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What I bought – 13 June 2012

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What I bought – 13 June 2012

For, if one can ask and receive eternity from God, then we can take the opposite of eternity – time – only from Satan … (Milorad Pavić, from Dictionary of the Khazars)

















Obviously, this is a bit late. I don’t know how in-depth it will be … of course, some might argue that I’m never that in-depth, but let’s all be nice here, shall we?



Bad Medicine #2 by Nunzio DeFilippis and Christina Weir (writers), Christopher Mitten (artist), Bill Crabtree (colorist), and Douglas E. Sherwood (letterer). $3.99, 22 pgs, FC, Oni Press.

I wasn’t aware that this was an ongoing, or at least a mini-series with different stories (although I think it’s an ongoing). This is the second issue and already Detective Huffman and Doctor Horne have stopped one bad guy, and the end of the issue gives us a hint of the next case. I like the idea of the series – a New York detective and a doctor with a shady past teaming up to solve weird crimes – and while the case of the invisible man didn’t wow me, it was a solid beginning to the series. It introduced the idea of Dr. Horne’s psychosis and how that will affect his working relationship with Huffman, and Weir and DeFilippis gave us two good main characters. Plus, Mitten is good. Overall, not a great issue, but a good way to kick off a series with a lot of potential.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:




Dial H #2 (“Connection Lost”) by China Mièville (writer), Mateus Santolouco (artist), Tanya and Richard Horie (colorists), and Steve Wands (letterer). $2.99, 20 pgs, FC, DC.

Our Australian pal FunkyGreenJerusalem (they name their kids weird stuff Down Under) recommended that I pick this up, so I did (see how easy I am to convince?). I enjoyed issue #1 but wanted to stay committed to my “trade-waiting” policy for most of the Big Two. Well, this is another good issue, but I think this might have made my case of waiting for the trade for me, because it’s so obviously a part of a whole, and I want to read the entire thing at one sitting, damn it! Even more than issue #1, this brings in the idea of a big conspiracy with our hero and his fancy dial in the center of it, and that’s something that will definitely read better in the trade. Mièville does a lot of interesting things in this issue, introducing some new characters and continuing to come up with wacky heroes for Nelson to turn into, but it does feel like a lot of setting things up. It’s a nice-looking book and more interesting than a lot of what’s coming out of the Big Two these days, but I’m still going to wait for the trade. Sorry, FGJ!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:




The Massive #1 (“Landfall: Kamchatka”) by Brian Wood (writer), Kristian Donaldson (artist), Dave Stewart (colorist), and Jared K. Fletcher (letterer). $3.50, 26 pgs, FC, Dark Horse.

I’ve been looking forward to The Massive for a while, and on one level, it doesn’t disappoint. Wood and Donaldson’s story of a missing ship and the search for it just feels exciting, as if the stakes are higher for this than they are in a lot of other comics even though they’re all, you know, drawings on paper. Wood introduces three important characters – Mary, Mag, and Cal (poor Lars doesn’t seem important enough, which makes me worry for his safety) – and the grand theme of the book – after an environmental disaster, Cal’s ship (the Kapital) is looking for the Massive, its sister ship – and some (so far) faceless bad guys. It’s an exciting issue, filled with potential, and I’m looking forward to seeing what Wood does with it.

Of course, with Wood, there’s always things to make you think. Wood is one of the more thoughtful writers in comics, and so whenever I read his stuff, I always think about them more than I do about some other stuff I read. Therefore, I tend to find things to nitpick more in Wood’s work, but I always think of that as a compliment (Wood might not think so, but it really is!). I don’t have a problem with the story set in a world of post-environmental disaster, but Wood errs, I think, by explaining how it happened. The book flashes back to various events that occurred to create this new world, and they all take place over the course of a single year. I’m not convinced that what he describes would actually happen, and I’m absolutely sure that it wouldn’t happen in a single year. I very much doubt if Wood is going to show that this is somehow deliberate, a scheme of some evil corporation, but that’s the only way I can see this stuff happening so quickly (and if Wood does go that route, I think it will be disappointing). I suppose Wood wanted to set this in the very near future, so he needed the world to change dramatically, but things like this don’t happen so quickly, and it makes the book a bit ridiculous where it shouldn’t be. I don’t know how Wood could have done things differently if he really wanted to set the book so close to our own time, but I think it was a mistake. There’s nothing wrong with doing a book about what happens after environmental collapse, but even the quickest environmental collapse takes years, if not decades. Geological time is far different than human time, after all, and what seems slow to use can be a blink of an eye in geological terms.

Donaldson’s artwork is very good, for the most part, but he seems to have fallen into the trap that Fiona Staples has already fallen into on Saga – very nice figure work and some uninspired backgrounds. It works a bit better on this book because the Kapital is out at sea, so there’s not a lot of scenery, but when Mary is fighting the bad guys out on the water, for instance, the icebergs look completely out of place and the placement of Mary’s boat on a computer-rendered ocean looks silly. I can forgive shortcuts if the main work is strong, and in both Saga and this book, it is, but that doesn’t mean the shortcuts aren’t annoying. I wish there was a better way.

The Massive #1 is a pretty neat comic with a lot on its mind, and I do look forward to issue #2. Give it a try!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:




Mind the Gap #2 (“Intimate Strangers Part 2: Two Nobodies”) by Jim McCann (writer), Rodin Esquejo (artist), Sonia Oback (colorist), and Dave Lanphear (letterer). $2.99, 23 pgs, FC, Image.

Issue #2 continues with the mystery set up in issue #1, as Elle discovers she can’t jump back into her own body (that would be too easy) as she can into other ones, a character (possibly) gets blown up, and lots of people speak with a good deal more gravity than we see in real life. But that’s okay, because it’s all for a good cause – a weird mystery! There’s not much else to say about it – McCann is still fleshing out the characters and dropping clues, while Esquejo and Oback do a nice job with the art except for those two pages where Dane and Jo are talking to each other and it’s so dark you can almost see nothing on the page. Why even bother with drawing anything – why not use black panels and word balloons if you’re going to make the panels so dark anyway? It makes no sense.

Anyway, this is a nice little issue, moving along nicely. I hate when gay characters make gay puns (actually, I hate when anyone makes stupid puns, but it seems like writers have gay characters make them more often), but once we get past that, it’s an enjoyable experience!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:




The Secret History #20 (“Watergate”) by Jean-Pierre Pécau (writer), Igor Kordey (artist), Leonard O’Grady (colorist), Edward Gauvin (transalator), and Marshall Dillon (letterer). $5.95, 54 pgs, FC, Archaia.

I’ve mentioned this before, but Archaia’s publishing schedule annoys me. The Secret History had a spin-off series, Games of Chance, which was solicited but then never released in single issues. A hardcover was solicited, but it still hasn’t shown up yet. So that mini-series should have been published before this issue, but it hasn’t been, so the fact that Pécau references it quite often in this issue bothers me. In a book that is so linked as this one, with characters referring things that happened many issues (and centuries) ago, the fact that six issues haven’t been published yet is really frustrating. I don’t know when Games of Chance is supposed to come out in hardcover, but I really wish Archaia would get it together.

As for this issue, it’s good. Which isn’t surprising. Still, I’m a bit peeved.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:




The Sixth Gun #23 (“A Town Called Penance Part Six”) by Cullen Bunn (writer), Tyler Crook (artist), Bill Crabtree (colorist), and Douglas E. Sherwood (letterer). $3.99, 22 pgs, FC, Oni Press.

Bunn ends the arc strangely, with a story that doesn’t really have anything to do with the actual arc. Like the last time Crook guested on art, Bunn focuses on a character that showed up in the story but didn’t have much to do with the story itself, and this time he revisits Kirby Hale, the gunslinger who made Becky’s toes curl back in N’Awlins. Hale showed up at the end of the most recent issue, and this issue shows how he got there. It’s a nice story that shows us what Hale has been up to and gives us some insight into why he’s been doing what he’s doing. I really don’t know why it’s called “A Town Called Penance Part Six” except that Oni wants to put it all in one trade. Well, that’s just silly. This arc was much stronger than the previous one, and I was happy that Bunn and Hurtt got it back on track. We’ll see what’s happening in the next one!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:


Essential Amazing Spider-Man volume 11 by lots of people. $19.99, lots of pages, BW, Marvel.

I already own a bunch of these issues, but I don’t own the early ones in this volume. With this, I now own every issue of Amazing Spider-Man from Amazing Fantasy #15 to issue #450 or so (I can’t remember when I dropped it). I know that’s not terribly impressive considering the bunch I’m addressing, but I think it’s pretty neat.

The Boy Who Made Silence volume 1 by Josh Hagler (writer/artist) and Thomas Mauer (letterer). $22.99, 139 pgs, FC, Markosia.

This was the best mini-series of 2008 even though only 6 of the 12 issues came out, and now we get a nice trade paperback of those issues. Hagler, apparently, is gearing up to finish the book, and I for one cannot wait. Pick this up and experience the greatness!

The Loxleys and the War of 1812 by Alan Grant (writer), Claude St. Aubin (artist), Lovern Kindzierski (colorist), and Todd Klein (letterer). $19.99, 176 pgs, FC, Renegade Arts Entertainment.

I always get a bit cynical when I see a fictional work claiming that it’s “historically accurate.” Doesn’t the fact that it’s fiction put that to rest? “Historically accurate” in this case means that the Americans invaded Canada for absolutely no reason even though the British were press-ganging American sailors into service in the Napoleonic Wars. I’m very curious to read this and see how “historically accurate” it really is. It looks like a cool book, though.

Tales from the Clockwork Empire by Ian Duerden (writer/artist). $17.99, 112 pgs, FC, Markosia.

Despite the fact that this is computer-generated and therefore looks somewhat creepy, I like the idea of steampunk, so I’ll give it a chance. I’m crossing my fingers!

**********


This post is late because I was in Pennsylvania this past weekend (I flew most of the day Thursday and Sunday) for a Marillion concert. As you may recall, Marillion is my favoritest band in the whole wide world, so when I saw that they were touring North America this summer for the first time in many years, I knew I had to try to see them (because I very much doubt if I’ll get another chance). Of course they were skipping Phoenix, and although they were playing in Los Angeles, I don’t know anyone in Los Angeles (not true, as it turned out, but how could I know that?), but they were playing in Philadelphia! So I asked a bunch of my friends if they’d like to go, and a few said sure (including my sister, who actually introduced me to the band back in 1985). So I flew in for a few days, and on Friday, we went down to the TLA to see them. They played for about 2 hours 15 minutes, and they were quite good. I was a bit worried because they’re getting a bit long in the teeth, but except for a few times when Hogarth couldn’t hit the high notes (which has been an issue on their two recent albums; stop writing songs that make you go high, h!), they were very good. My friends were completely unfamiliar with the band, but they’re musicians, so I figured they’d appreciate the technical aspects of the show. They claimed they had a good time, and that was enough for me! Anyway, if you’re at all familiar with the band, here’s the set list:

Asylum Satellite #1
Cover My Eyes
Slainthe Mhath
Fantastic Place
Somewhere Else
Power
Afraid of Sunlight
Man of 1000 Faces
Lucky Man
This Strange Engine
Neverland
Invisible Man (1st Encore)
Easter (2nd Encore)
Three Minute Boy (2nd Encore)

It’s a pretty good set list – it’s pretty eclectic and comprehensive, with only one Fish song (“Slainte Mhath”) and a good mix of older and newer stuff. I would have ditched “Asylum Satellite #1,” as it’s one of the few Marillion songs I don’t like and it’s a weird way to begin a concert; “Fantastic Place,” which is decent but nothing great, and “Invisible Man,” although the live version was better than the recorded one. “Power” and “Lucky Man” are two new songs off their upcoming album, and they were quite good. I’m always interested in how bands end concerts, and while I wouldn’t have ended it with “Three Minute Boy” (it’s a good song, just not something to end with; “Neverland” is a much better song to end on), they did a slightly different version of it that made it work a bit better. They did the best on “Slainte Mhath,” “Man of 1000 Faces,” “Lucky Man,” “This Strange Engine,” and “Neverland,” although the only songs that didn’t really work were the first two. Sun Domingo opened for them, and they were pretty good musically, although the lead singer wasn’t anything special. If you’re interested in reading a bit about Marillion, here’s a pretty good (if short) interview. Here’s the three people I went with:




So last week I watched X-Men: First Class. It was pretty good, but not great. I think we can all agree that the best line in the movie was “Go fuck yourself.” I also chuckled at the gigantic plot holes in it, especially at the end, once Mike F. Assbender starts fighting Kevin Bacon. Man, I counted at least three giant plot holes in it if you don’t count January Jones disappearing from the movie as a plot hole. I remembered the fun criticism about the black guy being the first to die, and I also found it interesting that the Hispanic girl first betrayed the team and then the only other female ditched Xavier while the three white guys stayed loyal. Good times! Anyway, it was a decent enough movie, and I’m glad I watched it.

For my final top ten list (my iPod is back later this week!), I thought I’d go over my Top Ten Favorite Hair Metal Videos. Everyone loves hair metal, right????? These are in alphabetical order, not in a top ten. I can’t rank them because I love them all!

1. Cinderella, “Nobody’s Fool.” This isn’t the best Cinderella song, but it might be the best video. Tom Keifer and the guys are in full hair metal mode, the “story” of the video, in which a girl transforms into a modern-day Cinderella, is awesome, and it features the guitar twirl! How can you not love it?

2. Def Leppard, “Rock of Ages.” The chick strapped to a tree. The burning tree. The gloved hand crushing a wine glass. The hooded apparitions speaking what sounds like German. An ass shot of lead guitarist Phil Collen! What an awesome video. What a great song. (I guess technically the guys’ hair wasn’t really poofy until Hysteria in 1987, but I consider Pyromania a seminal “hair metal” album, even if the hair is only long and not high. That, and the songs on Pyromania are far better than those on Hysteria.)

3. Great White, “Once Bitten, Twice Shy.” This is a very good song (of course, it’s a cover of an old Mott the Hoople song), with that great piano part and a pretty cool guitar solo. I like the video, even though it’s just a standard “performance” video, because the lead singer, Jack Russell, is so stinkin’ ugly, but you know he was getting laid every night, and I liked the girls (of course). I always thought the girl second from the right when they’re all singing (whose breasts get their own close-up near the end) was smokin’ hot. Come on – I was 18!

4. Mötley Crüe, “Home Sweet Home” (that video is NSFW, by the way). Is this the greatest power ballad ever? It’s in the conversation. This might not be my favorite Crüe song (that’s probably “Wild Side”), but it’s close. But this song and video are so classic, with all the elements of a great concert video – notably, girls crawling on the stage and taking their tops off! Man, the Eighties ruled!

5. Queensrÿche, “Eyes of a Stranger.” I love this song, off an album that might be the best heavy metal album of the Eighties. Geoff Tate, rocking the hair, screams the lyrics, and the video is part of the whole “concept album” thing that Queensrÿche had going on with Operation: Mindcrime. And you must love guitarist Michael Wilton’s awesome hat!

6. Skid Row, “I Remember You.” This is one of those great pseudo-ballads by a hair metal band, meaning it’s somewhat sensitive but still features kick-ass guitars and a bit of a scream. There’s a reason they were called “power ballads,” because they were muscular love songs, man! Sebastian Bach, of course, was the pretty boy front man of Skid Row, and although he was probably scoring four or five groupies a day, at least he was good-looking, unlike a lot of these rockers!

7. Van Halen, “Hot for Teacher.” Another song that isn’t the greatest, but you have to love the video! David Lee driving the bus, the guys in their school days, the ending that shows where they all ended up (Edward van Halen was “relaxing” in Bellevue Mental Ward), and, of course, the hot teachers!

8. Warrant, “Cherry Pie.” I can’t defend this song. In fact, I don’t even like it that much. But this video is the perfect epitome of the age: slightly feminine guys, skanky hot chicks, big hair (of course!), rockin’ guitars, and totally juvenile sex puns. Sing along!

9. Whitesnake, “Still of the Night.” Of course, Whitesnake is famous for their “Here I Go Again” video, with Tawny Kitaen writhing around on a Jaguar, but I like this song more (despite the fact that it rips off Zeppelin), and the video features Tawny as well. So who can complain?

10. Winger, “Seventeen.” Ah, Kip. What a pretty boy. I love this video, even though it’s a standard “performance” video, because Kip treats his bass like a prop, only occasionally pretending to play it, and the fact that he studied ballet makes this a really odd video, as he dances around much more gracefully than you might expect. And his poor shirt doesn’t survive the video. Too bad!

Once again, sorry for the delay. Real life sometimes intervenes! It’s a huge week for me this week, so I’m sure I’ll have a lot to say about a lot of comics. Until then, be excellent to each other!