A.K.A. the curse of the 5th week. Ok, that’s a little harsh. Sometimes 5th weeks are awesome in the world of comics and packed with specials and events oh the fun, other times its just an excuse to dump out a few trades and poop out some filler.
The kings of filler this week are the folks at DC Comics. Nothing to speak of for their New 52 here, other than one Batman title and the second issue of LOSH secret origin that we’ll get to in the reviews. The rest of their releases are filled with video game tie-ins and trades (including Absolute Hush, a steal at $100 for a story that’s probably been washed out of cannon.) I did hover over the video game tie-books to be honest. inFamous, Uncharted, and the DCUO comic, I’ve played all the games, I have enjoyed all the games. Hell I even read the first few issues of the DCUO one since I still play that game, but… do I need to read it? Maybe it’s just that the DCUO book that turned me off the idea of reading about a game I could be playing. That book was (and I assume still is) terrible.
This fifth week is also the unofficial (or official, I don’t know, no one sent me any invitations to the party) anniversary of Marvel Comics, which they are celebrating with… VARIANT COVERS! Lots of them. Well, that is lame. I really hate the whole variant cover thing, really. Yes, they are often pretty, but also pretty useless and petty. It’s still that lame old 90’s trick to get me to shell out more money just because someone may or may not be wearing pants on the cover and that makes it rare. I will, however revisit a boyhood favorite title of theirs this week.
The rest of the companies? Looks like Dark Horse just publishes Bettie Page merch these days, IDW dole out new issues of two really great books, Start Trek and the insanely great TMNT. Oh, and Archie, yes the gang from Riversdale rock and roll all night and party every day with the rock band Kiss. Will I read that? Will anyone?
Let’s get to the fast and dirty reviews and see!
|SKULLKICKERS #12||IMAGE COMICS:story JIM DEMONAKOS, KYLE STEVENS, HOWARD TAYLER, ZACH WEINER & JIM ZUBart JOEL CARROLL, MIKE LUCKAS, BEN MCSWEENEY & JOE NG
cover SAEJIN OH
|Until today, I had no idea this book even existed. The shelves being a little thinner than usual due to the 5th week in November and all allowed a comic about a ginger dwarf and some sort of extra roided-up Mr. Clean clone jump out at me. Yes, this is a stop gap 5th week book between story arcs and they use it to treat us to four very separate tales by four separate creative teams. This is four times the good, people.The first story, written by Jim Demonakos and Kyle Stevens (yes those crazy kids from Kirby Krackle) is by far the best. Its basically a bar brawl between the two main characters and a band of assassins (that is, a band who are also assassins). It reminded me of how a great D&D game can go to complete craziness around 2am when the DM is hopped up on Cheetos and diet Dr. Pepper and it was just as fun as that too. Also we finally get answers to what a drum kit golem would look like. This book is damn near educational.
The following 3 tales are great too, from one about a (seemingly Australian) hunter and the pain he suffers at the hands of the (seemingly conservationist minded) Skullkickers, to a sweet ass funny riff on fantasy comics with “The Beholder” to a hauntingly cute and grim story on the perils of unicorn hunting for profit (there is a panel here that just might be my next tattoo, and I swear if someone guesses which one it is, I will give you some kind of prize, promise. Bigger prize if you agree to get the same tattoo!)
Admittedly I am more sci-fi than fantasy, but this book is so in my wheel house, I feel shame for not knowing about it till now but I will be picking it up next month.
|VERDICT: Safe to safe if you like fantasy, gore, humor and, don’t have anything against stout gingers, this issue is a great starting point on a damn good book. Conversely if you buy just one humor, gore, fantasy based book this year, this is the one.|
|DAREDEVIL #6||MARVEL COMICS: Story by Mark WaidArt by Marcos Martin
Cover by Marcos Martin
|This issue marks the first time I have bought a Daredevil comic since the release of the 2003 movie staring Ben Affleck. No, I have not avoided the comic due to the movie, I think it is more due to my subconscious avoidance of touching anything Affleck has touched. Sorry Jennifer Garner, I can not help it.I have long been a Mark Waid fan (his Wally West-Fash run will always be the definitive one for me, suck it Geoff Johns and your Barry Allen love, Wally will always be my Flash because of this man) Wow he is in fine form here, he really knows how to give us Matt Murdock and more importantly make Daredevil exactly who he should be. There was a certain writer a decade or so ago that introduced a grim and painful drama to the characters life, since then every other writer has seemingly tried to toe that line and try and replicate it. Putting the character through a lot of hardship and pain. Waid has finally given him a break from that and the book is good, maybe even better than what we’ve read with the character enduring what he’s had to over the last few years.
(small side note: while reading this book – Golden Earings – Twilight Zone came up on my iPod and lasted throughout the whole read. freakin perfect.)
So here is what Waid has done, he has made Daredevil win again. The long standing tragedy has been organically removed to a believable point making the character fun again. The hype around this book is very well deserved. The issue is action packed and shows a wonderful love for the character and the universe he inhabits.
So, Daredevils new big bad guy, The Bruiser, is great. A modern villain for sure, he is into breaking people but has his own website (think Bane meets Booster Gold.) He’s deadly and brutish with a power set I can’t quite figure out yet, pasted with logos of his hopeful employers (Marvels biggest and badest criminal organizations) he proceeds to open up a can of whup ass on the man without fear. Marcos Martin’s pencils are fantastic and dynamic, the action flows with an energy that is paramount fine comic books, Waids script is compelling and entertaining. He actually makes a McGuffin out of a core symbol of the Marvel universe and it works! It’s not cheap, its actually really cool.
Had I known this book was this good 6 months ago, I would have already started reading it and not be playing catch up right now. Thank you for making Daredevil a fun read again.
|VERDICT: Once a popular character that has spent years upon years trying to reignite the spark that made him popular finally has a fresh approach, one that will make him popular again in a whole new way. Mr. Waid, well done, well done indeed.|
|FLASH GORDON: ZEITGEIST #1||DYNAMITE COMICS: Story by Eric Trautmann, Alex RossArt by Daniel Indro
Cover by Alex Ross, Francesco Francavilla, & Paul Renaud
|Not to sound like a hypocrite about the whole variant cover thing, (and he is the goto artist for a variant cover purely because they sell) when I see a Alex Ross cover, I am very likely to take a look at a book. Hey, the man does good work. When I see Alex Ross draw Flash Gordon, I don’t look, I buy!Flash Gordon is one of those tales that is told and retold again and again. He is a classic character and my hat tips to any creative team that attempts to retell his stories. So what do we have here? Something familiar and well done all in one.
The book starts with a clear call back to the far under rated 1980 movie that did give me much glee, and it doesn’t stop there. The team behind this book has done very well mixing the familiar with the new. Personally I have read a lot, if not all, of the various incarnations of Flash Gordon over the years. This gives us a nice mix of the familiar with a great new set of twists.
Rather than attempt to update the character yet again, Trautmann and Ross are doing a pre-WWII period piece here. As for the twists? Well, Zarkov is a little different from the classic and retold tales. He’s not so much a mad scientist as a completely batshit insane one. Seriously, the dude has some issue. Oh, and then there is this Hitler guy. It ends with a very intriguing direction, let’s say that.
The book starts with a great mix of the golden age, actually I can’t even say mix, this book is a golden age tale just a little more realistic than the ones told back at the start of the comic book industry.
|VERDICT: You’d be doing yourself a discredit by not buying this book, really. Either you know who Flash Gordon is and will love it, or you don’t know and it will make you love it. it is Flash (AHHHH) he’ll save everyone of us.|
|LEGION: SECRET ORIGIN #2||DC COMICS:Written by PAUL LEVITZArt by CHRIS BATISTA and MARC DEERING
Cover by TOM FEISTER
|Here we go again. I have seriously lost count to how many times the Legion of Superheroes have had their story retold/rebooted. I did buy the first issue last month, purely for the Legion flight ring you got with it, yes that cash grab ploy worked on me, but mostly because I am a die hard Booster Gold fan, but anyway.I am pretty sure I read the first issue, really I am. But all the other retellings of the LOSH really blur together for me since they are all fundamentally the same. It’s not bad bad thing really, and yes if you compare the early Superboy days to say the mid 80’s, sure it is different. Coming into issue two that blur continues.
Yes this is a more sophisticated telling of the LOSH origin, a little deeper, and little more real and intriguing, but, I have said that in the past about the other retellings, I think.
I guess the base of it all is, if you are a Legion fan, you should buy this book, you will get what you are expecting, a good version of what you are expecting, since we all know there has been some god awful LOSH in the past.
If you are not a Legion fan, you know this is the ultimate starting point, you are getting enough of the basic and eternal information to keep up with the long time fans and you aren’t missing out on anything, PLUS you are getting in on the new minor twists!
Ok, maybe there is more than just minor changes to the LOSH story here, I just get confused after the umpteenth reboot. I still enjoyed it though.
|VERDICT: It’s a must read for the LOSH fan, since its the new story you have to accept, but you are used to that. For everyone else? What can I say, its still a good story, just as good as the past ones and the LOSH has been around that long for a reason.|
Once again, suggestions are always welcome, and if you guess the tattoo from Skullkickers, you will win a prize!
(warning, prize maybe something just sitting around my office)