What I bought - 15 August 2007

Due to my computer problems, I'll be brief with these.  Yes, they're less useful than they usually are!  That's why I have the respect of my blogging peers!

The Brave and the Bold #6 by Mark Waid, George Perez, and Scott Koblish.  $2.99, DC.

Mark Waid doesn't want people to use the word "fun" when describing this book.  Okay, fine.  How about this: this is a piece of pretty garbage, with an appeal to a Silver Age aesthetic that is remembered today primarily for its goofiness but certainly not for its compelling storytelling.  Waid doesn't even get that right, dressing this up as a noble superhero comic but indulging in the worst "mature" cliches, including the opening page showing three heroes skewered, Vlad-the-Impaler-style, on spikes, and then crushing another hero's head a few pages in.  It's dull and unexciting, and the idea that only the Challengers of the Unknown aren't in the Book of Destiny is idiotic.  So all the heroes who died and came back to life aren't?  Aren't they cheating destiny too?  Blech.  And is there some subtle sexism on the last page, or am I mis-reading the fact that Supergirl freaking out lets a man save the cosmos?  "Oh, Supergirl, don't worry about freaking out - that's what you chicks do!  Bwah-ha-ha-ha!"  Perez's art is wonderful, as usual, but that and the oddball team-ups are the only reason to even give this book a cursory glance.

Hey, look!  I didn't use the word "fun"!  I win!

Catwoman #70 by Will Pfeifer, David López, and Alvaro López.  $2.99, DC.

You know all that stuff I've been saying about Catwoman for about 18 months?  Yeah, ditto for this issue too.  Someone commented that the odd choices of emphasis on words is annoying, and I paid attention to it this time, and it is odd, but not enough to make me not enjoy the heck out of the book.  I just thought I'd mention it.  Other than that, business as usual with this comic, which is fine with me, because it means another 20-some page slice of goodness.

Checkmate #17 by Greg Rucka, Eric S. Trautman, Chris Samnee, and Steve Bird.  $2.99, DC.

A stand-alone issue, as Checkmate tries to determine if their new security expert is worth it.  He used to be a super-villain, you see, and they need to know if they can trust him.  So this is an issue in which all sorts of threats come at the Checkmate castle, and he protects them.  It's kind of strange - it's supposed to be a test, but the test quickly becomes an all-out assault on the castle, which is just incorporated into the test.  Plus, the point is made that the castle is always under assault by various terrorists and bad guys.  Why doesn't Checkmate find, you know, a more secretive location?

Rucka does a nice job, as usual, writing an espionage book set firmly within the DCU.  That's the Mawzir on the cover, for instance, from Ennis and McCrea's Hitman (although McCrea's version was far creepier).  Good stuff as usual.

I like how Chris Samnee is listed as "guest penciller."  Who exactly is the regular penciller?  Joe Bennett?  It's not still Jesus Saiz, is it?

Hellblazer #235 by Andy Diggle and Leonardo Manco.  $2.99, DC/Vertigo.

Is it really easy to write Hellblazer?  I imagine once you get the argot down, it's a cinch.  Constantine acts all tough around loser non-magical people and bluffs his way through the world until he comes up against something freaky, at which time it appears he's about to lose his shit until figuring out some smart-ass way to get out of it.  Hey - that's what happens in this issue!  Shocking.  Oh, and there's a weird English village.  More shocks!

It's not a bad issue, it's just feels awfully familiar.  Oh well.

The Programme #2 (of 12) by Peter Milligan and CP Smith.  $2.99, DC/Wildstorm.

This is an exposition issue, so we learn some stuff but not much happens.  It still has the nice but very dark art, and there's some weird stuff about how a girl doesn't like Jews, which I hope will come back at some point.  There's Nazis and Soviets growing superheroes, and the protagonist doesn't believe it but he's pushed toward fulfilling his potential, and then our guy Max escapes.  So there's that.

It's tough to say much about this.  It's an interesting idea, but it's rather early in the proceedings.  Stay tuned!

Rex Mundi #7 by Arvid Nelson and Juan E. Ferreyra.  $2.99, Dark Horse.

The usual.  It's my favorite book, after all, so what else can I say?  The Prussians have taken France, driving the Duke of Lorraine south, where he plans a counterattack.  Julien and the Inquisitors find the map to the Grail Castle.  Things move forward.  Ferreyra, who took last issue off, is back, and his art is more stunning than it's been in a while (even though it's always good).  His line work is bolder, it seems, and his colors pop off the page, especially when Julien is in the tomb of Clovis.  This just continues to be an excellent comic.

Super-Villain Team-Up: M.O.D.O.K.'s 11 #2 (of 5) by Fred van Lente, Francis Portela, and Terry Pallot.  $2.99, Marvel.

I've noticed something about the recaps at the beginning of Marvel comics.  Occasionally they advance the actual plot of the comic.  We didn't find out what M.O.D.O.K. wanted his gang to rob last issue, but on this issue's recap page, we learn what it is.  What's up with that?

Anyway, double-crossing abounds, funny lines get worked in, and we find out that M.O.D.O.K. is not playing fair with his minions.  Well, duh.  It's generally clever.

Terror, Inc. #1 (of 5) by David Lapham and Patrick Zircher.  $3.99, Marvel/MAX.

If you enjoy lots of viscera, then this book is for YOU!  That's pretty much all there is to it - it's ridiculously violent, and it gives us a good origin story for Mr. Terror.  Other than that, it's pretty unpleasant.  That's not to say it's bad, really, it's just that it's, well, pretty unpleasant.  If you're in the mood for lots of blood and guts, you certainly can't do better than this.  It's all rendered rather nicely by Zircher.  I doubt if suits of armor in 1164 were as intricate and worked as the one Draghignazzo wears, but I'm prepared to let it pass.

I doubt if I'll pick up more issues.  It's not really worth 4 bucks, and if I hear good things about it, I'll get the trade.  Of course, I probably won't hear good things about it, but you never know.  It does have a kind of sleazy charm to it, as Terror himself is a compelling psychopath.  But why bother when it's going to get collected, and probably for less than the cover price of the five issues combined?

Our new computer will be arriving soon.  Then I can get back to ranting at some length!  You know you miss it!

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