Quick Reviews: Blue Beetle and Immortal Iron Fist

Some quick reviews of comics from last week. Which already makes them dated. If I let them sit around un-typed-about too much longer, they'll spoil!

Blue Beetle #31- I really like how topical writer Matthew Struges is working topical elements in to this very enjoyable teen superhero comic. He's even able to make our hero's deputization as a Border Patrol agent a real great piece of awkward humor at our hero's expense. My only real problem with the script is the medical-ese, which made as much sense as Morrison and Ellis's technobabble can. Luckily everyone's favorite blogging doctor was around to help sort that out for me. Maybe Struges expected him to pick up the slack, but I think he was just shooting for authenticity.

Andre Cohelo's art was okay, a perfectly good stand in from Rafael Albequerque, but had some annoying tics I didn't like. Doctor Mid-Nite's teeth are pretty much always clenched. Is he just like that? I can honestly say I've never read a comic where he was anything more than just a dude in the background, so I don't know. Yes, yes, I'm sure I should get on that, but I also have to catch up on this new Blue Beetle series I just jumped in to.

There was also a scene where Blue Beetle gets the key to the city, and the mayor and D.A. who are there to honor him spend the whole time squinting. That was weird, too. Perfectly fine work otherwise. Really, I just don't get enough chances to bitch about glitches in the work of professionals, and I've never felt like a real blogger because of it.

Micky Spillane's Raymond Chandler's Immortal Iron Fist: Orson Randal and the Death Queen of California One Shot- So, this is kung fu noir. Which makes sense, given that Duane Swierczynski is a crime writer and all. He's had guest editorials in Criminal and everything!

But it just amazed me how much this comic was about combining noir tropes with the Iron Fist concept. Not that I enjoy that. I'm a huge fan of genre fusion, especially when it comes to superhero comics. Occasionally a snooty critical voice in my head would arise from the depths in which I have exiled it to and say something like "This is a ridiculous combination of two trash genres!" But even he shut up when Orson started using nuts as weapons. Because seriously, that is awesome, no matter who you are. In general, I think this genre mashup gells pretty well. There are even a couple laughs to be had from it, so that's nice.

Giuseppe Camuncoli provides the art. He's not the first person I'd expect for this kind story (since I mainly remember him from Joe Casey's Intimates), he does a good job here. The fact that the story's not meant to drenched in shadows helps. He's a good fit for 1920s L.A., or at least what we see of it here, and he does a great job when bullet fu is called for.

Even if I occasionally thought Iron Fist and noir were an odd fit, I enjoyed this story a lot. I really do think it's great that one of the legacies Brubaker and Fraction left for the title is the concept of Iron Fist as a legacy character. There's just so much potential there, and we've seen some of it in these Orson Randal one shots. Really, I just like that Marvel's publishing something in this pulpy vein at all; that it's off the heels of one of my favorite monthly comics is just gravy. Now, seriously; can we get more stories about the Pirate Queen of Pinghai Bay?

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