The Week In Ink: October 15, 2008

I know everyone’s expecting Drax and Cosmo the Space Dog here, but let’s be real: if there’s one thing better than kicking a Nazi in the face, it’s kicking a Nazi in the face with another Nazi’s foot while judo throwing the second Nazi.

 

 

Oh Atomic Robo. You make life worth living.

Yes, after two light weeks, we’ve finally gotten back on track around here, but before we get into the comics, a word of warning. Those of you who don’t live in the midlands of South Carolina may not know this, but it’s the week of the State Fair, which means that I went over there for lunch today and ate, among other things, two deep-fried Oreos and a deep-fried Reese’s peanut butter cup. So there’s a good chance that about halfway through tonight’s post, I’ll be lost to whatever you call it when you mix a heart attack and a diabetic coma.

That said, let’s get on with the Internet’s Most Batter-Dipped Comics Reviews! Here’s what I got this week…

 

 

And here’s what I thought of it!

 


 

Comics

 

ISB BEST OF THE WEEK

 

 

Age of the Sentry #2: When the comics scholars of the future look back on today, they’re going to get to Age of the Sentry #2 and ask themselves one question: “Why did they even keep making comics after this one came out?” And they will ask themselves that because this is it, folks: This is the new apex of the art form, to which all others must be compared and, almost inevitably, fall short.

And I know this, because this is the very first panel.

 

 

Let’s do this by the numbers, shall we? That is one panel that contains:

1. A bear
2. That is both gigantic and wearing a tutu
3. Fighting two super-heroes
4. At the behest of a man with three brains
5. In a flying saucer that also has training wheels
6. While a robot priest looks on.

Now admittedly, the robot priest actually doesn’t show up for the rest of the story, but any disappointment about that is completely obliterated once we get to page two and find that Jeff Parker and Nick Dragotta have not only given us Harrison Oogar, the Caveman of Wall Street, but a story in which J. Jonah Jameson hires Truman Capote as a columnist to cover the Sentry’s worldwide battle with a rampaging super-bear. Yes: Truman Capote and J. Jonah Jameson. Together at last, just as Jah intended.

It’s everything I love about comics in one place, and with it, Parker and Dragotta (along with Paul Tobin and Mike Cho, who do the second story) have made me love the Sentry. Or, to be perfectly accurate, they’ve made me love the stand-in for Silver Age Superman that the Sentry works so well as, but even with the cracks in the retro facade that are leading to a bigger story for the character, they’ve made me want to know what happens to him. I mean, really: They’ve made me care about the Sentry, and that’s something that I thought was impossible three months ago. And yet, here we are with what might be the most fun comic since Nextwave. Read it. Love it.

 

Amazing Spider-Man #573: ¡Dios mio! ¡Es la primera aparición del Señor Frowny Pumpkin! And just in time for Halloween!

Unfortunately, despite his prominent placement on the cover, SFP–like the robot priest discussed above–doesn’t actually appear in the story. In fact, now that I’m flipping back through, the only pumpkin bombs that get tossed around seem distinctly happy about their work, which only begs the question of what manner melancholy can descend on a novelty explosive for such results. These are the questions I ask myself when I read my comics, which in turn is why I’m always surprised that anyone actually reads my reviews. But anyway, back to Spider-Man.

This issue caps off “New Ways to Die,” which was about as fun as a story could be while involving not only Venom–whose status as the epitome of the regrettable ’90s is matched only by Gambit–but his color-inverted doppelganger who cures cancer with his tentacles. It’s a premise that sounds absolutely ridiculous at first glance (and every subsequent glance, too), but Dan Slott pulls it off with the same sense of fun that runs through all of his stories, and nobody needs me to tell them that JRJr draws a darn fine Spider-Man. So yeah, I like it.

Then again, I also support gay marriage, but that’s a topic for when an issue by Marc Guggenheim actually comes out.

 

Fables #77: Ever since I found out that Bill Willingham was going to go ahead and do his planned ending for Fables without actually ending the comic, I’ve been curious about how it was going to turn out. After all, as much as the chance is there for the book to lose its direction after a peak like that and end up wandering around aimlessly until it grinds to a halt, there’s a certain kind of freedom that can come from getting out from underneath a big plan like that, and with this issue, it looks like we’re getting a taste of the latter.

Yes, for me at least, the big news in this issue was the introduction of Freddy and the Mouse, two characters who are pretty clearly stand-ins for Fritz Lieber’s Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the characters, F and the GM are essentially the Riggs and Murtaugh of the sword and sorcery set: A pair of mercenaries who get up to what can only be called “rollicking shennanigans.” I mean, there’s one story where they steal a nobleman’s entire house. Admittedly, it’s a small house–more of a cottage–but it is described as being well-stocked with the Lankhmar’s greatest collection of erotica, and being able to steal even a small building is a pretty mean feat when you get right down to it.

They’re fun characters, but unlike the familiar fairy-tale quantities that we’ve gotten for the past six years, they’re not the kind that you can plug into any story easily. It’s closer to when he uses Mowgli, who has a definite milieu that he’s drawn from, but it’s like if Conan suddenly showed up in the middle of things: They demand attention. In any case, I’m pretty excited about them, since they haven’t shown up in comics for a while, and even if Freddy and the Mouse were just off-brand versions that’re dead and gone by the next issue, it’s fun to have them around.

 

Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds #2: You know, I’ve seen the phrase “continuity porn” thrown out here and there, but brother, I’ve never seen anything like this. Between a fight scene drawn by the inimitable George Perez that reads like Geoff Johns went through a set of archives making a checklist for villains–or, now that I think of it, just read through An Eye for an Eye and threw in his 31st Century “Justice League” for good measure–and a scene where the original Legion gets the same crystal ball that’s on the cover of the first JLA/JSA team-up to pull two other Legions from various continuities… Well, the mind boggles.

And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Me, I think it’s a hoot, although I will say this: I love the Legion. I love the Silver Age Legion, I love the Reboot Legion, I love the current Legion. I love that they’re all having a big crazy team-up, even if it means my favorite version’s last hurrah before they get chucked back into limbo again to make way for the return of Dawnstar. But seriously, I don’t care if he comes to the rescue with Bizarro Computo and Tyroc in tow, there is no way in hell that I will ever care about Sodam Yat, beyond wondering why there doesn’t appear to be anyone totally honest or totally fearless in the entire future.

 

Punisher #63: Well, that worked out pretty much exactly as expected, didn’t it? Only there was the added bonus of it being so monumentally emo that I’m surprised it didn’t come with one of those little sound chips that started playing Hawthorne Heights or something whenever you opened it.

Me, I’m more of a Slayer fan, but the problem here is that this issue reads like a storytelling trick and not a story. I said in my review of the last issue that the way things worked out–with Frank being set up and only made to think he killed the girl–would provide an easy out without addressing the actual problem, but even knowing that going in it was a stretch. Far be it from me to nitpick about realism in my comics–see the above endorsement of a book involving a giant atomic bear–but the Punisher of the MAX series is a different beast entirely, and when your story hinges on Frank Castle–Frank Castle, who has lived gunpowder and smoke for thirty years–not being able to tell the difference between firecrackers and gunfire, things start to get a little iffy.

What’s even stranger is the fact that, in the story as told, this is all used to give Frank a reason to go after the bad guys, which is something that we already have. We know from the beginning of the story that they’re killing young girls in horrible ways, and that’s bad enough to get the Punisher involved without a cheap psyche-out attempt at making it personal. Even worse, it undermines what the character’s been built around for the past eight years. As strange as it might sound, the Frank Castle of the MAX series under Garth Ennis isn’t driven by revenge for himself; he’s simply out to kill people who do bad things. Now, there are stories where that’s not the case–Up Is Down and Black Is White and The Cell spring to mind–but those are based around specific things, and one of them even ends with the Punisher talking about how it’s not revenge anymore, just a job to be done.

And yet, here we are with the Punisher intoning “she is dead” over and over, which really just gets laughable after a while, and resolving that now he’s going to kill them EXTRA HARD. And the worst of it is that even with all that, from a technical standpoint, it’s not a poorly written comic. It’s certainly interesting enough that I don’t hate it, but there’s nothing that falls quite so flat as something that’s almost good.

 

Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen Special: When we were talking about the preview of this one that came out last week, Dr. K mentioned that he was glad James Robinson established by page four that Jimmy Olsen gets laid regularly.

My response to that? Of course Jimmy gets laid. He’s best friends with Superman! He’s been to outer space! Hell, he’s been to the future, and while we’re all going to get there eventually, he came back with stories of super-powered triplets fighting over him. He went to the past to drop-kick a leopard in the body of Marco Polo! He dated a robot viking! He survived the Mountain of Judgment!

I guess what I’m saying here is that I love Jimmy Olsen and I would knife any of you right in the eye if it meant I could write an ongoing.

But I guess Robinson does pretty okay.

 


 

And that’s the week. As always, questions on anything I read or skipped this week can be left in the comments section below. Also, if anybody wants to explain how we’ve managed to develop the technology to make “fried Pepsi,” I’m curious about that one.

I mean, a deep fried liquid! Now THAT’S science!

50 thoughts on “The Week In Ink: October 15, 2008

  1. OK, I’ll take one for the team – I’ll take the knife in the eye if it means you get to write Jimmy getting his coals raked every month. But my price would be being allowed to write one-eyed reviews of same every month (heh-heh-heh).

    Seriously? You’ve got a convert to the Sentry book right here. I am going to pick that up just on the strength of that one review right up there. Job well done, Mr S.

    Cheers,
    Mal

  2. 1. I see you’re picking up Smith’s Rasl. How is it?

    2. I wonder if that robot priest in AotS is the same one from Nextwave. Also while I’m not going to knife people so you can write for DC, I would be willing to bust some kneecaps if it meant a Sims’ written Marvel ongoing featuring X-Rex Dino Ranger teamed with Devil Dinosaur & Moon-Boy. In space. Possibly someone who dresses like a pirate with a metal bird would be involved…

  3. I’d love it if they could somehow – somehow! tip the hat to the “five years later” Legion, which (correct me if I’m wrong here) seems to have been swept under the rug. There were some touches in that series which were simply brilliant, not least of which being my favorite interpretation of Matter-Eater Lad ever.

  4. the way I understood it, the reason the ring couldn’t find anyone was that Mogo wasn’t there anymore. I believe it was established that Mogo was the one responsible for guiding the rings to worthy bearers.

    also, I had never heard of deep-friend Oreos or Reese’s before but now I want some.

  5. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a more horrifying food than “deep fried Pepsi”. It’s like some kind of anti-food, like every time somebody “eats” it, an entire village somewhere dies of starvation.

    Anyway, for what it’s worth, I would throw money at DC if you, Chris Sims, wrote a Jimmy Olsen ongoing. You may mention that in your pitch.

  6. I would gladly surrender my eye for a Sims written Jimmy Olsen comic.
    Then I would purchase two ravens, and wander around telling people I was Odin.

    So we would both benefit!

  7. No mention of Starro-Superman saving Starro-little girl’s (I hope, but it was really too small to tell) Starro-kitty from a tree in Booster Gold?

    It also features Starro-Tom Cruise going nuts on StarrOprah, and Booster Gold ripping a monkey’s face off.

  8. At our State Fair (MN), my wife enjoyed the grilled chocolate sandwich. But that seems kind of tame when compared to deep-fried Pepsi.
    It sounds horrible, but I’ll have to look for it next year.

  9. This Deep Fried Pepsi; it’s not just a batter dipped can, right? Because that’s the image I keep getting in my head, like when Moe opened his family theme restaraunt and deep fried everything.

    Because if it’s not, the only “technology” I can think of that could be responsible for it is black magik. With a k and every thing. I expect Grant Morrison to write a story around it for Vertigo at some point. Or maybe it will be part of Darkseid’s master plan in one of the Final Crisis tie-ins.

    All that said, were I not feeling nausea this morning, I might have a morbid desire to try it.

  10. “No mention of Starro-Superman saving Starro-little girl’s (I hope, but it was really too small to tell) Starro-kitty from a tree in Booster Gold?

    It also features Starro-Tom Cruise going nuts on StarrOprah, and Booster Gold ripping a monkey’s face off.”

    This was my first issue of this series. I bought just because “hey, it’s the guy who writes Fear Agent doing Booster Gold. That’s different.” It’s good that he brought the face ripping over from his creator owned work. I hope Booster is joined by a surly, alcoholic Texan next month. Seriously.

  11. Peppy nailed the Mogo issue–admittedly, that is extremely obscure. Apparently without Mogo supercharging the process, the rings default to heading back to Oa.

    I do love that heavy cont-porn–that even Sodam Yat (who looks pretty normal currently) looks like the insane one panel throw-off Kevin O’Neill drew all those years ago that created the character.

    And, somewhere in the night, Alan Moore screams.

  12. I wonder if ‘Deep-Fried Pepsi’ isn’t just funnel-cake with Pepsi in the batter? That’s the only thing I can come up with that doesn’t threaten to make the whole world vomit simultaneously.

  13. You do know that at the State Fair down here in Texas we have taken the ultimate fried food and deep fried it:

    CHICKEN FRIED BACON!

    that is right one of nature’s perfect food has now reached a level that used to only be achieved in heaven.

    Thow in a story of a wise cracking, cigar smoking Gorilla version of Nick Fury fighting a giant Nazi robot guided by the brains of Hitler,Stalin and Baron Strucker and your day is complete!

  14. Fried Pepsi? Don’t make me laugh! Up here in Ye Olde Yankeetowne, we’ve developed fried beer technology. No, really.

    (And then, because we’re arugula-eating liberal elitists, we fried a salad, too.)

  15. Just opening Fables this week, not even reading the dialogue, I immediately recognized Fafhrd and got a big silly grin. It’s great to have that pair in the Fables world; it was a bit off-putting that their speech wasn’t quite up to Leiber’s standards, but the writers made a decent attempt and I don’t think anyone but Leiber could really write them effectively.

  16. What was your take on The Forgotten, Chris? I just finished watching the “Beneath The Surface” DVD set, so I became familiar with how kickass Jon Pertwee’s version on the Doctor could be, though I was dissapointed he didn’t get to throw down in the issue. Also: a rampaging Auton. Good times.

  17. Peppy gets it right. If Mogo dies the Green Lantern rings kinda lose their seeking-out-candidates power and zoom back to Oa instead. It’s a little piece of trivia introduced in GL Corps a few years back, and it made me kinda happy to see it in this fabulously continuity-crazy comic.

  18. Almost forgot: the cover of Booster Gold should have included this: “From the team that ruined The All-New Atom and killed Panda Potter!!” I’ll be surprised if Ryan Choi lives for a few more years because of those six issues.

  19. I can’t believe I didn’t see it mentioned yet, so I’ll be the first: Starro-Chemo was glorious in his/its unhinged majesty. I’m naturally a sucker for that shambling, spewing sack o’ sewage, and I guffawed like a donkey at his bestarfished face.

    (And with appearances/mentions of Amazo and Evillo, this was a banner week for DC’s “O-Squad.” Bizarro was the only one left out of the loop.)

  20. Hey, maybe Sodam will perish battling the Children of the White Lobe at some point in Lo3W #3, 4, or 5. Universo has a pale, gleaming dome as well as GL ties. It could happen.

  21. So the rings can’t seek out replacements on their own? Why?

    …it gives Mogo something to do?

    Rasl

    Wait. There was a second, let alone a third issue of this? Jimminy.

    I hope Booster is joined by a surly, alcoholic Texan next month.
    If it helps, Booster had a teambooze-up with Jonah Hex a while back.

  22. A few years back I heard of Fried Coke. I imagine the Fried Pepsi is the same idea. All it was, if I remember correctly, was a funnel cake made with enough Coke/Pepsi syrup to be almost completely syrup. Just enough batter to it so that it could be fried. Then, after it is fried, it is drizzled with MORE of the syrup. Pretty much pure sugar. I would totally eat it, just to experience the sugar-induced hallucinations that would follow.

  23. How dependent is Age of the Sentry #2 on the previous issue? How much does it leave unresolved for the next issue? Are the issues all part of one story, or does each issue pretty much stand alone? For that matter, how does this issue stack up to the previous one?

    The Bullock cover art plus your recommendation have totally sold me, I’m just trying to gauge whether I can start with this issue or if I’ll need to find the first one first.

    Also: how’s Charlatan Ball holding up?

  24. What did you think of Codename: Assasin in Jimmy Olsen? I find that concept strangely beautiful, and utterly 1970s. It’s the Punisher…only telekenetic…AND PURPLE.

  25. 1. I see you’re picking up Smith’s Rasl. How is it?

    Not bad, although I can’t decide if the feeling that it’s moving slowly is based on it actually moving slowly or just me trying to readjust my perceptions so I’m not one of those guys that went apeshit about it after one issue because we love Bone so much.

    Also, I can’t read about that guy drifting between dimensions without laughing, because of this.

    I’d love it if they could somehow – somehow! tip the hat to the “five years later” Legion, which (correct me if I’m wrong here) seems to have been swept under the rug.

    The Five Years Later Legion–which was what the original Legion eventually became–is the main focus of LO3W, just as it was the main focus of Superman and the Legion. Sadly, no Matter Eater Lad yet.

    I do love that heavy cont-porn–that even Sodam Yat (who looks pretty normal currently) looks like the insane one panel throw-off Kevin O’Neill drew all those years ago that created the character.

    I wish he’d fight Sodom from Final Fight. That’d be the PERFECT DC/Udon crossover.

    What was your take on The Forgotten, Chris?

    Still enjoying it, although I get the feeling I’ll like it more once it gets to the Doctors that I’m more familiar with (Four, Five and Nine). To be fair, it reads like published fan-fiction, but it’s very good published fan-fiction.

    How dependent is Age of the Sentry #2 on the previous issue? How much does it leave unresolved for the next issue? Are the issues all part of one story, or does each issue pretty much stand alone? For that matter, how does this issue stack up to the previous one?

    There’s an overarching meta-story that’s used as a framing sequence, but you should be fine if you can only find #2. It doesn’t really pick up until Tobin’s story, and all you really get in the first issue is the shadowy guy reading shadowy bedtime stories about the Sentry to his shadowy kid.

    That said, #1′s well worth it if you find it, as it’s very much along the same lines of the retro-Superman fun of the second.

    No Truman Capote, though.

    Also: how’s Charlatan Ball holding up?

    Crazily.

    What did you think of Codename: Assasin in Jimmy Olsen?

    Fun!

  26. Age of the Sentry had the line of the year from the Sentry: “I got the idea from Truman Capote’s childhood trauma.” This is marvelously filling a similar role to Alan Moore’s run on Supreme.

  27. The Dresden Files: Welcome to the Jungle dropped this week, too. My local comic book store was sold out. :( The reviewer over at fantasy book critic (how the heck do you insert a link?) put it in the same classification with…are you ready?…Buffy, Hellboy, and ANITA BLAKE:VAMPIRE HUNTER. Gah! The mind, it boggles. Any one of the above could hand Anita Blake her own butt with one of their respective arms cut off.

  28. Clearly the correct way to go about deep-fried Pepsi is to approach it from the same angle as ice cream tempura, which is to say freeze it, batter it, and quick-fry it before it can melt.

  29. Also the Jimmy Olsen comic was disappointing in that for a few seconds I thought the Mysterious Floating Man was a poorly-drawn John Constantine. (OTOH reading a Johns or Robinson penned Constantine would probably make me feel icky anyway so just as well.)

  30. put it in the same classification with…are you ready?…Buffy, Hellboy, and ANITA BLAKE:VAMPIRE HUNTER. Gah! The mind, it boggles. Any one of the above could hand Anita Blake her own butt with one of their respective arms cut off.

    All four are comics set in the modern/urban horror/fantasy sub-genre. Hellblazer or Suburban Glamour would fit in there fine as well. Just because they vary in quality doesn’t change that they can be classified together…

  31. For the record, deep-fried Ppepsi(and Coke too) are balls of dough that have been flavored with the syrup before deep-frying. No thanks.

  32. For The Thing That Walks Like A Man: If you like the idea of an “O-Squad,” you might want to check out the Elseworlds annual for Justice League America from 1994. The main story’s so-so (Felix Faust rules the Earth, rag-tag band of heroes takes up titles of the fallen heroes), but the backup has several “O” villains teaming up. It’s from Dan Vado and Evan Dorkin, and it’s pretty funny.

  33. So the rings can’t seek out replacements on their own? Why?

    they don’t have the fine tuning that Mogo has? I don’t know. I don’t think it was really explained.

  34. Sorry LurkerWithout, without the link it really isn’t clear, but here is the quote:
    “If you’re a fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Hellboy, or the Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter comic books, then “The Dresden Files: Welcome to the Jungle” will be perfect for you.”
    So it is a bit different then just saying they’re in the same genre. Yes, for now, AB:VH is urban fantasy; what the comic is going to do around the time the source books turn into porn I am not sure. Put it into the same classification with Tarot, maybe? But even though they are both UF, it is still apples and oranges.
    Here is the full link:
    http://fantasybookcritic.blogspot.com/2008/10/dresden-files-welcome-to-jungle-by-jim.html

  35. Thanks for the heads-up on the Sentry book, Chris – I’d not even read the solicits, it being the Sentry, so had no idea the marvellous Jeff Parker (I’ll love him forever for sneaking a Sound of Music reference into Agents of Atlas) was involved. I’m buying.

  36. Honestly, I’m tired of people misinterpreting those Guggenheim comments.

    His point is that the change to the MJ/Peter marriage was just to remove the actual marriage part. They still lived together in a committed relationship that whole time, they just weren’t married.

    This isn’t meant to demean people who think that the change is significant. If you think the change is significant, it means you understand the importance of the concept of marriage, and you feel that there’s a substantive difference between a long term committed, unmarried, relationship, and a marriage.

    His message, in essence is “If this is that important to you, if it really bothers you that much when it comes to two fictional people, then it should be at least that important to you when you’re talking about millions of real people.”

    I think the disconnect with a lot of folks is they want to read what Guggenheim is saying as a defense of OMD/BND, or that they’re reading Guggenheim’s comments as dismissive of their thoughts on the subject because they’re attuned to having people from Marvel treat their criticism in that manner. They want to read that as “This is the deal, and if you disagree then obviously you “, even though it’s fairly clear that that’s not what Guggenheim was saying.

  37. D’oh, that last part came out wrong because I put some text in less-than/greater-than tags because I wasn’t thinking. That last sentence should say:

    They want to read that as “This is the deal, and if you disagree then obviously you (insert insult here)“, even though it’s fairly clear that that’s not what Guggenheim was saying.

  38. Thank you for passing along the deep-fried Reese’s idea. A buddy and I like to deep-fry Oreos and whatever else we can find but never thought of the magical combination of chocolate and peanut butter.

    Of course since last night’s dinner consisted of:1 slice of Little’s Caesar’s pizza
    1 McDonald’s hamburger
    1 medium fry from Wendy’s
    1 piece of fried fish from Long John Silvers
    1 Original Recipe chicken strip from KFC
    1 Subway chocolate chip cookie
    all washed down with and IBC root beer, then I’ll probably want to wait about a month before trying the Reece’s.

    And yes, that meal was awesome.

    See you in the ICU, Chris!

  39. My father teaches physical geography and part of one course includes talking about agriculture, both the science and the, well, culture of it. So he takes his college students to a local county fair and they look at the 4H sheep and the prize winning corn, etc. As a bonus, the student who gives the most examples of deep fried foods gets extra credit. This year the winner found 48 different foods. Last year was 52.

  40. Honestly, I’m tired of people misinterpreting those Guggenheim comments.

    It wouldn’t be misinterpreted so much if he hadn’t phrased it in an absolutely shit way.