Thursday, July 12, 2007

Comics Out July 11, 2007

Matt Fraction and Ariel Olivetti's Punisher War Journal #9. This story has fun, ridiculous art and a really solid story structure. And there is a primal pleasure to watching Frank Castle beat on Nazis.

Frank Miller and Dave Gibbons's Martha Washington Dies. Let's talk stats. The original series by Miller and Gibbons came out 17 years ago. The most recent installment came out 10 years ago. This issue -- a stand alone epilogue to the whole thing -- is 17 pages long. 4 of those pages are single-page panels. 8 pages are double spread splash pages. That's not a lot of story. In fact this is not a story -- it is a speech. You do not need to know anything about the character to follow this issue. A dying Martha tells a group of soldiers in a foxhole in the ruins of New York City that we are all just dust in the big picture, dies, her warrior torch is passed to a younger woman and they all go out to fight the "Barbarians" (Miller's word). The end. I think this is Miller telling America to kill Arabs before NYC is in ruins. I know it fails for many reasons, not the least of which is how Martha Washington's "wisdom" sounds a lot like the parody of the wisdom of Socrates in Bill and Teds Excellent Adventure. Wreched stuff.

Warren Ellis and Stuart Immonen's Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E. vol 2. I am going to keep this brief as I think I would like to do a longer post about this series. The long and the short of it is Warren Ellis is not my favorite writer: he has written some amazing moments and stunningly good issues (the first half of Planetary, The Authority), but has written a huge number of things I have no patience for (Transmet, Fantastic Four, Ocean, that one about NASA, that one about the British space program). Nextwave has a lot of failed jokes, warmed over Monty Python stuff, but it also has some SPOT ON BRILLIANT WICKED FUNNY STUFF. And the core idea is wonderful -- a parody of a superhero book that is a parody only by virtue that it strips away anything not fundamental to the superhero genre, leaving us with poses, and explosions, and maddness. My favorite moments include a superhero team called "The Surgery" every one of whose members' names starts with "Doctor" and the tag-line: "NEXTWAVE: blatantly wasting your money since 2006."

Nothing at Newsarama jumped out at me.

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


Streebo said...

Greetings and salutations Doctor Klock!

Unfortunately, I was to mired in the editing process to day to make the trip out to comic shop. I felt burned by the last few MArtha Washington series that really felt like they weren't going anywhere. It was beyond my comprehension as to why they were even produced. However - the one shot Happy Birthday Martha Washington contains one of my all time favorite stories featuring Martha going to collect a blood sample from the American super soldier (whose name elude me at the moment). When she finds him guarding the Liberty Bell from neo-Nazi marauders or whatever they were - was a pure magic moment.

Anyway, there was lots of critical zaniness in the world of on-line comics discussions today. I'm not going to bring up any specifics because I don't want it to spill over here - but I am very disappointed at how it all turned out. I continue to lose faith in humanity and comic readers as a whole.

I need a shot of Casanova or Invincible to make me happy.

Ultimate Matt said...

Question: what's youR beef with Transmet? I've only recently gotten into it (up to volume 5 now) and so far I'm enjoying it more than most of Ellis' stuff. I'm with you on Ellis' stuff running extremely hot and cold; some of his stuff being brilliant and some of it being infuriating. But so far I'm finding Transmet at the "hot" end of his spectrum.

Jumaan said...

I have to say the new Martha Washington has convinced me that Miller has completely turned into Steve Ditko.

Geoff Klock said...

Streebo -- I am burning to know what you are refering to, but I trust your judgement keeping in this place under quarrantine.

Internet conversation can get you down. You just have to walk away some times. It is very depressing.

UM: No big beef -- it is just not my sense of humor. There was a bowel loosening gun early on, and though I read more issues that was sort of it for me. Also cultural satire is not one of my favortite modes. So it is all personal. Just not my thing.

Timothy Callahan said...

Nextwave was by far the best Marvel book published last year. But now a new sherrif's in town, and his name is Matthew effin Fraction.

Damn that kid's good. (Although I'm basing that comment on his overall work thus far--I haven't read the new Punisher WJ yet.)

Ping33 said...

Transmet sucks because Hunter S. Thompson already did it and he was a real person.

Marc Caputo said...

See, I wouldn't touch this new MW stuff for anything - this is what I mean when I say I can't stand Miller of late - he has actually become on of his Sin City denizens. And the same goes for that ASBARTBW crap he's peddling - it's all personal agenda crammed through a comic - there's no love for the character, no love for the medium, no love for even the FORMAT, for pete's sake.

Jason Powell said...

I'm excited about the latest Great Lakes comic being out this week.

James said...

"I think this is Miller telling America to kill Arabs before NYC is in ruins."

Geoff, does this not have you worried for Batman Vs. Al Qaeda (or whatever it's called)?

Geoff Klock said...

Ping: Thompson was never my thing in the first place, so I should have known better.

Marc: I have written posts talking about by conversion on All Star -- I hated it but learned to love it. That will be published as an essay later this year in a book by BenBella, so I will not repeat myself here. But here is the link to the posts:

James: I do not like Miller's politics, but I know this: Miller knows how to tell a Batman story. He knows how to be crazy, and shocking, and look like no one else. Batman brings out the best in Miller, both in art and in story.

My motto is Trust Miller on Batman. I hope I do not have to change that motto to "Sorry everyone, I was wrong abotu him like I was wrong about Aaron Sorkin on Studio 60"

Geoff Klock said...

as I said in my superhero book in the context of miller -- putting your own personal vision over and above everyone else is bad politics, but in the case of an over-written long-standing character under tight editorial control like Batman -- it is a great idea. It is just what Batman needs.

Oh, i do hope I am not wrong about this.

Jason Powell said...

Geoff, I was convinced by your essays on All Star Batman. I'll probably buy it in trade -- if it ever concludes ...

James said...

Geoff: That's fair. I hope you're right too!

Quick comics round-up:
Punisher War Journal: Best issue so far, for me. I have never read a better-deployed Punisher.

Ultimate Power: Best issue so far! I had come to expect very little from this series, but this issue had some nice stuff from Land, and (I thought) an exciting twist.

New Avengers: Not the best issue so far. Not bad, just kinda scuppered since Bendis panicked and told the world everything that happens in this issue after #31's over-hyped "wha? huh?" ending. Yu is still good, but still needs an inker. (Marvel, get Richard Friend on this, stat.)

Timothy Callahan said...

Finally read Punisher War Journal. Isn't anyone else horribly bothered by Olivetti's computerized background collages? Either I'm losing my patience with them or they are getting more ridiculous each issue. They distract from the story so, so much.

Think of how much cooler this comic would be with the scratchy line work he used on his earlier American work. But, no, we get photoshop awkwardness (that will not date well either)

Ping33 said...

too bad, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72 is an amazing book.

Streebo said...

ping33 said-

"too bad, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72 is an amazing book."

at the Heroes Convention last year - Warren Ellis mentioned Fear and Loathing on teh Campaign Trail '72 as one of the three most influential books of his youth. Another was Moorcock's Jerry Cornelius book(s) and the third escapes me.

Ping33 said...

heh, my avatar is Gideon Stargrave, Grant Morrison's homage to Jerry Cornelius.