Tuesday, August 2, 2011

COMICS READING FOR JULY: “It’s oh so random...and I didn't make 50!"

* NOW WITH STAR RATINGS (ala Wrestling Observer Newsletter PPV reports) *
*****   Watchmen, Marvelman, V For Vendetta
****     From Hell, Supreme, Swamp Thing, Whatever Happened To The Man Of Tomorrow?
***        League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Axel Pressbutton, Tom Strong
**           Promethea
*             WildC.A.T.S.
DUD  (or lower)     anything he’s written for Avatar or any of the non-comics drivel he shits out on a regular basis

1. Weird Western Tales #24 (DC, 1974) **
Writers: Michael Fleischer & Russell Carley/Artist: Noly Panaligan
THIS is your typical Jonah Hex yarn, neither good nor bad. Just kinda there. A blind Hex and a Shakespeare-spouting actor ride through the desert while keeping one step ahead of a murderous pair of brothers intent on avenging their other brother’s death at Hex’s hand. Filipino Noly is quite the revelation – never seen his stuff before and it’s not too shabby.

2.-7. Transmetropolitan: Lust For Life (Vertigo, 2009) ****
- originally published in Transmetropolitan #7-12 (Vertigo, 1998)
Writer: Warren Ellis/Penciller: Darick Robertson/Inker: Rodney Ramos
I don’t understand a third of what Ellis is banging on about in this gonzo cyber-punk thriller, but this second volume fucking rocks! Spider Jerusalem is the Hunter S. Thompson of the 21st century!

8. Salt Water Taffy: The Legend Of Old Salty (Oni Press, 2008) ***½
Writer/Artist: Matthew Loux
Good all-ages fun. Beautiful art and deliriously surreal.

9. Astronauts In Trouble: One Shot, One Beer (AIT/Planet LAR, 2000) **
Writer: Larry Young/Art: Charlie Adlard
Picked this up cheap ‘cos I thought it’d be a funny one-shot about a pub that’s on the moon. Turns out it was part of an ongoing series of books with some big-arsed convoluted storyline that I couldn’t follow for shit. Adlard’s art may be bad now, but at least he’s consistent – he was equally bad 11 years ago. All his characters look the same, even the chicks.  Young’s writing showed promise – whatever became of the guy, I wonder?

10. Godzilla: Kingdom Of Monsers #2  (IDW, 2011) **½
Writers: Eric Powell & Tracy Marsh/Pencils: Phil Hester/Inks: Bruce McCorkindale
I love Hester’s art but I’ve never been a fan of the Japanese monsters. That said, Powell’s yarn is fine for what is.

11. Fear Itself: Prologue: Book Of The Skull (Marvel, 2011) ***
Writer: Ed Brubaker/Penciller: Scot Eaton/Inker: Mark Morales
12.-13. Fear Itself #1, #3 (Marvel, 2011) ***
Writer: Matt Fraction/Artist: Stuart Immonen
14. Fear Itself: The Deep #1 (Marvel, 2011) ***¼
Writer: Cullen Bunn/Pencils: Lee Garbett/Inks: David Meikis
15. Fear Itself: Deadpool #1 (Marvel, 2011) ***½  
Writer: Christopher Hastings/Pencils: Bong Dazo/Inks: Joe Pimentel
The Fear Itself “Marvel event” is actually quite promising from what I’ve read so far (thanks for the lend, Dubbs). Sure, I’ll never PAY for any of these comics, but I’ll happily read them for free. Of what I’ve seen, the main storyline is suitably epic and destructive. The Deep is cool ‘cos it’s reuniting The Defenders (sorta) and Deadpool treats the whole storyline with the disrespect it deserves and, hence, is the best series of the lot. And what's not to love about an artist who calls himself "Bong Dazo"?

16. Image Firsts: Dynamo 5 #1 (Image, 2011) **
- originally published in 2007
Story: Jay Faerber/Artist: Mahmud A. Asrar
Kinda dull.

17. The Guild: Bladezz (Dark Horse, 2011) ***¼
Story: Felicia Day & Sean Becker/Artist: Andrew Currie
Fun little read with great art by Currie. Probably the best of The Guild one-shots so far.

18.-23. Villains United TPB (DC, 2005) ***½ 
- originally published in Villains United #1-6 (2005)
Writer: Gail Simone/Pencillers: Dale Eaglesham & Val Semeiks/Inkers: Wade Von Grawbadger & Prentis Rollins
24.-29.  Secret Six TPB (DC, 2007) ***¾
- originally published in Secret Six #1-6 (2006-07)
Writer: Gail Simone/Penciller: Brad Walker/Inker: Jimmy Palmiotti
30.-36.  Secret Six TPB (DC, 2009) ***½ 
- originally published in Secret Six (regular series) #1-7 (2008-09)
Writer: Gail Simone/Penciller: Nicola Scott/Inker: Doug Hazlewood/extra inks: Rodney Ramos/extra art: Pete Woods, Javi Pina
Listen to episode 13 of Kirby Your Enthusiasm podcast to hear my thoughts on these three trades.

37. The Red Wing #1 (Image, 2011) ***½
Writer: Jonathan Hickman/Artist: Nick Pitarra

38. The Abnormals Special #1 (self-published, 2010?) ***½
Writer/artist: Grant Springford

39. Rodd Racer (Image, 2011) ***¾
Writer/artist: Toby Cypress
At the end of this one-shot, Toby thanks a bunch of people, but there’s one glaring omission: Ashley Wood. Cypress owes a lot of his artistic style to the Aussie artist, so I think Mr Cypress owes Mr Wood an apology for the oversight. Anyways, this comic’s about Rodd Racer, a down-on-his-luck racing car driver in some kinda alternative 1936 Earth who’s trying to win one last road race so he can pay back the money he owes to a Yakuza scumbag. Trouble is, the villain wants Rodd to lose the race (and preferably not finish it in a terminal fashion).  I really don’t know what to make of this book: a part of me loves the living fuck out of it. And a part of me found the spelling typos and “Look at me, I’m so fucking hip” attitude of this book extremely annoying. In the end, the former overpowered the latter. This is a great “arty” graphic novel. There. I’ve said it.

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