Monday, May 09, 2011

The Week of May 4 Review

The ups and downs of the last few weeks are like a roller coaster ride. This week is a dip from last week, but not to the bottom of a chasm or anything so dramatic. It is just that last week was glorious and this week is coming in more like an okay week. Of course the big release of Fear Itself #2 was a flop as that book was standard fare. We basically get glimpses of people getting their hammers and setting up various spin off mini-series. What puzzles me the most is; why are most of the publishers missing the boat this week? Free comic book hits the Saturday after May 4. Most stores are pulling out all the stops to make it one heck of a party and they have traffic like no other day of the year. A bunch of people show up who may seldom if ever roam into a comic shop. There should have been 10 to 15 new number one issues this week from all the publishers, instead DC puts out three of four last issues of series they have canned and except for Moon Knight Marvel misses the boat also. How about Dark Horse, BOOM, IDW, Archaia, Archie and everyone else should have a nice new shiny #1 that might get picked up on FCBD, but not if it isn’t in the stores. Of course this just is another example of why this industry is circling the drain and I believe the published monthly comic is going the way of the vinyl record album.

This is going to be a rather shorter column as despite my earlier prediction of this week not being a chasm it was another extremely weak crop of books. This is distributing as normally the doldrums of what is being published seems to occur in January and February but we are starting May and we have another blah week.

We did get BPRD The Dead Remembered #2 (of 3) from Dark Horse. This series features Liz Sherman’s first outing after being adopted by BRPD. We finally get to see the scene that has defined the character for so long and we realize how innocent she was in setting fire to her neighborhood and family. She had no control over her powers and when she was startled the power went off and she accidentally killed a large group of family and friends. While Karl Moline and Andy Owens are decent artist the emotional impact of that scene did not successfully come through in the art for me. Still all in all this is just another great piece in the wide and wonderful Mignolaverse.

Marvel’s big release for the week Moon Knight #1 left me flat. Personally I found the series to be a little boring and pedestrian. This was far from Maleev’s best work and the “inventive” twist on the character is that Moon Knight is talking to Spider-Man, Wolverine and Captain America but they are all just in his head, because Moon Knight is crazy. He has always been portrayed as a split personality disorder, but now we are making him just out and out schizophrenic as well as having multiple personalities. This is a comic book type of insanity if ever there was one. Moon Knight has always been a hard character to get right but I was hopeful because Bendis excels with a solo character book or a partner book. Adding this silly twist to the book Bendis horrible dialogue between super heroes is exposed. Of course since Moon Knight is crazy these characters should not sound right, so maybe it plays into Bendis’ inability to get the super hero dialogue right. Either way Moon Knight in LA talking to pretend teammates and fighting some mysterious bad guy building up his crime empire will not have me back for issue #2.

The mini-series X-Men Prelude to Schism #1 (of 4) will have me back for at least part 2. I know we are building up to a Cyclops and Wolverine showdown and in some ways it has been long overdue as both characters have always been at odds and were both in love with Jean Grey. I always found that aspect to be annoying as I preferred to believe Scott and Jean’s love story to not be as sorted as it had come to be portrayed, but I’m a diehard romantic and reading comics that have never aging characters cause writers to create dramatic tension for no real reason. Long digression I know. One thing that was annoying with the series is the mysterious thing coming for the X-Men and Scott is deciding what to do. So we get him brooding as the flashbacks give us some back story on Scott. I liked the back story; the endless brooding of Scott Summers is very old.

Two series that fly a little below the radar but deserve more attention are Izomibe and Secret Six, both had excellent issues out this week.

Izombie #13 is a jumping on point for readers and while there is some back story that makes the comic a richer read I believe a new reader could easily get on the bandwagon with this issue. It has that whole Buffy and I believe the TV series is called Being Human vibe to it. It has a splash pane with a Were-terrier, a Zombie and a Ghost all walking arm in arm as they have helped Gwen (our hot girl zombie) take care of an issue that a brain she ate needed to have resolved. I mean that alone should tell you this series is fun. Add to it the great Mike Allred realistic yet quirky art style and you have a book that has a unique flavor to it. The one thing I find odd at times is that a male writer is channeling Gwen and he writes lines that in an old fashion romance comic would make one cringe, yet in the midst of the strange world of Izombie it works. Specifically I’m thinking about the scene where Gwen runs up to her new boy-friend, who is a monster hunter who has no clue his girl friend is a zombie, and she thinks to herself as she kisses him “for a second, a measly second I just want to be a girl with a guy and not worry about anything”. Cringe worthy dialogue straight out of a romance novel, but somehow within the context of this book it works.

Last and far from least is Secret Six #33 where we wrap up the going to Hell storyline. I’m almost always against Hell storylines because it just involves too many religious issues and often is all mixed up and confused with random demons and such. Under Gail Simone it a glorious place to visit and the series continues to tell us a good story but defines these characters more and more. Outside of the main story of Scandal versus Ragman for the love of Knockout, we also have Catman visiting his father in hell. When Catman finds his Dad he also discovers his mother is a lioness who everyday eats his father who is chained up. As Catman leaves he question Etrigan about his mother being in hell and finds instead for her this was heaven. Absolutely loved the one person’s hell is another’s heaven piece in this book. The resolution as they escape Hell is perfect as they find out nothing comes without a price as it appears to save Knockout Scandal has left her current girl friend to a bad fate. This series is going down as one of the great runs in comics, where a writer makes their mark on a book and a group of characters and will always be tied to that book. I believe we can now count this as a seminal run for Gail Simone and this series deserve a ranking in all time best series.

A shorter column then last week’s two part gab fest, but the books dictate more of what I write than anything else.


  1. Jim,

    Haven't you heard, vinyl is coming back...there's no substitute to the real thing. It has adds extra depth/dimension to the music.

    Thanks to Dr. Pepper, I've just started a free month long subscription to Marvel Digital. It's convenient (when they have the issues you want to see), but my computer screen isn't really big enough to read it the way I want two (two-pages at a time). I prefer the real books myself.

    I think the publishers were pulling out all the stops for the actual FCBD issues, which I hope to talk about my Top10 on Saturday. It's not a big day to buy NEW comics anyway, just give you a taste of what's out there -- like an entry-level drug to get you hooked. Your right though that it doesn't necessarily help the local stores, but I saw people get some lame action figures for their kids, so any traffic yielded some purchasing. I had your PV volumes with me, but I guess I arrived too early to see you there.

  2. Sorry for the misspellings above, it's early and I need to go to work.