Friday, November 02, 2007

This Week's Haul: Before The Storm

Just a quick announcement before I get started. You might not hear from me for a few days (which isn't too unusual these days). The reason is because we are scheduled to get slammed by Hurricane Noel tomorrow. Last time we got hit with a storm this size, we lost power for quite a while. So that's what I'm prepared for.

Now I am thinking that this tree-top level apartment with a glass front, while nice, might not be the best location for this storm.

But enough of this unpleasantness. At least I have plenty of comics to read.

And here's what I thought of some of the ones that came out this week!

Action Comics #858

I was really looking forward to this, and I was not disappointed. Gary Frank's artwork is beautiful and Geoff Johns' writing is, as always, stellar.

It's a little confusing, in that it is a story set in current continuity, but borrows a lot from the past. It feels like a Year One story, mostly due to the emphasis on Clark Kent's loner status, and inability to relate to humanity. Of course, this has to ignore the fact that he is happily married, which this comic does.

But I'm not complaining. Especially not if we get delightful pages like this one, with classic grouchy Perry, awkward Clark and enthusiastic Jimmy:

That panel of Clark examining his tie kills me.

We also get some great flashback scenes of Clark as a lonely kid, when he meets the Legion for the first time. This was pretty adorable and heartbreaking, as a friendless young Clark thinks he's found someone who understands lonliness:


I really liked this remark, as Superman faces who he believes is Brainiac, but is actually Brainiac 5 in an elaborate plot to get Superman's attention:


It's nice to see Superboy and the legion. Especially with art this nice.

Superman ends up traveling to the future, just like the good ol' days, and finds out the hard way that Earth has a red sun in the 31st century:


Looking forward to more of this!

Batman #670

Ra's Al Ghul is back and he's effing terrifying!


This, along with this week's Robin Annual, more or less begins the big Resurrection of Ra's Al Ghul crossover, which will be continued in Batman and in Robin. I'm not super pumped about it, just because I've been enjoying the non-event issues of both Batman and Robin. But Grant Morrison is still writing, so it's not going to suck.

I am also liking Damien more and more:

You tell him, kiddo!

On a similar note, the Batman and Son action figures were released this week, and they look great! There's a very awesome Tim Drake, and a sweet-looking Batman. If you want a Man-Bat figure, there's a nice one of those, and the Joker one is fun to pose. I'm surprised they didn't make a Talia figure. It would have made more sense than the Joker.

52 Aftermath: The Four Horsemen #3

This entertaining Big Three story continues to roll along, with Giffen's inter-hero banter getting increasingly silly:

I have a hard time believing that Batman would ever say 'Hello' in that manner. He may as well have said "Ex-squeeze me?"

One thing this issue is really good for is Snapper Carr burns. Batman really hates that guy.

And no wonder. He really is an annoying twerp.

Superman still has that bite on his arm, and it's bothering him. It's like Harry Potter's scar. It burns when evil is near:

Still fun, still exciting. I recommend. If you read only one 52/Countdown tie-in, make it this one. Or Black Adam.

But Black Adam doesn't give you this:

Justice Society of America #10

I re-read Kingdom Come this week in preparation for this issue. Every time I read that thing I notice something new.

So Kingdom Come Superman shows up, and he's all "When Kingdom Come, you ready? Not only NYC, I'm hip-hop's saviour, so after this flow you might owe me a favour."

This was great. I loved Starman's interaction with Kingdom Come Superman:

Ha! All out of the colour yellow! Man, I love that guy.

This Superman likes to talk a lot about regret and failure and mistakes and tragedy. And he does, for a really long time. Then he decides to up and leave, which results in a JSA dogpile:

Superman impresses me by overcoming Starman's gravitational powers:

There's tough, and then there's that. Well done, sad Superman.

Daredevil Annual #1

Man, this was so fantastic. I love annuals, and I love Daredevil, so I was expecting greatness. This went above and beyond. Totally my pick of the week.

The thing about Annuals is that it usually involves a guest artist, and sometimes a guest writer. Or it's several short stories. This was a Brubaker story, with an Ande Parks script and Leandro Fernandez doing pencils. My only worry going into this was "Well, after all the Brubaker/Lark issues, this might be disappointing." NOPE.

This comic was amazing. It opens with Daredevil struggling to fight off some Yakuza boys. He's struggling because he has the flu, which he continues to have for the remainder of the issue.

Now the cool thing about giving Daredevil the flu is that it messes with his heightened senses. He can't smell anything, and his congested head and his high fever are making things very difficult. So he's making lots of mistakes. Painful mistakes:

The art is beautiful, as you can see. No need to miss Lark on this book.

I liked how Matt slinks off after the fight to go pass out:

That's not what that's for, Matt.

So yeah, sick Daredevil. Very interesting, and kind of cute:

Aw, who needs soup?

Mainly, though, this is a story about Carlos LaMuerto, aka Black Tarantula. He has just been released from prison on parole. He got along well with Matt in jail, and he looks him up on the outside. Matt gives him a job at the firm, helping Dakota. Dakota is not into working with a violent ex-con. Carlos is not into her attitude:

LaMuerta gets frustrated by the uselessness of the legal process when it comes to actually helping people in the neighborhood. He takes things into his own hands, but with good intentions. Even so, Matt doesn't want to see Carlos go back to his old ways. He offers him a chance to suit up as Black Tarantula and help him fight the Yakuza. It works well, because Matt still isn't at 100%:

I love that scene.

Unfortunately, Carlos can't restrain himself from using extreme violence, except now he wants to clean up Hell's Kitchen, rather than run it. He feels responsible for a lot of the damage done to the neighborhood, and sets about making things right. Which involves killing a lot of bad people.

Matt is, needless to say, disappointed.

Like I said, this is a great comic, and it's extra-long. Do read it.

Countdown to Adventure #3

This issue opens with Buddy's son, Cliff, going nuts and attacking Kory with a knife. It's pretty intense:

Cliff is just one of many people all over the place to be infected with something that makes them worship Lady Styx. People are trying to kill each other everywhere.

In the middle of all this, Ellen is concerned about her marriage. She asks Buddy the question that's been on her mind ever since the scantily-clad space princess arrived at their door:

Sadly, this is all Buddy has to say for himself:


The Adam Strange Pages are all really great. I like his narration. He's tough.

I can't read the Forerunner back-ups at all. They make me sleepy.

Death of the New Gods #2

I finally got to read #1 this week. The store sold out of it pretty quickly. It's a pretty good series so far, even if poor Barda has been killed off.

Here's the JLA at the murder scene:

Here's what I like about this page:

1. Red Arrow isn't doing anything. He's just chilling, and looking as cool as possible.
2. Superman is like "Uh, what's Vixen doing exactly? Looking for cookies?"
3. Barda's outline, while not supposed to be funny, kind of is.

In the next panel Red Arrow has apparently removed his shirt. I approve:

I like it when colouring errors work in my favour.

I also like that Hal is talking like Batman. And Black Lightning is being a little inappropriate. "Are you sure she's in here? It's kinda light. I mean, she is Big Barda, right?"

Mr Miracle changes his clothes:

Poor guy. Sniff.

Superman accompanies him back to New Genesis with Barda's body. Orion takes one look at Superman and loses it. Man, that guy is just angry all the time. did NOT go there, Superman.

Unfortunately, he did. And this means a pointless fight between the two of them for the next few pages:


It lasts until Metron shows up. Then Orion wants to fight him.

Orion, you have got to chill, bro. You can't just beat up everyone who stops by. In three successive panels Orion is like "I'm gonna kill you, Superman! No, I'm going to kill YOU, Metron! No! I'm going to kill Darkseid!" It's exhausting being Orion. "Milkman! I'll kill you!"

I'm going to wrap it up there. And other comics can be discussed in the comments. Like the giant heaps of comics that count down to various things. But not that X-Men Messiah stuff. I don't read that.


Patrick C said...

I know it's sacrilege and I never thought I'd say it, but I enjoyed the Forerunner back up more than the main story this month.

My comic shop sold out of Four Horsemen, so I'll have to hold off on that unfortunately.

I loved Gary Frank's art in Action Comics this month, if he stays on for longer than this arc I may finally be buying a Superman comic again.

I'm enjoying Death of the New Gods, but if the end result is as promised, I'll be really, really annoyed. Not to mention I already dropped much bucks on the 2 Fourth World Omnibuses (Omnibi?) out so far.

Anonymous said...

Gary Frank's cover (the one with the Legion flight ring on Supes' hand) turned me off in the solicits, but his interior art was pretty dang good.

Good to see Todd Rice back in JSA with actual dialogue, and not as a super evil bad guy.

If you're not reading Legion of Super-Heroes, Dennis Calero's art is quite good. He draws such an adorable homicidal Atom Girl / Shrinking Violet. Tony "I'm Challenging Geoff Johns For Most DC Books Written Per Month" Bedard's story is good stuff too - following Mark Waid can be tough.

--qlrrl, flower girl from Omicron Persei 8

Paul McCall said...

I'll buy the Death of the New GOds when it gets to a collection but Starlin's interpretations of the DC characters is just weird looking!

rachelle said...

Patrick - Hmmm...maybe I should give the Forerunner backups more of a chance.
I sincerely hope the New Gods aren't really leaving us forever. I am only reading this because I think it's not really going to end like that. But don't worry! Even if they die, your't crumble to dust! The New Gods will live forever in those pages.

qlrrl - It was nice to see Todd back. That was a surprise. I actually haven't been reading Legion of Super-Heroes. I do like Tony Bedard and Mark Waid, though, so I don't really know why I haven't been reading. Maybe I should start.

Paul - Yeah, Starlin's art in New Gods isn't my favourite, but it isn't so bad that it's turning me off.

SallyP said...

Gosh, for the first time, I felt a little bit of sympathy for Damian. And I COMPLETELY agree with Batman, that Snapper Carr is irritating beyond belief.

Frankly I found the dogpile on top of sad old Superman to be hilarious for some reason. And yes, it was delightful to see Todd for a change. I loved it when Alan asks him what did he say to set off Superman!

Orion is an idiot. Vixen jumping on the fridge was just weird.

Anonymous said...

I'm getting awfully tired of seeing the Justice League milling around murder scenes. It kinda made sense in Identity Crisis when a handful of heroes with specific abilities scoped out the crime scene, but just walking the JLA line-up through doesn't make sense. Black Lightning, Red Arrow, and Black Canary's abilities don't contribute anything, and Vixen's weaker-than-Superman's-powers powers are redundant.

Unless they've solicited an issue featuring Barda's funeral, I'm guessing they had the JLA there with six people carrying her out in lieu of giving her a ceremony.

Man, I hate DC these days.

Rich said...

"Milkman! I'll kill you!"

Fricking hilarious.

Only read a couple of these, but I'm still stuck on Superman's bullet wound. He was surprised, sure, but shouldn't he have been in excruciating pain? A BULLET WENT THROUGH HIS DAMN HAND. Instead his reaction was like "Huh, how about that? And I can't fly. Poop."

Anonymous said...

I kind of like the fact that not only did red arrow take his shirt off at the murder scene but also found the time to dye his hair.

Talk about cold.

Anonymous said...

Next to Vixen it also says that Monday is dinner with Lois and Clark. I don't know if I should be happy because super heroes have friends or sad because it never happened :/