Sunday, October 25, 2009

You've Been Warned Vol II Issue XXXVIX

Comic reviews by a fan, for the fans!

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


Noir: A Collection of Crime Comics
by various
Dark Horse Comics


Seems like crime fiction's the next sequential hot button. I can't rightly say I can recall a time when so many publishers were cranking out so much gritty, grimy, noir-soaked shenanigans. Perhaps my alcohol-riddled brain matter can't recall events that far back, but whatever. The point is damn, there sure a buttload of crime books on the shelves these days.

Thus we arrive at Noir, Dark Horse's attempt to stick its finger in the newest, trendiest, quickest cooling pie in the market. This collection features a mighty assortment of industry heavy hitters, such as Ed Brubaker, Brian Azzarello, and Jeff Lemire (to name a few).

For me the admission price was worth it solely for a new Stray Bullets story from David Lapham (something we haven't seen in for-fucking-ever). Fans of Brubaker's Criminal series will want to check it out for a new yarn as well. If that weren't enough, Azzarello teams up with Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon for a slightly comical, tongue-in-cheek story which most likely tied knots in the collective panties of everyone in DC Comic's legal department. But much like any anthology book of this nature, there's quite a bit of filler and mediocraty, such as an appearance from a cowboy, a twist of science-fiction, and a freakin' prose piece (obnoxious in the context of "a collection of crime COMICS").

So, like any collection, you take the good and you take the bad. In my opinion, the $13.00 cover price is acceptable for the quality and quantity within. Just enjoy it now, before the whole genre's completely overdone to where even the mention of a hard-boiled egg causes one to flee the area in terror.

Thunderbolts #137
by Rick Remender & Mahmud Asrar
Marvel Comics


Could Marvel finally be getting the point? Could they have finally fucking caught on that their habitual wallet gouging was hurting their reputation? Does this seemingly inconsequential issue of one of their mid-card books mark a milestone? Questions only time can answer. But in the meantime, I saw a very promising sign with this latest issue of Thunderbolts. Here we have an over-sized, stand-alone issue, penned by up-and-coming Rick Remender, for the unfortunately predictable price of $3.99. What's different here is... gasp!... it's not chocked full of reprints. There aren't ten filler pages of concept sketches or scripts. There are no previews or plugs for upcoming titles. What we have here are approximately 40 pages of fresh, brand new story. Fucking astounding. When I didn't find any bullshit in this issue I done near thought the motherfucking apocalypse was upon us.

This is a mediocre book at best. The characters are fairly silly (for lack of a better term), and the fight scenes always ring false thanks to lack of anticipated violence (because we're watching a supposed bunch of rogues with nothing to lose pulling their punches). And yet, this issue gives me hope for the future. Is this a sign that Marvel Comics has decided to stop fucking us in our bruised and battered asses and give us our money's worth. Is this the beginning of some sort of reconciliation?

It's not an outright apology. But it's a start.

Petey & Pussy
by John Kerschbaum
Fantagraphics Books


My hold slot was thinner than Lindsay Lohan on a coke binge this week, so I did what any god-fearing fanboy would: I picked up some bullshit off the shelves. This book came highly recommended by my local peddler. It's my great pleasure to highly recommend it to you now.

Petey & Pussy is the tale of ... these household pets ... with human heads ... who ... um ... do human/animal stuff. This book is exceptionally weird, which makes it exceptionally awesome. Its charm comes from its extremely surreal hybrid characters, it's never-ending parade of vulgarity, and its ability to point out the humor in the perpetual hell that is everyday life. Melding the disturbing with the sublime, this title defies any convention I've ever seen. There is literally nothing like it out there, anywhere.

I can't believe I missed this thing the first time it came out.

The next time you're in the mood for something fucked-up and bizarre, you need look no further than right here.

Beasts of Burden #2
by Evan Dorkin & Jill Thompson
Dark Horse Comics


Another solid performance from a book that's quickly becoming my pick for the year's best mini-series.

At the beckoning of a frantic mother, the gang once again embarks on a mystery to solve the disappearance of two puppies. And like all good detectives, they find them, but get a fuck-ton more than they bargained for.

Combining harmless, almost cutsie artwork with a one very dark, violent storyline (a combination I never grow tired of), this second issue of Beasts knocked my proverbial socks off. This book is fifty shades of fucked-up. It's goddamn glorious.

Justice League of America #38
by James Robinson & Mark Bagley
DC Comics


I don't know what the hell happened to James Robinson. I don't recall his books being this unpleasant before. Is he, like, in debt to the mob, and cranking out scripts as quickly as he can before some hairy, balding Italian named Sunny cuts off his thumbs and mails them to Dan Didio? 'Cause this book reads like it was scrawled on the back of a losing ticket at the dog track.

Full of exposition concerning another horrific Robinson JLA book (that being Cry for Justice), this issue features the most underwhelming line-up of the team I can recall pissing and moaning about how badly they suck before getting in a convenient fight with Despero, who for some reason was already fighting a chick named Gypsy (I'd like to see that shit explained).

If it weren't for the credits, I'd guess Mark Bagley was working for the Make a Wish Foundation, granting a convalescing pre-teen fanboy's final request to publish a JLA fan-fiction comic. I bet Mark Bagley would do a project like that. He's awesome. And if that were the case I wouldn't be here with all my childish name calling. But that's not the case. This book sucks, and I'm only on the next issue for the fucking promo ring. After that I'm gone, just like my desire to read any more Robinson books.

You've been warned.


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