Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Comics Out October 10, 2007

Runaways 28. I count roughly 21 characters in play here: The Runaways (Molly, Victor, Nico, Karolina, Xavin, Chase), The Arabs (The Swell, Lillie, Tristan), The Upward Path (Nightstick, Daystick, the Difference Engine, Black Maria, and the Adjudicator), The Sinners (Maneater, Forget-me-not, Morphine, Kid Twist, and Mr. and Mrs. Yorke), plus little Klara (and Klara's dad who is quite minor). That's a lot of people to keep track of. The issue is kinda bitter-sweet (especially Molly's misunderstanding about Klara's "chores"), funny and smart (the "Difference Engine" is a great name for a character and his punch card was hilarious), and The Yorkes are wonderfully humanized. The art is even a step up in places. But maybe because there is so much going on it seems somehow to be less than the sum of its parts -- it does not come together for me the way Fray or even Sugar Shock does, though no one can call it bad, I think.

Punisher War Journal 12. Morrison's justifiably maligned metaphor comparing good comics writing to how the Beatles added in minor chords to the standard C F G set and changed rock and roll seems especially appropriate here (if it did not, you know, kinda suck as a metaphor, as has been demonstrated around here by people who know more about music than I do). Punisher 12 is just a dippy one-off story that is the most generic kind of throwaway crossover tie-in -- but Fraction tosses in just enough over-the-top ridiculousness to make it a lot of fun. After a deft sketch of the events of World War Hulk for people not following it -- and take note people, this is how to do exposition when you need it -- we know everything we need to know, and are set for Frank vs. the Creature from Outer Space. A lesser writer might have gone with a more Predator feel, but Fraction knows that the money is in grindhouse or even drive-in silliness -- "They Came from New Jersey!" "Guns that Shoot Swords!" "Jellyball eyes of the Skull Chest Meat Shell!" Olivetti is great fun here.

Two slightly more serious things to note about Fraction's work. First, his Spiderman loves his wife, his Punisher and Casanova love their jobs explicitly. Angst may be a great thing to draw on for creativity, but Fraction seems to be drawing on some surprisingly positive sources, or at least doing such a good job converting negative feelings that it looks that way.

Second, a ghostly Punisher stands over lower Manhattan on the last page, a Manhattan in ruins (from the Hulk who stands over the city in a ghostly way on the first page). Lower Manhattan is a photograph, and the Twin Towers are notably absent (especially noticeable because it is a photograph). Three questions: would the towers have been where Frank's legs are? Was there a picture of Captain America like this as a 9-11 tribute in a Marvel thing somewhere? And what are we to make of this, if anything.

Comics News at Newsarama did not excite this week.

Review, recommend, and discuss this week's comics and comics news. And I would love it of someone would spoil Spiderman: One More Day part 2 for us.


Geoffrey said...

Please spoil Spiderman. I don't want to waste my money. As for Fraction, I think he is one of the few writers that make me want to read a Punisher book. I know that some would argue Ennis's Punisher would also be included, I have to say that the way Fraction handles the Punisher works wonders. I think this is especially obvious in his handling of crossover issues, which can be the bane of a comic fan. I really enjoyed his Civil War crossovers, more than I could say for Civil War. Also, I have to say that I really find a great sense of joy in Fraction's work. Not only do I enjoy the work on a fun level, I also find his characters enjoying the world. As an angsty fellow myself, it is nice to see a little joy (and artistry) in my comics.

Thacher said...

On Newsarama, when they posted preview pages of FNSM, one posted commented that the brown pigeon that is seen on the first page is similar to the brown pigeon that was in the first issue, and then surmised that the brown pigeon was in fact Mephisto, and he would attempt to offer Peter a deal. I found it to be the most totally ridiculous, out-there theories anyone pulled out of their asses. Then I read the issue today.

That pigeon was totally Mephisto.

After knocking around time and space with Dr. Strange, begging everyone good or bad on earth to save his aunt, but no one can (not even, I guess, the X-Men kid who can heal people with his touch). Despondent, he leaves, and the pigeon morphs into a little girl, who makes a menacing offer of help.

Is it wrong to think that a hero who makes a deal with Satan becomes extraordinarily irredeemable? I mean, I know a spider-marriage is unacceptable, but is a spider-faustian deal?

Geoff Klock said...

I do not think a spider-faustian deal is terrible in theory though it sounds terrible in execution.

neilshyminsky said...

What I've heard speculated, and what would work much better for nearly everyone involved, would be if Peter rejects the deal - only for Mary Jane to approach Mephisto and accept it herself. Not a crazy huge swerve, but it's the only way I can see them rewinding Peter's life without destroying our sympathy.

Anonymous said...

I have no problem with Spidey's escapade in the Wondrous Worlds of Dr Strange. Milk came down my nose, however, with the image of the Prince of Lies as a pigeon.
I love comics.


Thacher said...

I can only image the Price of Lies, Lord of Evil and Infinite Darkness skulking around NYC in pigeon form going "Wait for it...wait for it..."

Streebo said...

Thank the Fates for storytellers like Matt Fraction that can keep telling good superhero stories in today's wacky climate of constant event books. I really loved JMS' first to years on Spiderman - but this current story sounds horrendous. I haven't been to the LCS yet this week - but Warren Ellis said that Avatar is releasing a reprint of issues 0 and 1 of Black Summer. This is the best chance for anyone that missed the early issues to jump into the book.