Monday, June 19, 2006

Comics Out 21 June 2006

A good week for comics: Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch's The Ultimates (#11 of 13), Joss Whedon and John Cassaday's Astonishing X-Men (#15) and the cream of the comic book crop, Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely's All Star Superman (#4). With my realization that All Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder is a work of genius masquerading as madness comes extra excitement: DC's All Star line is kicking ass, seven for seven.

26 comments:

Geoff Klock said...

By the way: anyone who knows of anything good coming out the week I post these "comics out" blogs should say so in the comments section. There may be good stuff we don't know about, and you should tell us, and tell us why we should care.

Geoff Klock said...
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Mitch said...

How cute that three of the most notorious "late-shippers" have syncronized.

Now if only the next issue of Planetary was shipping this week!

Geoff Klock said...

Good point Mitch. I would love to see a list of the actual shipping dates for every issue of the Planetary.

The deleted comment above was me; my internet was slow and I hit the button again and posted twice.

Geoff Klock said...

Also in comics news this week: DC solictations for September are up at

http://www.newsarama.com/dcnew/Sept06/solicitations.html

Seven Soldiers is not there, which means October earliest. (Also Planetary is not there but who was expecting it would be). On the plus side: Morrison's Wildcats Sept 6th

Ping33 said...

I don't know why I get suckered in to ever getting any run of W.I.L.D.C.A.T.S. It's never very good. Didn't Morrison do a Cats/JLA crossover back when he was writing JLA? I don't remember it being very Earth-Shaking.
Geoff: have you been reading Testament? I read the first few but then it went off the rails for me and I was just wondering what you think about it because it seems right in your wheel-house.

As for this week: I'm debating if I should get Eternals or just wait for the Mega-Hardcover which is surely down the line... I have been really enjoying the Annihilation Nova mini-series, and Shadowpact.

Geoff Klock said...

The Futurist may appear and sing his praises for all things Wildcats, a book he has loved since it came out. I think the reason I like it is that I thought it was good at a time in my life when I had no taste, and as I got older, and learned what was good, the book tried to keep up with me, like a friendly dog always at my heels. The Casey 2.0 thing was a real attempt to try to raze the whole thing and rebuild, and a lot of it was pretty good (Charest, when he appeared, carried the thing). You can't do that kind of thing with Superman. And when that didn't work along came 3.0, which again made a real attempt to rethink the concept. And now here comes Morrison, whose has become the guy you go to when you want something old to become new. I can't help but want to know what happens. And Morrison's JLA-Wildcats crossover isn't earth shaking becuase it is a kind of parody, and a very funny one at that. The back cover, for example, doesn't even pretend this is a serious event: "Can these ten people stop Epoch, Lord of Time, from annihilating two universes? What do YOU think?"

I will post at some point on Testament, which I am getting. I root for an academic doing a comic book about the bible and cyberpunk-superheroes. It gives me hope that one day I can finish my screenplay about a space opera based on the Norton Anthology of poetry, or the script for a porno film in which all the dialogue is in iambic pentameter. In all seriousness, as a guy with a book on superheroes, and another one on poetry, I admire the conjunction Rushkoff is working with. Its a great idea, and I look forward to seeing how it turns out.

liam said...

ok so i just read my first planetary trade, and i'm hooked. how many of these are there? they're brilliant!

Geoff Klock said...

For all things Planetary this is where you go:

http://home.earthlink.net/~rkkman/frames/

The Futurist said...

Thanks for the forshadowing Geoff... Forgive me, Wildcats #1 was the first comic I ever bought.

ping said: "I don't know why I get suckered in to ever getting any run of W.I.L.D.C.A.T.S. It's never very good."

ping: That's like critcizing the Mets because they're not the Yankees. The Wildcats may be nothing more then an X-Men rip-off - but it is this very fact that allows them to change and evolve over time in a way that the X-men or many other older comics never could. Re-read 'Serial Boxes,' the story about a serial killer who shoots optic blasts.

Any change in the X-men is an illusion. We all know the story will inevitible cycle back around to its standard five or six story lines. Wildcats, however, has evolved so that the actions of the characters have major ramifications. It started as an adolescent big-tit muscle fest in the Lee years, but through Moore's run, and culminating with Casey, the book played with genre, structure, and emotion in surprising and wonderful ways.

The irony here is of course is that Morrison (with Lee behind the pen) is probably going to pull all the original charcters in from whatever dark corners they're hiding, and turn them back into a reflection of their original incarnation.

Wildcats/JLA was shitty.

Geoff Klock said...

Wildcats/JLA is funny and has lots of good stuff in it.

When the Flash goes back in time to save his younger self, his younger self (narrating) remarks that it feels like his memory is in stereo.

Superman wants to know how long it will take to fix the time drive and Batman says "It's a time machine, Superman, it doesn't matter how long it takes to fix, as long as it gets fixed."

Grifter says to Maul "Why'd I give up my day job," and Maul suggests "They wouldn't let you kill people?"

Grifter facing Batman literally just sits down and gives up without a fight. He then makes snarky comments, deflating the exposition to make it palatable.

After the two teams fight Green Lantern says "So you guys just thought we were super-villains, right? Sh'yeah! How many times am I gonna hear that one?" an allusion to how in crossovers superheroes fight for no other reason than to answer the "could Superman beat up the Hulk" style questions.

Grifter says of the name "Justice League" "Great name though, guys: it says what it means and it's not afraid to get laughed at."

The Lord of Time has great Morrison tech: a 69th century self-evolving supercomputer/big bang bomb also called The Doomsday Brain and The Omega Attractor; 22nd century intelligent cloud surveillance releasing showers of mind softening rain; "Gargoyle troops from the 98th century gothic imperium of neo pangea "haunt the spires of Moscow"; 63rd century technorganic warcastles with "weaponblisters" manned by soldier pawns; holographic projectors of a 21st century virtual manga emperor activate infra-laser tracking systems; smart viruses engage homing systems and begin to breed.

And the book ends with a fantastic bit of Morrison's patented superhero prose poetry, as the defeated Epoch is sent back in time to explode and power up his younger self: "Unwhere: He no longer experiences thought as we know it. He is the Lord of Time. He is the Omega Attractor. Instead of thoughts vast living data-sculptures drift in shoals through the emptiness of his expanded mind. He watches the sculptures and they tell him things. They tell him he is falling backward through time. They tell him not to be afraid. They tell him it will be like coming home. He is matter becoming energy. One final scrap of data, one last shred of input, is all it takes to trigger the blast, the Dark Nova. One last thought. So they remind him that this is the greatest moment of his life. And, of course, it is."

Wildcats/JLA is good stuff, and I would not recommend anyone mar their Morrison JLA run by leaving it out.

Katie said...

Have you heard of this insanity?

http://www.newsarama.com/forums/showthread.php?t=73730

Geoff Klock said...

K-diddy: indeed I have, indeed I have. But I missed the whole Snakes on a Plane buzz, so the depth of its insanity is lost on me. Chuck Dixon, the writer, is a pretty bog standard comic book guy (not bad but not great) so this project has the status of a novelization, I think.

And to everyone: since the comments on this tiny post got so out of hand (in a good way) let's make it a regular thing: I will post a "comics out" post every week, and we can all discuss comics anything -- the good, the bad and the snakes on a plane.

Mitch, the Astonishing All Star! said...

To continue the gross expansion of this thread... I just read Astonishing and All Star Supes... jeesy creesy.

This certainly is a great time to be alive and able to read comics.

Geoff Klock said...

i love this thread. This is my favorite thread. More people should comment, and all the time.

Stephen said...

Well, it isn't being released this week -- it's being released as a book, so I don't know if it ever was on Diamond's list -- and it isn't a superhero comic. But it's an awesome comic, so I'll plug Alison Bechdel's Fun Home, a memoir of her relationship with her father, which is just awesome. Geoff should like all the literary allusions....

Ping33 said...

I was a little let down by ASS this week.
It seemed more like a straight remake of a Silver Age story rather than being new or innovative.

Geoff Klock said...

Ping33 -- to tell you the truth, I felt that way a little about the third issue. Not that it isn't all great fun and a fantastic comic book (and my favorite one actually), but it threatens to become a mere "study of the nostalgias" at every point. And we know that's what nearly overwhelmed Alan Moore (I don't think he ever completely recovered). We will have to see where all of this goes, but I have faith that, overall, Morrison can hold back the tide even as he plays with it. Plus -- Solaris is coming, which will be his chance to redo one of his own stories, an interesting twist on the nostalgia thing.

Mitch said...

Speaking of "Studies of the nostalgias", Geoff. I guess this is as good a place as any to let you know that at your recomendation, I have attempted to buy everything Mark Millar has written in the last 5 years. In fact, I didn't buy Ultimates 2 # 11 today, because.. yes, I admit it, I'm waiting for the trade. I'm currently SMACK in the middle of Ultimates 2 Volume 1, having just finished "Trial of Incredible Hulk". Boy o boy. During these three issues, I realized that "The Ultimates" (specifically, not the Ultimate line) are a wonderful microcosm of Marvel Comics. Millar and Hitch have adapted all of the best aspects of the Marvel Universe into 2 action packed movie/arcs. The inclusions of Matt Murdock and Xavier (as played by Patrick Stewart, instead of Millar's own Xavier from UXM!)just go to show what a fun and intricate world Marvel can be. Anyway, thanks again for being an enthusiastic carnival barker for GOOD comics.

Mitch

Geoff Klock said...

Mitch -- Millar can be fantastic but, like Bendis, he can also run very cold, as in his Spiderman issues. It is hard to tell which Millar you are going to get, but he is always good on the Ultimates, and, of course, his Authority run. Wanted has some good things in it, but is also shot through with flaws. He does "badass" stuff very well, but "badass" comics might be a dead end in the long run.

(Morrison does a great parody of Millar's typical heroes in Seven Soldiers #0 with his "Ultimate" version of I, Spyder -- every time I read a Millar book I hear Morrison's "Truly, I am the Man" SQUASH).

Ping33 said...

I fucked up and got a 2nd copy of ultimates #10 instead of #11... because all those covers look much the same to me and I messed up when I saw it on the shelf.

Back to ASS: Don't get me wrong, I liked the issue and even thought the whole thing of Jimmy being a superstar sex-symbol reporter was neat (though I do think it hurts the Perry White character to be sucking up to Jimbo) Other than that though I didn't really pick up much which blew me over in #4. In #3 I at least thought that he made some good points about how Superman is BETTER than other mythical strongmen due to his humbleness and farm-boy centre. I thought that #4 contrasted the modernity of Doomsday etc well with the neon glow of Silver-Age Superman, ditto the whole fame aspect, but all and all I thought that the observations it made were fairly thin and unsubstantial.

Geoff Klock said...

See unsubstantial I like. What worries me is the feeling that what I get from All Star Superman I could get from a silver age issue of Jimmy Olsen, Superman's Pal or whatever. Morrison and Quitely make the silver age very fresh again, but it may take a few more issues before it pays us with the feeling I get from Seven Soldiers, which is like a comic book from about ten years in the future. But the book is great: we are debating what is higher in the stratosphere. Also I wanted to respond to your comments because too often I feel like when I don't like a book (e.g. Preacher) I am the only one who does in the hail of five star reviews.

Ping33 said...

By "Unsubstantial" I think I'm taking about the same thing as you... it being a Silver-age retread with out any other substance or depth. One of the things I liked most about the first 3 issues of ASS was how Morrison used the Silver Age story elements and devices to say bigger things about Superman, Society and comic books in general. I have no problem with Retro-Silver-Age Fun(tm) but DO have higher hopes for ASS. As to being the lone voice of decent... yeah that has probably soured me a little too. I'm tired of people saying "Oh My GOD?! A Good STORY about JIMMY OLSEN?!!!" where, to me, ASS #4 doesn't do anything Kirby didn't already do back during his (amazing and wildly underrated) run on Superman's Pal.

Ping33 said...

But it was a fun book with great art.

Scott said...

One book I'm kind of surprised hasn't gotten talked about much this past week is Richard Kelly's Southland Tales v1. After the razzing the movie took at Cannes, I thought everyone would be on this book.

I'm still trying to formulate my thoughts on it but I love the look of it. Visually, it's like a blend of David Lynch and Steven Soderbergh. I'm definately intrigued enough to be getting the next volume or two.

Geoff Klock said...

Thanks, Scott -- the words "Lynch" and "Soderbergh" sold me.