Brief Reviews of This Week's Singles

I thought I'd take a stab at this timeliness thing, especially because the stars alligned and I got to cover pretty much all of my favorite single issue comics this week. Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 8 #12- Who would have thought that Buffy's sexual experimentation would lead to one of the laugh out loud funniest scenes I've read in a comic in a long time? The guy who wrote Cloverfield, that's who. I certainly thank him for it. I realize Buffy's a love it or hate it thing, and even the fans on this blog were down on the first arc of the book, but I've enjoyed it immensely from the beginning and that streak continues here, especially when the cliffhanger is a callback to one of the few episodes I honestly hated during the series and it still cracked me up. 

Casanova #12- If nothing else, this one wins "Most appropriate title of the week" honors hand down. Fraction and Moon craft a brutally effective culmination of the recent run of issues, using the Slimline format to give the violence a real "punch to the gut" effect, and give us a great cliffhanger to boot. The title character's still nowhere in sight, but the book's still humming along at such a wonderful pace that I can't really care.

On a note that's completely incongruous with the issue that preceded it, the backmatter of the issue informs us that Fraction became a dad during the creation of the issue. Congrats to him and his wife on that. 

Justice League: the New Frontier Special- My head finds a few things to quibble with in this issue, all on the writing side of it: from yet another Superman and Batman fight and its kind of corny resolution, with the anachronism in Bats's Miller-riffic narration (I'm no expert on '50s vernacular, but I'm pretty sure they didn't use wicked crazy back then to describe anything) to the Robin-Kid Flash story (which, by contrast, is choking on the '50s vernacular). I have no qualms with the third story at all; really, it makes me hope that Cooke does more stuff in this vein in the future. That said, I didn't see the punch line coming from a mile away, so that helped.

The art is all uniformly beautiful. As bored as I am with the premise of Batman smacking around Superman, Cooke and Dave Stewart do render it wonderfully. David Bullock and J. Bone draw the other two stories. Bullock's style is close enough to Cooke's that it makes for a smooth transition between the two. J. Bone's  is more distinctive, but it fits the comedic tone of the story beautifully. The supplemental material is enough that I'm okay with the $4.99 price tag, but not so prevalent that I felt like I was paying that much for an add with some comics missed in.

Really, though, any qualms I have with Cooke's writing wind up feel middling at best compared to how much I enjoy his version of the DCU. While I'm happy that he's moving on to creator owned work in the future, I do think he comes back to this playground he's built every once in a while. I'd say it definitely deserves a place in DC's 52 planet rotation had Cooke not taken the piss out of the concept so well at the beginning of the book.

Punisher War Journal #17- Despite being a big fan of Fraction's, I haven't checked in on this book in a while. I decided to use this issue's done in one structure to remedy that. I came away with what felt like a good companion to last week's return of Brubaker and Phillips's Criminal.

So, if you've ever thought "You know, I enjoy these noir comics, with their stories of desperate people and the violent lengths they will go to survive and exact revenge from one another. I just don't think they have enough obscure Iron Man villains in them," then boy, do Fraction and Howard Chaykin have the comic for you! Chaykin's art matches the tone of Fraction's story perfectly, and he gets to draw the lead character having sex with a villainous, garter belt clad femme fatale, so it's pretty much tailor made for him. So, if that makes sounds like your kind of comic and you don't hate the fact that the Punisher shows up in it, give it a shot.

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