Sunday, August 30, 2009

You've Been Warned Vol II Issue XXXII

Comic reviews by a fan, for the fans.

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

- OPENING REMARKS -

Fantastic Four #570
by Jonathan Hickman & Dale Eaglesham
Marvel Comics


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The afterword in Jonathan Hickman's The Nightly News contains the author's mantra about the actualization of goals: "I am my own enemy, resistance is my nature. I am aware of resistance and it prevents me from achieving the life I am meant to have. Resistance is self-generated, self-perpetuated. It lies and seduces. Its goal is my utter destruction. Every day is a battle for my soul. This moment, this day, I change my life. Help me to defeat myself, and realize fate." Ever since I read those words I've been waiting for him to hit it big. It's safe to say I'm done waiting.

Following up on a book after Mark Millar is a daunting task in any circumstances, let alone doing so on Marvel's first family. A lesser author would probably snap under the impending expectations, crap out a retched storyline, tank the sales, and slither off into the shadows to... I don't know... prepare his lips for his next assignment, which would entail kissing Joe Quesada's ass in exchange for continued employment. From what I've read in issue #570, Hickman didn't even flinch when it was his turn up to bat. He stepped up and delivered one hell of a debut issue. This is Fantastic Four as I like them: the essentially average family unit up to their super-powered eyeballs in unfathomable sci-fi adventures bordering on surreal.

If you jumped off this title because Millar left, do yourself a favor and get back on it. If you've got a hankerin' for a top notch super-hero book, don't look any further than this one. I'm expecting a lot of things from Jonathan Hickman and this title. The only thing not included in those expectations is to be disappointed.


Batman and Robin #3
by Grant Morrison & Frank Quitely
DC Comics


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It's no secret how awesome this book is. I only wanted to make mention of how extra-awesome this particular issue is, as it delves deeper into the character of Professor Pig. I can't remember the last time I stumbled across such a spectacular (and eerie) super-villain rant. That shit is bugfuck crazy. "I want to be sick in front of everyone"? Holy fuck, I can't wait for the conversation where I get to drop that line.

Who'd have thought this new incarnation of Batman could be every bit as dank, disturbing, and addictive as its predecessor? The Caped Crusader doesn't get much better than this, folks.

Luba
by Gilbert Hernandez
Fantagraphics Books


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For the longest time I've struggled with the appropriate context in which to read Gilbert Hernandez's Love and Rockets stories. For the most part everything he's done has seemingly been little more than a jovial parade of half-naked, pretentious women with ridiculous anatomy, who fuck everything and everyone. Where's the scholarly merit? The deep meaning? The overall message about the human experience? All I could ever see was a bunch of women with skull-crushing boobies fucking everything in sight, with the occasional jolt of drama to give the critics something to discuss.

While reading these 500+ pages of Luba , I finally began to understand the vantage point needed to appreciate these tales. It's pornography with purpose. Real characters penetrating each other's souls as well as bodies. It's about heavy breasts and heavy symbolism. Fornication in search of higher meaning. And it's all wrapped in a delicate, mortal sorrow that's as irresistible as the women within the stories.

Upon completion, I can honestly proclaim this collection to be, by far, my favorite from any of the Hernandez brothers. I'm haunted by what I read within these pages, and by the actions of the characters and their existential quest for some sort of meaning in their lives. I'm not sure how well these stories would be received by a new reader unfamiliar with Love & Rockets, as starting at this particular point in the tale is equivalent to starting a 5000 page book on page 3000 (or something like that). Having consumed all the necessary stories prior to these, I can say all that reading was definitely worth it.

It feels so good to finally understand what all the fuss is about.

- PICK OF THE WEEK -
King City #1
by Brandon Graham
Image/Tokyopop Comics


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Anytime I see Tokyopop on the cover of a book, I immediately assume it was written for teenagers possessing the reading skills of a toddler. More often than not, that assumption is accurate. Contrarily, every time I see Image on the cover of a book, I don't know what to think, since Image is habitually all over the fucking spectrum. Both of these publishers appear on the cover of this title. Fucking confusing ass publishing rights and whatnot. I'm thankful my head hasn't exploded from the duality.

I took a chance on this title. That chance has paid off quite unexpectedly. King City is a sci-fi dramedy full of sharp dialogue and some very clever concepts. Every page sports an array of fantastic characters, which in turn creates a cyberpunk tapestry of a setting where fantastic characters are normal. On top of all that it's just plain fun, with a vibrant, likable protagonist doing average things in an amazing world.

Very fun stuff, and (like I said) I'm very fortunate to have given it a try. Can't wait for the second issue.

- PAN OF THE WEEK -
Youngblood #9
by Rob Liefeld
Image Comics


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Take a look at the cover. If that wasn't enough, take a look at the author. Fucking recipe for disaster.

I didn't even have to pay for my copy. Never thought I'd be complaining about a free comic.

You've been warned.

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