The Week In Ink: February 10, 2010

Ah what the hell, let’s keep it going one more week. After all…



…if I skipped out in a week where Batman kicked Batman in the face, I just wouldn’t be me.

There are going to be a couple of changes, though: First, I’m going ahead and doing away with the shopping list, as it was a lot handier when I was reading around 20 titles a week than it is when I’m reading around four. Second–and this is going to tie in with that first change–it’s going to be a bit shorter. As some of you may have noticed, I’ve already done a fair bit of writing this week.

So with that settled, let’s get to it! It’s Thursday night, and here’s what I thought of this week’s comics!



Amazing Spider-Man #620: As big a Spider-Man fan as I am, and as much as I like getting a series of stories where he battles all the classic villains one right after another with no break, “The Gauntlet” has been pretty hit or miss for me. The Electro story was competent (as I’ve said before, Mark Waid can pretty much write a super-hero comic in his sleep at this point and have it come out pretty solid) but felt off, the Sandman story was very entertaining, and I skipped the Joe Kelly issue entirely. Even future installments haven’t done much to hook me, as there’s very little I want to read less than a “Brand New Day”-era Flash Thompson story.

But this Mysterio story? It has been downright perfect.

A lot of that has to do with the art team of Marcos Martin and Javier Pulido. I’ve been a fan of those guys since I first caught their work on Robin: Year One, and their work on the Spider-Man books has been some of the best in the character’s history. Admittedly, I’m prone to hyperbole, but with their innovative layouts and the kinetic sense of motion that they give to every page, they can hold their own with anybody from Ditko on down.

Which isn’t to sell Dan Slott short. Of all the increasing numbers of the Spider-Man “Brain Trust,” his stories have been the most consistently fun, and this one’s right up there with the best of ’em. They’re just jam-packed with good stuff, from the nods to old continuity that are enjoyable rather than restrictive, to the immediate refutation of the “Spider-Man’s a MURRRRRRRDERER!” subplot, to the slapstick fight sequences with Mysterio’s gimmicked goons, and right on to the Wile E. Coyote ending.

It’s sharp, it’s smarter than it has to be, and it’s got panels like this:



What’s not to love?


Batman and Robin #8: So, just to recap, here’s a brief list of what happens in this issue of Batman and Robin:

1. Batwoman fights a gang of evil Mary Poppins chimney sweeps “with a Satanic ninja twist.”

2. Batman brings one of the evil clones of Batman that Darkseid made during Final Crisis back to life and then fights it with electro bat-knuckles.

3. The Crime Bible prophecy is filled in a pretty unexpected and awesome way.

If you’ve been reading this blog for more than about fifteen minutes, you’ve probably already got a good idea of how I feel about this comic.





PunisherMax #4: I know that Jason Aaron has to be sick to death of being compared to Garth Ennis at this point, but with this issue’s fight with the Mennonite, he and Steve Dillon have done the single best Punisher fight since Welcome Back Frank.

For me to say that is no small thing. WBF is easily one of my favorite comics of all time–I did, after all, have a panel from it as the ISB’s header for something like four years–but with his run, it’s like Aaron’s looking at Ennis’s work and not saying “how do I follow in these footsteps,” but “where was this going next?” And the result is a phenomenal read, with the same sense of craziness underlying the harsh savagery of it, taking things to the next level.

Plus, the pure fact of the matter is that nobody–but nobody–draws the bone-shattering brutality of two dudes just beating the living hell out of each other like Steve Dillon. I talk a lot about facial expressions when it comes to the comics I like, and usually what appeals to me is how well the artists use them for comedy, but Dillon… When Dillon draws someone getting hurt, they look like they hurt, and it blends with his storytelling to make him one of the best fight artists in the industry.

So then: Top-notch writing, top-notch art, and Frank fights a guy called the Mennonite by hitting him with electricity. It’s darn good comics, folks.



And that’s the week! As always, discussion is welcome, so if you’d like to talk about the fun of Nate Grey’s master plan in Dark X-Men or my high hopes for a continuation of Mark Waid and Emma Rios’s Strange, feel free to leave a comment.

21 thoughts on “The Week In Ink: February 10, 2010

  1. I love Nate Grey’s master plan, and I want more Strange a lot, maybe alternating arcs by Waid and BKV? Give to me!

    You skipped the Rhino issue of Gauntlet? I think that’s the one Kelly did, and imo it was really great, but ymmv.

    So on Punisher Max…are they saying Punisher is about 50 in this arc (as Kingpin’s kid is still a kid so it’s somewhere about 6-12 years agoish)? Cuz that is one badass 50 year old.

  2. Anyone who used to play Final Fantasy games back in the SNES days knows that Amish monsters (such as the Butter Churners in Final Fantasy IV) were weak against Lightning, but they switched their weakness to Fire around FF8. This comic tells us that Jason Aaron either stopped playing the series before then, or does not agree with the change.

  3. I don’t know if I can keep up with your multiple posts a day. This is one of only 2 comic blogs I read, and your previous one post a day fit very nicely into my schedule. Granted, it’s a bit like complaining that there are too many awesome sound effects in the latest issue of Incredible Hercules, but I’m just throwing it out there.

    And I’d also like to throw out my vote for you keeping This Week in Ink in some way, shape or form. It’s always been my favorite bit on the site, and since I usually don’t go to my LCS until friday to pick up my books, it was a great way to see if there was something else to look out for. I understand your pull list has necessarily shrunk, and that you might not be able to do it on Thursdays anymore, but I just wanted to let it be known that I at least would enjoy some form of this feature continuing.

  4. Hmm, re-reading my previous post, I’m afraid my first paragraph comes across like the person who said they’d never read this blog again because they had to click twice. My tongue was planted firmly in cheek when I wrote that paragraph.

    Just wanted to clear that up.

  5. Please please please keep the reviews, even in this abbreviated format. Actually, since you’ve dropped the list, at least we’ll be spared all the comments saying: “Hey, Chris! You didn’t buy Generic Comic X! I buy Generic Comic X! You should buy Generic Comic X, and validate my purchase!”

  6. The Mennonite is exclamation point. I lost it at “Could have sworn someone was following me.”

    More seriously. The Mennonite is a character that Ennis, with his very personal take on religion, probably couldn’t use the way Aaron does. And part of me wonders if Aaron did it deliberately, to distinguish his run from Ennis’s.

  7. As much as I’ll miss The Week in Ink, the real question I (and possibly all ISB readers) have been wondering about is: Will you still be annotating Anita Blake?

  8. Mennonites are not Amish. Though, thinking about it, forcing my husband (he’s a programmer) to live without electricity would be hilarious.

    Any Week in Ink is wonderful. Dark X-Men continues to confuse me by being interesting. And it would be awesome if the person everyone was fighting in Siege was actually Nate.

  9. Hey “Chris”,

    You don’t know me, but I know that you now have a job writing things for a living. AND IF ONE OF THOSE THINGS THAT YOU DON’T WRITE ABOUT IS WHAT YOU BOUGHT IN A COMIC BOOK STORE, I WILL REFUSE TO PAY YOU ANY FURTHER iDOLLARS/eBUCKS ANYMORE. And you can take that to the InternetBank.

    Also, continue to annotate Anita Blake.

    Your “Boss”

  10. I’d like to throw in my support for the continuation of The Week in Ink. As much as I enjoy the other content, this is to me the single best part of the ISB and the reason I return as often as I do.

    Like Jazzbo, I don’t always get to my local comic shop on new comics day (I know, I know!), and I like seeing your recommendations. It’s led me to a number of things I wouldn’t have otherwise bought and enjoyed.

    And as much as I disliked Joe Kelly’s version of Bullseye, I really, really liked the Rhino issue of Amazing Spiderman. It had what is possibly my favorite page in Marvel comics in the last year or so, summing up how I feel about the ‘dark and gritty’ downhill slide since Civil War and giving me some hope for the Heroic Age.

  11. The Horse: Frank Castle’s one weakness.

    Also too bad you missed Kelly’s Rhino issue, definitely one of the best (and genuinely heartwarming) issues of a comic I’ve read in a quite a while. But I’m sure you have your reasons.

  12. Do yourself a big favor and grab the Rhino issue. It was awesome, and as a one-shot, it’s not as much of a commitment as an arc. You will, however, find yourself wishing it had been an arc because you’ll want more like it.

  13. Hey Sims if you’re still reading this, Waid has stated he has more plans to work with Rios … over at Boom. They’re doing a story about the Zatanna Expy in an Irredeemable Special.