Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Pull List (8-20-08): Bikini fight clubs and crusty bunkers

Preambles are for chumps and constitutional documents — to the list!

True Believers #2 (of 5): I have to admit, I was a little surprised by how much I liked the first issue and then after some reflection, I was surprised that I was surprised.

After all, it was written by Cary Bates, who not only gave a young Maxo a firm idea of what a Superman story should be like, but who also wrote some of the just plain craziest damn stories ever published by DC. It's easy to overlook, but Bates was like some sort of robot ninja of the high concept, and that doesn't look as if that's changed much.

The first issue introduced an underground group of super-powered muckrakers dropping the dime on bikini fight clubs; weaponized wi-fi; the "crusty bunker;" and a cliffhanger that actually made me think, "Oh man, what's Reed Richards been up to?!" It surprised me in another way, too: If you're expecting the gentle zaniness of a Silver Age Superman story, put down that Showcase and start living in the now. The True Believers are straight out of the modern Marvel Universe, so Bates' concepts are framed by BDSM gear and dialogue that includes, "The good news: I hadn't been sexually violated — at least not yet, anyway."

I'm a big boy so this doesn't bother me at all, especially since it's in service to both plot and characterization, and is part of keeping this sort-of-an-espionage story moving along. Also, it's immediately followed by, "The bad news — while I was under, someone had peeled off my clothes and dressed me in a black thong bikini. My money was on the dwarf."

Did I mention that there's also a decent amount of face punchery? This book practically sells itself.

The only shaky element in an otherwise solid book is the pencils by Paul Gulacy, which veer from serviceable to distractingly ugly (faces are especially hit-and-miss — and when they miss ... hoo boy). Still, it's nothing that should steer you away from what's shaping up to be an entertaining corner of the Marvel U. Check out the previews of the first and second issues and give it a try.

The rest ...

The Brave and The Bold #16

Captain America #41

Guardians of the Galaxy #4

Maybe ...

Air #1: A vigilante version of air marshals and hints of a plot involving next-generation flight technology sounds interesting, but the art is a little off-putting. What's with all the shading? We'll see if it looks any different in the shop. In the meantime, there's a preview here.

Trading up ...
(Titles I either am, or will be, picking up in trade)

Conan the Cimmerian #2

Incredible Hercules #120

MySpace Dark Horse Presents Vol. 1 (trade paperback)

Rex Libris #12

Scalped #20

Recommended ...

Herbie Archives Vol. 1 (hard cover): It's the return of the Fat Fury, and if you're a fan of the weird and sublimely silly, then this is definitely worth the hard cover treatment. Get a taste of it with this preview.

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