Friday, December 29, 2006

On a Marvel schedule

Um ... hi there.

Sorry about the lack of content, but a combination of vacation travel and access to just a dial-up connection has pretty much kept me from blogging on a regular basis.

Seriously, I have a couple of things just waiting as drafts - a Favorite Panel Friday (it was from Union Jack #4), and a Pull-List for this week - but a photo got lost somehow, and that dial-up is making me look like a hillbilly, not to mention I think I'm a little logey from too much home-cooking.

Anyway, things will be back on track after Jan. 1 - in the meantime, how 'bout that Civil War, huh?

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Pull-List: 12-20-06

What's that? What am I planning to bring home from the comic shop this Wednesday? So glad you asked!

52 #33: Yes, I'm a whore. Shut up. At least it's been on time, which is pretty incredible considering it's weekly, and the story has been enough to keep me interested. Though there's been quite enough of Lobo, thanks. I care more about what's going on back on Earth, what with the Supernova and the Batwoman and all, and hey! Look who's on this week's cover!

Conan #35: I'm just going to say it: Timothy Truman's a better writer than he is an artist. His stuff on Grimjack was great, as was his work on the Jonah Hex minis he did with Joe R. Lansdale, but I'm getting a little tired of evil guys with scarves and little pointy teeth. Besides, his writing is perfect for Conan, and he seems to have a natural feel for the big guy and the world he slices his way through. I was thinking of going to trades on this title, but Truman convinced me that I need a monthly fix.

Elephantmen #5: The talking animals thing isn't usually something I lean to, but Elephantmen is five kinds of awesome, two of which can't be perceived without special scientific instruments. What more could you ask for besides great art, strong storytelling and characters you care about? I came late to the whole Elphantmen/Hip Flask party, but now that I'm here it's going to take an empty snack table and a call to the cops to keep me away.

New Avengers #26: Maybe. The whole Civil War rigamarole has turned me off to everything but Captain America, and I don't see things getting any better. I've never been a huge fan of Scarlet Witch, either, and I get a feeling things are just going to get sillier and sillier the longer this goes on. Flashbacks of Spider-Clones and random resurrections keep me awake at night. I was enjoying New Avengers based mostly on the different personalities brought out by the new team ... but yeah, a definite maybe. Which means maybe not.

Pirates of Coney Island #3: A bizarre world, art that borders on ugly with a color scheme that makes you want to pop someone, and not-so-nice people makes me a happy boy. I don't know what the point of Pirates is supposed to be, but I don't care.

Union Jack #4: A neat little mini-series, and one of my recent favorites. B-grade characters I never thought I'd care about bring solid art and a lean and fast-moving story to life, combining spandex and spycraft in a believable mix. But I don't know if I want a regular series of Union Jack - keep it to minis and maybe it won't get screwed up.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Favorite Panel Friday has its reservations

I finally start a comics blog, and what do I do? I decide to cancel this week's Favorite Panel Friday.

And for once it's not just laziness or a too-tight work schedule. No, no - this time it's because the comic shop I've been going to lately tends to order short, so this week I got screwed on The Damned #3 and The Spirit #1.

Now, I've already talked about The Damned and how much I've been enjoying it, and I was really looking forward to the new version of The Spirit. I'm a fan of Darwyn Cooke's, I'm a fan of The Spirit, and everything I've heard about the update of the character has been pretty positive.

So, of course, I haven't been able to read it yet (except for a preview, available here). But, I'm almost positive The Spirit #1 would have held my favorite panel of the week. To be honest, it probably would have been my favorite book of the week.

Because of all that, there isn't going to be a Favorite Panel Friday this time around. But that's not going to stop me from saying you should pick up The Spirit #1; as soon as my store re-orders it, I know I will.

The Spirit #1: Darwyn Cooke, writer/artist

Thursday, December 14, 2006


Why are you so addicting, Boneless Spidey? Why?!?

Er ... there'll be some real content here soon. Really. Shut up.

Friday, December 8, 2006

Favorite Panel Friday: Manhunter makes a killing

Let's get one thing out of the way — Manhunter fights Wonder Woman, so there are plenty of fanboy fantasies being catered to in Manhunter #26. I, for one, appreciate it. A lot.

But this quieter panel shows what Manhunter is really all about. Kate Spencer — an L.A. laywer by trade and a superhero whenever she's not in the courtroom — is not your typically conflicted vigilante. The reason she wears a costume and brutally pounds on the bad guys is simple; they royally piss her off.

A lot of things piss Kate off actually, and her constantly sarcastic mood is what makes her appealing and nearly unlikable at the same time. On top of that, she's a single-mom who doesn't really pay enough attention to her young son, she constantly berates her friends and until recently she chain-smoked with spiteful glee.

Oh, and she doesn't mind killing villains if they need a-killin'.

It would be easy for this kind of character to become a caricature, but writer Marc Andreyko and regular artist Javier Piña have done a nice job of consistently reminding us that there's a complex person under the mask. And I should remind everyone that the title was originally canceled because of low sales, but reader outcry lead to DC making the unusual decision of give Manhunter another chance. Comics fans who haven't been reading the title should give it a chance, too.

As a character, Manhunter is new to the spandex, so she's not that great a superhero yet; honestly, she often not that great a person.

But she's trying. And that's what makes Manhunter a great comic.

Manhunter #26: Marc Andreyko, writer; Javier Piña, artist

Friday, December 1, 2006

Favorite Panel Friday says nyet!

Damn, GL - slapping Russians around with a giant bear ... that's kind of an ironic bitch-slap, isn't it?

I've mentioned before how Green Lantern has always been a front-runner on my top-heroes list, and this panel from Green Lantern #15 sums up why. When I say "Green Lantern" I'm talking about Hal Jordan, and in the classic Silver and Bronze Age interpretations you could always count on some visually wacky action to go along with Hal's charming brand of dickery. Seriously, using the most powerful weapon in the universe to bop someone with a glowing mallet? That's just rubbing it in.

In the newish run written by Geoff Johns and pencilled by Ivan Reis, that version of Green Lantern has been updated while rediscovering all the things that gave Hal his personality - hard-headedness, bravery, nobility, a rakishness that implied he was considering stealing your girlfriend after he was done handing you your ass. Basically, what a normal person might act like if they fell into their own super-powers. Say what you will about Johns and what he's done with the DC universe lately, but he understands characters and is able to elevate and humanize them all at once.

It doesn't hurt that Reis' art is gorgeous, following in the style of Rags Morales and Patrick Gleason. It's perfect for the blend of spandex and science fiction that a Green Lantern title should be; kinetic and detailed without being busy or distracting. And I don't usually mention it, but the inking by Oclair Albert and coloring by Moose Baumann is top-notch, enhancing the whole thing.

But seriously, what's Hal gonna do next - box Australians with a giant kangaroo? Wait a minute ... I think he already might've ...

Green Lantern #15: Geoff Johns, writer; Ivan Reis, artist; Oclair Albert, inker; Moose Baumann, colorist