Hey guys, you know what my favorite Daft Punk song is?
That’s right, it’s… Well, actually, it’s probably Digital Love now that I think of it, but that’s not going to stop me from doing these comics reviews One More Time!
I have to admit, though, this is as close as the Week In Ink has come to just plain not happening. Between putting up the first chapter of the senses-shattering second issue of Solomon Stone, the launch of Awesome Hospital, the new ongoing webcomic that I’m doing with Chad Bowers, Matt Digges and Josh Krach, and figuring out how to work plugs for all of those into this paragraph, I just wasn’t feeling up to it.
But let’s give it a shot anyway, with another round of the Internet’s Most Lethargic Comics Reviews!
Batman and Robin #9: I think I’ve made it clear that I’m in the tank for Grant Morrison on Batman to the point where I should probably just stop talking about it, but man oh man, you guys, this story has been absolutely fantastic.
Everything about it–this issue especially–is just pure fun. Batwoman’s willingness to kill herself because she’s confident that Batman can bring her back, the interplay between Dick and Kate at the end, the Knight’s Kirby-Mace… Hell, It’s Grant Morrison and Cameron Stewart doing a story that guest-stars the Knight and Squire and Batwoman, and it’s about an evil Batman made by Darkseid that talks like one of the animals from We3.
And Stewart pulls it off, too. It’s not just that it’s good art–although it is that, from the splash page that captures the ersatz Batman’s menace to smaller things, like his take on Batwoman’s wig and the cheery, manic smile she shows off after she comes out of the Lazarus pit–but it’s well thought-out. The biggest criticism of the previous arc was how cluttered and incomprehensible the art got, but Stewart turns in a clean comic that beautifully uses its layouts to tell the story, gridding out the talky scenes and then breaking into jagged, overlapping panels for the action. It’s a simple trick, but it’s one that works, and it works perfectly.
Basically, It’s one thrown car battery and a Herbie Popnecker away from being a perfect storm of everything I love about comics.
The Tick New Series #2: And speaking of beautifully drawn comics that are pure fun, I finally got my hands on the second issue of Benito Cereno and Les McClaine’s Tick series, and honestly: If you’re not reading this book, I can only assume that you are a robot assassin from the future who is incapable of feeling this hu-mon emotion called joy.
This issue’s main plot is a great, City-wide chase scene as the Tick tries to track down a stolen gem, and while there are some fantastic gags–Arthur’s imagined headstones when the Tick asks for his wings still cracked me up the third time through–but the real gem comes in the subplot Benito’s been running through the series with Chairface in Prison, which culminates in Chairface being sent to the Little Big House, the prison inside of prison for people who break the laws of prison. The absolute absurdity of it mixed with the deadpan way that it’s set up and delivered is just perfect, and the only thing I don’t like is that it’s another two months before I get to read the next one.
So seriously, pick it up. It’s worth it.
Starman Omnibus v.4: Despite my antipathy for a lot of James Robinson’s recent work, I’ve still got an incredible amount of affection for Starman, and for me at least, it really holds up well. So needless to say, I’ve been enjoying reading through the new Omnibus Hardcovers
, but this volume was the one I was worried about.
See, the thing about Starman is that with the weird way that DC originally did the trades, the only way to get the complete story was to track down all the issues, and while that sounds pretty simple, it was a little more complex than just putting together the eighty-issue run of Starman itself. You could do that at any convention for less than a hundred bucks–less than fifty if you got lucky in the quarter bins–but with the complexity of the story Robinson & Co. were telling and the wide-flung net that he threw out during the ’90s, getting the whole of Starman meant tracking down Annuals, 80-Page Giants, one issue of The Justice Society Returns, the Shade stories that ran in Showcase, the Mist one-shot from the Girlfrienzy fifth week event, and so on, then figuring out where they all intersected with the main story chronologically. It’s a little tricky–the first time I read through the run I had no idea why Jack Knight went to space, because I was missing an Annual–and I’m pretty sure the people in charge of putting the hardcovers together know that, as one of the promises they made when the Omnibuses were first solicited was that they were going to have everything.
And so far, they’ve been doing pretty good on that: They’ve thrown in the Showcase stories, the Annuals, the Shade mini-series and the Mist story, but with this one, they’ve done it one better: Not only does it have Jerry Ordway and Peter Krause’s issues of Power of Shazam to complete the “Lightning and Stars” crossover, it’s also got the completely unnecessary two-issue Batman / Hellboy / Starman miniseries too! Heck, there’s even a Tony Harris Hellboy on the back cover. So rock on, DC. You’re doin’ it right.
And that’s what I’m about this week. As always, if you feel like talking about anything from this week, like Jonathan Hickman and Dale Eaglesham’s jam-packed recent work on Fantastic Four or the excellent stuff Paul Tobin’s been putting into Marvel Adventures Spider-Man, feel free to leave a comment below!