Sunday, September 30, 2012

COMICS READING FOR AUGUST: “It’s destiny...ClanDestine-y”



* NOW WITH STAR RATINGS (ala Wrestling Observer Newsletter PPV reports) *

 

HOW I RATE THE COMICS VIA THE ALAN MOORE SCALE

*****   Watchmen, Marvelman, V For Vendetta

****     From Hell, Supreme, Swamp Thing, Whatever Happened To The Man Of Tomorrow?

***        League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen (the first two series), Axel Pressbutton, Tom Strong

**           Promethea

*             LoEG: Century: 1969

DUD  (or lower)     anything he’s written for Avatar or any of the non-comics drivel he shits out on a regular basis

1.-17. Strangers In Paradise Pocket Book 2 (Abstract Studio, 2004) ***¾

- originally published in Strangers In Paradise Volume III #1-17 (Image/Abstract 1996-98)

Writer/artist: Terry Moore

I really enjoyed this volume, detailing the ongoing adventures of Katchoo and Francine, although Terry’s storytelling ability doesn’t hold up when you read 17 issues in one hit. For starters, everyone in this series yell. A LOT. And the driving storyline of criminal mastermind Darcy Parker trying to get one of her “girls” into the White House has too many ludicrous holes in it to ever work for a supposed evil genius. More successful are Moore’s later stories in this omnibus: a four-part look at the early school friendship between the two key characters, and a whacky Xena: Warrior Princess pastiche that’s a light, fun read. Moore’s artwork is reminiscent of Jaime Hernandez and is quite exquisite. I’l l be interested to see if his storytelling improves over the next four volumes.

18. -27. ClanDestine Classic HC (Marvel, 2008) ***¾

- originally published in Marvel Comics Presents #158, ClanDestine #1-8 & X-Men/ClanDestine #1-2 (Marvel, 1994-96)

Writer: Alan Davis/Artists: Alan Davis & Mark Farmer

28.-32. ClanDestine #1-5 (Marvel, 2008) ***

Writer: Alan Davis/Artists: Alan Davis & Mark Farmer

33. Fantastic Four Annual #33 (Marvel, 2012) ***

Writer: Alan Davis/Artists: Alan Davis & Mark Farmer

34. Daredevil Annual #1 (Marvel, 2012) ***¼

Writer: Alan Davis/Artists: Alan Davis & Mark Farmer

35. Super Crooks #4 (Marvel, 2012) ****¼

Writer: Mark Millar/Artist: Leinil Yu

36. The Mighty Thor #2 (Newton Comics, 1976) **

 - originally published in Journey Into Mystery #101-102 (Marvel, 1964)

B&W reprint title from Australia. I grew up with these comics, but looking at them now, the reprinting quality and general shoddiness of the editing is appalling.

37.-45. Batman Inc.: The Deluxe Edition (DC, 2012) ***½

- originally published in Batman Inc. #1-8 & Batman Inc.: Leviathan Strikes (DC, 2010-12)

Writer: Grant Morrison/Artists: various

At its best, this first volume features some amazing artwork, quirky storytelling and some nicely revived old Batman supporting characters. Lord Death Man’s appearance in the first two issues is a real highlight, as is Man Of Bats’ one-issue appearance. But the series goes into a convoluted plot that I couldn’t really grasp and I was left with a final sour taste in my mouth along the lines of, “Grant’s being too clever for his own good again.”

46.-51. Daredevil by Mark Waid Vol. 1 (Marvel, 2012) ****

- originally published in Daredevil #1-6 (Marvel, 2011)

Writer: Mark Waid/Artists: various
- The grim and mentally pummelled Bendis/Brubaker Daredevil is gone, replaced with an old-school fun-loving DD that’s kinda cool to read, especially as Waid hasn’t ignored what’s gone on before in the series, but incorporated it in his own unique take on the Hornhead character. Is Daredevil now truly crazy, or is he trying to deal with his fucked-up world in the only way he knows how, by being a balls-to-the-wall swinging superhero? Waid lays the foundations for what should be a pretty damn good series. I’ll be back for Volume 2.

52.-57. Guardians Of The Galaxy: Legacy TPB (Marvel, 2009) ***¼

- originally published in Guardians Of The Galaxy (Marvel, 2008-09)

Writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning/Artist: Paul Pelletier & Rick Magyar (interiors), Clint Langley (covers)

Where it all began. Kinda cool and I love Rocket Raccoon.

58. The Underwater Welder by Jeff Lemire (Top Shelf, 2012) ****½

Moving, unpredictable, unforgettable.

59. Fil Barlow’s Zooniverse (Milk Shadow Books, 2012) ****

Writer/artist: Fil Barlow

60.-64. Fantastic Four: First Family (Marvel, 2006) ***½

Writer: Joe Casey/Artists: Chris Weston & Gary Erskine

65. Power Company #15 (DC, 2003) ***½

Writer: Kurt Busiek/Artist: Gary Chaloner

I got this for Chaloner’s art, which is very nice. As is the Will Eisner homage. Manhunter vs Batman – lovely stuff.

66. The Creep #0 (Dark Horse, 2012) ***¾

Writer: John Arcudi/Artist: Jonathan Case (interiors), Frank Miller (cover)

67. Punk Rock Jesus #2 (Vertigo,  2012) ****

Writer/artist: Sean Murphy

I fucking love this story of a cloned Jesus Christ winding up as a reality TV star.

68. Before Watchmen: Rorschach #1 (DC, 2012) ****

Writer: Brian Azzarello/Artist: Lee Bermejo

69. Before Watchmen: Dr. Manhattan #1 (DC, 2012) ****

Writer: J. Michael Straczynski/Artist: Adam Hughes

70. Before Watchmen: Nite Owl #2 (DC, 2012) ****¼

Writer: J. Michael Stracynski/Artists: Andy & Joe Kubert

71. Before Watchmen: Ozymandias #2 (DC, 2012) ***

Writer: Len Wein/Artist: Jae Lee

72.-73. Revival #1-2 (Image, 2012) ****

Writer: Tim Seeley/Artist: Mike Norton

The dead are back, but not as zombies. Just back. How does a small Wisconsin community deal with it? How do the police handle it? A fascinating, creepy, X-Files-style yarn.

74.-75. Mind MGMT #3-4 (Dark Horse, 2012) ***¾

Writer/Artist: Matt Kindt

76.-77. Tarot: Witch Of The Black Rose #3-4 (BroadSword Comics, 2000) ½*

78.-80. Justice Inc. #2-4 (DC, 1975) **½

Writer: Denny O’Neil & Paul Levitz (on #4)/Artists: Jack Kirby & Mike Royer, Joe Kubert (#4 cover)

Kirby!!!

81.-83. Ministry Of Space Omnibus, Ministry Of Space #3 (Image, 2004) ****

Writer: Warren Ellis/Artist: Chris Weston

Another underrated sci-fi yarn by Ellis. A dark and entertaining alternative reimagining of the space race, where England won.

84. Legends Of The DC Universe (DC, 1999) ***½

Writer: Mark Evanier/Artists: Steve Rude & Bill Reinhold

Rude may be shit at personal finances but he fucking rocks as an artist. This old-school yarn featuring Superman, Jimmy Olsen, The Guarian and a bunch of Fourth World characters really rocks.

85. Fury MAX #5 (Marvel, 2012) ****

Writer: Garth Ennis/Artist: Goran Parlov

86. Beasts Of Burden: Neighbourhood Watch (Dark Horse, 2012) ***½  

Writer: Evan Dorkin/Artist: Jill Thompson

87. The Hypernaturals #2 (Boom!, 2012) ****

Writer: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning/Art: Brad Walker & Tom Derenick

88. World’s Finest #4 (DC, 2012) ***½

Writer: Paul Levitz/Artists: George Pérez & Scott Koblish, Kevin Maguire

89. Earth 2 (DC, 2012) ***½

Writer: James Robinson/Artists: Nicola Scott, Eduardo Pansica, Trevor Scott & Sean Parsons

90. Judge Dredd #2 (DC, 1994) **

Writer: Andrew Helfer/Artists: Mike Avon Oeming & Jimmy Palmiotti

Judge Dredd done completely wrong

91. Dredd Rules! #14 (Fleetway, 1993) ***

Writers/artists: various

Judge Dredd done right.

 92.Fatale #7 (Image, 2012) ****

Writer: Ed Brubaker/Artist: Sean Phillips

93. The Rocketeer: Cargo Of Doom (IDW, 2012) ***½

Writer: Mark Waid/Artist: Chris Samnee

94. Spike: A Dark Place #1 (Dark Horse, 2012) ***¼

Writer: Victor Gischler/Artists: Paul Lee & Andy Owens

95. Extermination #3 (Boom!, 2012) ***½

Writer: Simon Spurrier/Artist: Jeffrey Edwards and V. Ken Marion

This shit just got interesting. Superman as psycho rapist. Sick...  

96. The Victories #1 (Dark Horse, 2012) ***

Writer/artist: Michael Avon Oeming

Well, now at least, I can say I’ve seen a super-powered vigilante actually rip a man’s head off and shit down his neck.

97. Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 9 #12 (Dark Horse, 2012) ***

Writer: Andrew Chambliss/Artists: Georges Jeanty & Nathan Massengill

98. Solo #12 (DC, 2006) **

Writer/artist: Brendan McCarthy

Overrated trippy tosh.

99. Mondo #3 (Image, 2012) ***

Writer/artist: Ted McKeever

After three issues, all I can say is, “WTF?”

100. Maximum Hero (Maximum Press, 1995) ½*

Writers/artists: various

A hilarious time capsule look at everthing that was bad about mainstream comics in the mid-90s, this mag came as a free supplement in Hero Illustrated.  Featuring sub-Rob Liefeld wannabe art by the likes of Dan Fraga, John Stinsman and Marat Mychaels. The only two things of interest are the brief preview of Brian Denham’s My Name Is Mud (more later) and a teaser spread for Todd Nauck’s Wildguard. What I found interesting was what Wildguard’s first incarnation appeared to be very Liefeld-ish before eventually morphing into something far quirkier and, dare I say it, entertaining.

101. My Name Is Mud #1 (Incognito Comics, 1994) DUD

Writer/artist: Brian Denham

Before it got picked up by Maximum Press, MNIM got one self-published issue. I wonder if the Maximum dudes read it before offering Denham a deal. Confusing art – at times quite good, at other times very amateurish – dumb storyline, unlikable characters with confused motives, and appalling dialogue. This is utter shit. Of course, Maximum never did anything with MNIM either and it disappeared (thank goodness). Denham, however, went on to become a pretty good artist and does a lot of steampunk cheesecake pin-ups for Antarctic Press these days.

102. Batman: Earth One (Special Preview Edition) (DC, 2012) **

Writer: Geoff Johns/Artist: Gary Frank

Yawn...yet ANOTHER retelling of Batman’s origin. This time, the only fresh tweak by DC’s go-to man is that Alfred isn’t a prissy, sarcastic butler. He’s actually a bad-ass ex-soldier. Stupid. Thankfully, Frank’s art is as gorgeous as ever. But I can’t be arsed buying this redundant piece of cynical hackery.

103. By The Time I Get To Wagga Wagga (Harrier, 1987)

Writer/artist: Eddie Campbell

My brother lives in Wagga Wagga, which is why I bought this comic. How many comics have Wagga Wagga in the title? None, I tells ya!

104. It Girl! And The Atomics #1 (Image, 2012) ***½

Writer: Jamie S. Rich/Artist: Mike Norton (interior), Michael & Laura Allred (cover)

What a boss start. This comic is all kinds of cool.

105. Plastic Farm #1 (self-published, 2001) **¾

Writer/artist: Rafer Roberts

I’ve heard recommendations from Mike Pindell of The Comic Book Attic about this self-published B&W comic, so when I finally got the chance to grab a few copies, I did. This first issue is very quirky. In a nutshell, a hung-over guy tries to remember what he drunkenly did the night before and blames his behaviour on his alter ego, The Kamikaze Kid. The comic then segues into a bizarre Western tale. All in all, an intriguing, bizarre start to the series. I’m interested to read more.