The Week In Ink: May 20, 2009

Reading twenty comics a week is kindergarten. So’s finding a kick to the face. But finding one that’s oriented vertically that will look better on the ISB’s template, rather than the standard wide-panel format that the action lends itself to? That’s more difficult.

But far from impossible.

 

 

Thanks, Invincible!

But enough with the slightly modified Batman quotes! It’s Thursday night, and that means that rather than going for the Superboy Trifecta, it’s time for the Internet’s Most Ill-Considered Reviews!

Here’s what I got this week….

 

 

…and here’s what I thought of ‘em!

 


 

Agents of Atlas #5: It’s no secret around here that my affection for Spider-Man is only rivaled by my outright love of the complex, multifaceted Batman, so it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that this is my favorite issue of Agents of Atlas so far.

Not just because it’s got Luke Cage shoryukening a killer robot’s head off, or because the plot centers largely on a redhead in a flouncy half-toga and her misadventures with webbing, or even because Spider-Man fights a gorilla, although I assure you that those are all pretty big factors. No, it’s because Jeff Parker gets the Marvel characters better than almost anyone else working today, and in this issue, he gives us a perfect Spider-Man. From the fact that Spidey’s the only one who realizes what’s going on with the Agents of Atlas (one of those moments that reminds us that he’s really smart, which we don’t get nearly as often as I’d like) to him being the only one who bothers to keep track of who he’s fighting, to the end where he’s snapping pictures because hey, a guy’s gotta eat, it’s all great stuff. And considering that it’s only one of several great things about this issue–not the least of which is Carlo Pagulayan’s beautiful art–it adds up to something that everybody ought to be reading.

 

Dark Reign: Fantastic Four #3: I’m pretty sure that if you go back through and read my reviews–a task which I by no means recommend that you actually attempt–one of the adjectives that I use most often to describe the comics I like is going to be “fun,” sliding in at a close third right after “awesome” and “kicktacular.”

It is, after all, pretty widely accepted that comics oughtta be fun, and if that’s the case, then Jonathan Hickman’s FF is exactly what comics oughtta be. It’s obvious just from reading this thing that Hickman’s having a blast writing it, giving himself a huge playground of alternate universes that give us everything from flying pirate ships to the Cowboy Beyonder, with all the attendant versions of the Fantastic Four themselves–and Willie Lumpkin!–along with them, and it all leads up to a last page that I’m pretty comfortable in classifying as “a hoot.”

Hickman’s slated to be the next writer of the regular Fantastic Four series, so it’s easy to view his work on this one as a sort of trial run for what that’s going to be like. I’ll cop to doing that myself, and I’ve gotta say, I’m not disappointed. It’s got all the cosmic action, family dynamics, humor and–yes–fun that I want out of the book, and I’m looking forward to more.

 

Doctor Who: The Time Machination: What’s this?! A full-length comic drawn by Paul Grist only one week after the last Paul Grist book?! What wondrous things have we as a society done to warrant such miracles?!

All right, all right, stop your groaning. I know I’ve mentioned my undying affection for Grist recently enough that it’s all still fresh in everyone’s mind–and if it’s not, you could always just read Jack Staff and discover what true joy is like for yourself–so I’ll skip that bit.

I will say, however, that I don’t envy Tony Lee for writing this one. Not because it’s not good; it’s perfectly enjoyable, as was his very, very entertaining Doctor Who: The Forgotten, which I enjoyed even though I’ve actually read more comics and magazines about Doctor Who than I’ve seen episodes of the show. No, it’s because I imagine writing for Grist is a tricky proposition. I’ve only ever read one other book that he drew but didn’t write–St. Swithin’s Day, with Grant Morrison–and they feel so different than his work as a writer-artist, as they tend to lack the best element of his comics: the innovative page layouts. When you’re writing for yourself, it’s probably a lot easier to push the boundaries of the form than if you’re going from someone else’s script, and it shows.

Which isn’t to say that this is an inherently inferior book–other than in the way that every comic not written and drawn by Paul Grist is–there’s just a noticeable difference. And once you get past that, you’ve still got the art itself, which even reined in is deceptively simple and dynamic, and a script from Tony Lee that, while a bit predictable, is still a highly enjoyable time travel romp. It’s worth picking up if you’ve enjoyed IDW’s more recent Doctor Who offerings, or if you’re curious about Lee’s upcoming ongoing Who series.

Or if you’re a total mark for Paul Grist, which, from the loks of those last three paragraphs, I just might be.

 

ISB BEST OF THE WEEK

 

 

Wolverine: Weapon X #2: Those of you who aren’t reading this book might just want to skip this review, take my word for it and jump on now, because in a few moments, I’m going to totally spoil some things that will read a whole lot better if you’re coming to them fresh. Just trust me: This is the best Wolverine comic since the last one Jason Aaron wrote, which–in case you missed that one–had Wolverine teaming up with the Sons of the Tiger to fight a guy that could punch you in the soul.

For the rest of you, the actual review: Anyone who’s read the ISB for more than a few moments–and especially those who have read Ghost Rider, but Aaron’s got that combination of talent and imagination that just sings, and this issue is a perfect example of just how good he is.

Wolverine, after all, works best in the same way that a lot of heroes do: when he’s utterly outmatched and comes out ahead anyway. The problem is that after 30 years of stories about a berserker Canadian samurai secret agent killing machine super-hero with unbreakable bones that can heal from a mortal wound in a matter of panels, it’s gotten awfully hard to raise the stakes. But then comes Aaron, and instead of wringing enjoyment by playing off Wolverine’s unbeatable status and inevitable victory–a technique that literary historians are no doubt going to be referring to as The Ennis Method–Aaron finds a way to outmatch him with a gang of villains that are similarly enhanced, but with guns that shoot cancer and claws made of lasers.

One more time, that’s: guns that shoot cancer and claws made of lasers.

Boom. Review done. I don’t have to say anything else, other than confirm that yes, that is literally what Wolverine is fighting in this story, and yes, it really is as wildly entertaining as it sounds.

The only thing I don’t like about it is that in order to have said fight, Wolverine puts on yet another costume, which is not to be confused with his regular costume (as seen in the X-Men books) or his brown costume (which he was wearing in Wolverine: Origins but has since been ceded, I believe, to his son, Bad Idea Dokken Daken) or the darker costume that he’s wearing in X-Force. Because seriously, Wolverine needs a fourth–a fourth!–costume like he needed… well, like he needed a third ongoing series. But considering that that series has, in two issues, become one of my favorite Marvel books, I’m willing to give it some leeway.

 

Public Enemy v.1: Welcome to the Terrordome: I don’t really have a review here, just a fact: This book ends with Chuck D having a fistfight with George W. Bush.

See your local comics retailer about ordering it.

 


 

Annnnnnnnnnnnd that’s the week! As always, any questions or concerns, such as the sheer indispensable radness of Chris Giarrusso’s G-Man or my thoughts on the GI Joe: Best of Hawk collection (not as egregious in its omissions as the Cobra Commander one, but the reproduction quality still goes to crap at the end) can be left in the comments section below.

And seriously: Laser claws.

26 thoughts on “The Week In Ink: May 20, 2009

  1. Dammit, that’s not the Go-Man collection I’ve been wanting for years. Where am I supposed to get my fix of non-violent, corporate sponsored, holographic supersuit-wearing superheroics.

  2. Is that a new Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service? Or just a new printing? Because I could have sworn I bought vol. 1 of the series based on your recomendation. Although it could have been Church I suppose…

  3. Twenty years from now, when telepathy podcasts are all the rage, every person in whatever the equivalent of the comics blogosphere is will be doing riffs on that Spider-man panel. That much is obvious. Where I would like to take bets is on what percentage of them will think that Parker and Pagulyan didn’t realize what they were doing.

  4. I have to ask if you checked out the adventures of the Young Super Team in FCA: Dance

  5. Wolverine needs many costumes – did you see Spider-Man complaining about the smell in the 24/7 arc?
    No imagine that with Wolverine – with the amount of comics he’s in, if he wore the same one, it might smell a bit, because of the hairy mutant in it and the blood!

  6. Chris, I’m deadly serious now:

    If there’s another issue of the PUBLIC ENEMY comic, there MUST be a panel of Flavor Flav dropkicking Dick Cheney.

    Word.

  7. As he peels the webbing off Venus, Spidey thinks “Why does this feel so right?”

  8. It’s entirely possible that I haven’t been paying as much attention to Wolverine’s costumes as I should be, but I thought his costume in Weapon X was just his X-Force costume without the mask. The mask that looks like his hair. But with glowing red eyeholes.

    As stupid as I think the mask usually is, I hate the X-Force version so much more.

  9. Yeah, Spider-man figuring out what the Agents were up to harkened back to the day when he used his brain as much as his powers to stop the bad guys. I think at least some of the loss of Spider-man’s appeal lies in the attempt to make Peter an every-man, when in fact (like you and me) he is a genius.

  10. Did you pick up the Big Book of Barry Ween? All the Barry Weens in one convenient Oni collection – now if only Judd Winick would stop doing anything else but that, the world would be a better place. Seriously.

  11. Just wondering what you think of Captain Britain being cancelled. It was the ISB’s Best-of-the-Week a number of times.

  12. I might have missed the discussion on it, but did anyone read the Jesse James freebie comic that came out last week? It might be the most laughably bad comic I’ve ever seen.

    Or it might just be regular bad, not the laughy kind.

  13. Didn’t Hellblazer and Hotwire: Requiem for the Dead come out this week?

    Why didn’t you get them?

  14. I have to ask if you checked out the adventures of the Young Super Team in FCA: Dance

    I did, but it didn’t thrill me the way that it has others. Joe Casey tends to be pretty hit or miss with me, and whiel I’m going to check out the next issue, it seems to lack some of the charm the Super Young Team had during their appearance in Final Crisis. I was hoping for more along the lines of “Stop! You must be SUPER-COOL to proceed!” but beyond the opening line, that stuff is pretty much replaced with Twitter, which was done better by both Warren Ellis and Adam Warren recently.

    It’s entirely possible that I haven’t been paying as much attention to Wolverine’s costumes as I should be, but I thought his costume in Weapon X was just his X-Force costume without the mask.

    I thought that at first too, but I’m pretty sure they’re a little different. Then again, I don’t read X-Force, so I might be mistaken.

    Did you pick up the Big Book of Barry Ween?

    Nope. I’ve got all the original trades.

    Just wondering what you think of Captain Britain being cancelled.

    It’s a shame. A damn shame.

    Didn’t Hellblazer and Hotwire: Requiem for the Dead come out this week? Why didn’t you get them?

    Whoops, I think you’re right. Just forgot to grab them; I’ll pick them up tomorrow.

  15. At least Cornell says they found out soon enough to wrap the whole series up. I really have no idea how they could possibly top this arc any way, so maybe it was time to call it a day.

  16. A gun that shot cancer featured prominently in Stephen Zielinski’s _Bad Magic_, an excellent first fantasy novel that will never have a sequel because Tor did such a crap job of marketing it that it sank without a trace and the author has decided to move on from writing to a real job that pays, like, money and stuff.

    I have no idea if there’s a connection. Just sayin’.

    Also, Chris Sims? You would like _Bad Magic_. You can find the first couple of chapters here:

    http://stephan-zielinski.com/dwa/bad-magic/bad-magic-sample-pages-1-30/

    – really, trust me, you will like this book.

    cheers,

    Doug M.

  17. You had me at “guns that shoot cancer.”

    Agents of Atlas is a consistently fun read every week. It’s like being 12 again.

  18. still blinking . . . are there any bonuses in TBBOBW? I think Winick is due for a rebound; if Joe Kelly can make a comeback, then “Winick” can become more than a four-letter word.

  19. Every month, I meant, not week. Gotta lay off the stupid pills.

    I really sad about Captain Britain. I hope those characters don’t get folded into the umpteen X-Books.

  20. Yeah, the suit Wolverine is wearing in Weapon X is the X-Force suit, minus the mask.

  21. Love the Laser Cats reference from Saturday Night Live in the Wolverine alt-text!