Sunday, November 22, 2009

You've Been Warned Vol II Issue XXXXII

Comic reviews by a fan, for the fans!

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

- OPENING REMARKS -

PunisherMax #1
by Jason Aaron & Steve Dillon
Max (Marvel) Comics


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Something as disgusting as a man having his eyeballs popped out of his head by a fat guy and putting them in only to witness the barrel of a gun that's going to end his life directly in front of him shouldn't be so damn funny. It is though. What a fucked up world we live in.

I couldn't be any less surprised that Jason Aaron rocked the first issue of this book. I'm also unsure as to how wise it is to put him on a title with few restrictions, with a character like the Punisher, and let him off the leash. It's not a secret that the Punisher's at his best when you can't read an issue of the book and eat dinner at the same time. This writer understands that (obviously). And he couldn't have found a better partner to demonstrate this understanding than Steve Dillion, long time collaborator to that mentally-ill Garth Ennis, who's drawn more horrific shit that anyone in the history of drawing sick shit. It's nothing less than divine intervention that someone in the now Disney-owned Marvel workshop said "Hey, let's put these two sick fucks together and let them go bananas" and it actually happened.

The two crazy fellas are gonna make this book fun again in every wrong way possible. Already we're seeing the introduction of some major players from regular continuity (if the cover of the book didn't give that one away already), which I didn't think we'd ever see again thanks to George Clooney getting his nickers in a wad about the MAX Nick Fury book (the pussy). I can't even fathom what's further down the road.

Happy days are here again. This is the most fucked-up Marvel book on the shelves today, and it's only on the first issue. Get it while it's relevant, 'cause Lord only knows how long this one's gonna go before someone says "Enough, you sick fuckers!" and reigns it in.

Hellboy: The Wild Hunt
by Mike Mignola & Duncan Fegredo
Dark Horse Comics


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My major qualm with Hellboy has always been the failure to perpetuate the character's main arc. Sure, he has a lot of adventures, and at some point during each one we get to hear how he's the son of satan, and is set to bring doom to mankind. But nothing ever happens to push the character one way or another towards that outcome. He hangs around, treading water, and meanwhile we, the readers, are left with another storyline that hasn't brought us any closer to any sort of conclusion.

Finally, FINALLY, things are beginning to take shape. In The Wild Hunt, we're given a glimpse at the ominous clouds forming on the horizon. Secrets are revealed about our protagonist's lineage, antagonists step forth from the shadows, and paths are finally chosen. We're starting to see the light of forward progress. I'm not entirely wild about the direction things are necessarily going. The past few story lines have focused quite heavily on, y'know, faeries and imps and the like. It's a little ... gay? I don't know if this has always been the direction the author's wanted to take, or if it's influence from that second bizarre Hellboy film, but whatever. I'm satisfied knowing that forward motion has finally been achieved.

Hellboy is arguably one of the most endearing characters in the medium. It's damn near impossible to not be drawn in by his sourpuss attitude and secretly sensitive demeanor. For the longest time I was concerned he was doomed (doomed) to toil in an unending cycle of misadventures that is the typical never-ending sequential storyline. I'm pleased that things are finally moving on. For better or for worse, we've been with Mike Mignola and his crotchety man-demon for this long. There's no point in stopping now.

Batman/Dr. Strange Special
by Brian Azzarello & Phil Noto
DC Comics


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If this issue is any indication of what's planned for DC's new noir line, we're in for a buttload of hurt.

It's baffling how unamusing this comic is. Baffling. I don't necessarily know what I was expecting, but it certainly wasn't this. Wow. This is a totally vanilla story; another one of those "Batman accused of a crime he didn't commit" kind of things, with the obligatory tangle between the two heroes' egos before they team up to solve the mystery. Except the mystery kinda solves itself in one hell of a dull non-ending. This is the kind of stuff you'd read in a Dick Tracy comic strip, except, y'know, if they let retarded guys write Dick Tracy. Or something. The point it it's not good.

Very unimpressive stuff here. If the rest of this eventual line doesn't pick up the pace, I'm predicting a bigger flop than the Kingpin's sweaty tits on a glass coffee table.

-PICK OF THE WEEK-
Underground #3
by Jeff Parker & Steve Lieber
Image Comics


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You'd never have guessed a tale about two park rangers fighting with a local entrepreneur for the preservation of a cave would be so unnerving, would you? Of course not. Who possibly could? Even the greenest Green Peace member would rather read a Wolverine comic. Fortunately some of us balled up enough to give it a shot, and can now spread the new that, holy crap, this book is good. REALLY good.

This action-packed issue marks that halfway point of the series, and I'm on the edge of my seat. Parker and Lieber have proven perfect for each other. With an unexpectedly unique and engrossing plot, accompanied by stunning artwork, this series takes environmental protection and kicks it up to 11. There's no way to predict what will happen next here. It's two groups of people trapped in a very dangerous cave, one trying to survive, the other trying to kill.

Great series here. Can't wait for the next issue.

-PAN OF THE WEEK-
Adventure Comics #4
by Geoff Johns, Sterling Gates & Jerry Ordway
DC Comics


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It's a good goddamn cocksucking motherfucking bullshit thing this issue came with a ring.

Is there a more obnoxious device than putting fanboys into a comic book? Anything more campy than reading about a bunch of stereotypical, virginal nerdo fanboys talking in a comic shop? Up until reading this issue I wouldn't have been able to think of anything more embarrassing, more hackish, more awkward. I wouldn't have been able to think of turning a rather potent super-villain into a fanboy, and having him read the very comic I in turn was reading. OOOH. Way to blow my mind, guys.

Like I said, this shit's embarrassing. A whiny Superboy-Prime demands to be driven to a comic shop, where he's attacked by Black Lantern Alexander Luthor (who magically returns his stripped powers somehow), and has self-esteem issues. Worse thing is ... it's a two-part story line. Fucking weak. I blame Sterling Gates on this one. The instant I saw his name on partial writing credits, I knew I was in for a miserable crap reading experience. And I was right. Fucking fuck.

Like I said, it's a good thing this book came with a ring.

You've been warned.

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