Thursday, January 04, 2007

Comics Out 4 January 2006

A good week this week: Matt Fraction and Ariel Olivetti's Punisher War Journal #2, Mark Millar and Steven McNiven's penultimate Civil War issue, and the cream of the superhero crop, Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely's All Star Superman #6.

Also, unrelated, the trailers for Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodreguez's Grindhouse is up, as is the trailer for Ocean's 13; just plug them into youtube.

I will review the comics in the comments as soon as I get my hands on them, and you should too. As usual review, recommend, discuss.

I am off to teach the first day of my Kill Bill class. My head is bursting from knowing far too much about that movie right now.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

this is Pat. For some reason my blogger account isn't working, and I can't write under the "other" option. I'M PISSED NOW!(Inside joke) Here's what I was going to write.

Is your Kill Bill class for college credit? Seems like a wierd class to take. Now I'm pondering how you sound in person. I'm guessing ifeminate Chris Benoit, Nasally without sounding macho. haha. Only joking.

Chris said...

I've seen a PDF of CW 6 and I'm really not impressed. Seems to me the climax of the series was the unmasking of Peter, which was a gimmick in my book. The battle in the final issue better be good or this series will feel like a total waste to the 616.

I am excited about AS Supes but it's been so long since #5 that the steam is gone for me. We all know it can be regained easily if the book rocks though. Hopefully it will.

Mitch said...

I am excited for both. The thing I like about All-Star is that each issue, except for the first which nicely set everything in motion, focuses intensly on one aspect of the Superman mythos. 2 was about the love story with Lois, 3 was Superman's relationship with mythology and the "hero" that Joseph Campbell writes about all the time, 4 was about his relationship with Jimmy, 5 was his relationship to Lex Luthor and now in 6 he's going back to Smallville.

Also, I think last week's Annihilation was excellent.

Geoff Klock said...

Pat: yes it is for college credit. It isn't really a Kill Bill class -- it's a class on how to write a research paper where the theme is genre. They write a research paper on a genre and I lecture on Kill Bill every day (since it contains to many genres). Many, but not all, of their papers feed into a Kill Bill discussion.

Chris: the fact that they are self contained means they can lose all the steam they want to between issues as far as I am concerned. It's not like Planetary.

Mitch: good point.

Ping33 said...

Pat: I had a problem posting earlier too.
This might be the best week for new comics that I can remember in terms of what's out (UK out tomorrow)

ASS 6 - as mentioned

Exterminators - The Best $2.99 monthly comic... Period.

Manhunter - (the last issue really floored me. I've liked this whole series but they seem to really have kicked it up to a new level for their final push to stave cancellation.)

Fantastic Four: The End - which is just about the only mainstream Marvel book other than Runaways which I wholly enjoy with no reservations.

Powers - Which seems back on the upswing of late. I think Alias/The Pulse was sapping BMB of the part of himself this book needs to be good.

Then there's all the Civil War stuff which I will have mixed feelings about but find myself unable to love as much as the above. And a few other lesser things which have the potential to surprise me like Manhunter did last month.

Geoff Klock said...

Reviews -- spoilers follow.

All Star Superman: I realized today that, as far as I know and I could be wrong, All Star Superman is Quitely's most sustained work ever, and for good measure it's Morrison team up. Their team-ups (with the exception of Riot at Xavier's which I will get to in my New X-Men discussion) have been virtually flawless. Six issues into this thing it remains picture perfect, which is a big accomplishment at 132 pages. Clark's posture, Kal Kent's costume, the hilarious Chronovore, Clark's face at the funeral, the somber layout for the funeral (when you see that layout you know it is real), and the gold Superman are all wonderful. Morrison writes a great little story, with just enough crazy and genuine emotion -- by killing of a character alive in the regular comics he gives us the shock of a sudden death and the dawning and very sad realization that it is for real. Lovely. Plus, along the way, he canonizes his DC One Million run. It's especially nice to see Quitely draw these guys. The only scene I thought was unnecessary was the view of the earth from the moon, since we already had that in 3, but what the heck. I suppose it shows he goes there again and again, which is sweet, and in character.

Civil War: I know a lot of people lost patience with this book at issue five, but I thought five was above average (though I hated the obviousness of the final line). With issue six I completely lost patience. Infinite Crisis was a total resounding mess but I was never bored. This bored me. Penultimate issues are often the best, as the shit hits the fan before it is wrapped up all nice in the final issue, but this was just a weak setup for a junky "epic" fist-fight. Were we surprised the Punisher acted as he did? Really? You can't make a big moment out of someone acting completely as you would expect. Sue and Namor: again, you can't make a big moment out of people acting exactly as we would expect; have them have sex or something and have that be your first page for christsake. Breaking into the Baxter building: also dull -- it serves only to set up the open cages at the end, in which every character is in play; that's like playing a game in which you play seven rounds, but the last round is worth so many points it does not matter how you did in one through six. We killed some time with Dr. Strange and the Watcher for no reason I could see; Brad remarked to me, about the first issue, that the Watcher is great, the classic Marvel image of something important. Fair enough, and props for not being scared to use him in spite of how silly it might be, but one appearance is surely enough. Also it seems like every issue has its obligatory traitor and that is getting OLD.

Punisher: also dull, but I am blaming Civil War rather than Matt Fraction; he had to recycle the dialog in 6 since he was telling the story from the other side. I don't think I will be able to judge this book until it stands apart from Marvel's Serious Event in Seven Serious Chapters Please Take Us Seriously. I also cannot tell if I like the art or not. I keep going back and forth, loving it, and finding it very strange. I think I could learn to love it, if we could put the wacky tone of issue one back, and crank it up a notch.

Mitch said...

Something wonderful posted by David D at the CGS forums, regarding CW #6 and Punisher getting into the Baxter Building:

Cap: Well... we need someone from our group to scale a building and then crack into a computer. Spider-Man is still hurt. Who do you reckon we have left that would be good for that?

Luke Cage: How about Spider-Woman? She sticks to things and is a spy and such.

Cap: Nope.

Luke Cage: Hmm. Vision? Flies. Passes through solid objects. Great with computers...?

Cap: Nope.

Luke Cage: Falcon? Flies and that. Also very good with comptuers

Cap: Here it is. The Punisher. We don't trust him. He's as big as a house and usually enters a building by kicking in the door. Don't know how he is with computers. Brilliant. Besides, the kids love him.

Geoff Klock said...

Mitch: that is fucking hilarious. It's great when you can go on and on about everything that is wrong with a book, and people keep noticing stuff.

Paul said...

One thing that really impresses me about All Star Superman in general is how Morrison has managed to develop a human core for Superman without resorting to the Marvel approach of giving him feet of clay or Problems We Can All Relate To, which has damaged a lot of DC characters who weren't built to support it. Superman's problems in this series arise from what he is instead of who he is. That's the angle for Superman that really seems to work. His dilemma isn't that he's like us, it's that he wants to be like us and it's the one thing he can't do.

Also, although I could be accused of being a Morrison apologist here, I was struck by how much the success of his mainstream comics seems to be tied to his artists, moreso than most writers. One reason his Batman story wasn't as impressive as it could have been is because Andy Kubert drew it as a straight superhero story rather than a Grant Morrison superhero story, which has such a distinct cheekiness and sensibility. (This is one reason his JLA run hasn't aged too well for me; Howard Porter never seemed tuned to the spirit of it.) Quitely gets it, Philip Bond gets it, Cameron Stewart and Phil Jiminez get it, but you can tell when Morrison's scripts are clashing with his artist's instincts. Then again, I admit that I'm always biased in favor of Morrison.

God, All Star Superman was great this week.

Scott said...

Haven't read much yet. I've enjoyed the artwork of Jordi Bernet in the last couple of Jonah Hex. I hope we'll see more of his stuff over here in the states in 2007.

I can't believe how much I'm enjoying Fantastic Four: The End. It's so unapologetic in what it is, a giant romp disguised as a What If story. Alan Davis just threw everything and the kitchen sink in this issue.

I'll be around for the next and final issue but this week's revelations in Civil War and even Frontline are just ludicrous and have me ready to dump most of my Marvel comics. Speedball is now some kind of masochist hero? I don't know whether that alone is funny or that Warren Ellis finally gets to write a superhero who gets off on pain is. I agree with the boredom of CW #6. I just want this to end. Millar really thought it was a good idea to remind us of Force Works? Bad jokes about using the name Goliath?

I still need to read All Star Super man tonight.

Mitch said...

So. All-Star Superman #6. Pure heaven. It inspired me to sit down and read through all six issues last night. And let me tell you, I reread the old issues pretty frequently, but I am STILL picking up new stuff in them. (I just got that Sampson and Atlas brought the dinosaur men to Metropolis in issue #3.)

I was reminded of your book, Geoff. You talk a lot about the "worlds" that Morrison's Justice League operates in. Well, his Superman operates in a lot of different worlds too. Thank goodness.

Also- If ANYONE can explain the random Newspaper clip with Atlas in two casts in issue three, I will be your best friend for life. I get that Superman beat him at armwrestling, and that Superman beat him twice. But the headline says something about him attending Lois'party?

Geoff Klock said...

Paul -- and excellent point. Creating a conflict that is not inherently in the character was a big flaw in Superman Returns. I don't agree about Porter, but I do agree with you about Morrison's relationship with artists.

Scott: Man, you and Ping both like the FF: The End. I am going to get it soon, since I always want to like the FF but never find the right book.

by the way -- I realized there was a purpose to the Namor-Sue scene: it is to recap the plot thus far. Pathetic.

Mitch: I want to read them again soon, and when I do I will look at that clip.

Scott said...

Geoff, ever read Davis's JLA: The Nail series? FF: The End is in the same vein as that. It's a fun romp through the FF's world and this issue brings on the bad guys, which is an awful lot of fun.

At lunch today, I ended up picking up The Absolute Dark Knight. Thanks to Borders' coupons and holiday bucks, I was able to get this for a song. I've got a lot of reservations about both stories but any chance to see Miller's artwork at the large size is just too good to pass up.

Geoff Klock said...

Scott: I have not read the Nail, it looked lame, but I was literally judging the book by its cover. But fantastic about the Dark Knight. I love Frank Miller, and have been trying to justify the absolute edition.

Mitch said...

I can't do the absolute editions. They are to expensive and too hard to read comfortably. I'd rather have a Dark Knight that I can cuddle up with.

Ping33 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ping33 said...

Sorry, that was me.

All Star Superman - Wonderful, the best issue yet. This issue reminded me a lot of Alan Moore's Supreme but was a lot more fun and concise than any of those stories.

Exterminators - Great as always. Loved the little twist at the end. This series does a great job with all the squirmy aspects of humanity and manages to keep us off-balance almost the whole time.

Civil War - Meh. I liked the Cap Vs Castle part but like much of the series it works less and less the more I think about it. I think the sense of blown potential is the most striking thing to me. They took a somewhat generic concept

52 - I love it when a plan comes together.