Sunday, December 2, 2012

COMICS READING FOR NOVEMBER: “Summer daze"

* NOW WITH STAR RATINGS (ala Wrestling Observer Newsletter PPV reports) *

HOW I RATE THE COMICS VIA THE ALAN MOORE SCALE
*****    Watchmen, Marvelman, V For Vendetta
****       From Hell, Supreme, Swamp Thing, Whatever Happened To The Man Of Tomorrow?
***         League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen (the first two series), Axel Pressbutton, Tom Strong
**           Promethea
*              LoEG: Century: 1969
DUD  (or lower)     anything he’s written for Avatar or any of the non-comics drivel he shits out on a regular basis
 

1.-8. Black Summer (Avatar, 2008) ****¼
- originally published in Black Summer #0-7 (Avatar, 2007)
Writer: Warren Ellis/Artist: Juan Jose Ryp
I ENJOY most anything Ellis writes, but this bloody take on superhero responsibility and absolute power corrupting absolutely, was pretty damn good. Ellis posed the question: If you were practically a god and you found out the US President was breaking the law, what would you do? The answer was as violent as you'd expect from Ellis. Ryp's artwork was as detailed and gory as ever.

9.-27. The Pulse: Thin Air (Mqrvel, 2004) ***¾
- originally published in The Pulse #1-5 (Marvel, 2004)
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis/Artists: Mark Bagley & Scott Hanna (interior); Mike Mayhew (covers)

The Pulse: Secret War (Mqrvel, 2005) ***¾
- originally published in The Pulse #6-9 (Marvel, 2004-05)
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis/Artists: Brent Anderson & Michael Lark w/- Stefano Guadiano (interior); Mike Mayhew (covers)
The Pulse #10-14 (Marvel, 2005-06) ***¾  (except #10, *** and #14, ****)
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis/Artists: Michael Lark w/- Stefano Guadiano (interior for #10), Michael Gaydos (interior for #11-14); Mike Mayhew (covers)
An underrated, cut-down-in-its-prime series, but that’s just because I loved the Jessica Jones/Luke Cage relationship so much – fuck you, Marvel, for splitting them up, by the way.

28. Giant-Size Sidekick #1 (from Comic Heroes #14, 2012) ***½
Writers/artists: various
I’ve got half the comics previewed in this issue, but it’s still a worthy anthology, inspiring readers to check out some non-Big Two titles.
29. Comic Heroes Presents: Judge Dredd (from Comic Heroes #14, 2012) ***½
Writer: John Wagner/ Artist: Kev Walker (Mutie Block)
Writer: Rob Williams/Artist: Dylan Teague (Meat)
30. Before Watchmen: Moloch #1 (DC, 2012) ***¼
Writer: J. Michael Straczynski/Artist: Eduardo Risso
31. Fashion Beast #3 (Avatar, 2012) ****
Writers: Alan Moore, Malcolm McLaren and Antony Johnston/Artist: Facundo Percio
32. Hit-Girl #4 (Icon, 2012) ***¾
Writer: Mark Millar/Artist: John Romita Jr
33. Happy! #2 (Image, 2012) ***¾
Writer: Grant Morrison/Artist: Darick Robertson
34. Idolized #3 (Aspen, 2012) ***¾
Writer: David Schwartz/Artist: Pasquale Qualano 
35. Batman Inc. #5 (DC, 2012) ***½
Writer: Grant Morrison/Artist: Chris Burnham
I still have no idea what the fuck is going on, but I’m loving every minute of it.

36. The Creep #3 (Dark Horse, 2012) ***
Writer: John Arcudi/Artist: Jonathan Case
37. The Victories (Dark Horse, 2012) ***
Writer/artist: Michael Avon Oeming
Apparently, child abuse is the new black in comics.

38. Punk Rock Jesus #5 (Vertigo, 2012) ***¾
Writer/artist: Sean Murphy
39. Fatale #9 (Image, 2012) ***¾
Writer: Ed Brubaker/Artist: Sean Phillips
40. Edgar Allan Poe’s The Conqueror Worm (Dark Horse, 2012) ***¾
Writer/artist: Richard Corben
41. Halloween ComicFest 2012: Johnny Boo & Harold in Tricky Treaters (Top Shelf, 2012) ***
Writer/artist: James Kochalka (Johnny Boo); Jess Smart Smiley (Harold)
42.-43. Mind MGMT #0, #6 (Dark Horse, 2012) ****
Writer/artist: Matt Kindt
44.-45. Extermination #5-6 (BOOM!, 2012) ***½
Writer: Simon Spurrier/Artist: V. Ken Marion
46. The Hypernaturals (BOOM!, 2012) ****
Writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning/Artists: Tom Derenick & Andres Guinaldo
47. Criminal Macabre: They Fight By Night (Dark Horse, 2012) ***¼
- originally published in Dark Horse Presents #10-13 (Dark Horse, 2012)
Writer: Steve Niles/Artists: Christopher Mitten (interior), Fiona Staples (cover)   
48.-49. Bedlam #1-2 (Image, 2012) ****
Writer: Nick Spencer/Artists: Riley Rossmo (interiors), Frazer Irving (covers)
Holy shit! This is one nasty series.
50. Buffy The Vampire Slayer season 9 #15 (Dark Horse, 2012) ***¼
Writer: Drew Z. Greenberg/Artists: Karl Moline & Ben Dewey, Andy Owens (interior), Phil Noto (cover)
51.-52. Spike: A Dark Place #3-4 (Dark Horse, 2012) ***¼
Writer: Victor Gischler/Artists: Paul Lee & Andy Owens (Interior), Jenny Frison (cover)
53. Angel & Faith #15 (Dark Horse, 2012) ***½
Writer: Christos Gage/Artists: Lee Garbett, Derek Fridolfs & David Lapham (interior), Steve Morris (cover)
54. Willow: Wonderland #1 (Dark Horse, 2012) ***¼
Writer: Jeff Parker/Artists: Brian Ching (interior), David Mack (cover)
55.-56. Revival #4-5 (Image, 2012) ****
Writer: Tim Seeley/Artist: Mike Norton (interior), Jenny Frison (cover)
57. Nowhere Men #1 (Image, 2012) ***½
Writer: Eric Stephenson/Artist: Nate Bellegarde
58. The Zaucer Of Zilk (IDW, 2012) ***¼
Writers: Brendan McCarthy & Al Ewing/Artist: Brendan McCarthy
59. It Girl! & The Atmoics #4 (Image, 2012) ***¼
Writer: Jamie S. Rich/Artists: Mike Norton (interior), Michael & Laura Allred (cover)

Friday, November 2, 2012

COMICS READING FOR OCTOBER: “Fuck, I read some good shit this month!”


* NOW WITH STAR RATINGS (ala Wrestling Observer Newsletter PPV reports) *
HOW I RATE THE COMICS VIA THE ALAN MOORE SCALE
*****   Watchmen, Marvelman, V For Vendetta
****     From Hell, Supreme, Swamp Thing, Whatever Happened To The Man Of Tomorrow?
***        League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen (the first two series), Axel Pressbutton, Tom Strong
**           Promethea
*             LoEG: Century: 1969
DUD  (or lower)     anything he’s written for Avatar or any of the non-comics drivel he shits out on a regular basis

1. Marvel NOW! Previews #1 (Marvel, 2012) **¾
Writers/artists: various
Really nothing interests me in this latest Marvel relaunch except maybe FF, with writing by Matt Fraction and art by Mike Allred. I’ll give that a go, I guess. Actually, Secret Avengers, Avengers Arena and Guardians Of The Galaxy COULD be good. Maybe...
2. The Nazz #1 (DC, 1990) DUD
Writer: Tom Veitch/Artist: Bryan Talbot
Nice artwork by Talbot, but Veitch’s pretentious, at-times confused writing totally ruins this tale of how having godlike powers can corrupt a man’s soul. Or something like that.
3. The Secret Service #4 (Icon, 2012) ****¼
Writer: Mark Millar/Artist: Dave Gibbons
Fuck me, this series is good. And it’s further proof that Millar is the most consistently entertaining writer in comics in 2012.
4. Fashion Beast #2 (Avatar, 2012) ****½
Writers: Alan Moore, Malcolm McLaren & Antony Johnston/Artist: Facundo Percio
Beautifully illustrated tale of fashion and faking it in an alternative near future where looking good is all that matters. This wonderful series goes to show that Moore really was at his peak in the mid-1980s.
5. The Rocketeer: Cargo Of Doom #2 (IDW, 2012) ***¼
Writer: Mark Waid/Artist: Chris Samnee
6. Skrull Kill Krew #1 (Marvel, 2009) ***
Writer: Adam Felber/Artists: Mark Robinson & Mike Getty
7.-11. Skrull Kill Krew (Marvel, 2006) ***
- originally published as Skrull Kill Krew #1-5 (Marvel, 1995-96)
Writers: Grant Morrison & Mark Millar/Artists: Steve Yeowell & Chris Ivy
Surprisingly ordinary. One might almost say overrated.
12. Earth 2 #5 (DC, 2012) ***½
Writer: James Robinson/Artists: Nicola & Trevor Scott
This series is slowly picking up steam and I’m starting to quite enjoy this reimagined JSA.
13. Duckman #1 (Topps, 1994) ***½
Writer: Stefan Petrucha/Artists: Craig Yoe Studio w/- Clizia & George Erling, Everett Peck
Pretty damn funny. A William S. Burroughs pastiche. I’ll go with that!
14. Fatale #8 (Image, 2012) ****
Writer: Ed Brubaker/Artist: Sean Phillips
15. The Hypernaturals #4 (BOOM!, 2012) ****
Writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning/Artists: Tom Derenick & Andrews Guinaldo
16. Worlds’ Finest #5 (DC, 2012) ***
Writer: Paul Levitz/Artists: George Perez & Dcott Koblish, Jerry Ordway, Wes Craig & Serge Lapointe (interiors); Jerry Ordway (cover)
17.-28. Global Frequency #1-12  (Wildstorm, 2002-04) ****¾
Writer: Warren Ellis/Artists: various
Just fucking superb.
29. Before Watchmen: Rorschach #2 (DC, 2012) ***¾
Writer: Brian Azzarello/Artist: Lee Bermejo (Rorschach)
Writer/Artist: John Higgins (The Curse Of The Crimson Corsair, **½)
30. Punk Rock And Trailer Parks (SLG, 2008) *****
Writer/artist: Derf
Fuck me, this is fantastic!  
31. Violent Cases (Tundra, 1987, 1991) ****½
Writer: Neil Gaiman/Artist: Dave McKean
A creepy ghost tale about an old gangster trying to escape his fate in rural England. I liked this a lot.
32. The Bodyssey (Fantagor Press, 1993) ***
Writers: Richard Corben & Simon Revelstroke/Artist: Richard Corben
Amazing art but this story is really meh. Makes sense when you realise it’s basically a string of pin-ups and old short stories tied together by a messy storyline about an inept barbarian on a mission. Way too much toilet humour, too. But, again, the art is incredible.
33. Uzumaki Vol. 2 (Viz Media, 1998, 2002, 2012) *****
Writer/artist: Junji Ito
One of the creepiest, dream-like horror books I’ve ever read. Genuinely unnerving stuff. So glad to see it get a reprint.
34.-36. Spandex: Fast And Hard (Titan Books, 2012) ****
- originally published in Spandex #1-3 (self-published, 2010?)
Writer/artist: Martin Eden
Already read the first two issues, but I’m keen to support a top bloke and his excellent darkly humorous comic about an all-gay superhero team. The third issue – about an alien called Nadir who uses technology to take over the world and then removes all the joy from it – was both dark and poignant. This is a GN well worth seeking out.
37. Peepholes (Blank Slate Books, 2011) *****
Writer/artist: Laurie J. Proud
Dark, warped, perverse, confusing in parts and altogether brilliant. And the artwork is just mind-blowing. Seek this collection of sinister short stories out now. NOW, I tells ya!
38. Before Watchmen: Rorschach #2 (DC, 2012) ****
Writer/Artist: Darwyn Cooke
Writer/Artist: John Higgins (The Curse Of The Crimson Corsair, **)
39. Marvel Zombies: Halloween (Marvel, 2012) ***½
Writer: Fred Van Lente/Artist: Alessandro Vitti (interior); Francesco Francavilla (cover)
40. Cyberforce #1 (Top Cow, 2012) ½*
Writer: Marc Silvestri & Matt Hawkins/Artists: Khoi Pham & Sal Regla
I don’t care if I got this for free. I don’t care if it’s a relaunch of an immensely popular 1990s series. It’s confusing, it’s it’s outdated, it’s pointless. Buh-bye.
41. The Zaucer Of Zilk #1 (IDW, 2012) ***½
Writers: Brendan McCarthy & Al Ewing/Aritst: Brendan McCarthy
A psychedelic head-fuck. I really dug this.
42. It Girl! And The Atomics #3 (Image, 2012) ***¾
Writer: Jamie S. Rich/Artists: Mike Norton (interior); Mike & Laura Allred (cover)
43.-52. V For Vendetta #1-10 (DC, 1988-89) *****
Writer: Alan Moore/Artist: David Lloyd (with some assistance from Tony Weare)
Having really enjoyed Moore’s Fashion Beast to date, it got me thinking about some of his other classic series from the early-to-mid-80s. So I decided to reread V – much to my surprise, I discovered I was missing both #3 & #6. I eventually tracked them down and recently reread the complete series. And holy mother of God! It’s sooooo fucking good. This was Moore at his absolute peak and Lloyd’s art is incredibly moody and evocative. Sequential storytelling doesn’t get any better than this, folks.
53.-54. The Heckler #1, #4 (DC, 1992) *
Writers: Keith Giffen, Tom & Mary Bierbaum/Artists: Keith Giffen & Malcolm Jones III
I think the worst thing DC ever did was given Giffen his head to write “comedy”. Sure, he was fine on the relaunched Justice League when tempered by JM DeMatteis, but given full control Giffen becomes an incredibly self-indulgent wanker (just read any of his Ambush Bug series if you don’t believe me). The Heckler was particularly annoying and I’ll be damned if I read any more of it.
55. Punk Rock Jesus #4 (Vertigo, 2012) ****
Writer/artist: Sean Murphy
56.-59. Criminal: The Last Of The Innocent #1-4 (Icon, 2011) ****
Writer: Ed Brubaker/Artist: Sean Phillips
60.-65. Saga Vol. 1 (Image, 2012) ****¼
- originally published in Saga #1-6 (Image, 2012)
Writer: Brian K. Vaughan/Artist: Fiona Staples
I had no problems with my copy – unlike some Amazon buyers – and I certainly had no problems with the price ($13.95 from Kings Comics, not including my usual 10% members’ discount). All in all, this beautifully written “Romeo & Juliet in space” tale has me salivating for future volumes. Great stuff!
66. Before Watchmen: Dr. Manhattan #2 (DC, 2012) ***¼
Writer: J. Michael Straczynski/Artist: Adam Hughes
Writer/Artist: John Higgins (The Curse Of The Crimson Corsair, **)
67. Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9 #14 (Dark Horse, 2012) ***½
Writers: Jane Espenson & Drew Z. Greenberg /Artists : Karl Moline & Andy Owens (interior) ; Phil Noto (cover)
68. the Creep #2 (Dark Horse, 2012) ***½
Writer: John Arcudi/Artist: Jonathan Case
A bit slow-moving and starting to get predictable. I hope the pay-off isn’t gonna be another child abuse storyline, which are becoming so passe in all forms of entertainment right about now.
69. New Crusaders #2 (Red Circle, 2012) **¾
Writer: Ian Flynn/Artists: Ben Bates & Gary Martin
Ugh...another bunch of teenagers becoming superheroes. I dunno whether I can stick with this title for much longer.  Although the back-up tale weaving all the previous incarnations of Mighty Crusaders from past decades together into a seamless timeline is entertaining (writer: Ian Flynn/artists: Mike Norton & Terry Austin). Maybe I’ll stick with this title for ONE more issue...grumble, grumble...
70. Mind MGMT #5 (Dark Horse, 2012) ****
Writer/artist: Matt Kindt
71. Fury Max #6 (Marvel, 2012) ****
Writer: Garth Ennis/Artist: Goran Parlov
72. Hit-Girl #3 (Icon, 2012) ***¾
Writer: Mark Millar/Artist: John Romita Jr
73. Mars Attacks The Savage Dragon #1 (Topps, 1996) *
Writer: Dwight Jon Zimmerman/Artists: Claude St Aubin & Larry Mahlstedt (interior); Hugh Haynes, Armando Gil & Ed Hannigan (cover)
74. Superman: Red Son (DC, 2004) ****¼
- originally published in Superman: Red Son (DC, 2003)
Writer: Mark Millar/Artists: Dave Johnson & Kilian Plunkett, Andrew Robinson & Waldon Wong
75. Alien: The Illustrated Story (Titan Books, 1979, 2012) ***¼
Writer: Archie Goodwin/Artist: Walter Simonson.
Lovely art and a chilling adaptation of the film – probably one of the best comics adaptations ever. But Goodwin’s script is soooo over-written.  Nowhere near the masterpiece many claim it to be.
76. Idolized #2 (Aspen, 2012) ***¾
Writer: David Schwartz/Artist: Micah Gunnell & Pasquale Qualano
77. Before Watchmen: Ozymandias #3 (DC, 2012) ***
Writer: Len Wein/Artist: Jae Lee
Writer/Artist: John Higgins (The Curse Of The Crimson Corsair, **)
78. Blink: FYI IDK (ONWARDStudio, 2008) ***
Writer/artist: Max Ink
Self-published slice-of-life tale about friends chatting about the pros and cons of the internetz. I liked it.
79. Blink: Let It Be As It Is (ONWARDStudio, 2006) **¾
Writer/artist: Max Ink
A maudlin, slightly self-indulgent story about friends discussing John Lennon. Nice art but a weaker story than FYI IDK.
80. ScriptGraphics Small Press #? (BPP, 2008) *
Writer/artist: Darrell Goza
Comic fanzine featuring sample pages of artwork by Darrell (a Facebook friend). Darrell’s art is usually quite strong, but the samples here are very ordinary. Disappointing.
81. Batman Inc. #0 (DC, 2012) ***¼
Writers: Chris Burnham & Grant Morrison/Art: Frazer Irving
82. Happy! #1 (Image, 2012) ***¼
Writer: Grant Morrison/Artist: Darick Robertson
A shaky start but it has bizarre promise. I’ll stick with the title  while longer.
83. Angel & Faith #14 (Dark Horse, 2012) ***¼
Writer: Christos Gage/Artist: Rebekah Isaacs (interior), Steve Morris (cover)

84. Digital Webbing Presents #12 (Digital Webbing, 2003) ***
Writers/artists: various
Fair-to-average anthology highlighted by some early Ryan Bodenheim art, plus a short strip featuring Super Hero Happy Hour (writer: Dan Taylor/artist: Chris Fason)
85. Digital Webbing Presents #22 (Digital Webbing, 2005) ***
Writers/artists: various
Another Super Hero Happy Hour strip, this time in colour, was the only reason why I bought this ish.
86. Dr Blink Superhero Shrink #0 (Dork Storm Press, 2004) **½
Writer: John Kovalic/Artist: Christopher Jones
A psychologist deals with superheroes. Has its moments. Also features a short Super Hero Happy Hour strip.
87.-91. Super Hero Happy Hour #1-5 (GeekPunk, 2002-04) ***
Writer: Dan Taylor/Artist: Chris Fason
Entertaining strip about heroes and villains who meet regularly at a pub to drink away their problems. The strip falters when Fason tries to draw action, but when it sticks to head shots discussing pub lore and spouting one-liners, the chunky art’s fine.
92. Hero Happy Hour Super Special (GeekPunk, 2004) ***¼
Writers/artists: various
In the hands of other creators, this title really blossoms. A fun anthology.
93. Super Deluxe Hero Happy Hour (IDW, 2006) **
Writer: Dan Taylor/Artist: Chris Fason & Jim Clarke
Hero Happy Hour falls over when the action leaves the bar and the special degenerates into a pedestrian heroes-fight-alien-invasion yarn. When a hero is killed in the line of duty, the story becomes downright maudlin and the quirky charm of the original series is lost. Then, to completely undercut the drama, it’s subsequently revealed that the entire story is “not real”. There are “DVD extras” where the “actors” talk about making a “movie”. It’s weird, jarring and just doesn’t work. A really flat ending to what had been, up to that point, a mildly entertaining funny superhero strip.
This series is still around on the interwebz. Check it out at Hero Happy Hour.
94. Lady Rawhide Ashcan (Topps, 1995) *
Writer: Don McGregor/Artist: Esteban Maroto
A weird hybrid of a typical Image-style slut-hero title with a traditional swashbuckling adventure strip, direct from the Topps’ Zorro comic. McGregor’s text is torturous (as always) while Maroto’s artwork is muted and kinda pedestrian. With that kinda mash-up, you can imagine how unimpressive this comic was.
95.-99. Six Guns #1-5 (Marvel, 2012) ***½
Writer: Andy Diggle/Artist: Davide Gianelice
A nice modern reworking of some old Marvel western heroes.
100. The Victories #3 (Dark Horse, 2012) ***¼
Writer/Artist: Michael Avon Oeming
101.-102. Batman Incorporated #3-4 (DC, 2012) ***½
Writer: Grant Morrison/Artist: Chris Burnham
103. ScriptGraphics Small Press #? (BPP, 200?) *
Writer/artist: Darrell Goza
Darrell’s take on the Doom Patrol (the 70s version). Art is primitive. I’ve seen him do much better.

Friday, October 26, 2012

COMICS READING FOR SEPTEMBER: “Macabre overload”


Yes...it's another long-delayed report on what I've been reading lately.

* NOW WITH STAR RATINGS (ala Wrestling Observer Newsletter PPV reports) *
HOW I RATE THE COMICS VIA THE ALAN MOORE SCALE
*****    Watchmen, Marvelman, V For Vendetta
****       From Hell, Supreme, Swamp Thing, Whatever Happened To The Man Of Tomorrow?
***         League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen (the first two series), Axel Pressbutton, Tom Strong
**           Promethea
*              LoEG: Century: 1969
DUD  (or lower)     anything he’s written for Avatar or any of the non-comics drivel he shits out on a regular basis
 
1. Sidekick #8 (free with Comic Heroes #12, 2012) ***½
Writers/artists: various
I became interested enough to buy a couple of the graphic novels featured in it, so this English sampler anthology did its job.
2. Enormous #1 (Image, 2012) DUD
Writer: Tim Daniel/Artist: Mehdi Cheggour
An enormous-sized dud. Way too much photo-referenced art and confusing to boot. Half the photo-referenced characters look like other characters. The storyline of nature gone wild and growing to Godzilla-like dimension had potential but the art really let it down. The only positives for Enormous was the oversized gimmick and the fact that my copy was damaged in transit to Kings Comics so I scored it for a paltry five bux. I passed it onto a mate afterwards. He probably won’t thank me for it after he reads it.
3.-5. Epic Illustrated #2, #4 & #9 (Marvel, 1980-81) *
Writers/artists: various
My god these mags were bad. Heavy Metal Lite. I couldn’t even read half of the serials in this anthology – Jim Starlin’s Dreadstar is soooooo overrated. At least #2 has a cool Richard Corben cover.

6. Criminal Macabre: No Peace For Dead Men (Dark Horse, 2011) ***
Writer: Steve Niles/Artist: Christopher Mitten
7. Criminal Macabre/The Goon (Dark Horse, 2011) **½
Writers: Steve Niles & Eric Powell/Artist: Christopher Mitten
8.-11. Criminal Macabre: Cellblock 666 #1-4 (Dark Horse, 2008-09) ***
Writer: Steve Niles/Artists: Nick Stakal (interiors), Tim Bradstreet (covers)
The past couple of Criminal Macabre miniseries have really felt rushed – as if Niles was desperate to tie up loose ends before he moved onto bigger and better things. Cellblock saw him wrap up the Councillor Benson storyline – out of the blue, Benson’s exposed as an evil scumbag (this had NEVER been hinted at in the previous five years of storylines) and by the end of the miniseries, he’s locked away and no longer harassing Cal McDonald. In No Peace For Dead Men, Cal finally kills off his vampirised girlfriend and dies in the process...only to return as a ghoul. However, apparently, being an undead monster hasn’t changed his character one bit – he’s just waaaaay more indestructible. All in all, it feels like Niles was wiping the slate clean of old subplots in preparation for the big ghoul vs evil monster war he has brewing in the wings. I just wish he’d done a better job of wrapping up those dangling plotlines.
12.-26. Criminal Macabre Omnibus Vol. 1 (Dark Horse, 2011) ****
- previously printed in a bunch of comics from 2003-08
Writer: Steve Niles/Artists: various
I have practically ALL of these miniseries except for Supernatural Freak Machine which was a five-issue miniseries that IDW mysteriously cancelled after only three issues. It was a helluva series, too, with a major plot twist that I knew about (due to revelations in subsequent miniseries), but was still shocked to read here for the first time. Anyway, I picked up this omnibus cheap at Oz-Comicon in Melbourne, so it was worth finally reading this elusive miniseries. And re-reading all the old CM series was fun, too.
27. Criminal Macabre: The Iron Spirit (Dark Horse, 2012) ***½
Writer: Steve Niles/Artist: Scott Morse
This is almost like a kids’ storybook with thick cardboard pages, but it’s a very adult ghost tale with haunting illustrations by Morse. I really liked it, even though it’s ostensibly an overpriced one-shot comic.
28. Hairball: A Cal McDonald Mystery (IDW, 2002) ***
Writer: Steve Niles/Artist: Casey Jones
A very early Criminal Macabre tale – not too shabby.

29. The Victories #2 (Dark Horse, 2012) ***
Writer/Artist: Michael Avon Oeming
30. the Creep #1 (Dark Horse, 2012) ***¾
Writer: John Arcudi/Artist: Jonathan Case
A slow-burning detective yarn featuring a Rondo Hatton look-alike as the main character. This promises to be an unpleasant-but-enjoyable ride.
31.-35. Air Vol. 1: Letters From Lost Countries (Vertigo, 2009) ****
- originally published in Air #1-5 (Vertigo, 2008)
Writer: G. Willow Wilson/Artist: MK Perker
A quiet little achiever. A really entertaining political/magic realism/romantic thriller. Yep, it’s all that and more. I look forward to reading the second volume.
36. Revival #3 (Image, 2012) ***¾
Writer: Tim Seeley/Artist: Mike Norton
This is described as “rural noir”, but “supernatural noir” fits it better. Along with Brubaker and Phillips’ Fatale, Image has this sub-genre sewn up.
37. Extermination #4 (BOOM!, 2012) ***¾
Writer: Simon Spurrier/Artists: Jeffrey Edwards & V. Ken Marion
This book may have weak art but the story is insane. If Batman was an obsessed nutcase and Superman was a sadistic rapist, then you’d have a slight feel for what this title is about. If their rivalry for the love of Catwoman led to a worldwide alien Armageddon, then you’d have an even better idea. If only Extermination had better artwork.  
38. Punk Rock Jesus #3 (Vertigo, 2012) ****
Writer/artist: Sean Murphy
39. It Girl! And The Atomics #2 (Image, 2012) ***½
Writer: Jamie S. Rich/Artists: Mike Norton (interior); Michael & Laura Allred (cover)
40.-41. Idolized #0-1 (Aspen, 2012) ***¾
Writer: David Schwartz/Artist: Micah Gunnell
Do we really need ANOTHER comic on the concept of a reality TV series for superheroes – already admirably done by Wildguard and America’s Got Powers – or is this just flogging a dead horse? Well, as it turns out, this series shows some real promise. The names of the heroes and teams are getting more and more stupid, but I really like the idea of a rookie wannabe desperate to win the comp, so she can join the world’s No. 1 superteam and take revenge on the villain who killed her parents.
42. Before Watchmen:  Comedian #3 (DC, 2012) ***½
Writer: Brian Azzarello/Artist: JG Jones
Writer/artist: John Higgins (The Curse Of The Crimson Corsair)
43. Before Watchmen:  Nite Owl #3 (DC, 2012) ****
Writer: J. Michael Straczynski/Artists; Andy & Joe Kubert, Bill Sienkiewicz
Writer/artist: John Higgins (The Curse Of The Crimson Corsair)
44. Before Watchmen: Silk Spectre #3 (DC, 2012) ****
Writer: Darwyn Cooke/Artist: Amanda Conner
Writer/artist: John Higgins (The Curse Of The Crimson Corsair)
45. Before Watchmen: Minutemen #3 (DC, 2012) ****
Writer/artist: Darwyn Cooke
Writer/artist: John Higgins (The Curse Of The Crimson Corsair)
46. Spike: A Dark Place #2 (Dark Horse, 2012) ***¼
Writer: Victor Gischler/Artists: Paul Lee & Andy Owens (interior);  Jenny Frison (cover)
47. Fashion Beast #1 (Avatar, 2012) ****½
Writers: Alan Moore, Malcolm McLaren & Antony Johnston/Artist: Facundo Percio
Originally a movie script and it shows. I wish it might still get made one day, but this will do nicely in the meantime. Beauty & The Beast in a near-future world where fashion rules. I love this tale.
47. Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 9 #13 (Dark Horse, 2012) ***¼
Writer: Andrew Chambliss/Artists: Georges Jeanty & Nathan Massengill (interiors)/Phil Noto (cover)
48.-55. Mighty TV Comic #1314-1316, 1337-1338, 1402, 1404, 1415 (Polystyle Publications, 1977-79) *
Writers/artists: various
I bought these British weekly comics many years ago on eBay in a deranged state of nostalgia. Mighty TV Comics was one of the first comics I ever bought as a kid and I seem to recall the issue I bought had a giant poster of Leela (the savage warrior woman who was Tom Baker’s sexy assistant in Doctor Who for a time). So it definitely had an impact on my developing psyche. Reading the comic 35 years later and I can’t believe I ever wasted money on it. The comic had the gimmick of being a tabloid comic that folded out into a broadsheet. However, that just meant the badly-drawn comics were blown up to twice their usual size, something that the art doesn’t warrant or deserver. Lame one-page gag strips featuring the likes of Tom & Jerry and the Pink Panther were broken up by longer serious strips such as Dr Who and Star Trek, the latter easily the pick of them as it appears to be an American reprint (possibly from the Gold Key run). I also noted with interest that Mighty TV Comic “incorporated” (i.e. “absorbed”) both Tom & Jerry Weekly and TV Action (the latter being a particularly good weekly comic in the late 60s and early 70s). By January 1979, TV Comic (as it was now called) wasn’t so mighty. It was a straight tabloid in the tradition of other weekly mags, but at least the paper quality was better (and not the toilet paper that was used two years earlier). The action strips were now Charlie’s Angels (woefully drawn), Dr Who (not much better) and a non-TV related strip, The Kicktail Kid, about Buzz Blaze and his skateboard. Yes, it was pretty awful, but the art was surprisingly nice – I suspect it was done by David Lloyd (later of V For Vendetta fame), but I could be wrong. What surprised me most about TV Comic was how little value for money it was – only 16 pages for 10p (or 25c in Aussie money). That was terrible!
56. Wolverine Annual #1 (Marvel, 2012) **¾
Writer: Alan Davis/Artists: Alan Davis & Mark Farmer
The wrap-up to this year’s ClanDestine storyline. Surprisingly mediocre. But Davis’s art was gorgeous as usual.
57. The Infernal Man-Thing #3 (Marvel, 2012) **
Writer: Steve Gerber/Artist: Kevin Nowlan
Man-Thing original tale from Savage Tales #1 (1971)
Writers: Gerry Conway & Roy Thomas/Artist: Gray Morrow
Not really worth reviving this overwritten old Gerber tale, but at least Nowlan’s art is nice to look at.
58. America’s Got Powers #3 (Image, 2012) ***¼
Writer: Jonathan Ross/Artist: Bryan Hitch
59. Angel & Faith #13 (Dark Horse, 2012) ***¼
Writer: Christos Gage/Artist: Rebekah Isaacs (interior), Steve Morris (cover)
60. Sidekick #9 (free with Comic Heroes #13, 2012) ***½
Writers/artists: various
Convinced me to buy both Absalom: Ghosts Of London and Spandex: Fast And Hard, so this anthology sampler again did its job.
61. Gangland #2 (Vertigo, 1998) *** ½
Writers/artists: various
Weird crime yarns featuring a swag of great artists including Richard Corben.
62.-63. Hyper-Actives #0-1 (Alias Enterprises, 2005-06) **¾
Writer: Darin Wagner/Artist: Clint Hilinski
Super-brats who are more interested in fame and fortune than saving folk. It’s been done before, but I’ll reserve judgment on this miniseries till I read the last three issues. 
64. Nevada #1 (Vertigo, 1998) ***¼
Writer: Steve Gerber/Artists: Phil Winslade & Steve Leialoha
I have a story to tell about Nevada, but I’ll save it till I read the rest of this six-issue miniseries. I like what I’ve read so far.
65.-66. Sebastian O #2-3 (Vertigo, 1993) ***½
Writer: Grant Morrison/Artist: Steve Yeowell
Underrated nasty miniseries from Mr Morrison.
67. Will Eisner’s Quarterly #1 (Kitchen Sink Comix, 1983) ***
Lots of Eisner art, so who’s complaining? Plus a Neal Adams interview that reveals how artistically bankrupt he’d become by the early 80s.
68.-71 The Ride Vol. 1 (Image, 2007) ****
- originally published The Ride #1-2, The Ride: 2 For The Road & The Ride: Foreign Parts (12 Gauge Comics, 2007)
72. Bill & Ted’s Excellent Comic Book #1 (Marvel, 1991) **
Writer: Evan Dorkin/Artists: Evan Dorkin & Stephen DeStefano
Somehow more annoying yet less funny than the movies.
73.-76. Nick Fury, Agent Of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Who Is Scorpio? (Marvel, 2000) ***
- originally published in Nick Fury #1-3,5 (Marvel, 1968) **
Writer/Artist: Jim Steranko & friends
Beautiful art but my God! Steranko couldn’t write to save his life. Awful yarns, although Scorpio would go on to become a fascinating character in the hands of others
77. Animal Man #0 (DC, 2012) ***
Writer: Jeff lemire/Artist: Steve Pugh
78. Earth 2 #0 (DC, 2012) ***¼
Writer: James Robinson/Artist: Tomas Giorello
79. The Hypernaturals #3 (BOOM!, 2012) ***¾
Writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning/Artists: Tom Drenick & Andres Guinaldo
80. New Crusaders #1 (Red Circle, 2012) ***
Writer: Ian Flynn/Artists: Ben Bates & Gary Martin
81. World’s Finest #0 (DC, 2012) ***
Writer: Paul Levitz/Artist: Kevin Maguire
82. Hell Yeah #5 (Image, 2012) **
Writer: Joe Keatinge/Artists: Andre Szymanowicz & Fabio Redivo
Aaaaaaand I’m outta here.
83.-85. No More Heroes #1-3 (self-published, 2012) ***½
Writer: Grodon Mclean/Artist: Caio Oliveira
86. Marvel Super Heroes #3?? (Marvel & ACP, 2012) **
Writers/Artists: various
A kiddies licensed comic featuring The Avengers, Captain America and Dr Strange. Now with free stickers!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Kirby Your Enthusiasm, ep. 24: "Who's Watching Before Watchmen?"




IT'S 46+ minutes of steaming goodness as I review a bunch of great comics and graphic novels I've read in recent months. There you go, AW, a review of Parker: The Score for ya! :)

I'd love your feedback on this and other podcasts. Email me HERE. You can also find me at Facebook at Kirby Your Enthusiasm HERE.

Download the podcast HERE.

And now for some quick plugs:
Mike Pindell does an excellent podcast, The Comic Book Attic HERE. I also highly recommend another podcast, Derek Coward's Comic Book Noise HERE.

When in Sydney, buy all your comics, TPBs and other goodies at Kings Comics HERE. For great, cheap back-order deals thanks to our very strong Australian dollar, head to Lone Star Comics in Texas HERE.



 
A horrific scene from 'Uzumaki Vol. 2'

Our own Comics Journal...and it's not pretentious crap. Yay!


I LOVE this Aussie comics news, views and reviews site (and not just 'cos I'm one of its contributors). Check it out at http://australiancomicsjournal.com/.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

KIRBY YOUR ENTHUSIASM, episode 23: NOW is the time!


IN WHICH I'm joined by Lord Mark Williamson to discuss all things comics-related, beginning with a progress update on the pilot to his very funny TV series Unemployed Super-Villains.

We then discuss superhero movies, in particular The Avengers.
 
Next, I talk about my recent joy in completing some of my series runs including V For Vendetta and Miracleman. Thanks to Lone Star Comics.
 
After that, I give some rapid positive reviews to the Before Watchmen event (a longer review will appear in an upcoming podcast), Super ProK.O.! Vol. 2 (Oni Press, Jarrett Williams), Fury MAX (Marvel, Garth Ennis & Goran Parlov), Mind MGMT (Dark Horse Originals, Matt Kindt), The Hypernaturals (BOOM!, Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning with art by Brad Walker& Andres Guinaldo) and Fashion Beast (Alan Moore, Malcolm McLaren & Antony Johnston/Artist: Facundo Percio)
I also wonder out loud whether Mark Millar is the most consistently entertaining writer right now. Lord Mark suggests Ed Brubaker. We debate the topic.
And we wrap up an entertaining near-100-minute podcast with an in-depth discussion on Marvel NOW! What are the pros and cons of the reboot/reimagining? And what titles are we looking forward to?

Here's the LINK so enjoy!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

COMICS READING FOR AUGUST: “It’s destiny...ClanDestine-y”



* NOW WITH STAR RATINGS (ala Wrestling Observer Newsletter PPV reports) *

 

HOW I RATE THE COMICS VIA THE ALAN MOORE SCALE

*****   Watchmen, Marvelman, V For Vendetta

****     From Hell, Supreme, Swamp Thing, Whatever Happened To The Man Of Tomorrow?

***        League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen (the first two series), Axel Pressbutton, Tom Strong

**           Promethea

*             LoEG: Century: 1969

DUD  (or lower)     anything he’s written for Avatar or any of the non-comics drivel he shits out on a regular basis

1.-17. Strangers In Paradise Pocket Book 2 (Abstract Studio, 2004) ***¾

- originally published in Strangers In Paradise Volume III #1-17 (Image/Abstract 1996-98)

Writer/artist: Terry Moore

I really enjoyed this volume, detailing the ongoing adventures of Katchoo and Francine, although Terry’s storytelling ability doesn’t hold up when you read 17 issues in one hit. For starters, everyone in this series yell. A LOT. And the driving storyline of criminal mastermind Darcy Parker trying to get one of her “girls” into the White House has too many ludicrous holes in it to ever work for a supposed evil genius. More successful are Moore’s later stories in this omnibus: a four-part look at the early school friendship between the two key characters, and a whacky Xena: Warrior Princess pastiche that’s a light, fun read. Moore’s artwork is reminiscent of Jaime Hernandez and is quite exquisite. I’l l be interested to see if his storytelling improves over the next four volumes.

18. -27. ClanDestine Classic HC (Marvel, 2008) ***¾

- originally published in Marvel Comics Presents #158, ClanDestine #1-8 & X-Men/ClanDestine #1-2 (Marvel, 1994-96)

Writer: Alan Davis/Artists: Alan Davis & Mark Farmer

28.-32. ClanDestine #1-5 (Marvel, 2008) ***

Writer: Alan Davis/Artists: Alan Davis & Mark Farmer

33. Fantastic Four Annual #33 (Marvel, 2012) ***

Writer: Alan Davis/Artists: Alan Davis & Mark Farmer

34. Daredevil Annual #1 (Marvel, 2012) ***¼

Writer: Alan Davis/Artists: Alan Davis & Mark Farmer

35. Super Crooks #4 (Marvel, 2012) ****¼

Writer: Mark Millar/Artist: Leinil Yu

36. The Mighty Thor #2 (Newton Comics, 1976) **

 - originally published in Journey Into Mystery #101-102 (Marvel, 1964)

B&W reprint title from Australia. I grew up with these comics, but looking at them now, the reprinting quality and general shoddiness of the editing is appalling.

37.-45. Batman Inc.: The Deluxe Edition (DC, 2012) ***½

- originally published in Batman Inc. #1-8 & Batman Inc.: Leviathan Strikes (DC, 2010-12)

Writer: Grant Morrison/Artists: various

At its best, this first volume features some amazing artwork, quirky storytelling and some nicely revived old Batman supporting characters. Lord Death Man’s appearance in the first two issues is a real highlight, as is Man Of Bats’ one-issue appearance. But the series goes into a convoluted plot that I couldn’t really grasp and I was left with a final sour taste in my mouth along the lines of, “Grant’s being too clever for his own good again.”

46.-51. Daredevil by Mark Waid Vol. 1 (Marvel, 2012) ****

- originally published in Daredevil #1-6 (Marvel, 2011)

Writer: Mark Waid/Artists: various
- The grim and mentally pummelled Bendis/Brubaker Daredevil is gone, replaced with an old-school fun-loving DD that’s kinda cool to read, especially as Waid hasn’t ignored what’s gone on before in the series, but incorporated it in his own unique take on the Hornhead character. Is Daredevil now truly crazy, or is he trying to deal with his fucked-up world in the only way he knows how, by being a balls-to-the-wall swinging superhero? Waid lays the foundations for what should be a pretty damn good series. I’ll be back for Volume 2.

52.-57. Guardians Of The Galaxy: Legacy TPB (Marvel, 2009) ***¼

- originally published in Guardians Of The Galaxy (Marvel, 2008-09)

Writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning/Artist: Paul Pelletier & Rick Magyar (interiors), Clint Langley (covers)

Where it all began. Kinda cool and I love Rocket Raccoon.

58. The Underwater Welder by Jeff Lemire (Top Shelf, 2012) ****½

Moving, unpredictable, unforgettable.

59. Fil Barlow’s Zooniverse (Milk Shadow Books, 2012) ****

Writer/artist: Fil Barlow

60.-64. Fantastic Four: First Family (Marvel, 2006) ***½

Writer: Joe Casey/Artists: Chris Weston & Gary Erskine

65. Power Company #15 (DC, 2003) ***½

Writer: Kurt Busiek/Artist: Gary Chaloner

I got this for Chaloner’s art, which is very nice. As is the Will Eisner homage. Manhunter vs Batman – lovely stuff.

66. The Creep #0 (Dark Horse, 2012) ***¾

Writer: John Arcudi/Artist: Jonathan Case (interiors), Frank Miller (cover)

67. Punk Rock Jesus #2 (Vertigo,  2012) ****

Writer/artist: Sean Murphy

I fucking love this story of a cloned Jesus Christ winding up as a reality TV star.

68. Before Watchmen: Rorschach #1 (DC, 2012) ****

Writer: Brian Azzarello/Artist: Lee Bermejo

69. Before Watchmen: Dr. Manhattan #1 (DC, 2012) ****

Writer: J. Michael Straczynski/Artist: Adam Hughes

70. Before Watchmen: Nite Owl #2 (DC, 2012) ****¼

Writer: J. Michael Stracynski/Artists: Andy & Joe Kubert

71. Before Watchmen: Ozymandias #2 (DC, 2012) ***

Writer: Len Wein/Artist: Jae Lee

72.-73. Revival #1-2 (Image, 2012) ****

Writer: Tim Seeley/Artist: Mike Norton

The dead are back, but not as zombies. Just back. How does a small Wisconsin community deal with it? How do the police handle it? A fascinating, creepy, X-Files-style yarn.

74.-75. Mind MGMT #3-4 (Dark Horse, 2012) ***¾

Writer/Artist: Matt Kindt

76.-77. Tarot: Witch Of The Black Rose #3-4 (BroadSword Comics, 2000) ½*

78.-80. Justice Inc. #2-4 (DC, 1975) **½

Writer: Denny O’Neil & Paul Levitz (on #4)/Artists: Jack Kirby & Mike Royer, Joe Kubert (#4 cover)

Kirby!!!

81.-83. Ministry Of Space Omnibus, Ministry Of Space #3 (Image, 2004) ****

Writer: Warren Ellis/Artist: Chris Weston

Another underrated sci-fi yarn by Ellis. A dark and entertaining alternative reimagining of the space race, where England won.

84. Legends Of The DC Universe (DC, 1999) ***½

Writer: Mark Evanier/Artists: Steve Rude & Bill Reinhold

Rude may be shit at personal finances but he fucking rocks as an artist. This old-school yarn featuring Superman, Jimmy Olsen, The Guarian and a bunch of Fourth World characters really rocks.

85. Fury MAX #5 (Marvel, 2012) ****

Writer: Garth Ennis/Artist: Goran Parlov

86. Beasts Of Burden: Neighbourhood Watch (Dark Horse, 2012) ***½  

Writer: Evan Dorkin/Artist: Jill Thompson

87. The Hypernaturals #2 (Boom!, 2012) ****

Writer: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning/Art: Brad Walker & Tom Derenick

88. World’s Finest #4 (DC, 2012) ***½

Writer: Paul Levitz/Artists: George Pérez & Scott Koblish, Kevin Maguire

89. Earth 2 (DC, 2012) ***½

Writer: James Robinson/Artists: Nicola Scott, Eduardo Pansica, Trevor Scott & Sean Parsons

90. Judge Dredd #2 (DC, 1994) **

Writer: Andrew Helfer/Artists: Mike Avon Oeming & Jimmy Palmiotti

Judge Dredd done completely wrong

91. Dredd Rules! #14 (Fleetway, 1993) ***

Writers/artists: various

Judge Dredd done right.

 92.Fatale #7 (Image, 2012) ****

Writer: Ed Brubaker/Artist: Sean Phillips

93. The Rocketeer: Cargo Of Doom (IDW, 2012) ***½

Writer: Mark Waid/Artist: Chris Samnee

94. Spike: A Dark Place #1 (Dark Horse, 2012) ***¼

Writer: Victor Gischler/Artists: Paul Lee & Andy Owens

95. Extermination #3 (Boom!, 2012) ***½

Writer: Simon Spurrier/Artist: Jeffrey Edwards and V. Ken Marion

This shit just got interesting. Superman as psycho rapist. Sick...  

96. The Victories #1 (Dark Horse, 2012) ***

Writer/artist: Michael Avon Oeming

Well, now at least, I can say I’ve seen a super-powered vigilante actually rip a man’s head off and shit down his neck.

97. Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 9 #12 (Dark Horse, 2012) ***

Writer: Andrew Chambliss/Artists: Georges Jeanty & Nathan Massengill

98. Solo #12 (DC, 2006) **

Writer/artist: Brendan McCarthy

Overrated trippy tosh.

99. Mondo #3 (Image, 2012) ***

Writer/artist: Ted McKeever

After three issues, all I can say is, “WTF?”

100. Maximum Hero (Maximum Press, 1995) ½*

Writers/artists: various

A hilarious time capsule look at everthing that was bad about mainstream comics in the mid-90s, this mag came as a free supplement in Hero Illustrated.  Featuring sub-Rob Liefeld wannabe art by the likes of Dan Fraga, John Stinsman and Marat Mychaels. The only two things of interest are the brief preview of Brian Denham’s My Name Is Mud (more later) and a teaser spread for Todd Nauck’s Wildguard. What I found interesting was what Wildguard’s first incarnation appeared to be very Liefeld-ish before eventually morphing into something far quirkier and, dare I say it, entertaining.

101. My Name Is Mud #1 (Incognito Comics, 1994) DUD

Writer/artist: Brian Denham

Before it got picked up by Maximum Press, MNIM got one self-published issue. I wonder if the Maximum dudes read it before offering Denham a deal. Confusing art – at times quite good, at other times very amateurish – dumb storyline, unlikable characters with confused motives, and appalling dialogue. This is utter shit. Of course, Maximum never did anything with MNIM either and it disappeared (thank goodness). Denham, however, went on to become a pretty good artist and does a lot of steampunk cheesecake pin-ups for Antarctic Press these days.

102. Batman: Earth One (Special Preview Edition) (DC, 2012) **

Writer: Geoff Johns/Artist: Gary Frank

Yawn...yet ANOTHER retelling of Batman’s origin. This time, the only fresh tweak by DC’s go-to man is that Alfred isn’t a prissy, sarcastic butler. He’s actually a bad-ass ex-soldier. Stupid. Thankfully, Frank’s art is as gorgeous as ever. But I can’t be arsed buying this redundant piece of cynical hackery.

103. By The Time I Get To Wagga Wagga (Harrier, 1987)

Writer/artist: Eddie Campbell

My brother lives in Wagga Wagga, which is why I bought this comic. How many comics have Wagga Wagga in the title? None, I tells ya!

104. It Girl! And The Atomics #1 (Image, 2012) ***½

Writer: Jamie S. Rich/Artist: Mike Norton (interior), Michael & Laura Allred (cover)

What a boss start. This comic is all kinds of cool.

105. Plastic Farm #1 (self-published, 2001) **¾

Writer/artist: Rafer Roberts

I’ve heard recommendations from Mike Pindell of The Comic Book Attic about this self-published B&W comic, so when I finally got the chance to grab a few copies, I did. This first issue is very quirky. In a nutshell, a hung-over guy tries to remember what he drunkenly did the night before and blames his behaviour on his alter ego, The Kamikaze Kid. The comic then segues into a bizarre Western tale. All in all, an intriguing, bizarre start to the series. I’m interested to read more.

Friday, August 24, 2012

COMICS READING FOR JULY: “Legionnaire’s disease”


* NOW WITH STAR RATINGS (ala Wrestling Observer Newsletter PPV reports) *

 
HOW I RATE THE COMICS VIA THE ALAN MOORE SCALE
*****   Watchmen, Marvelman, V For Vendetta
****     From Hell, Supreme, Swamp Thing, Whatever Happened To The Man Of Tomorrow?
***        League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen (the first two series), Axel Pressbutton, Tom Strong
**           Promethea
*             LoEG: Century: 1969
DUD  (or lower)     anything he’s written for Avatar or any of the non-comics drivel he shits out on a regular basis

 
1.-6. Angel & Faith #6-11 (Dark Horse, 2012) ***½

Writer: Christos Gage/Artists: Rebekah Isaacs, Chris Samnee (#10 only)

A few patchy moments during the “Drusilla is now sane” saga, but the story’s picked up nicely with the arrival of Rupert’s amoral great-aunties. Better than Buffy right now, I suggest.

7. Hell Yeah #4 (Image, 2012) ***¼

Writer: Joe Keatinge/Artist: Andre Szymanowicz

This better be a miniseries ’cos I’m growing tired of the story and Andre’s sub-manga art. It better pick up next issue or I am gonski.

8. Hit-Girl #1 (Icon, 2012) ****¼

Writer: Mark Millar/Artist: John Romita Jr

As good as Mark Millar says it is.

9. Fatale #6 (Image, 2012) ****¼

Writer: Ed Brubaker/Artist: Sean Phillips

10. Batman Incorporated #2 (DC, 2012) ****

Writer: Grant Morrison/Artist: Chris Burnham

11. Get Jiro! (Vertigo, 2012) ****½

Writers: Anthony Bourdain & Joel Rose/Artists: Langdon Foss with José Villarrubia   

A great mash-up of spaghetti western, insane Japanese gangster flick and the Lifestyle Food Channel! Foss is channelling Chris Burnham channelling Frank Quitely. An exquisite, completely nutty, very tasty slice of sci-fi goodness.

12. The Hypernaturals #1 (Boom!, 2012) ****

Writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning/Artists: Brad Walker, Andres Guinaldo

BOOM! gave Abnett and Lanning a clean slate and a new universe to create in and what did they give us? The Legion Of Super-Heroes. Thank fuck it’s very good version of LoSH, in fact probably the best we’ve seen since....oooooooh, the last time Abnett and Lanning wrote LoSH. In the far future, the latest version of the Hypernaturals go missing (presumed dead) and it’s up to two rookies and two retired members to form a new team and find out what happened. A great start to what promises to be another great title from BOOM!

13.-18. The Complete First Six Issues Of Mad (Russ Cochran, 1985) ****

- originally published in Mad #1-6 (EC Publications, 1952-53)

19.-20. EC Classics #10 (Panic) (Russ Cochran, 1987) ***½

- originally published in Panic #1-2 (EC Publications, 1953-54)

Writers/artists: various

21. LoEG: Century: 2009 (Top Shelf, 2012) ****

Writer: Alan Moore/Artist: Kevin O’Neill

Give the devil his due, this is a return to form for the league and a fine ending to an otherwise unsatisfactory trilogy.

22.-37. Strangers In Paradise Pocket Book 1 (Abstract Studio, 2004) ****

- originally published in Strangers In Paradise Volume I #1-3 (Antarctic Press, 1993-94), Strangers In Paradise Volume II #1-13 (Abstract 1995-96)

Writer/artist: Terry Moore

I picked up all six pocket book omnibuses of this award-winning indie series at Elizabeth’s Bookshop in Sydney for $84. Bargain! This romantic, comedy/action series details the tangled lives and loves of Francine, her friend/wannabe lover with a dark secret Katchoo and Katchoo’s boyfriend with a darker secret David. The first three issues is a basic tale of Katchoo avenging Francine after she’s jilted by her douchebag boyfriend Freddie. The next 13 issues go into more detail about Katchoo’s sordid past as an escort and, possibly, an assassin employed by the evil Darcy Parker (her former lover and, shockingly, David’s sister). It all moves along at a rollicking pace and any gaping plotholes are quickly papered over by slapstick violence and some interesting storytelling techniques, including a few nifty prose sequences. All in all, I enjoyed this first volume a lot and can’t wait to get to Vol. 2.

38. Free Comic Book Day: The Hypernaturals (BOOM!, 2012) ****

Writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning/Artists: Brad Walker & Tom Derenick

39.-41. Worlds’ Finest: Huntress & Power Girl #1-3 (DC, 2012) ***½

Writer: Paul Levitz/Artists: George Perez, Kevin Maguire & Scott Koblish

42.-44, Earth 2 #1-3 (DC, 2012) ***¼

Writer: James Robinson/Artists: Ncola Scott & Trevor Scott

The rebooting of the JSA is starting slowly but surely. Not sure about a gay Green Lantern, but y’know..whatever.

45. FCBD: Worlds of Aspen 2012 (Aspen, 2012) ***

Writers/artists: various

46. FDBD: Lady Death: The Beginning (Boundless Comics, 2012) **

Writers: Brian Pulido & Mike Wolfer/Artists: Marcelo Mueller, Jason Eden (cover)

Nice tits.

47. FCBD: Jurassic Strike Force 5 (Silver Dragon Books) *

 Writers: Joe Brusha & Neo Edmund/Art: Pasquale Qualano

48. FCBD: Witchblade (Top Cow/Image) *½

Writers: Ron Marz, Tim Seeley/Artists: John Tyler Christopher, Diego Bernard & Fred Benes

Nice tits.

49. FCBD: The Ride/Anti (12-Gauge, 2012) ***

Writers: Nathan Edmondson (The Ride), Peter Calloway (Anti)/Artists: Paul Azaceta (The Ride), Daniel Hillyard, Brian Stelfreeze (Anti)

50. FCBD: The Smurfs/Tinkerbell (Papercutz, 2012) *

Writers/artists: various

51 FCBD: Bongo Comics Free-For-All/SpongeBob Comics (Bongo, 2012) ***

Writers/artists: various

52. FCBD: The Transformers: Regeneration One (IDW, 2012) *

Writer: Simon Furman/Artists: Andrew Wildman & Stephen Baskerville

53. FCBD: Dinosaurs & Aliens (Liquid Comics, 2012) ***¾

Writers: Grant Morrison & Barry Sonnenfeld/Artists : Mukesh Singh & Liquid Studios

Surprisingly good. It intrigued me enough to buy the graphic novel.

54. FCBD: Sonic The Hedgehog (Archie, 2012) **

Writer: Ian Flynn/Artists: Ben Bates & Terry Austin

55. FCBD: Star Wars/Serenity (Dark Horse, 2012) ***

Writer: Zack Whedon/Artists: Davidé Fabbri & Christian Dalla Vecchia (Star Wars), Fabio Moon (Serenity)

56. FCBD: Bad Medicine #1 (Oni Press, 2012) ***½

Writers: Nunzio DeFilippis & Christina Weir (Bad Medicine), Antony Johnston (Wasteland)/Artist: Christopher Mitten

57. FCBD: Mega Man (Archie, 2012) DUD

Writer: Ian Flynn/Artist: Patrick Spaziante (interior), Chard Thomas, Fabio Redivo and Evan Stanley (cover)

58. FCBD: The Intrinsic (Arcana, 2012) DUD

Writers: Sean Patrick O’Reilly, Casey Jones & Erik Hendrix/Artist: Allan Otero

59. Blackguard #4 (self-published, 2012) **½

Writers/artists: various

The usual hit-and-miss anthology strips from the usual crew. This time, the topic is “fear”.

60. Richard Stark’s Parker: The Score (IDW, 2012) *****

Writer/artist: Darwyn Cooke

 61.-65. Mystery Society #1-5 (IDW, 2010) ***½

Writer: Steve Niles/Artist: Fiona Staples

66.-68. Seaguy: Slaves Of Mickey Eye #1-3 (Vertigo, 2009) ***½

Writer: Grant Morrison/Artist: Cameron Stewart

69.-71. Beautiful Killer #1-3 (Black Bull, 2002) ***½

Writer: Jimmy Palmiotti/Artist: Phil Noto

72. Angel & Faith #12 (Dark Horse, 2012) ***½

Writer: Christos Gage/Artist: Rebekah Isaacs

73. Hit-Girl #2 (Icon, 2012) ****

Writer: Mark Millar/Artist: John Romita Jr

74. Before Watchmen: Comedian #2 (DC, 2012) ***

Writer: Brian Azzarello, Len Wein (The Curse of the Crimson Corsair)/Artist: JG Jones, John Higgins (The Curse of the Crimson Corsair)   

75. Before Watchmen: Silk Spectre #2 (DC, 2012) ***¾

Writer: Darwyn Cooke, Len Wein (The Curse of the Crimson Corsair)/Artist: Amanda Conner, John Higgins (The Curse of the Crimson Corsair)   

76. Before Watchmen: Ozymandias #1 (DC, 2012) ***

Writer: Len Wein/Artist: Jae Lee, John Higgins (The Curse of the Crimson Corsair)   

77. Before Watchmen: Minutemen (DC, 2012) ****

Writer/Artist: Darwyn Cooke; Writer: Len Wein/Artist: John Higgins (The Curse of the Crimson Corsair)

78. Supurbia #4 (BOOM!, 2012) ***¼

Writer: Grace Randolph/Artist: Russell Dauterman

79. Secret (Image, 2012) ***¾

Writer: Jonathan Hickman/Artist: Ryan Bodenheim

80. The Secret Service #3 (Icon, 2012) ***¾

Writer: Mark Millar/Artist: Dave Gibbons

81.-82. The Infernal Man-Thing #1-2 (Marvel, 2012) ***

Writer: Steve Gerber/Artist: Kevin Nowlan  

83. Extermination #2 (BOOM!, 2012) ***½

Writer: Simon Spurrier/Artist: Jeffrey Edwards

Edwards’ art leaves me cold, but there’s at least one disturbingly horrific scene that would make Mark Millar and Garth Ennis proud.

84. Gen 13: Ordinary Heroes #2 (Image, 1996) ****

Writer: Adam Hughes/Artists: Adam Hughes & Mark Farmer

A really cool conclusion to this micro-series that makes me want to check out more of Gen 13.

85. Sebastian O #1 (Vertigo, 1993) ***½

Writer: Grant Morrison/Artist: Steve Yeowell

Intriguing.

86. The Psycho #1 (DC, 1991) *½

Writer: James D. Hudnall/Artist: Daniel Brereton

Nice art, shame about the dull story of super-spies and betrayal. Brubaker did this so much better in Sleeper.

87. Rocketeer Adventures 2 #4 (IDW, 2012) ***½

Writers/artists: various

88. Buffy The Vampire Slayer season 9 #11 (Dark Horse, 2012) ***½

Writer: Andrew Chambliss/Artists: Georges Jeanty & Nathan Massengill

89. Mind MGMT #2 (Dark Horse, 2012) ****

Writer/artist: Matt Kindt

90. The Freedom Collective #1 (Rough Cut Comics, 2009) ***

Writers: Colin Barr & El Sloano/Artist: Dominic Regan  

A nice Jack Kirby-esque pisstake from the UK.

91. Punk Rock Jesus #1 (Vertigo, 2012) ****¼

Writer/artist: Sean Murphy

The return of Christ as a cloned reality TV star. Awesome concept.

92. Fury MAX #4 (Marvel, 2012) ****¼

Writer: Garth Ennis/Artist: Goran Parlov

The best Nick Fury comic ever written.

93. Dial H #3 (DC, 2012) *

Writer: China Mieville/Artists: Mateus Santolouco (interiors), Brian Bolland (cover)

A confusing mess. I can’t be bothered trying to follow this title anymore.