Wednesday, November 30, 2005

New Guy, Old Question

For starters, I'm not sure if I'm the third guy buying comics around here or if I'm just a supporting character. I remember when the Bradfords had a baby, my uncle just couldn't accept the fact the show wasn't retitled "Nine is Enough," but I can understand that with all the name branding Chris has done to make "2 Guys Buying Comics" one of the top 8000 comic blogs out there, changing names now would just put us back at square one.

For my first official review, I decided to go backward and address a question Chris raised in a bullet pointed list: Should I read 100 Bullets?

Years ago, I heard all about the "Joe Dimaggio" issue of 100 Bullets (I added the quotes because Dimaggio is never actually called by name) and was strongly encouraged to start reading it. Three years later--around a month ago--I finally broke down and purchased the first two trades.

The first collection proved to be exactly what I expected. Mysterious Agent Graves gives someone a gun with 100 untraceable bullets and evidence of who ruined her life. She struggles with the moral implications of being effectively licensed to kill. Further investigation reveals there is more to the incident that ruined her life than at first meets the eye. People get shot. The end. Next story: guy gets same deal with the gun and the bullets, but when faced with the chance to kill the person who ruined him, he blows it and winds up on the wrong end of the untraceable gun.

Pretty straight forward. Then I read the second trade, where we get our first run in with Lono and a mysterious conversation about the Minutemen and the Trust. The Trust--and Lono--think the Minutemen are dead, but Graves explains the Minutemen always exist because if one dies, someone else replaces him. This is the purpose of the 100 bullet and untraceable gun, to test potential future Minutemen. Still, the conversation makes perfect sense going back and reading it now after digesting another 50 issues, but at the time it comes across like reading the script to a midseason episode of Carnivale (which somehow implies the beginning and end episodes of Carnivale made sense, but I digress...), which is to say utter gibberish that won't pay off for issues and issues to come.

When we finally meet Cole, an ice cream man and petty thief given the same 100 bullets/untraceable gun deal by Agent Graves things begin to take off. Cole seemingly blows the deal and is about to be killed when a trigger word uttered by a homeless man brings back a flood of memories. Cole is a Minuteman who's had some kind of brainwashing or memory wipe to hide him from the Trust. He slaughters everyone and goes to meet Agent Graves ready to pick up where they left off.

The next fifty issues tell us a little more about the Trust and a little more about the Minutemen. We track down more amnesiac Minutemen, bodies pile up, the Trust gets nervous, and Shepherd can't be trusted or maybe he can but maybe he can't unless he can. There are a few very well done moments like when Lono realizes he inadvertently killed his best friend, Wylie's memory of what he hoped to forget with his mindwipe, the aforementioned "Dimaggio" story, and the tale of Roanoke where we get more background on the Trust and the Minutemen than in the other 57 issues combined.

So back to the question: Should I read 100 Bullets?

I guess it depends on what you're asking. As phrased, yes, you should read it. However, while I've truly enjoyed 100 Bullets, even reading all 58 issues over the course of a few weeks, I've lost track of characters (Is Cole "The Wolf?" Which Minuteman is "The Bastard?" Who did Grave intend for Loop to replace?) and plotlines. I can't imagine reading one issue per month for the last five years and having any of it make sense without constant back referencing. More than once I've considered creating a flow chart of some sort or maybe a cast of characters list like the one they put in the back of Walking Dead to keep track of who's dead and who's alive and what role they play/played.

I'd like to start picking up the issues from now on, but think I may be better off sticking with the trades. If I do start buying individual issues, I'll likely let them accumulate until I have 4-5 and can read them all in one sitting.

Shameless Plug For Fellow Comics Guys

Hey all --- just a quick note here, as I see that Big Monkey Comics' website has gone live. It's pretty snazzy, with RSS feeds, BigMonkey Radio (formerly Superhero Radio), and a lot of blog content, reviews, links, news, quotes, and features.

Oh yes, I'm fairly certain you can buy comics there as well. The physical stores are in the Georgetown and Fredericksburg, VA area, which I was delighted to see since my company has a facility in F'Burg that I'll be visiting in February.

Anyhoo, it's co-run and owned by Scipio Garling, the evil genius behind the Absorbascon, and Devon Sanders, the criminal mastermind behind "Seven Hells!" The website is as you'd expect, i.e., excellent and professional.

There's one area/forum called FanFatale, aimed at female readers, which I think is probably an underserved portion of the comics blogosphere in general. Very cool.

2 Guys Buying Comics would also like to point out that our jealousy of Scipio and Devon is running pretty high right now, since their day job means being with comics.

Anyway, Big Monkey Comics, y'all. Check it out.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Randy World Tour 2005

Hi all

I didnt' make the one a day. Apparently I suck, and I can admit it. I"m also lazy, and can admit it. Easier to say those than make excuses, even though I have lots of those too.

Anywho, I'm off "officially" for a couple of weeks. I'm in Singapore and Chennai, India, and far out of reach of any current comics.

If by chance I have any availability in a non-drunken stupor, I could perhaps post rude and tasteless remarks to all of Chris's posts. Or in a drunken stupor even.

I"ll see what I can do.

Talk to you all later.


Monday, November 28, 2005

Chris Talks About Philosophy, Sort Of

Warning: I'm in a wistful, talkative mood. I need to share something here. Plus, there aren't any graphics in this post. So there.

Apparently in the latest issue of Wizard, there's a multiple-choice teaser quiz about DC's Infinite Crisis and the whole One Year Later deal.

I have seen other message boards and bloggers speculating on the answers to this quiz.

I was asked by another blogger to comment on the quiz and share my thoughts in a post. I politely declined. I thought I should share my rationale for this decision. I'm like that.

I have seen precisely 2 questions on this quiz (courtesy of said message boards and blogs), and immediately forced myself to stop reading.

I do not read Wizard. It's not that I think they're the Devil's Periodical or something, I just would rather spend my money reading actual comics than reading about comics. I can read about comics for free on the internet (har!).

So I haven't seen the whole quiz. Nor will I discuss the quiz here at 2 Guys Buying Comics. Based solely on the 2 questions I saw, there were enough spoilers in the questions and possible answers themselves that I didn't want to read another word.

See, I'd like to think that comics can still surprise me, and that even though at this point I have innate distrust of anything that promises to "shake the foundations of the [Insert Comics Company Name Here] Universe", at the end of the day I'm still just a guy buying comics. And I don't want them spoiled. That's one reason I had to stop reading the damn Previews solicitations and look at them by title only. And yes, I realize that I spoil every damn comic I review. But I give fair warning, and I'm not the one trying to sell you the damn things.

Besides, the way I see it, there are two kinds of comics reviews: non-spoilery, which try to make you want to buy that issue, and spoilery, which should tell you whether a comic is good enough to warrant buying the next issue. But I digress. That whole topic is worthy of its own post this week.

I'm still naive enough, or idealistic enough, or childish enough --- call it what you will --- to want to be surprised, thrilled, and interested in comics. And even though I love a good "What If" debate about where a certain plot or character is going as much as the next person, I want to keep some of the mystery around as well. And I just can't do that if I read a paragraph that tells me that Character A will be around in 3 issues when the writer has clearly gone out of their way to make me think that Character A is in mortal danger. So maybe I'm old fashioned, but that's the way I see it. I'm not paying $3 an issue for a story that's already had its ending revealed.

(Except for Ronin. Who I learned today --- thanks to Rich Johnston --- is not Daredevil, so there, I was wrong, but the actual identity is...well...hrm. I won't tell you who it is, but if you're interested, go read the latest Lying in The Gutters . And no, Avenger fans won't like who it is. Oh, you can bet your Tales of Suspense #1 we'll be talking about this in a future post.)

And yeah, sometimes I can see where plots are going or eventual outcomes, but one of the great things about comics is that when a comic is good --- I mean, really good --- you just can't wait a month for the next issue. I felt that way about Identity Crisis, to be perfectly honest with you. (Whoa! 2 Guys Buying Comics just lost half their readership!) It was a "gotta have the next issue" feeling, and regardless of the overall opinion of the series, I hadn't felt that way about comics in a long time.

Anyway. So while I'd love to dissect the quiz, talk about the OYL possibilities and Infinite Crisis theories, 2 Guys Buying Comics is going to do it the old-fashioned way: on an issue by issue basis, with just enough asshattedness that has become our trademark mixed in and throwing out a prediction here or there. Just a heads up. That's how 2 Guys Buying Comics rolls.

Thanks for listening. Y'all are sweet!

Friday, November 25, 2005

House of M's Day In Court

Hidey-ho, neighbors. Some late, late reviews to start things off, then we talk House of M:

Marvel Team-Up #14: I don't know why, but I thought this was excellent. Although clearly a full-length ad for Kirkman's Invincible, it was breezy enough and jokey enough to where I didn't mind. The art sucked my left one, though. Yeeesh. There's a good scene where Spidey introduces Invicible to the New Avengers, and some slam-bang Doctor Octopus fightin'. I should mention that Randy thought this comic was absolutely terrible.

Seven Soldiers: Bulleteer #1 : OK, I thought this sucked. I'll just throw that out there. So we have some not-so-sub-text about cheesecake heroines and their lurid depictions, a wife who clearly married an idiot, and absolutely no compelling reason to follow this character for another three issues. Unfortunately, because I desperately want to believe that Morrison can pull another one off, I'll probably end up getting the rest of this mini. Seriously, was there anything to like about this, other than the fact that we get to go "Hah! He's looking at superhero porn! It's funny because it's not that far a stretch from what may occur in real life!" ? Which should make us feel a tiny bit creepy.

Infinite Crisis #2: Well, I'm not sure how I feel about this. On the one hand, we learn that Power Girl is Earth-2 Supes' cousin. Which, you know, meh. On the other hand, we discover that apparently the Golden Age Superman, Alex Luthor, Superboy-Prime and Lois Lane think that the heroes have screwed up our dimension, what with the crazy mindwipings and OMACs and all. Which strikes me a little off, them passing judgment on "us". Anyhoo. I know this is all some big metatextual statement on DC comics in general and the direction they've taken, blah blah, and it's interesting on one level, and stultifyingly self-important and righteous on the other. So there. If that made any sense, you're doing better than I am. Still, I'm interested enough and the art is pretty enough to recommend this.

Hawkman #46: Oh God. I knew this was going to happen. If you've seen the cover to this issue, then you've seen the best part of this comic. Pure filler with a side of hack here, as the Hawks are mopping up St. Roch and stumble across an OMAC (yawn). They fight, pointlessly, and then the whole thing leads into the same sequence of events that started that moldy bag of peed-on Cream O' Wheat that was Rann-Thanagar War. To make things even more depressing, the next three issues deal with said War, which is code for "boring and pointless exposition that won't have any impact nor make any sense to anyone". And to top off this Hawkman fan's week, it's announced that after Infinite Crisis they're changing the title and focus of this comic to Hawkgirl. Thanks, DC! Do I get a free kick in the balls with that?

Gotham Central #37: That'll teach me to ask for a free kick in the balls! GC's getting canceled too! I know, allegedly it was Rucka's decision, but the end result is the same. This issue is a personal story that involves the fallout (literally) from Day of Vengeance, as two GCPD detectives try to make their way home through Gotham whilst avoiding the magical debris and anarchy all around them. It's a harrowing tale that wraps nicely and has a big ol' message about family and faith in the middle of it, and screw you --- I loved it.

Anyway, there's some quickie reviews of comics nearly three weeks old, which shows you how friggin' far behind I am. But there's something we have to talk about, dear friend.

So House of M, the series proper, is over.

Good for House of M. Good for Marvel, good for Bendis. Bad for mutants, but them's the breaks.

So, how was it?

Well, it didn't suck, entirely. It wasn't internet-cleaving, as promised. Ladies and gentlemen, I offer the following --- The Trial of M.

For the Prosecution: Your honor, I submit to you that this whole House of M --- and indeed, Avengers Disassembled before it --- has been one long, bloated ego trip on the part of Brian Michael Bendis and Marvel in general. In a story that could easily have been condensed into 4 issues and retained a tighter focus and more powerful effect, we had to suffer through 8 issues and four crap miniseries, not to mention the crossover issues into regular series. And for what? So that we could scale back the number of mutants in the Marvel U? So Bendis could bring Hawkeye back to life? So we could have 14,327 "Elseworlds"-type issues cluttering our summer? The art was pedestrian and generic, the covers to all the books uniformly sucked (unless you got a variant), and it moved at a snail's pace.

And riddle me this, your honor. If this was supposed to reduce the mutant presence, how come every other friggin' solicitation for December through February is about a mutant comic, a mutant miniseries, or a mutant guest appearance? Is this a meaning of the word "reduce" that I'm not aware of? Or is it another misguided attempt at irony?

But back to the miniseries tie-ins. I freely admit that it's my own fault for buying the Iron Man House of M miniseries. I'm a Tony Stark homer, and an idiot. I get what I deserve there. But I read the FF and Spider-Man ones too (and no, I didn't buy them), and I gotta say...why? Why? Is there one single reason that even fans of those characters should have picked up those series? Because I saw a whole lotta sound and a teeny tiny amount of fury there. And, oh, by the way, none of them made a damn bit of difference in the overall storyline. So there's something of a lack of payoff there as well.

And making Wolverine the central character in all this as of issue #2? Brilliant. You managed to keep those of us who are tired of Wolverine in check for the first two issues, knowing that we'd hang on to the end. In fact, you pretty much lied when you stated that this series would feature some non-mutant characters, like, say, Avengers. Because other than maybe 10 seconds of screen time at the beginning and at the end, this was ENTIRELY about X-characters. Which would be OK, and yes, I should have seen it coming, since the title was "House of M", and I was just a naive schoolboy who thought that Marvel's tentpole event would feature the entire Marvel U instead of just the "kewl" characters.

Oh, memo to Marvel? We generally don't give a rat's ass about Emma Frost, either. So stop shoving her down our throats as well, get her the hell out of the spotlight, and move along to someone more interesting, say, the Blob. Just because the uber-telepath in a bikini looks hotter than the uber-telepath in a wheelchair doesn't mean she resonates anywhere more with readers except perhaps somewhere near the groin.

Your honor, I implore you to seek retribution. Steal Bendis' and Quesada's pants or something. Or at the very least, hit them with a steam iron.

For the Defense:

Of course it took 8 issues. It's a miniseries. You knew that going in, right on the cover where it said "#1 of 8". So quit bitching. You also knew pretty generally that this was going to be an alternate reality-type situation involving flip-flopping the human/mutant status quo. I mean, you didn't really think "House of M" stood for "House of Marvel", did you? Sheesh.

And you know what? For all your bitching about the miniseries, the fact that none of them had an impact on the main storyline meant MARVEL WAS TELLING THE TRUTH. They said from the beginning that you didn't have to read any of the minis to understand the main story, and they were absolutely right, unlike some other miniseries involving Batman, spy satellites, and OMACs I could name. So get off their backs about the miniseries --- they turned out to be exactly as advertised.

Let's look at the bigger picture. What did this series accomplish? Here's a few examples:

  • Fewer mutant characters. Joe Q was dead on when he said in an interview that making a new character a mutant was just lazy writing, a shortcut to coming up with an interesting origin and character. So kudos for wiping out most of them, including some boring ones who were never that compelling to begin with (I'm lookin' at you, Iceman).
  • Hawkeye's back. You all bitched when he was stupidly killed, and rightfully so. Now he's back and apparently has an attitude and a grudge against his former teammates, which --- face it ---gives him something interesting about his character again, something that he didn't have for the last two years. Don't believe me? Who would you rather watch and see what they do next, Hawkeye or Captain America? Hawkeye or Iron Man? Hawkeye or Wolverine? (OK, that last one was a trick question. Sit down, fanboy.)
  • An interesting direction for Dr. Strange, as he must come to grips with being a failure and has his confidence shaken. There are some excellent ways to revitalize this character now, beginning with sending him on the Hero's Journey to redeem himself.
  • Wolverine remembers everything now, which means at least we can stop with the "international man of mystery" angle.

So yeah, some good things did come of it. And in the midst of some terrific revelations and action, we got powerful moments like Peter Parker's "awakening" and Hawkeye's "second death" and the final confrontation at the end. Those were genuinely emotional scenes that really left an impression.

Was it the perfect miniseries? No. Will it please everyone? No. But in the end, it was probably a good thing that didn't suck too many dollars in service of the main story, had competent art, and real consequences for the Marvel U continuity, which is allegedly what everyone wants out of one of these event thingys.

So, your Honor, the Defense sees no reason why there should be any sort of pants-stealing or steam iron-throwing here. It was a decent miniseries that lived up to expectations.

And that's pretty much my take on House of M. I'm deeply divided. In the end, I'll puss out and give it 2.5/5 rating for Comic Book Goodness, and that particular rating could go another 2 points either way depending on the mood I'm in.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Ninvengers Dissemble!


The New Avengers, inexplicably still fighting ninjas in Tokyo, spend this issue fighting more ninjas. Ninja ninja ninja. Then, in a mind-bogglingly stupid development, we see that Spider-Woman has been working for Madame Hydra for awhile because Mme. Hydra was the one that gave Jessica her powers back, or something. Apparently Hydra-Babe blackmails Jessica into taking her into custody with the promise of releasing her whenever she says so. Finally, the New Avengers show up at Ninja Theme Park HQ, where they are confronted by…sigh…Silver Samurai.


There are so many problems here I don’t know where to begin, so I’ll fall back on bullet points.

  • Did I mention that three-quarters of the book is the NA fighting ninjas? As has been stated elsewhere, this is patently ridiculous. I can see Avengers v. Ninjas taking thirty seconds, max, and that’s if Iron Man’s armor isn’t charged, Captain America has dysentery, Luke Cage takes some cough syrup, and Spider-Man is concentrating on picking horses in the 5th at Belmont.
  • To be fair, during the entire fight scene the Avengers themselves are all treating it as one big joke themselves, so maybe that’s Bendis winking at us, which is creepy on many levels.
  • The whole Viper/Madame Hydra/Spider-Woman thing is so blatantly a setup or tie-in to Jessica Drew’s ongoing series (shockingly, written by Brian Michael Bendis!) that I can’t bring myself to care.
  • So, after Viper tells SW to blast her and take her in, the Avengers happen upon this bit of stageplay and berate SW for running off by herself. For which her justification is essentially, “Well, in S.H.I.E.L.D. we just get the intel and then act immediately on our own!” Um, hon? S.H.I.E.L.D. is a spy organization that is so top-down heavy-handedly managed that Captain Freakin’ America has to get clearance for missions. Hard to believe they fired you, Jess. Sheesh. Continuity 0, Bendis 353.
  • Silver Samurai? This is what we’ve been leading up to? Avengers versus the Japanese Mafia? Bears repeating.

  • Thanks for the wasted page of showing Luke Cage in the elevator for four panels doing nothing.

So yeah, not the strongest effort from Bendis here.

Best Moment: Iron Man and Spidey talking about how Dr. Doom is smelly. I can’t believe I just wrote that.

Worst Moment: The ninja battle. The Avengers somehow morph into the Marx Brothers, what with the snappy dialogue and all. All that’s missing is the Sentry showing up to honk a horn and play his harp. Come to think of it, that would actually make the Sentry interesting.

Comic Book Goodness: 2/5. I’m being generous solely for the art, which isn’t amazing but gets the job done, and because the optimist in me wants to give Bendis the benefit of the doubt on this whole fight scene thing.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

A Hex Upon Your House!


Well, lookee here. What’s this? A Western comic that doesn’t involve zombies, alternate futures, weirdness for weirdness’ sake, or any apparent overarching hoo-ha about superheroes?

I am so in.

Jonah Hex here is presented as a drifter, a problem-solver for hire who lives by his own code and wanders around doing jobs for cash and shooting people who deserve it. If the first issue is any template to judge by, it looks like we’re in for a grand old episodic Western comic with double-crossing varmints, nefarious schemes, and one man’s struggle to reconcile who he is with what he does.

Did I mention that this doesn’t shy away from depictions of violence or pull any punches when it comes to creating emotional situations with no easy answers?

Yeah. This comic was totally Airwolf. Plus, Hex has always had that creepy face thing going for him (about 100 times ookier than any depiction of Two-Face than I’ve ever seen), and the art smartly photoreferences Clint Eastwood for the non-mutilated half of his face. I read this 3 times in a row, and liked it better each time.

Palmiotti and Gray (we’ll be talking about them more in another review) hit this one out of the park. Looks like old-fashioned Westerns are back, and that’s a good thing. The question now is whether or not enough people buy it.

You. Right there. The one looking at your monitor---yeah, you. Go buy this comic.

Best Moment: “Normally, I’d hang you, but I figure your actions warrant something really cruel and unusual.” Heh. Justice, thy name is Hex.

Worst Moment: Hex discovers the lost boy he’s been searching for, and in a rare instance me not spoiling the comic for y’all, it’s a wrenching sequence that you’ll just have to read for yourself.

Comic Book Goodness: 5/5. Unequivocally the best comic I’ve read in a month, and one that, gosh darn it, gives me hope for the industry overall. I’m weepy, y’all.

Mini-Reviews Begin Here

Screw you, Blogger! After I had my big-ass reviews section all ready to post last night, the Blogger editing app took a nosedive and scrapped my work.

I know, I know, it's my fault for not just writing the damn thing in Word and saving it off. Thanks, Mom. Will do.

So I'm doing my best to recreate the piece in bite-sized chunks, beginning here.

DMZ #1

Apparently, this is a great comic. I know this because every other review I’ve read says it’s a great comic.

This is not one of those reviews.

It’s a good comic, I guess. No, you know what, it’s an OK comic. That’s it. It’s OK. Not great.

See, the thing is, it appears to have an interesting premise --- the United States embroiled in future civil war --- which offers a lot of storytelling opportunities. Based on (solely) the first issue, it appears that what we’re going to get is Escape From New York, except that Snake Plissken has been replaced with a photo intern and there’s no Isaac Hayes anywhere in sight. Yet.

“You…are the Duke of New York…you are…A-Number-One.”

Man, Donald Pleasence was good in that movie!

Anyhoo: DMZ is OK. The art is certainly…clear. You can tell what’s going on most of the time. And the point of view of the story -- a look at the people who live in the DMZ who are trapped in the middle of a war --- is certainly a valid one, I guess. I think the problem is that at this point I don't want meta-commentary on the current state of world affairs in my comics right now. At least if it's subtle then I can ignore it, but Brian Wood here hits us over the head so danged hard you just can't. So it's entirely possible that I am the problem here. But at this point, I don’t care about Matty (the aforementioned photo intern), the multiply-pierced girl who ends up helping him, or the plight of these people in New Yor---errr, the DMZ. I would much rather read about the civil war that made Manhattan the place that it is now.

But that’s just me. It’s not a bad comic, but it certainly isn’t the next coming of [Insert Name Of Incredibly Well-Reviewed and Praised Comic Here].

That, of course, would be Jonah Hex. More on that in a bit.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Update Coming I Swear

Hi all --- I've got 13 new comics from this week and last to review, and as Iron Man is my witness, the reviews are going up tomorrow! Avengers, Assemble! (Unless you're Rob Liefeld's Captain America With Action Figure Breasts. We don't need you, princess.)

Monday, November 07, 2005

Wonder-ful Day

Not really. Been ill for like 6 days now. Damn cold. Very grumpy, but at least I have no reason to bash todays comic in review.

Wonder Woman #222
Blood Debt

The brief skinny- the Cheetah portions are simply filler. Who cares, very blah. The American Fleet, Diana turning herself into The Hague, and the Amazons of Themyscira, now that is a story. The last panel- I"m very very excited for the next ish. It is going to be good, and I'm not expecting a letdown.

Sure, we get a brief origin on The Cheetah. At least an entire ish was not spent on it, so in that regard it was good. On the other hand, I didnt' care. I was far more interested in the rest of the book. I like seeing the other Amazons having more in the book than just "red-shirted Star Trek security personnel", because we all know what happens to them. Although, I don't want them to do an offshoot book, like Baldur or the Three Warriors, because they are still better off as accompanying characters.

Why do I read Wonder Woman? Its not for the skimpiness of a female hero. I can get that anywhere else I turn. (See Witchblade, Powergirl, et al.) My educational background is in Roman and Greek culture, so I enjoy seeing how writers today try to fraternize the greek world with the modern world. Let me tell you how much fun it is seeing an Amazon in this book wearing a sidearm. It made me giggle. And then realize how cool it looked.

But then there were the last two pages. I got goosebumps just now looking at the last page again. Wow. Rucka won't let me down, I know he won't. This is his book, not something DC more or less forced him to write, so I know that he will right this one. And I can't wait to get there.

Does anyone else have this feeling that Diana will be dying in the Crisis, and Donna takes her place as Wonder Woman? I'm really starting to lean that way. Or would that be too easy of a resolution between her, Supes & Bats? I mean heck, she was crafted from clay.

Overall, 3/5. Too much origin, but still ok. The rest of the book was grand. Onto #223 please!

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Fire in the Hole

And at least since these are one shot reviews and not lengthy to scroll and scroll and scroll, no one can get lost either, or forget their place while fetching a beer, or a water, or etc...

Today, I bring you Firestorm.

Firestorm #19
The Forests of the Night

First off, I really like this cover by Matt Haley. How Firestorms flaming head fades out behind him, much like Bob Ross painting far away landscape. I love Bob Ross, even though he passed away. But, I"ll save that for another day. And I really like Donna Troy's outfit. Black with sparkly like stars that is just a real nice look. Ah, on the topic of covers, I neglected to mention in the Supergirl, errr.. Superman review previously that the cover was also excellent. I was exceptionally caught by the space colours.

Then we go inside the book though. Its a good tale, again. A little slow in parts. Character development time. Sometimes good, sometimes bad. Its good here, just slowwww....
I love how Firestorm has a rep of being slightly oft-kilter. Everyone keeps hearing him talk to himself, sometimes jibe at himself. And the supporting characters play off of it very nicely.

I'm interested to find out who Gehenna is. She makes a brief appearance, adding to the oft-kilter portion of the book, and was introduced two issues ago in Firestorm. (She may have made other appearances, but I have no clue.) She drops a stunning line, so it makes me wonder who she really is.

The end is all wierd though. Just like the last book. It has wierd spacey stuff, and I'm not picking up on it. It involves the future (DUH!!) of Firestorm, but I think in a character way, not a plot way.

Then I picked up on something that carried through the book, and made me keep looking for it. Noses. Close-up, face-on noses are drawn odd in some panels. I mean REALLY odd. But others, they looked ok. I found it almost funny that I was actually looking at everyone's noses whilst reading thru the book.

Overall: 2/5. It was kinda slow in parts. Parts I felt I could have skipped, and not been lost later. Nice to see he is going to be a player in the Crisis though.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Soup Day

Three days in a row of posting something for me. A record. I better stop now while I"m ahead.

Superman # 223

I'll admit I have never been a Superman fan. It just seems that since he is Superman, well, he can do anything so why bother with the rest?
Incorrect Randy, do not pass go, do not collect $200. What I find interesting about this is that people continue to try to throw challenges at him, the audacity to try to "kill" him, and continue to fail. And as we know that there is no death in the comics world, "kill" will always have quotes. (See Flash, See Hawkeye, See Moon Knight, et al.)
I also kinda like his high and moral stuff. And they mix in a little cluelessness to the real world, so it adds a nice little touch there. And I don't care what anyone says, I think it looks cool his eyes turn all red and black when his heat vision goes off. It gives him a kinda evil look, like he's really pissed.

The artwork is incredible. Wow. I really, really like it. I thought it was excellent.

But then there is the story. Cover Lettering: Supergirls Farewell? For the Crisis storyline, sure, but its a little over-the-top hyped up. Of course, I guess if you put a half-dressed female superhero on the cover, it'll sell more copies too. So she's going into space with Donna Troy- we all knew that. So blah on you for over hyping.

I've been picking up Superman lately, and it hasn't been too shabby. It's probably because he was going to be a big time player in the Crisis, and I just wanted to get a feel for how he has been written lately. Now that I think about it, that has been the driving force. I have never read the Superman titles, so I needed to kind of "catch up" I guess. Batman never changes, so I still don't bother to read any of those titles. As for the other "big playah", Wonder Woman, I have read that series. No need to go to great detail here, but I like that title, I like Rucka, so I will continue to read that title.

Overall, since it feels like a filler issue, 3/5. But the art. Well drawn. It almost overshadows the story for me.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Western Roundup Friday

Its better to have Aloha Friday, but there are no Hawaiian comics that I am aware of. So, I'm gunna have to just do the Western thing.

Jonah Hex #1
Giving The Devil His Due

All I wanted was a nice little western comic. Jonah Hex. Kid Colt. Those were just simple fun little stories to read. I liked them as a kid. I like watching westerns now. And, I like Jonah Hex #1. I enjoyed the story. It was a nice little tale. I miss Westerns. It made me want to keep reading to see what was going to happen next. I've decided Jonah isn't a very nice man to bad people. Then again, he never really was and that continues in this new series.

I liked the art. Simple. Clear. Nice to see just everyday typical, albeit historical, humans being drawn. No one with muscles that poke into the sun. No laser beams from their eyes. Humans. Old costumes and they were drawn great. Six shooters. Tomahawk. And not the missile. Man it was nice to read some good old fashioned fun. A couple of the shots of Jonah were VERY Clint Eastwood. I'm ok with that. I like Clint. I mean, looking at half the face, I knew it was Clint. The other half. Eh..

The fighters were a bit on the silly side, but bah, it was easy to overlook it. Added a bit of action. I'm sure this is still done out there somewhere. Its nasty sounding, but oh well, its a culture thing.

I'm glad to see that there are people out there who can still script a story, and put it to comic form. Is it earth shattering? Nope. Will it break the internet? Nope.

Overall: 4/5. A story. A tale. Whatever you want to call it. And I loved the chapter breakdowns. Pick it up. Enjoy the tale. It wont' surprise you, its not a cliffhanger ending. Once again, a good tale.



Thursday, November 03, 2005

Maybe one Thought at a Time

So, I'm thinking to myself "When was the last time I did any postings here?" Weeks? Yeah, probably. So, I'll try something new that won't consume three hours a whack. One review. One review a day. Its either that or I ask good ol' GW for 36 hours in a day.

And no spoilers, still. Where is the fun in that. And so, for Randy New Edition Vol 1, I give you:

Seven Soldiers: Bulleteer
Ballistic: How the Bulleteer Began

How about that cover? And how about the opening shot? This whole book is Cleavage 101. Is that a good thing. Well, its certainly not that bad. Better than Al the Plumber. This is truly a "powergirls" issue.

However pretty or distracting you may find Cleavage 101, this was by far the most comprehensible of the Seven Soldiers series. Now don't get me wrong, Mister Miracle was easy to, but its Apokolips. Snooze. Zatanna; some background was very helpful. Manhattan Guardian was a decent read, but it got downright silly. This is a plain old simple good origin issue. Not like Klarion, witch I could not comprehend and it was just bad. Or Shining Knight, which was just boring and needed some kind of punch.

Bulleteer: punch. Is the art as strong in this as some of the others- no. But come on, be real, are ya really looking at the art? Cleavage 101. However, look past Cleavage 101, look past the panties shots (welllll...if you wanna) and it is pretty well drawn. Except for maybe that conehead looking thing on her head. I know, its a "bullet", but it um...kinda looks funny?

The only problem I had with it is that she displays strength. Um, that is not what her "superpower" does. It gives her that super cool shiny hard "bullet" skin. (Not a spoiler- that was a given.)

Of course, I'm generally more about story than art. The only time I will drag down on the art is if it gets in the way of my story, ala Howling Monsters/Commando's. Man, that was bad. I may make little quips on how maybe it could've been better here or there, or how some of it was incredible. Think that piece of crap All Star Batman and Robin. The art is really well done, but the story is utter crap. Fuck you DC. Fuck you Frank Miller. Thank you Jim Lee?

Bulleteer and Mister Miracle have so far been my favorite of the Seven Soldiers, with Zatanna a close third. Looking forward to viewing the Frankenstein that is out soon too.

Overall: Good Book. Did Cleavage 101 help? Not really. Was super to look at of course (I'm not Dead!!) but the origin was not a pain in the ass to suffer through and was a good read. Maybe Cleavage 101 did help some in that capacity. Anyways, for me, 4/5 for this book. I'm thinking maybe they should finally paint a costume on a character. Everyone is going to say it was done anyways.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

I'm Baaaaaaaack!

Hey howdy all, and thanks for putting up with the non-updates. I hope the last two weeks haven't scared anyone away from 2 Guys Buying Comics. The good news is that the family and I are pretty much moved in to the new joint at this point, finally. I hate moving.

Anyway, thought I'd ease back into the whole blogging ritual with some bullet point posts about comics I've read over the last two weeks, outdated tho the opinions may be. Read on, and Beware of Massive Spoilers!

  • Infinite Crisis #1: OK, this was a lot better than I thought it was going to be. Things I liked included the whole Batman/Superman/WW scene at the Watchtower and the art. Mmmm, the art. Things I didn't like included the gratuitous plot hammers showing us the tie-in effects from each of the four miniseries and the destruction of the Freedom Fighters, although I'm not going to sit here and pretend that Uncle Sam was the Best Character Ever and Damn You DC For Killing Him, because let's face it --- the heroes on the Freedom Fighters team? Pretty much lame, with the possible exception of the Human Bomb. Oh, and if I hear them referred to as Freedom Force one more time, I will scream. Good stuff overall, with a sufficiently intriguing ending, although as I claimed in an earlier post, damned if I'm going to go back and sort out COIE, Zero Hour, and all those other Continuity Balls Of Yarn to figure out the full significance of those Golden Age/Earth Whatever folks returning. Besides, Devon over at Seven Hells explains things as far I need to know.
  • Green Lantern Corps: Recharge #2: OK, this is still hitting my fanboy buttons. The art gets a little weird here in places, though, and unfortunately every time the Rann-Thanagar Plot Device appears, things grind to a halt. We did get Mogo, the living Green Lantern Planet, though, so that's cool. Nice little semi-advancement of the plot overall, without too much Infinite Crisis nonsense. Well done. (Although the art is still unexplainably iffy here.)
  • Iron Ghost #4: Well, they fooled me. My leading candidate for the Iron Ghost is pretty definitively proved to not be IG, and the mystery deepens. We also get the inevitable Nazi torture sequence that's guaranteed to show up in damn near any comic set in WW2 Germany, and it's suitably skeevy. I am enjoying this miniseries to no end. Highly recommended.
  • Conan #21: I'm liking this mini-arc, as it's essentially Conan pulling a smash-and-grab on an impregnable tower of an all-powerful sorcerer, but screw that. All you need to know about this issue is that master thief gets whacked and the entire last half is one big fight between Conan and a Giant Spider of Doom, which, you know, Giant Spiders of Doom are money. Always. It's a rule. Good comic.
  • Seven Soldiers: Klarion #4: Um, OK. So Melmoth --- ex-husband of evil Sheeda queen--- follows Klarion back down to Witchville, makes several references as to how he's going to kill all the men and rape all the women, Klarion turns into a demon and kills Melmoth's SWAT team, and...huh? Weak, man. Weak ending to an otherwise creepy series. Frazer Irving's art still rocks the houseboat, though.
  • Justice #2: Honestly, I don't know if I have the patience to not wait for the trade on this one. Two months between issues is a lot to ask, and this is coming from an Iron Man reader! But whereas my deep and abiding love for Tony Stark keeps me buying IM comics despite the schedule, I'm not sure that this Superfriends Writ Large take justifies the attention span. Yes, the art is good. And the issue-by-issue focus is both good and bad. Good in the sense that if it's a character you like, then you'll probably like the issue. Bad, because if Justice #8 features, say, Apache Chief, know. This issue, Batman chases Riddler. Riddler gets caught and apparently tries to strangle himself. There's some interesting things going on with the villains, though, and an absolute money scene at the end with Braniac and a captive Aquaman that actually makes me afraid of Braniac.

OK, I feel better now. Not so nervous any more---and I didn't even have to resort to linkblogging! Yay! I'm home!