The Week In Ink: April 29, 2009

Zut alors, y’all! C’est Batroc ze Leapair!!!

 

 

Ahhhh, c’est magnifique!

Mais assez parlé de ce plus grand des hommes! Il est Jeudi soir, ce qui signifie qu’il est temps pour une autre session de l’Internet la plupart des critiques de bandes dessinées sacre bleu!

Avant de nous–

Ahem.

Sorry about that. Anyway, before we get around to the reviews, however, a quick plug! No, I don’t have any auctions running this week, just a new site that you oughtta be reading: Dateline: Silver Age, a new site that chronicles the headlines of Comics’ Great Metropolitan Newspapers! Heck, I like it so much that I’ve even contributed one myself! So seriously, add this one to your RSS reader of choice and prepare to be amazed when headlines like this pop up to remind you of that most wondrous of ages.

Now then, here’s what I picked up this week…

 

 

…and here’s what I thought about ‘em!

 


 

Dark Reign: The Cabal: I’ve got to admit, I’m a little torn about Dark Reign. On the one hand, it’s a pretty ridiculous idea. I mean, Skrull war or no, Norman Osborn did chuck a girl off a bridge that one time, and I’m pretty sure everyone knows it. Heck, I’m pretty sure he went to jail for it in a comic written by Mark Millar and stood trial for crimes he committed as the Green Goblin in a comic written by the same guy that later decided nobody would object if he was basically put in charge of everything. Being in charge of the Thunderbolts was one thing–especially seeing as he was working in secret–but you’d think when it came time for presidential appointments, someone might bring up the whole killed-an-attractive-young-blonde-while-dressed-in-a-Halloween-costume thing and

On the other hand, I can see the appeal of having that as the big shake-up. It opens up some interesting possibilities, especially for Spider-Man, and everything that I’ve actually read that ties into it–Invincible Iron Man, Incredbile Hercules and Agents of Atlas spring to mind–has actually been very good, and, well, comics have been turning terrible ideas into gold on a pretty much monthly basis for the past 71 years. Thus, we have The Cabal, which does just that in stories by Matt Fraction, Rick Remender, Pete Miligan and Kieron Gillen (who also has the well-worth-your-dollars Phonogram 2 out this week). They’re all solid, highly entertaining short stories about the relationships between each of the members of Osborn’s little sewing circle, but the high point is far and away Jonathan Hickman’s lead story, which does such a good job of explaining why Dr. Doom is bothering with Osborn that I think it might actually go back and retcon some of the stupid out of the concept. Good stuff.

 

ISB BEST OF THE WEEK

 

 

Dr. Doom and the Masters of Evil #4: And speaking of good stories about Dr. Doom, we have this, and I’ve gotta say: It might just be the best Dr. Doom story since Waid and Ringo’s Fantastic Four.

That’s a bold statement, I know, but for what is ostensibly a (relatively) lighthearted kids’ book, it’s amazing how Paul Tobin was able to cut so directly to the heart of the character. And the amazing thing about it is that he’s able to do these amazing Dr. Doom moments–including the scene where Doom is essentially all like “Oh, did I forget to mention that I made myself immortal last week for just such an occasion?” that had me cracking up with the pure Marvel Comics joy of it–without losing the accessibility or fun that he’s been working with.

I mean, seriously, at the climax of the story, the bad guy wins. Definitively. And the one character that’s been sympathetic in a book full of villains is made to live with the guilt of allowing someone to transform himself into monster so that he can better terrorize the world! That’s pretty heavy stuff for a kids’ comic, and that’s exactly as it should be. Tobin never talks down to his audience, and instead just gives them the best comic he can that they can come to fresh. And it works beautifully.

It’s one of those rare examples of How It Should Be Done, and it might end up being one of my favorite single issues of the year.

 

Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds #4: (Spoilers follow, obviously)

Throughout its seventeen year run, the major selling point of Legion of 3 Worlds has been its earnest commitment to complete and utter bat-shit insanity, but with this issue, I think the goofiness may–may–have hit critical mass.

I mean, don’t get me wrong: I’m more than willing to accept the goofiness as part of the fun, especially in a book that opened with a museum exhibit on The Amazing Transformation of Jimmy Olsen, and I’m right there with you when you use future space lightning rods to regenerate Kid Flash from a super-speed copy of his soul (or something), and I’m all for it when you want to use the Kryptonian Gestation Matrix to not only regenerate Superboy, but also his jeans and t-shirt (which I imagine took the majority of the thousand-year cloning process, as Levi’s 501s represent the height of genetic manipulation), but man. That ending. I just don’t know.

I mean, having the Time Trapper reveal his “secret identity” after fifty years of just being the Time Trapper is crazy enough, but having him turn out to be Superboy Prime? On a page with the words “PRIME TRAPPER” on it? That’s just Ludacris, man, and I honestly don’t know if I love it or hate it. It has me completely stymied.

So congratulations, Geoff Johns: You win. I have no idea how you’re going to top that.

 

GI Joe: Origins #3: And now, a Joeku:

Lines on the sword’s hilt?
Oh, son! I know what that means:
Arashikage!

 

Marvel Assistant-Sized Spectacular #2: You know, I work tirelessly for a day when every character has a hot, be-minidressed teenage girl equivalent. And so, apparently, do Jordan White and Adam Warren (though the latter doesn’t really come as a surprise on that front), who, along with Hector Silva Lujan, bring us this issue’s breakout star, Galacta: The Daughter of Galactus. It’s the same idea that brought us X-23–the teenage, foot-clawed version of Wolverine–writ large and taken to its logical extreme, complete with a fur-lined collar and a plunging neckline.

It’s crazy, but it’s a hypnotic kind of crazy that you want to see more of, and while there’s other stuff in the issue–namely a nifty Luke Cage by The Daily Show’s Wyatt Cenac and an Elsa Bloodstone story that drains both an alien parasite and the fun of the character–none of it can stand up to the sheer madness of a character that makes Golden Oldie seem like the model of restraint.

According to the issue, there’s a poll going on on Marvel.com to decide which character gets another shot, but I haven’t voted, both because I can’t decide between my everlasting love of the Mini-Marvels and the mesmerizing insanity of Galacta, and also because the website is currently besieged by pictures of Wolverine, and no link presented itself before I got tired of looking. But if you’re feeling industrious, have at it!

 

Sherlock Holmes #1: This might not come as a surprise to anyone, but I’m slightly fascinated by detective fiction, and I was a pretty big fan of Sherlock Holmes when I was younger, reading through my father’s beat-up copies of The Annotated Sherlock Holmes and later replacing them with my own set of the new Norton editions. That said, I’ve never really felt the need to go beyond the Arthur Conan Doyle stories to see what else other writers have done, despite the fact that there are a ton of books out there with plots that do interest me–like The Seven Percent Solution, wherein Holmes has a team-up with Sigmund Freud–which makes Dynamite’s offering the first Holmes pastiche I’ve ever read.

Well, except for that one issue of Detective Comics where he teams up with Batman, which is totally awesome.

Anyway, this one comes courtesy of John Reppion and Leah Moore–whom I believe I am contractually obligated as a comics blogger to point out as the daughter of Alan Moore–and I really enjoyed it, although if my theory is right, they’ve left the biggest clue to the mystery right out in the open.

But at the same time, that’s what I really like about it. Holmes stories set the model of the Fair-Play Mystery (most notably seen in comics in Mike Barr and Adam Hughes’ Maze Agency), wherein the reader is meant to be given a legitimate shot at solving the mystery along with the detective. If the clue I’ve spotted actually is a clue, that means that Moore and Reppion aren’t just going to use Holmes’s legendary deductive abilities as a catch-all excuse to put one over on the audience. Putting your abilities as a reader against the story itself is half the fun of a book like this, and I’m honestly excited to see where they’re going with it and if I’m right.

I will say that Holmes seems a bit uncharacteristically flustered at the end of the first one–this dude did straight up fake his death after a wrestling match on a waterfall after all, he doesn’t shake easily–but I suppose a little twitchiness is to be expected when a heroin addict is framed for murder.

 

Thor: Ages of Thunder HC: So you know that Motorhead video, “Killed By Death,” where Lemmy drives a motorcycle out of his own grave?

 

 

This is just like that, but with vikings. So yeah. You’re gonna want it..

 


 

And that’s the week! But before we go, a quick reminder:

 

 

This Saturday is Free Comic Book Day all across this crazy world of ours, so even if you aren’t a regular comics reader–although I can’t imagine you’d be reading this if you’re not–get out to your local comic shop and enjoy some comics For Free! It’s a great way to spread the fun–especially if you have kids, as the majority of FCBD books are specifically geared towards younger readers–and a lot of shops have sales, guests, and giveaways beyond just the Free Comics.

It’s something that we on the retail side of things look forward to as a way to get people interested (because really, there aren’t a lot of people working in comics retail for the money; we tend to be evangelists at heart), so tell your friends and come by to enjoy!

And check back here on Saturday afternoon too, as there might just be a special FCBD Bonus from the Action Age!

The Next Instant Classic of the Action Age of Comics!

Since The Chronicles of Solomon Stone dropped last week, I’m sure at least a couple of you have been wondering what my next project was going to be. Well, here’s your answer!

 

 

Click the image above to get the scoop on Woman of A.C.T.I.O.N., my next full-length comic that’ll be appearing sometime in the vague, undefined future.

This is the first time I’ve worked on an Action Age project with someone who isn’t Matthew Allen Smith (who toiling away on Sol #2), but it’s been great working with Chris Piers and Steve Downer on this one, and I can’t wait to show it off. Hopefully, you guys’ll get a kick out of it too!

Chris vs. Pokémon, Volume One

 

#126: Magmar

 

Oh now what is this bullshit?

According to Bulbapedia, Magmar here has characteristics of both a salamander–the one from the Monster Manual, not the one from science class–and a duck, and that is just fantastic. Big ups to whatever mad elder god responsible for this world of junior-league cockfights decided it would be a good idea to combine an elemental fire lizard with nature’s least threatening creature. Great job.

I mean, look at this guy, it’s like he was assembled from spare parts, capped off with the forehead of Exeter from This Island Earth. It’s like Charmeleon mated with a Koopa Troopa’s hillbilly cousin and the kid was raised on moonshine.

You’re a biter, Magmar. A fake-ass, buster-ass biter.

 

RATING:

 

#288: Vigoroth

 

Vigoroth was a sadistic tyrant of Carpathia, a kingdom located in the Carpathian Mountains in central Romania. Self-described as the “Scourge of Carpathia” and “the Sorrow of Moldavia,” he was also known as “Vigoroth the Cruel, Vigoroth the Torturer, Vigoroth the Despised, and Vigoroth the Unholy.” His quote, “On a mountain of skulls in a castle of pain, I sat on a throne of blood,” sums up his ruling style and the probable reasons why he was not well-loved by his subjects. An apparent expert in sorcery and black magic Vigoroth enjoyed an unnaturally long life which came to a very unnatural end when he was poisoned, stabbed, shot, hanged, stretched, disemboweled, drawn and quartered by his own people. As the story goes, as his severed head lay dying, it prophesized that “death is but a doorway; time is but a window – I’ll be back.”

No, wait… sorry, that was Vigo the Carpathian. Vigoroth here is actually some kind of albino monkey, with claws, I guess? And that’s kind of cool, but it’d probably be a lot cooler if he fought Bill Murray.

 

RATING:

 

#279: Pelipper

 

GAH!

Jeez! That thing looks like one of those drawings where you look at it one way and it’s an old crone, but then you look at it another way and it’s a hideous giant-mouthed bird monster. And yet, as disturbing as it is–what with its dead, glassy eyes and the fact that its mouth extends all the way around to its… tailfeathers–it’s not actually intimidating, is it? I mean, these things are supposed to fight each other, right? Pelipper doesn’t look like he’s capable of movement, let alone combat. What’s it gonna do, creep you out so bad that it gets the forfeit? It’s not that weird, all things considered.

Unless… oh man. This thing can talk, can’t it? I bet it sounds like Kuato.

 

RATING:

 

#62: Poliwrath

 

Now this is more like it. Poliwrath rules.

First off, his name: It means many angers. That alone puts him ahead. Then, just look at the guy. He is not here to mess around. He looks like a bouncer at an alien strip club who will hypnotize you with his body-spiral and then punch you in the face. He’s the Hypno-Hustler of the Pokemon world.

And he wears gloves. Why? Because he’s classy.

 

RATING:

Because I Hate You All

Earlier today, it was finally announced that the classic Marvel vs. Capcom 2 is being re-released for XBox Live Arcade and PlayStation Marketplace so that a new generation can experience the watershed 2D fighting game that represents the only time that Cable has ever been useful.

And that means it’s time to celebrate!

 

 

Have fun gettin’ that out of your head without a speargun and a shot of grain alcohol, kids.

And Then There Was the Time That Solomon Stone Backhanded the Crap Out of Hitler

 

 

John Wolter of the ISB-approved blog Hitler Getting Punched celebrates the completion of The Chronicles of Solomon Stone #1–available now at the Action Age!–with an awesome pinup of the World’s Greatest Half-Vampire Private Detective Skateboard Champion delivering a Jim Aparo backhand to der Fuhrer.

And interestingly enough, that’s the second piece of Sol vs. Hitler fan-ephemera that I’ve gotten this weekend. The first came from our old friend King Oblivion, PhD of the International Society of Super-Villains, who rose to my challenge to produce some Solomon Stone fan-fiction with a piece that he posted on both the ISS and the world of literature’s equivalent of a flea market, FanFiction.net. And I can assure you, it’s the crossover you NEVER expected.

Thanks, guys!