POW! Bi-Weekly Comics Review! 12/8/2009
Its been 2 weeks and an extra day of mail but dammit, MY COMICS FINALLY SHOWED UP!
That can only mean one thing here at Brave Blog…
This week we have a total of 8 books to review, spanning a total of 3 whole comic book publishers or 4 if Vertigo is a separate entity from DC, which given who shows up in Madame Xanadu this shipment slots it in the “No, DC definitely owns your ass” department. Once again I’d like to thank the fine men and women at http://www.HeavkInk.com for providing their excellent service as well as the United States Postal Service, who manage to keep my books in pretty spiffy condition. First book review is the Official Best Book Of The Bi-Weekly Reading Period!Gary Frank is going to go down in history as one of the great Superman artists. It is that simple. Everything he has done when drawing the character is just incredible. From the awesome Christopher Reeves looking version of Clark Kent to the sheer earnest look on Jimmy Olsen’s face… this guy draws the heck out of Superman and his cast. His Lois Lane is pretty damn wicked as well, like a cross between Jennifer Connelly and Lauren Graham. Add to this Geoff Johns just killing on the writing and you know that this comic is king. This month, young Clark Kent leaves the safety of Smallville and ventures forth into the great big metropolis of… um… Metropolis! See a beaten down Perry White try to keep together the reputation of The Daily Planet as Lois Lane proves that not even a lack of press credentials will keep her out of Lex Luthor’s press conference. Of course Clark is along for the ride and this leads to the debut of… SUPERMAN! Or at least Clark in the suit while in Metropolis. Seeing a nervous Superman is pretty weird, but Clark being self-conscious about making his debut is so totally believable.Then there is the irony of him doubting whether or not revealing himself to the public is a wise move… This just might be the best Superman story since Superman For All Seasons. Yeah I said it, as great as Johns run on Big Blue has been going, Superman For All Seasons remains the last Superman story that I really adored. At this rate, Johns and Frank are about to add this mini-series to the list. Let’s see… Crazy Goddess? Check! 7th smartest person in the world? Check! One Prince Of Power? Check? One massive throw-down between the Avengers and the monstrous forces of Hera? BIG CHECK! The Incredible Hercules delivers all this and more, as Herc leads a ragtag Avengers team against the Olympus Group, a company that the mad Goddess Hera has been running on earth. Why? Well to make “The Continuum”, a device that is going to set-off another round of creation in the Universe by recreating the BIG BANG, with only Hera and the Olympian Pantheon still standing. Good thing Hercules is here to stop that crazy bitch! If you want a big old school Marvel-style fight then this is the book for you! Sure it is to be continued next issue but the build-up to the fight is great and the dialog is crackerjack fun. Greg Pak should be writing Spider-Man, because his Spider-Man dialog feels like Spider-Man dialog. Rodney Buschemi and Gabriel Hardman team-up on art duty and they provide a fun breezy feel to the proceedings. Yeah, this is part 1 of 4 to the Assault On New Olympus story but if the rest is as much fun as this one was then count me in for the rest of it. I am beginning to understand why people are loving this book! Last time, we left our girl Cinderella in a precarious predicament, as she was about to be stabbed in the back while undercover in Dubai. Cindy, along with her new cohort Aladdin, track down the black market Fable who is selling magical items to the mundies. Things do not go smooth from there. This issue was mainly about introducing the suave knave of Aladdin and also to remind us that Aladdin commanded 2 djinni, not just the one. There is also the matter of how Cindy’s shoestore is doing back in Fabletown with her gone. Let’s just say the elves are not amused… I’m a Gail Simone fan and feel bad I haven’t kept up with her run on our favorite Amazon since that really bizarre story that featured all the forgotten DC fantasy characters. I’m coming in at the tail end of a major story arc here, yet I don’t find myself lost in this tale at all. Diana is a prisoner on Themiscyra after being bested by Achilles in combat. Now Alkyone, one of Queen Hippolyta’s devoted subjects, has been pulling the strings in order to remove Diana as ruler of the Amazons. Of course with the Wonder Woman under lock and key in jail, many of her sisters are plotting to overthrow Achilles and Alkyone. If you really think Donna Troy and Artemis are going to sit back and not take action then you best think again! If you think Achilles is happy that Alkyone is planning on executing Diana… think again! If you think Wonder Woman isn’t going to fight back… man this is good reading. Simone proves that she was the one who should’ve been writing Wonder Woman after Greg Rucka. To date there have been only 2 great writers for Wonder Woman (George Perez and Rucka). If Gail Simone can get me this involved at the tale end of a story then she just might become the third. You should be reading Wonder Woman! Fables is one of those books that I’ve never gotten single issues of. I’ve always caught up via the collected volumes, so reading it in single issue form is new for me. The fact the Bill Willingham is using Ozma, the deposed Princess of Oz, as one of the main characters in this arc is pretty fucking cool. Having read the majority of the Oz books by Baum, I am really psyched to see actual characters from Oz and not the MGM interpretation. I mean we’ve already seen the Gnome King before so it is nice to see another Oz character take center stage. As for the story, Frau Totenkinder has left the Fabletown Magic Council, leaving Ozma to play magical politics and start her own regime. Meanwhile, the Fabletown treasury gets some much needed relief and Buffkin the Flying Monkey spwends some quality time fucking with Baba Yaga! Oh Fables, I do so love reading you! Wow! 3 Vertigo books this week, as I take my chances on reading Madame Xanadu. I never thought I’d be reading the adventures of an old DC 70s horror character that ended up as a supporting player in the old Spectre series from the 90s. This issue, in the swinging 60s Madame X looks into a group of middle class average folks, who just happen to be a big old cult of satanists. I swear, the first eight pages had me totally snowed, as it was implied that a different kind of couples gathering was going down. Anyway, Madame X observes and investigates and crosses paths with a certain detective that confirms that DC and Vertigo are most definitely connected. Of course, swingign Satanists aren’t the only thing Madame X has to worry about, as family comes a knockin’… I will read anything Mat Wagner writes. Matt Wagner writes Madame Xanadu, therefore I shall read Madame Xanadu. It doesn’t hurt that it is a decent little read and the art is pretty good. I shall continue with Madame Xanadu for the time being. Red Sonja befriends a group of female Caucasian ninjas. Red Sonja and the white ninjas get captured. This was all apart of Red Sonja’s plan to find where the raiders from Emora are camping their troops. Red Sonja’s plan worked. For some reason, Red Sonja doesn’t kill someone in this comic. I am not pleased. Still, we get how the slavers/rapists from last issue (the ones that Red Sonja KILLED!) tie into all this. Not bad, not good. This pretty much screamed “This is the middle issue of the mini-series”. Hopefully there will be much bloodshed and slaughter in issue 3. I have enjoyed Blackest Night so far but this issue was so… anti-climactic. I mean bad enough that the villain is Nekron, a Green Lantern villain that no one has ever given a shit a bout. I mean EVER! Making Nekron the Big Bad in this is like reading a giant Batman crossover only to find out that the man behind everything was a third stringer like Signalman. This was underwhelming. I mean the art was great but story-wise, I just wanted more. Everything you expected to happen, happens and that makes for dull reading.
Well that is this week’s shipment. Overall not bad but not as much fun as last time. I love the Superman Secret Origins and there were enough firstt ime reads to leave me intrigued that I’ll stick with them for a few more issues. In 2 weeks we get a rather light shipment with only 2 books and one GIANT graphic novel volume. We follow-up my monthly plunge into Fables with issue 91 and maybe we get to see just how ruthless little Ozma can be, From there We get more fun with Power Girl #7 and the return of an old Superman villain. Finally we get the Kodansha release of Akira Volume 1. Akira is one of those things that everyone should read because it is just so mind-boggling awesome. I look forward re-reading in what may be its 3rd translation for the United States. Good times to be had by all.