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MONDOcomics: Best of 2010: Isaac’s Picks

Posted by Comics On January - 1 - 2011

Series of the Year: Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne

There’s no doubt about it, as far as comics go nothing beat my excitement for Return of Bruce Wayne. It made me think about the medium of comics AND was hugely fun with its portrayals of “Caveman Batman,” “Pirate Batman” and especially “Cowboy Batman.” It’s the comic’s equivalent of mini-wheats cereal.

Writer of the Year: Straczynski, and Morrison

Personally, Grant Morrison is my writer of the year but I’ve got to mention J. Michael Straczynski. I personally haven’t really liked his work much but Straczynski did create a highly acclaimed graphic novel, Superman: Earth One, that sold really well and may help spark greater interest in the ‘straight to graphic novel release’ strategy that I think is the future of comics (for several reasons that I won’t go into right now), but he was the writer on both Superman AND Wonder Woman! Just because I didn’t like the premise of his stories there — any writer that gets himself the position of writing two of DC’s biggest properties is having a pretty good year. Read the rest of this entry »

MONDOcomics #61: June 30, 2010

Posted by Comics On July - 1 - 2010

Action Comics #890
Paul Cornell (w), Pete Woods (a), Brad Anderson (c). DC Comics.

I’m not sure what it is about Lex Luthor that I’m a fan of.  I am a sucker for the smart guys, but it may also be the fact that he is an underdog against Superman. Whatever the reason, I’m glad to see he’s got a starring role in the new Action Comics run. I’m a little surprised at the art – Luthor has looked both fat and fit in his time, but I’ve never seen quite so much variation within a single book. And no, Luthor isn’t experimenting with the Nutty Professors formula. The story is pretty cool: Luthor gets kidnapped and acts like it’s no big deal and is only marginally surprised by the appearance of his true captor at the end. What a guy. – Isaac Mills

Isaac’s rating: 3/5

Bram Stoker’s Death Ship #2
Gary Gerani (w), Stuart Sayger (a), Dom Regan (c), IDW Publishing.

I’m still not sure that this is a story that needs to be told, but Gerani is stepping up his characterizations this issue, I especially liked the captain’s dream sequence. As with last issue, though, the real draw is Sayger’s art. It continues to be gorgeous work, adding a creepy, otherworldly quality to the book. If you’re an art enthusiast then this book is a must-buy. – Owen Craig

Owen’s rating: 3.5 out of 5 Read the rest of this entry »

MONDOcomics #59: June 16, 2010

Posted by Comics On June - 18 - 2010

Amazing Spider-Man #633
Zeb Wells (w), Chris Bachalo, Emma Rios (p), Emma Rios, Townsend, Mendoza, Olazaba, Irwin, Bachalo (i), Antonio Fabela (c). Marvel Comics.

Big time Spidey week folks — so how’d it go? Well, the two-week break between issues of the “Shed” story arc isn’t doing this issue any favours. After a certain amount of time you want to be on to the next thing, which they sort of did by shipping Amazing Spider-Man #634 this week, but it really further undercuts the impact of 633. It’s no surprise that Spidey will make it through the issue, but they kind of beat us over the head with the fact by having two books right away. A very clever trick had the Lizard look at the world with eyes that could see beyond animalistic savagery, leading to a great quiet moment when he looks up at a plane and says “That… that is not a bird.” It’s a very different end to a Lizard story, but I am let down that crazy serums were involved to get that new world view. — Isaac Mills

Isaac’s rating: 3 out of 5

Amazing Spider-Man #634
Joe Kelly, J.M. DeMatteis, Stan Lee (w), Michael Lark, Stefano Gaudiano, Max Fiumara, Marcos Martin (a), Matt Hollingsworth, Fabio D’Auria (c). DC Comics.

This is the start of the much-hyped, long-awaited “Grim Hunt” story. First off, the main story looks gorgeous. The opening has a stylish cinematic feel before leading into the prose introduction to the story, an introduction eschewing the “Bugle Girl” blog style trappings that I’m pretty sure we’ve all grown tired of. The story was okay, but it didn’t stand out as anything amazing. Opening up with a bloodied Kaine at Peter Parkers doorstep would have been cool, except for the time Venom did the same thing (of course that’s a complaint from someone who enjoys that Peter is suffering from a cold because of it being a familiar Spidey hurdle…) and most of the narration was supplied by a typically cryptic Madame Web. The back up stories were not worth the extra dollar price increase, though I will enjoy seeing where Stan Lee goes with his in next weeks installment, his intro just didn’t leave any impression. — Isaac Mills

Isaac’s rating: 3 out of 5 Read the rest of this entry »

MONDOcomics #53: May 5, 2010

Posted by Comics On May - 6 - 2010

Amazing Spider-Man #630
Zeb Wells (w), Chris Bachalo (p), Tim Townsend, Jaime Mendoza (i), Antonio Fabela (c). Marvel Comics.

One complaint you’ll hear about Spidey from non-fans is that he’s whiney. It’s not Spider-Man’s fault, it’s just really hard to write someone’s inner voice, particularly when they are thinking about themselves, and get it to come across as anything but whiney. What’s the solution? Well, if you’re Zeb Wells, you get Spidey to think about what joke he’s going to spring on the hapless bad guys in front of him – and the result is the funniest Spider-Man writing we’ve gotten in a while. Couple that with Bachalo’s pencils that run the gamut from cool to expressive to hilarious and we’ve got a winner. The last scene of the book is of a corporate tool antagonizing Dr. Curt Connors aka the Lizard (whom you also wouldn’t like when he’s angry) and I just kept yelling at the comic “No! You fool! Don’t you know what you’re doing?” He really didn’t, it looks like the Lizard got to eat him, but the important thing is the kind of reaction it got out of me. It was a good kind of yelling at my comic book. – Isaac Mills

Isaac’s rating: 4.5 out of 5

Batman and Robin #12
Grant Morrison (w), Andy Clarke, Scott Hanna, Dustin Nguyen (a), Alex Sinclair (c). DC Comics.

Well, the art is a little static, but otherwise it’s a great book. We start off with Robin being remote-controlled to attack Batman by Slade Wilson (long time Dick Grayson enemy) so Batman kicks Robin and it hurts Slade. I didn’t expect that, but I liked it. Slade thinks he’s untouchable, that he can just walk up (via Robin) and kill Batman, and BOOM Slade’s in pain. (I think this is what pain feels like.) I’ve just realized that all the “moments” in this book are those “Cool moments” that Geoff Johns is always going for, but these ones are far more subversive and therefore work better. Man, if Ivan Reis was drawing this book… well, it’d be awesome. – Isaac Mills

Isaac’s rating: 3.5 out of 5 Read the rest of this entry »

MONDOcomics Book of the Month for January 2010

Posted by Comics On February - 1 - 2010

Isaac’s Book of the Month

Amazing Spider-Man #619
Dan Slott (w), Marcos Martin (a), Javier Rodriguez (c), Marvel Comics

You know when you re-read something and you can grow to like it more, or like it less? Well, I’m not doing either one exactly – my appreciation of it is just kind of being refined. I’m noticing the silly things, like just how crazy this would be out of context- a tall cyborg of an old man yelling at someone that he’s a rat. That doesn’t happen in real life, but it is a “comic book scene”. And I’m a big fan of the “comic book scene”.

One technique used in abundance is the abrupt scene change whose caption is still relevant to that last panel- we read the line as both a continuation of the previous action and the start of what’s to come. It leads to some creative visuals (like where Carlie Cooper’s face should be we shift to a panel of Aunt May’s. Certainly just as effective as a “Meanwhile at the Hall of Justice” style scene shift.), and it’s an interesting signature. Be sure I’ll be paying attention to future works by Slott to see if this is something he abuses, but at this point it’s cool. Read the rest of this entry »

MONDOcomics #19: September 9, 2009

Posted by Comics On September - 11 - 2009

amazingspiderman604Amazing Spider-Man #604
Fred van Lente (w), Barry Kitson (p), Rick Ketcham and Barry Kitson (i), Jeromy Cox and Antonio Fabela (c). Marvel Comics.

Well, that turned out better for Spider-Man than I had predicted. The Parker luck bounces back and even though the evil Chameleon was rude to everyone in Peter’s life they all liked him for it. Why I like this: because Peter’s friends assumed the best in him. That the terrible things he said came from a place of love. It’s nice to see people get along every now and then, especially in this book. Also great — the villains. The Spider-Man writers have done a great job making the Spider-Man villains menacing and calculating and on-the-loose. His fight-to-imprisonment ratio is terrible, but the excitement-to-page ratio is astounding. Go Spidey, go. — Miles Baker

Miles’ rating: 4 out of 5
Isaac’s rating: 3.5 out of 5

AmuletKeepersCurseAmulet: The Stonekeeper’s Curse
Kazu Kibuishi (w + a). Graphix.

My overall reaction to the first Amulet volume was “Alright.” The art and characters were great, but the story wasn’t very deep and the world didn’t seem that interesting. I’m happy to say that everything that was not great about the first volume has been improved in this story, and the things that were good are now amazing. I thoroughly enjoyed The Stonekeeper’s Curse and the next volume can’t come fast enough. Fantasy stories live and die on the worlds that they create and Amulet starts to come through on this front. There’s an opening splash where the heroes arrive at the big city and it’s a moment of wonder — homes built into mountains, huge city walls, and many walking houses. I love that having a walking house is semi common in this universe. The characters come along well, and it’s great to see something for kids with a female lead. Girls get the short end of the stick on stories where they kick ass. There’s nothing particularly original about Amulet, it wears its influences on its sleeves, but it works well. It feels a lot like an RPG and when I was twelve I wanted stories that felt like RPGs. Recommended for the people out there with kids who are looking for something to enjoy as a family. — Miles Baker

Miles’ rating: 5 out of 5 Read the rest of this entry »

MONDOcomics #11: July 15, 2009

Posted by Comics On July - 17 - 2009

Amazing Spider-Man #599Amazing Spider-Man #599
Joe Kelly (w), Stephen Segovia, Marco Checchetto, Paulo Siqueira, Amilton Santos (a). Marvel Comics.

The art is solid all throughout, but it’s still weird having all these different artists on board for this. It’s also really cool to have Spider-Man’s mask look like Grifter’s from Wildcats, but this issue could have been called “The Amazing Harry Osborn” what with Harry doing all the fighting and all. It’s fair though, since the beginning of this arc Spider-Man has been pretty beat-up, so by this point he’s barely standing. Now that I think about it, that’s how most of Spider-Man’s big fights go, so really it’s more refreshing to see him not have to pull out a miraculous win, and just let the other guy save the day. — Isaac Mills

Isaac’s rating: 3.5 out of 5

Batman Streets of Gotham #2Batman: Streets of Gotham #2
Paul Dini, Co-Feature: Mark Andreyko (w), Dustin Nguyen, Co-Feature: Georges Jeanty (p), Derek Fridolfs, Co-Feature: Dexter Vines (i). DC Comics.

So I guess this is just another Batman book, right? I thought the idea was that it would tackle more street-level crime or focus more on the Gotham City Police Department or something, but I guess I was wrong. This issue focuses on supervillains and Batman and Robin beating them up. It was good enough, I suppose, but as far as I can tell, this same story could’ve been told in Batman. The Manhunter co-feature was great, but ten pages of great plus twenty-two pages of generic Batmanishness don’t justify my four dollars. Especially when Batman and Robin is coming out. – Owen Craig

Owen’s rating: 2 out of 5
Isaac’s rating: 3.5 out of 5

Blackest Night #1, Blackest Night: Tales of the Corps #1
For Owen’s review of Blackest Night #1 and Isaac’s review of Blackest Night: Tales of the Corps #1, check out our Crossover Corner at the bottom of the page. Read the rest of this entry »

MONDOcomics #10: July 8, 2009

Posted by Comics On July - 10 - 2009

Amazing Spider-Man Annual #36Amazing Spider-Man Annual #36
Marc Guggenheim (w), Pat Oliffe (p), Oliffe with Lanning (i), Antonio Fabela (c). Marvel Comics.

There’s a lot to love about this comic. It’s a “#36” first of all, which means it’s another instance of going to “original numbering” (which I’m a big fan of). I also like that at the end of a list of his Spider-Man-y accomplishments, Peter Parker thinks, “I even fought a Sentinel once.” I just love how proud he is of that, like Sentinels are the toughest things out there. And of course copious amounts of Ben Reilly! No, he’s not back or anything, but the spider-writers have gone out of their way for years to avoid even printing that name, and here I’m given a montage of Ben Reilly moments. I’m pretty sure everyone should like this comic, but I’m really biased. — Isaac Mills

Isaac’s rating: 4 out of 5
Owen’s rating: 3 out of 5

Booster Gold #22Booster Gold #22
Dan Jurgens (w), Dan Jugens (a). DC Comics.

Booster Gold has settled into a great rhythm now. It’s doing what I think it should be doing and doing it well. Every month Booster has an awesome, wacky adventure set in a past period of DC history. If that sounds like fun to you, then you’ll have a blast (I know I do); if it doesn’t, then give this comic a skip. This month Booster mixes it with the Perez/Wolfman-era Teen Titans. – Owen Craig

Owen’s rating: 3.5 out of 5 Read the rest of this entry »

Drag Me To Hell Reviewed

Posted by film On June - 2 - 2009
Loh-man on fire.

Loh-man on fire.

Drag Me to Hell
Directed by Sam Raimi
Universal Pictures/Ghost House Pictures, 2009

By Sean Kelly

Back in the late 1970s, a man named Sam Raimi got together with his high school buddy Bruce Campbell and made a low-budget horror film called The Evil Dead. After the film was released in 1981, it became a huge cult hit, spawning two sequels, and even adapted into a campy musical. Evil Dead launched Sam Raimi’s film career, where he went on to make more genre films culminating with taking the helms on the Spider-Man franchise. Throughout his success, Raimi hasn’t forgotten his horror roots as five years ago he started his own horror production company Ghost House Pictures, which resulted in films such as The Grudge and 30 Days of Night. Now, before he begins production on the fourth Spider-Man film, Raimi returns to his horror roots directing Drag Me to Hell.

Before I talk about the film itself, I believe I should talk briefly about the film’s rating. The official MPAA rating of the film is PG-13 for sequences of horror violence, terror, disturbing images, and language (for us in Ontario, the rating is 14A for Frightening Scenes, Gory Scenes, and Disturbing Content). The PG-13 rating is almost considered sacrilegious in horror circles and, given Raimi’s history of having mass blood and guts in the Evil Dead films, it might appear that he has given in to the Hollywood corporate machine to make a horror film that would appeal to as mainstream an audience as possible. However, since there have been PG-13 horror films that were truly scary (including the Raimi-produced The Grudge), I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and see if the film was truly the “return of true horror” advertised in the trailer.

After seeing the film, I have to say that this line comes more from the studio marketing team’s desire to make a buck than to capture Raimi’s intentions. It quickly became apparent to me during the film’s first major horror sequence that Raimi was seeking to return to the not too serious, campy horror that made the Evil Dead series so beloved (that’s probably not that surprising, since Raimi wrote the script for this film shortly after Army of Darkness and sat on it until now). This type of horror, which in some cases involves Looney Tunes-like goofiness, might alienate those unfamiliar with the campiness of the Evil Dead series who were expecting a more earnest horror film (that trailer message didn’t help). As a big Evil Dead fan, though, I was reeled into the campiness of the film and I had quite a good time. I even thought that the 80s era Universal logo at the start was a nice touch.

I reference Evil Dead continuously because this film would probably be the closest Raimi has gotten to creating a fourth film in that series. In fact, there is a séance scene in the film that feels like a deleted scene from Evil Dead. All that’s missing is the blood and guts, though Raimi does manage to sneak one massive blood spray under the PG-13 rating.

In the lead role, I thought that Alison Lohman did a good job (and though I don’t want to diss Canadians, she was probably the better pick than the original choice, Ellen Page). My only real criticism of casting her is that she looks ten years younger than she really is (something that worked to her favour in Matchstick Men) and, as such, she didn’t appear to be the kind of person that is working as a loan officer in a bank. That aside, she held her own in the horror scenes — including a creepy scene that would make pet-lovers cringe — and even got a few good one-liners in. In addition, even though he will probably be forever known as the “Mac Guy,” Justin Long (whose first major leading role was in the horror film Jeepers Creepers) did a competent job as the sceptical, yet supportive boyfriend.

In the end, Drag Me to Hell was certainly not the return of true horror that it was billed to be. However, it was still a fun campy horror film that will probably make fans wish even more that Sam Raimi grabs Bruce Campbell and makes that fourth Evil Dead film.

Comics I’ll Buy in July

Posted by Comics On April - 24 - 2009

By Miles Baker

Marvel and DC have released their solicitations for July, so here’s a list of what I’ll be buying with commentary.

From Marvel

REBORN #1 (of 5) What’s all this then? Ed Brubaker and Bryan Hitch on some mysterious project with no description? I’m there. I wonder if this has to do with those all-black Captain America house ads that were floating around Marvel books this month?

ALL SELECT COMICS #1 70TH ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL So far I’ve bought two of these 70th Anniversary things and they haven’t been so amazing. Okay writing with really good art, and I have a feeling that this book will continue that trend. Javier Pulido is a great artist so I’ll probably pick this one up.

CAPTAIN AMERICA #601 Special guest artist Gene Colan?!? I’m sold.

DARK X-MEN: THE BEGINNING #1 & 2 (of 3) A pretty cover from Jae Lee almost assures a buy, however interior art by Humberto Ramos is disappointing. I do not see what people like about his art.

UNCANNY X-MEN #513 The cover of this is the teaser I posted over here. I was wrong. But I love what Fraction is doing on Uncanny, so I’ll buy.

DARK AVENGERS #7 It’s crossing over with Uncanny, so I’ll return to buying this title temporarily.

X-MEN: LEGACY #226 Mike Carey has made me like Gambit again. I thought that was impossible. I feel so young again.

NEW AVENGERS #55 I have not been a fan of Bendis’ Avengers. I want to like it because I like a lot of Bendis, but it’s really poorly done. Everyone sounds the same, the jokes are forced, and the pacing is all over the map. However, I like Stuart Immonen’s art, so maybe that’ll be enough to save the series?

SECRET WARRIORS #6 So far Secret Warriors is a lot better than I thought it was going to be, so I’m pumped for this issue.

DARK REIGN: MISTER NEGATIVE #2 (of 3) This is a good cover, and I’m curious about Mr. Negative. He’s a cool new Spider-man villain and it looks like they’ll be picking up a large, dangling plot line from Amazing Spider-Man.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #599 and #600 Number 600 has art with Marcos Martin. I love Marcos Martin.

IMMORTAL WEAPONS #1 (of 5) Fraction and Brubaker’s Iron Fist series was great, and the Immortal Weapons were a great contribution to the character’s mythology. This issue apparently focuses on Fat Cobra, the combatant who defeated Iron Fist in the Mortal Kombat-y tournament, and I’m looking forward to learning more about him.

MARVEL DIVAS #1 (of 4) I’m kidding. This sounds horrible. NO BUY.

RUNAWAYS #12 Please be good. Please be good. Please be good.

X-FORCE #17 Mike Choi on art is what tips this over from “not buy” to “buy.”

X-FACTOR #46 Peter David has really stepped up his game on this title recently. Every issue has tears and laughter.

INCOGNITO #6 Last week’s issue of this was stellar. I’m sure this conclusion will floor me.

POWERS: THE DEFINITIVE COLLECTION VOL. 3 HC This is the Bendis that I love: foul-mouthed and character-driven. This book is where stuff starts to get epic.

From DC Comics

WEDNESDAY COMICS #1-4 I’ve sat out on the last three weekly series from DC. I heard 52 was good, but everything I read of Countdown and Trinity were terrible. Just a mess. But the promise of Niel Gaiman re-teaming with Mike Allred on anything is enough to make me buy it. But then you add Brian Azzarello, Eduardo Risso, Ryan Sook, and Paul Pope (and a whole lot of others) and I really want to get it. Also, the format sounds neat: folded twice to 7” x 10”. So, yeah. Looks good.

BATMAN AND ROBIN #2 I’ll give the first arc of this a shot.

DETECTIVE COMICS #855 I’ve talked about my excitement here.

ABSOLUTE NEW FRONTIER HC NEW PRINTING Actually, I won’t buy this because I already have it. But you should rush out to buy it if you haven’t got it.

GOTHAM CENTRAL VOL. 2: JOKERS AND MADMEN HC It’s been said before, but this series is Homicide: Life on the Streets meets Batman and the result is beautiful fiction babies. Seriously, if you like crime fiction you should 100% buy this and the first hardcover. Amazing writing, amazing art, and Batman cameos. What else do you need?

THE UNWRITTEN #3 It hasn’t started yet, but the preview pages I’ve seen are compelling.

UNKNOWN SOLDIER VOL. 1: HAUNTED HOUSE TP I’m making good on the boasts I made by buying this the day it comes out.

Let me know what else I should buy in a comment!

761402-marvel_zombies_4__1_001_superMiles’ Book

Marvel Zombies 4 #1 (of 4)
Written by Fred Van Lente
Art by Kev Walker
Coloured by Jean-Francois Beaulieu
Marvel Comics, 2009

As much as I liked the original Marvel Zombies series, I haven’t bothered to follow it since then. I feel like it was pretty complete on its own and offered me exactly what I wanted: zombie versions of all my favourite Marvel characters.

Now, two complete series later, it’s offering me a story about Morbius, Werewolf by Night (odd how I read two things about him back-to-back and nothing before that), Jennifer Kale of Witches, and Hellstorm. Who the fuck are these people? I know Morbius through the 90s Spider-man cartoon and a couple random issues where X-Man and Spider-man crossed over in the 90s, but that’s it. You’re also tempting me with a zombie version of The Hood? Dude’s only been in, like, 30 issues of the regular Marvel universe.

That said, this issue actually wasn’t that bad. It delivers carnage, zombie fish-people, and a bodiless version of Deadpool (“the merc with only a mouth!”).

Van Lente is a funny writer. I mean ha-ha funny. While the characters in this book aren’t that funny, there is a humour to the writing. There’s a great scene where Morbius describes his new bullets that blow up zombies as “cinematic.” It’s a moment that makes you laugh silently and go “nice,” as the caption and the exploding zombie collide.

And Walker draws a satisfying exploding corpse to match. If you can get $3.99 of value from those things, then you’re a good candidate to buy this book.

ignition-cityOwen’s Book

Ignition City #1
Written by Warren Ellis
Illustrated by Gianluca Pagliarani
Inked by Chris Drier
Avatar Press, 2009

Warren Ellis is a crazy, crazy man. Between rumours of him requesting vodka and Redbull in his hotel room at conventions and him writing some of the most messed-up stuff on the racks, there’s no doubt that I’d be intimidated to meet him. Especially because I’m not a huge fan of his work. That is not to say that I don’t think his work is good, it certainly is, I just find that it doesn’t usually click with me personally. There are exceptions, of course, I loved his short Thunderbolts run and Fell is fan-bloody-tastic, and of course, there’s Planetary. But more times than not, I feel like Ellis cares more about developing his brilliant (and they are usually brilliant) ideas than developing his characters.

Which brings us to Ignition City, his newest book (at least until another one comes out next week, I’m sure, how does he have time to write all these books?) for his Avatar imprint. And you know what? I don’t know what to make of it. I found the first few pages of mind-numbingly-boring exposition grueling to get through. Sure, he had a character filling the reader in, but it was so bland he might as well have made it a Star Wars-esque paragraph of text. After that, though, things start moving and we get to learn about our (probable) main character’s strained relationship with her mother. This I like, this is interesting. Her bizarre, midriff-revealing take on an Amelia Earhart costume aside, she becomes a character I connected with and her quest to learn more about her father is one I can get into. But then the book is sidelined by a multi-page tangent about some characters’ bowel movements. This would have been right at home in Transmetropolitan, but here…huh?

So, I guess after reading the first issue I don’t know if I can recommend this comic, because I don’t really know what the comic is. It seems to want to give us an alternate take on society adapting to space travel, but the style of the book shifts so dramatically several times throughout the first issue that I don’t even know if I liked it. Maybe you will?

Gen 13 Vol. 4 #29Isaac’s Book

Gen 13 Vol. 4 #29
Written by Scott Beatty
Art by Mike Huddleston
WildStorm Productions, 2009

This was an awesome comic! I may just start picking up this series I liked it so much.

First off, the cover is okay, it’s a pretty drawing and I’m sure it’s referencing some famous painting that I’m unaware of, but since I didn’t know the characters are supposed to have short arms (the two characters on the cover are adults trapped in toddler bodies) it looked like the cover artist was way off on his proportions.

The first sentence of the book? “My name is Percival Edward Chang and I am picoseconds away from becoming a hot lunch for a park full of post-apocalyptic cannibal skatepunks.” The whole of the book is in the same style, a kind of Tank Girl-Madman-Mike Allred (yes I know Mike Allred is the guy who does Madman, I still don’t think it’s redundant to say his name) fusion.

The toddler girl (from the cover) refers to Gen 13 as “those meddling teenagers”.

This is part nine of the story “Teenage Wasteland” (“No Country For Old Gens;” it just wouldn’t be a Gen 13 comic without a reference that dates it) so no, I don’t necessarily know what is going on, not with the Gen 13 guys, not with WildStorm in general. It looks like a post-apocalyptic future. At least, that’s how Grunge (Percival Edward Chang) described it in that first line, but was time travel involved? Are they just in a nasty part of a desert? New Jersey? (I apologize, that’s such a cheap old joke, and I’ve probably only been to Jersey once). Or did the artist just skimp out on appropriate backgrounds? It doesn’t really matter, because this issue isn’t specifically about that, it’s about humour and action! Granted it’s the kind of humour that takes a second glance to get because it’s all jammed in there. Here’s an example:

This girl Holly Denton from Gen 14 leaps into Meltdown’s arms instead of standing in the boiling spillage of the human soup. Meltdown, a sort of Human Torch, is ALSO hot, so Holly yells “HOT HOT HOT!”

Meltdown responds “Don’t you think I’m the lesser of two evils here?”

This exchange, all on one panel without showing Holly physically jump into Meltdown’s arms, takes a second to understand by the context of the dialogue. Holly could have just been saying that the soup was hot, and with that perspective, Meltdown’s line is just odd. But because we CAN figure out what is going on with just a second’s consideration, it’s a great style. It’s very much like Tank Girl with its high image to joke ratio, but interestingly enough, the quick shifts between the different bits of action which require dialogue to fully understand how we got from one panel to another is very reminiscent of old school comics, particularly Stan Lee’s work with the “Marvel Method”.

It’s almost like comics progressed from Stan Lee down to Grant Morrison in one continuity, and in an alternate, split timeline it progressed to the frenetic craziness shown here. Which I guess is kind of what happened, but without the alternate worlds to separate them. Which obviously makes it less fun to talk about.

Though I don’t think you need a recap for this kind of thing — it’s fun to piece together the past story on your own from what happens — for a team book you do NEED to have all the names of the characters listed somewhere. I’m happy to say they do have just such a list here, which includes powers and code names/real names, but it’s at the very back of the comic, which was kind of weird for me. At least it was there.

This comic was a lot of fun, check it out.

Random Comics of the Week: Amazing Spider-Man

Posted by Comics On March - 20 - 2009

"Character Assassination" - get it?Isaac’s Book

Amazing Spider-Man #588
Written by Marc Guggenheim
Pencilled by John Romita Jr.
Marvel Comics, 2009

It’s all Spider-Man, all the time this week — sorry, DC. So now it’s just a matter of deciding which Spider-Man adventure to chat about. The Amazing Spider-Man gets the vote for a number of reasons, but mostly for a “cheesy lesson” moment, which I’m always a fan of. But I’ll talk about that later.

We pick up with Spider-Man about to dive into a fight with a prison full of convicts who wanted to take a pound of flesh from Peter Parker’s roommate, Vin Gonzales. After some fisticuffs and webbing, there’s this great moment where Spider-Man asks if Vin has voted yet (there’s a mayoral race going on in the Spider-verse), and Vin just asks, “Are you kidding?” as he gets pulled up in the air, his face all mangled from getting beaten. Trust me, it’s really hilarious.

I’ve heard several complaints about how the “New Ways to Die” story arc left so many plot lines dangling. Though I really disagreed with that (comics are serial in format; if you want all the plot threads wrapped up neatly, then you should stick to reading self-contained trades like Watchmen and Dark Knight Returns), I can’t imagine that the same charge could be levelled here. This storyline has revealed the truth behind Menace and his motivations, as well as who was behind the Spider-tracer killings — secrets we readers have been wondering about since the beginning of the Brand New Day era of Amazing Spider-Man.

One thing that has happened with increasing frequency are call-backs to past adventures; in this case, Spidey mentions that he hasn’t been “hurt like this since Morlun.” I’m a big fan of the little asterisks that direct us to boxes telling how such and such a thing certainly DID happen, in issue number whatever, but it’s pretty telling that this reference to Morlun does not have such an asterisk. These kinds of throw-away lines show that the writers are trying to convince us that the past Spider-Man stories totally did happen, and we don’t have to be mad about the magic wand of One More Day. If you’re trying that hard to make everything okay with us readers, then maybe you should just apologize and move on, you know? Either admit you made a mistake, or don’t allude to any such thing.

Okay, the “cheesy lesson” moment. I’d actually run into this little lesson in a potent, quotable type of thing a couple months ago — it kind of hit me in the head and really helped me out, so to see it again, especially coming from Spider-Man, was really cool. Harry asks Peter if he thinks the Osborns are cursed. Peter answers yes, but “we all have our cross to bear. All of us. It may seem like it’s heavier for some than others, but it’s not. Everybody’s got something.”

It’s really gratifying to see old Peter Parker take this stance, because he’s a guy that can get really self-involved and self-pitying; it’s great to be reminded that he can rise above that, and be a hero for more than lifting heavy things.

Though I do like when heavy things are lifted.

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