Friday, June 26, 2009

Living in the Future. Sort of.

I first started this two days ago, when my DCBS shipment actually was in the future. However, I have once more procrastinated long enough to where the blog title actually no longer applies. I'm too lazy to think of another, though, so it stays.

Anyway, since I'm all caught up on comics reviews, mostly, here's another one of those "comics I'm gonna be getting today and reviewing eventually" posts that I know everyone loves so much.

INCOGNITO #4: Maybe you can resist the charms of Brubaker and Phillips, but I cannot.

CAPTAIN BRITAIN AND MI 13 #14: More vampire-fighting thrills in this lame duck comic which I expect will have one or two more nifty twists before it's done.

WASTELAND TP BOOK 4: DOG TRIBE: I've been buying this in trades after getting the first one gratis from Oni. I wish I liked it more than I did, but I'm interested enough, obviously, to keep buying. As post-apocalyptic Mad Max style thrillers go, you could do worse.

MYSTERIUS THE UNFATHOMABLE #6: FInal issue of this mostly-enjoyable series. I like the concept, I like the characters, I hope enough trades sell so we can see more.

HELLBLAZER #256: I wish everything in life was as consistent and reliable as this title.

POWER GIRL #2: I hope there's a little more fun this time out, but by the solicits and reviews I've seen that doesn't seem to be the case. If you can't have fun with PG, then why bother? Bring Terra back for more shopping!

EMPOWERED TP VOL. 5: I'd buy this for the art alone, but I must admit I'm surprised that Warren's been able to wring as much story out of the mostly one-note setup as he has.

THUNDERBOLTS #133: My monthly Yelena fix.

DETECTIVE COMICS #854: The advance art I've seen from this is incredible; this could be the series that cements J.H. Williams III's place in the comics art firmament. Now, if only DC would let Rucka bring Cameron Chase into the storyline. And let D.C. Johnson write it.

GOTHAM CITY SIRENS #1: My newfound obsession with Poison Ivy is put to the test here; the preview looks like a dreary affair, with artist Guillem March demonstrating that as an interior illustrator, he makes a really good cover artist.

HEROGASM #2: C'mon and wallow in the muck with your Master of Ceremonies, Garth Ennis!

INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #14: The ongoing saga of Stark's flight from Normie Osborn, as well as the further tribulations of Pepper Potts and Maria Hill. This plays like a weekly TV series, and that's no coincidence.

PHONOGRAM 2: THE SINGLES CLUB #3: Now that Gillen and McKelvie have my attention, will they keep it? We'll see...

MADAME XANADU #12: More gaw-jus Kaluta art, and more (I'd imagine) girl-on-girl action, for those who like such things.

DAREDEVIL #119: This will be a somber affair as always, I'd imagine. Ain't no sunshine in DD's world.

INCREDIBLE HERCULES #130: More laffs and thrills from the best comic you're probably not reading.

JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA #28: I just read #27 the other night; this is part two of the marking-time issues by Jerry Ordway. Ordway bores me, but the first part was OK.

And that's about it! Now, if only UPS does its part...

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Bring Out Your Dead

What a totally insane last few days it's been. First, Johnny Carson's right hand man Ed McMahon passes on, then today comes news that...

Michael Jackson has died at age 50. You can't deny that he was a singular talent, which made it so baffling and sad when his own personal freak show began in the 80's in the wake of his mega-success via the Thriller album. I must admit that I wasn't especially a big fan when I was growing up; I knew him best, as a grade schooler, as a cartoon character member of the Jackson 5, and of course, the J5's bubblegum pop hits were all over the radio. They were cool, and I especially liked "The Love You Save" and "I Want You Back"...but I didn't come to appreciate them until much later. When he reached puberty, and the Five were no longer such hot commodities, it seemed that they would fade away until MJ went solo, first tentatively (and incongrously) with the lilting title song to the 1972 rat-horror flick Ben as well as a lively solo version of the old 50's hit "Rockin' Robin". I also remember attempts at acting in films, most notably his turn as the Scarecrow in Berry Gordy's The Wiz. Really, though, I didn't really pay attention to him until his 1979 breakthrough album Off the Wall; you couldn't go anywhere without hearing "Rock With You" and the title track playing in stores, on the radio, even where I was working in my first "real" job, in the prepress of R.R. Donnelley where they used to play one of the local radio stations over the intercom 24/7. Of course, after that came the rise of videos and Thriller; like many I bought it initially because of Eddie Van Halen's guitar work on "Beat It", but also reading all the rave reviews and how sonically diverse it seemed to be. His appearance at the Motown anniversary bash cemented it, with his bravura performance which, if I recall correctly, introduced the moonwalk step he took to the bank. There are just so many remarkable and memorable things he took part in for a long while there. Then, things got really out of hand, and Mike let his life devolve into a horror show of monumental proportions- with each new alligation of aberrant behavior and each subsequent, more-and-more desperately trying to sound current and hip music release we watched his reputation erode almost as quickly as his facial features. Not to condone some of the things he was accused of, but the guy never had anything that even remotely resembled a normal, stable upbringing and early life; I guess it was inevitable that he should come to such an end. So RIP, Mike. Thanks for the music and the fun, it was nice while it lasted. It's a shame it turned out like it did.

Earlier today, it was reported that former Charlie's Angel and film/TV star Farrah Fawcett lost her long battle with cancer. Upstaged again. Seriously, though, she was a true 70's icon; everybody, well, guys anyway (and come to think of it, I think I saw it on some girls' walls as well) had this poster. She was one of the first to become more popular via that format, I do believe, and inspired many a lustful thought in many a young (and old, I'm sure) person's minds. After Charlie's, she went on to try to parlay her noteriety into a film career, with mixed results; I remember the fuss over her first post-Charlie film, Sunburn- it was not a hit, and neither was the middling Sci-Fi saga Saturn 3, which has its fans. I remember her fondly for her part in Cannoball Run, as she took up with stars Burt Reynolds and Dom DeLuise, but she was just one of a multitude of stars. Really, she didn't make her mark and get taken seriously until returning back to TV for the one-two punch of The Burning Bed and Extremities, playing battered housewifes and showing that she too could be an ac-tor. She never really topped those films, but she worked steadily after that until about 2004 or so, when her health issues took over. Hope she's at rest now.

Finally, Sky Saxon, of ...and the Seeds fame, died today as well at age 63. They're best known for the garage-rock hit "Pushin' Too Hard". I remember "Pushin'", of course, but I didn't know too much else about those guys.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Looking for Thriller News and Information, TCJ reader?

Way back in 2002, I created my first (and only to date) website, dedicated to spotlighting a comics series I love more than just about any other, DC's Thriller. Full of good intentions, I worked on it for months, intending for it to not only be a place where people could find out about the book, but also where I could keep people posted on the further work of the series' creators, Robert Loren Fleming and Trevor Von Eeden. To that effect, I put in a "News and Information" page, with a link to this blog (just in its infancy at the time!), promising to update when news came along. When I was able, via connections, to make the acquaintance of both gentlemen, and talk to them extensively on the phone as well as via mail, both snail-and-e varieties, I felt certain I would be able to do just that.

Well, as it so often does, Murphy's Law reared its ugly head.

About a year after the site went live, I had some problems with my good ol' 1999-vintage iMac, and felt like I needed to do a clean reinstall of the system files. Having been to a few rodeos, I knew I'd need to back up the important files I had on there, especially the working Freeway files that made up the pages of the website. Using a CD burner I had recently purchased, I burned the files on a disc. Or so I thought. After I had successfully reinstalled the system files, I got ready to put the Thriller site files back on, and discovered to my horror that the disc didn't burn them properly, and they were lost and gone forever, dreadful sorry. Of course, hindsight being 20/20, I know now that I should have checked the disc before I proceeded with the reinstall. Be that as it may, the upshot is that I now have no way of editing the files that you see on that site, because they're merely picture files, like jpegs, with no elements for me to select and manipulate.

And it's been that way now for almost six years. As with so many things in my life, I keep saying that I'm going to get around to redesigning the damn thing, and create new files that I can edit, and for the love of Pete back them up properly. I also want to get it off, with its multitudes of popups, and on a domain of my very own. But I am nothing if not a procrastinator, and also have the disadvantage of having created it initially on Freeway, an application that I have for Mac OS9 but nothing newer. Also, I've kinda forgotten how to do a lot of the stuff I did to create the site in the first place- as I know from my jobs in printing and graphic design, sometimes software apps are like riding bicycles, things will come back to you if you get going with it, but unfortunately the good ol' indigo iMac isn't working so well anymore and the only other place I have access to OS9-enabled computers is at my job, and frankly, I don't want to spend the time there to do anything more than I have to. I have been trying to learn to use Adobe Dreamweaver on my laptop (which isn't really mine, and will have to be sent back soon), but it's not so easy to just fall right in and get started with that. Also, I've had Wordpress suggested to me, but it seems more geared towards creating and maintaining a blog, rather than the dedicated website I want the new Thriller site to be. Plus, I downloaded it at work and it made no sense, plus, it seemed like I needed to have my domain in place, which I don't. So. SOMEDAY I will get my ducks in order and redo the website. I want to get a new laptop, and I'd build it on that. But it doesn't look like it's going to be anytime soon, so we're stuck with what I have right now.

Sorry to ramble on like that, but I just wanted to explain to those of you who are coming here from there what's going on with the site, and why it hasn't been updated since 2003. I have tons of cool stuff to share that I didn't have then, including copies of Fleming's scripts for issues #'s 1-7, and some Von Eeden art which he did for me, as well as some correspondence that mentioned a lot of the controversial things he discusses in the Comics Journal interview which comes out this week, today as a matter of fact. If I can ever get the site redone, all of it will be there.

And as far as news and information goes, of course, there has been no sign of the Thriller series, at least in the pages of DC comics today. No hints of a revival, either, which, given the way things tend to be brought back at DC these days, may be a very good thing. Bob Fleming was out of comics for several years in this decade, but recently made a return, along with co-scripter Keith Giffen, to the title for which he's probably best-known, Ambush Bug, via the recent miniseries that has yet to see its final issue released. Hopefully we'll see more from him in the future. Trevor Von Eeden has had a somewhat higher profile, especially in the last few years via his Jack Johnson bio comic that ran on for a while, as well as the Journal interview which may be the reason you're here, due to its citing of the Thriller site (for which I owe Michael Fiffe big-time; I've always wanted to be published in the Journal, and it looks like that's as close as I'll ever get!). Trevor also has really increased his online profile as well via a Facebook page and a brand spankin' new website, for which I'm supposed to write a Thriller summary, and of course I'm way overdue in getting it done.

OK, that's all I got- thanks for reading, and if any news pops up about Thriller or its creators, be sure I will relay it here.

BTW, the page excerpt above is from Thriller #7, Bob and Trevor's last issue together. Von Eeden wasn't happy with his art in this later period, but I think it looks just fine.

Monday, June 22, 2009


And now, another CONFESSIONS OF A SPINNER RACK JUNKIE, where I frantically attempt to catch up with comments on comics that I have bought and/or received during my two-month hiatus, to be specific since March 21st, 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.

AGENTS OF ATLAS #6: A bit of a changeup, as the flashbacks stop and the flashback artist takes over in the present-day scenes, which is OK by me; Gabriel Hardman's style is a bit sloppy, but he serves the story well enough, reminding me a little of the Mike Lark/Steven Gaudiano team. A visit to Atlantis this time out enables us to get a look at some of the politics involved vis-a-vis the whole Dark Reign thing, Namor, the AoA, and others, and it's well done of course...I hadn't realized how much I had come to like Namora on the team until I was looking at the possiblilty of her staying in Atlantis and doing the cousin-love thing with the Sub-Mariner (no, they're not related, really- this is Atlantis, not Kentucky, and see, I can make with the inbred jokes like anyone), and found myself saying "Hey, keep her around, Jeff!" Oh well, AoA keeps choogling along in its low-key way, and I hope it lasts as long, if not longer, than Captain Britain. A-

BATMAN AND ROBIN #1: Morrison thankfully eschews the opacity and relentless metaphors of his recent epics and plays fair with the readers in what could be looked at as All-Star Batman and Robin II- The Sequel. That said, while I'm fine with Dick Grayson taking the mantle of the Bat, and love the flying car, I'm not so sold on the Damien character yet- although his snippy dialogue is sometimes as amusing as it is annoying. Grant's reunited with his best collaborator, Frank Quitely, to good effect; no one is as good at illustrating Grant's more whimsical side (as well as his ever-infrequent serious side, which gets no play here), and few are in his league at the widescreen action game, which is why this grabs immediately and holds our attention like it does. That said, this wants to hit hard and make a big, rousing action-thriller kind of splash, but the whole business with this Pyg character is as unpleasant and disgusting as it's intended to be, I guess, and evokes the pungent stench of Frank Miller a little to expertly for me to be all that entertained. We will see which direction this goes, I guess. B+

THE BOYS #31: A surprising death is the opening salvo, as the so-called "heroes" look to get a measure of payback from the titular so-called "heroes", and we get to look forward to that dreary scenario for about a half a year. If you're into this book, here's more of what you like, albeit a bit more downbeat than usual. B+

CAPTAIN BRITAIN AND MI13 ANNUAL #1: Wasn't a reader of Excalibur, so the whole
"Poor Meggan" spiel kinda goes right by me. That said, heathen that I am, I can intuit the whole "doomed lover of Captain Britain, accidentally in Hell" thing, and was a little sad when they missed each other in passing a few issues of the regular series ago. Also, the ending with Doc Doom, and the repercussions it suggests for the doomed ongoing, is well played. The art is passable, not especially inspired, but professional and functional. A-

INCREDIBLE HERCULES #127-129: The usual heady mix of myth, adventure, spandex, and good cheer (and a little well-timed dramatics when no one's looking) continues unabated. The whole "reincarnation-via-casino of the dead" idea is brilliant. The art is fine, wish it was better, but it is efficient and looks pretty much what the accepted norm for superhero adventure art is supposed to be, I guess, so that's good, I suppose. You should be buying this, unless you don't like fun and adventure, and I see there are lots of you that fall in this category. All three: A-

MADAME XANADU #9, 10, 11: Matt Wagner is doing a fine job of taking us through DC magic history, and establishing Madame X's place in it; the tour gives us the origin of the Jim Corrigan Spectre in #9, Zatanna's dad Zatara as boy-toy in #10, with bonus Phantom Stranger conflict action (this is an ongoing theme, it seems), and wonder of wonders, Michael William Kaluta providing interior art, giving us a sultry Madame X as opposed to Amy Hadley's manga-inspired babyface. Not that I'm putting Hadley down far from it- I think she's a fresh, exciting talent and expect good things from her once she learns to draw top hats. But comparisons can't be made to Kaluta, who designed the look of the character, for chrissakes, (and is probably my all-time fave comics artist, in the interest of full disclosure) who's been given a story which is right in his wheelhouse, partly taking place in the 1930's. If the Shadow had stuck his enlarged proboscis around a darkened corner, we might be talking geekgasm here. Of course, a lot of the buzz is also about the other half of the setting, in which Madame X is living in the time of the Spanish Inquisition (cue "nobody expects the..." joke; thanks for playing) and also does a little girl-lovin' on the side. This series remains well worth your time and money. #'s 9, 10: A-. #11: A

MYSTERIUS THE UNFATHOMABLE #4, 5: #4 is an enjoyable (if a bit hard to follow sometimes) romp that posits Dr. Seuss-style creatures that are actually extradimensional demons, which would have worked better if Jeff Parker was able to better command the whimsy that Ted Geisel used to bring forth so apparently effortlessly, no easy task, I'd imagine. In #5, our hapless crew are forcibly taken to Burning Man (here renamed, which begs the question- is WildStorm afraid of a lawsuit? Is Parker attempting Mad-style satire?), and meet the brains behind the coven which is causing so much trouble, and of course wind up inside for a Wicker Man style cliffhanger. I really like the lead characters and the world they inhabit, and this really deserves a bigger audience (I hope they sell a metric fuckton of trades). Parker is proving himself capable of writing pretty much anything, and writing it well, (well, except perhaps Dr. Seuss pastiches) and while I wish artist Tom Fowler didn't seem to be trying so hard to channel Mort Drucker by way of Alex Nino, he shines more often as not. #4: B+; #5: A-

NORTHLANDERS #17: Somehow, when I decided to go trade-only on this title, I pretty much fell behind on what was happening, forgetting to check in on it until author Brian Wood was kind enough to send me a link to a PDF of this issue. It's a harrowing account of a battle to the death between two Vikings; if they've been part of the book for the last few issues, I don't know. The narrative alternates between inner monologue and dry tactical details, but it never fails to engage, and a big part of the reason why is this issue's artist, Vasilis Lolos of Oni's Last Call fame; his choppy inkline and dynamic staging bring the script to life. I hope Vertigo brings him back for an encore. Wood seems to be really eager to promote and proud of this issue, which suggests there's perhaps a more personal slant to it than is the norm; as always, I'm too dull to glean any ulterior theme (unless he's referring to a personal struggle against someone or something- editors, fans, the IRS, online comic reviewers, who knows), so I guess I'll have to take his word for it. Regardless, a good job by all concerned just the same. A-

PHONOGRAM 2: THE SINGLES CLUB #2: Took a while, but for the first time, this series- with this issue and its evocative look at how music, especially certain tunes, can recapture mood and summon back memories- finally clicked with me. I also was amused at the Kate Bush homage which followed. As always, there's a bit of a distance, and McKelvie's improving art is so static, but I felt this issue for once, and that's very encouraging. A-

SCALPED #29: In which we see the depths to which ostensible heroic protagonist Dashiell Bad Horse has sunk, trapped in a downward spiral of smack and self-loathing, until he gets coerced by the con man of a few issues ago into helping rob Red Crow's casino, with the resolution hinging, disappointingly, on something of a hard-to-believe coincidence. Still, everything else is wonderfully done, and even the problematic-for-me ending points to something that will, I'm sure, be refined and expanded upon eventually. This, kids, is the mark of good fiction, especially comics fiction. A-

SEAGUY: THE SLAVES OF MICKEY EYE #3: Issues of obtusity aside, what's really disappointing about this, and the first series as well, is how Grant is becoming the Andy Rooney of comics- his heart's in the right place about how he'd like a return to the imagination and "fun" that comics used to sometimes be, as opposed to the dreary status quo we deal with today, and he's sharp enough and smart enough to be able to call bullshit on the rampant consumerism and mendacious homogenization of our everyday experiences as well. But his commentary tends towards needless obfuscation, and his message becomes as hackneyed and tedious as all those "As long as you be yourself, everything will work out fine" type messages were in the 1980's cartoons, no matter how aggressively weird his players become. Maybe it's just that I wish I was half as clever as Morrison seems to think I am, I don't know. Cameron Stewart makes it fun to look at, of course, 'cause he's that good, but for the life of me I just don't get why other reviewers adore this so much. Maybe the next series will bring it all home. Maybe I'll even buy it and see. C+

Lotta A-'s, it seems. Oh well, with this CoSPJ, I am finally caught up with all the comics (and yeah, some recent acquisitions) that I read during my hiatus. Just in time for the new box I'll be getting Friday!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

I would like you to dance/take a cha-cha-cha chance.

Can't let the day go by without sending along a Bacardi Show Birthday Greeting to Sir Paul McCartney, 67 years of age today.

Here's my now four-year-old list of favorite McCartney and Wings tracks. I don't think I'd add anything from albums released since, although I did like "Fine Line" from Chaos and Creation and "Dance Tonight" from Memory Almost Full. In fact, I thought the latter was a pleasantly surprising, strong collection of songs.

You'd think that people would have had enough of Paul McCartney; I look around me and I see it isn't so. Oh no. (I never get tired of that joke. "We KNOW", I hear you all say.)

Picture ganked from the outstanding BEATLE PHOTO BLOG, your source for unique, interesting Fabs snaps and fart jokes.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A few items of note.

ITEM! Yesterday, I got the opportunity to read an advance PDF of the first issue of Jeff Parker and Steve Lieber's new creator-owned series from Image, Underground. Here's how Image describes it in the solicitations:

Park Ranger and avid caver Wesley Fischer is on a one-woman mission to stop Stillwater Cave from being turned into a tourist trap, but public opinion is not on her side. When locals begin blasting in the cave, Wes and a fellow ranger investigate – and a confrontation spirals into a deadly chase deep under the Kentucky mountains!

Didja see that word "Kentucky"? As a lifelong resident of the Bluegrass State, that kinda got my attention. You don't see comics that take place in my neck of the woods very often. Actually, I seem to recall discussing the idea for a story set here a year or two (perhaps) ago with Parker via email, but eventually forgot about it. I suppose this must be the end result of that line of thought! Anyway, this locale is kinda close to home for me; I don't really live near the mountains (that's East, I'm South Central), but I do certainly live right in the middle of cave country- Mammoth Cave National Park is only about 15 minutes away from my doorstep. Heck, the town in which I live has "Cave" in it, named for the good-sized cave ("Hidden River Cave", aka "Horse Cave") right on Main Street as well as the American Cave Museum and Karst Center that serves a lot of ecological causes as well as doing pretty good tourist business. Plus, there are lots of big and small caves all around here, some connected even, so while I am far from knowledgable about them I do know a thing or two, and I find the whole story setup very interesting. It highlights a very topical conflict when it comes to caves, that is the age-old commerce vs. conservation argument, and does so unobtrusively within the context of the story. Characterization is strong, as is to be expected from Parker, and while it sometimes reads (like so many comics stories do these days) like a movie/TV series pitch, it can be enjoyed on its own terms as a sequential narrative. The small-town versimilitude is good; there's a strong Native American presence in Parker's small town of Marion that I don't really see around here where I live, but I can't speak for the mountains of Eastern Kentucky; I'm sure there was a lot of migration north from Tennessee and North Carolina, so it's not a problem. I've posted a couple of pages above, the second one is a great example of Lieber's solid art- the cave scenes feature excellent blackspotting, and he's as good with the action scenes as he is the small-town diner ones. I'm thinking that this is going to be a series that people should be reading. Here's an interview with the creators at Newsarama. Underground is supposed to hit the stands in August.

ITEM! As you may know if you've read my blog for any length of time, one of my all-time favorite comics series is Elaine Lee and Mike Kaluta's Starstruck. Having first been smitten way back in the early-mid 80's via the serialization in Heavy Metal magazine, then continuing to follow when it was collected into one of the Marvel Graphic Novel series, which led to the 6-issue Epic Comics series, then the Galactic Girl Guides features that appeared in Rocketeer Adventure well as the abortive revival attempt by Dark Horse Comics in the 90's...well, let's just say that I pretty much had given up hope that it would ever see the light of day again, Lee having phased herself out of comics writing and Kaluta concentrating on covers and illustration work, and oh yeah, the little matter of being unable to find a publisher willing to commit the money. Fortunately for all of us, IDW stepped up to the plate and will soon be reissuing Starstruck once more, this time expanded from the original art by Kaluta and featuring lavish color by Lee Moyer, and unless I'm mistaken, it will finally move beyond where the Epic #6 left off. It all sounds too good to be true! Anyway, the hype machine has slowly gotten into gear, and Newsarama posted part one of an interview with the creators today, and it's fascinating stuff to me. Starstruck is right up there with Thriller, Chase, Timespirits, Gemini Blood, and all those other books that I tend to obsess over, and with Moyer's colors adding a new dimension to Kaluta's always-brilliant finished art, it looks gorgeous. And of course, Lee's dense, layered, yet humorous and exciting script, with its multitudes of fascinating characters, gets the showcase it deserves here, looks like. I'm as excited about this as I have been anything comics-related in a long time.

ITEM! This may come as a surprise to you, since I know that everyone (well besides Dirk Deppey) looks upon me as a grand old man of comics, who has seen and read just about everything, but I have never owned, nor read in reprints, the 70's Spider-Man story which detailed the death of Gwen Stacy at the hands of the Green Goblin, and the subsequent payback Pete enacted. I just wasn't buying Spidey at the time (I would have been 11-12), having loved the Ditko years, as well as the early Romita Sr. stuff as well...but by the time Gil Kane and Gerry Conway came along I had long stopped reading. So, when Comics Should Be Good at CBR spotlighted that legendary, but unseen-by-me sequence from AS-M #122 as one of their "Year of Cool Comic Book Moments" series, well, I was gobsmacked, as British comics writers tell us our friends across the pond say, to see that the screenwriters of the first Spider-Man film pretty much used this same ending, which (and I hope I don't spoil; I think I'm the last person to read this) sees Pete inadvertently cause the death of the Goblin at the pointed ends of his glider. I though the film's scriptwriters made that ending up! Just shows to go ya, I guess- I don't know everything! You can see the rest of the sequence by clicking on the link above; reading it now, I am struck by how odd Kane's pencils look with the heavy Romita inks. Also, Conway's scripting is tres pretentious, at least to me; his attempts at amplifying the drama of the scene via narration are as hamfisted and leaden. But pretty much all Marvel comics read like this then; this is the voice, I believe, that young writers were encouraged to write in at the time at the House that Jack (and Steve and yes, Stan) Built; imitative of Roy Thomas, who had pretty much taken the writer/editor torch from Unca Stan by the early 70's. I recall liking his Daredevil and the Black Widow series, which came out at about this time, but little else- and I am finding that when I do reread his stuff now, it's going down a bit better than it did, say, in the late 70's to early 90's for me, a period in which I unfairly dismissed him as a hack of the highest (lowest?) order.

ITEM! I'm all out of items for now! Reviews, which should get me caught up once and for all (till the next DCBS box shows up, that is), will be forthcoming.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


I used to do this all the time, almost every day, back when I started blogging and for about a year or two after- it takes a minimum of effort (image searching takes the most time) and provides a little blogfodder when you don't have anything else in mind to write, something which has happened to me with dismaying frequency lately. Perhaps it's time I started doing them again. So, how about some recent birthdays that have a little resonance for me:

My Forties inamorata, Priscilla Lane, would have been 94 last Friday. Above, you can see her in a screencap from what is probably her best-known film, Arsenic and Old Lace, made in 1941 but not released till 1944 due to the popularity of the stage version. Many will recognize her from the Hitchcock film she made as well, 1942's Saboteur. She had an energy and vivaciousness that lit up any movie she appeared in, and a certain outgoing quality that made her a natural for "good gal" kinds of parts, even though I bet she could have played the "bad girl" if she wanted. She didn't make too many more films after that; she had an independent streak, it seems, and didn't play well with the studio system of the time, which makes me love her all the more. It's a pity that Turner Classic Movies, which at least screens her films from time to time, won't dedicate an evening to her or recognize her in some fashion. At this point, I could direct you to the Priscilla Lane Picture Gallery, but due to the dismantling of Geocities, its owner is in the process of moving all the pics to the Priscilla Lane Fan Club Yahoo! Group, which will require you to join in order to see them. Because I've written about her on numerous occasions in the past, I got an email a year or two ago from Priscilla's granddaughter, who was looking for online pics of her grandma. I directed her to that site, and was really geeked for about a week...

Yesterday would have been the 68th birthday of Harry Nilsson. My love for Harry's music knows no bounds, ever since getting the 45 of "Coconut" when I was 11, and also loving the B-side "Down". The first album I bought came a few years later, 1974's Pussy Cats, which got my attention because of John Lennon's name in the production credits. After that, I picked up everything I could get my hands on, including what is still my favorite LP of his, Son of Schmilsson, which had a couple of tracks that featured his rowdy good humor side to career-derailing effect. Be that as it may, it showed every facet of his multi-faceted musical abilities, from vulgar to sweet, sometimes in the same song. To this day, rarely does a week go by that I don't listen to some Nilsson somewhere. He left us all too early. A good place to go if you want to get acquainted with Harry is the For the Love of Harry blog, dedicated to all things Nilssony.

Yesterday was also the 64th birthday of one of my all-time favorite comics writers, Don McGregor (left in picture), who, unlike the other two BSBdG nominees, is thankfully still with us. As I've written many times here, McGregor wrote one of my absolute favorite comics series, War of the Worlds featuring Killraven, his verbose style adding a sense of high drama to the proceedings, ably assisted by an up-and-coming young P. Craig Russell, Herb Trimpe and Gene Colan on earlier issues, and others. I came to his other great 70's work, Jungle Action featuring the Black Panther, a bit late (the first issue I chose to buy was the last one he wrote!), but I soon made up for that by scouring the quarter boxes and back issue bins of that new phenomenon, the comics store. I really wish Marvel would release a TPB of "Panther's Rage". The above pic was found on McGregor's Facebook page.

That's all for now! Maybe I'll even post some whose birthday is today!

Friday, June 12, 2009


Once more into the breach with CONFESSIONS OF A SPINNER RACK JUNKIE, where I frantically attempt to catch up with comments on comics that I have bought and/or received during my two-month hiatus, to be specific since March 21st, 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.

THE BOYS #'s 29, 30: The stale X-Men satire finally expires, with little in the way of laughs or thrills, and now gives way to the inevitable "shoe's on the other foot NOW" storyline, in which our poor persecuted super-shits get a measure of revenge on Butcher and the titular lads (and lass). If it sounds like I'm down on this book, I'm not- there are more than a few little plot threads I'm interested in, even though, if you remember my piece on spinoff Herogasm the other day, I'm kinda dreading the outcome of one of 'em because I just don't think Garth has it in him to be kind. Anyway, it's still well done, although I think I'm beginning to wish it was a bit more well done, if you know what I mean- but I'm still on board. For now. #29: B+; #30: A-

: Run gives us the Human Flame doing just that, as all the "good"guys want payback for the death of Martian Manhunter, and is against all odds quite compelling as we see his desperate attempts to survive. Of course, he can't help but remain a douchebag even as he does so, which makes it all the more interesting. Escape presents Tom Tresser aka the Nemesis, locked away in some World Peace Agency prison or psych ward or something, and hits every Prisoner note imaginable as he attempts to figure out what the hell is going on. Cameron Chase, Count Vertigo, Amanda Waller, and some guy who wears a jacket that makes him look like Number Six, as if we didn't get it already, figure in as well. It's needlessly complicated and poorly drawn. Dance features Morrison's Final Crisis Forever People anagrams as they go through the old X-Statix-style fame/fortune/media attention vs. being altruistic superheroes thing. The team is likable, the script is fun and funky even though it's weighed down by Morrison's shadow, and Chris Cross' art is very good. Dance: A-; Escape: C-; Run: B+.

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #12-14: Fast-paced cosmic action, written with wit and spark, and tied in successfully to the whole "War of Kings" event, which I haven't been following but Abnett and Lanning have been doing this sort of thing for a long time now and if they can't get in the spirit of it, nobody can. #12 resolves the whole Drax/Moondragon thing, Wesley Craig's art going down a bit smoother than in #11; #13 has better art and features the Guardians taking a direct hand in the outcome of the War; and #14 continues that story, with an amusing cliffhanger at the end courtesy of newly-minted loose cannon "Martyr" ("Ugh"), formerly Phyllida Mar-Vell. Brad Walker and a thousand digital renderers provide art which suits the proceedings a bit better, I think. #12: B; #13-14: A-

HEXED #4: Rote finale with the requisite clever twist at the end, not bad as these things go but a little familiar just the same. I would read more if Boom so chooses to put them out, just to see if they do anything interesting with the somewhat charismatic lead. B+

HOUSE OF MYSTERY #12, 13: After a while, I tend to realize that don't want the fucking carrot anymore. C

IMMORTAL IRON FIST #'s 24, 25, 26: Others have disagreed, but I've enjoyed the "Escape from the Eighth City" storyline as much as anything Frubaker did in their tenures. Travel Foreman's art has been more problematic, especially during fight scenes, which are pretty much the lifeblood of any martial arts-themed endeavors, but I've gotten used to it, and I can't deny it's dynamic. So well done, fellows. And now, we count down until the hiatus and an uncertain future for yet another Marvel title which deserved to continue to be published, but probably won't be for much longer. A-

INCOGNITO #3: Hard to come up with anything clever or illuminating to say about this wonderful title, done by two gifted creators at the top of their form right now. You should be buying this, yep. A

INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #12, 13: The Dark Reign continues here, too, with Tony Stark on the run, as Norman Osborn sends mercenary badguys after him ,and Pepper Potts tooling around pissing Normie off in her own super-armor, and for good measure Maria Hill takes on old Jim Starlin villain the Controller. Lots of stuff going on for sure, and Matt Fraction is playing honest with his readers, which becomes him. Too bad Salvador Larocca's art jumps all over the line between underdone and overwrought. Way more interesting that it ought to be, for sure. Both issues: B+.

JERSEY GODS #'s 3, 4: I can't really say for sure why this doesn't work for me; Glen Brunswick's script blends the world of Kirby with the world of Kevin Smith (the filmmaker) well enough, and Dan McDaid has a Cooke/Pope style that is at home with both the mundane and the fantastic, appropriate for a series dealing with both, all mashed up like chocolate and peanut butter. Maybe if I was from Jersey, or liked rom-coms. Don't know. I do know that #4 was my last issue. B-

JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA #25, 26: #25 wrapped up the Marvel Family saga, for now, and was typically angsty and draconian solution-wise. Not that it's going to stay that way for long, mind you. Jerry Ordway, who specializes in such things, provided a solid art job. #26 was a once-more-around-the-horn one-and-done by departing Geoff Johns and initial series artist Dale Eaglesham, with Nathan Massengill on inks; it's pleasant and often amusing, as good a way to go out as any, I suppose. You don't see that type of story all that much anymore. Next up, only God knows. #25: B; #26: A-.

THE MIGHTY #'s 3, 4, 5: While Boom! and Mark Waid's newest Superman deconstruction Irredeemable gets all the attention, here's another take on the "what if Supes wasn't such a nice guy after all" genre, and while I haven't read the other yet, this one isn't half bad, because writer Tomasi is taking pains to spend more time with the normal liaison guy than he is the title character, and I think it will pay off in the end. This is not a series that will have anyone talking, and will probably eventually be as forgotten as, oh, Trouble Magnet or Relative Heroes is now, but it is a good read so far. Chris Samnee, last seen (by me) on Marvel's Devil-Slayer rethink, comes along in #5 to replace Peter Snejbjerg, whose bowing out was done with no fanfare or publicity that I've seen, and he does a great job picking right up where Mr. S left off. Samnee's got real talent, he does, but that said, I'll miss Snejbjerg, whose art we don't see too much anymore. Oh well, at least I won't have to type his name again anytime soon. A-

THE MUPPET SHOW #1: I've always kinda liked the Muppets, but I never really had a strong attachment. Yeah, I used to watch the show upon occasion, especially when they had a musical guest I wanted to see, and yeah, I went to see the movies, too- heck, I even remember when the Muppets used to appear on The Ed Sullivan Show, fer chrissakes, singing "Mena Mena", and watched Sesame Street (even though I was a little old for it)...but seeing a new Muppets thing has never been a priority of mine, really. While I'm a little amused and puzzled by the need or desire to see a Muppet Show comic book in 2009, at least 30 years after the show it's based on last aired, I realize the characters are perennials (though I'd be willing to bet that the average 20-something would be more likely to ID Sesame's Elmo than the Swedish Chef or Rowlf) and the sales figures seem to confirm Boom!'s faith in the property. Of course, the real reason to buy this is Roger Langridge, who has a deft cartooning hand and is capable of parroting that trademark cornball Muppets, Inc. humor. I'm sure this will do quite nicely for the Boom!sters, but it's probably the only issue of this I'll need to read in my lifetime. A-

POTTER'S FIELD: STONE COLD #1: Somehow I missed this series when it was published initially a year or so ago; my bad. I did get the opportunity to read this one-shot, and I liked it as much as anything I've read from Boom! in a long time. This is a really interesting premise, done with an appropriate gravitas and featuring a kinda-novel idea inspired by the real-world term for a place for the burial of unknown or indigent people. Here, a fellow named "John Doe", appropriately enough, has charged himself with the task of, as the press release puts it: ...naming the unnamed in this cemetery! Using a network of underground operatives who don't know each other, he fights to save the unsaved and solve the mysteries of the unjustly slain! And of course, it's absolutely ready-for-TV! But the real ace in the hole is artist Paul Azaceta, whose work I always love (which you know if you've read my blog at all), and who doesn't disappoint here. I see where a collection of the first miniseries is coming soon (if not already out)...I definitely need to keep an eye out for it. A

SCALPED #'s 27, 28: The peripheral cast spotlights conclude, with #27 focusing on loathsome FBI agent Nitz, providing some much-needed depth to what has been pretty much a one-dimensional character. Good job by Francesco Francavilla, whose work comes across here as a little restrained and flat compared to what we've been given previously. #28 welcomes back regular artist R.M. Guera, and provides some long-awaited info on what happened to Red Crow, Gina Bad Horse, Catcher & company back in 1975 when those two Feds were killed. As always, first-class drama all the way. #27: A-; #28: A

SEAGUY: THE SLAVES OF MICKEY EYE #1, 2: Damn it, Grant, didn't you get this shit out of your system via The Invisibles so long ago? I mean, as with that title, I understand what you're getting at, but you make it such a goddamned chore to parse through all the allusion and illusion and metaphor and just plain old flights of fancy that it really diminishes your message in general. Classic can't-see-the-trees-for-the-fish-type scenario. Of course, bear in mind that as I write this I haven't read concluding issue #3, so I may get struck by a crimson bolt of enlightenment yet. The saving grace, as far as I'm concerned, is Cam Stewart's wonderfully open and inviting art; he's very good at reining Morrison in. Until I read #3, I give this an incomplete C+.

TOP 10 SPECIAL #1: Another not-bad script by Zander Cannon that focuses on Girl 2, the hapless-but-likable clone replacement for popular-but-killed-in-action Girl One. Unable to hack it in law enforcement, she has shifted into the legal profession, and finds it just as difficult as her previous gig. Even though it's not the freshest plot in the world, borrowing liberally from a thousand-and-one courtroom dramas on TV and film and counting on the injection of the semi-serious superhero people to give it a little novelty, "spin" if you will, it's somehow enjoyable just the same because Cannon does such a good job of writing the characters like Alan Moore established them so long ago. It's not helped by the all-wrong art stylings of "Chinese superstar Da Xiong" (as the solicit text says)- perhaps it's just me being so used to Gene Ha and his definitive versions, but the storytelling is lifeless and bland, and some of the characters just look odd- Shock-Headed Peter, for example. Unfortunately as well, it appears this could be the swan song for this still-enjoyable and regrettably-truncated series, read more here on Cannon's blog. Not the best note to go out on. B-

YELENA BELOVA AND THE THUNDERBOLTS #130-132: I know, I know, that's not the title- but let's face it, Diggle notwithstanding, I wouldn't be buying this now if not for the presence of my favorite Black Widow. Diggle does well by her for the most part, and I especially appreciate the attention paid to her dialect and accent, but I kinda miss her insecure, eager-to-prove-herself side of the miniseries- it's been replaced by a mercenary matter-of-factness that does fit the tone of the book better and probably suits a characters that's been transformed into a lizard monster and disintegrated. #130 & 131 wastes my time with everybody's apparent favorite character but mine, Deadpool, who comes across as a mix between Bullseye and the Creeper with bad skin; #132 gets back in line with the more interesting Dark Reign stuff, and thankfully Diggle indulges himself in some good character work as well as accomplishing the difficult task of making some Wolverine badguy that I'm completely unfamiliar with kinda interesting, not an easy thing to do considering my apathy towards Marvel's cash cow and his extended cast. Bong Dazo's (that name makes my inner Beavis and Butt-Head snicker) art on those issues is too broad and exaggerated for my taste, but I suppose it suits the broad and cartoonish character he's asked to depict. I hope to sweet Internet Jesus that Yelena never dons that ugly eight-eyed mask again, "black widow" visual metaphors be damned. Roberto De La Torres' art on #131 is a bit more of a proper fit. I'm liking this book just enough- it might be one the first I'd drop if I had to, but not the first. #130, 131: C+; #132: B+

UMBRELLA ACADEMY: DALLAS #5, 6: The saving grace here is the messy relationships between the Academy members, because Way is like his obvious inspiration Grant Morrison in one way in particular- he loves to lard on the odd-for-odd's sake. Unlike Moz, though, he knows when to pull back a bit before everything gets lost in translation, and while this weird-ass time-travel/Kennedy Assassination riff does teeter on the brink of incoherence at odd times, it gets resolved nicely and points towards more almost-incomprehensible future exploits and continued acrimony. Can't not mention Gabriel Ba's art; without it in all its angular glory, none of this would be half as interesting or readable. A-

UNKNOWN SOLDIER #6: Look- this is well-researched, earnest and sincere, successfully (if in an often too-complicated fashion, but it's a complicated situation) calls attention to a truly dire problem, and it's a smart rethink of a venerable old character. Problem is, though, to me anyway, it's also dull as dirt, with unexciting art. This book has its admirers, and I can see why, really I do, but it just doesn't push my buttons and it failed the six-issue tryout period for me, so with this issue I bade it a fond adieu. C+

One more to go, including comics I got Friday the 12th!

Saturday, June 06, 2009


And now, it's finally time to resume with CONFESSIONS OF A SPINNER RACK JUNKIE, now committed to catching up with comments on comics that I have bought and/or received since March 21st, 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.

100 BULLETS #100: No cut and paste this time. This finale was the entire series in a nutshell, I think; complicated and byzantine till the end, and as always immaculately illustrated- I think Ed Risso's work on this series has set a standard for commitment as well as gangster/noir art, as well as just plain ol' sequential storytelling. An admittedly small group, but there are some good names in it. I wish Azzarello hadn't been so obtuse in his scripting sometimes; it was often way too hard to tell the kinda-sorta bad guys from the kinda-sorta good guys, as well as to suss out their motivations for this act or that act...which I guess was the point in a lot of ways but often made keeping up more of a chore than you'd like for it to be. That said, I'm not really a big fan of Noir fiction in general, films, books, you name it, and that speaks to the talent of all concerned (as with Brubaker and Phillips on Criminal ), that I have followed this all these years and enjoyed all the gnarly polt twists as much as I have. I think I really do need to reread all 100 issues in a sitting before I render final judgment, but really, I think this has been a heck of a ride, exciting and baffling in equal measure, and while I can't wholeheartedly recommend it for just anybody, I think if you're the kind of reader that doesn't mind a bit of a challenge, you might like this series. You might also want to buy it in trades in order to get more of the story at once; one hundred singles is a lot of floppies to buy. Y'know, after all is said and done, I'll miss this comic- I'd got used to having it around. A-

AGENTS OF ATLAS #'s 3, 4, 5: Continuing on its merry way, picking right up where it left off from the previous series, missing only the assured art of Leonard Kirk- but his successors make up in energy and spirit what they lack in polish. #3 suffers from my complete indifference to Wolverine; #4's flashback mania went down better because I know Parker's just introducing plot threads to be developed later, but I find the Agents more compelling now than in the past, Venus excepted of course. #5 was an extended superguy fight with the saving grace of humor. #3: B; 4: B+; #5: A-.

BATTLE FOR THE COWL: ORACLE: THE CURE #1-3: I reviewed #1 in my last (to date, I guess, although they may let me do more someday) piece for, but had not opined on the other two. I liked certain things about this series, but was unimpressed with how abruptly it was resolved, and while the...titillating covers by Guillem March were nicely done, the interior art was mediocre. I like the character as she is; I hope they don't plan to change the status quo...but that's kinda hypocritical of me considering that I'm not really a Bat-book buyer (that's gonna change soon, though). C+

B.P.R.D.: THE BLACK GODDESS #'s 4, 5: I'm sorry- I love the B.P.R.D. cast, and of course Guy Davis is one of today's greats as far as I'm concerned...heck, John Arcudi will get slack from me for all eternity simply by virtue of having written Major Bummer... but this whole storyline, with the mysterious Asian (?) dude and all the frigging frogs and giant robots and missing Liz Sherman has been dragged out so long it's flabby and confusing, and like X-Files (which this series invites comparison to in some ways), I'm at the point where I no longer care. What needs to be done is anybody's guess, and I'm signed up for the next mini, but I'm not getting a whole lot of bang for my buck, constant explosions within notwithstanding. B-

CAPTAIN BRITAIN AND MI13 #'s 12, 13: The whole Vampire Invasion of England thing remains fun and quite engrossing; lots of characters having to make difficult decisions and relating to each other in arresting fashion. I especially like the way Cornell is handling Pete Wisdom, Blade, and the Black Knight, and in a perfect world, that's why we'd have these kinds of titles, to show how one person, with a clue, can show us an interesting new side, or sides, to a character that we readers have previously dismissed or ignored completely (I raise my hand here). However the comics buying world in general is equally dismissive of such fine lines, and seeks more immediately gratifying criteria before he or she lays their money down, vampire missles from the Moon notwithstanding. And truth be told, as Steven Grant so astutely sums it up in his most recent Permanent Damage column, it's a comic mostly about magic and magic users, which rarely sells to a wide audience, and let's face it- awesome powers aside and 30 years' worth of stop-and-start characterization upgrade attempts aside, the lead is still pretty much an uninteresting cipher. Of course, this should be saved for the final review, when #15 ships; we still have a few more chapters to go, and this is another good one. At least Cornell gets to wind this up in unhurried fashion, and at least we got 16 issues. I wish Chase had gotten 16, to name but one fondly-remembered but shitcanned series. A-

DAREDEVIL #117,118: This book keeps spinning its wheels furiously, each new writer trying to put his own stamp on what Frank Miller did 30 frigging years ago, and that means putting Matt Murdock and his loved ones through the proverbial Trials of Job for months on end. But luckily these DD writers have been a mostly capable lot, and therefore what seems like the 800th return of the Kingpin storyline takes on some gravity and even pathos, thanks to Brubaker. Nice to see Mike Lark inking himself again, and even nicer to see the Owl used so well. Someday, I'll get tired of seeing Matt twisting on the hook for my entertainment...but for now, I'm not at that point just yet. #117: A-; #118: A

DETECTIVE #853: Gaiman's typically twee approach to writing, filtered through the grimy lens of six decades' worth of comics history, ambles along amiably until a surprisingly tender finale, all the more strange because given the subject it shouldn't work...but against all odds it does, and therein lies the talent that all his acolytes see and I have to look hard to find sometimes. And even more surprisingly, it works despite being saddled with relentlessly ordinary Kubert-son art. You just never know sometimes. B+

FABLES #'s 83, 84: I washed my hands of Jack of Fables long ago, and don't really have any desire to follow the spinoff mini The Literals, both of which form a trilogy miniseries with this, the motherbook, so I guess I'm not completely up to speed with everything that's going on, and I can live with that because Willingham's not really getting too far away from the storyline he set up before the spinoff madness commenced, and I, for one am grateful. That said, nothing much is going on in said storyline, and that's kinda annoying. Artwise, also pretty consistent (its middle name is Mark Buckingham, you know), but I vastly prefer the design-oriented but relatively restrained Buckingham to #84's loose and sloppy Tony Akins. As always, if you've been along for the ride thus far and are invested in the characters, you can't stop reading...but I can't imagine what someone new to the party would think. #83: B+; #84: B-.

FINAL CRISIS: LEGION OF THREE WORLDS #4: Of course, the most notable thing (to me, anyway- I dare say precious few others give a damn) in this prodigal chapter is that someone at DC finally killed off Kinetix, which of course didn't make me happy at all...but hey- I didn't like the state Abnett and Lanning left her in, and it's not like any subsequent Legion writers were gonna use her anyway, so whatever. The rest of the comic is more of the same convoluted scripting and claustrophobic Perez art that we've gotten in issues previous. I follow out of idle curiosity, if nothing else. It's not boring, I'll give it that. B-

HELLBLAZER #253, 254: Hate to say it, but I'm beginning to think that there pretty much isn't anything left to do with this character without going to ridiculous extremes, like giving him a caped costume or black leather. Hey- John Constantine could be the next Spectre! Kidding! Pete Milligan's plugging away gamely, but to no great effect; he's bringing nothing to the book or the character that hasn't already been brought before, and it's not helping that he's saddled with run-of-the-mill Vertigo House Style artists. #254's Goran Sudzuka's pencils, combined with Rodney Ramos' inks, looks like nothing else than superhero specialist Jerry Ordway, totally wrong for this sort of thing, and really hamstrings Milligan's plague-ghost epic before it gets a chance to get off the ground. Get him on Justice Society and the hell away from here. I've followed ol' Conjob a long time, but he's in a real rut and I'm beginning to wonder if it's not time to cut bait. Both issues: C+

HEROGASM #1: The Boys spinoff, with Garth taking the piss from the big multi-character crossover cosmic epics which are all the rage these days as only Garthy can, which is to say crudely, crassly, and most important, funnily. John (Hitman) McCrea is his partner in crime this time. This reads exactly like its parent book, features most of the same characters, including Wee Hughie and sweet l'il ol' Starlight, which you just know is going to end badly and will be genuinely sad when it does- which begs the question of why exactly this is a separate series and not the next four issues of the regular ongoing. More sales, I suppose, but beware of watering down your best Scotch, Dynamite Entertainment... B+

HERO SQUARED: LOVE AND DEATH #2: Good Will Coasting. That would make a nifty title for a movie, wouldn't it? B

THE INCREDIBLES #1: Dell/Gold Key used to do this sort of thing all the time back in the day; sometimes they tried hard (sometimes not so hard, but that's not the case here) to replicate the charm, pizzazz, and cleverness of the adapted property, and either utterly failed or did not succeed in finding an audience, and only would run a couple of issues before exiting stage left. The Incredibles movie, in my opinion, is certainly one of Pixar's best, and maybe one of the best animated films ever. This comic doesn't come close to that standard, blame a lack of feeling or understanding of what made the source special, or other sort of nebulous criteria. That said, it's still quite readable, especially if you like the characters, and it may have gotten better since, I don't know. Regardless, insofar as #1 went, I was underwhelmed. C+

JACK STAFF #20: Paul Grist continues to manipulate his now-sprawling cast in as-always interesting fashion, with his dry humor and daredevil storytelling chops intact. As always, the delays are frustrating but the results are always usually worth the wait. I wish I could go into more detail, but it would take a lot longer than I want to spend on it...if you're not following this book, you're missing out on an entertaining read. In my opinion. A-

POWER GIRL #1: Worthwhile, as always, for Amanda Connor's art- but hubby Jimmy and writing partner Justin haven't done her (or PG) any favors by saddling them with an excessively talky script that sometimes neglects to portray their mostly likeable heroine in a positive light. As the Daughters of the Dragon/Heroes for Hire example, along with this, suggests, sometimes maintaining the quality between very good minis (and this includes the recently-concluded Terra) and the subsequent ongoings is problematic for the Graymiottis. I think this is worthwhile for the pretty pictures. Whether or not that translates to cost-effective is something else again. B+

TINY TITANS #14: Cuter than a cute thing all wrapped up in cute. Did I mention it's cute? A-

Many more to come, hopefully sooner rather than later. The hurrier I go the behinder I get, as the saying goes. Do you like me putting the covers next to the capsules, instead of at the top of the post like I used to? It's a little trouble, but I like them there.