May 31, 2012
Since I don’t have quite as much free time anymore, I’m liking this new model of “posting clumps of short reviews every so often,” as opposed to just writing until I feel stupid every Wednesday. Other stuff I was doing will be folded back in–right now the only issue is getting the rest of my life’s schedule in tune, before I worry about, you know, blogging for fun.
America’s Got Powers #2
Image Comics. Plotted by Jonathan Ross and Bryan Hitch. Scripted by Jonathan Ross. Penciled by Bryan Hitch. Inked by Andrew Currie and Paul Neary. Colored by Paul Mounts.
The first line of dialogue in AGP #2 is “With a total of two fatalities and seventeen serious injuries in the first show, the all new America’s Got Powers is the most talked about and highest rated show on the planet.” Unfortunately, Ross and Hitch still haven’t found any deeper veins to mine. Hitch draws the hell out of it–his stuff’s looking better, and far more energized, than it has in years, if we’re being frank–but it’s not enough sizzle to overcome a lack of steak. Tommy Watts, mysterious figure of great power in the tradition of Final Fantasy protagonists, is still something akin to a hapless pawn surrounded by dickhead rockstar supercocks and characters about whom the descriptor ‘suits’ says everything. The stakes still feel arbitrary, and the world around Tommy is still neat details arranged without pattern or cohesion. But fuck, that Hitch art.
Self-published. Imagineered by Michel Fiffe. Acquire here.
The only good tribute to the Suicide Squad is a tribute that ends with a pie in the face. Michel Fiffe takes Ostrander, Yale, McDonnell, et al.‘s post-Crisis-DC masterpiece, Suicide Squad — from my perch, the best ongoing they ever published — and, in sixteen pages, runs breathlessly through nearly everything that made the old series fantastic. It’s not quite a cover song, so much as a band’s catalogue crammed into one five-minute medley. Government-corralled black-ops team the Suicide Squad is at war with their snarly terrorist rivals, the Jihad — until the mission goes to hell, almost literally. Fiffe eschews modern continuity-cop tactics for the terse, declarative style of 80s action movies and 8-year-olds, and spends panel after panel indulging design ideas too clever for trash pulp superheroes to really deserve. It’s handsomely-printed showboating — but what’s the point of infringing copyright if you’re not going to show off?
Icon/Marvel Comics. Plotted by Mark Millar and Nacho Vigalondo. Scripted by Mark Millar. Penciled by Leinil Yu. Inked by Gerry Alanguilan and Michael Jason Paz. Colored by Sunny Gho and Javier Tartaglia.
What’s entirely welcome about Supercrooks is how briskly it moves. The premise of this series has always been something like “Ocean’s Eleven robs Sean Connery, except they’re all assholes,” and it gets exactly as much page time as it needs. Does that mean zipping through maybe-romantic subplots with two pages of conversation, as opposed to a twenty-page Special Luke, We Need to Talk Issue? Hell yes, and praise Jesus. The characters are thin, the plot beats are familiar, and the villain is as old and tired as he claims to be (his revenge for someone ripping him off is the sort of thing Mark Millar lives to make other humans draw). Brevity is the soul of heists, though. Leinil Yu continues to elevate the entire book with his pencils, keeping his lines loose but limber in a way that entirely suits the ropey, silly material. It’s his show to steal.
love and luck and LTZ
April 25, 2012
This weekend, I went to the Boston Comic Book Convention, where Simon Bisley both let me drink some of his vodka and also made fun of my hair. (I had it coming–my latest haircut has not turned out the way I’d hoped.) On the first day, I waited in line for two hours before the show opened, and all that hard work of standing around and overhearing people cheer a football game in a bar across the street led me to this:
And really, everything after that point was just gravy. Also, I had to have my arms amputated after carrying around an Elektra by Frank Miller and Bill Sienkiewicz Omnibus hardcover in a tote bag all day. My shoulders still have yet to forgive me.
But all that is the past, and here at Comics Drink and Go Home, all we give a fuck about is the present, so here’s a questionable present to you, the reader: this week’s stupid comics for jerks.
Marvel Comics. Written by Ed Brubaker. Penciled by Alan Davis. Inked by Mark Farmer. Colored by Laura Martin.
So ends Powerless, and with it the New Brubaker-Davis Team. The movie-tie-in Captain America relaunch has put a shot into the arm in nearly every aspect of the title–whereas a couple of the Bucky-Cap stories felt relatively adrift compared to the brick-upon-brick buildup of Bru’s Winter Soldier and Death of Cap arcs, the new series has that old feeling back… that sensation of trust, the suspicion that this is all adding up to something bigger than the sum of its parts. On the first arc, American Dreamers, we had art by Steve McNiven–which is always a treat, although his recent change in inkers hasn’t done him an incredible amount of favors. For this one, Powerless, we have Alan Davis, he of Captain Britain, Excalibur, ClanDestine, D.R. and Quinch…
The plot of Powerless is simple enough, when one reduces it to a blurb: Codename: Bravo and his crew, including the believed-dormant Machinesmith, are using Madbombs to trigger riots in American cities, while a mysterious phenomenon keeps draining Cap of his powers and reducing him to a 98-pound weakling. Most of that gets resolved here, and some of it is left to be carried over into the next storyline.
That things get accomplished efficiently in Captain America #10 is pretty much the most shocking thing about reading it. It’s become such a near-omnipresent style of the times for comics to stretch their legs and, in doing so, stretch out plot beats until they feel like getting around to them, that a single comic moving briskly is a feat in and of itself. Cap’s body problems get fixed, mysterious revelations about the Madbomb crowds are brought to light, the Madbombs themselves are nullified, Falcon gets into a couple fights with people, Sharon and Cap have an almost-confrontation, and Machinesmith gets a virus, which will no doubt lead to unfortunate blog posts from people enraged that one of Marvel’s few openly gay characters would be ‘infected with a virus.’ All this, and Alan Davis, too–who seems to luxuriate in his big, open page compositions, and who brings a love of kineticism and stagey facial acting to a story that some other artist would have no doubt turned into a stark, bleak race-riot noir.
There’s something very comic booky–and far from in a bad way–about the whole package here. This is an exceptionally odd comment to have to make, considering we’re talking about comic books.
Marvel Comics. Written by Mark Waid. Illustrated by Marco Checchetto. Colored by Matt Hollingsworth.
Daredevil #11 is the third and final chapter of The Omega Effect, a minicrossover that started in Avenging Spider-Man and ran through Greg Rucka’s Punisher. The plot thus far: 1. Daredevil has been in possession of a macguffin called “the Omega Drive,” which contains priceless information about every ‘megacrime’ syndicate in the Marvel Universe, and which is apparently the yin to the Identity Disc‘s yang. 2. Because no one in the entire Marvel U can keep a secret, the Punisher (accompanied by his new sidekick, Cole or Alves or whoever) and Spider-Man both ended up caught up in this whole Omega Drive affair. 3. Punisher’s sidekick, Cole/Alves/Cole-Alves/Calves, betrayed Daredevil on the last page of Punisher #10, in a spectacular failure of clear and readable storytelling. (At first glance I thought Daredevil’s plan for destroying the Omega Drive included, for some reason, a willing stage dive into a crowd of hostile villains.)
Marco Checchetto worked on Daredevil a few years ago, filling in for Rob de la Torre on Andy Diggle’s brief and bland run on the title. (I can’t find a quote right this minute–I’ll edit it in if I do–but I seem to recall Diggle claiming Marvel editorial basically plotted Shadowland for him in an AMA on Reddit. Since I’m relying on memory here, god knows what the case is, and take this tangent with a grain of salt.) Checchetto’s art was interesting there–he was clearly aping de la Torre’s style of the time, which involved quite a bit of Photoshopped New York City architecture and deep, scratchy shadows cast across figures. At the same time, he had a brightness and clarity of expression that de la Torre’s Daredevil art was often missing, and at the time, I honestly preferred Checchetto to the guy he was filling in for.
Here, I wish I could say the same. Maybe it’s just a consequence of having to bang out an entire three-issue crossover designed to come out in the space of a month, but Checchetto’s artwork here just isn’t very… well, interesting. Look at this page, which is from a sequence of Daredevil furiously tracking down Calves after her betrayal of the team:
The sheer lack of energy here is overwhelming. It even works against the captions given: What is it, exactly, about an empty street run through a Photoshop filter that offers “too much sensory input?” Why doesn’t Calves seem even a little tense, considering DD just explained why her snatch-and-grab plan was extremely poorly thought out? The next page is a wordless pin-up homage to Joe Quesada that doesn’t even properly follow through on the idea that Daredevil is being chased. Whatever wildness Checchetto’s style had while aping de la Torre is gone here, and it doesn’t even have the heavy-shadow atmosphere that could have made up for it.
I’m picking on Checchetto’s art because it’s a damn shame that it lets the story down. Waid’s writing is as sharp as ever, and because he’s so sparing with letting us see the dark, angry, Frank-Miller-y side of Daredevil, moments like his outburst at Calves–”I am sorry for your loss! But if you genuinely believe that only the death of a loved one can motivate a human to take up a cause… then get your pathetic, cynical ass out of my way so I can do my job!”–and her stunned silence afterward carry more weight than they would in a more generally apoplectic book. It does feel like a bit of a cheat in the end–there’s not so much a satisfying conclusion as a a dissolution of the team-up–but at least we’re back to business as usual with Waid and Chris Samnee in… seven days? Jesus Christ.
Marvel Comics. Written by Danny Fingeroth. Penciled by Mike Manley. Inked by Mike Manley, Ricardo Villagran, Bud LaRosa, and Bob Wiacek. Colored by Joe Rosas and Kevin Tinsley.
One of Marvel’s Sensational Character Finds of 1991, dArkhawk has returned from total obscurity over the past ten years, now residing comfortably in mere semi-obscurity thanks to guest spots and supporting roles in titles like Runaways, The Loners, and War of Kings. Now, capitalizing on some sort of “people will buy anything” policy within Marvel’s trade-paperback department (see also: the ongoing series of West Coast Avengers hardbacks–a team dArkhawk was a member of, which can’t be a coincidence), dArkhawk Classic Vol. 1 collects the first nine issues of the series, by Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art Senior Vice President of Education Danny Fingeroth, and Draw! Magazine editor Mike Manley.
Guest speaker and dArkhawk scholar Drew Case is here today to explain the importance and history of dArkhawk, which may go a ways toward explaining this publication’s existence:
The first thing you have to know about dArkhawk is that he is the spirit of the 90’s. He embodies all that is good about the 90’s and all that is bad about it. His origin is 90’s as hell, his powers are 90’s as hell, and his anger management issues are 90’s as hell.
Let’s start by looking at his brilliantly conceived origin story. Chris Powell, is your normal teen just hanging out at abandoned theme parks with his two younger brothers. I don’t live in New York so this might be a pretty common thing to live across from old theme parks. While hanging out at the abandoned them park, Chris sees his cop father taking a bribe from a known mobster. Why did his father decide to set up his bribe money transaction across the street from his house? One simple answer, the Powell family doesn’t think ahead. After seeing his father’s back alley deal going down, Chris freaks out and runs away coming upon a giant pink crystal. Instead of just continuing past it like every other human being he instead brushes off the used condoms and grabs the crystal and is transformed into DARKHAWK! This really is all there is to his origin story. As you read more of the comic you actually forget about his dad or any other pieces of his origin because they don’t actually matter. Everything in his story is flimsy setup for him to find a pink tech crystal and becoming a space robot. This is the perfect 90’s story because it has no substance and gets you right to the part you care about, the part where a robot beats people up.
The most 90’s part about dArkhawk is his powers, which either don’t make sense or are taken from a more popular hero. First, dArkhawk has a claw that unsurprisingly looks exactly like Wolverine’s claws, but it is totally different because he only has one and it is also a grappling hook. We should just rename the 90’s to the Woverines because everything in those years was about how Wolverine you could be. dArkhawk gave it a good try, claw and all. Second, dArkhawk has wings that allow him to fly, which makes his grappling hook even more pointless. It is like the creator got drunk and made a list of powers his awesome robot hero was going to have. Grappling Hook? Check. Claws? Check. Can fly? Check. Wait did I put in someone like flying already? Whatever, I’m too drunk to double check this. Third, dArkhawk has all the generic hero stuff. He is more durable, stronger, and faster than a normal person. He basically has a little Spider-man thrown in there to cash in if that is your kind of thing. You wouldn’t want him to be really original. Lastly, you have to give this robot some real power, maybe some sort of blast like an optic blast but we can’t totally be ripping Cyclops off, how about a chest laser. A laser that shoots out of his pink chest crystal. So with a great mix of random and ripped off powers you have the amazing abilities of dArkhawk.
This may sound like I hate dArkhawk but nothing could be further from the truth. I love dArkhawk. He is the perfect character to read when you don’t want to care about comics. Everything in dArkhawk is carefree. He can go from one issue where he brags about not having to breath in space to the next issue where he freaks out because he thinks he is going to drown while fighting a squidman. dArkhawk is the kind of comic where I can watch two sweaty muscled robots punching each other and trying to gross each other out by taking of their helmets(his robot face is ugly, no one knows why). It also doesn’t try to hide the fact it is absurd. Half of the issues near the beginning of his run are team ups with people whose powers he has ripped off. I have to root for an underdog like dArkhawk, the comic tries to make him seem really important like when people fro mthe future talk about this super awesome hero in the future called ‘The Powell’, and you just know that is never going to be talked about again because it is stupid as hell. A lot of the other dArkhawk historians won’t cover this but dArkhawk is also one of the few chubby chaser suoerheros. Every girlfriend dArkhawk has is a skinny girl who he treats like trash. Obviously, because he has a deep desire for a large girl but can’t get one. He is truly a confilicted hero. Having read the entire original run of dArkhawk, I can tell you it is worth reading if only because dArkhawk the character is a lot of fun even when he is fighting communists or whatever random shit comes up in the series.
Whew! Insightful and informative, as always, Drew. dArkhawk Classic‘s collected tales revolve around the trials and tribulations of Chris Powell adjusting to his strange new status quo, and taking on now-forgotten villains such as Lodestone, Savage Steel, and one of the dead Hobgoblins. It’s all very competent in a 90′s kind of way–Manley seems to go out of his way to let us know that everyone’s on steroids–but it has near-zero relevance of any of Marvel’s ongoing plotlines, and as such it can be mercilessly skipped in favor of AvX: Vs. #1, which will breathe new life into that linchpin of comics readership, “Wouldn’t a fight between Iron Man and Magneto last all of four seconds, because duh, hello, Iron?”
DC Comics. Written by Peter Milligan. Illustrated by Daniel Sampere. Colored by Admira Wijaya.
It’s that time of year for crossovers, I guess–this is part three of Rise of the Vampires, in which Justice League Dark freely intermingles with one of DC’s other spookyverse titles, I, Vampire. Plot summary: refer to title of crossover.
Reading this story is like jumping into the Lord of the Rings movies with Return of the King (or, if you’re a different kind of nerd, substitute any other franchise chain of sequels. Back to the Future Part III. Whatever). Since I haven’t been reading I, Vampire, I’m left with the impression that maybe I should have, if I want to understand even a little bit of what the fuck is going on. Hell, in Part Two, the “I” in I, Vampire is dead, or undead-dead, or something, with no explanation. Considering that the first storyline in Justice League Dark was this link, that leaves a pretty steep upward curve–then again, maybe I’m just the only idiot on the planet who doesn’t read both Justice League Dark and I, Vampire.
Daniel Sampere’s art, which I remember being a bit patchy a month ago (or at least I think I do–my memory of JLD #7 is curiously smudgy), has improved by leaps and bounds, perhaps because a good portion of this issue is relatively tight shots of various characters pulling faces. He’s good at that–I’m not sure about the whole demonic vampiric eldritch horror aspect of it all, but he’s at least handy with his faces and his figures, and hell if that doesn’t go a long way toward reparations. The story still doesn’t make a lot of sense–magic stuff happens, because magic–but at least Milligan seems to have gained more of a sense of purpose, if only because he’s tidying a few things up in his last issue. If only the previous seven had had such beautifully Milliganesque exchanges as the first page of this one:
Constantine: “This must take you back, Brand. The sound of the circus, the smell of grease-paint. You screaming and falling from your swing to a horrible death.”
Deadman: “It wasn’t a swing, you jerk, it was a high-wire. And I didn’t exactly fall… I was shot. And I wasn’t screaming either, okay?”
Dynamite Entertainment. Written by Kurt Busiek. Illustrated by Alex Ross and Jack Herbert. Colored by Vinicius Andrade.
You know, I really like the coloring in this comic. Generally, when it comes to coloring, I’m like “oh, well, I know, um, Dave Stewart, and… um.” (I can probably assuredly identity more letterers from sight than I can colorists, but I’m not 100% sure of that ever since Chris Eliopoulos stopped doing those tall, thin balloon letters that he used to fill X-Men comics with.) My first reaction upon seeing the name “Vinicius Andrade” was to go “oh, wow, that’s totally made up”–and then to Google him, because I wondered why I hadn’t noticed his work before. Red Sonja, Queen Sonja, Invaders Now!… well, that settles that question.
Still, there’s something to be said for a comic book that can embrace modern coloring technology and still go for a bright, clean look that isn’t obnoxiously forced-retro. I’m getting kind of tired of, like, purple and brown and grey and darkish red–the serious comics pallette, which Matt Hollingsworth leaned upon so heavily for The Omega Effect that you’d think he needed a cane. The colors in Kirby: Genesis suit the material, but also enhance it. It’s not like Jack Herbert is a bad illustrator (far from it), but he’s sort of foot-racing a bullet train when it comes to competing with Alex Ross’s LSD-wet-dream color compositions. Andrade backs Herbert up, and makes the lights glow and the chrome shine. Is it realistic? Well, no, of course not. It’s better; it’s Kirby. And Kirby should never be in anything less than Technicolor.
Marvel Comics. Written by Brian Michael Bendis. Illustrated by Alex Maleev. Colored by Matt Hollingsworth.
Moon Knight #12 is both the end of the Bendis/Maleev Moon Knight series and the latest installment of a particular subgenre of comics Bendis has pioneered in the past decade or so, which I hereby dub “HBO Comics.” The parallels are pointedly obvious between just about any Marvel Universe Bendis series and the sort of adult-targeted drama programming you get on HBO–his Avengers run, with subplots and characters drifting off into the either only to suddenly get yanked back into focus when necessary, might as well pay royalties to David Chase and The Sopranos. Moon Knight, at the very least, is a title that was able to sustain this sort of model better than most–the title character is a normal, albeit crazy, guy whose history skews more toward the tradition of the unreliable narrator than lore of the Infinity Gauntlet. Viewed as the 12-comics equivalent of a TV season, Moon Knight doesn’t reinvent any wheels to speak of, but it seems to know what it’s after, and it doesn’t trip over its own feet pursuing it.
While Moon Knight has been an enjoyable example of “comics written like they’re HBO shows,” Bendis still gets a little too indulgent in his finale: when Moon Knight and Count Nefaria, the villain of the series, have a climactic brawl, the repetition of Nefaria’s howls of “MOON KNIGHT!!!” is a pretty baffling miscalculation. One can imagine Bendis hearing his dream actor in his head, screaming the lines so harshly he has to spit up afterward, as the camera closes in on the guy’s face, the whites of his eyes teasing out the mania as the flesh of his face contorts… and so on. On the page, it’s just a couple word balloons going “MOON KNIGHT!!!” and it almost reads like a non-sequitur, or the Sideshow Bob rake gag. (Also: didn’t Spider-Woman also end with the Avengers being called in to outnumber the villain?)
Still, if Moon Knight is remembered for one thing, it will be the simple pleasure of seeing Alex Maleev draw stuff like a super-powered Italian nobleman using his ionic lightning powers to royally fuck up a police station. That man was born to draw lamps and paperwork flying around while people’s bodies explode.
DC Comics/Vertigo. Written by Brian Azzarello. Illustrated by Eduardo Risso. Colored by Trish Mulvihill.
I’ve kept any punditry about Before Watchmen to myself, largely because there are other, more coherent pundits who are doing it better, and I don’t want to feel like I’m sabotaging the cause with my usual wordpuke. That said, I do keep up on things, and one of the key things to keep up on this week is today’s post at the Comics Beat by Heidi MacDonald. Yes, it’s mostly about Before Watchmen, but it also says this:
Did you know that when SPACEMAN, the new book by Azzarello and Eduardo Risso came out last fall, in the middle of the New 52 firestorm, only a single preview was published anywhere on the internet? One week before the book came out, Io9 put out a five page preview. I know because I had been looking for preview pages to run to promote it and there weren’t any.
That was enough to get a ‘what the fuck’ out of me, because this comic is great. I hope more people talk about it when the inevitable hardcover edition comes out–it’d certainly make the conversation easier for those of us who want to nerd out with our peers about it.
DC Comics. Written by Warren Ellis. Penciled by Tom Raney, Pete Woods, Michael Ryan, and Jim Lee. Inked by Randy Elliott and Richard Bennett. Colored by Gina Raney (nee Going).
In the late 90s, it became sort of a trend for independent publishers (i.e. Image partners) to take their pet universes, most of which had began as ill-conceived knockoffs of Big Two superheroics, and put them in the hands of writers who were not inclined to be precious about them, in the hopes of infusing some degree of respectability and prestige. Warren Ellis, cantankerous purveyor of bastardry and second-hand smoke, had just completed a somewhat bumpy run of things in the X-Office at Marvel, and being offered one of Jim Lee’s X-Men knockoff teams must have seemed appealing, if only for the sheer fuck-youishness of it.
Indeed, the very first words of Ellis’s lauded StormWatch run: “My name is Henry Bendix. I am the Weatherman. I am the controller of StormWatch, the United Nations special crisis intervention team. I am the world’s policeman. I am the Weatherman–and I’ve got your New World Order right here.” Subtle as ever, Mr. Ellis.
There are a couple interesting aspects to an archival reprint edition of Ellis’ StormWatch, the most immediately visible of which is the evolution of Tom Raney as an artist. He started off inelegant and a bit cluttered, with people whose faces often looked like they were working against them. As time wore on, he refined his style into something still blustery and a bit stiff, but he figured out how to work it to his advantage, and most of all, how to lay out a page. The Raney at the end of the book is so far from the Raney at the beginning that it’s a bit striking–no doubt because he had to sharpen himself to keep up with Ellis, who was using StormWatch to quietly blueprint nearly every theme that he’s followed since.
Yes, yes, The Authority, blah blah. That paranoid fascination with super-powered people being given unilateral authority (or something approaching it) is very much on Ellis’s mind–dig that quote above, after all. Unfortunately, we won’t see that thread hit its screeching climax until Vol. 2, which will contain the highlight of the run, the three-issue Change or Die. Still, this is more or less the start of Ellis’s fascination with fusing mainstream storytelling to formalist experimentation, culminating in an issue that rolls through the history of century-old character Jenny Sparks in a series of style-swipe flashbacks–a twenty-page proto-Planetary. It’s not a shining diamond or anything, but you really and truly could do a lot worse.
Marvel Comics/Icon. Plotted by Mark Millar and Nacho Vigalondo. Scripted by Mark Millar. Penciled by Leinil Yu. Inked by Gerry Alanguilan. Colored by Sunny Gho.
It looked like Mark Millar might have been able to make it a whole four issues without being willfully offensive for the sole purpose of titillating adult men whose sensitivity is lodged firmly up the ass of their thirteen-year-old junior-high past selves, but then he went and started slinging phrases like “bareback buckaroo” around. Oops! Silly us. The shame of it is that other than the cheap-titillation factor of a supervillain being blackmailed with the threat of outing him–not quite “COP’S GAY SON IMPREGNATES MORON SISTER” or whatever the now-infamous Nemesis plot-point headline was, but still–Supercrooks isn’t a bad comic. It’s not a great one, either, but it could have been a fun little genre flex without the lingering specter of Millarisms.
The star of the show in Supercrooks is Leinil Yu, who’s in his element here, and exploiting his chance wonderfully. Gerry Alanguilan understands the idiosyncracies of Yu’s lines–the penchant for both pools of heavy black and thin fiddly lines, and the balance between them–and Yu himself is getting better and better at composing panels to mine the most out of his facial acting and physical action. The best part of all of it is the backgrounds: instead of fucking around in Photoshop and just digitally treating a photograph to go “oh, look, it’s real as shit,” Yu sketches out these intricate yet open backdrops, almost universally the thinnest lines on the page. They create a world of a piece with his characters, and it’s marvelous to look at–shame about the whole “story” thing.
New England Comics Press. Written by Benito Cereno. Illustrated by Les McClaine. Colored by Bob Polio.
After a mysterious and far-too-long absence–a year? something like that–Benito Cereno and Les McClaine’s Tick series returns, pulling a big-shot stunt like reverting to its original, first-volume numbering. Not only that, but Invincible, the most enduringly popular indie superhero since the dawn of Image Comics, makes a guest appearance, teaming up with the Tick to essentially commit a grand-scale act of solar-system sabotage and probably completely fuck up a whole bunch of orbits and gravitational pulls and other science words.
Following up on continuity from The Tick: New Series that requires copious footnotes to remember (asked and answered), the Tick and his new ally Invincible take on Martin of Mars, a Martian warrior whose evil scheme involves staying on just the right side of copyright infringement. The only problem with all of this–and it is a serious problem–is that we do not get the meeting that the cover implies, between Invincible and the Man-Eating Cow. Tick #200, I guess. Only another 26 years!
Marvel Comics. Written by Kieron Gillen. Penciled by Greg Land. Inked by Jay Leisten. Colored by Guru eFX.
And so, we reach this week’s lone Avengers vs. X-Men outpost, the solemn and necessary followup to a one-panel sequence of Colossus being sucker-punched by Red Hulk in Avengers vs. X-Men #2–famous for Bleeding Cool making a couple jokes about how vaguely homoerotic it was, in keeping with their temporary policy of pointing out how homoerotic every single detail of Avengers vs. X-Men preview material was. Tellingly, the opening scene of this issue–where Cyclops and Emma Frost are briefed on Hope’s Phoenixitis by Dr. Nemesis–does more to set up a coherent motivation for Cyclops than AvX #0-2 have done in total.
The same goes across the board, really–Cyclops, Namor, Hope, Colossus, all of whom receive substantial and insightful narration which helps spackle some sense of motivation and coherency into the gaps left by the main series’ just-the-business approach. Is it too much to ask, though, that the next Uncanny tie-in have the decency to end with Captain America, eyes bulging out of his skull, screaming as he waves an assault rifle at a closet where a shrieking and weeping Hope is hiding?
Dynamite Entertainment. Written by Dan Brereton. Illustrated by Jean Diaz. Colored by Alex Guimãraes.
Vampirella is one of those things I never quite understood the appeal of (along with Witchblade, Lady Death, Dawn, Shi, and every other sexy-sex action series). The idea of assigning a deep and meaningful backstory to a 1970s horror mascot doesn’t make a ton of sense to me, even though I just wrote above about an Avengers vs. X-Men tie-in comic. Every couple of years it seems like someone makes a new attempt to try and convince us that no, really, there’s more to Vampirella than the thong and the boots, there’s a brain in that beautiful skull of hers, and a whole assortment of interesting characters and rogues, and so what if Pepe Gonzalez can’t draw it anymore, certainly the C-listers of today are good enough, really…
Anyway, I thought Dan Brereton could at least try and sway me. After all, I like The Nocturnals, and I was hoping this would have some of its Salem-tourist-culture meets Say You Love Satan appeal. Instead, I realized I might be getting a comic about this:
I powered through despite these misgivings, and realized I was actually getting a comic about this:
In short, I have no clue what the fuck is going on anymore.