The Week In Ink: January 13, 2009

I knew if I stuck it out, it had to happen eventually. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you…

Anita Blake Getting Kicked In The Face

 

 

I might as well just wrap this post up now, because there is no possible way that things are going to get better than that.

But alas, it’s Thursday night, and as I am a slave to my habits, that means it’s time for another round of the Internet’s Most Self-Referential Comics Reviews! Here’s what I picked up this week…

 

 

…and here’s what I thought about ’em!

 


 

Adventure Comics #6: With this issue, Geoff Johns’s run on Adventure comes to a close, and while this might come as a surprise given my comments about Blackest Night last week, I think that’s a shame. Johns has done some of the best work of his career on the Superman titles, and Adventure felt like an extension of that, but with the added bonus that the focus on younger characters (or, in the Legion’s case, characters that used to be young but have been aged up commensurate with the comics Johns read when he was 12) seemed to be doing a good job of blunting the random brutality and grotesques–you know, arms getting ripped off and blood getting puked out to be replaced with hate–that seems to crop up in his books. Plus, that Superboy Prime stuff was gold.

Which isn’t to say that this book didn’t have its share of problems, because brother, they were there. It’s almost the textbook definition of a comic that stumbled its way out of the gate: As I understood it, the whole idea behind it was that it was going to be a Superboy/Legion of Super-Heroes book with the occasional team-up, but in practice, we haven’t seen the Legion in this thing for three months, which, for those of you keeping score at home, represents half of the series thus far. And while the two Superboy Prime issues (again, a full third of the run thus far) were highly enjoyable, they had absolutely nothing to do with the Superboy storyline, meaning that the ostensible focus of the book was just put on hold for two months of (really funny) in-jokes. And while we’re on the subject, his take on Superboy trying to figure out who exactly he was, which mirrored the fact that he was created to replace a version of a character that no longer existed but now exists again thus rendering him redundant, had a lot of potential to play out nicely with a good arc, but the end of it with this issue felt rushed, and more than a little anticlimactic. It might not hold a candle to the Cary Bates story from Action Comics #510-512, but it’s a good illustration of Lex being evil that unfortunately revolves around sitting in someone’s kitchen for twenty pages and a main character who himself is in no danger whatsoever.

In short, the shame of it comes from the fact that there’s so much potential to what’s being set up here, but with Johns leaving, none of it feels like it’s going to get resolved, or if it does, that it won’t be in this book, which adds up to something that’s pretty frustrating for the reader. But hey, at least we know the Legion’s coming back.

Eventually.

Dark X-Men #3: If you’d told me a year ago that someone was going to be doing a highly enjoyable comic about Nate Grey fighting Venom and the Sentry, I would’ve said you were suffering from the same sort of dementia that makes people think Cody Devereaux is not the single best thing on television. And yet, here we are, with Paul Cornell and Leonard Kirk doing just that.

That’s not a surprise, of coruse; Cornell and Kirk are the team that kicked off the late, lamented, highly entertaining Captain Britain and MI:13, after all, so it’s not like anybody should’ve been expecting their next project together to be a misstep. It’s solid and engaging stuff… but that’s not important.

What is important is that X-Man has basically the sweetest jacket ever.

Seriously, look at this thing.

 

 

It’s a blue and gold pirate coat with the lapels done up as Phoenix wings. Straight up, Leonard Kirk: That is boss and I am not even joking. And that’s before you even get to the back:

 

 

It’s official: The X-Men need more filigree. And that’s real.

 

ISB BEST OF THE WEEK

 

 

S.W.O.R.D. #3: Let’s be honest here, folks: In that it does not feature ADAM-X THE X-TREME, this issue is a massive failure. Fortunately, it succeeds on just about every other level, up to and including the fact that it features Death’s Head.

Long-time ISB readers will probably recall that I’ve been in the tank for Kieron Gillen since Phonogram, and as I’ve loved everything he’s done for Marvel, it’s no big shock that I think S.W.O.R.D. is engaging and fun with a great hook to it. And the dialogue’s fantastic too, to the point where I actually cracked up at the interplay between Henry Gyrich and the Beast. But enough about that guy.

What caught my eye this time, even more than the previous issues, is the art. I’ve seen some consternation here and there from people who don’t care for Steven Sanders and Craig Yeung, but as is so often the case with people who disagree with me, they are wrong and should be ashamed of themselves. Sanders brings a fantastic, exaggerated cartoonishness to the characters that’s most noticeable in the Beast, but leads to wonderfully expressive characters that are just a joy to see playing out on the page, and Matt Wilson’s colors do a great job accenting them and handling tricky stuff like force bubbles.

And there’s not much more to it than that. Simply put, it’s just a thoroughly well-done, highly enjoyable comic, and while I normally throw a little more hyperbole on it than that, sometimes that’s enough.

 

Secret Six #17: I went on and on about how glad I was to have John Ostrander back doing a new Suicide Squad story last week when the Blackest Night tie-in hit shelves, and the intervening week hasn’t really changed matters much, so this is less of a review and more of a reminder that that story is continuing here, as the Secret Six get up to all sorts of fightin’ shennanigans at Belle Reeve so that nobody forgets to pick it up. And you should pick it up; Simone and Ostrander have thrown their respective teams into a fantastic conflict that’s straight from the heyday of the original Squad’s fight with the Justice League, only without Nightshade and Captain Atom sneaking off to make out.

Well it can’t have everything, but don’t worry: It makes up for it with undead Punch and Jewelee.

 


 

And that’s the week! As always, if you have any questions or concerns about something I read this week–like if you want to discuss the (appropriately) creepy turn this week’s issue of Strange took, or just offer up a reminder that Unwritten is one of the best books out there right now–feel free to leave them in the comments below.

37 thoughts on “The Week In Ink: January 13, 2009

  1. What do you think of all the Realm of Kings stuff so far? I love DnA, but I feel like they’re getting a bit lost in their own sandbox here.

  2. Wait; where were the undead Punch and Jewelee?

    Personally, what made this issue of Secret Six for me had nothing to do with the Suicide Squad or the Blackest Night tie-in: it was Bane interrogating Liana like an overprotective father before her date with Scandal.

  3. Is that the original Death’s Head? I thought I was the only guy who missed that character.

  4. Loved Unwritten’s Inside Man conclussion. I’ve been using your quote to describe that title (the one about Sandman) and I gotta tell you, I’ve got a lot of enemies. I thought everybody knew that Gaiman’s latest work is highly overrated.

    Anyway, are we gonna get an extensive review of AB:TLC:E #3? I hope there’s more Anita being kicked and/or punched and/or shooted in there.

  5. I miss the Legion backups, too. I loved it so much when we saw them in Adventure Comics — even if it was only for a few pages at a time — that it’s really disappointing to think they might get shuffled off the board completely.

  6. Chris didn’t you see the Legion news on the DCUBlog yesturday

    Giffen is Writing both Adventure Comics(full legion)(post War of the Supermen), first story arc of which is expanding upon that Secret Origin issue.

    and

    Legion of Superheroes #1 in May

    tis a good time to be a Legion fan

  7. It’s Levitz writing the Legion books, Rick, but it’s all good, well, apart from the prospect of more Earth Man, xenophobia and the origin AGAIN!

    Nice reviews Mr Sims. I loved Adventure, start to finish – I don’t mind there being no direct threat to Superboy, given his supporting cast are more likely to get killed than him. I just loved the twists and turns, the emotions, and an Amazon saying ‘hi Handsome!’

    I’ve avoided SWORD as I hate Lockheed and that green-haired hussy, but now you tell me it’s good. Damn. Well, Kieron G has got me buying Thor again, so I may give it a crack.

  8. Now all we need is Anita Blake getting hit in the gut by a car battery. Preferably by Batman, but that’s optional. (Or would that just be too much awesome for one universe…?)

  9. “Is that the original Death’s Head?”

    The DH that appears in SWORD is the pre-Transformers version, so he looks different – though he was in his more well-known form in the Target: 2005 storyline, and it’s 2010 now, so he should actually look like…
    Fuck it. Probably something to do with time travel.

    Best thing about SWORD: Lockheed’s interior decor.
    Worst: his fight with the guards missed a chance for a Monty Python and the Holy Grail ‘killer rabbit’ reference.

  10. “The DH that appears in SWORD is the pre-Transformers version, so he looks different – though he was in his more well-known form in the Target: 2005 storyline, and it’s 2010 now, so he should actually look like…
    Fuck it. Probably something to do with time travel.”

    Since the 80s/90s Death’s Head originally came from the Transformers reality, maybe this is the 616 native counterpart?

  11. @Martin Gray

    you are correct that was a silly mistake on my part, but year more Legion Origin, the interview makes it seems like Johns challenged Paul to write a story that you can pick up off a shelf hand to someone and go you want to know all there is to know about the Legion, Here.

  12. @Richard C: Could be – The Body In Question GN had Death’s Head looking just as he did in his Transformers appearances at his ‘birth’, but then he was also human-sized in that, so…
    Even though I know more than any human should about DH continuity (which is ANY AT ALL) I’m happy to stick with “fuck it, time travel” because not everything needs explaining.

    @Kieron Gillen: Not overt enough, my man. It’s a John Cleese cameo or nothing at all. NOTHING.

  13. SWORD totally has the best Beast in quite some time. I find reading him and looking at him to be, as they say, ‘a joy’.

    GOOD COMICS

  14. Chris,
    big ups for namedroppin’ my boy Matt Wilson in S.W.O.R.D.! He’s one of the best new colorists to come along in a while.

  15. @Kieron Gillen Says: “No-one’s spotted what the large panel on the second page is a riff off though. PRIZES!”

    …Dammit, I’d have to dig through all my packed-up boxes to double-check this, but the fight against the SWAT team in the run-down apartment building from “Batman: Year One” ? I’d wondered at one of the guys on the team being named “Miller.”

  16. It’s official: The X-Men need more filigree. And that’s real.

    Hm. Looks more like quilting and/or couched thread to me. The shine coming off that blue makes me think satin, and therefore the cuffs, lapels, and other accent areas must be gold lamé.

    He’s made a bold fashion decision to pair that with tatty old 501 jeans, yo.

  17. I was surprised by the characterization of Vanessa in the Punisher Max story. She isn’t likable at all and is something of a criminal herself. Very different from the Vanessa of the past, who abhorred violence. Wonder what changes her?

  18. You didn’t get the song titles? Oh, I weep for the future.

    Why, yes, I am old and like reading Neil Gaiman comics more than watching WWE. Why do you ask?

  19. Chris didn’t you see the Legion news on the DCUBlog yesturday

    There would be a reason that the post actually includes the line “at least we know the Legion’s coming back.” I mean really, people, I make it easy for you.

    No-one’s spotted what the large panel on the second page is a riff off though.

    I want to hug you so hard right now.

    I was surprised by the characterization of Vanessa in the Punisher Max story. She isn’t likable at all and is something of a criminal herself. Very different from the Vanessa of the past, who abhorred violence. Wonder what changes her?

    I don’t think she’s meant to be the “Year One” version of the Marvel Universe Vanessa Fisk, or that the Kingpin follows along the same model. She’s just the Marvel MAX version.

  20. ‘Very different from the Vanessa of the past, who abhorred violence.”

    This is the same woman who had her son violently murdered and set up both her husband and DD to die in prison.

    It’s safe to say the potential for violence was there.

  21. If you told me today that someone is putting out an enjoyable comic with Nate Grey in it I’d call you crazy, which you did and I am doing. Doesn’t that violate the Comics Ten Commandments or something?

  22. @Steve:

    I don’t remember Jewelee getting killed, but Punch dies on a Squad mission during Rucka’s Checkmate run IIRC. Jewelee then tries to convince one of the others on the Squad to become the new Punch…

  23. Jewelee also fought Manhunter in her book after “One Year Later”, so if she’s dead now it must be fairly recent.

  24. Also Joe kelly is a weird writer, after the stuff he’s done recently he goes and pumps out ASM #617 which was probbaly my favorite issue of ASM in forever.

    strange world we live in

  25. Unwritten did something you never see done in American pop culture. It will be interesting to see where it goes from here.