Wednesday, December 24, 2008

New Comics Day

Couple books for reading on x-mas eve...

Wonder Woman

Hulk has been an unexpected highlight of the year with a double dose of Art Adams and Frank Cho the last three issues. Frank Cho is always great to see drawing and he certainly was a good fit for Red Hulk's bash against She-Hulk and her Lady Liberators. The story was fun if a bit light on any sort of plot outside of an well drawn, extended fight scene. There was a small story twist but it's hard to see me following it unless the follow up art is of equal caliber.

Seeing Art Adams, however, feels like more of a gift. It's far too rare to see him doing sequential pages, and every one of the Las Vegas-based Hulk/Wendigo pages was a reminder of how unique and inspiring that art can be. I hope it is a sign of things to come with Adams back on the scene (outside of comics covers that seem to keep him working, of course).

Aaron Lopresti's art has been the primary draw of picking up the Wonder Woman Monthly, but that's not to say Writer Gail Simone is doing a bad job. She's off and on for me, at times crafting detailed and well constructed tales, at others hacking out less than inspiring material (-ahem- Gen13 -cough-). With the last arc and the current "Rise of the Olympian" storyline, she appears to be slowly crafting her own Mythology For Wonder Woman, something that every Wonder Woman author of note has attempted, and with such expectation that it must be demanded by the work contract. Of the most regarded (or noticeable) may be that of George Perez and John Byrne. Perez set the tone of Wonder Woman for many that followed and I feel is still looked upon as the de-facto mythos. Personally Ifound great enjoyment from Byrne's take on the whole shebang, as strange and abstract as it sometimes was in both style and content. I mentioned Simone is "slowly" building up the foundations, which is one of my grievances. I would prefer things get going already, only because I've no clue how long Rise of The Olympian may be taking before the entry of the already announced "Manazons" storyline. Why I point back to Byrne is that with Wonder Woman he was introducing new concepts and contexts at a dizzying pace, giving his run on the book a palpable acceleration while offering a dense and entertaining read. Particularly of note was the backstory he introduced explaining the split that generated between the once singular Roman and Greek Pantheons, great stuff. As with Perez, many of Byrne's Wonder Woman trappings are still around in the DCU today, one wonders how Simone's will fare as time marches on.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

New Comics Day

I had to stop for gas on the way to the comics shop. $1.57! How crazy is that? The price fluctuation of the past six months just proves the whole thing is a racket. As soon as the public at large comes even close to a united fron on alternative energy initiative, BAM! Gas suddenly falls to half price. Don't worry, it'll go back up again. But I digress...


Terra was a really cool series, I think in lighter times it would survive for a while longer. Alas, it's got no Crisis or RIP or Death of the New Something or Other... and those are exactly the things that made it so great! Nice compact little story, new characters, gust stars like Power Girl and Geo_Force. OH and that amazing Amanda Connor art. Luckily her Power Girl series can't be far off!

Nice new collection of Silverfish, too. David Lapham is running on all cylinders over on Young Liars. I hope they give a new offering of Murder Me Dead as well. Maybe even Stay Bullets will get the treatment in this collection-friendly environment.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Venture Bros. Season 3 DVD is Oh Em Gee

Aside from being an awesome show, The Venture Bros. also benefits from Adult Swim's deep and quenching well of package design. The just-released image of reason 3's packaging is retro-riffic and smile-inducing.

Season 3 itself was fantastic, can't wait for this!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Two Comics Day

Crisis of Crisis.

Green Lantern Corps
Young Liars

Good reads both, especially Young Liars.

But instead lets talk about what I didn't buy, Final Crisis #5.

I read it at the store, and I only feel slightly guilty about that. The thing is, it's got pieces of really cool stuff in there, beyond my previous notes of Morrison trying to fry my brain. Reading this ish, I finally got it-- and "it" doesn't matter.

DC has effectively shot themselves in the foot by having monumental "events" three or four years running. The only two that stand out to me are Rann/Thanagar War and Sinestro Corps... because they were awesome. Maybe other readers found different events to be awesome, but the point is there were alot of them. So in Final Crisis, following Both Infinite Crisis (ugh) and 52 (yawn) and dozens of tie-ins, the massive setup that Morrison is clearly eager to lay out has but a fraction of the impact it should have. Clearly having this arc with Darkseid angling towards true godhood would in other circumstances be profoundly epic. But I'm afraid I'm all epic-ed out.

I have to admit that I've been reading comics for too long, I know how it's all going to pan out anyways. The Crisis can be as Final with a capital F as it wants, but we all know it's nearly the opposite. While I as both an avid reader of comics and everything else desperately wish comics would truly grow and evolve its respective universes and foundations, it's not going to happen. There will be no new "age" golden or otherwise because the marketeers just don't have the balls anymore. There's too much at stake as it were, what with property rights, multimedia extensions, and overall branding issues. You know, the money.

And that is why comics as an industry must fail for it to truly succeed as a creative endeavor. Only when there is nothing at stake can real risks be taken. Other companies are doing this in some respects, but are still too young to hit that sweet spot where all the creative cylinders are firing and the audience is there. Some are on the cusp, others unfortunately didn't last long enough to get there. The Big Two are far too old and bloated, past what made them great and clinging to that past in order to stay afloat. The world of on-line readership is the new frontier, but the proper model and execution has not been found.

Often I speak to friends of how I long for print to die. Not for some futurist vision of a paperless society, not for the promotion of technology in the information age, no sir. Out of love. My love for print is selfish, only in death can it be truly appreciated. The best of what comics has to offer is entrenched in print, may its end be swift and soon.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Smallville's Legion

From a recent episode of Smallville, we have the introduction of the Legion of Superheroes.

I never followed the show, there's only so much re-invention of canon I can take. But occasionally they do some cool things with the Superman gallery, even if they are to be introduced to a generation removed from my own.

Here with the Legion, I particularly like the contemporary costume details. Saturn Girl's t-shirt emblem is a given, and the the bolts on Lightning Lad's jacket are pretty slick. But the primo attention to detail has to be the metal studs on Cosmic Boy's jacket. Nice touch, costume dept.

Of course if you follow Smallville, you're sure to be a reader of Kryptonsite. Or if you're just interested in random plots and comics characters brought to the small screen, they've got you covered there, too.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Northlanders: Sven the Returned

Northlanders: Sven the Returned

"Waiting for the trade" has paid off with Vertigo's Northlanders, tho I guess I should be glad the floppy survived long enough to warrant it. Individual issues are no doubt as good, but I'm more than happy with the collected format for this viking tale.

Vikings roam aplenty in Brian Wood's telling of protagonist Sven's homecoming to a community gone corrupt in his absence. It follows Sven about midway through the classic hero's journey as he wroks to reclaim his birthright with just enough time to lose it again. Bloodletting, treachery, passion, and redemption comb thru the desolate northern landscapes of this early and brutal civilization.

Ah, but there is a hook. Wood tells the story in historical time and context, but does so with all contemporary dialogue. No "Thous" or "Thrices" or heavy Odinspeak. Primarily it's cussing and lots of it. It pulls your attention as it starts but quickly seems the norm as Wood spins out a pseudo-translation of an ancient language into the words and curses prevalent in any modern argument or R-rated movie. It's not too excessive, nor is it pandering by incorporating unnecessary slang that would come across as blatantly anachronistic. Indeed you attach yourself to Sven quickly, which is a feat in itself considering what an unapologetic bastard he is. With this style Wood once again adds to his library of multiple genres that appeal to a wide audience.

The interior art is good stuff by Italian artist Davide Gianfelice. It has that great look and feel of European inkwork, a misture of tight rendering and loose detail over a clearly strong foundation. The book is noticeably colored in a "film grain" style by top notch colorist Dave McCaig. It's a little busy in places but finds a good balance as pages go on. The paper is of lower stock, but it holds ink well and was a good choice for the book with it's style of color. The pages soak up more ink to diffuse the stipple effect that may have been too glaring in glossier stock. Also (thankfully) showcased at chapter breaks are the fantastically graphic covers by Massimo Carnivale.

The series appears to be staying on its feet, tho I'll be waiting for the next collection wich will be an easy choice to purchase.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

New Comics Delay

Post T-day reading with some good looking books.

Secret Invasion
Superman/Batman Vengeance TPB

So the Secret Invasion is no longer a secret. All over and done with, and only slightly anti-climactic. Except the art--- top notch the whole way. But really, what was going to go down? Yes, there are some interesting conclusions, and the overall theme and concept held its own. Stilll... nothing to flip our lids over, and it's almost humorous how the final chapter sloly start leading things back to the status quo. The Marvel U will never be a place for mega fiction on levels that can truly evolve. I think therein lies the true nature of comics lost audience. Eventually every generation has read them all, and realize everything "new" is just a variation on a them. There no reason it can't just go on and on, tho there does seem to be a level of diminishing returns that eventually won't be able to sustain itself. Still a ways off perhaps.

What we had was an opportunity that came too soon. Just as Marvel finally gets its multimedia ducks in a row and can present their characters to the masses the way they've always wanted -- I"m talking about the movies now-- they can't up and destroy or re-invent the core of fictional their universe. Maybe next time.

Terra, yay! DC should have just bit it and published the whole thing as a mini trade. Would that have been so bad, really?

The Superman/Batman collection is a good buy if you're a fan of Ed McGuinnes. His super-clean and playful style is in use over wide variety of characters in this story and alot of fun to look at. Actually reading it isn't going to be as fun, I'm afraid. But McGuinnes' visuals are so strong it works out in his favor.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Chex Likes to Party

I spyed this collection of new Chex boxes at a recent grocery run. Chex over the years seems to have directed its focus on being a party mix rather than a ceral, and the new boxes certainly promote that. Almost overly simplistic, but sure looks cool on the shelves.

Too bad the current Chex web site doesn't reflect the new look.

Rut Roh, Raggy!

Zoinks! A quick perusal of the blog see's that I've written about nothing but comics for weeks! Seeing as this week's comics run is delayed a day, I best be putting together some new posts. Not to mention some filler for xmas break.

On with it then!