Thursday, 25 July 2013

Issue #30: Forward and backwards through time! CHOMP!

I can’t believe I didn’t reserve the rights to and as I could possibly have netted a small profit before Warner’s showstopping announcement at ComicCon this week that the next Man Of Steel movie will heavily feature Batman, and most likely carry one of these titles.  Warner also secured these domains and others with slight variations (, etc).  Surely some person with a little foresight must have grabbed them years ago?  Anyway, I like the idea of the full crossover event to build up to a Justice League film over Marvel’s traditional post-credits cameo approach.  It reminds me of classic monster mash stuff like Dracula vs The Mummy or something.  Superman vs Batman.  I hope it’s good.

This burger is all DC.  Not that I haven’t been reading Marvel stuff too, and I’ll get to that in a future post.  Now to pop over to IMDB to see if Dracula vs The Mummy is really an actual film.

All Star Western #21   I’ve been impressed with All Star Western since it’s first issue, finding it’s basic setting and premise, it’s old world dialogue, and it’s gorgeous and unique artwork courtesy of Moritat (I love how he draws women of the era, all lips, hair and lace) more than enough to entertain me each month.  But lately the book has thrown a few curve balls as reminder that it is part of the greater DC universe, as none other than Booster Gold has inexplicably been blasted through time to find himself partnered up with Jonah Hex.  Following a bounty mission/gold recovery gone wrong, the pair end up plummeting off a cliff to their deaths.  Time distorts, and Hex finds himself in a Gotham much more advanced than the city he left.  The actual date is ambiguous, but there are a few clues that this Gotham City a little further forward than the current timeline.  After waking up in an alley Hex confronts a gang of mutants straight from the pages of The Dark Knight Returns, before tangling with Batwing in a more streamlined costume.  This unexpected turn of events is working well and I’m looking forward to how it will play out, but when things eventually go back to normal will Hex’s gun-toting antics in an age gone by still hold as much water now that things like this are possible?  We’ll see.

Detective Comics #22   Detective Comics has a new creative team, and while this was a decent enough Batman book for me so far, Jason Fabok and John Layman do feel like a breath of polluted Gotham air for this title.  Fabok’s first page in this issue is iconic and immediately striking, and the rest of the book looks just as good, due in no small part also to Emilio Lopez’s colour work – dingy when the mood of the story calls for it, and colourful for the action.  Cops are being killed just as a business rival for Bruce Wayne named E.D. Caldwell has come to town, who seems to be a suited up crook named Wrath using Caldwell tech.  I somehow have the impression this may not quite be the case, and the outcome will be a little less obvious.  Whatever the case, the beauty of each page could be enough to get you on board.  Issue 22 serves as a good jumping on point for anyone wanting to buy a(nother) Batman comic.

Green Team #1   Ugh.  I can’t think of a premise less appealing than a bunch of trust fund babies trying to pay for their own way to become superheroes.  It’s like a distasteful flipside to Bruce Wayne.  Thankfully I’ll never have to see how many more dumb lines the stupid actress chick says about her movie career, because there’s no way I will read another issue of Green Team again.  It’s fucking garbage.  What does a teenage trillionaire do with life-changing mountains of cash?  Regrettably, the answer here is to try and make more mountains of cash, and feed their own pathetic egos.  The only way this book could improve is by having Batman turn up and tell them what a bunch of stupid little fuckheads they all are.  You know what I’d do with a trillion dollars?  I’d give it all away just to know that this comic was literally shoved up the arse of whoever conceived it, it pissed me off that much.

Larfleeze #1   There’s enough Green Lantern stuff going on in the New 52 to probably function as a comic universe all it’s own, and with Green Lantern, Green Lantern: New Guardians, Green Lantern Corps and Red Lanterns all successfully surviving DC’s various cuts to titles, the whole thing must be going pretty well now that another title has been added to the stable.  So what does Larfleeze bring to the table the others don’t?  Well, comedy actually.  This book doesn’t take itself anywhere near as seriously as the other lantern books, and the fresh angle works quite well, while serving as a decent introduction to the character for new fans.  Larfleeze is THE orange lantern, orange representing avarice in the lantern spectrum.  He has the only ring, and a massive opinion of himself.  He speaks to his underling of himself in the third person.  Pretty much, Larfleeze is a cosmic jerk, and it produces more than a few giggles.  The story begins with a sorrowful Larfleeze about to effectively commit suicide by drifting into the creation point of the universe after losing all his possessions, including his lantern.  While recounting an embellished life story to his frustrated slave Stargrave, he is attacked by beings from within the creation point, and discovers he may not need his lantern after all.  Not the nicest artwork, but it’s functional enough to assist a quirky and entertaining tale.

Batman’66 #1   This is excellent.  Whether you have fond kitsch memories of growing up with the 1960s Batman TV show, or Adam West is your ultimate interpretation of the character, you’ll be impressed with how true this comic is to that source material.  The beautiful old-style artwork, complete with a limited colour palette and deliberate misprinting so that some colours bleed out of lines and background colours have that dot-print effect prove that Batman ’66 is a true labour of love.  Everything is faithful: the costume designs, from Batman’s painted eyebrows to The Riddler’s question mark-covered green spandex, the POW!-KRASH!-SLAMMO! accentuating the action, the classic wall climbing scene, that badass old Batmobile, and even the how-will-they-get-out-of-this-one text that would lead in to a commercial break.  There’s even a hint that Batman and Robin are a little “closer” than they may care to let on (see above).  Admittedly some of the shots of The Riddler’s sky-high-jinks would have been impossible on the old television budget, but the trip is well worth taking.  Just try reading Batman’s lines without mentally conjuring Adam West’s delivery.  Batman ’66 is a time machine, a fantastic creative achievement, and an absolute joy.

Thanks again kids.

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Issue #29: Calling this one Man Of Steel sequel so maybe Google sends people here.

How could I let this happen?  It seems I have let real life intrude on comics to such an extent this year that not only have I failed to keep up with every DC New 52 first issue, but as of writing I'm ACTUALLY NOT EVEN SURE WHAT I'VE MISSED!  Yep, I've placed so much value on things like housing, work, and even the odd social interaction, I really couldn't tell you every title in the 52 right now.  Lame.  I really have no excuse.  I have betrayed my heroes.

 I plan to remedy this, but I hope that helps to explain why I have a review for Constantine next to a review for Superman Unchained.  I still have to chase up a copy of Threshold, then I don't know, there's some money thing and some other shit.  Sigh, the borderline mental illness of collecting things...

Constantine #1     It's taken me a while to get around to this one.  My knowledge of this character amounts to watching half of the Keanu Reeves movie pissed one night in a hotel room in Sydney.  But that's what's great about the New 52 for people like me, eh?  Well, not really, because if this issue is an introduction to John Constantine then John Constantine is a prick who'll let a teenager die to save his own skin.  This might work as a setup for a less than perfect character if that's what Jeff Lemire and Ray Fawkes are going for, but it doesn't work for me.  Comic shop conversations pointed to this being a disappointment for long time Constantine fans too.  I'm not quite sure why, but it seems if you're going to piss on what the old fans like you should at least be doing it to access a new audience.  I do like Renato Guedes' artwork here, and if I was leaning towards picking up another DC title, perhaps to fill the void after Resurrection Man, I could see this going somewhere after six issues or so, but that's not the case, and on first impressions Constantine fails the job interview.

Superman Unchained #1     Timed to pretty much be a new title as the Man Of Steel film gets bums on seats around the world, and also to celebrate the 75th anniversary of arguably the world's greatest superhero, Superman Unchained arrives like a Supes fan's wet dream, with Scott Snyder and Jim Lee steering the ship.  Regular readers will probably realise I view this through Superman coloured glasses but I really couldn't ask for more.  With the Superman book being frankly a little hit-and-miss, and Action Comics reading better as one large volume as far as Grant Morrison's run goes, Superman Unchained seems to be aiming to be something a little more accessible for Joe Cinema.  The beauty is it also ticks the boxes for Superman fans like me.  I love how Jim Lee draws the character, and I've been telling everyone Scott Snyder writes DC's best book for ages, so I really couldn't ask for anything more.  Snyder brings some of his Batman chops over, with the villain being set up with a little mystery and not giving the game away too quickly.  My only gripe is that the print version strangely has four pages of the story on a pull-out poster – you literally have to pull the thing apart to read it – hardly a collector friendly move.  I got it digitally to actually read it, meaning I bought it twice, and at the $4.99 USD price tag I got screwed a bit.  Lucky I thought it was awesome, eh?

Batman Superman #1     Friends and long time readers may know how much I liked Greg Pak's work on The Incredible Hulk(s) a while back, a run with storylines that ranged from the cheekily experimental to the balls out headfuckingly surreal, and there's a bit of that here.  This certainly isn't what you would guess the new Batman Superman book to be like, and to further accentuate that there's the unique artwork of Jae Lee (well for two thirds of the book, Ben Oliver takes over the rest, but don't worry, there's a legitimate plot point to excuse it), whose unmistakable style was a little too bizarre for me until I settled into it with Before Watchmen: Ozymandias.  There's plenty to chew on if you're into Pak's stuff, including a nice comparison of the two characters, a possessed Catwoman, and a spot of apparent time travel.  If this creative team stands, Superman Batman will be a quirky take on DC's big guns, and proves that with this wave of the 52 it's time for something with a little more shine than.... I don't know.... another team book, or that Amethyst shit.  Nice to see Supes in the jeans and t-shirt again too.

New Avengers #7     I won't go into the details of what has transpired so far in New Avengers regarding the incursions.  It's too confusing to narrow down to a sentence or two, so if you're curious I suggest picking up issues 1 to 6.  Right now the dust has settled a little, and while Reed is preparing to defend against the worst, tensions between Wakanda and Atlantis are rising, creating problems between Black Panther and Namor.  While they are about to tear one another a new one on the cover, it's not the case (at least, not yet), but it does create an interesting subtext: how strongly do you hang on to your existing loyalties when you have inside knowledge your planet could literally be wiped out at any moment?  This isn't something made obvious in this story, just something I considered while reading it, but it's been a while since I found my own thread that goes a little deeper in a superhero comic, and I dig that.  While I'm a fan of the Panther and he's the reason I picked New Avengers up, I'm really liking Dr Strange's brief scenes in this title too, and none better than the way he chooses to tell Dr Doom to shut the fuck up.  Nicely done.

 I have ordered everything in DC's villains month.  Hopefully I'll be motivated to review (or at least Comic Burger review) every one of them like I did the 52 number ones.  Thanks kids.