That's why I haven't been posting much lately. Well, that and this. But never mind the bollocks, let me share with you what I thought about a smatterin' of superhero comics, including one from a self publisher. Yeah, I'm kind of scared, too. But it's really pretty good, so we should be able to get through it.
All Star Superman #12- Morrison, Quitely, Grant, and friends bid us adieu with a finale that, like the 11 issues that proceeded it, is largely wonderful due to its efficiency. Sure, that's not a sexy thing, and certainly isn't the word you usually associate with a bold maverick like Morrison, but it still fits. His work with Quitely is better than it is with anyone else because nothing feels wasted, and that continues here.
Morrison uses the All Star branding to pay off a story that in the confines of the mainstream DCU would have to be undone immediately, and comes mighty close to trumping his metor/rival Alan Moore for best "Last Superman Story Ever," in the process (even if he drops hints that we'll get a return to this particular real estate someday, provided I read that right). Well, that and he had 12 issues as opposed to Moore's two, and those stories were completely different in as many ways as possible. There's still a parallel I can ring out of their similarities, though!
As much as this series had trouble overcoming the weight of my gargantuan expectations at times (every once in a while, an issue even left me cold), I will still miss its periodic arrivals at the shop dearly, but am glad that the whole thing can one days join my other favorite finite superhero runs on the shelf. So, you know, ****2/4.
Amazing Spider-Man #572- So, I really regret grabbing this cover off the shelf without looking at it, because every time I look at it, I feel like Bullseye is peering in to my very soul. Or just leering at me whilst in a state of undress, depending on the situation. Any way you slice it: unsettling.
Creepy David Finch portraits aside (and props to him for nailing Bullseye's creepiness there, at least; didn't know he had that in him) this storyline continues to tick along nicely. The Bullseye/Spidey show down is well done, giving our hero the victory (it can't be that big a spoiler, can it?) without hurting the homicidal badass's street cred too bad. Slott also continues to write an interesting dynamic between Spidey and Not Venom Anymore, so that's a nice bone to be thrown for someone who read those stories where they hated each other before they knew better.
We get that skip week I was expecting for like a month now before the oversized finale, which I'm really excited for, in spite of the fact that not too long ago I would have rather removed my own appendix with a hot poker than read another Goblin/Spider-Man fight. So, that says something for Slott and the rest of the Brain Trust, even if John MFOMGMFCBAG Romita Jr. drawing it is a pretty big reason for my anticipation.
Incredible Hercules #121- It turns out Marvel will let Arthur Suydam draw something besides creepy zombie cover homages! But only if it's Amazons who dress like they shopped at the Suicide Girls garage sale. Or, you know, it has to be similar to something he could have published with Warren. So, it's nice to have that cleared up.
Between the aforementioned fetish Amazons (fetglamazons?), gags involving a Wertham-esque assumption about Amadeus and Herc's relationship, and general vacation hijinks, I really have to wonder; why is this comic not outselling everything? I don't just mean comics, I mean everything. It's very quietely become my favorite ongoing.
Love and Capes #8- Are you like me? Have you ever thought "You know, I'd love to read something like True Story, Swear To God, but I wish it weren't about a real cartoonist and the love of his life, but instead a thinly veiled Superman analogue and his fiancee?" Well, brother (and/or sister/fetglamazon) do I have the comic for you! Because I pretty much summarized the whole thing.
This self published effort from Thomas F. Zahler is pleasant; that's the best word I can find to describe it. That's not a slight; I enjoyed this quite a bit, certainly more than a lot of the review copies I've been sent. The story and art, which is very similar to the DC Animated Series art style (in full, glorious color, no less!), is just enjoyable. It won't change your life, but you can do much worse (and not a lot better, really) if you're looking for a straightforward, character driven comic featuring superpeople. Also, the Spider-Man stand in is called Arachnerd, so that's pretty rad.
It does a good job of blending the superhero and slice of life elements. It even throws in an interesting cliffhanger which plays with an old genre trope, which is a nice way to use the strengths of the superhero genre in a book that's not all about the fights and tights. You can find out more about the strip (its apparently a web comic, too) and even purchase the first trade, published by IDW oddly enough, here. It's worth a look if it sounds at all like your thing.
And now, back to your regularly scheduled corporate superhero reviews.
Marvel Adventures Avengers #28- Apparently, Jeff Parker's still writing half of this, in concert with Paul Tobin, and the solicit I think I read that he was leaving with last issue was wrong. Fine by me! I'll happily continue to pick up the book in this format, especially if the character find of 2008, Luke Cage's mama, continues to make appearances. It's nice to have a fun, enjoyable, frequently funny Avengers book. I mean, have they rescued any multi dimensional cats in Bendis's book? If so, why not, other than all the Skrulls and Mametisms? Also, seriously; Luke Cage's mama!
Secret Invasion Thor #2- I really don't care for this digitally colored/inked artwork at all. That and Fraction's use of narration in the captions made this feel more like an illustrated story and less like a comic at times. That said, Fraction did a good job juggling the disparate elements of Odinson's new status quo, the Skrullery felt suitably blood and thundery, and I'm really looking forward to seeing Bill and Thor team up against the radical feminist Skrull with a battle ax next issue, so job well done for act 2 there. If they can pair him up with an art style that doesn't make my eyes bleed, I would love to see Fraction write the Thor ongoing when JMS fully moves on to DC.
Uncanny X-Men #502- Wolverine and Nightcrawler beat the crap out of skinheads in the opening here. If I had that way, they'd do that every issue. Seriously, any writer who can evoke the friendship between Kurt and Logan the way Frubaker did here hits some pretty heavy nerd erogenous zones with me, mainly because no one seems to really like referencing their friendship. Greg Rucka did it a couple times in his Wolverine run, but those were such morose stories that it didn't work for me at all, even if I appreciated the thought.
Outside of my nerd tumescence, the rest of the issue ticks along nicely. If not for Land's excessively airbrushed/photo refed art, I'd probably be liking this a lot more, but as is, it's doing quite a bit right in my book. It suffers a bit in comparison to the Brubaction they brought in Iron Fist, but to be fair, they had more leeway to go nuts with Danny Rand, and I had much lower expectations for him than I do the mutants.
Taking this comic as it is, I enjoy it a lot and am interested in seeing where they're going with the Hellfire Cult and "San Francisco loves the X-Men" stuff. It may not measure up to my platonic ideal of an X-Men comic (which is half my nostalgic love of the Claremont and friends stuff and half the great bits of Morrison's run), but it's close enough that it's earned a lot of goodwill. If they can avoid glacial pacing and Danger Room fights, I'll finally have an X-Men comic to read again.
Now, if you'll excuse me, those Storm Troopers aren't going to throw themselves, so I'd better get on that.