Sunday, July 19, 2009

You've Been Warned Vol II Issue XXVI

Comic reviews by a fan, for the fans.

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

- OPENING REMARKS -

Blackest Night #1
by Geoff Johns & Ivan Reis
DC Comics


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Over the past few years, we fans have collectively been burned by more than a few huge crossover events from the major two publishers. Any event, be it Final Crisis, Civil War, Secret Invasion, or whatever, has been pockmarked with flaws and plagued by inconsistencies, shitty writing, and unpleasant editorial decisions. I for one have watched my love for the super-hero genre shrivel, perhaps never to fully heal again, under this barrage of unpleasantness spawned by these crossovers. I know I'm not alone. These disillusioning events have provided more than enough incentive for fans to quit the business entirely (and more than a few have).

That being said, I am 100% behind Blackest Night. From the start I felt Johns and DC were going about this event the proper way, coolly building it up from the ground at a slow boil, letting the premise develop and ripen from successful story lines in the monthly Green Lantern series. They took their time, aimed carefully, and pulled the trigger. After reading the first issue of the series, I'm convinced they've hit a bulls eye.

Putting a new spin on the tired super-hero resurrection gimmick, this introductory issue of Blackest Night is everything a fanboy could expect and hope for. Flashy pacing, engulfing action, disturbingly attractive visuals, and immediate payoffs are all included. For the reader unfamiliar with the DCU, there's even a healthy dose of exposition weaved seamlessly into the plot to catch you up on all the major bullet points.

Finally, FINALLY, a crossover event I can get behind. Do I dare hope that a title of this caliber can restore my faith in this weary genre? Only time will tell for sure ... (but so far, so good).

The Last Resort #1
by Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray, & Giancarlo Caracuzzo
IDW Publishing


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I've never put a lot of faith into Jimmy Palmiotti's work. This probably stems from the fact that I've rarely read anything he's written without a co-author. Can't say I understand a writer who can't write without someone assisting him. There's nothing inherently wrong with it, I suppose, it just weirds me out. Compound that with a string of painful, eyeball imploding comics he's penned that I've had the misfortune of reading (namely a few Countdown minis and Shanna the She-Devil), and I just said fuck it, this guy's a hack and a half.

Over the last couple years though I've been finding my opinion of the man's works slowly sweetening. As of late he's co-written the sublime Back to Brooklyn with Garth Ennis, and his Jonah Hex book with Justin Gray has been beyond reproach. Giving the guy the benefit of the doubt (again), I picked up The Last Resort (which came highly recommended by the patron of my local shop).

I'm not ready to make a call one way or another about the quality of the book. It's obviously poised to have a B-movie appeal to it, as its overflowing with a who's who of stock characters from your favorite horror movies (Snakes on a Plane comes to mind), all spouting a lot of ridiculous, garish dialogue. These characters and their words work, believe it or not, in the environment the opening scene establishes. Or should I say, it works depending on your tolerance for goofy horror books.

This title apparently is set up to be a horror/comedy fusion, full of gore, nudity, and bodily functions. It promises to be fun in a very disgusting way. What's not to like? I'm glad I picked it up. I just hope, like so many times in the past, that I'm not let down again.

Little Mouse Gets Ready
by Jeff Smith
Toon Books


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Why the holy fuck would you even WANT a kid if you're not going to indoctrinate him/her with a love of comic books? Give me one good fucking reason!

I'm hyper-critical when it comes to children's titles. As you well know children are the future, and if you don't smarten them up at an early age they grow up and put mongoloids in the White House and then the entire world's just plain fucked, now isn't it? If we as a society can't ingrain some semblance of intelligence in the fruit of our damn loins, we're doomed to be little more than a hyperactive species of hairless monkeys with pointy spears and trimmed pubes. Is that what you really want your species to be? No? Then you'd better get your kids some good fucking books to read.

If I had a kid getting ready to delve into reading, this would be one of the first titles I'd stick in his or her sticky little hands. Little Mouse Gets Ready is perfect for young readers to test the literary waters. It's simple, animated illustrations are perfect for catching the attention of fickle attention spans. The actions of our little protagonist are comical and mildly educational. The ending of the book is cute to the point of begging for unending repetition. Plus, it's Jeff Smith. In a decade you can trick the kid into reading comics by playing up the nostalgia card. "Hey little Billy, you remember that book about the mouse getting dressed that you loved as a kid? Here's another book by the same author called 'Rasl.'" And the kid will read it and shit his or her pants in amazement and your plan to raise a little fanboy/fangirl will have come to fruition. The little fuckers won't even know they've been played.

Got a rugrat? They should have a copy of this book. If not for the sake of their future, then for the world's.

- PICK OF THE WEEK -
Captain America #601
by Ed Brubaker & Gene Colan
Marvel Comics


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Captain America has been a shitride of a book lately, but that's all been editorial's fault. Brubaker hasn't done anything but crank out destined-to-be legendary story lines for the character. This particular stand-alone takes the cake.

Set in the WWII days, Cap and Bucky are set upon discovering the culprit behind a rash of vamparitic conversions in a recently liberated Belgian town. This dark, gritty, unexpectedly violent tale features extremely impressive art by living legend Gene Colan, and paints Cap in a refreshingly humanistic, vulnerable light the likes of which I haven't seen or enjoyed in years.

If Cap were like this on a monthly basis it'd be one of the top-selling books without the aid of gimmicks or other retarded horseshit. I didn't mind having to pay an extra buck for this issue. Believe it or not, I'm more than happy to pay extra to see Brubaker put the "Cap" in decapitate. That's what competent storytelling gets you, Marvel: loyalty and respect. And puns, apparently.

Enjoy this brief moment of competence while you can, because with the way things are poised to play out for this character we may not see another moment like this for a loooooong fucking time.

- PAN OF THE WEEK -
Wednesday Comics #2: Teen Titans
by Eddie Berganza & Sean Galloway
DC Comics


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Wednesday Comics is still so very fucking awesome. So awesome. But upon reading this second issue this morning I stumbled over this panel, and had to reread it more than once before I was completely satisfied with what I determined to be the intonation and meaning.

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And suddenly kids all across America are calling each other "dick." Whoops. Out of context that shit's pretty fucking funny. Yes, Robin's referring to Dick Grayson. But pretend you're NOT a fanboy and you read this story. Suddenly Robin's swearing like he's a South Park character, and if Robin can call someone a penis then so can you, dammit.

In my eyes profanity makes this book extra awesome. I know and recognize that the rest of the world thinks nothing like I do. Someone in editorial done let their guard down. C'mon people. Pay attention. There are better ways to phrase those sentences. Dick.

You've been warned.

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