Friday, June 29, 2007

Friday Night Fights: Class warfare

It might be hard to tell from the general superheroy-ness of this blog, but I'm actually a big fan of the manga, too. The stories and characterizations tend to be deeper, concepts are inventive and - let's admit it - in the action titles the violence is both brutal and plentiful.

And really, isn't that what today is all about?

One of my recent favorites from the manga shelf is Pantheon High, a new addition to the "global" manga field written by fellow Austinite and all-around nice guy Paul Benjamin, with art by Steven and Megumi Cummings. Lots of action, an interesting plot, and characters that I ended up caring about way more than I thought I would have me waiting (a bit impatiently, I might add) for the next installment.

Pantheon High takes place at a school for the children of the world's ancient gods, creating a classroom setting that's a mish-mash of cultures and personalities. Of course, the gods weren't always known for their benevolence, and their kids don't fall far from the tree. A world-ending plot starts to unfold at this demigod Degrassi, which is a little amazing considering these guys still act like typical teens.

Case in point? Check out Fadil, the street-talkin' son of the not-so-nice Egyptian god Set. Fadil might act as if he's from the barrio, but ...

Besides, tough talk will only get you so far - especially when you're talking smack to Grace, one of the kids trying to put the kibosh on your little plan. Did I mention Grace is the daughter of Tyr, the Norse god of war?

Oh, snap!

Bahlactus is calling you out.

Images from Pantheon High Vol. 1

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Pull-list: 6-27-07

There aren't really any surprises in this week's pull-list, so this will feel shorter than usual. But I think you'll still be able to feel the love, and isn't that what's important? So let's see what's on this week's pull-list ... together.

Green Lantern: Sinestro Corps Special #1: The regular Green Lantern monthly has been a consistently fun read (even if I'm not completely sold on the recent change in art style), and I really like the way the GL backstory has been expanding and gaining depth. The concept of a Green Lantern Corps particularly feels more like what it's supposed to be - an universe-wide law enforcement and rescue organization, rather than a gang of cowboys run by a bunch of floating Smurfs. So set up the ultra-evil Sinestro and his own army of scary sumbitches as the opposite numbers to the GL Corps and I'm sold. Not to mention I get a kick out of the fact Sinestro looks like an evil butler. Specifically, an evil Alfred with a power ring, which is a concept that blows my mind.

Marvel Adventures Avengers #14: I've heard a lot of good things about the Marvel Adventures line, mostly along the lines of the titles being where all the fun is hiding. And while I've been interested, I was content to wait for the collections instead of picking up any monthly titles. Jeff Parker swatted that idea away with two things; 1. He's Jeff Parker, and, 2. he wrote an Avengers story featuring the Agents of Atlas! Agents of Atlas was one of the best mini-series of the past 12 months (if you haven't already, go get it), and since then Parker has been shoe-horning the team into any title he can. This is a good thing. I don't know if I'll be picking this up on a monthly basis, but I will absolutely pick it up this month.

EDIT: So, I pick up this title, and guess what? No Agents of Atlas. Instead, judging from a quick flip through the comic, it looks to be a story set in medieval times (no, not the restaurant, though I'd buy that in a second). Apparently Marvel lies, which I suppose shouldn't be a shocker. Still, it's Jeff Parker so I'll forgive ... this time.

The Usual ...

Blue Beetle #16

Criminal #7

Crossing Midnight #8

Daredevil #98

Maybe ...

Subculture #1: Meta-humor!

Recommended ...

Conan Vol. 4: Hall of The Dead & Other Stories

Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess' Stardust (hardcover)

Friday, June 22, 2007

Friday Night Fights: King of the ring!

Mixed weight-class, no holds barred, bare-knuckled brawlin' - GO!

Uppercut is the new Bahlactus.

Panel from Amazing Spider-Man #197

Monday, June 18, 2007

When there's a comic with 'Hulk' in the title ...

If I'm going to pick up a comic book featuring the Hulk, there are a few things I expect to see. Namely, things and/or people getting the living hell beat out of them. I'm not a big Marvel fan these days but Banner's alter ego has always been a favorite, so imagine how I felt when I read World War Hulk #1 and saw:

The Hulk standing on a spaceship, PUNCHING ASTEROIDS

The Hulk shrugging off a missile attack and PUNCHING IRON MAN

The Hulk standing in the ruins of Avengers Tower (and Tony Stark),
ready for MORE PUNCHING!

Thanks, Marvel. I'm not going to buy all those crossovers, but this title makes the cut. Now just keep up with the beat-downs, stop making everyone say "smash" and we'll be good.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Friday Night Fights: Something to think about

Esteemed announcer and master of the ring Bahlactus has rung the bell, calling an end to the four-color fisticuffs for the next two weeks and giving us all a chance to reflect. Of course, once you've entered deep thought, that Zen-like place of consciousness, it's easy to get lost in thought.

Right guys?

Umm ... guys?

Huh. I wonder what Bahlactus thinks?

Panel from Concrete: Land & Sea

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

The Pull-list: 6-6-07

It looks as if it's going to be a fairly small week here at the Post, with an unprecedented shut-out for the Big Two. That's right - this week's pull-list is 100 percent spandex-free. In place of unflattering bodysocks, we'll be freeing ourselves of the wedgie of superhero fare with the gently prying fingers of indie comics.

Well, mostly indie, anyway. Let's take a walk around, see it how it feels, shall we?

Buffy the Vampire Slayer #4: I really, really had no intention of getting this. I watched the show, but was never able to catch it regularly and so never became one of the true believers. But then someone lent me numbers 1-3, and now I'm hooked. Everything I like about Joss Whedon's Astonishing X-Men and all the things that turned me into a Browncoat are here in a fun little package that does indeed both "rule" and "kick-ass." Knowing something about the characters definitely helps, and it's not something I'd recommend going into cold, but if you know enough to recognize the names Willow or Xander, you'll be set.

Death and the Man Who Would Not Die #1: This would make it to the list almost based on the name alone. C'mon, how awesome is that title? If it had been the name of a movie in the early 80s I probably would have watched it a kajillion times. Luckily, the concept - someone stole something from Death and Death wants it back, all in the Old West - sounds like fun. The art makes me think of a less stilted version of what's happening over in the Dark Tower series, with an obvious Sienkiewicz influence mixed in, so there's another plus. Hopefully the follow-through will match the potential. And hey, look - there's a preview.

Strange Embrace #1: While it may put my comic-cred at risk, I have to admit that I'd never heard of this title before recently. But, after reading some reviews and checking out the decidedly creepy Web site, this first of an eight-issue mini-series suddenly became this week's gotta-have. What's it about? I've read three descriptions of this re-release (originally published in 1993) and I'm still not completely sure, but it seems to be a modern, Gothic horror story about alienation, obsession and a malicious clairvoyant. I'm sure I'm not doing it justice, but I will say it's what I'm most looking forward to reading this week. Not to mention it's 32 pages for $2.99, which is a nice chunk of comics for your money.

Maybe ...

MPD-Psycho Vol. 1: But maybe not - a description that includes "unflinchingly grotesque glory" and "inventive torture scenes" leaves me a little cold.

Recommended ...

Human Diastrophism and The Girl From H.O.P.P.E.R.S.: It's Love & Rockets stories in a new series of trade paperbacks - that's all that needs to be said.

Oh, and some of the work in H.O.P.P.E.R.S. wasn't in the hardcover Locas collection. Just so you know.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Friday Night Fights: Rock 'em-Sock 'em

Back before Frank Miller became the Goddamn Frank Miller, he and artist Geof Darrow produced the brilliantly manic Hard Boiled. Even now it's one of my favorites, and a prime example of Miller's previous mastery of violence and satire, not to mention Darrow's insanely intricate artwork.

Seriously, almost every page is like this.

I heed the call of Bahlactus!

Panel from Hard Boiled #3