Sunday, February 15, 2009

YOU'VE BEEN WARNED VOL II Issue VII

**As always, mind the spoilers, fanboy.**

- OPENING REMARKS -


Batman #686
by Neil Gaiman & Andy Kubert
DC Comics


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I'm sad to report that one of the most anticipated Batman events since ... um ... Batman: R.I.P. is kinda a dud. Don't get me wrong, it's not a bad story. Maybe I'm just jaded and/or hallucinating. It seems to me though that the whole "Batman's dead and all his former adversaries are eerily mourning his passing" thing's been done a few times with this character before (i.e. The Many Deaths of Batman, and The Strange Deaths of Batman, off the top of my freakin' head). Sure, it's funny to see Batman die in hilarious and embarrassing ways, like being held hostage by Selina Kyle the old maid, or by a hopped-up freakin' thespian, but DC's been hyping this story out its collective ass and, shock of shocks, it's not backing up all its buzz. If you're gonna be making allusions to Alan Moore's Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow, you'd better bring it hardcore, 'lest you look like a damn fool, yo.

Kubert's art is awesome, as we've all come to expect, but if you're looking to get blown away you're better off, like, getting a gun and doing it yourself, because this title's not packin' enough firepower to get the job done. It might just wound you, and wounds just aren't as fun as you might think. Or something. Mediocre. That's the point I'm trying to make here. Mediocre.

I Saw You: Comics Inspired by Real-Life Missed Connections
by everyone (edited by Julia Wertz)
Three Rivers Press


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I can't remember the last time I bought an indie compilation so overwhelmingly enjoyable (it was probably True Porn. I'll give you three guesses why that was so thoroughly enjoyed). It has it's weak points, as all compilations do (*cough* Austin English *cough*), but the vast majority of it is jam-packed with humerus, depressing, or disturbing adaptations of a fascinating cultural phenomenon, rendered harmoniously by names big and small. Highly recommended for all youse comix fans. Be warned though: reading this book will almost definitely implant in you an uncompromising desire to read the "missed connections" listings on Craigslist. I know it did for me, dammit.

Orange
by Benjamin
TokyoPop


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This is my first (and probably last) TokyoPop purchase. I knew I was getting into a publisher whose primary market revolved around mopey teenage emo kids and all the gender, body, and whatever other issues such a demographic wallows in. I had hoped though, hoped against hope, that Orange would be different. It sounded interesting at the time: a young, suicidal girl is tossed violently into disillusionment by a drunken stranger, who sacrifices himself to show her the beauty of existence. Just typing that synopsis makes me realize what a mistake I made.

This may have been an enjoyable read if I were fifteen years younger, and a girl. It may also be enjoyable if you're a fan of Manga-esque art, as I admit it's visually a very gorgeous piece. Everyone else should steer the fuck clear, particularly if you're a suicidal teenager who's easily influenced, and happens to think leaping off a building and splattering one's insides across a crowded sidewalk far below is romantic.

Also, the protagonists name is "Orange." I spent the entire book thinking, "Orange you glad your name isn't 'Banana.'" I don't know if this is the authors fault for giving his character a goofy name, or my fault for being a manchild. Either way, that shit's distracting.

Young Liars #12
by David Lapham
Vertigo (DC) Comics


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Every single issue of this series is fucking insane. Seriously. Every single solitary issue is unpredictable, vulgar, horrific, confusing, and addicting. This issue tops them all. I can barely keep up with what's going on, but I love every fucking second of catch-up I'm forced to play. This is the most unpredictable, ballsy series on the shelf right now. If you're not reading this book, if you don't start reading this book this very instant, sequentially you're only half-alive. Live, people. Read this book.

Hotwire: Requiem for the Dead #1
by Steve Pugh & Warren Ellis
Radical Comics


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I know what you're thinking: a comic based on a Warren Ellis story, written and drawn by an artist no one's ever heard of, from a publisher with the word "radical" in it's name, is going to suck like a hooker on Sunday (i.e. quickly and with much guilt). I know that's what I thought (not that I know how a hooker sucks on Sunday). Surprisingly, I was wrong. What we have here is an unexpectedly fresh, creepy idea, rendered with stunning, popping art. For lack of imagination, this title's a bit like "Ghostbusters" meets "Dirty Harry," except in this case Harry Callahan's a purty lady. It's better than that though. Don't listen to me and my crappy analogies.

I bought this book expecting to get taken for a ride on the ol' proverbial Salomi slide. Instead I got a decent read. Score one for me. I just hope Mr. Pugh can keep this pace up.

- PICK OF THE WEEK -
Scott Pilgrim Vol. 5
by Bryan Lee O'Malley
Oni Press


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Like so many fanboys, I've been growing up with Scott Pilgrim, which no doubt makes me helplessly partial to the title. I may not be maturing quite as slowly or gracefully as the protagonist, but nonetheless I feel this character's struggle parallels my own. Thematically I may be reading into this too deeply for some people's tastes, but I know my fascination for O'Malley's unexpected epic is not a solitary occurrence. That's why I'm not upset that reality has become more predominant in the narrative with this latest volume. That's what happens when you run out of adolescence, people. As Scott, and I, and you, and everyone else continue to grow and learn, we all realize (as this newest installment demonstrates) that no love worth saving is unblemished or easily attainable.

Sniff ... I love this book, man. I love this book.

- PAN OF THE WEEK -
Thor #600
by J. Michael Straczynski, Oliver Coipel, Mark Djurdjevic, and everyone else
Marvel Comics


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Fucking Marvel.

This is quite possibly the most underrated title Marvel's putting out right now. Stracznski's latest arc is the best Thor story I've ever read (although admittedly I haven't read a lot of Thor). I've never been so engrossed in this often tedious throwback of a character before. And then here comes some cocksucking editor (so rumors say), deciding the world needs a big 600th issue celebration. And he takes the conclusion to Straczynski's first gripping arc, throws a colossal mound of horseshit in the back of the book, and jacks up the price by not one, but two fucking dollars. You literal goddamn motherfuckers (so rumors say).

Okay, I'll admit Chris Giarrusso's satirical cartoonings are amusing, but goddammit who in fuck's name decided to put 25 pages of reprints in the back of the fucking book? I'll tell you who: someone with a fucking calculator who realized paying royalties to the Lee/Kirby estates equalled a fraction of the percentage nearly doubling the book's price would bring in. Once again, Marvel puts it's sore laden cock in fandom's unkempt but relatively pristine ass and just fucks the shit out of it.

Hey, you know what I'd pay an extra dollar for? To be spared reading anything Stan Lee has written in the last decade. Excelsior!

Once again, up yours, Marvel.

You've been warned.

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