So real life keeps intruding and gives me less time to devote to this column then I would like. Last week a baby shower for my daughter Jamie and her husband Dallas, this week I’m going to the Redskins game on Sunday courtesy of my friend Rusty. So that means no time on Sunday to blog, Wednesday was huge batch of books and tons of stuff I want to talk about with a slow internet connection. The transitional period of my big move to Florida has been a real treat (where is the sarcasm font????). So why the heck am I gabbling when I need to start talking about the books.
First up is Punishermax #18 by Jason Aaron and Steve Dillon. Aaron is in his element with characters that are “real”. His super hero work has left me cold, but Scalped and Punishermax are epic. Steve Dillon is doing great work in making these characters look age appropriate and depicting the action no matter how gruesome or depraved. Sex and violence are amped up to the nth degree. This issue we see Frank is taking out his revenge against Kingpin the only way he can by hitting every two bit operation run by the Kingpin’s organization. Frank has been reduced to a foot soldier in his war against the Kingpin and is doing what he can to bring him out in the open. Also this issue we got to see Frank shoot a comatose Bullseye in the head blowing out his brains. Not just gruesome, but realistic from the standpoint of how a “real” Punisher would react and we are not hampered by Marvel continuity in this book. This series is holding up to Ennis’ run on the book which I did not think was possible.
Next we have the first issue of The Shade maxi-series from DC by James Robinson and various artists. This issue was Cully Hamner whose work I’m always happy to see. The issue revolves around Shade’s restlessness and almost growing normalcy which is boring his girl friend. In search of a new adventure he runs into Deathstroke, in Wilson’s insanely retarded armor and sword, who promptly kills him. Always a boring ending to a number one issue of a series as you know the main character is not dying. Since we are also exploring his origins setting up Shade being chopped to bits will not kill him will allow us to learn how inhuman he truly is, so I’ll forgive the use of the cliché this time.
Before I hit a few books I loved, let’s talk about one that made me want to throw up, X-Men Regenesis, the follow up to the craptacular X-Men Schism. I wanted to rip this crap to shreds on the WCS blog but again I have limited time and this blog comes first. The big problem I have with the whole thing is the total schizophrenic depiction of Wolverine. This artificial it is all for the children Wolverine is some crap characterization that has been pasted onto the character to be able to set up the split up so they can have a Wolverine and the X-Men comic like the cartoon show. On top of that this issue showed Scott as weak and ineffectual to the point that his all but wife Emma Frost is pushing him around like a pansy. What the heck happened to the self assured leader of the X-Men? Add to that the incredible inane caveman X-Men thing that showed up every time a decision was made as to whose group each mutant would be with. This gave us a bad comic, poorly written, casting characters into editorial mandated roles to fulfill an agenda and not letting the characters write the books. In other words, good writers make the ideas work, bad writing just makes the plot go where the company wants it to go and who cares if it makes sense to the characters. I’m about done with the X books again, except Uncanny X-Force.
Speaking of Uncanny X-Force, #16 was another great issue by Rick Remender and Jerome Opena. Rick has made this series one long epic, yet at the same time he has managed to tell some good stories that had their own conclusions while building to a larger canvas. This has to be Rick’s best and most complete work ever. I’m no longer a huge X-Men fan, but Rick has me hooked. I’m wondering if Warren can be saved at this point and what will be the ultimate end game with Archangel. The story is so good that I think this will become one of the classic runs on any team of x-people and if the ending is great it should become a story that will be recommended for years to come. The only problem will be how he tops this story line or does the book reach a natural ending?
At this point you must be wondering if I’m going to even mention any #2 from the DCU this week and the answer is yes, but with a just a few quick remarks on three of my favorites this week.
Frankenstein Agent of Shade #2 by Jeff Lemire and Alberto Ponticelli. This book is out and out mad fun. Franky and his BPRDish crew against a bevy of monsters. Lemire throws in background and characterization on Agent Mazursky and ends with the crew facing a planet full of monsters to save Mrs. Frankenstein. Alberto gives us energetic and sometimes almost too busy art, but great story telling. Lemire throws in little bits like microscopic prisons and space warps, children as sacrifices and the mad romp is a great read.
Batman and Robin #2 by Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason and Mick Gray was an excellent issue. The focus is on Damian and I think it is a great choice. Will Bruce be able to understand what his son is and be able to help him or will his almost unforgiving style make Damian the villain his mother was raising? We have Batman, Detective and Dark Knight, so making Damian the focus on this book was a smart choice. Peter is a great writer and Gleason and Gray are top tier artists.
The last book I will mention is Suicide Squad #2 by Adam Glass and Federico Dallocchio & Andrei Bressan. The adventure is an over the top mission to stop a deadly nano-virus. What iced this book was Deadshot setting up a fellow squad member to take the fall for the murders and then Deadshot shoots him to complete the set-up. This squad looks like it will live up to its name and you never know who will live or die, except Harley and Deadshot are too good to lose. This is a high octane action/adventure book.
Even when I try to keep it short it just longer then I had ever thought it would be. Next week’s list is a nice simple one (ha), Near Death, BPRD Russia, Cold War, Godzilla Gansters, Star Trek / Legion of Super Heroes (it is so bizarre of a cross-over I had to read the first issue), Farscape (last issue), Warlord of Mars, Avengers, Avengers 1959, Fear Itself, Hulk, John Carter in (for Thomm) The Princess of Mars, Journey into Mystery, Ultimate Hawkeye, Uncanny X-Men, Wolverine, Batman (Scott Snyder), Batman Odyssey, Birds of Prey, Blue Beetle, Captain Atom, Catwoman, DC Universe Presents, Fables, Green Lantern Corps, Hellblazer, Justice League, Legion of Super Heroes, LOSH The Curse HC, Nightwing, Red Hood and the Outlaws, Suicide Squad Volume 2 TP, Supergirl, and Wonder Woman.
That’s it for this week, stop back next Monday.