The Week In Ink: October 28, 2009

With Halloween fast approaching, it has fallen to Patsy Walker to show the most efficient and effective way of dealing with the living dead:

 

 

By rocking them with a kick to the face.

But let’s be honest: That’s probably something ISB readers already knew, so instead of elaborating on what scholars have referred to as The Billy Jack Method, it looks like it’s time for another round of the Internet’s Most Laughlinesque Comics Reviews!

Here’s what I picked up this week:

 

 

…and here’s what I thought about ’em!

 


 

Batman: The Brave and the Bold #10: In this issue, by Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade‘s Landry Walker and Eric Jones, Batman is transformed by Hugo Strange into a giant kaiju monster and then fights the Atom, who has also grown giant-sized, which may cause him to explode.

The Diamond order code you want is AUG09 0192.

 

Dark Avengers: Ares #1: I’v ebeen looking forward to this one since it was solicited, owing largely to the fact that, starting with the Oeming/Foreman series and moving through appearances in Incredible Herc that are pretty much tailor-made for my particular tastes, Ares has steadily become one of those character sthat I really look forward to seeing. But even so, I honestly didn’t expect it to be this good.

Really though, it’s not too much of a surprise. I mean, I already knew that Kieron Gillen was an extremely talented writer, but a story about Marvel’s God of War training a hand-picked squad of Norman Osborn’s soldiers is about as different as you can get from Phonogram while still having a cover and two staples. And yet, he tackles it with the same sense of thrilling excitement that he brought to the table on his recent work on Beta Ray Bill, and much like he did with ol Spacehorse, it’s clear by page two that Gillen’s a guy who just flat-out gets Ares.

And not only that, but he even manages to lay it all out in a scene that’s not only clever and well-structured–complete with a bit of Herc‘s humor–but that never actually feels like a scene where a character has to spell out his motivations. “Subtlety” is the wrong word for it, but Gillen nails the character’s voice so well that a three-page speech in front of a Patton-esque American flag just feels natural. And it doesn’t hurt that Manuel Garcia, Stefano Gaudiano and Mark Pennington’s art has the right mix of grittiness and expressiveness to carry it all off, either.

It’s great fun, and the fact that Gillen’s pulled off cosmic battles and Earth-bound gods so well in such a short span of time gives me even higher hopes for his upcoming run on Thor.

 

Detective Comics #858: Okay, look: At this point, we’ve all talked about J.H. Williams III and how he’s consistently making ‘Tec the best looking book on the stands, and while it’s starting to feel like Greg Rucka’s getting the short end of the stick on the critical side of things, it pretty much has to be said:

Holy cats, J.H. Williams is awesome.

Not just because he’s a great artist, which I think is pretty self-evident at this point, but because of the way he’s able to switch things up. In the stories up to now, it’s been more a matter of panel layouts and Dave Stewart’s coloring–switching up the style based on whether the story’s following Kate or Batwoman–but in this one, it’s a completely different style. If it wasn’t for the credits, I would’ve sworn it was someone like Michael Lark doing the flashback sequences, but no, it’s Williams, pulling off the same trick he used on The Black Glove–where every character was drawn in the style of a different artist–but expanded for a whole issue.

But again: Rucka’s working on this book too, and with the start of the new arc, he’s finally fleshing out Batwoman’s background, showing her to be more than just a bored socialite who used to date Renee Montoya, for whom things are also picking up in the face-kickingest co-feature we’ve yet seen from DC. It’s a welcome change, as the character’s been around for three years now, but the way that it’s been built up has done a lot to increase its impact.

It’s another issue of incredible creators collaborating to make incredible comics, and while that’s not exactly news, something this good always bears mentioning.

 

ISB BEST OF THE WEEK

 

 

Fantastic Four #572: The old cliche about the Fantastic Four is that they’re not just a team, they’re a family. It’s a tenet about the team that’s been repeated ad infinitum over the past 40-some years, but like most things that stick around to reach cliche status, it’s also at the core of some really great stories, and this is one of them.

I’ve had the feeling since this arc started that there was a reason we were seeing a bunch of Reeds without a single Ben, Johnny or Sue–of the entire Council of Cross-Time Reeds, only “ours” actuallly has the FF’s 4 on his chest—and while it didn’t end up playing out quite the way I thought it would, it took the idea of asking what it would take to solve everything and built something incredibly enjoyable around it. Kicking off a run with what really amounts to a Reed Richards solo story seems like a pretty bold move, but the way Hickman and Eaglesham have executed it is so well done, with the character rooted it in the idea that even with countless versions of himself tooling around the Multiverse, “our” Reed stands apart from the others because for him, there’s no such thing as a Reed Richards solo story.

It’s a simple premise, but like I said, it’s one that’ flawlessly executed, with enough twisting and turning to keep it feeling fresh, and it’s quickly made FF one of the books that I’m looking forward to the most.

 

Invincible Presents Atom Eve & Rex Splode #1: I’ve been talking quite a bit about Benito Cereno and Nate Bellegarde over the past few weeks, mainly because their latest Hector Plasm collection is the textbook example of how a Halloween special should be done, but the fact is that those guys just make good comics together. With this one, they’re following up their origin for Atom Eve with a look at the Secret Origin of the recently deceased Rex Splode–another one of those wish-I’d-thought-of-that-name supporting cast members that Kirkman has stocked his books with–and the result is predictably entertaining.

Benito’s script keeps things rolling along with a great mix of comedy and action–including scenes I’m incredibly jelaous of that are set up like jokes, with the punchline being political assassination–and under Bill Crabtree’s bright, vivid colors, Nate’s art coming off as good here as it does on Hector. I’ve gotta say that as much as I liked what they ended up with for Atom Eve, this one’s off to an even more promising start.

 


 

And that, more or less, is the week. I’ll have a few more reviews–most notably my opinion on the start of the whole FrankenCastle story that’s running through Punisher on next week’s thrilling episode of Ajax, but until then, feel free to pepper me with any questions you have about this week’s titles, like whether “Old Man Logan” was as stupid as I thought it was going to be (yes, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing) in the comments section below.

43 thoughts on “The Week In Ink: October 28, 2009

  1. How is that new Grist book, really? I mean, I don’t really need a review to convince me to buy it (the title alone does that), but still. I read some less than glowing reviews yesterday.

  2. How much time do I have to give Abnett & Lanning to de-dead my 2nd favorite Guardian of the Galaxy before I start being a creepy fan towards them?

    ‘Cause that Magus fight ended up being just fucking brutal…

  3. And now Billy Jack references? It’s official: this blog’s level of awesomeness can now be measured in kiloKnievels. (kKn, for those keeping score at home.)

    Might have to look into getting back into FF. I stopped just after Waid’s run ended…picked up a few issues of JMS, and then gave it up.

  4. It seems like every time FF gets a new creative team, I pick it up, go “Oh, hey, this is kind of cool,” and then drop it within four months. I think this may be the run that finally stops that because it is SO FREAKING COOL.

    I started picking it up on your recommendation both here an on Ajax, Sims, and it didn’t let me down. Thanks!

  5. Is Ambush Bug worth buying? I picked up the first two issues because of my longstanding love for the character, but I just couldn’t get into it.

  6. “Is Ambush Bug worth buying?”

    Not even a little bit. I’m an Ambush Bug completist too, but this miniseries was awful pretty much from word one (laughless writing, aggressively mediocre art), and it only got worse at the end. #7 is nothing but “hey, we never did publish #6, did we?” for a hundred panels and change.

  7. Great to see Kieron Gillen getting such praise, I’ve been following his writing since his days as a journalist for Amiga Power, they were great.

  8. If i may ask, from which title exactly is the Patsy picture that opens this week’s article?

    I like Patsy & her fighting zombies, well… :-D

  9. Hey, Yo! Master, Patsy’s from Models Inc.

    I loved Old Man Logan because, although I had never really thought about it, the dead of Wolverine being in Unforgiven is GENIUS. I did have a few embarrassing fanboy thoughts (Man, this Hulk is acting a lot like the Ultimate Hulk).

    Also, I thought the art was worth the price of admission. Man, that McNiven is great.

    I know this is a little goony too, but I couldn’t help but to think about the old Alan Moore idea where it’s the future and the DC super heroes are split into, like, houses and have territory all over the place and, presumably, a lot of fights. Old Man Logan seemed to just steal that idea (although, it’s possible that it’s a common trope). And like you said, not that that’s a bad thing, being stupid, stealing.

  10. J.H. Williams deserves a goddamn Nobel Prize or something for Detective Comics. Mere money doesn’t cut it as tribute for art this good.

  11. My one disappointment? The cover promised the Thing clobbering a Celestial, which was not delivered.

    Perhaps it’s a glimpse of stories yet to come. After all, it’s hard to imagine the Celestials taking that kind of beating with no thought of reprisals in the future . . .

  12. nothing on Jason Aaron channeling his inner Morrison or Ultimate War Machine being a transformer?

    also I’m curious, what did you personally think of the Punisher one-shot?

  13. ok sorry didn’t read the bit about ajax.

    also your review on ‘Tec and FF are spot on and I salute you

  14. Never has mentioning a Diamond order code been more humorous and more necessary and in the B:TBATB review. And even if “giant Atom versus giant Batman creature with an explosive timelimit” is pretty much the whole iceberg, the tip has some great moments, too. Like Green Arrow’s delivery of the Giant Batman announcement. (Current nominee for my Best Scene of the Week award–and it’s hard to choose one from this comic.) Also, my favorite villain cameo, which makes me long for one particular special. (No spoiler here.)

  15. I’ve always wondered if anyone, anywhere actually thought the whole “Punisher is resurrected by angels and kills stuff for Heaven” run was a good idea.

    Then I read the Punisher one-shot, and looked at the Franken-Castle previews, and realized that, apparently, some people at Marvel did.

    Oy.

  16. You know, it’s real hard to take Irwin Schwab whinging about grim and gritty superhero comics when Doom Patrol #1 opens with Nudge being brutally and senselessly murdered. If you don’t like it, don’t do it, Keith, you fucking hypocrite.

    Chris: agreed on FF #572. THat’s a great analysis of the issue.

  17. “You know, it’s real hard to take Irwin Schwab whinging about grim and gritty superhero comics when Doom Patrol #1 opens with Nudge being brutally and senselessly murdered. If you don’t like it, don’t do it, Keith, you fucking hypocrite.”

    Maybe he’s not as worked up about it as Irwin is? I dunno, you may be right, but I never like to ascribe too much of the author’s beliefs to their characters, even one like the Bug. That said, anything hating on Giffen’s DP is fine by me. I want my money back for that thing (you can keep a buck for the Metal Men back up, though).

  18. I read ‘Tec and thought to myself “oh, this is where they start relentlessly hammering at Batwoman to fit her into the mold of every other DC Comics character.” JH Williams deserves even more credit than he gets for making this readable in spite of a plot that is played beyond all comprehension.

  19. Re: Giffen and splatterhouse character deaths:

    This could be completely full of crap, but since Giffen is an artist, too, I wonder if, in his head, the thing with Nudge or the thing where L’il Black Adam got eaten by a crocodile looked different. Because when I think of what those would look like with Keith Giffen’s art, it plays very different in my head. Much more like a Tex Avery Looney Toon kind of death and less like a post-’90’s DC comic style of butchery.

  20. God GoTG 19 was perfect on nearly every level

    and FF, man twas a great marvel week

    and hey back on the DC front the plot finally arrived in Blackest Night

  21. At least it makes sense to have dark material in DOOM PATROL. The problem with the DCU isn’t that there is dark stuff, but that the dark stuff has gotten so pervasive. It’s like, there are the Johnny DC titles which are light and fun and entertaining, and there’s everything else that DC publishes.

  22. (Not that there aren’t good DC books, I wanna make that perfectly clear. Just that it feels like the lighthearted side of the genre is contained.)

  23. “So, Dark Reign: The List: Wolverine; pretty awesome, right? RIGHT!”

    love how the only explanation we’re given for where the hell Fantomex has been is “stealing stuff”

    also the page where he talks about Doctor Doom just killed me.

  24. Then I read the Punisher one-shot, and looked at the Franken-Castle previews, and realized that, apparently, some people at Marvel did.

    To be fair, this time they’re still publishing “standard” Punisher alongside the retooled one. Pick your choice.

    Punisher MAX under Jason Aaron does look more promising than the Rick Remender one, though.

  25. Old Man Logan was awful. It felt like someone in the Marvel bullpen went to see Doomsday last year, and decided what that movie need was 100% more Wolverine.

    Now, I wanted to like Doomsday – the trailers made is seem like a great mashup of the Road Warrior and Escape from New York. What I got was an hour and half of joyless, soul-crushing nihilism that was grotesque just because it could be.

    That’s what I got out of Old Man Logan too. Sadly, this comic was ordered by our local Publix and put on the comic shelf right next to Marvel Adventures – bet there were some parents who got a big surprise out of Little Johnny’s reading selection.

  26. “love how the only explanation we’re given for where the hell Fantomex has been is “stealing stuff”

    also the page where he talks about Doctor Doom just killed me.”

    Yes. Yes. YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    “Old Man Logan was awful. It felt like someone in the Marvel bullpen went to see Doomsday last year, and decided what that movie need was 100% more Wolverine.”

    To be fair, I often think that of many movies. Including that Wolverine movie this year.

  27. At least it makes sense to have dark material in DOOM PATROL. The problem with the DCU isn’t that there is dark stuff, but that the dark stuff has gotten so pervasive. It’s like, there are the Johnny DC titles which are light and fun and entertaining, and there’s everything else that DC publishes.

    If I ran DC…it would go under in a matter of months. Before that, I would leave the dark stuff with Vertigo, keep the light stuff with Johnny DC, and have more of a balance with the main universe. Doom Patrol and Batman are better served as “dark”, while Superman should be more light. (And yeah, I’ve read the old Superman stories where he’s more of a vigilante bully type, but it hasn’t been that way in a loooooong time.)

    Not sure what would happen with Wildstorm, because I haven’t cared since they screwed up Thundercats. I wasn’t even a fan of their Robotech run.

  28. another good thing about the Ares issue was that it reminded me of Hellsing in tone, which is a great thing for a comic to do.

    “Do you know if Fraction is putting out Casanova again or is that done?”

    In Ajax Fraction said they’re going to continue it in the future

  29. Having re-read Detective Comics, I noticed that the Question uses no mode of attack other than facekicks in that entire installment, and can only conclude that Greg Rucka walks among us.

  30. Even in the stories where Superman’s a vigilante, it’s not really dark- more of a fiery can-do “Someone oughta put a stop to this!” attitude.

  31. On the Johns subtlety thing, I just realized after rereading Secret Origins 2 that he gives a reason for why the Legion is so quippy.

  32. Actually, I thought Ambush Bug: Year None was pretty good.

    Not great, and ending weird (even for Ambush Bug); but it’s laugh-per-page ratio was pretty healthy. (Better than Son of Ambush Bug, anyway.) The idea of Greg Rucka committing suicide over Darkest Night

    Plus, Robert Loren Fleming has three names, wrote Thriller (the comic, not the music video), and drops a Firesign Theatre quote in the Year: None credits.

  33. PS

    Has anyone heard why Ambush Bug: Year None #6 really wasn’t published?

    I’d have like to have seen the Darwyn Cooke cover.

  34. “Has anyone heard why Ambush Bug: Year None #6 really wasn’t published?”

    I dunno for sure, but all the “Not Dan” paper bags in #7 seems like a nudge in the right direction.

  35. Chris: In light of your theory that the current story arc in The Incredible Hercules is all about Herc re-performing his 12 Labours, how clever did you feel when you got this week’s issue and it has him fighting a lion right there on the cover?