Comic Previews for May 2010

I have not done this in a while. Anyway, life has been extremely hectic since the little one came out. I have about 15 minutes of rest time before doing the next thing that is in store for me. In this 15 minutes, I wish to do something that is thoroughly non-work or family related. It seems that comic books have not been a category (see the right hand side menu) that I have dealt with for sometime. Ever since coming across the Diamond Previews online (they made it into web html format), I have often thought of perusing through it to see whether anything tickles my fancy. I have not done this in years! The last time was probably 10 years ago when I actually went through a physical copy in a comic book store back in Melbourne. *sigh… those were the days of care-free living… (actually, not exactly correct)*

Anyway, I don’t buy comic books anymore. Not directly anyway. It is a very expensive hobby although one that is quite good when young, since the comic book reader gets the best of both worlds (words and art). Without further delay, here we go:

My Picks for May 2010

BATMAN RETURN OF BRUCE WAYNE #1 & #2 (OF 6)
Written by GRANT MORRISON Art by CHRIS SPROUSE
$3.99

BAYOU TP VOL 01
Written by JEREMY LOVE
Wired The first book from the original webcomics imprint of DC Comics is here! South of the Mason-Dixon Line lies a strange land of gods and monsters; a world parallel to our own, born from centuries of slavery, civil war, and hate. Lee Wagstaff is the daughter of a black sharecropper in the Depression-era town of Charon, Mississippi. When Lily Westmoreland, her white playmate, is snatched by agents of an evil creature known as Bog, Lee’s father is accused of kidnapping. Lee’s only hope is to follow Lily’s trail into this fantastic and frightening alternate world. Along the way she enlists the help of a benevolent, blues-singing swamp monster called Bayou. Together, Lee and Bayou trek across a hauntingly familiar Southern Neverland, confronting creatures both benign and malevolent, in an effort to rescue Lily and save Lee’s father from being lynched.
$14.99

INVINCIBLE #73
THE VILTRUMITE WAR CONTINUES! Invincible is stranded on an alien planet, clinging to life, left battered and broken from his battle with Conquest. Nolan and Oliver stay behind to nurse him back to health, but meanwhile, out in space, the war rages on.
$2.99

INCREDIBLE HULK #609
Written by GREG PAK Penciled by PAUL PELLETIER
WORLD WAR HULKS CONTINUES! ‘Planet Hulk’ was big. ‘World War Hulk’ was bigger. Now with ‘World War Hulks,’ the Marvel Universe explodes with the biggest emotional story ever to hit Bruce Banner and the Incredible Hulk! Following the mindbending twist ending of ‘Fall of the Hulks,’ everything Bruce Banner knows has been turned upside-down — and everything he’s ever desired may be just a heartbeat away. Written by Greg Pak (PLANET HULK, WORLD WAR HULK) and drawn by Paul Pelletier (WAR OF KINGS, FALL OF THE HULKS: ALPHA), don’t miss the insane action and non-stop revelations as Skaar, Son of Hulk, enters his most brutal battle, Bruce Banner faces his greatest temptation, and the secret identity of a certain scarlet smasher is finally revealed!
$3.99

PUNISHER #17
Written by RICK REMENDER Penciled by ROLANEL BOSCHI
Prelude to PAYBACK! Punisher: REBORN! In the past few months, Frank Castle has had his family desecrated by the Hood, been killed by Daken, been slashed to ribbons by The Hand, been hunted by Microchip’s Deadly Dozen, and had a bounty placed on his head by Jigsaw. But now, The Punisher has made a list of his own. God help you if your name is on it. It’s time for the rise of Frank Castle. It’s time for PAYBACK.
$2.99

JOHN STANLEY LIBRARY NANCY HC VOL 01
(W/A) John Stanley
In John Stanley’s version of the beloved Brillo-headed character, Nancy is no longer a crabby cipher but a hilarious, brilliant, scheming, duplicitous, honest, and loyal little kid – a real little kid. Her adventures with her best friend, the comically destitute Sluggo, involve moneymaking schemes to afford ice-cream sodas, botched trips to the corner store for Nancy’s Aunt Fritzi, and comically raucous attempts to remove loose teeth.
$24.95

THREE FINGERS GN
(W/A) Rich Koslowski
Through a series of never-before-seen interviews and rare photos, documentary-maker Rich Koslowski reveals the horrifying true story behind the Cartoon industry and our most celebrated cartoon actors – the story that Hollywood doesn’t want you to see.. Told in the style of a Ken Burns documentary, with interviews of ‘toon stars today as well as historical ‘file footage’ of the ‘early years,’ you will forever rethink those beloved characters in the white gloves.
$14.95

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Marquis of Death is Clyde Wyncham Fantastic Four #568

The Marquis of Death is an alternate reality version of Clyde Wyncham from the far-distant future. He is the one and only Mutant to have existed in his reality (as is recounted in the mini-series “1985”, I think…) and has spent countless centuries terrorizing and tearing apart The Multiverse.

The whole issue is about the ‘torture’ that the Marquis puts the Fantastic Four through. I have admit that I was expecting more, but then, this is Mark Millar’s story… not mine.

The physical battle was really short… and too gracious on the part of the Marquis. We will see the conclusion next month 🙂

Victor Von Doom Lost Out to the Marquis of Death

Fantastic Four #567 is part two of “Doom’s Master”, a 4 part series done by Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch. Excellent duo, telling another excellent tale. Apparently, Victor Von Doom’s masters have come to ‘visit’ him and ends up conveying their displeasure in Doom’s failures. The result is as follows:

The last page of the issue shows the Marquis of Death donning Doom’s face armour, declaring himself as the ‘New Doctor Doom’. Chilling!

Probably a better read once the trade comes out 🙂

Savage Dragon #144 – A Delightful Surprise (and return!)

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I once started a crazy collection of Savage Dragon 2 years back… it just snapped in my head when I began to track down Erik Larsen’s old Spider-man issues (where he wrote and draw). I like his ‘enthusiasm’ which he articulates through his artwork and plots. It is (almost always) over the top and ‘shocking’. He tries to ‘wow’ the readers by pulling out new tricks from his hat (or rather head). Look at his de facto character of 15 over years (more if you include the fact that he created Dragon from his childhood years): he’s a cop, a team leader, married, fighting with gods (& God, apparently), trapped in another universe, had children, burnt into crisp, etc. etc. 

It gets a bit ‘too much’ after a while… and coupled with his taking over the Editor in Chief position of Image Comics, the title just got ‘snagged’… and suffered. Fan base dwindled (me included), as issues came out sporadically. 

But things changed. He’s no longer busy, except on the Dragon. And surprise, surprise… after that awful Solar Man chapter (I really detested that)… here we have an issue that tells the highlights of Dragon and his newly requainted family’s (Angel and Malcom) day, as it unfolds, day after day. According to Erik (whose signature I plagiarise as my own – his “E” and “N”), the whole issue follows 120+ days in Dragon’s universe timeline. 

Guess what… it works. It is nice to see how each day corresponds to the same day of another week. Recurring issues are dealt and expanded. The nicest moments (to me) revolves around his children’s settling down to their new status quo, after being lost for a long while in Dimension X (ala ‘the Negative Zone’). Dragon’s own battle with a heavy financial burden grounds the whole setting with reality; here is a superhero who is struggling to make ends meet, and has a family to manage. Some things have to be sacrificed (relationships and security). But towards the end, you get glimpses of progress in the life of Dragon and family. 

It makes one go “Awwwwww….”

🙂

Welcome back, Erik Larsen!

Things I liked:

  • Malcom and Angel are back!

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  • Jokes abound (not forced)

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  • The lengthy letter’s column!

Overall Fun Factor: 8.5/10 

Final Crisis #7 – My Last DC Event

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That’s it… I give up. It is confusing… and I think I finally understand what is wrong with the whole Crisis series: It’s not in the writing (because All-Star Superman had the same ‘crammed’ style to it, which worked excellently well), it’s the whole need for the background infopedia of the DC universe and the mismatch art. The art (especially by JG Jones) was above average, but somehow it lacks the pacing and storytelling needed to execute Morrison’s plot and script nicely. I believe Quitely (Frank) would have aced this, but we know that probably would have taken a few years to finish the series. 

I think the artist (J.H. Williams III) who worked with Morrison in his Batman run (The Island of Mister Mayhew) is another who catches the storytelling approach needed to make Morrison’s compressed plots come to life without forcing too much out of the reader. I really like Morrison’s work when it really is executed well (Seaguy, JLA Classified, Batman, All-Star Superman), but Final Crisis is really way too complicated and convulated for my liking. 

Definitely not friendly to the person who wants to just jump on a new series for the fun of it. 

Parts I liked:

  • Black Superman and Wonder Woman. Really interesting. 

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  • Silhouette of Bruce Wayne.

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  • The Title page for this issue. Really appropriate (even though I have no idea how it got there).

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Fun Factor: 4.5/10 

Batman, The Dark Knight Killed by Darkseid in Final Crisis #6

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The last page of Final Crisis #6. The aftermath of a showdown between Darkseid and the Dark Knight. I have to say that the whole series has been extremely confusing. I really tried giving some effort and showing some tolerance for what Morisson and folks were trying to do with the DC universe. But in the end, I cannot be bothered. It assumes way too much knowledge and background information. People like me (casual DC readers) are lost in transition. 

The art is good. I love Carlos’ work (as always). 

The ending for this issue was done well… Superman being ’emo’ over his best friend’s death. He was preoccupied elsewhere (as usual). 

Anyway, my speculation is that NightWing (aka Dick Grayson) would take up the mantle of the bat. I really dislike Damien (Bruce Wayne’s supposed son). 

For great sagas, give me Marvel anytime. At least it is coherent and structured. This Final Crisis (actually all the crisis except the one that started them all, ‘Identity Crisis’, was confusing.