The Week In Ink: July 8, 2009

You know, as much as I love the “What was the capital of Poland between 1038 and 1596” joke…



…it’s really the kind of thing you can only get away with once.

Then again, repetition does lead to comedy, but there’ll be enough time to discuss comedic theory later, because it’s Thursday night and that means it’s time for another round of the Internet’s Most Effervescent Comics Reviews!

Here’s what I got this week…



…and here’s what we’ll all be thinking about in… the world that’s coming!!



Booster Gold #22: Last month, I mentioned that while Booster Gold wasn’t spectacular, it’s a consistently enjoyable book that’s always worth picking up. With this issue, though, I thought I ought to go ahead and revise that statement.

Not because Booster Gold‘s suddenly not enjoyable or anything, but because I may have been damning it with faint praise. The truth is that over the past few months, Dan Jurgens has been quietly slipping one of DC’s better titles under the radar every month, and the more I read, the more I like it. I think a lot of it has to do with the new direction for the character that Geoff Johns and Jeff Katz launched the series with. The idea of sending Booster back to any moment in the history of the DC universe is not only one that appeals to the Nerd Hat-wearing fan in every reader (and every writer, for that matter), but also one that fits the character perfectly, with great opportunities for the action and comedy that make the character so appealing, and Jurgens is really using it to its potential. Going from a nominal tie-in to the “Batman Reborn” books to the events of New Teen Titans #2 is not only clever, but Jurgens makes it thrilling and genuinely funny.

It’s a great book even before you hit the Blue Beetle backup story, which–even without an appearance by THINKO!–is just as enjoyable as the first. It’s good stuff, and well worth the extra buck.





BPRD: 1947 #1: I’ve enjoyed all of the BPRD series, but last year’s 1946 was far and away the best of them, with is fantastic execution of a deceptively simple soldiers-versus-Nazi-vampires premise. It’s no surprise, then, that I’ve been looking forward to this one for a while, and as you might expect from the fact that it comes from a series that allowed me to just throw “soldiers-versus-Nazi-vampires” out like it ain’t no thang, it’s awesome.

Mike Mignola and Joshua Dysart’s script is the usual–which is to say fantastic–offering, doing a great job of introducing a new cast and setting the typically creepy mood, but it’s also notable for the reappearance of Varvara. I mentioned back when 1946 was coming out that Mignola and Dysart had single-handedly breathed new life into the tired, evil-little-girl archetype, and that continues here. She’s just so incredibly understated that the creepiness doesn’t feel forced like it does in lesser works, and the interplay between her and the increasingly haggard Professor Bruttenholm is just great.

To be honest though, the real star of the show is the art team of Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon, which probably won’t come as a surprise to anyone who’s seen their work on books like Casanova or The Umbrella Academy. They’re phenomenal, and under Dave Stewart’s colors, they’re perfect on this book, delivering great shots of everything from a group of comically shocked 18th century French aristocrats to the horrors of the D-Day landing.

It’s great stuff that only underlines the fact that the BPRD books are one of the best things going in comics right now, and these are the best of the best.


Dark X-Men: The Beginning #1: I don’t really have much of a review for this one, I just wanted to point out that Paul Cornell’s Sub-Mariner story is basically just Namor taking a shower for nine pages and getting a soft touch from Norman Osborn.

That sound you just heard was Rachelle Goguen breaking the sound barrier on her way to her local comic shop.


GI Joe Origins #5: All right, folks. I realize that what I’m about to say might be a little controversial, but trust me here: This might be the best GI Joe story ever.

Admittedly, it doesn’t have Destro–which under normal circumstances would be an automatic disqualification–and only an ersatz Cobra Commander in the person of the hilarious/awesome/hilariously awesome Dr. Chimera, but what it does have is more than a match for what it lacks. Yes, there’s the standard GI Joe militaryish action and it’s all very well done by Larry Hama and Mike Hawthorne, but there are really only two things that you need to know here:

1. It is revealed that Cobra Commander (or at least a reasonable mask-wearing facsimile thereof) is behind the current global economic crisis, with an assist from Duke, and

2. Snake Eyes fights a guy while he is on fire, presumably because they can’t grab you if you’re on fire.

It not only makes a great wrap-up for the first arc of Origins, and what’s more, it puts the main book to shame, as that title has yet to have any ninjas on fire. Ball’s in your court, Dixon, and Hama’s up by five.


Street Fighter II Turbo #7: Okay guys, serious question here: Is Poison still a dude?

I mean, I know that she was originally intended to be female, and then changed because Capcom thought the American SNES-buying audience would be happier with a transvestite hooker than Mike Haggar actually piledriving a woman, and then replaced with two decidedly male characters for the American release, and the whole thing’s way more complex than it ought to be. Even this issue seems to have fun with it, with Cody’s “you’re not much of a lady” and her irate response, which could be taken a couple of ways.

Not that I particularly mind, you understand, but it’d be nice to know which comics I read involved cross-dressing prostitutes. My filing system is oddly specific.

Anyway, as you can probably tell from this line of discussion, the last few issues have featured some of the characters from the Final Fight series, and there’s even an old-fashioned call at the end of the issue for readers to write in if they’d like to see a Final Fight series, and honestly, I’d love one. As inherently goofy as video game comics are, Ken Siu-Chong’s Street Fighter stories have managed to be incredibly entertaining, mostly because they seem to refuse to take themselves seriously. But you know what? I’ll do one better than just asking for a Final Fight book. Hey Udon Studios: I will write you a Final Fight comic for one dollar. And that’s real.


Wasteland #25: Break out the party hats, everybody, because this week brings us the double-sized, double-sexy, full-color 25th issue of everyone’s favorite post-apocalyptic Western!

I’ve mentioned before that Wasteland is one of my favorites, and if you haven’t been reading it, this is probably the one to check out. It’s not so much that it’s a good jumping-on point–which it is, but after all, with four trades, it’s pretty easy to get started at the beginning–but it’s the first standalone story since the incredible Rashomon-style Chuck BB issue, and it’s an incredible read on its own.

One of the most appealing aspects of Wasteland is the world-building, which under a lot of writers can come off as very forced. With Johnston, though–and this might just be a side-effect of the fact that he’s been working on it off and on for fifteen years–it all comes out organically, and after almost three years, it’s all laid into place so well that he can focus on a sharp, clever story that captures the fun and heartbreak of the series all in one issue. And it’s all wrapped up in Mitten’s art, which is just beautiful in this one. Don’t get me wrong, it’s usually good, but going from the normal black and white of the series to the watercolor-style colors is flat-out gorgeous.

It’s a fantastic issue, and while it does carry the price tag of a double-sized story, it’s well worth it.


Wednesday Comics #1: And finally, we hae the book that everyone’s talking about: DC’s newspaper-sized Wednesday Comics. I’ve been looking forward to this one since it was announced, and now that I’ve got the first issue in my hand, well, it’s certainly an anthology title.

Admittedly, it’s a good anthology title, and with the talent DC’s brought in to pull it off, it ought to be. I mean, this is a book that is giving us Kyle Baker’s Hawkman, which, in case you missed that, is Kyle Baker’s Hawkman, a pairing that gave us quite possibly the best quote from any interview ever:

“Hawkman carries a mace, so it’s important for a writer to create dilemmas which can be resolved with a mace. A guy with a mace fighting a T-Rex is a good fight to watch.”

And I’m sure it will be. But any anthology is bound to have a mix in quality, and while it’s a triumph in terms of format–the huge, single-page stories are strikingly beautiful and every one is immediately visually engaging–Wednesday Comics is no exception.

The biggest disappointment, sadly, was Busiek and Quinones’ Green Lantern, which I was really looking forward to. I get that this is only the first page of a twelve-page story, but it’s also their first opportunity to really use the new format to hook the reader, and while Quinones does a great job with the art, he’s drawing exactly one panel of Green Lantern, with the rest of a 14″ x 20″ page devoted to Hal Jordan’s coworkers and their drink orders. It’s obvious what Busiek’s going for–setting up the contrast that’ll lead into future weeks–but the strip-style format lends itself better to pages that can function as complete chapters in and of themselves, and he’s loaded this one up with way too much setup. There’s even a wordy caption explaining that this is the “New Frontier” Hal Jordan that could be done away with altogether. The Supergirl story, for instance, doesn’t bother to explain that it’s not the Supergirl running around in the ongoing, it just presents a fun, well-drawn one-page story that could work as a gag strip just as well as it sets up future installments.

At the opposite end of the spectrum is the Wonder Woman page, which–again–is beautiful, but just doesn’t do it for me. I can see that Caldwell’s going for a more Little Nemo-esque adventure that does take advantage of the larger page, but it just seems to hit wrong, with Wonder Woman talking to birds and then an honest-to-God “It was all a dream… OR WAS IT?!” ending. It is, however, very pretty, so I’m hoping to get more out of it in future issues.

Lest you think I’m being overly negative, though, the good definitely outweighs the bad. I mentioned Supergirl already (which Amanda Conner does an incredible job with), and the Azarello/Risso Batman story does a great job setting the mood on the first page. More to my taste, though, was Neil Gaiman, who does a passable Bob Haney impression in his Metamorpho story with Mike Allred, which I’m really hoping holds up for the duration. And of course, the biggest shocker for me was the Metal Men story. I mean, I knew the art was going to be great–it’s Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez and Kevin Nowlan, for cryin’ out loud!–but I wasn’t expecting to see the ’70s styled Metal Men, complete with the Avenging Disco Godfather Who Is Liquid At Room Temperature.

Far and away the best, though–at least until Hawkman starts solving dinosaur problems with his mace–was Paul Pope’s Strange Adventures. It’s a perfect use of the format in terms of layout, and while there’s very little action from Adam Strange himself, Pope gives us a fantastic setup with a perfect piece of dialogue to accompany it. More than anything else, this is the one I’m looking forward to sitting down with at the end of the series and reading one installment after the other.

So yeah: It’s an anthology, but it’s one that does a great job in doing something different, and if the worst it has to offer is a beautifully drawn Green Lantern story that’s not quite as good as it oughtta be, then it’s well worth the trade-off.



Annnnnnnd that’s the week! As always, any questions, concerns, or speculation on whether or not Scott Gray can live up to the record Jeff Parker’s established on X-Men: First Class (which was highly enjoyable this week) can be left in the comments section below.

Also, I did have a couple of cocktails while I was writing these reviews so uh… I mean… I didn’t offer to write anything for a dollar, did I?

Oh man, not again

41 thoughts on “The Week In Ink: July 8, 2009

  1. I will write a Captain Commando backup strip in your Final Fight book for fifty cents.

    I’ll stay motivated during this task by remembering that Captain Commando features not only a genius baby driving a giant robot but also a knife-fighting mummy wearing a backwards baseball cap. It’s enough to keep you warm on the cold lonely nights, tobesure.

  2. I need to go back and get all the Final Fight-related issues of SF. It’s one of my favorite game series ever and I need to see a comic book with Two.P in it.

    A Final Fight book with a Capt. Commando backup stories would just be sure sign that we live in a golden age. CC’s game happens in a future version of Metro City, A bust of Haggar is a bonus item and Sho is from Guy’s Bushin clan so it wouldn’t be a random combo.

  3. So how was the War of Kings tie-in book? I can barely afford the 80 books featuring the main story, so I’m having to skip ones like this or the Son of Hulk one…

  4. According to Yoshinori Ono, the producer of Street Fighter IV (Final Fight now pretty much being absorbed into SF after the crapfest that was Streetwise):

    “Let’s set the record straight: In North America, Poison is officially a post-op transsexual. But in Japan, she simply tucks her business away to look female.”

    So…uh, there you go! The answer is “depends on your geographical location”.

  5. Yeah, I agree — “Green Lantern” seemed a little clunky.

    What do people think of “Sergeant Rock”? There are nine panels, and he spends six of them getting punched in the face.

  6. Glad to see you plugging BOOSTER GOLD. I thought I was the only one who was enjoying it.

  7. “Depends on your geographic location”

    Which apparently means ‘whether you’re in front of her or behind her’.

  8. Man, I hadn’t realized how much I wanted Paul Pope to draw more of the DC universe besides Batman until I saw his Adam Strange. Give him an ongoing! Or at least a mini! And yeah, I won’t give a crap if it comes out once every six months, I’ll still stick with it.

    And I would read a Captain Commando comic. And a Cyberbots comic. And a Strider comic. And, yes, a Final Fight comic (though my preference is in that order). In fact, I think Capcom’s properties would benefit from sharing a universe, which fits anyway considering the bajillion video game crossovers they’ve made.

  9. I, quite seriously, am annoyed that I haven’t had time to pick up anything this week, because everything sounds so…FUN.

  10. I actually didn’t pick up Wednesday Comics because only a few of them interested me, and it wasn’t worth $4 for those four strips. Maybe if they’re collected somewhere (hopefully not a massive book also featuring the ones I don’t care about), I’d pick those up.

    No MA: Super Heroes? It’s tame by Tobin standards but that’s like saying a wildfire is tame by Californian standards.

  11. As an Amazing Spider-Man fan who must read every offering, I don’t think its fair that you can just pass over the past few week’s nuggets. If I have to take a book with a cover image of a pregnant goblin up to the register, and trod through extra-thick Aunt May’s engagement party, I want to come on here and be comforted via commiseration.

    And you call yourself a Man.

  12. And you call yourself a Man.

    Now there’s a title for the best Patsy Cline song ever.

  13. I’ve dropped Booster Gold because I’m trying to cut back on $3.99 books (New Avengers I’m looking at you!), but I may have to stick with it.

    In G. I. Joe Origins, I keep thinking Dr. Chimera is Zartan, because I thought the mask and the disguises in early issues lended itself to that. IDW should either cancel Origins and move Hama onto the main book, or just cancel the mainbook. I’m done with the main book and it’s female Dial-Tone, lack of anything interesting happening and a $3.99 cover price.

  14. I am pleased to hear that this week’s Spider-man comics herald the return of some sort of clone saga laffs.


  15. I was sad to see you dont get Green Lantern Chris. I was hoping to hear what you thought of the lead up to Blackest Night

  16. I just bought and read the firt Booster Gold trade and you’re right, it was great. Funny, with nicely fleshed out characters and a good plot.

    And unlike so much of today’s comics, it has a plot that moves forward with action.

  17. I hate to be yet another person to ask why you didn’t buy/review something, but still; no Pixu? It’s got work from Ba and Moon, as well as Becky Cloonan and Vasilis (I hope I spelled that right) Lolos. I picked it up solely based on that (well, the Mignola pull quote didn’t hurt either).

    Oh, and thanks for not making me feel bad about dropping ASM, Papa Gino.

  18. Neil Gaiman writing Metamorpho? Seriously?

    I like each of those things on their own, but together, I don’t know.

  19. HydrogenGuy: it’s great, trust me. Gaiman at his silliest, with fetching overtones of the Groening-verse (shades of Professor Farnsworth in his version of Simon Stagg). And Allred’s work looks lovely on newsprint.

  20. i think we are clearly missing the most important point here, which is, “when will they get to the fireworks factory?” oh wait, sorry, i meant, “how is the new anita blake? shittacular?”

  21. Anyone know how Wednesday Comics is doing, sales-wise? I cannae get to the comic shop until tomorrow, and I am afraid that there will be no copies leffffttttttttt

  22. Hey, Sims. I’m the guy who ripped into you about Buffy last week. Sorry for that, and I appreciate your gentlemenly grace in responding. At any rate, I’m writing because…

    I am really glad to see “BPRD: 1947” as your best of the week. “1946” was my personal pick for best miniseries of 2008, and your review echoes all my sentiments and feelings on the new issue. I love the reveal that Broom not telling Hellboy about Rasputin was a conscious decision.

  23. Chris, you didn’t pick up Archie Double Digest #200 ? I was waiting for you review because this is actually the first Archie book i ever bought. Can’t resist that Norm Breyfogle artwork.

  24. Aaaaaand here I was waiting to hear Chris rant/rave about Winick’s Batman 688…

    I would’ve had to buy and read it first, and that’s not very likely.

    So how was the War of Kings tie-in book?

    Not bad! This one’s divided up between an origin of Gladiator and a Blastaar story, and while neither one is strictly necessary for understanding the main story, they’re not bad either.

    What do people think of “Sergeant Rock”? There are nine panels, and he spends six of them getting punched in the face.

    Oh, I liked it. Sgt. Rock stories generally follow the formula of Bad Things Happening To Rock, and then Very Very Bad Things Happening To Nazis.

    As an Amazing Spider-Man fan who must read every offering, I don’t think its fair that you can just pass over the past few week’s nuggets.

    I actually did read the Annual, but considering it’s a Ben Reilly story that prominently features pages upon pages of Wikkid Bahstin Accents, lovingly rendered in Claremontean phonetics, there’s a lot more things I’d rather be spending money on.

    Could you tell me more about Namor taking a shower please?

    I’ll call you and read it over the phone very slowly… for a price.

    IDW should either cancel Origins and move Hama onto the main book, or just cancel the mainbook. I’m done with the main book and it’s female Dial-Tone, lack of anything interesting happening and a $3.99 cover price.

    I certainly wouldn’t be upset if that happened, although I do like female Dial-Tone (Girl-Tone?). The thing of it is that the regular series isn’t that bad–aside from the fact that it’s really boring and slow-moving, it’s pretty comparable in quality to the start of the Devil’s Due series–but Origins and Cobra are so much better that it really suffers by comparison, and begs the question of why they’re even bothering to produce GI Joe when it’s both obvious and demonstrable that they can do much better.

    I was sad to see you dont get Green Lantern Chris. I was hoping to hear what you thought of the lead up to Blackest Night

    I really do not care for Geoff Johns’ Green Lantern to the point where what I read of it actually sapped any existing good will I had for the character. I also haven’t bothered with much of the Sinestro Corps stuff that everyone swears by, but what I did read of it came off as remarkably heavy-handed and anticlimactic. Plus, the Rainbow Lanterns are stupid. I don’t know why they’re any more stupid than a guy having a magic wishing ring from space, but dang it, they are.

    Anyway, on the surface–and again, I say this as someone who hasn’t read any of the actual issues–it just strikes me as DC jumping on the Marvel Zombies bandwagon three years after it would’ve had any relevance, and that just does not appeal to me. Although judging by the latest Previews, it does look like it’s going to involve a Zombie KGBeast, which does do a little to pique my curiosity. The rest of it, though–the delightful necrophilia cover for the Teen Titans tie-in and the outright laughable Superman book with Psycho Pirate–looks so misbegotten and ludicrously over-the-top (by accident, rather than the on-purpose over-the-top that I like) that I’m planning on avoiding.

    But maybe I’m wrong. Rare as that is, it happens, and my doubts about Johns on Superman and Booster Gold are certainly examples of that.

    what no Love for Vril Dox and crew at the ISB?

    Didn’t like the first issue of the Radically Extreme Brigade to Eliminate L.E.G.I.O.N. Supremacy (Thanks Benito!), but I’ve heard it’s gotten better, so I might check out the trade.

    I hate to be yet another person to ask why you didn’t buy/review something, but still; no Pixu?

    I completely missed it when it was solicited. I need to see if I can get my hands on one, if for no other reason than the fact that Cloonan’s fantastic.

    HydrogenGuy: it’s great, trust me. Gaiman at his silliest

    It is, and it was very enjoyable. If he can avoid completely tanking it at the end–as is Gaiman’s recent habit–it’ll be a standout in Wednesday Comics.

    “how is the new anita blake? shittacular?”

    Oh, no, it’s fantastic. It’s really changed my opinion of the entire series, and made all the shortcomings of the previous two years really work for ahaahahhahahaahahaha.

    Nah, I’m just kiddin’, it’s awful. Full post Sunday night.

  25. Can I ask what you think of the new “Unknown Soldier” and “I am Legion”? I’d put “Unknown Soldier” right up there with “Incognito” on my personal list of do not miss, and I know it’s selling, but I wondered what you thought. Also, were you a fan of the original, with the Kubert art?

  26. Chris (in case you haven’t read it), Sturges owes you some kind of royalty for a couple of pages in the latest “House of Mystery.” I was surprised not to see some kind of “special thanks to Chris Sims” in the credits.

    And I pretty much agree with you about Wednesday Comics, although my favorite strip was “Kammandi.” (Paul Pope’s Adam Strange was definitely #2, though!)

  27. Chris (in case you haven’t read it), Sturges owes you some kind of royalty for a couple of pages in the latest “House of Mystery.” I was surprised not to see some kind of “special thanks to Chris Sims” in the credits.

    Dang it, I meant to pick that one up and completely forgot.

  28. I totally thought the same thing when I read House of Mystery this week! It seems like the most Chris Sims story ever. That said, I would absolutely pay $100 to see that movie in IMAX.

  29. Showcase Presents put out a full volume of Bat Lash stories? I’m not sure but that’s either insane or awesome. Maybe both.

  30. I’m going to voice an unpopular and possibly offensive, theory/opinion here, but…Chris, in case you end up flipping through Green Lantern 43 out of curiosity…you know that kid who the stories about? Black Hand? The dude who I recall Johns saying he’s really enjoying writing and who’s one of his favorite characters?

    I’d be lying if I didn’t think Johns was basing him off himself.

    We’re talking about a guy who – I’m sorry, this has to be said – has an unhealthy obsession with utterly morose things even when they’re completely uncalled for (like Red Lanterns spewing blood, giant apes viciously killing kids by throwing cars through buildings, and Psycho Pirate getting his eyes pushed out the back of his head). It’s my biggest issue with Johns and a glaring weakness that I’m upset to see a lot of people embracing as a strength of his writing. I’m sorry, but I can’t help but think the man’s a little sick in the head, and as good a writer as he can be (and this issue of Green Lantern, from a pure writing standpoint, was pretty darn good and creepy), his taste for gruesomeness bothers me.

  31. Martin, thank you…I wondered if I was the only one.

    Also: dude has creepy eyes.