THIS WEEK'S LINEUP
I've got a little bit of everything for you this week. First, there are some leftover reviews from the past couple of weeks that I finally found room for here. Second, there's a correction from a Kiwi to my X-MEN DVD review of a couple weeks back. Finally, there's an announcement about Tuesday's column I think you're going to be interesting in hearing about.
The seventh issue is the first done-in-one story guest and stars Warren Ellis. The conceit here is that Ellis is doing a ride along with Christian Walker as research for an upcoming graphic novel. That's when the trouble starts and Ellis ends up in the middle of everything. Brian Bendis writes, Michael Avon Oeming draws, and Pat Garrahy makes the pretty colors and typos everything else. ;-)
Is this issue a bit indulgent? Yes, probably. Is it filled with in-jokes and a few winks and nudges? Yes, probably. Does that make it an inferior comic? Nah, it's actually pretty fun. If you know the kind of stuff Warren Ellis writes about in his columns here and on his message board at Delphi.com, this issue probably won't be anything new, as far as his comics discourse in the issue goes.
But it's still an entertaining story, with a bit of a creepy Tales From the Crypt-type ending.
Next issue starts the new story arc and, in case you hadn't heard, the POWERS trade paperback will be out before Christmas now, for your gift-giving pleasure.
Speaking of Bendis-books, HELLSPAWN #3 also arrived in comics shops that week. The more I read this series, the more I think of Bendis' departure from the book as a mercy killing. It's a nice attempt to do something different, and I held back from ripping into it for a while now, but I've got to say at this point that it's not that terribly clear. Ashley Wood makes for some nice covers and the occasional beautiful image, but his storytelling and panel work is lacking for me. I know that's supposed to be part of the feel of the book, but it just doesn't do it for me. To each his own.
(Two more Bendis books came out this week - SAM AND TWITCH and ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN. Hopefully I'll get around to those in less than two weeks.)
This is the six-part series (the cover erroneously says three-part) patterned after the wildly successful 12 part series AVENGERS FOREVER done by Kurt Busiek and Carlos Pacheco. This book reunites Fabian Nicieza with Kevin Maguire for the first time since, well, they did that slightly tongue-in-cheek JLA: CREATED EQUAL mini-series at the beginning of this year. Maguire is an artist who we don't get to see doing enough work, most likely in large part due to his issues with deadlines. (He'll be doing the GEN 13/FANTASTIC FOUR one-shot next month, too! There was some preview art in CBR's Comic Brief a couple of weeks ago. Check those archives!)
Most importantly, this mini-series is not the unmitigated disaster that some people want to make it out to be in advance.
Actually, it touched a chord of nostalgia for me right off the bat, with the return of Ship, who is now going by the name of Prosh. He had left the X-books just before I started reading them, but I remember reading a stack of my friend's X-FACTOR books at the time and thinking of Ship as one of the original mutants, for all I knew. So it was pretty good to see him after all this time, if only because he is a forgotten mutant character, as far as I'm concerned. Makes me wonder about any of the other mutants long since forgotten. There might be stories in them worth fleshing out, if only we could remember who they were. ;-)
Since the carpenter from the afterlife also makes an appearance, I didn't have to wait too long or try to remember too hard. They're coming out from under their rocks already!
This first issue sets up the dilemma in a couple of heavily narrated pages, and gets the team of disparate mutants together. It goes back to a point in X-Men continuity when I wasn't reading the books, so it's a bit lost on me, but I'm in for the ride. Fabian Nicieza displays a deft touch of humor in here, without relying on it or over-using it. Maguire's art is as expressive as ever. The man can do wonders with facial twitches. (I'd still like to see more STRIKEBACK!, though.)
ONE SHOT ONE BEER
The latest addition to the ASTRONAUTS IN TROUBLE comics empire is the 72 page graphic novel/trade paperback, ONE SHOT ONE BEER. (Sounds like it should be the title to the next 100 BULLETS story arc, doesn't it?) I've always stuck to the concept that a graphic novel was a complete book of original material, while a trade paperback was a reprint of something. Publisher/author/internet columnist/raconteur Larry Young likes to blend all of these lines. The first part of this book is a reprint of last year's one-shot comic, COOL ED'S. The rest of the book is a continuation of that story, pulled off with nary a seam. It's an interesting premise with some great stories. Cool Ed's is the bar on the moon to which all the regulars go. And these are their stories. (Included in this are all those who showed up in the original ASTRONAUTS IN TROUBLE mini-series and its subsequent follow-up, SPACE 1959.)
The book, itself, is almost an anthology, with the stories in the book comprised of tales told between friends and acquaintances tossing back a few at the local bar. Those who know Larry should know that the man is a firm believer in writing from experience. ;-) The stories occasionally overlap a bit, but not by much, and all the "continuity" of the book is provided in the interstitials.
Charlie Adlard draws the entire black and white book and does a great job of it. He keeps things looking sharp, with clear visual differences between all the major characters, and a good sense of layout and page design. (To see how easy it is to draw an illegible black and white book, I refer you to Image's last go-around with TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES.)
"KIWI"? SOUNDS LIKE THE NEWEST X-CHARACTER'S CODE NAME!
I think this one speaks for itself. I'm presenting it in full, without edits.
"I guess they're easy to do, because there are a lot of AUSTRALIAN ACTORS in movies today doing them, SUCH AS RUSSEL CROWE and one or two people from THE MATRIX. Now if only those Canadian actors could learn to do a better job." ::duck grin run ::
Yeah you better, duck grin run, cause you'll be quite crook when I get through with you. RUSSEL CROWE is a NEW ZEALANDER; though Russel was raised in Australia, he still keeps it as a Kiwi. On the Subject of Runs, Grins and Golden Ducks, he is also the Cousin of Martin Crowe, who next to Sir Richard Hadlee, Is Not only New Zealanders Greatest Cricketers but also one of the Cricket Greats.
Now Anna Paquin is a Kiwi though through her teens she has been reared as an American. She won an Academy Award as an Supporting Actress for one of the first and one of the only great NZ Films "The Piano."
Kate Winslet is a Kiwi. Yes even though she was brought up in England, she was brought down here and became an actress. Her first Movie was another NZ Film "Heavenly Creatures" which in it she played a teen lesbian lover (Seriously if your tired of you and her watching Titanic till the DVD becomes PVC, watch it, it will put her off the movie for life - YAY!!!). She of course went on to fame and won an Academy Award for Best Actress in the movie, well the one that couldn't float my boat.
Now with the side fact that it's said by some Mel Gibson has dual citizenship as an Aussie and a Kiwi early in his life, I think we're got some pretty good stars shinning above. Come on Lord of the Rings, Come on Peter Jackson...Hell Come on Russel and get an Academy Award and make it three out of three will you??
You see, now I want you to apologise please for that mistake, Not just to me but to those at your pipeline hype-time. He is New Zealander, he is a Kiwi, You, well if you were a ewe Aussies would of done you seven times over already, why else do you put Mint Jelly on your lamb for?? Australian Lubricant...Cause where most of the World go to bed counting Sheep, Aussie go to bed with Sheep. Yesh, People today are so stupid that they already confuse us NZ with the land of OZ Enough (Picture Ned Kelly in his Tin Man Suit)*Sings* If I only had a brain...
Robsta.R(am, Bam, Aussie Lamb).Oglenski
For my next trick, I'll mix up some Brits with some Scottsmen or something…
NEXT WEEK'S BIG COLUMN (OR TWO)
This past Tuesday, I spent the afternoon at Marvel Comics in New York City. Had a great time. Talked to a bunch of people there. Got the grand tour of the tenth floor from Joe Quesada. The works. I'll be talking more about that on Tuesday. Yes, there will even be pictures. Thrill to Marvel's Editor-In-Chief drinking his coffee! Chill with Spidey's editor! Spill your guts looking at the "under construction" Marvel bullpen!
Tuesday's Pipeline Commentary and Review has it all. See you then!