DC doesn't make any sense. They publish about eight million pages of comics that feature no-explanation erect nipples, and then, when their bustiest female character escapes from a block of ice, they can't pull the fucking trigger. Seriously, that situation--female character with gigantic tits is encased in a block of ice whilst wearing a white t-shirt--is the prime number intellectual argument answer to the question "When is it appropriate, nay, a must, to feature one of our countless hotties-in-space-thongs with oxytocin pumping at speed-dick rates?" She just escaped a block of fucking ice. Somebody should dig up Mister Wizard.
Big Questions # 13
By Anders Nilsen
Published by Drawn & Quarterly
This is pretty, it's about birds and shit. Life. There's a talking snake, but he's not the devil or something cheesy like that. One of the birds sings a Will Oldham song about having a hard life. It'll make you think about stuff, but it'll be personal stuff that you don't feel like sharing with people, so you'll probably say it in the dark while the only person you'd actually consider sharing it with sleeps. There's a Will Oldham song about that too.
By Zack Soto
Published by Zack Soto
The big secret of independent comics, mini or otherwise, is that most of them are really fucking horrible--bad art telling shitty stories with too high a price tag. That's why the main group of people who buy and keep up with them are usually tied up in the process of making some version of a shitty fucking piece of crap comic themselves, because it's in the best interest of all involved to maintain the lie, which is that there's a whole crop of independent alt comics that are really great, totally different from those g.d. super-hero comics, "puke". It's not true, and all it takes is a half ounce of honesty and 7 minutes of reading time to figure it out that no, five dollars worth of "what I thought about the customers at my old job" comics or serialized fantasy elf stories that come out in annual 16 page installments aren't the future of anything, other than a heaping dose of gunpowder based brainstem cleansing. Ghost Attack? This shit is actually pretty great, and at the end of the story, Zack Soto tells you what the idea behind the main story was about. Usually mini-comics like to play the whole "smarter readers will understand me" or "I don't care if I have an audience", both of which crash on the rocks of "you need any readers before you get 'smarter' ones, cuz friends don't count". After that, Soto includes a short installment previously published in Papercutter, which is also a pretty great mini-comic, despite being an anthology. It's like comics threw a curveball, and now your nuts need some frozen peas.
What else is there to say about this one? (Besides the "second best Urasawa series published this year" comment.) It's got action in it, and it does the action better than just about any other comic book that's come out this year. It's got fucking emote-ing in it, and it does the emote-ing better than just about any other comic book that's come out this year, excepting that part of Asterios Polyp where the girl asks dude why he never stands up for her to the pansexual frog monster's come-on lines. And, in opposition to the Big Two's tendency to quote-whore the exact same 4 writers on every single installment of the new Let's Rip Off Alan Moore Comic, this one has a vocal fanbase that includes the likes of Junot Diaz and Sergeant Fucking Moebius.
Oh, well there's the fact that this is the best volume of the series so far. That might be something new.Hellblazer # 261
Written by Peter Milligan
Art by Giuseppe Camuncoli, Stefano Landini & Trish Mulvihill
Published by Vertigo/DC Comics
Camuncoli gets to draw India, and hey, it turns out that comics characters in India aren't just white people colored differently, which clashes pretty severely with DC continuity. Is that what makes Vertigo different? The innovation of not being lazy doesn't completely stop there, with Milligan also bringing what looks to be a story along as well, and while part of that story includes the requisite scene where some ex-friend of John Constantine has started up a new life as a conman religious leader type, and another part is the 700th pair of cynical local cops, the comic looks so CrazySexyCool that it doesn't read like a retread, even if parts of it pretty much are. At the end, you'll find your yearly reminder that India's various gods are way scarier than lame assholes like Satan.Transformers # 1
Written by Mike Costa
Art by Don Figueroa & J. Brown
Published by IDW
This comic ends with Optimus Prime surrendering both his command of the Autobots as well as surrendering to the American authorities intent on capture/killing him, the same way they just killed Shortround, or Lockjaw, or Cockblock, whatever they call these toy advertisement characters. The comic opens with Optimus Prime quoting George Bush. (Either one.) That's not the recipe for something that's going to be very good, but then again, it's a fucking Transformers comic book, so maybe the story of how Glenn Beck became French is exactly what they're supposed to read like. God knows how you anyone could tell, IDW publishes about 16 versions of these characters every single week. This one was, at the very least, comprehensible.Adventure Comics # 5
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Jerry Ordway
Published by DC Comics
This isn't the only comic to feature comic book characters acknowledging the presence of snark on the internet this week, it's just the DC one. But unlike Dark Avengers, which shoves a line in the middle of a normal conversation with so much forced subtly that you can practically hear Nick Fury whine "leave me awwooonnee" before he says it, Johns just goes fucking full bore with the concept. Superboy is screaming about spoilers, he near strangles a comic shop employee, and then a zombie Lex Luthor from Earth 16-Z ejaculates in his pants when he sees how much the DC Comics Message Boards hate a DC Comics character--it's all just a really specific joke for a really specific person, sure, and it tries to have a "don't take this shit so seriously" attitude while also saying "but make sure you still take it seriously enough that you buy all these dumb comics and keep freaking out about them". It's problematic at best, horribly stupid at worst, and yet...it's sort of adorable in how far it takes the central gag. Superboy terrorizes his parents, he's obsessed with comic books in a way that goes way beyond the meanest stereotype...there's really nothing else that can be done with him, there's really no other character that would fit with this story. And while the immediate response to that sort of remark is usually something along the lines of "but is it a story worth telling"--hell, there hasn't ever been a story "worth telling" about Superboy-Prime, so why not just do one that caters exactly to his needs? Based off this depiction, dude has a diaper full.
If Iris has been drinking coffee since she was in the third grade--and god knows, nothing in Flash Rebirth seems to have anything but surface value, so one can assume she means that--wouldn't she pretty much sound like Tom Waits by this point? And if Professor Zoom--seriously, that's the guys name, Professor Zoom? If that guy has spent his entire life pushing a kid down a flight of stairs, and leaving open same kid's back door so the dog would get hit by a car...like, just fuck and get it over with. That isn't "I'm your arch-enemy," that's stalking, that's what that is. That's "I love you", that's what you call it when you travel back in time to push somebody down a flight of stairs when they're running to science class. When you kill their mom? What, you get sick of hiding his car keys and unplugging the refrigerator? "I set it so that your toaster always burns your waffles! When you loaned your best friend your copy of The Goonies I switched the tape with Black Draft so he'd think you were coming on to him! I put roofies in your milkshake before the homecoming parade!" How far are they taking this? Like, after they do the whole "think your clothes on and your clothes will think on" panel. Seriously? This is where they take it? And sure, the guy runs some in it--hell, except for the little girl, who Sciver depicts as hopping in the wrong direction, everybody actually runs really fast--but it's the same general problem that they had in every issue before, which is that they aren't going anywhere. Over and over again, fists lifted over their head in some weird approximation of movement, they say shit, they move their ass, and then, at the end, they swear they're going to do it again.
This ain't a comeback. This is Weekend at Bernie's.
The goofy thing about Dark Avengers is that it really doesn't have anything to do with Dark Reign at all. Sure, it needs Dark Reign to exist, otherwise it would just be the continuing adventures of the Ellis Thunderbolts series, but with longer sentences and more interruptions between them. But it's really just the apex of the Bendis team comic philosophy, which could most succinctly be understood as "bad asses being bad ass". Which--hey, you want to play anti-populist, play away, but what Bendis does works out pretty fucking well for the Avengers franchise. (Up until Bendis took over, the word "Avengers" wasn't plastered across four separate titles, and Marvel didn't even have a spinal book.) Dark Avengers is basically the king of all that shit--it's not the New Avengers style "look, all of your favorite characters HANGING OUT", but it's the Ultimate of the My Way Counts Comics, with a bunch of mean fuckers getting ready to wreck shit. And the mean fuckers are supposed to be mean fuckers, they're supposed to wreck shit, and while it still doesn't make sense why Bullseye all of a sudden cares about ruining anybody's reputation besides Daredevil, and Dark Wolverine is only interesting when Giuseppe Camuncoli is drawing him as a fruity trollop, this is a comic that usually delivers everything it promises--nothing more, but as long as it doesn't tie in with the collapsing X-Men franchise, rarely less. This issue, it spent half the page count yammering weak-ass exposition about some lesbian accountant who lived in a Skinemax movie, and then Greg Horn swiped old romance novel covers for a couple of pages. That would be depressing, but then again, it's not like you can get really mad at a prostitute for not bringing you to orgasm. You're just paying them for the shame, after all.
-Tucker Stone, 2009