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.