Thursday, 24 November 2011

Issue #10: Slimeburger

A great week for my own social media exploits!  Firstly, this is issue number ten of Comic Burger, and while I’m still flying this thing solo, Ty has assured me he has a nice batch of reviews planned for next week when he steps up to flip burgers alongside yours truly!  Also, this week my podcast Red Barrel Radio made it’s iTunes debut, so you can get everyone(that I know)’s favourite video games discussion hassle free from that place where you get podcasts.

Who wants to try my new variety burger?  This issue I review four titles from four different publishers: Marvel, DC, Image and IDW.  So far I’ve been pretty DC heavy, and now it’s time to mix it up a bit.  It’s all good too.  Enjoy!

The Incredible Hulk #1   Back in issue #1.2 of this very blog I said a fond farewell to Greg Pak’s well served tour of duty on Incredible Hulk and promised to comment on the new volume when it arrived.  Well, it’s been out for a few weeks, but I’ve only just read Incredible Hulk #1 and I’m proud to report that the new team of Jason Aaron and Marc Silvestri tick every box on the Hulk want-list.
Firstly and most importantly, these guys don’t throw away the strangeness that served this book so well, with Hulk fighting huge monsters deep beneath the Earth’s crust right from page one, which he drags back to a tribe of mole men for food.  While these guys may well shape this book into another direction, it’s nice to see they don’t pull the rug out from fans like me who appreciate the loopy angle Incredible Hulk often took to separate it from so many other super hero comics out there.  There’s another part of the story that sets things up for future issues that I won’t spoil here, but it seems a bit has happened behind the scenes since the events of Fear Itself.
The other sweet news is that with Silvestri drawing this book, it now looks SEXY AS FUCK, with almost every panel oozing thin-pencilled detail that really looks like this guy feels pretty special to be drawing Hulk.  I’m in danger of not being able to accept any other penciller on this book and it’s only one issue in!  Hopefully Silvestri is in for the long haul, and while I’m not really familiar with his work I’m fast becoming a fan.

Superboy #3   Goddamn I love this book.  It’s not the art, which while functional is still on the average side, and the same can be said for the dialogue.  But it’s the way Superboy is targeted at people like me: people who have only just jumped on to DC and don’t want to rely on previous knowledge to enjoy a character.  This Superboy is an origin story, and one that succeeds in bringing you along for the ride as you discover what this character can do and who he is as he does.  It’s really the formula for any good super hero origin, but this one has got me well and truly signed on.  In this issue Mini-Supes discovers he needs to concentrate on his powers for them to work (could he be shot dead if he was asleep?), and not everyone working at N.O.W.H.E.R.E. is quite who you thought they were.  Not too late for you to backtrack all three issues and jump on to one of my favourite titles this year.

Pigs #1 - #3   It’s been an age since I’ve picked up a new title from Image, but something about the front cover made me pick it up and take a flick through.  I accidentally read the final page of the first issue, and I while it’s a huge spoiler, it’s what made me buy it thirty seconds later.  Cold war politics are the order of the day here, and the story focuses on a sleeper cell in Cuba, seemingly brainwashed by the previous generation into their political beliefs, and trained their whole lives for an attack on the United States.  The first issue begins with the group entering the USA by sea, tells some of their back story in flashbacks, and cliffhangs as an American agent slams a severed hand in a plastic bag down on an interrogation table exclaiming “Where the fuck is the rest of the President?”.  The following two issues hold the answer to that question off as the group recruit a former member and we see more flashbacks to flesh out the history.  Pigs is looking promising, and is a perfect story for the comic book format, because while I’d watch this as a TV show, no network would ever have the balls to make it.  Well worth a look.

Ghostbusters #1 & #2   When I was seven years old I saw Ghostbusters for the first time, and I’ll never forget that first library ghost and completely shitting myself as she roared towards me on the screen.  Yep, this franchise is pretty tied into my childhood, so it’s pretty much a rule that as an adult if I revisit Ghostbusters it has to remind me of what I’ve always liked about it while not being too condescending, and here’s the great thing about the Ghostbusters comic: you can read it and really enjoy it, then give it to your kids and they could probably dig it just as much.  There’s fan service all over this book for those that have watched the movies a hundred times, but this never slows things down or confuses the story.  It’s drawn in an almost Saturday-morning-cartoon style that is rich in colour and keeps the light-hearted attitude of the films intact for this format, without ever really looking too much like a comic for children.  Everyone’s in character, and there’s a warm familiarty with the humans, the ghosts, and the backgrounds that seems to be designed specifically for the curious comic shop browser thinking to themselves, “Hmm, a Ghostbusters comic, wonder if it’s any good?”.  Guess what?  It fucking well is, and you should get it.  It’s a bitch to find in Australia though, so this is the best excuse I’ll ever get to plug my friends at All Star Comics in Melbourne, who can get this for you and ensure you never miss an issue, all while providing a high level of friendly service sorely absent from too many retailers of geeky wares.

Thanks kids!

- Jem

Monday, 21 November 2011

Issue #9: Batdevil

A flood of awesome video games have kept me from the usual massive digestion of comic booky goodness this month, but soon Comic Burger will be dishing out double the discerning criticism when we double the writing staff next issue.  That's right kids, Comic Burger is set to become a dynamic duo!  I'll save the introductions for the next issue, but for now I simply present two reviews of titles I particularly enjoyed from my last haul.

Until I master the art of embedding a FB like button (shit, why haven't I got around to this yet?) you can inflate my ego ever so slightly by joining the Comic Burger Facebook page, which unlike many others DOES NOT AND WILL NEVER overstep it's boundaries by bombarding you with "news" and other bullshit, because you likely already have a source for that kind of stuff.  I pretty much just use it to let you know I've written something new.

Batwoman #2 and #3   Glad to see the visual style and creative panel work represented consistently in Batwoman.  Again, when things get ghostly, the art becomes surreal and conveys a dreamlike tone.  This is a masterstroke, as the art helps convey a part of the story that the text cannot.  This is a beautiful book, cramming in action, mystery, horror, intrigue and relationship issues with ease, while also perhaps setting up future narratives in Batwoman’s decision to join Batman Inc.  Batwoman is a true standout in the 52 and deserves your attention.

Daredevil #5   Daredevil’s been through more shit in the last ten or so years than any character I could name.  His arch-nemesis Bullseye marked anyone Daredevil loved for death.  His secret identity was revealed and the press harassed him wherever he went.  Then he went off the rails and became the brief leader of The Hand.  Right now though, Daredevil is going through a redemption, almost a throwback to the classic days of the character, and it seems to be a pretty popular turn.  I love this, I have friends that love this (one going so far as to say this is the best title he has ever read), and the online buzz seems to be quite positive too.  In fact that’s really the operative word, “positive”.  For a character that has had so much horrible shit in his life, Matt Murdock is just getting back to doing what he does best: finding out what crooks are up to in his town and beating the Christ out of them.  There’s even a scaling back of the art style to a more traditional classic comic, and it works so well!  Don’t worry if you’ve missed Daredevil so far, you could jump on with this issue and be just fine.  If you like it though, back track and get the other four (especially the great #1), because it’s all just as good.

Thanks kids.  I don't want to jinx myself but Comic Burger #10 should be a bumper issue!  'Til then!

- Jem

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Issue 8: Allstarsuperbatburger!

Hello folks!  Been away from the Burger for a couple of weeks, with a busy work schedule and my new podcast eating up a lot of my time.  Our podcast is called Red Barrel Radio, dedicated to video games, and while it’s not on iTunes yet it will be soon.  For now, join our Facebook group - - it’s the quickest way to access the show.

I heard last week that next year will see Oz Comic-Con hit Adelaide on 31st March to 1st April, than later swing over to my dimension in Melbourne on 30th June to 1st of July.  More exciting is that I may actually get to shake a hand I’ve long wanted to – Mr Stan Lee will be in attendance among other guests I’m told…. But dude!  Fucken Stan Lee!  Should be fun, and perhaps an excuse to dress up as the Black Panther OUTside the house….. Take a squiz here:

Comic Burger is on Facebook!  Yep, in a stunning explosion of originality, you can get your Burger as it happens on your news feed or wall.  I’m having trouble getting a FB button embedded here, so for now just go to and like the hell out of it.  Way more people read this blog than five (I can see this elsewhere), but I’ll still feel a little fuzzier and warmer.  So go on.  I’ll consider it an early Christmas present.

Dripfeeding my usual comics feast has meant I have a huge backlog to get through to get back up to date, but I managed to get some more DC stuff, including my much awaited next issue of All Star Western, and all the Super titles follow ups too.  Read on.

All Star Western #2   This issue seems more in tune with what you would expect from a comic called All Star Western, as Jonah Hex gets trigger happy while my favoured character Amadeus Arkham takes an unwanted back seat.  There’s far more exposition on our shadowy organisation of Gotham City’s elite that unfortunately dilutes the mystery angle I thought they might be going for.  Still, the book cliffhangs with our odd couple up to their necks in the shit, and that’s enough for me to stick with it.  Not up to the standard of it’s maiden voyage, but All Star Western is a title I’ll be picking up for the time being.

Batman #2   Drooooollllllllll………. Greg Capullo, you draw a damn fine comic.  Greg’s signature style marries with Batman so perfectly and you don’t have to look past the front cover to see why: the sharp edges of the cape, the narrow, angry slitted eyes that shine from the shadowy mask, the gritted teeth, and all in the middle of a blockbuster third act scene…. Who wouldn’t pick this book up?  Inside some new holographic tech is revealed that allows Batman to practically perform an autopsy from miles away, and Nightwing makes an appearance too, but why explain more?  If you like comics and respect yourself, you’ve already read it, haven’t you?

Supergirl #2   The re-origin story of Kara Zor-El continues.  As Superman investigates her arrival, things escalate as her powers quickly manifest, including a great scene where, unfamiliar with her x-ray vision abilities, she freaks out at being able to see through her own hand. And then there’s the weird guy that has turned up wearing her family crest!  Cue super powered punch-ons, and the accidental near-destruction of one of the wonders of the world.  This isn’t everyone’s cuppa, but I’m digging it.  And I think Supergirl’s new costume is great.
Superman #2   The seemingly random fire monster fight from issue #1 is revealed to be part of a bigger arc here, when Superman discovered a mysterious link between the creature and a new menace he faces in the form of a super strong alien that is invisible to Superman, but perfectly visible to everyone else.  More clever references to modern media give the story some chops, and it’s nice to see the new issue/new fight method may be actually leading into a more substantial story arc.  This comic is a bit of a looker too, and I loved the subtle pineapple logo on the back of one guy’s phone.  I probably would’ve collected it anyway, but the new Supes is pretty sweet.

Superboy #2  The clone of Superman seems to be at odds with himself.  On one hand he’s pissed off at being a lab experiment and the fact that only one person considers him a person at all.  But there are hints of a moral centre too, and I hope this inner battle is explored in future issues, because it’s the most interesting point of the story.  That, and the fact that Superboy is telekinetic, a power the source of his DNA lacks.  Writer Scott Lobdell seems to be enjoying playing with Superboy’s telekinesis so far, and it works for me too.  Superboy is playing along with his masters for now, but you just know it’s not long before he turns them all inside out with his mind.  Bring it.

Thanks kids.  I’ll emerge again soon with some more reviews.