to answering unanswered questions and filling in gaps in the story so far. For the purposes of this issue, that mainly means explaining how Overdrive and Beetle came to be coming off of that school bus with ninja swords sticking out of it previously, which also entails telling the secret origin of Overdrive (I'm assuming it's secret, given that writer Nick Spencer seems to be providing new information, as it's funny information, but surely much of this would have had to be covered in the Spider-Man comics the character first appeared in, right?).

There's a pretty great spread on pages 9 and 10 detailing a car chase from afar, somewhat akin to those Family Circus Sunday comics where Billy runs all over the place, making a dotted line behind him. As the chase occurs in the New York City of the Marvel Universe, it guest-stars teensy tiny little versions of Spider-Man and Daredevil (who are apparently uninterested in Overdrive being chased by Mister Negative's goons) and The Fantastic Four, who are busy fighting some sort of aliens that have emerged from a rocket ship that crashland-ed on the side of the road, and is here only part of the everyday scenery.

And, at the climax, Shocker asserts himself.
Say, if he disembodied-but-still alive head of Silvermane counts as a person and is stuck with Shocker, Boomerang, Overdrive, Beetle and Speed Demon for a while, then this version of the Sinister "Six" will finally have six members!

1 comment:

Rev'd '76 said...

Dunno exactly why, but Silvermane to my mind is one of the single most horrifying Spider-Man villains.

Which is interesting, as I never really think about Spider-Man and horror as a thing...