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Pipeline #114

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Pipeline #114

AD OF THE WEEK

I haven’t done one of these in a while. It used to be a recurring feature in
the early Pipeline days. One ad a week would stick out, or at least stick
in my craw. This week it comes from LEVIS, who were nice enough to
take out full-page ads sporting head and shoulder shots of some
individuals. The freakiest one has frosted hair and brown stubble on his
face. It’s EXTREMELY distracting. Looks a little like Screech from
“Saved by the Bell”, actually.

As annoying as those Gap Kids ads and Backstreet Boys “Got Milk?”
ads were, at least they were just on the back cover where nobody cared.
These are stuck in the middle of the story pages. Eww.

FROM THE GREAT TIMING DEPARTMENT

Larry Young announced this week that there will be an
ASTRONAUTS IN TROUBLE trade paperback coming out in
November. This will collect the recently concluded 5-part mini-series
under one set of covers.

This announcement, of course, comes one week after I finally finished
dredging up all the back-issues. Thanks, Lar! 😉

FEATURE REVIEW

THE NEW WARRIORS #1 hits the stands after months of rampant
fanboy speculation. The first thing that strikes me as odd is Marvel’s
decision that the costumes needed to be changed to separate this series
from the old one. Yet, the logo on the cover doesn’t change. Hunh.

It’s written by Jay Faerber, drawn by Steve Scott and Walden Wong.
It’s a pleasantly forced and/or contrived first issue in a history of
contrived first issues that are necessary to get the team together. I like
it. It’s a fun romp through the Marvel Universe led by my favorite of the
original New Warriors, Speedball. I
think after reading this I’ll spend some
time in San Diego completing my first
run of New Warriors. I gave up on it
shortly after Fabian Nicieza left, just
for fiscal reasons.

One small costume note: Namorita
remarks in the issue that she was sick
of looking like a Sports Illustrated
cover. I guess that explains why she’s going for the prostitute fishnet
look. And does a half-aquatic person really want to wear fishnetting?!?
Seriously, one thing I really liked in the original series is that her
costume kept changing. Given her aquatic nature, I don’t think it’s that
much of a stretch that she would be wearing a bathing suit-type
costume. In the meantime, her capri-length tights work well in today’s
fashion as well as being functional, given the wings on her ankles.
(Remember, however, that wise old saying: “Fashion is something so
ugly it has to change every 6 months.”)

As soon as they change Nova’s costume back to the real one, I’ll stop
complaining about the costumes overall.

I think I could give this double-sized first issue (a “1st Collector’s Item
Issue!” according to the cover) a “recommended” label to both old fans
and those who didn’t read it the first time. It sets up the characters
nicely, although the #0 issue is a BIG help in understanding the
characters better. I hope we get to see some real team dynamics and
overall direction in the next issue, aside from the little bit of moralization
we got at the end of this one.

SHORT REVIEWS

YOUNG JUSTICE #13 contains the next part of the story started in
SUPERGIRL as Peter David crosses his titles over. The confusion I
mentioned from last week about SUPERGIRL continues to crossover
this week in YJ. That can’t be good. The rest of the story is interesting
enough, but the subplots in YJ are the ones that seem to be the most
compelling. We learn a little more about Secret’s past, and the Red
Tornado continues his fight for his daughter. Todd Nauck’s art in here is
the best it’s ever looked. And Peter David writes in a visual gag on
page 4 that just about makes the whole issue. (Oddly enough, the facing
page has one of those Levi’s ads on it, although this one isn’t with that
frosted freak…)

Skip it if you aren’t already a YOUNG JUSTICE or SUPERGIRL fan. Otherwise, pick this one up.

BLACK PANTHER #9 is the one in which Christopher Priest lets all
the stories start to fall together, at last. The ousted Wakandan king
starts to put two and two together and sets himself up for the big fight.
Mike Manley is the artist this month. His art has that Batman Animated
feel to it, which is weird after 8 months of “painted” art. But his
storytelling is sound and fits in quite well with Priest’s method of
storytelling.

I wouldn’t jump into this issue cold, but if you’ve been following the
Marvel Knights’ BLACK PANTHER, you owe it to yourself to get this one, too.

BATMAN: GOTHAM ADVENTURES #17 gets pretty much the
same review as did issue #15. It’s really good. Tim Levins’ art is, as
usual, excellent. Scott Peterson’s story touches on an aspect of the
classic Batman mythos. The script is not wordy or over-written. Lee
Loughridge’s color palette is amazing. In this issue, it’s making use of
earth tones, almost to the exclusion of anything representing a primary
or brighter color. The shading works to add a third dimension to the art.
The only thing I do miss is the days when Richard Starkings did the
lettering. That added a certain character to the comic that’s missing
now. Tim Harkins is a capable letterer, but his work lacks the design
sense Starkings’ did. It does, however, have the advantage of not being
computer-generated.

Go ahead and pick this one up, whether you’re a regular reader or not.

After all this discussion of anthologies in Pipeline2 and the Pipeline
Reviews message board, what terrific timing for America’s Best Comics
to come out with the Alan Moore-written anthology TOMORROW
STORIES. It’s a mixed bag. There are a couple of great stories, one
real stinker, and one I like with reservations.

Jack B. Quick is the story of a small, but brilliant boy, drawn by Kevin
Nowlan. Think of Mister Majestic from Wildstorm put in the body of a
small boy. Then make the storytelling a little more straightforward and
easy to follow. That’s what you have here. It’s a fun story.

Greyshirt may be the highlight of this issue. It’s a SPIRIT-esque story,
right down to the lettering. And it’s got a great Twilight Zone-esque
twist to it. It’s the best surprise of the issue. Rick Veitch draws it.

The Fighting Americans is drawn by Jim Baikie and contains one of the
most literate parodies of Jerry Springer I’ve ever read. If you’re sick of
that object of parody (there’s probably a French term for that
somewhere ;-), this one might not be for you. That’s my reservation.

Finally, there’s the Cobweb, drawn by Melinda Gebbie. Sorry, this one
doesn’t work for me. It was painful to get through. It’s not my style.

Three out of four ain’t bad. (That’s close to being a Meatloaf song . . .)
I’m looking forward to the next. This book has no connections to the
rest of the ABC Universe, really, so don’t hold back because of potential continuity confusion. Jump on in.

SHORT SHORT REVIEWS

THE UNCANNY X-MEN #373
continues Marvel’s confusion when it
comes to Marrow. It’s worth buying
these books to watch Marrow’s
clothes change from panel to panel, as
the colorist has to add in clothes
where none belong. Very strange. The
draw of this title continues to be
Adam Kubert, who does his best
every month to vary his art style as
often as possible. We get a couple of
different looks from him again this month, including an opening
sequence in sepia tone.

It’s funny how time changes things. I used to prefer Andy’s artwork to
Adam’s. That’s completely reversed now. I think Adam has greater
depth and artistic ability.

100 BULLETS #3 concludes the first tale of the story. Brian Azzarello
writes and Eduardo Risso draws. It’s a wonderful story. Although I’m
not usually one for gritty street drama and such consistent street slang,
this one just works really well. If you can scare up the first couple of
issues along with this one, it’s well worth the investment and the read.

THE AUTHORITY #5 starts off the second story arc for this title, by
Warren Ellis, Bryan Hitch, and Paul Neary. This one looks to be just as
large as the last one, and includes a couple of breath taking
double-page splashes. We’re tapping into some older
STORMWATCH material here for the main villains, although that’s
explained in the issue, so no back-story knowledge is really necessary.
It’s an enjoyable romp. Feel free to start here, if you’d like. Or go buy
one of the trade paperback collections of Ellis’ previous Stormwatch work.

DEADPOOL #32 is, well, surreal.
Kelly writes what Woods draws. I’d
give this a pass unless you’ve been
following this book for a while. It
might be lost on you. But I’ll say this
about DEADPOOL: it’s Marvel’s
best-written title and the best
exploration of a single character I’ve
ever read over a long time like this. Go dig around for back issues if
you need to. This series should be a textbook for writers.