Change is in the wind here at the ISB, but no matter how much we may change, some things…
…will always be rad.
Yes, it’s another Thursday night, and that means it’s time once again for another round of the Internet’s Most Vital and Unflinching comics reviews! Here’s what I picked up this week…
…and some of the more sharp-eyed readers among you might’ve noticed that this is a little bit lighter than what I usually pick up. There’s a reason for that (which some of you who follow me on Twitter already know), but for details, stick around and I’ll get around to it next week. Now’s the time for what I thought about ‘em!
ISB BEST OF THE WEEK
Batman and Robin #7: All told, I’m pretty sure that Grant Morrison’s Knight and Squire have only appeared in around ten or twelve comics, so there’s a good chance that my absolute undying love for them as characters may–may–be a little out of proportion. I don’t think it is, though; everything about them, from the Knight’s hinted-at arc of the sidekick-turned-alcoholic-turned-hero to the Squire being a super-genius because she grew up poor but read every book in the library, it all just appeals to me on the same kind of pure level that gives me the same feeling I got when I was a kid finding out about super-heroes for the first time. Maybe it’s just because of my childhood fascination with The Londinium Larcenies, but there’s a history there that I want to find out about so badly that I can barely stand it.
What I’m trying to say here is that I’m already stoked to get a Knight and Squire story from Morrison, who takes the time to flesh out even more of their world with stuff like Basement 101 and Dai Laffyn, and everything else is just icing on the cake. And what a good bunch of icing it is, mostly embodied by the clean, beautiful art of Cameron Stewart, who is just perfect for this book. That’s no surprise, though, as Stewart collaborated with Morrison on Seven Soldiers: Guardian, a book that also featured an evil subway train and–not coincidentally–was also awesome. It’s just beautifully done, from the big action of the opening chase sequence to the moodiness of the interrogation scene, and everything just works.
Of course, there is that one pretty big lettering error, but by now you’ve probably heard about it, and nothing else needs to be said.
Otherwise, it’s a darn near perfect comic, and now that it’s back, the extra month that went by without it feels like an eternity.
Captain America Reborn #6: Yesterday, there was a friendly back and forth between me and Woman of A.C.T.I.O.N. artist Chris Piers about whether or not Steve Rogers’ appearances in other Marvel universe titles–namely the “Who Will Weild The Shield” one-shot that was meant to serve as an epilogue to this one–spoiled Reborn. My argument was that you pretty much know what you’re getting into with a book called “Captain America Reborn,” but Piers brought up the point that even so, it’s how the relationships are re-established that really matters, and I can’t say I disgree with him.
So why am I bringing this up? Because even with Captain America hanging out in Iron Man and having meaningful conversations with Bucky, I’m pretty sure that nobody knew we were going to get a fight scene where Cap fought the Red Skull in an Arnim Zola body that had been grown to 50 feet tall by Pym particles that exploded and fuck yes I love comic books.
Punisher #13: This has been one of the best weeks I can remember for sheer crazy Marvel Universe moments. In just the comics I read this week there was the moment above with the Red Skull, the dead body of a Galactus from the future in Fantastic Four, Dr. Doom wearing the Destroyer armor to fight Thor, and two different sets of M.O.D.O.K. clones! TWO!
But even among all that, it’s what happens in Punisher this time that sticks out in my memory. I won’t spoil it–although I knew it was coming and stll laughed when I read the page–but if you read this book, and you should be, you’ll know it when you see it by the fact that it’s the team-up you never thought would happen. And that’s what’s been making this book so enjoyable lately: Not just that Rick Remender and Tony Moore have turned the Punisher into a Frankenstein’s monster, but that they’re using that to launch into even more wild, over-the-top stories that almost leap off the page with the amount of fun they’re bringing. It’s pure joy in comics form, and one of the books that I honestly can’t wait to sit down
with every month. But given how much I’ve been harping on it lately, you probably already knew that.
Afrodisiac: If you’ve read Jim Rugg mand Brian Maruca’s Street Angel, then you’re already at least a little familiar with Afrodisiac, and you probably understand why this is so awesome. With Afrodisiac, Rugg and Maruca are doing a tribute to Blaxploitation movies (and their accompanying Bronze Age comics) that takes the offbeat formula of Street Angel and does it a hundred times more over the top. And it is beautiful.
Alan Disler is Afrodisiac, an unrepentant pimp with the supernatural ability to turn any woman into a freak ho and a different origin story in every appearance, who battles against foes like Richard Nixon (his former world champion tag team partner) and, in a story that has one of the best panels I have ever seen, Dracula. The stories originally appeared all over the place, including convention ashcans and various anthologies, and now that it’s all collected, the only way I can describe it is gloriously, isanely over-the-top. There’s a story, for instance, where Afrodisiac has sex with the Grim Reaper herself that’s actually called “Death Comes For Afrodisdiac,” a pun so bad that it loops back around to good, then bad again, then good again.
It’s excellent stuff that’s all been wrapped up in an equally excellent hardcover that’s crammed full of great bits from the inside front cover to the inside back cover, and really, it’s one you ought to be reading.
And that’s the week! As always, watch for a couple of extra reviews on next week’s War Rocket Aajx< and if you've got a question about something I read this week, feel free to ask in the comments section below. But, and let's be real with each other here, keep in mind that I did just pick up Mass Effect 2, so you may have to pretend that I responded instead of me actually doing it. But hey, at least now you get to choose whether I agree with you or call you a cretin! That’s something, right?