The Week In Ink: June 21, 2007

I know, I know: With all the fuss leading up to my three-day rock-off at HeroesCon ’07, I never actually got around to reviewing last week’s comics. But really, aside from the fact that Punisher War Journal was awesome and Re-Gifters–by the same team that brought you My Faith In Frankie and the artist of this week’s Wonderland–was everything I wanted from the Minx line all done at once, what more do you need to know?

Besides, the ISB is all about the now. Especially when this is happening:



Now, to move on, before anyone realizes the staggering hypocricy of someone who routinely trots out forty year-old DC comics to mock them for their lack of contemporary storytelling claiming to be all about the now! After all, it’s Thursday night, and there’s a ridiculous stack of comics on my desk to review! How ridiculous?

I’m glad you asked!



And shockingly, last week had even more. Now then, time’s a-wastin’, so buckle up for the Internet’s Most Mind-Blowing Comics Reviews!





Annihilation: Conquest Prologue: A while back, after a discussion about offering ISB t-shirts in womens’ sizes, I got an email saying that I was, from all evidence, “on the Good Guy end of the sexist spectrum,” and while that’s always nice to hear, it’s a rumor I’d like to completely dispel with this next sentence:

If there’s one thing I love more than lesbians, it’s space lesbians!

Yes, in addition to star-spanning slam-bang action, this one focuses heavily on Phyla and Moondragon, who take time out from beating people up in space to hug each other a little, and if that’s not a selling point, I don’t know what is! All kidding aside, though, the first few issues of Nova have gotten me really excited about Annihilation–even though I skipped it the first time around, and this one keeps that going pretty well. Of course, considering that it comes from Abnett & Lanning (the same guys who write Nova) and Mike Perkins (who pencilled the incredibly fun and underrated Union Jack mini with Christos Gage), that’s to be expected.


Brave and the Bold #4: Normally, this is where you’d find my usual complaint about a two-month gap between issues, but when it’s George Perez taking some extra time, things are a lot easier to forgive. Simialrly, under any other circumstances, a team-up between the new Supergirl and Lobo would sound about as appealing as a sandwich made of punches, but Mark Waid manages to pull it off. Supergirl’s petulant and self-righteous–which I think we can all agree is pretty well in line with how she is over in her own title of late–but Waid takes the time to show that there’s an underlying concern for Green Lantern in there that softens the edge to it and makes her come off as a frustrated character, rather than a frustrating one.

Also, it opens with Half-Robot Batman, and if that’s not the most awesome thing you see today, then thanks for reading the ISB, Professional Shark Wrangler.


Conan #41: And now, tonight’s second incredibly misogynistic statement:

Tim Truman and Cary Nord’s adaptation of Robert E. Howard’s classic “Rogues in the House”–one of my favorites, for reasons that’ll be obvious if you’ve read it before–continues to be thoroughly awesome, and while I just read through the Roy Thomas/Barry Windsor-Smith adaptation a few weeks ago, I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of seeing Conan chuck a his naked, traitorous ex-girlfriend off the roof into a cesspit. Cracks me up every time.


Heroes for Hire #11: Before you guys get the idea that I didn’t learn my lesson from a misspent youth that involved buying every Joker: Last Laugh tie-in and every Bruce wayne: Murderer tie-in (Azrael?! What was I thinking?!), allow me to assure you: I’m not getting every “World War Hulk” crossover. It might look like that, given the next few items on the list here, but, well, when you put Christos Gage on a book, I’m probably going to buy it.

Heroes for Hire, meanwhile, is a whole different story: I had other reasons for picking up this issue. I’ve got to say, though: It may just be that I’m coming in with no knowledge of what’s supposed to be going on with these characters–I guess Humbug is a parody of Penance, maybe?–but I don’t think I’m missing a whole lot here. What I don’t want to miss, howver, is a story by Fred Van Lente that features everyone’s favorite green-haired teenage SHIELD agent, the new Scorpion! There was a great one in last week’s Spider-Man Family too, where she took on the New Venom (who is also the Old Scorpion), but it’s always nice to see a minor-league character that I really like just keep popping up like that.


Incredible Hulk #107: If there’s one thing I’ve learned from the past year or so of Marvel Comics, it’s that I could probably get through the next couple of years just fine if I didn’t see any super-heroes fighting each other. That said, the only two characters that I actually like to see fighting other super-heroes are the guys slugging it out on the cover, so this one gets a free pass.

Greg Pak seems to be pulling out all the stops for “World War Hulk” here, too: If “Planet Hulk” had any major problem, it was probably the mildly repetitive nature of the plot’s advancement. Hulk would punch someone out, frown a lot and then tell someone he didn’t care about anything, and then they’d wonder if he was the Savior or the Destroyer, and it’d repeat itself for a hellaciously enjoyable year. With this one, though, that’s all gone out the window. We already know why we’re here, and now it’s time for someone to get punched so hard that the sound effect contains sixteen Os. And that, my friends, is just what I wanted to see.


Iron Man: Hypervelocity #6: And speaking of someone pulling out all the stops, this issue features Adam Warren at what may well be his Adam Warrenest: The whole issue takes exactly 3 minutes and 29 seconds, is set to Iggy Pop’s “Search and Destroy” and features a running battle of operating systems expressed as a suit of sentient Iron Man armor punching and getting punched through the walls of a death-trap helicarrier named after the CO of the Howling Commandos. It is, essentially, the biggest, craziest, fastest, nerdiest robot fight ever put on paper, and if that’s your thing (which it certainly is for me), it’s a hoot.


Madame Mirage #1: Those of us who actually read the text pieces in last month’s Madame Mirage preview–which, let’s be honest here, was probably just me–will probably recall that Mirage was originally conceived by Paul Dini as an online cartoon, and, well, that makes a lot of sense. It has all the trappings of the genre: A busty heroine fighting vague evil alongside a funny-ish sidekick in an ultraviolent dystopian future full of transforming jetpacks.

Yeah, I know, that last one sounds oddly specific, but trust me: It was a genre. Of course, now that I’ve gotten all that written down, I’m not even sure why it’s there. After all, the whole point of a review is to tell you something you might not know about the title, but with Madame Mirage, it’s pretty much exactly what you’d expect: Much like the character herself, everything’s pretty much out in the open here. Then again, it’s all going to change by #3, so…


The Spirit #7: In these little chats we have every week, I’ve often voiced my distaste for the almost constant stream of fill-in issues we’ve been getting lately, and I’d do the same thing here for an issue of the Spirit with no Darwyn Cooke behind it, but, well, when your fill-in guys are Walt Simonson, Chris Sprouse, and Kyle Baker, things are a little easier to take.


Wasteland #10: For those of you who were waiting for revelations to start hitting for the secrets that have surrounded Michael and Abi since the first issue, then wait no longer: The intruiging vagueness starts here!

Really, though, I hardly feel like I’ve got to review this one, and a look at the back cover ought to tell you why:



That makes the second time that I’ve sung this book’s praises so loud that the good folks over at Oni felt like they should put it on the back of the book, and I meant every word of it: Wasteland has some great stuff going on, and if you’ve been holding out, jump on. I mean, I heard from some guy on the internet that it’s meticulous, and that’s gotta count for something!


The Weapon #1: I came very close to not picking this one up, owing to Platinum Studios’ history of thoroughly unsavory business practices, not the least of which includes an unholy alliance with the plague that is KISS comics. Still, owing to the fact that it’s written by Fred Van Lente (who, as we’ve already seen, has such a svengaliesque hold on me that I’ll even buy Heroes For Hire), I gave it a shot, and, well, it’s really good. The idea behind the lead character is so simple and beautiful that I’ve been kicking myself all day for not thinking of it first: He’s Iron Fist meets Green Lantern, a kung fu physics genius who invented a set of gauntlets that create hard-light weapons with a thought, with an explanation at the beginning done up as a sales pitch that does a pretty good job of selling it to the reader as well. It’s the kind of idea that has the potential for great visuals in the action scenes, and artist Scott Koblish makes the most of them, with stuff like a quick-paced fight scene on top of a bus between the main character and two sword-wielding bikini girls. It’s got the fun of a Jackie Chan movie mixed with Van Lente’s usual engaging hooks, and to be honest, it’s not one to miss. Give it a shot.


Weird World of Jack Staff #1: When you get right down to it, I’m just putting this out here for anyone who didn’t already know it was coming out this week; my usual comments about Paul Grist’s genius and Jack Staff being the greatest underappreciated masterpiece of modern comics still apply, and as per usual, everything from the Starfall Squad to Sommerset Stone: Gentleman Adventurer is pure, wonderful fun.




Mantlo: A Life In Comics: I mentioned this one on one of my increasingly sporadic ISB Podcasts, but David Yurkovich’s tribute book for Bill Mantlo has finally hit the shelves, and with an incredibly affordable price tag of $7.50, I felt like I ought to encourage everyone to buy it, if you haven’t already. If there’s one thing I’ve proven over and over again here on the ISB, it’s that I freakin’ love Bill Mantlo, and this looks to be a very well-done and fascinating portrait of the man’s life and work with the proceeds going to his care, so if it lets me find out more about a man who brought so much fun into my life while paying him back for the same, I’m all for it.




Yotsuba&! v.4: It’s not often that I go with trades as the Best of the Week–let alone manga, which I seem to be getting more of every month–but I’d be lying if I said that I read anything this week that wasn’t as purely entertaining as Yotsuba&!

I’ve mentioned my love for the series before, but it always bears repeating: It’s awesome, and every bit as hilarious as the early volumes of Cromartie High School were, but without the gorillas and shirtless Freddie Mercuries. Normally, missing out on those things would be a detriment, but Kiyohiko Azuma more than makes up for it here, with Yotsuba following up her battles against Global Warming and the complexities of the doorbell with stories where she finds out that adults will inevitably cheat in games against their children and, in the best bit of this volume, her attempts to help a neighbor deal with a broken heart. If you’ve never read it, you need to. It’s great, and while I don’t often pull this one out, it’s applicable here:

If you don’t like Yotsuba&!, then you just don’t like anything.



Quite the salesman, I know. Anyway, that’s the week! If you have any nagging questions or concerns, or if you’d just like to shoot the breeze about how awesome Will Pfeifer and David Lopez are on Catwoman, discuss how this week’s Robin is a near-perfect done-in-one story, or just flip out about Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four, feel free to drop a line or leave a comment.

27 thoughts on “The Week In Ink: June 21, 2007

  1. That Half-Robot Batman is half Batman and half Tharok (of the Fatal Five). So, technically, he’s….


  2. RE: Incredible Hulk #107.

    The fight was too short and too decisive. Hercules’ weakened state from becoming mortal back in the mid-nineties has (happily) fallen away in recent years. A fight between Hulk and Hercules ought to be a whole issue and end with a question mark – the Hulk very much not stopped and Hercules happy-go-lucky and ready to bestow more gifts when a real villain derails the whole thing. I do not think that three pages and Hercules gasping pathetically… delivers.

    I did like Namor though. “I cannot raise a hand against my own cousin.” And that smirk as he swims off!

  3. What’s a COMB O, Chris? Is that short for comb-over? Going a little bald, are we? :) :)

    Anyway, I like the cover of Jack Staff with the round, arched and square windows. Ah Playschool, where for art thou?

  4. Paul Grist is actually carrying on the essence of Will Eisner storytelling; instead of just copying his devices he’s moving forward with them. He’s a guy that understands how comics are suppose to work, and then makes it happen.

    And that is in no way a knock on the new Spirit book or the people working on it.

  5. Aw, don’t feel bad, Greg; it was you who persuaded me to ditch the “part 1 of X” issue titling, after all… :)

  6. Not that anyone mentioned it, but Amazing Spider-Man was astoundingly awful, most noteworthy for its phoned-in quality, half-finished look and total joylessness. Definitely harshed my boner for fun. Does JMS just cut-and-paste from Bartlett’s Quotations at this point?

  7. Robin was a perfect comic this week. I was really impressed.

    Somewhere in all the excitement of reading over 20 comics this week, I forgot to review The Spirit.

    OK, I have to get me a copy of Iron Man Hypervelocity, clearly. That sounds great.

  8. Let’s just hope nobody hits you with a C-C-C-C-COMBO BREAKER!

    Yes, that was a Killer Instinct reference.

  9. The fight was too short and too decisive. Hercules’ weakened state from becoming mortal back in the mid-nineties has (happily) fallen away in recent years. A fight between Hulk and Hercules ought to be a whole issue and end with a question mark

    Yeah, except that the whole point of the fight was that Hercules wasn’t trying to fight the Hulk. He was only trying to defend himself while he got the Hulk to listen to him and accept his help.

  10. Wait, wait , wait, wha…?

    Hercules. NOT trying to fight?

    Well, then he’s not really Hercules, if you ask me. Must be one o’them pesky skrulls.

  11. I know you mentioned it in the singles here and there, but no blurbage love for the Phonogram trade?

    I’m only halfway into it now, but that comic is some hot shit.  You know, in the good way.

    Yeah yeah, us “wait for trades” people are killing the industry with our delayed support, etc.

  12. Well, I already said that Phonogram was the best miniseries of the year, so it’s kinda hard to top that kind of boosterism.

    But really: It’s the book so nice I bought it twice.

  13. Oh, wow! it’s some unexpected development when the most face-kicking, bear-beating comics blog features a cute manga about a little green-haired girl. However, as a long time manga reader, I can totally understand you. Yotsuba&! is pure comedic gold, and it only gets better with every chapter. Anyway, let’s go straight to the point. Have you ever tried more of Azuma’s manga? Like Azumanga Daioh? It has certainly much more japanese humour and at times is somewhat plain weird, but it also has some amazing characters, like that Osaka girl (air-headedness at its best).

  14. I liked My Faith in Frankie, but this was a couple of grades better. Just a treat.

    Thank you!

  15. Does anyone else think the Kyle Baker Spririt story was a really dry joke? It reads to me like “The-Spirit-directed-by-Frank-Miller”. Just me, then…

  16. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of seeing Conan chuck a his naked, traitorous ex-girlfriend off the roof into a cesspit. Cracks me up every time.

    “Into the mud, scum queen!”