Part of this is the last issue of the time-travel story arc (otherwise known as the get-us-the-fuck-away-from-Fear-Itself story arc to everybody except the one guy I know online who liked Fear Itself), and it is as pleasant as any well-drawn comic about...these people...who are super-villains....pretending to be heroes in World War 2...can be. It's fine. No, it's pretty good! Okay, it's just what it is. Then, you know, like a week or something later, there's another fucking issue and it's like--this book is like assplay. You dig it for a while, you sort of get really into it, but then it becomes an expectation, and sex becomes this thing involving lots of plunging fingers and dirty talk that's getting too edgy along with the most cursory and ill considered handjob one thought possible, and handjobs are already the closest thing to a dictionary definition of "cursory" as you can get. Nobody is saying stop! There's no reason to get like that about it, you want feelings and honesty, sometimes feelings and honesty aren't going to be like cold ice cream. They're going be about how I feel like you're treating me like i'm only good if i'm a dirty whore who always wants fingers in the ass, and Melody Beattie be damned to hell with her churlish grin: sometimes you're responsible for my feelings.
Giuseppe Camuncoli is a guy that DC wasn't able to provide with a super-hero comic to draw, which is pretty funny when you consider that DC will probably publish a comic book that looks like it was drawn by that four year old who writes Axe Cop at some point in the next two weeks. Of course, Camuncoli has to go through the necessary hazing that occurs with the bump in pay (going from Daken Dark Wolverine to ASM is the equivalent of going from being a Wal-Mart greeter to being that girl that Leatherface hangs on a hook). In this case, the hazing is in the form of being colored by Frank D'Armata, and if there was an award given to people who hate super-hero comics for their ability to hate super-hero comics, there would be absolutely no contest, because Frank D'Armata has dedicated his entire career to making super-hero comics the ugliest thing on the planet, and all the rest of us just sit around talking shit about Geoff Johns outside conventions. That motherfucker punches the hate card everyday. You left your guns at home.
Incredible Hulk #2
Written by Jason Aaron
Art by Marc Silvestri, Whilce Portacio, Billy Tan, Michael Broussard, Eric Basaldua, Scott Hanna, Joe Weems, Jay Leisten, Don Ho, Crimelab Syndicate & Sunny Gho
Published by Marvel Comics
This comic isn't even that horrible--it's got some really tough art moments, but it's really just mediocre shit at the worst--but man, this is one major clusterfuck of a publication. Beyond all the names listed above for the art, there's two people on a "production" team, there's a credited "special production thanks" to Top Cow...hell, as much as there's an urge to point out the shittiness of the comic, it can't be ignored that this thing is employing way more people than just about anything else on the market. If one third of the comic's being published today employed whatever lopsided method of production is being employed here, the American economy could right itself in a scant few months.
While this year has seen the worst happen to the BPRD series (the loss of Guy Davis), Tyler Crook and Dave Stewart have ably plowed forward and done the best they can with an obviously thankless task. And it's worked fine--the two parter that got Crook's feet wet won't be remembered for anything beyond that one part where the guy's guts got ripped out so he could hold candles instead, and that image was a good one--and Russia has been a rapidly paced get-it-done story that plays well to Tyler's previous experience. This is still a good comic, and while it's unlikely to survive too many more shitty spin-offs written by people other than Mignola & Arcudi, it'll still be...i don't know. It'll be good. It won't give you AIDS or barf on your mother at your dad's funeral. It's still a comic. It won't get you pregnant.
The truth of the X-Men is that what once made them so necessary to people--the fact that they were the most well-honed version of the soap operatic spandex continuity porn that replaced standard super-hero comic entertainment--has now made them toxic to the rest of humanity who lack the required background knowledge to make sense of their intense convolution. Everybody on this television show has fucked someone else on this television show, everyone has died, quit, changed politics and personalities and in some cases entire flesh, and the best jokes that can now be made are graphically off-putting smug meta references to bodies of history: all of which are delivered at the loudest possible volume in the hopes that "being startled" will be confused in the reader's mind as "being entertained." And while Marvel's choice to attach Bachalo to the project means there's a chance we shall once again see the hideous midget Wolverine, it's also attached to Jason Aaron on script: and his solid run on Ghost Rider aside, Jason Aaron has written more Wolverine-is-crying stories than every other Wolverine writer combined. And while comics are all about--well, they're supposed to be about--inclusion, the truth is that people who enjoy or want to read Wolverine crying stories should be put on a fucking watch list, along with Catholic priests, assistant football coaches, corpulent meat wheelbarrows, guys who live off an allowance given to them by their wives, old racist drunks who use ex-Zuda creators instead of anti-depressants, people who have sex while watching Family Guy, and anybody that has a tiered system of email addresses.
The previous issue of this comic was the weird "let's go to concentration camps" issue that Marvel makes all of its writers do every six months (hey, you come up with an explanation), and who can get into concentration camps anymore after that episode of Human Giant where the Shutterbugs talk about Kidcentration Camp? Or Maus. You know, that's the problem with Ed Brubaker, actually. Because of his past as an Ignatz-swilling Porcellino-balling dude with chest hair, everybody knows he's read Maus, and so you keep hoping that Bucky is going to have an adventure with Art Spiegelman's dad, and Art Spiegelman's dad knew how to party, even in pajamas.
Anytime comics have jokes in them about pot brownies, they should come with a signed affidavit that says The Person Who Made This Comic Is Young Enough That It's Okay That They Still Think That Pot Brownies Make For Good Comedy, because otherwise the reader will spend the whole rest of the time--which could have been kind of enjoyable, since there's that whole Kirby's Kubrick (by way of Panter's creeps and Ryan's blacks)--sneering so hard that the muscle starts to spasm. (This rules also applies to the fucking Asshole only phrase "nom nom", but since that showed up on the same page as the pot brownies, some bit of amnesty is allowed.)
When they come, and they're gonna come, they're gonna ask you why you liked Jonathan Hickman comics right before they take you away. And truthfully, no more secrets, we know why you like 'em. But they're gonna come anyway, and when they ask, they're also gonna ask why you didn't just call your dad on the phone, because that's how far away he was the whole time. You didn't need this pacifier. You just needed the courage to tell that man you loved him.
Dude, he loves you too. He just loves football more.
While this really is the smash 'em up genre comic that all arts comic people should be fucking around with (the coloring in this comic alone is a gigantic rebuke, a challenge that few seem to realize is directed right at them), it's still a book that's weirdly paced and somewhat half-cocked--really, the best way to explain it would be to say "imagine you've only read one comic, and that comic was Elektra Assassin". Sure, there's Godland characters in other garb, and there's the Liquid Television does gag stuff, but this is mostly thought experiment and binge drinking. Don't be surprised if you open the 40th issue and it's just a bunch of rants about peak oil, followed by a couple of panels of a pornographic mustache.
One of the plot threads from previous volumes--the one where a certain amount of points will allow one of the Gantz fighters their freedom--finally winds its way towards a sort of conclusion, with the big reveal that, on top of escape, points can be redeemed for the resurrection of the dead. While there's definitely a bit of philosophy 101 to be played with here--think the question of whether a boat remains real when years of repair and replacement have given you a boat with none of its original parts--it looks like the story will skip right through that and just play video game logic. In keeping with the Gantz Method (which is way hornier than the Socratic), our lead watches as the entire room use all their points to resurrect his friends, his girlfriend, and then he goes home to masturbate some more. This comic is never going to end.
This is an okay remix of the Wonder Woman origin, but don't lie: when you heard (if you heard) that the Wonder Woman origin story was "being changed" in such a way that certain Wonder Woman fans were chapped off, weren't you secretly hoping that Azzarello was going to write a comic where it turned out that Wonder Woman's secret origin was that she was dead, and he was writing a straight up military action thriller about how Steve Trevor flew around the world in a stolen fighter jet getting revenge on God?
It would have been like this:
What's Wonder Woman's secret origin?
That she's DEAD.
DUDE THAT'S AWESOME
Beyond the boilerplate Starfire-as-cum-receptacle stuff (as Dan Didio once said, that girl's got an ass is like a wet bucket), the other main problem with Red Hood and the Outlaws is that it's way, way more interesting a comic than most of DC's 52 output. It doesn't achieve actual comics quality the way something like Wonder Woman does, and it doesn't bleed with Continuity Based Importance the way Justice League does, but it does make very specific choices, have unusual (because it's flashy Top Cow shit, or so I've been told) art, and, because of Lobdell, it doesn't read like the last five years of DC's output. You know why the New 52 thing is failing, already? I mean--you already know, unless you're crazy person. It's failing because it's the same guys who were making the comics you didn't like before. They didn't change. Magically restarting DC Comics didn't make Tony Daniel a more interesting writer, they didn't make Frank Quitely's schedule more open, they didn't cure Rags Morales addiction to draining all of the fluid out of the human form. Didio still can't write a comic. Johns can still only write one. Putting Lobdell on a book--even one as fucking wack-metal as this, which is an attempt to combine the movie Threesome with a children's cartoon, plus cults, gigantic swords and a Dream Whore--means, for the first time in years, that DC has a comic that isn't like every single other DC Comic they publish.
Well, except for the fact that it's still pretty shitty.
Now that the Disney/Marvel meet-those-quarterly-projection heads are making themselves heard, there's no question that books like Deadpool Max II are heading for that place Judge Dredd sends the mentally handicapped in Mega City One. The only question now is whether or not David Lapham and Baker are aware of that, because if they are, we just might be entering the final stretch of let's-fuck-around comics. This is so much a better comic than all of those things by Eisner where people try to solve their familial problems. For instance, when somebody in this comic has a problem with the women in their lives, they take those anti-boner pills they give to child molesters. Have you read A Family Affair? It's a good 30 pages of fucking dialog, and nobody gets to screw anybody. And it certainly doesn't have Cable in it.
The highest point in this comic is the beginning, when it seems like Joe Casey is doing a riff on that part in Cobra where it turns out that there's an axe-cult killing motherfuckers, and the second high point is when it seems like Nathan Fox is picking up on that Cobra reference by drawing the female sex lead so hideously that she almost looks to have replaced her human flesh with a garbage bag painted in human flesh colors, because if there's one thing that's way too intense for 8 year olds, it's Brigitte Nielsen as a romantic lead, she's essentially Dolph Lundgren with breasts, that's why Rocky IV has such an impact. (Everybody likes it when robots fuck themselves.) And yet: if there's one thing the Haunt character isn't, it's interesting enough to make you forget about Sylvester Stallone's performance in Cobra, which--while not the generally accepted definition of good--is still more striking than this.
Written by Jason Aaron
Art by Steve Dillon
Published by Marvel Comics
Check this out:
Steve Dillon has drawn more comic books than most people have read, and while few people regard him with the same amount of respect they give to the 40-something father of four who just took their bagel order, and Steve Dillon has drawn pornography, and Steve Dillon has drawn Judge Dredd, and yet Steve Dillon has somehow managed to never draw panels like the one above. That is a new thing. It's not a great thing. But it's new, and it is all his.
Outside of Daredevil, what super-hero book can go dick to dick with Uncanny X-Force? Hell, outside of the Hernandez/Woodring/Marti level shit, what any comic can? It's not Remender on his own--it's not even Remender plus Opena, because these same dudes did Punisher comics, and that shit worked about as well as JT Krul's initial run on Green Arrow. It sucks to say it, but truth-to-truth, smash-to-smash: character counts, and Deadpool/Wolverine/Fantomex are 2011's equivalent of an engorged vulva knocking on your door right after your girlfriend dies of a miscarriage in your arms. Answer it, my moist friend. It's the Lord's own sustenance.
-Tucker Stone, 2011