Pipeline, Issue #208


Welcome back, everyone. For those coming in late, or for those of you who read this at work and had yesterday off, Pipeline is being updated every weekday for this week. In other words, if you're here for the usual Pipeline Commentary and Review column, you've found it. And now you can go back to Day One to read my extended review of this week's WONDER WOMAN #170, and BATMAN: GOTHAM KNIGHTS #17.

Today we've got a couple of special things for you, including a first look at a book due out in August called LAST KISS. Many of you lived to regret missing the first issue of this book, so pre-order through your retailer on this one. Just after that is a review of the much-awaited THE BROTHERHOOD from Marvel's mutant line. Finally, because I love each and every one of you so much, I threw in an extra couple of reviews at the bottom of this column.


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LAST KISS is the brainchild of John Lustig. He takes art from actual romance comics of yesteryear and redialogues them for comedic effect. It's best known for its appearances in the COMICS BUYER'S GUIDE. I briefly reviewed the first full comic from Shanda Fantasy Press containing complete stories a couple of months back.

Now it's time for the second issue. It's being solicited for publication in August. More fun, more hilarity, more history. What will make this issue different (and better) than the first?

Lustig explains. "The big news, however, is that for the first time I'm going to feature a story with new artwork drawn for me. The artist? Former DC and Charlton editor/artist Dick Giordano!"

The story is entitled "Widow Ms. Muffet" and is about "a beautiful, young woman who wants to realize her childhood ambition...to marry a rich man and become a widow."

And while he has his ear, Lustig interviewed Giordano on the topic of romance comics. That interview will also be included in the second issue.

The winning entry of the contest from the first issue will appear in this issue, in which readers were invited to submit their own doctored script, based on some pages of an original story with the lettering blanked out. And, yes, there will be a new contest in the second issue.

Included here is a look at the cover for LAST KISS #2, which comes from a cover Giordano did for the original FIRST KISS comic. Also appearing here are the first two pages from a story in the issue, whose author and artist credits are unknown.

Pre-ordering is you best chance for getting this issue when it comes out. The first issue sold out pretty quickly. I'll be sure to give you the ordering code when it appears in PREVIEWS.


[The Brotherhood #1]The latest book to come from the House of Ideas' Mutant Wing is THE BROTHERHOOD. The writer formally known as "X" writes it. Essad Ribic draws it with inks from Kent Williams. Covers are supplied by Bill Sienkiewicz.

The high concept of this book is that a new Brotherhood of Evil Mutants is being formed now on the streets. It's a street gang of mutants who have adopted the stance that a full-scale revolution is needed to bring humanity to the realization that they are going to have to deal with mutants and stop shunning them. The tag line for the book is "Revolution, Not Evolution," so it's pretty easy to see where they stand. Rather than peaceful negotiations and delicate debate, they're going for all the gusto and breaking all the eggs they need to in order to make an omelet.

The book takes place at the street level, and is completely bereft of any costumes, spandex, or uniforms. This is more like a mutant gang of punks than a team of bad guys. The first issue revolves around the recruitment of a new member into the gang. Puberty is hitting Mike pretty hard, his parents annoy the crap out of him, and his hesitant (nee "frigid") girlfriend is making it all the worse for him. He mutters that he's going to explode if he has to wait any longer. He runs the risk of being a completely unsympathetic character with his one-track mind, but he's a teenager. I suppose it should just be expected. But Writer X does very little aside from this to establish the character. He doesn't have a truly redeeming quality just yet.

The story nicely gets to the point of equating the emergence of mutant powers that so traditionally have come at puberty with the increase in the sex drive and the desire for sex. It's something that's always been danced around, but never hit at so directly as it is in this comic. The raging of hormones triggers the latent mutant talent. But it should also have the same effect of triggering sexual desires at the same time. The latter part is often just taken for granted.

Relatively little is known about this new Brotherhood. So far we know that they like going around to blow things up, and that they defend their own. Now that the "point of view" character has entered the gang, I'll be interested in seeing more of their agenda in action. There are a lot of questions to be asked here and a lot of potential in this series.

Avalon Studios does a nice job with the colors here. The final result is a watercolor look. It's kept dirty looking and earthen, but has the definite appearance of being painted, mostly. It is more noticeable on some panels more than others, but it's an effect I like. I think it fits the book nicely. It really is amazing to think about all the ways comics can be colored these days with the help of computer. You can color directly on top of the pencils. You can create a faux watercolor look. You can color in a gray washed page to make it look painted. It's nice to see some of these technologies exploited to make comics that just look better. They're not being mixed and matched in a meaningless way for the sake of making something that just looks different or cool.

Lettering is by Jon Babcock, who once again attempts to do a Tom Orzechowski impression in this issue. (It's something that seems to be going around lately, particularly in mutant books. While everyone is steering clear of the Claremont method of storytelling, they're all reverting to the Orzechowski style of lettering.) The problem is that his lettering layout isn't nearly as sharp as Orzechowki's and the balloons often seem to be shaped wrong for what they should contain.

The final verdict on this book is still out, but the concept is interesting and the first issue as piqued my curiosity. I'll be back for more next month.

This issue also contains the first full shot of the cover to next week's EXILES #1. I don't recognize any of the characters on the cover, save for the female Nightcrawler that's been seen in some of the preview pages already. Next week also sees DAREDEVIL: YELLOW #1 and the MARVEL POSTER MAGAZINE.


BATMAN BEYOND #31 is out this week, from the creative team of Hilary Bader, Rick Burchett, and Dan Davis. This one stars the Justice League Unlimited, with appearances by the Green Lantern, Big Barda, and Warhawk. (Superman, Aquagirl, and Micron are off planet.) The issue didn't do much for me at all. Aside from some cute baseball banter between Terry and his girlfriend at the beginning of the issue, the issue is one big fight scene between the JLU and the mysterious bad guy. There's a twist at the end and the story continues into the next issue, but I probably won't follow. The highlight of the issue is the cover by Brian Stelfreeze. It's pretty.

[Superman #170]It dawns on me now that I never reviewed SUPERMAN #170, which came out almost a month ago now. The issue featured the grand return of Dale Keown to mainstream super-hero comic book interior art. It plays to Keown's strengths, as the bulk of the issue is a super-powered brawl between Superman, Mongul, and Mongul's sister. Jeph Loeb is very careful to make it more than just that, though. This is Krypto's story, in the end. The whole book is staged as a child's storybook, with little inset images of a happy looking cartoonish Krypto next to type-written text that looks ripped straight from a child's book. Krypto's final fate as a regular cast member of the Super-books is revealed here.

Keown's art still suffers from some of the same old problems, mostly that there aren't that many backgrounds in the issue at all. The few that are there are capably drawn (including a couple of nice angled views of Metropolis), but much of the issue is a fight scene with lots of speed lines behind the characters. Cam Smith's inks serve the pencil lines dutifully, but don't add much. I would have loved to see Mark Farmer ink this one, the way he did all those INCREDIBLE HULK issues years ago. Failing that, having Keown ink himself would have been nice, although I imagine the timing wouldn't have worked out too well.

In any case, SUPERMAN #170 is a cute little story with some pretty pictures. It stands alone pretty nicely, and is worth a quick flip-through, if nothing else.

Tomorrow, this madness called Pipeline Daily continues. There will be something for everyone with two all-ages reviews and two mature readers reviews. I'm just doing my part to show everyone the vast array of titles we have in this industry. That, and it just sort of all fell together like this. ;-)

In the former category comes a look at CrossGen's trade paperback line and the latest issue of CROSSGEN CHRONICLES. In the latter is a quick review of this week's HELLBLAZER and CODENAME: KNOCKOUT issues.

You can e-mail me your comments on this column, or post them for all the world to see and respond to over on the Pipeline Message Board.

More than 200 columns are archived here at CBR and you can get to them from the Pipeline Archive page. They're sorted chronologically. The first 100 columns are still available at the Original Pipeline page, a horrifically coded piece of HTML.

This year, you can still catch me at the Chicago Comicon (i.e. WizardWorld) and the San Diego Comicon (i.e. the Comic Con International: San Diego). I'm also tentatively scheduled for a day at the Small Press Expo in Maryland this September.

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