Thursday, July 23, 2015
Comic Shop Comics: July 22
The book opens with just Betty, Veronica and a wounded Archie left to face the Predator, and I would not have expected which of the three would be the first to die, or the girls to have their clothing shredded so thoroughly (Andrew Pepoy's generally sexier-than-the-interiors cover aside), or for that particular maiming, or for that particular rally or for that bizarre ending.
Probably the best part, though, was the Predator discovering scrunchies:
This was an enormously entertaining comic, start to finish–and the finish here is a two-page Josie and The Pussycats/Finder crossover by de Campi and Calra Speed McNeil–and maybe the most fun I've had reading a comic that wasn't Transformers Vs. G.I. Joe this year.
I do hope they do a sequel, but not picking up where it left off; I want a read a story like the one suggested by some of the variants, like Faith Erin Hicks' for this issue. You know, where Predator moves to Riverdale and starts going to school there, and becomes Archie's archrival, and no one seems to notice that he's an alien monster other than Archie, and whenever he tries to point it out to someone, they accuse him of being jealous. Yes, that's the Archie Vs. Predator comic I want to read. This one was great too, though.
As noted, this Harley goes by a slightly different moniker, but is otherwise pretty recognizable, right down to her color scheme. If she had appeared on the 1966 live-action TV show, this is more than likely how she would have looked and acted, and yet Parker still manages to write her as recognizably herself from the cartoon and comics, which is surely a more difficult feat than it may seem.
Ketner's art on this 10-pager is fine, his realistic take accentuating the absurdity in the saw that the live-action TV show managed by simply putting real people in those costumes (Still, I can't help but wish cover artist Mike Allred drew the interiors, the one problem with having him do covers; every single month I see Allred's version of the characters before opening up the book to find some other artist's work, which I must then compare to Allred's and generally find wanting, if only because Allred is one of my favorite artists). Ketner does a particularly fine job during a montage of Harley's crime spree and in costuming the would-be goons and thugs that show up for her gang try-outs, all of them wearing a mish-mash of the sorts of uniforms the various henchmen of the show would wear. (Nice touch with the match in Batman's disguise too; I guess this issue also features the debut of Matches Malone '66 then...?).
The back half of the book is devoted to a story written by Gabe Soria and drawn by Ty Templeton; entitled "Bad Men," it is a kinda sorta riff on TV's Mad Men, in which The Joker, The Penguin, the Gorshin Riddler and the Eartha Kitt Catwoman take an ad agency hostage in an attempt to force them to re-brand them. Luckily, Barbara Gordon is at the agency, working a temp job. Why isn't she at the library? So that they could do a Mad Men riff, obviously. I never saw the show, so I don't know how accurate this is, or if I missed a lot of gags and allusions, but it works A-OK as is.
It's an extremely straightforward story by writer Derek Fridolfs, featuring pretty great art by Tom Fowler. I thought Poison Ivy's Swamp Thing-inspired tree bark armor (complete with vegetation "wings" like Swampy sported during Scott Snyder's run on the title) was a little much, as was the intimation that Wonder Woman and Poison Ivy flew straight down for four days to get to Tartarus (without food, water or having to go to the bathroom? Is Ivy so plant-like and Wondy so magic they don't need any of that stuff, or what?).
That's followed by a piece written by Matthew K. Manning and drawn by Georges Jeanty (with Karl Story and Dexter vines inking). Set during the Watchtower-on-the-moon Era, it finds Batman calling Wonder Woman to help take down Doctor Destiny. She's upset by the crime scene, and Batman knows exactly what she needs to relax: To punch someone in the face.
It's a rather weird story, really, but the art is nice, and I suppose it's short enough that by the time one might start questioning aspects of it, it's already over.
A pretty mediocre issue all together then; nothing sensational, but, on the other hand, nothing that bad either.
So yeah, that looks big and exciting. In this installment, there aren't any ducks, though.
That excellent cover is by...Jonathan H. Gray? But he's the translator! I didn't know he was also an amazing artist! But I really like this cover quite a bit, from the little hairs on Goofy's ears, to Donald's action pose, to, most especially, the look on Uncle Scrooge's face.
This issue also does a better job than the previous IDW/Disney books of contextualizing the stories, with the credits for each of the four including where they originally appeared (two from European comics, one from a U.S. Sunday newspaper strip and the fourth from a Golden Age issue of this very title) and when (1990, 1982, 1933 and 1943). The first issues of Uncle Scrooge, Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse did not this, and I think this is a great improvement, as that's something I'm always curious about when reading Disney comics. (Part of that likely comes from being trained to expect some degree of context by all of those excellent Fantagraphics' collections, and part of it is just being interested in where comics come from.)
These shorter back-ups include reprints of a Silly Symphonies strip, a Donald and his nephews story and a short Gremlin two-pager by someone named...let's see... Walt Kelly. He seems like a pretty great cartoonist; I wonder whatever became of him after his 1943 short subject...?
Or wait, should I trade-wait this series? Walt Disney TPB Vol. 1 is scheduled for November, according to an ad in this book, but that will only be four or five issues into the run, so it will likely include all of these back-ups, rather than just "The Search for the Zodiac Stone." Hmmm...Well, I guess I've got another month to figure out if I want to read this monthly until that storyline is over, or wait for the trades.
Anyway, 42-pages of ad-free comics for $4 is a pretty decent value. And thanks for including the credits about the original sources of the stories in this issue, IDW.