If there’s one thing I’ve learned in this life, it is this: Don’t be askin’ for no inch and be expectin’ a foot. Unless you want a foot.
I know a few crooks that can place it where it need to be put!
Oh, Murphy Lee. Truly, you are the voice of a generation.
Anyway, it’s Thursday night, but before we get started with another round of the Internet’s Most Universally Beloved Comics Reviews, a couple of quick announcements. First up, I’d like to thank all the ISB readers who made last week’s fundraising eBay auctions a success, and let you guys know that I’ve got a couple more going on this week. So, if you feel like supporting the ISB by getting yourself some awesome comics straight out of my long boxes, check ’em out:
The Surrogates #1-5, with the first issue signed by Robert Vendetti.
Also, this one’s not actually mine, but the friend of mine that’s handling the grunt work for the auctions is selling his own run of The Flash by Geoff Johns, so if that’s your speed (rimshot), throw him some love too.
Now then, here’s what else you can buy this week…
…and now, let’s find out which makes the cut as the ISB Second Best Of the Week! Because I think we all know what topped the charts this time.
All-New Savage She-Hulk #1: With this issue, Marvel takes another stab at She-Hulk, this time ditching Jen Walters in favor of Lyra, the alternate future daughter of the Hulk and Thundra, who has come back to the present to punch men in the face with gamma-powered militant feminism. Feminism which is, of course, expressed through the time-honored medium of a fetching Andre-the-Giant-esque sports bra and skin-tight low-rise Han Solo pants, just as it should be.
I’ve actually read all of Lyra’s previous appearances since, as of this issue, she’s been written by three of my favorite writers in comics, but there’s something about the character that never really grabbed me. I’ve never been much of a fan of Thundra to begin with, but that may owe mostly to the fact that I’ve read like two stories with her in them. In any case, I picked this one up because–much like Parker and Tobin before him–I’ll pretty much give anything Fred van Lente does a shot, and it’s not bad. Van Lente fleshes Lyra out a little more than she was previously, and moving the story from the (extremely goofy) far-flung future to the present day does a lot to get me more interested in it.
Also, while it carries the increasingly common $3.99 cover price, there’s a nice backup feature in the form of a roundtable with Parker, Tobin and van Lente that’s conducted by assistant editor and moustache aficionado Jordan D. White, wherein Jeff Parker shows what goes on in Marvel Comics… After Dark. It’s a nice bit of behind-the-scenes talk by some very funny folks that’s a breeze to read, and if you’re interested, it’s worth a look.
Plus, it’s got an appearance by Portal from Darkhawk, and I think we all know how I feel about that.
Batman Confidential #28: This is the last issue of Nunzio DeFilippis and Christina Weir’s three-part King Tut story that has art by Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez and Kevin Nowlan, and even if you needed more information than that, I’ve already said pretty much all there is to say about this one. Still, there is one thing to add, and that is this: When this issue suddenly became Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom Starring Batman, I’m pretty sure it was so awesome that I was able to reach back in time and high-five my eight year-old self. Tremendous, beautifully drawn fun.
Captain Britain and MI-13 #12: And speaking of comics that I’ve said pretty much every last thing I can say about how awesome they are, here’s another issue of Captain Britain.
It is still written by Paul Cornell with art by Leonard Kirk.
It is still about racist Dracula attacking England from his magic moon castle.
It is still suffering only slightly from a dearth of Union Jack, who is mentioned but not in this issue. I double-checked.
It is still the best comic to feature Blade. Ever.
It is still completely and utterly radical, and you should still be reading it.
Exiles #1: Remember what I said about Jeff Parker being one of those writers where I’ll give anything he does a shot? Well, here’s more evidence of that, although I’ll cop to being a little skeptical about this one back when it was first solicited. I mean, it’s not like I had any reason to believe it would be bad, other than, you know, every other issue of Exiles.
Okay, that’s actually an exaggeration. The original Exiles was actually the best thing Judd Winick’s done in super-hero comics, and while that’s not really saying a whole lot, the early issues aren’t that bad at all. They’re just something that, aside from that one story that Tony Bedard wrote where five Wolverines teamed up to fight an army of other Wolverines (which was absolute genius), never really hooked me, which is a little odd since it’s a book built largely around alternate universes and evil twins, two tropes that I generally really enjoy. It just didn’t quite grab me.
On the other hand, I had no reason to believe it was going to be good other than every other comic Jeff Parker has written, and that pretty much holds up here. The first issue’s devoted mostly to setup for those of us who are just joining, but he still manages to throw in MODOK by page three and the best two panels of mustachioed babies I’ve seen all year by page eighteen. It’s good stuff.
The real star of the show, though, is artist Salva Espin. This is the first I can remember seeing of his work, but it’s flat-out incredible, with beautiful, expressive characters that are so good that he can sell the Scarlet Witch’s Little Red Riding Hood cosplay like it ain’t no thang. I think Benjamin Birdie said it best when he said that Espin’s art was “like Stuart Immonen and Art Adams on a date,” and this is one of the few comics that’s included a sketchbook as backup material that I’ve actually looked at more than once. He’s really good.
Put together, it’s a very promising start for the series, and I’m honestly looking forward to more.
Ignition City #1: As readers of the Bad Signal will no doubt be aware, Ignition City has been in the works for years, and it finally made it out to shops this week. At its core, the book revolves around one of those great high-concept ideas Warren Ellis seems to throw down effortlessly; in this case it’s a city of launchpads where the space heroes of the fifties go to die, populated by your Buck Rogerses, your Dan Dares, and your Flashes Gordon, all robbed of their glory and consequently in various states of bitterness and alcoholism. And, as you might expect, it’s not bad. I mean, I don’t know if you’ve heard of this Ellis character, but he’s got some pretty good ideas. Seems to be going places.
Gianluca Pagliarani, however, is someone that I’m not familiar with, and much like Paul Duffield’s work on Freakangels–which I finally sat down and read through the other day–his art’s a cut above what I normally expect from Avatar, with strong, almost cartoonish linework that can still pull off the laser gun evisceration that we’re all paying to see.
It’s an engaging first issue with a solid premise, and it’s well worth checking out.
Marvel Zombies 4 #1: Long-time readers will probably remember that Marvel Zombies 3–which was conveniently released in hardcover this week–was not only my favorite installment of the Marvel Zombies series thus far, but hands down one of my favorite miniseries of last year, period. The whole thing was just a hoot, with Machine Man in full-on, Warren Ellis Nextwave mode taking on folks like Zombie Ghost Rider and Zombie Morbius the Living Vampire.
Zombie Morbius the Living Vampire. Excuse me, the living Vambie. That right there is what this series is all about.
Anyway, some people were put off by the fact that MZ3 ends with the setup for MZ4, but that didn’t bother me, as a) Machine Man’s part in the story–the focus of the book–was done, and b) honestly, how often do you get to be excited about the Midnight Sons when it’s not 1993?
Sadly, the first issue of MZ4 doesn’t quite match the swaggering humor of its predecessor. Although admittedly, just from the fact that this is a comic about Werewolf By Night fighting zombies on a cruise ship alongside Jennifer Kale and her Witchity Armor while a beheaded zombie Deadpool is faced with Tony Montana-esque amounts of cocaine, I’m pretty sure Fred Van Lente isn’t going to fall into the trap of playing this one entirely straight. Either way, it’s a pretty strong start, and if it falls short of the previous mark, it’s only because Van Lente and Kev Walker set the bar so high last time.
Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade: I’ve been meaning to talk about this one for a while, but let’s be honest: comics near the end of the alphabet have to contend with the allure of finally going to sleep, and that’s not a fight many stories end up winning. Still, though, over the past few months, it’s become clear that this is one worth staying up for.
I’ll admit that I was a little underwhelmed by the first issue, which might’ve been because I was looking forward to it ever since Jann Jones talked about it last year at HeroesCon, and that’s a lot of buildup. As the series progressed, though, I not only got more used to the frenetic, Chuck Jones-style pacing of the stories, but Landry Walker and Eric Jones kept building on what they’d done, setting up genuinely funny recurring gags like Moon Supergirl and the time-travel bit that’s the catalyst for this issue. And in the process, they’ve ended up putting out one of the sharpest kids’ books I’ve seen from DC in a long time.
Unfortunately, it’s only a limited series, but hopefully they’ll either get more out of it in the future, or go on to do something else that’s just as fun. Heck, I’d even go so far as to say that they’d be my second choice to do a kid-friendly Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen (with my first choice, of course, being me and Matthew Allen Smith). If you haven’t read it, swing by your local comic shop and give it a shot. And if they don’t have it, I’m pretty sure DC’s still got every issue available for reorder.
Showcase Presents Doom Patrol v.1: So yeah.
That’s a giant woman body-slamming a giant robot while a regular robot punches out a talking gorilla. That all happens on the same page. You’re gonna want that.
And that’s the week! As always, any questions, such as “how awesome is that Punisher story?” (Answer: Very) or “Why didn’t you review Wolverine: Weapon X #1?” (Answer: Because I’m pretty sure that at this point, comics with “Wolverine” and “#1” on the cover don’t need my help to get people to read them) can be left in the comments section below.
And if that’s not enough sequential entertainment to meet your needs, then why not head over to the Action Age for the first chapter of the all-new, all-awesome The Chronicles of Solomon Stone, Chapter One, by me, Matthew Allen Smith and Benjamin Birdie, if you haven’t already!