The Week In Ink: June 7, 2007

Right as I was sitting down to get on with this week’s reviews, I got a phone call from my friend Brandon, who was driving home from work and wanted to shoot the breeze about comics. Brandon, as you might recall, is probably the world’s only noted Scott Lobdell fan, and right about the time he finished a rapid fire sequence of questions regarding my thoughts on Thunderbolts, Annihilation, and the latest arc on She-Hulk, I mentioned that it might be easier if I had some sort of website that he could go to where I recorded my thoughts on those very comics!

Sometimes it’s amazing that I have any friends at all.



Oh well. You still love me, right, Internet?

Of course you do! And why? Because the ISB still stands as the home of the web’s Least Friendly comics review, done on time and with added violence for your reading pleasure. Here’s the tale of the tape this week…



…now touch gloves and come out swingin’!





Avengers: The Initiative #3: If there’s one thing we can learn from this issue that should come as absolutely no surprise whatsoever, it’s that Dan Slott can write a heck of an enjoyable Spider-Man, and considering the persistent rumors that he’s going to be the one to take over Amazing when Straczynski finally leaves (which seem to be supported pretty well by the fact that he went ahead and introduced new characters and plotlines in the FCBD special and is leaving his beloved She-Hulk for an opportunity too great to pass up), that’s pretty good news. Like I said, though, it’s not really that shocking, especially in light of how well this book’s coming together with a solid, character-driven issue that also features Dani Moonstar headlocking a bear.

And not just a bear… a Demon Bear.

It’s a great read from Slott, and Stefano Casselli’s pencils are sharp and full of energy, even though they are–as always–almost ruined in a lot of places by Daniele Rudoni’s coloring. I mean, really, there are some pages that are just fine–like the big reveal of the Scarlet Spiders–but I’m pretty sure that Komodo’s not supposed to have the same pale green skin tone she sports as a lizard when she’s in her human form. Just sayin’.


Black Summer #0: I wasn’t originally planning on picking this one up, but after I leafed through it in the store, I decided to go ahead and give Warren Ellis’s latest series a fair shot. Needless to say, it was good, but of course it’s going to be good. Ellis isn’t exactly a slouch when it comes to writing comics, and even the stuff that I don’t particularly care for–like Wolfskin or his current run on Thunderbolts–usually has enough great little moments to make it worth giving a read, so that was never really in doubt.

The question was whether or not it was going to be new. He mentions himself in an essay after the main story–an eight-pager accompanied by design sketches, hence the $0.99 cover price–that he’s dipped into politically edged super-hero work before, most notably in the pages of his ridiculously awesome run on Stormwatch and The Authority, the latter of which even has a story later on where its cast of tough-guy super-heroes depose the government and take over the country. The danger of falling into a repetitive story where another well-written hard-man who is completely different from, say, the Midnighter in that he wears a white Sgt. Pepper outfit instead of a black one is there, and with only eight pages of story to go on, it’s too early to tell if it’s going to go that route or dish up something we haven’t seen.

But like I said: It’s Warren Ellis, it’s good, it’s cheap, and this one at least didn’t ship with any variants, despite having been published by Avatar. There’s not much of a reason not to get it if you like Ellis, and as the record will show from the time I named Nextwave the best comic of the Willennium, I do.





Buffy the Vampire Slayer #4: With the exception of Fray and certain aspects of his portrayal of the Punisher, I’ve been enjoying pretty much everything Joss Whedon’s written for comics over the past few years, and yet it still feels weird to be this excited about any comic book version of a licensed television property.

But really, can you blame me? Even if I wasn’t already enjoying what was going on in this book–which, considering that it’s basically been one long sequence of pretty girls punching out demons for the past three months, is probably to be expected–this one includes a scene where Buffy uses her magical Iron Fist powers, and, well, that’s all I need to know to flip right out about something.

Really, though, it’s a fantastic read. This issue closes out the first story arc–or, if you want to stretch the television metaphor dangerously thin, the four-issue “season premiere”–and it is all-out action, but more importantly, it’s very well-done. Whedon’s dialogue, admittedly a love-it-or-hate-it aspect of his writing, is as sharp here as it ever was on the show, and when you throw in the highly underrated talents of Georges Jeanty and the ability to go as crazy as you darn well please with the special effects in comics, it makes for some highly entertaining stuff.


Countdown #47: And with this issue, it’s officially not worth it anymore. I know I was feeling optimistic about the book last month, given my curiosity over the Jimmy Olsen plot, but there’s only so much I can take, and even with Sean McKeever scripting it, this issue’s just terrible, and it largely boils down to Black Adam.

I was under the impression that we were going to be done with that guy for a while, what with the fact that there was an entire, thoroughly unreadable “event” book that apparently had the effect of robbing him of his powers for about three weeks. And to make matters worse, the entire climax of that piece of crap was that Captain Marvel changes his magic word from “Shazam” to something else. And yet, here he is, using the one word that we actually know it isn’t to give Mary Marvel a new mini-skirt. It’s a classic case of dropping the ball, and it’s one too many stupid mistakes that’ll have to be fixed somewhere else for my tastes.

And if that wasn’t enough to get me to drop this thing, then the misplaced apostrophe in the backup story sure as heck is. “Earth’s” is a possessive, folks, not a plural.

Thus, Countdown has been downgraded from “annoying and uninteresting” to “utterly worthless,” and you know what that means. Help me out here, Snoop Dogg:



Detective Comics #833: And on the flipside of the Paul Dini coin, we’ve got this one. A lot of folks–heck, me included–have made jokes about how this issue’s Zatanna story essentially amounts to Dini writing fan-fiction about his wife, the decidedly Zatanna-esque Misty Lee, but heck: If I was married to someone who could be credibly described as a real-life version of everyone’s favorite fishnetted sorceress, I’d probably be reminding you guys at every opportunity too.

I kid, of course: Dini’s take on Zatanna goes back to his excellent work on Batman: The Animated Series, which he stops just short of referencing in this issue, and I’ve been looking forwad to this one for a while. Unfortunately, I’m not sure if it was quite worth the wait. It’s not a bad issue, per se, even if Dini decided to go ahead and go the Jeph Loeb route of retconning a childhood meeting between Zatanna and Bruce Wayne in a flashback, which is never a good sign. It doesn’t work too badly here, though, but while I could just be worn down by my annoyance over the fill-in issues or the fact that someone standing right next to Batman pulls out a gun and shoots someone while Batman elects to stand there pulling the craziest face I’ve ever seen instead of, y’know, being Batman and stopping him, it left me pretty underwhelmed. Maybe it’s just me, and I’ll wonder what the heck I was thinking once I read the next issue, but there it is.


Invincible #42: Yes, it’s a dollar less than usual, and yes, it’s a perfect jumping-on point for new readers, but all that really matters is that this issue features a byline reading “Written by David Campbell.”

Damn you, Campbell. One day, revenge will be mine.


New Warriors #1: This is another one of those books that I wasn’t really expecting to pick up this week, mostly owing to the fact that Marvel’s been marketing it as a New Warriors title from the guy who wrote Underworld, and to put it charitably, Underworld is not very good.

Fortunately, New Warriors contains exactly zero instances of the word “lycan,” thus marking a drastic improvement in Kevin Grevioux’s writing right off the bat. Even better, the first issue’s actually pretty compelling, and with Paco Medina handling art chores, it’s not half bad to look at, either. I don’t have any sort of attachment to the New Warriors as a team–I don’t think I’d ever actually read an issue of the comic before last week–but Grevioux starts things off by using a couple of people that I do care about–Including Wind Dancer from DeFilippis and Weir’s late, lamented run on New X-Men, who I thought had been cast into limbo along with anybody else who made it out of that run without getting shot in the head–as the POV characters for a new team of anti-registration heroes. It’s a great start for a new series, and even though I went into it looking for a fight, I was left pretty impressed. Here’s hoping it holds up.


Omega Flight #3: You know, I honestly have no idea what happened here. Mike Oeming and Scott Kolins are the team behind Thor: Blood Oath, which was easily one of the most fun mini-series of the past few years, and yet this thing just sucks. I swear, it’s like it gets worse with every page, although that could just be me getting more and more annoyed at the fact that I’m reading a comic book with a crying super-hero on the cover, which, honestly, is something we never need to see again. Or maybe it’s the fact that we’re three issues into one fight with the Wrecking Crew, a gang of thugs that it took the Runaways all of four pages to deal with, with no end in sight. Or maybe that Canada’s premier super-team boasts exactly one (1) Canadian, unless you count the one who’s been tied up in a basement for the past two issues, or that Kollins’ pencils would look fantastic if it looked like they were inked, or if I had any idea what the point of this whole miserable exercise was. Needless to say, it’s dropped, but you know what?

This thing doesn’t even deserve a funny picture to go along with it.


Spider-Man Family #3: I’ve mentioned before that as someone who works in comics retail, I love the idea of Spider-Man Family, especially with it hitting the shelves right around the release of Spider-Man 3. It’s an easy solution for parents: Five bucks gets you a giant magazine that’s a lot more substantial than a three-dollar single issue, with a couple of all-new stories, a reprint or two, a Chris Giarrusso Mini-Marvels strip, and even some of that mildly ridiculous manga that the kids seem to like so much these days. What amazes me every month, though, is how much I end up liking it in practice, and this issue’s a perfect example of why.

Those of you who enjoy things that are totally awesome may remember Paul Tobin as the writer–along with ISB favorite Colleen Coover–of Banana Sunday, and he leads this month’s stuff with a kid friendly story where Sue Storm nearly bludgeons someone with a brick. No, really, it’s great, kids’ll love it. But the big news–for me, anyway–comes from Fred Van Lente and Leonard Kirk bringing us the return of the New Scorpion in a story where she battles the New Venom, who used to be the Old Scorpion, and while I may be the only one who thinks that’s totally rad, I love New Scorpion enough for everybody. Snag a copy at your local store and give it a shot. If you don’t like it, you can always give it to a kid… and heck, if you do like it, you can give it to a kid. The magic of reading is a gift beyond measure, chuckles.


Witchblade/Punisher #1: You know, folks, devotion is a funny thing. I, for instance, have devoted a significant portion of my time over the past couple of years to acquiring and reading as many Punisher comics as I possibly can, and even though I knew from the start that it wasn’t going to end well, my devotion to this task has led me to break a life-long streak of studiously avoiding anything involving Witchblade. Truly, it is the end of an era.

I hardly even need to mention it, but this thing? Yeah, not very good, even by Punisher standards. Heck, it’s not very good even by Punisher crossover standards, and that’s saying something. Witchblade’s transporting some Russian guy who’s going to turn state’s evidence, and rather than waiting for him to give his deposition and then killing him, Frank decides to hop a bus over to Top Cowville (or wherever Witchblade lives) and cap him on the way over. Witchblade, of course, has a problem with this, which…



Zzhuh?! Whuh? Oh, sorry, nodded off there for a second. You guys know where this is going anyway. Avoid, and be glad that you haven’t chosen the grim, perilous path of the Punisher fan. The challenges are great, friends, although to be fair, as we’ll find out next week, the rewards are magnificent.



And that’s the week! But before I take off, a quick announcment.

Some of you may remember that a few weeks ago, I directed your attention to my pal Chad Bowers, who’s currently competing in the Dimestore Publications “Small Press Idol” competition with his latest creation, Danger Ace, and the voting’s on to get through to the next round.

I’m mentioning it here because I think it’s awesome, and since you’re (theoretically) here to find out what I think about these comics I read every week, odds are you’ll think it’s awesome too. Their site can be a pain to navigate, and it might well be locked down by the time you read this to do the daily vote count, voting requires a relatively painless registration, but trust me, it’s worth the trouble. And why?

Because of this:



That, my friends, is Zombie King Kong, and on the next page, Danger Ace jumps out of an airplane and kicks him in the face. So head on over to Dimestore and check it out. If you voted last time, you already know the drill, but if you haven’t, there’s a 3-page preview PDF to download, and if you like what you see, register and vote “YES” for Danger Ace. And if you don’t, well, it’s zombie King Kong being kicked in the face. If you don’t like that, what the heck are you doing here?

And with that, I’m done here. As always, any questions, concerns or comments about anything I read this week can be dropped into the comments section below. As for me, I’m gonna go read a few pages of Witchblade/Punisher and sleep ’til noon.

Relatively Serious Comics Reviews: The Black Diamond Detective Agency

I haven’t done one of these in a while, so I’ll go through how it works:

Every once in a while, a comic book publisher will get the idea that I am, as the marketing folks say, a “reputable influencer,” despite mountains of evidence to the contrary. Thus, they’ll send me something, and in gratitude for getting something for free, I attempt to get through an entire review without mentioning the Punisher.

It doesn’t always work out.



This week saw the latest release from First Second Publishing, and with the promise of explosions, train robberies, and the always amazing art of Eddie Campbell–all of which can be seen in First Second’s nifty animated trailer for the book–it’s safe to say that I’ve been pretty excited about it for a long while.

Unfortunately, it’s not quite as good as I wanted it to be.

Set in 1899, the story doesn’t waste any time getting started: The huge, double-page shot of the train explosion that drives the rest of the story hits a mere eight pages in. It’s a great, striking image (so much so that :01 decided to use it for a poster, along with the caption “The Train Was Bang On Time”), and it comes as a jarring kickstart to the plot after eight pages of sparse but beautifully done setup where we see the main character, John Hardin, deciding to “spend the rest of his life hiding behind glasses.”

It’s an image that should be pretty familiar to most comics readers, and I can’t imagine that’s an accident, especially since the very next scene shows Hardin bloodied by the explosion, doing his best to rescue survivors from the blast, which hit a mass of people gathered for a protest. And to make matters worse–for Hardin, anyway–he’s quickly named as the number one suspect of the titular detective agency, which starts to uncover his past as a gangster in Chicago.

It’s a heck of a way to start a book, and it works wonderfully, right up until the complexities of the plot start to come forth. Sadly, it’s muddled in a few key places, and while the basics of the plot–which climaxes in explosions and gunplay in secret bank robbery tunnels–are fantastic, there’s a lot in the middle that drags it down, and left me wondering why I should care. Campbell’s unquestionably a master of the form, but I suspect that a lot of the problems come from the fact that Black Diamond is adapted from a screenplay by C. Gaby Mitchell, who also wrote the story on which 2006’s Blood Diamond was based.

Dude apparently loves diamonds of varying types.

Anyway, once that’s taken into account, a lot of the dragging bits start to make sense: The shoehorned love story and the tragic past feel more like standard-issue movie subplots than something that belongs here, and even Campbell’s art doesn’t quite translate like it should. There are scenes that take place after Hardin escapes to Chicago where he’s far more haggard than he is at the start of the book, traveling in disguise because he’s wanted by the law. He looks like a completely different person, and while that’s easy to convey in film (what with the fact that he’d be played by the same actor), in the graphic novel, well, he looks like a different person, and there were a few pages where I had a hard time telling who the heck he was supposed to be.

But that’s not to say it’s bad by any stretch of the imagination. Like I mentioned before, Eddie Campbell’s art is gorgeous, and the tricks he uses–like shots characters leaning on panels while discussing their content, or the way the explosion is represented in some shots as a solid red word balloon rising shakily from the distance–are great reminders of what an innovator that guy really is. It’s rare that I say this, but the art alone–combined with a fantastic design that makes it a great-looking book–is really worth the price alone.

It doesn’t really compared with Campbell’s last work from First Second–the truly phenomenal Fate of the Artist–but then again, they’re two entirely different books, and the only thing they really have in common is Eddie Campbell’s amazing artwork.

If you’d like to see for yourself, it hit the shelves at finer comic book stores everywhere along with this week’s comics, and–of course–is available on the cheap from Amazon.



While we’re on the subject of people who were nice enough to send me comics, I really ought to mention Brian John Mitchell, who contacted me a while back about sending me a few of his mini-comics.

I’m not really what you’d consider a mini-comics guy–unless of course said mini-comics involve the One-Man Army Corps–but I’m always interested in seeing new stuff, so I asked for a few and he sent them over.

And the first thing I noticed, of course, was how tiny they are.


Actual Size.


I imagine that’s the first thing everyone notices when they see them, since Mitchell’s putting the mini back in mini-comics with his work, and it’s a novel format that I found utterly charming when I sat down to read them. Each of the three he sent me (one issue each of XO, Worms, and Lost Kisses), is around 44 pages, with each page as a single panel, and while they’re not really my thing, they’re pretty enjoyable.

Pictured above is Lost Kisses, which, coincidenally enough, probably best fits my stereotypical definition of “mini-comic,” seeing as it’s an autobiographical tale done in the fine art of stick figures, where Mitchell deals with finding out an ex-girlfriend of his recently died of cancer. And it’s the best by far, mostly because of jokes like this:



In another novel concept, all of Mitchell’s comics can all be viewed as videos or purchased as physical copies on the website, so if you’re curious, check it out.



And once again, I have triumphed over my nagging desire to scan pictures of robot gorillas being shot out of cannons. But tomorrow?

Oh you best believe there’ll be robot gorillas being shot out of cannons, buster*. And that’s a promise.**



*: No there won’t.

**: No it isn’t.

Mike Sterling’s Robot Uprising

Those of you who read Mike “Sugarbear” Sterling’s Progressive Ruin daily–and if you don’t, then seriously: get on it–may have noticed that in his latest post, Sterling included a picture entitled “Why Must the World Make Robot Mike Cry?”

Well, never let it be said that the ISB won’t come to the aid of its friends, or the robot simulacra thereof!

That’s right, I don’t know which of you are out there giving Robot Mike a hard time, but the next time you do it, you’re gonna have to deal with this guy:



And I warn you: he was Designed Only For Awesome.

Attention, Internet!

Archie Andrews informs me that you have just been served.



Deal with it.


(Translation: Chris’s stomach seems to be in the throes of rebellion, most likely due to the creeping scourge of Communism. Slightly more tenable content will resume tomorrow.)

Saturday Night’s Main Event: Small Change, Big Hurtin’

The delay in getting this week’s comics reviews written left me unable to participate in this week’s Friday Night Fights, but let it never be said that the love Bahlactus holds for comic book violence eclipses my own!

That’s right, it may be a day late, but it’s sure as heck not a dollar short, because tonight, the ISB brings you another bone-jarring battle!

In this corner, the dastardly disciplinarian of depravity, the Provost!



And his opponent, the little girl with the big right hook, Molly “Bruiser” Hayes!


Place your bets, folks, but if you’re expecting a big payoff, well…



Hope you don’t mind nickels!




I ask you: Could that fight be any more awesome? Answer: Probably not.

The Week In Ink: 5-31-07

That ominous rumble of thunder that you may have heard yesterday as you approached your local comic book store? That, my friends, was the sound of a day when Anita Blake, Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose, and Dark Xena all hit the stands at the same time.

I call it… the Perfect Storm.



Yes, comics may have been delayed this week, and while words can barely capture the abject joy that I felt reading through this week’s stack, the Internet’s Most Mind-Shattering Comics Reviews can wait no longer! Here’s my highly dubious purchases from this week…



…and these are the even more questionable opinions that led me to those purchases!





Amazons Attack #2: The second installment of Amazons Attack is nowhere near as jarringly disjointed as the first one, but I was still pretty lost in a few places, and I’m really not sure whose fault that is. I mean, really: you can’t blame Will Pfeifer, whose run on Catwoman continues to be one of the best books DC’s publishing, for writing a footnote-laden story that doesn’t quite make sense if you’re not following the book it spins out of, what with its very nature as a spin-off. If anything, it’s Jodi Picoult’s fault for not appearing to have any discernable idea of what she’s doing on the main title, thus keeping me from reading it. Either way, it’s got its solid, exciting moments (like the Amazons being bad enough to bring down a fighter jet with a bow and arrow), and while it pains my heart to see Pfeifer have the Justice League referring to each other by their first names while they’re out in public, I guess that’s just what those guys do now. I just wish I wasn’t missing half the story.


Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter: Guilty Pleasures Handbook #1: Because apparently, there’s a market for a book of in-depth information on characters from a comic book less than a year old, read almost exclusively by people who have also read the twenty-eight part novel series upon which it is based. That’s why.


Countdown #48: As those of you who have been paying attention may remember, my policy with Countdown since the first underwhelming issue has been to wait out the first four to give the entire rotation of writers a chance, and while I can already tell that it’s going to be one of those books that’s perpetually on the chopping block, I’m just barely interested enough in it to keep going. At this point, despite what looks like Adam Beechen’s best efforts at dredging up something interesting, it’s succeeding solely on the fact that it’s posing a few interesting questions (like why Jimmy Olsen’s sprouting new super-powers, apparently at random), but it’s severely held back by the fact that the majority of the questions tend to involve characters that I just don’t care about at all, and while 52 did a pretty bang-up job of juggling the multiple storylines (usually by focusing them on different characters in each issue), Countdown just feels jumbled and choppy. Throw in yet another phenomenally boring back-up feature about how the Multiverse works now–because, y’know, we didn’t get enough of that last year with Donna Troy and her floating basketball–and it really just boils down to wanting to know what’s up with Jimmy and the New Gods.

Seriously, though: Perry White?! Is there anybody left who doesn’t know Jason Todd’s secret identity?


Daredevil #97: Ah, finally: For those of you wondering if I actually liked new comics anymore, allow me to reassure you with that most soothing balm to today’s discerning comics reader, Ed Brubaker. I generally have nothing but good things to say about Brubaker and Lark’s Daredevil, and this issue’s no exception, seeing as it involves a blind ninja acrobat lawyer fighting a mentally-disabled man who puts on a helmet, straps buzzsaws to his wrists and essentially becomes Master Blaster from Beyond Thunderdome on a rampage. That, my friends, is almost exactly what I want from a comic, and the only reason it doesn’t hit the mark dead on is that you just cannot feasably add a bear to the fight scenes of every comic.

Not yet, anyway. We just don’t have the technology.


Dark Xena #2: Words fail me whenever I try to convey my feelings about this, the greatest comic ever produced by the hands of men, but allow me, if you will, to just point out one thing about this issue: Evil Xena–who proves that she’s way more evil than Good Xena by quoting Evil Willow from that one episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer–is rolling around the countryside with her crew, which consists of Big German (?!) Guy, Hot Ninja Girl, and Ted Raimi’s Evil Twin Brother Who Is Also Portrayed By Ted Raimi, which is something I didn’t even know my life had been lacking until today. Truly, a world in which this comic exists is the finest of all possible worlds.




Hellboy: Darkness Calls #2: I probably mention this every time I talk about my love for Hellboy, but if you grab yourself a copy of the first trade, you’ll probably notice that it’s dedicated to H.P. Lovecraft and Jack Kirby, and in that one quick summary of his influences, Mike Mignola explains the aesthetic that makes Hellboy so great. It’s the conflict between the unfathomable horrors that lurk in darkness–always drawn in shadowed, dim tones–and the bright red stone-handed monster-punching hero, who continues to remain thoroughly unimpressed with the creatures of the night even as they attempt to reveal sinister prophecies about his own destiny.

Prophecies that he interrupts in this issue by telling them, and I quote:

“How ’bout this?
I let you finish your little meeting,
and I won’t shoot anybody
or burn the place down.”

How can you not love a character like that? Short answer: You can’t, and this issue’s Hellboy at his best, with Mignola’s fantastic script and some truly amazing art by Duncan Fegredo, who does a great job of keeping the look of the series consistent with the earlier installments. Simply put, it’s excellent stuff, but really: Nobody needs me to tell them how good Hellboy is.


Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose #44: To put it mildly, Tarot is a book that often raises a lot of questions whenever I read it, and this month, I guess the one that springs readily to mind is this: Come on, Jim Balent, are you even really trying anymore?

Of course, the jury’s still out on whether or not Balent’s ever tried, but really: This one opens up with a scene that’s pretty much the exact same sequence as the last issue, but with a different background, as Tarot shows up for a witchity meeting and–finding herself stood up again–decides to go ahead and diddle herself for nine pages, at which time a big angry rock monster shows up to conk her on the head and introduce her to the wonderful world of bondage fetishism. Incidentally, it’s at this time that Tarot takes to referring to her vagina as both an “altar” and a “cauldron,” thus killing any joy that was left over from watching Balent’s difficulty with homophones. Also of note: Tarot’s new friends in this issue, Twizelpix and Twylynn, both of whom manage to make it through the issue naked and nearly pecked to death by crows in what Balent describes as a story that “celebrates women.”

So yeah, Countdown‘s lookin’ a lot better about now.


Teen Titans #47: This has been one of those titles that I’ve been buying more out of curiosity as to what’s going to happen next than actual enjoyment since before the One Year Later jump, but I’ve been looking forward to Adam Beechen coming on the title for a few months, especially given his stellar current run on Robin. Sadly, his first issue as solo writer seems full of wasted potential, and even forgiving last month’s ludicrous plot–where Deathstroke apparently got the bright idea that his kids would have a better life if he pretended to try to kill them, in what essentially amounts to Geoff Johns re-using Zoom’s motivation–there’s just not a whole lot here to like. It’s bogged down with tie-ins to Countdown and Amazons Attack, neither of which I particularly care about, and rounded out with a big fight that feels like it was thrown in just to meet a page count, and there’s no real reason to keep buying it unless a new direction hits soon.





Penny Arcade v.4: Birds Are Weird: Unless it’s your first day on the internet and you decided to see what happened when you typed “vampire batman punching dogs” into Google, you probably don’t need me to draw your attention to the fine comic strips of Penny Arcade. Seriously, though, even if you’ve been holding off on buying the print versions–which is a pretty understandable decision, given the fact that you can read the whole strip for free online–this one’s well worth the purchase. Why? Because for the bonus material, they’ve printed up some of Gabe’s downright Liefeldian Middle School work, when he was creating masterful super-hero work like Psy-Fox and a character that is “essentially Wolverine plus electricity.” I haven’t laughed so hard reading something since… well, since Satan’s Sodomy Baby, but man, it’s funny.



And that’s the week, and while there’s an awful lot of negativity up there, I guess it’s nice to be reminded that a set of standards that allows for enjoying Tarot can still find fault in… well, anything, really. As always, if you’ve got any questions or concerns about this week’s reviews–like, say, why I bothered to take the extra day when I had such a relatively small amount of comics to review, and whether or not it had anything to do with Super Paper Mario–feel free to leave a comment.