Please be upstanding for another CONFESSIONS OF A SPINNER RACK JUNKIE, in which I opine in shortish fashion about comics that I have bought and/or received and/or read in the interval between October 16th and 28th, some of which may even still be on sale at finer comics selling establishments worldwide if you're lucky. Or not, as the case may be.
And, yeah, once more I'm way behind, so please bear with me as I look at comics you read and most likely forgot about three weeks ago...
BATMAN AND ROBIN #5: Looks like Grant's just giving us a more genteel version of Miller's ludicrous Spillane-with-Tourette's All-Star Batman with Robin the Boy Wonder, and the more I read, the more squalid the whole thing seems. I know he can do better, and I know he knows that, too. Not helping: artist Philip Tan, who gives us not one but two absolutely incomprehensible action scenes. My interest is hanging by a thread, and only the promise of Grant's Squire drawn by Cam Stewart, coming eventually, is keeping me around. C-
THE BOYS #35: The sad/weird backstory of likeable Boy "Mother's Milk" takes center stage this time out, and it's typically Ennisian, with smirks riding shotgun with pathos. As always with this title, for them that likes, here's more. B+
B.P.R.D.: 1947 #4: Continues to flow along nicely thanks to the Moon/Ba art, but the story feels like it climaxed last issue. Hopefully Dysart and Mignola have something extraordinary in mind for the ending. A-
CRIMINAL: SINNERS #1: Wait, aren't all criminals sinners by definition? Anyway, Tracy returns, and is once more placed between the proverbial rock and the proverbial hard place. All your favorite noir tropes are once again present and accounted for, and those who seek to wallow will find this a most acceptable trough, especially as it's once more illustrated with aplomb by Sean Phillips. A-
DAREDEVIL #501: The first issue of the Diggle era reads pretty much like the last eleventy-hundred from Bendis and Brubaker, which is not necessarily a bad thing- consistency does have its virtues. As you probably know, the new wrinkle is that DD is leading longtime pain-in-the-necks the Hand, but we don't wanna get too crazy out of line so he is of course all angry and angsty about everything, just like Miller Christ didst intend. Lotsa good character work, especially with the supporting cast, and a decent enough plotline that while it doesn't break any new ground, at least moodwise, at least shows that Diggle will keep the dramatics compelling and I guess that will keep me buying for a while longer. I recall liking artist Roberto De La Torre on Thunderbolts; he told the story well enough, and his style, while derivative, at least had some personality. I'm pleased to report he brings that to bear here. B+
FABLES #89: Most of this issue deals with Bufkin the flying monkey, left behind in the old Fabletown digs and faced with the threat of not only Aladdin's old genie, but the Baba Yaga as well. It's almost impossible to describe the events in this comic without sounding nuts, you know. Also, more with Frau Totenkinder, now all young and hot and stuff, as she tries to find out more about the threat of the Dark Man. Lots of stuff going on; this title is as engrossing right now as it's ever been, and it's been pretty good before. Artist Mark Buckingham once more saves most of his creativity for his nifty panel borders, and does everything else as well as he needs to- he's always reliable. A-
GHOST RIDERS: HEAVEN'S ON FIRE #3: OK, I'm buying this now for Aaron's take on Daimon Hellstorm, so naturally only has a cameo in this issue. Even so, this one's still got a lot of fast-paced action, as the bickering brother Riders battle an old Marvel Monsters-age baddie whose schtick it is to possess inanimate objects like cars and bulldozers and such, as well as one of the House of Ideas' less-inspired ones, Big Wheel. It's the sort of left turn that would ordinarily be offputting, but Aaron makes it work. The action scenes pop thanks to a god job by Roland Boschi and Dan Brown. More drive-in movie-style fun. B+
HELLBOY: THE WILD HUNT #7: The lead story keeps on keepin' on, gearing up to what should be an appropriately apocalyptic finale. As always, Mike Mignola is Hellboy's best writer, and Duncan Fregredo is the next best thing to Mr. M himself on art. What I've been enjoying the most, though, and forgetting to mention is the backups- first, the return of Gary Gianni's quirky and bizarre MonsterMen (or Corpus Monstrum, or whatever the hell he's calling it these days), which I've missed, and this issue's not-as-good-but-still-pretty-good Henry Hood spotlight, which ties in with the Witchfinder series running concurrently. Whew, it is to make the head spin, keeping up with all this... A
INCREDIBLE HERCULES #136: Maybe the best comic I've read this year, certainly the funniest. Exhibit A for the jury:
Now I can cross "Seeing Hercules dressed like Thor giving a tittie twister to Thor dressed like Hercules while they're battling" off my bucket list. A
INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #19: Somewhat anticlimactic resolution to an arc that was pretty good as a whole; your satisfaction depends a lot on whether you think Osborn would care all that much about being seen beating the crap out of a defenseless Tony Stark on worldwide TV. Me, I'm a bit skeptical- would Dubya or Cheney have had the same scruples? Anyway, the literal ending itself was pretty interesting, and I think I'll follow along a while longer to see what happens. B+
LIBERTY COMICS: A CBLDF BENEFIT BOOK #2: Just like last time, we get several somewhat heavy-handed and obvious stories, mostly of the barbed satire stripe, apparently OK because it's done by some outstanding creators such as Paul Pope, whose "Loverman" finally sees print, Brian Wood, who dusts off the Channel Zero concept, Paul Grist, more Apocalypstix by Ray Fawkes and Cam Stewart, and others, all for a good cause- it's great art showcase. I'm down with the cause, and the propaganda this time is slightly better than last time, but I prefer subtlety. Character flaw on my part, I suppose. B
SCALPED #32: Things are rapidly coming to a head, it seems, for both Dash and Chief Red Crow...and about the only thing I can predict is that the resolution will most likely be very bloody, and I'm pretty sure nobody will learn any damn life lessons. Once again, consistently consistent in its constant excellence. A
STARSTRUCK #2: It's difficult for me to be impartial about this series, so I guess I won't even try. As excellent now as it was 20 plus years ago, and the added scenes are providing clarity- I don't recall if the whole Mary Medea boards the spaceship to go to war in the aftermath of the botched Bajar spy mission scene was in the B&W Dark Horse reprint series, but it read as unfamilar to me, and made her motivations clearer. The dialogue is great, the helter-skelter script construction is still fun, Kaluta's art was never better and has rarely been better since, and the new coloring continues to kick ass. Perhaps I'll find something to nitpick eventually- the Galactic Girl Guides backups still strike me as somewhat trivial- but for now I'm completely in the bag. A
STRANGE TALES #2: Indie artists slumming once again, or so the attitude of most of these stories would have you believe; still, some are having fun and that gets this across just fine. Best of show, Jacob Chabot's amusing "Lookin' Good, Mr. Grimm" which carries the Thing's resemblance to chia pets to its logical conclusion and reminds us that hig-spirited humor was always a big part of the old FF formula; others which impress are Jim Rugg's long-shelved Brother Voodoo story, Matt Kindt, doing his Super Spy thing with the Black Widow, Jhonen Vazquez's cutesy MODOK, and Tony Millionaire's goofy Bob Burden-esque Iron Man tale. Less impressive is Pete Bagge's long-delayed Hulk, which only reinforces my own held belief that when it comes to the Bradleys or the Beach Boys, Bagge is golden. Everything else, not so much. B+
WITCHFINDER: IN THE SERVICE OF ANGELS #4: Continues to be an entertaining smorgasbord of cultists, ghosts, demons, and Mignola's ever-spreading Hellboy mythology, ably brought to moody life by Ben Stenbeck. A-
As always, sorry about being so late with these. More coming soon.