Jumping (Back) On Points: Teenage Superheroes And Some Dark Horse Stuff

I can't stop talking about comics! I'm like Scott McCloud, if he had some brain damage and lower standards. Here are some reviews of comics I used to read but then didn't but might again.

Runaways vol. 5 & 6- I think my shop got both of these by accident, but I was happy to snap them up and jump back in to a comic I'd lapsed on. This is still my favorite Brian K. Vaughan comic by a mile, although that solely means I can forsee myself reading his whole run in the next ten years. Adrian Alphona is an excellent artist for this book; he's not flashy or a typical superhero artist, really, but he portarys the characters wonderfully and tells the story well. I also find his renderings of guest stars like the New Avengers charming.

That said, I knew going in my favorite character was gonna die, but it didn't make it any less sucky. I'm not going to be a spoiler dropping jerk here, even if I think the statute of limitations has expired on this one. And it was Gert. Crap. I suck at keeping secrets.

Anyway, still an excellent teen superhero comic. Can't imagine reading anyone else's run, really. These characters feel like Vaughan's; I just don't see Whedon, Moore, or anyone else doing them in a way that feels right. It's like when someone besides Mike Mignola writes Hellboy; even if it's solid work, it just seems wrong, you know?

Ultimate Spider-Man Vol. 19: Death of a Goblin- Speaking of teen suphero comics I've lapsed on. It freaks me out that it's been around 100 issues since I've read this comic. Of course, all Bendis and friends had to do to get me back was replace his long time collaborator with the guy who drew my favorite comic ever and produce a cover of Kitty Pryde holding a giant, 90's gun and wearing an absurd costume. Sometimes it's the simple things are the most appealing.

So, yeah, been awhile since I've read Ultimate Spidey. Have some questions, not gonna ask, 'cause I'd wiki them if I cared that much. But seriously, where's Kong? Is he just going by Kenny now, or did they kill him off?

Accessability issues aside (and how hilarious is it that Ultimate Spidey has accumulated enough continuity to be inaccessible to someone who used to read it?), I enjoyed this. Sure, Bendis's banter and yiddishism can grate on even my nerves, and Carol Danvers was a little too much of a wise ass for my tastes for the Director of SHIELD, but the script more or less worked for me. Bendis's Peter is still an endearing, smart kid, and I genuinely root for him, which is something I can't really say for other versions of the character floating out there.

Immonen was more of the draw, though, beyond Kitty and her giant gun, and he delivered in spades. Exciting layouts and his integration of Bagley's established stylisitic quirks while doing his own thing (i.e., being an artist I enjoy instead of one I begrudingly respect) go a long way in my book. So, there's another superhero comic for me to buy in trades. Great. Why couldn't Bagley have stayed on the damn thing so I could keep comfortably ignoring it?

The Goon 25 & 26- I actually jumped back on with last month's issue, too, but I was mainly just gawking at the art, which is really the only appropriate reaction to Eric Powell's work. These two had stories I felt like I could comment on.

So, Goon's slightly less frivolous now, as heavy shit looks to be going down, and our palooka appears to be on the Hero's Journey but with more bog lurks and violence (all the Campbell I know is from Action Philosophers).

Things are going along smoothly, nice mixture of low brow humor and punching I enjoy in a Goon comic, and then BIG DAMN SPOILER:

Goon finds out one of his pals is a traitor, then proceeds to violently torture him before murdering him cold bloodedly.

So, yeah, big tonal shift from the filthy orphan talking about his pee pee and moustache in an attempt to blend in at a strip club earlier in the issue. Did not see that nasty bit coming at all. I don't mind that sort of thing in my escapist genre fiction in principal, but that doesn't mean I always like it. Sort of like how I'm not sure how to take this discussion. Of course, I can never quite figure out if I think McEnery's a genius or if a Thanksgiving Turkey with an excellent vocabulary. But pretty much every genre story has to walk this line on how much nasty stuff it's going to include to the potential displeasure of the audience.

So, a dilemma; do I applaud the complete tonal shift, be freaked out by it, or shut up because maybe Powell's been doing this in the dozen+ issues I haven't read and this not at all out of the ordinary? All I know is that was a thing that happened.

Conan the Cimmerian #0- I was really underwhelmed the last time Dark Horse tried to generate interest in a Conan relaunch with a zero issue. I still don't like this digital inking technique they're using as the default style for the book, even if Jose Villarubia is an excellent colorist. It just looks blurry and unfinished to me, you know? It's part of why I never really read much of the last volume of the book, beyond the fact that a little Conan goes a long way for me.

That said, I did enjoy Tim Truman's story, and I think that shows not only a major difference not only in how they're packaging this relaunch but between his style and Kurt Busiek's; there was a whole hell of a lot more stabbing in this thing than in Busiek's teaser issue (that I can remember; Busiek's is like three years old, and I am sure he will come by here to correct me if I missrepresent the amount of stabbing there was in his comic; he's just that serious).

Conan stabbed some dudes in between reminsicing on his life wistfully, then put their impaled heads on pikes. He also glowered before showing he was not a total savage. There were also some wenches and a demon elephant in a double page spread. That's pretty much all I need in a Conan comic. Also, they pandered to me but referencing R.E. Howard's time in my geographic area. I can go to a place where he wrote things in around an hour! That went a long way. Still don't care for the art, though. What's wrong with good ol' fashioned inking!

God I feel old.

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