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What I bought – 18 July 2007

by  in Comic News Comment

This week: quite literally, comics from A to Z!  With something for everyone!

Annihilation: Conquest – Quasar #1 (of 4) by Christos N. Gage, Mike Lilly, and Bob Almond.  $2.99, Marvel.


This is the book that the most people suggested I buy, and after the first Wraith issue, I’m a bit more inclined toward this big crossover than I was before.  This book shows that a good writer can write a good story no matter which characters he’s using, and although this book isn’t as interesting as the Wraith one was, it’s a pretty decent comic.  Lilly’s pencils are fine but his page layouts are all over the place, making this occasionally a difficult comic to follow.  And Gage does a good job giving us a sense of Phyla’s powers as well as setting the Phalanx and the Super-Adaptoid up as implacable foes.  I mentioned last week that it’s hard for me to take the Phalanx seriously when someone like Blink can defeat them, but this issue shows us how powerful they can be, and it’s nice to see.

The one question I have about Phyla and Moondragon’s relationship: have they kissed yet?  It’s nice to see Marvel sanction a lesbian relationship in a “regular” superhero title, but despite lots of tender words to each other, our two heroines don’t actually kiss each other in this issue, even when they’re falling asleep in each other’s arms.  Obviously I don’t want to see them making out every chance they get, but have they yet?  Can anyone help me out?  It’s very nice to see a relationship in a Marvel book that is just like any other romantic relationship, but between two women.  Now if only Northstar would make out with Wolverine (come on, Wolverine’s totally gay) …

Birds of Prey #108 by Gail Simone, Nicola Scott, and Doug Hazelwood.  $2.99, DC.


My opinion of Simone’s work on Birds of Prey never really changes.  I bought the first trade she wrote, I bought issue #105, I’ve read a few others, and now this, her last issue, all confirm my first impression: it’s a perfectly competent comic book, but lacks the verve she brings to Welcome to Tranquility (and even her DC-villain stuff).  There’s nothing really wrong with this issue, and Barbara’s fight with Spy Smasher is pretty darned good, and we get a nice little coda with Barbara and some homeless waif, but it feels like Simone is just cashing a paycheck.  I know that sounds harsh, but what I mean is that she writes a good comic that feels strangely dispassionate.  I enjoy reading it, but I don’t get caught up in the emotions of the characters or the action.  Maybe that’s just me.  You can say it’s because I haven’t read her entire run, but like I mentioned, I bought the first trade and I get the same feeling – she’s putting the characters through their paces, and what comes out is a decent story.  It’s hard to explain – I know it’s pretty much a “me” thing, because technically the story works fine – the dialogue is good, the guest stars are unexpected but certainly keeping with Barbara’s role in the DCU, and the art is fine.  It’s just somewhat perfunctory. 

Catwoman #69 by Will Pfeifer, David López, and Alvaro López.  $2.99, DC.


Man, remember when Adam Hughes did interior art?  Look at that cover and tell me you wouldn’t drool to see him doing interior art again.  And where the hell is All Star Wonder Woman, anyway?

Anyway, I suppose this is a personal feeling, but for me, Catwoman crackles with tension in a way that Birds of Prey does not.  Everything that happens makes sense and feels like it happens for a reason and ups the ante for Selina and her child.  Pfeifer here constructs a story that begins at the end so that we can see the threat – a rogue Amazon with a radioactive bomb standing in the middle of Gotham with the cops all around her, and Selina dashing forward to save the day.  Then, of course, we have to have the flashback to how we reached that point.  Pfeifer ties the story into Amazons Attack! (and really, DC, would it kill you to put a footnote in the book that reads “Confused?  Don’t be – pick up the Amazons Attack! mini-series, on sale now!”? or would that be too smart from, I don’t know, a marketing perspective?) but also continues the stories he’s been working on for a while in this title, as we check in briefly to see Karon in the hospital and Holly leaving to do something drastic, I would say.  Batman recruits Selina to infiltrate the Bana, the Amazon splinter group who’s been blowing things up across the country, and Selina agrees, but things go pear-shaped pretty quickly.  It’s a tense little drama that zips along, ending at the moment we began, when things get even worse.  But it leaves us wanting more, and that’s kind of the point, isn’t it?

Oh, and this issue features one of the Top Ten Batman Panels of all time.  It’s awesome.

You want to buy Catwoman, you just haven’t yet.  So why not now?

Checkmate #16 by Greg Rucka, Joe Bennett, Prado, and Jack Jadson.  $2.99, DC.


After the awfulness of the Outsiders crossover, Rucka gets back to doing what he does best: character-driven drama with just the right amount of intrigue.  Therefore, we get the dude on the cover, who’s the new Black Bishop for a while even though he stood there while Chang Tzu tortured Sasha (and Sasha isn’t too happy about)(and yes, I forget his name - sue me), and we also get a surprise appearance by Mirror Master, which can’t be good.  That keeps the plot going toward the Amanda Waller throwdown, but really, this issue is a chance for us to catch up with Sasha after her torture and a chance to Bea to visit Tora.  Yes, it’s a reunion of Fire and Ice, and it’s as excellent as you might want it to be.  Both stories are nice, actually, as we learn more about Sasha’s condition and why she got together with Mr. Terrific (plus, we get to see him without that ridiculous “T” on his face, which is always nice).  Tora and Bea discuss what’s been going on since Ice’s death (or whatever it was) and we get more characterization of Bea in this issue than, sadly, we ever got in the Giffen/DeMatteis JLI (as much as I love those comics, Beatriz always seemed to be pushed to the side so the writers could focus on Booster and Beetle’s antics or Guy and Tora’s romance).  It’s very cool to see Checkmate back on track (not that it went too far off the rails, but the crossover was kind of a waste).  Let’s hope Rucka doesn’t screw up the Waller story too much.

Cover Girl #3 (of 5) by Andrew Cosby, Kevin Church, Mateus Santolouco, and Andre Coelho.  $3.99, Boom! Studios.


Cosby and Church nicely avoid the “third-issue” padding I’ve come to expect from 5- or 6-issue mini-series, as they continue to blend some nice quiet moments with plenty of action.  This series is relatively non-serious anyway, so despite the death of Rachel’s partner and the sinister machinations of the bad guy (revealed a little in this issue), it’s still an action/comedy/romance (not that Rachel and Alex hook up, nor should they, necessarily, but there’s sexual tension nevertheless), and so Rachel solves problems with her gun (which is quite funny) and she teaches Alex how to fight while alluding to her divorce.  And our heroes end up in trouble, naturally.

As I mentioned before with regard to this comic, Cosby and Church aren’t re-inventing the wheel here, and as they are ably assisted by Santolouco’s solid if unspectacular pencils, this is just a fun comic.  I may be damning with faint praise, because it’s not a great comic, but it is very entertaining.  That’s all I expect, and that’s what I’m getting.  So I like it.

Dominion #2 (of 5) by Michael Alan Nelson and Tim Hamilton.  $3.99, Boom! Studios.


I got this in the mail a few days ago, which was nice of Ross Richie and the gang over at Boom! Studios.  They’re giving me a chance to check out a bunch of stuff that I probably wouldn’t have.  This is the better of the two in the lot (I also got Left on Mission #3, which I reviewed last week), as it’s more interesting than the other one (I’ll get to that below).  Something strange is happening in Chicago, see, and monsters are eating cars and flaming people are strolling through downtown.  Only one rogue cop can stop them!  Okay, he’s not a rogue cop, but he is alone, and he kills the monster, figures out how to isolate the flaming person, and generally saves the day.  Meanwhile, a doctor figures out (sort of) what’s going on, and she accidentally broadcasts that they need to seal the city and not let anyone out.  Whoops!  Panic, presumably, will ensue.

This is a pretty good comic.  The art, in typical Boom! fashion, is a bit rough and stilted occasionally, but the flaming woman is rendered spectacularly.  The story is tantalizing in its clues to what’s going on and full of action, so despite some over-writing (the entire part about Mrs. O’Leary’s cow goes on a bit too long), it holds our interest.  There’s a mystery, there’s things out of control, there are strange forces at work in the universe, there’s a hero cop.  All in all, not a bad way to put together a comic book.

I do like how Dick (the hero cop) asks a woman at a hospital if she’s a nurse.  It would have been far cooler if Elaina (the nurse) had said, “No, I’m a doctor, you male chauvenist pig!”  But I guess that would have broken up the flow of the narrative.

Gødland #19 by Joe Casey and Tom Scioli.  $2.99, Image.


You know what this is?  It’s a disappointing issue of Gødland.  Oh, I hoped I would never see the day!  Maybe it’s the new cover layout.

The first problem is Scioli’s art.  Maybe he’s rushed, but it looks more sketchy than usual.  It’s also not inked as heavily, and I think his stylized art works well with thick lines rather than the thin ones we see here.  Maybe that’s a consequence of being rushed, but it doesn’t feel as cosmic as it has in the previous issues.  Maybe Scioli is trying something different.  I’m not sure.  The book is kind of off on a wacky schedule, so maybe the gang needs a break again, like they took after issue #12.  I’m not sure.

The story is okay, but feels rushed as well.  The Ed, Supra, and Eeg-oh portion of the plot actually kicks into high gear, and it feels a bit as if Casey got bored with the Savage Sting, as Adam dispatches her rather easily once he gets out of his building.  The way he dispatches her is clever, but it isn’t preceded by much of a fight.  The shock in this issue is pretty shocking, I’ll say, but Casey has never shown much sentiment toward his characters, which is refreshing.  The Friedrich Nickelhead interlude is okay, but feels a bit forced.  Usually Nickelhead’s appearances are highlights in the book, but in this one, Casey seems to be trying to hard.  Again, I don’t know if that’s because of hurrying or if he was just off this time.

Adam is back in action next issue, as he travels to Las Vegas, where the Ed, Supra, and Eeg-oh are busy slaughtering people.  We’ll see what happens.  One mediocre issue doesn’t invalidate the previous 18 excellent ones, after all.  I just hope this is a small bump in the road.

World War Hulk #2 (of 5) by Greg Pak, John Romita Jr., and Klaus Janson.  $3.99, Marvel.


Did they have a pool to see which Marvel artist got to draw this?  If you’re an artist, how do you not service Joey Q orally while giving Dan Buckley a hand job in order to get this assignment?  Joey Q: “Hey, we have a book where you get to draw five issues of the Hulk pounding on EVERYONE.  Do you want it?”  Artist: “Who do I have to sodomize to get that?”  I assume Romita was their first choice, but you know every single artist wanted this.

Romita, of course, smacks the damned thing out of the park.  Every panel is awesome.  Sure, the big double-page spread of Hulk his allies facing off against the Avengers is excellent, but every single panel features someone getting trashed, someone about to get trashed, someone who has just been trashed, or other people reacting to someone getting trashed.  That, my friends, is high-quality comic bookery.

The only thing that bothers me is the state of Jennifer Walters.  The last time we saw her, she couldn’t turn into She-Hulk.  Now, Iron Man restored her powers.  That didn’t happen yet in She-Hulk, right?  I assume it’s going to.  Other than that small scheduling glitch, this is pure awesome.  It’s four bucks, but if ever a book full of fighting was worth four bucks, it’s this one.

The Lone Ranger #7 by Brett Matthews and Sergio Cariello.  $2.99, Dynamite Entertainment.


I’m not entirely sure who the dude on the last page is, if we’re supposed to know him at all, but otherwise, this first issue after the initial six-issue arc (which was supposed to be a mini-series) is a good place to jump on, if you’ve been missing the series so far.  There’s some continuation from the first six issues, but Matthews easily introduces John’s sister-in-law and nephew, plus the bad guys, and throws in plenty of action to boot.  I’m not sure why Tonto would want to live in a log cabin (shouldn’t he say something like “We were meant to roam the land, white man”?), but that’s fine.  Matthews obviously has more stories to tell about our favorite masked cowboy and his Native American buddy, and this looks like another good one.  Do yourself a favor and check it out!

The Order #1 by Matt Fraction, Barry Kitson, and Mark Morales.  $2.99, Marvel.


The one thing I didn’t like about the storytelling in The Order was Fraction’s penchant for jumping around in time.  It’s kind of annoying.  In the beginning, I guess Henry Hellrung is talking to Pepper Potts about leading the group.  Am I right?  Then, at the end, it seems like he’s still in that particular interview, but is it after he’s already taken the job?  And if it isn’t in that interview, when is it?  And is he really talking to Pepper?

Otherwise, this is an intriguing beginning. Brian mentions Milligan’s X-Force in comparison, and I’m not really giving that much away by saying that the some of the original team gets replaced halfway through the book (they don’t die, though).  I mean, the team that is on the cover isn’t the one we meet originally, so we know something is going to happen to them.  Although the whole Civil War fallout kind of sucks, at least some writers are trying to work with it, and Fraction’s idea of having morals clauses written into the heroes’ contracts is a great idea.  If you’re going to have everyone register and form up these “Initiative” groups everywhere, it makes sense to make them sign contracts that say they won’t go out and drink and do stupid things that could lead to trouble.  I know the real reason the women in the first group were replaced, however: their costume weren’t revealing enough!  The two women who were fired had no navel exposure.  They were replaced with three women, all of whom wear costumes showing off their belly buttons!  Sex appeal – that’s the way things work in the post-Civil War Marvel Universe!

It’s an action-packed issue with nice character development, especially with Henry and Pepper.  Kitson’s art looks a lot rougher than it ever has, which is a good thing – I certainly like his clean style, but this looks particularly excellent.  Maybe being inked by Morales, who seems to be a Marvel house inker, is the reason for the shift.

Anyway, it’s a good superhero book with a lot of intriguing possibilities.  We’ll see how it goes.  

The Programme #1 (of 12) by Peter Milligan and C. P. Smith.  $2.99, DC/Wildstorm.


This feels like a “good” Milligan book, even if it’s not as weird as his true classic books.  It has a Human Target kind of feel to it, which is a very good thing, as that series was excellent.  That’s not to say the subject matter is anything like that book, but the way he writes it is similar.

The story certainly has a lot of potential.  There’s a Middle Eastern country where American forces are deployed fighting insurgents (it’s called Talibstan, by the way).  That dude on the cover causes some major damage and freaks everyone out.  There’s also an American named Max who is having some problems with his marriage and his life in general, and he’s far more important than he knows, as we discover when the CIA shows up at his doorstep.  Through flashbacks, we find out that the Nazis were developing some kind of weapon, and they surrendered it to American soldiers before the Russians took it.  We see on the last page that it’s an embryo of some kind.  Could it be Max?  That’s certainly what we’re being led to think.  But then who is the freaky Russian superdude blowing shit up in Talibstan?  WHO?????

It’s very intriguing, and Milligan never allows his characters to speak too archly, which is a problem he occasionally indulges in.  I have two problems with the book: there are no narrative tags, so the shifts from the end of World War II to the present to the United States to the Middle East are jarring, but not insurmountable.  It’s just a minor thing, and only held me up for a second.  It’s still annoying.  Yes, I’m stupid.  The other thing that bugged me was the art.  Smith’s “pencils” are fine (I suspect a lot of this is scanned stuff, so “pencils” might not be applicable), but the coloring of the book is really poor on too many pages.  Panels are far too murky, faces are obscured, and a lot of backgrounds are sloppy.  One of the problems I have with this kind of art is that so much attention goes into the figures that the backgrounds get left behind.  But that’s just my opinion.

Another neat first issue.  Man, comics are awesome.

Repo #2 (of 5) by Rick Spears and Rob G.  $3.50, Image.


I wasn’t too impressed with the first issue of this series, but the second is better.  I’m not sure if it will make for a good series in general, but it’s a step in the right direction.  The art is better, and Spears gives us more information about what’s going on.  Plus, lots of things smash, explode, or die in a hail of bullets.  And that’s not a bad thing.

What I didn’t like about the first issue was the way Spears seems to make his characters bad-ass as if that’s the greatest thing in the world.  It’s a tonal problem – I don’t necessarily like his characters nor even admire them, and he seems to.  That’s fine and dandy – it’s just a difference of opinion.  In this issue, however, I noticed a subtle tone shift, as if Spears was taking a step back from lionizing these characters to show us that they’re pretty much unsavory individuals.  As usual, this could just be me, but it feels like we’re not supposed to admire them as much, which, ironically, helps with the story.  I can stop thinking I’m supposed to like these characters, which I don’t, and just follow the story, which is not bad.  I’m intrigued enough to come back, and hopeful that the characters stay interesting but not admirable.  That would be nice.

Samurai: Heaven and Earth Vol. 2 #1-5 by Ron Marz and Luke Ross.  $2.99, Dark Horse.


 


 


 



A while back, I called Ron Marz a “hack,” and several people got on my case.  That was probably a harsh assessment.  What I meant was that Marz is the kind of writer you never think of when talking about great or even good writers – he just seems to drift around comics, writing stuff, some good, some bad, but never really leaving much of a stamp on it.  I guess if you’re a big fan of Kyle Rayner you have a more favorable view of Marz, but when I wrote “hack,” I wasn’t saying he was bad, I just meant he doesn’t seem to leave much of an impression.  He does his job, keeps things going, and moves on.  No one ever says, “You know who’s my all-time favorite writer?  Ron Marz.  Man, that dude made me love comics!”  So I’m sorry for using such a divisive term.

I bring this up because Marz may not be memorable for much else except stuffing Alex Whatever-Her-Last-Name-Was into a fridge (that was him, wasn’t it?), but through two volumes of Samurai: Heaven and Earth, he has given us a magnificent historical adventure, and it’s a joy to read.  At the end of the last mini-series, Yoshiko had been taken by Don Miguel Aguilar, who left Shiro for dead.  Shiro, however, has the mutant power to heal himself, and this series finds him in hot pursuit!  It’s wonderful how these characters travel from across Europe and northern Africa in what seem like impossible circumstances, but it all feels natural.  As this has been planned as a trilogy, there’s a teaser for the next mini-series, but at least this one ends satisfactorily – Shiro and Yoshiko are reunited, and Shiro has left a lot of corpses in his wake.  Of course, they’re still in Egypt, so presumably the third mini-series will be about their journey home.  And Shiro’s not the only one with a healing factor, as the last panel in the book lets us know that one bad guy ain’t exactly dead yet.

After the first series ended, I thought Dark Horse was pushing its luck promising a return of Ross on art, because I thought he would flee to the Big Two and never return.  Well, he came back for the second series, so let’s hope he’s on board for the third, because a big draw of the book is his art, which is gorgeous.  Yes, some of his models are pretty obvious (I’ve already made the Kelly Hu reference, but I’ll do it again here!), but still – this is a beautiful book.  We get a lot of sex, which is nice (not in a masturbatory way, you sickos, but because it’s nice to see a relationship between two people where they, you know, get it on) and Shiro does a lot of killing, and everything looks fantastic.  Marz’s story is great theater, but Ross elevates it to another level.

If you’ve never been a fan of Marz, check this book out.  It’s a wonderful comic.

The Spirit #8 by Darwyn Cooke and J. Bone.  $2.99, DC.


The last time we saw Satin, Cooke gave us that great cover with her carrying an unconscious Spirit.  That was excellent because it flipped the traditional roles and linked to the story inside.  So for the return of Satin, we get a cover that reverts to form and again places the female in a submissive role to the smarter man, even though – get this – Satin is the one in the comic who defuses the bomb.  The Spirit stands around being ineffectual.  So why is this cover showing the Spirit defusing the bomb?  I don’t know.  It’s a nice drawing, but if you’re writing a strong female character inside the book, why make her a spectator on the cover?

This has some nice banter in it between our man Colt and Satin, as they try to stop the Octagon from detonating a nuclear bomb in the heart of the city.  We see the mysterious Mr. Octopus in shadow, but he skedaddles pretty quickly, leaving the Spirit and a slightly addled Satin to defuse the bomb.  Yes, Cooke drags out that hoariest of cliches, temporary amnesia, to explain why Satin can’t defuse the bomb right away.  Does Cooke have enough credit in the bank as a writer to throw out the amnesia card?  And I know it’s a comic book, but if Satin had enough of a head injury to cause amnesia, she wouldn’t be up and walking around.  It really wrecked the issue for me, because it’s just.  so.  stupid.  And does anyone bother to call off the jets that are flying in to vaporize the tower in which the bomb is housed?  Things like that bug me.

So.  A pretty issue (of course – it’s Cooke on art), but so very, very stupid.  It’s a shame.

Super-Villain Team-Up/MODOK’s 11 #1 (of 5) by Fred van Lente, Francis Portela, and Terry Pallot.  $2.99, Marvel.


As a set-up issue, this is a lot of fun.  MODOK collects a bunch of seriously D-list villains (even though I’ve always liked Puma, and Chameleon was in Amazing Spider-Man #1, after all) and maneuvers them all to a warehouse in Brooklyn, where he promises them “the greatest heist in the history of the multiverse.”  What could it be????  Of course, we also know he’s up to something else, too, so we’ll have to keep an eye on old MODOK.  I mean, he can’t be trusted, can he?

Van Lente has some fun with the characters, and that’s what this calls for, but he also shows that they have some potential.  One thing that’s nice about recent comic book history is the desire of writers to actually flesh out some of the more fleeting characters that occasionally show up in comics.  Who ever cared if Rocket Racer had a terminally ill mother (or grandmother? – she looks kind of old to be his mother, although he calls her “Mama”)?  Or that the Armadillo was wrestling in Acapulco?  Stuff like this makes these kinds of books fun.  And I love how MODOK has to remind himself that he’s really designed for Computing, not Killing.  All in all, a pretty satisfactory initial issue.  What I really hope for is that some bad guys actually win at the end of this.  I mean, can’t the bad guys win occasionally?

I’ve never seen Portela’s art before, but it kind of has a McNiven vibe to it.  It’s not quite as good, but it’s very nice.  McNiven always seems to have a bit too much coolness in his art, but perhaps because of the subject matter, Portela gives his characters some nice personalities.

I thought I would mention the movie advertisement on the inside cover.  It appears to be a sequel to Daddy Day Care called Daddy Day Camp.  It stars Cuba Gooding Jr.  Man, what the hell happened to Cuba Gooding Jr.?  He’s a freakin’ Oscar winner!  I know that doesn’t guarantee you a great career, but it ought to be enough to keep you out of shite like this.  The movie is directed by Fred Savage.  Yes, that Fred Savage.  Dear Lord, people think comics are immature, yet people keep making movies like this.

Tag: Cursed #5 (of 5) by Mike Lieb and Chee.  $3.99, Boom! Studios.


This is the second free thing I received from Boom!, and it’s not quite as good as Dominion (and definitely not as good as Cover Girl or Left on Mission).  It’s a fairly standard horror comic, which may or may not appeal to you.  The main character, Ed, is on a mission – he has to find a person who is carrying the “tag,” which is apparently something that turns a person into some kind of zombie until he or she can touch someone else, at which point the “tag” passes on to that person.  It’s not a bad concept, although not entirely novel, but again, that’s the problem with the entire issue – we’ve seen it before, and so it has to be done really well to make an impression.  But it’s not done particularly well – like I pointed out, it’s fairly standard.  Which means we get two surprise endings (one for Ed, one for his target) that aren’t particularly surprising, especially for anyone who’s ever seen a horror movie.  It’s competent, and it looks fine, but it doesn’t really rise above the conventions of the genre.  Unlike the other genre books from Boom! in this post, Cover Girl and Dominion, which are also fairly standard but executed well, this doesn’t really work as anything more than a horror comic.  Which is too bad.

The Weapon #2 (of 4) by Fred van Lente and Scott Koblish.  $2.99, Platinum Studios Comics.


Speaking of standard, The Weapon could easily be that kind of book, but van Lente won’t let it be.  This is what I’m talking about with comics like this - so much of it is in the execution, so the story, although it matters, doesn’t matter as much as we might think.  I mean, this is a mystery about some mystical Chinese secret society, and it’s another action/adventure/comedy/romance (although at least Tommy, unlike Alex in Cover Girl, gets a kiss in this issue), but it’s really fun to read.  Koblish’s art is cartoony enough for the subject matter, but he’s also good at the explosions and stuff.  And it’s kind of goofy but fun that wherever Tommy goes, he runs into bad guys of the Lin Kuei, all of whom want to kill him.

Obviously this is all going to work out for our heroes.  The fun is not in worrying about Tommy and Megan, but enjoying the thrill ride.  So far, this has been a nifty little action comic.

Zero Killer #1 by Arvid Nelson and Matt Camp.  $2.99, Dark Horse.


I was interested in this book because Nelson writes Rex Mundi, which is of course my favorite title being published right now.  This is completely different from that book, and it’s not perfect, but it’s an intriguing start.  The story is simple: in 1973, a nuclear war took place.  JOCOM, a military organization, seized control of the United States, and now, in 2007, New York is partially submerged (as you can see by the cover) and run by gangs.  Yes, it’s like Escape from New York, or, if you prefer, DMZ, but of course, it’s all in how Nelson presents it.  We get an enigmatic bounty hunter, Zero, who rescues a young girl named Stark from three gang members.  He doesn’t care about her, but he does care about the gang members, who have gone rogue from their gang.  Zero takes them to the Chrysler Building (with Stark in tow, naturally, because she wants to go along and because she has to be a main character in the book), where their boss, Black Dahlia, wants to have a word with them.  So we get some action, and we’re also introduced to our two main characters and what will presumably be a major player in the book.  Dahlia is suitably bloodthirsty, Zero is suitably mysterious, and Stark is suitably naïve.  So far they’re fairly stock characters, but that’s okay, because we expect that a bit from a first issue.  It remains to be seen if Nelson makes them more than that, but there’s nothing here that drives me away from the book.  It’s a pretty decent start.

Camp’s art is pretty good, too, with a mix of photo-reference for the background but nice details in the panels, and his figures are fluid and not stiff-looking.  Stewart, who’s a great colorist, does a nice job with both the exteriors and the interiors, contrasting them nicely with some drab browns for the outdoor stuff and darker blues for the inside.  I’m not sure who decided to make Dahlia wear nothing but a thong, but Camp, for the most part, does a good job covering her nipples without making it too forced (yes, God forbid we see nipples).  Only on the last page does it look like her hair is dramatically shorter in one panel than another, because in the first one, the hair is covering her breasts and in the second one, her arm is.  Just a minor thing, but it made me chuckle.

Overall, a pretty good effort.  Another interesting first issue.  It’s always fun to see where they go.

Holy crap, that’s a bunch of comics.  I read a few others, but I’m a bit burned out, so we’ll just leave it at these ones.  These are enough, I reckon.