Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Comics Out March 21, 2007

I got X-Men 197, by Mike Carey and Chris Bachalo. I think I am the only one around here getting this book and I am getting it only for the art. I WORSHIP Bachalo, to the point that -- after too many episodes of Miami Ink on the Learning Chanel -- am seriously thinking of getting a tattoo of his work on my arm. Because I only read for the art, when someone else does the art I don't get the book. So I am following Carey's run only sporadically. The gist of it is that we have an X-Team that does not get along with Xavier and consists of Rogue (the leader), Cable, Mystique, Sabertooth, Cannonball, and Iceman, Lady Mastermind, and some kind of fancy cute-girl Sentinel. The team, with the exception of the last two characters I mentioned, is actually odd enough to be almost interesting. Most are characters I know from various X-Books that I read in the 90s, so it is good for some nostalgia: the banner under the issue number even sports those old floating heads of the leads, which I love.

This week's issue involved Lady Mastermind trying to root out some kind of psychic entity hiding in her mind. The thing jumps from her to Mystique, and then tells Cable (after taking apart his gun with telekinesis), that it flew in from Shi'ar space (a trip that took centuries), and now wants, not a fight, but protection from the "Hecatomb" that is coming to eat the world (Earth, I guess) -- it came to the X-Men because it is attracted to psychics.

The kicker is the bit where the creature introduces itself: it speaks in black word balloons with white letters, begins in a alien language and states "I am Ev Teel Urizen. I am the Proscribed, the Anathema, the Womb-Weld. I am Mummudrai."

Mummudrai is what Casandra Nova was called in at least two issues of Grant Morrison's New X-Men -- a Shi'ar legend, about how everyone has an evil twin (hence "Womb-Weld"). Two things to note about it's appearance here: 1) it is named Urizen, which is William Blake's name for evil Ice Cold reductive, unimaginative rationality in his poetry. 2) If it is someone's evil twin, it seems fairly nice and divorced from any particular host (it is not Lady Mastermind's Mummudrai, for instance). I am not sure what to say about this other than it struck me as very odd.

I picked up Douglass Rushkoff and Liam Sharp's Testament #16, and Livewire, which was recommended to me around here, but have not yet gotten around to reading them yet.

Review, recommend, and discuss this week's comics and comics news.


Dante Kleinberg said...

I haven't been reading X-Men, but maybe I'll check out the trade after reading this. GM's New X-Men is one of my favorite all-time comic runs, and I love when other writers pick up his loose threads and actually, y'know, do something with them.

That's one of the reasons I'm so taken with Astonishing X-Men, and why I bought the latest Phoenix series from Pak (when I saw someone was finally expanding on the Cuckoos as Weapon Plus sleeper agents gone good concept, I think I actually squealed aloud with delight).

James said...

No new comics for me today - I'm a Brit - but I did get to Captain America #25. It's a good read, with some decent meta-commentary ("Since when does Captain America surrender?!"), and Brubaker seems to realise that that even day-of-release readers will have known about the death, not supporting the whole issue on that moment. The lauded Sharon Carter twist doesn't make much sense, but I'll see this arc out at least. Killing Steve Rogers is stupid and redundant, but that doesn't preclude the story itself from being entertaining.

Elsewhere in the Permanent Event Climate (you should register that trademark, Geoff), World War Hulk looms large. I was kind of looking forward to this when it was first announced, back when Quesada promised it would just be the miniseries and the Hulk issues - it's a fun (if unimaginitive) premise, John Romita Jr. is one of my favourite artists, and Gary Frank drawing the Hulk again is cool. Unfortunately, that's all been overshadowed by the preview art. Apparently the Hulk wears a tiara throughout the whole thing. What?!

Newsarama posted an interview with Mike Mignola today, wherein he says he'll only be writing future Hellboy series, and will hand off art duties to Duncan Fegredo, Craig Russell, and other largely unfamiliar names. This is incredibly disappointing to me: I like Mignola's writing and want to know what happens to Hellboy, but I don't imagine I'll buy Hellboy comics without his art. I haven't so far.

(Sorry for the length; feel free to delete the comment if it's ridiculous Geoff, I don't know what the etiquette is here.)

brad said...

Remember to watch the final act of Satacracy 88 episode 7. The choice you make at the end will spin our story towards one of two climaxes in the next three part episode:

Also, check out the teaser for our third series Moonshine, premiering at on Monday. I can't stop watching it:

Roger Whitson said...

BAHH!! Urizen is in X-Men? Why is this character in so many comics?

1. Morrison referred to him in an early issue of Invisibles
2. And there is that run in Spawn where Urizen is a dark, ancient God that Spawn has to fight.
3. He's also mentioned several times in Bryan Talbot's Adventures of Luther Arkwright

craig taylor said...

I'm glad to see Blake has some influence on my favorite pop culture medium.

And GM's X-Men continues to reverberate through the X-Men mythos.

I might actually check this out (Carey/Bachalo X-Men). Aside from only recently discovering the joys of Whedon's Astonishing, I have kept away from the X-universe.

Ultimate Matt said...

By the way, Geoff, a few weeks ago at my blog I posted some thoughts about that all-prose issue of Batman. I was curious to hear your thoughts about my thoughts. And anyone else's who'd care to look.

Scott said...

Livewire-- is that the Marvel mini from a few years ago by Adam Warren & Rick Mays. Good fun stuff there.

That said, avoid Warren's Empowered GN that came out yesterday from Dark Horse. That was a waste of the time it took me to read the book. Unlikeable characters, juvenile humor that's really not funny and just dumb, dumb, dumb.

I've liked Warren's work on Gen13 & Livewires but Empowered just wasn't that good.

Geoff Klock said...

Dante: don't get the X-Men because of me -- I am not recommending it. I just like Bachalo.

James -- post as long as you like. The more the better I say. That sucks about Hellboy.

Brad: thanks

Roger: all these writers were paying attention in English Lit.

Craig: see what I said to Dante, above.

Matt: thanks.

Scott: thanks for the warning.

Matt Brady said...

X-Men: Huh, the description seems interesting, but I'm having more and more trouble getting into superhero books these days. Maybe I'll download the issues sometime.

Hellboy: Mignola announced that he wouldn't draw it a while back. I think the two-issue "The Island" miniseries was going to be the last one he drew. That said, the recent two-issue series "Makoma" was illustrated by Richard Corben, and it was quite good. I don't know if I'll buy the upcoming mini with Duncan Fegredo, but I'll consider it. And I hadn't heard that P. Craig Russell was going to be drawing one. If that's true I'll definitely read that. I love Russell's art.

Empowered: I'm reading this right now, and I have to disagree with Scott. It's pretty enjoyable, and deals with issues like sex, body image, and self esteem fairly intelligently. Of course, it's full of fan-service nudity and bondage, with lots of dumb jokes about superheroes and stuff, so be prepared for that aspect if you read it. I'll try to do a full review of it on my blog this weekend or sometime next week.

craig taylor said...

Geoff: If I do check out X-Men, it won't solely be because of your review. I also would not blame you if I didn't like it (which is more that possible owing to the characters Carey is using).

I'm still open to Carey's work, but not prepared to give it a chance if he's using characters I'm not interested in. While I appreciated his Ultimate Fantastic Four, the characters don't do a lot for me anymore, and the Ultimate versions are less interesting than their 616 counterparts.

For me, what is almost interesting about Carey's X-Men (and I also enjoy Bachalo's work: New X-Men, Captain America, Ultimate War) is the majority of the characters he is using are all former adversaries in a team led by possibly the first adversary to turn good: Rogue.

That might turn out to be interesting.

Matt: I, too, was disappointed when I heard that Mignola would not be drawing Hellboy, in what he recently said would be a series of four stories. But I can appreciate Fegredo's work, so I'll be giving it a chance. Actually really looking forward to Darkness Calls.