What I bought - 20 March 2013

An old Ukrainian proverb warns, "A tale that begins with a beet will end with the devil."

That is a risk we will have to take. (Tom Robbins, from Jitterbug Perfume)

Chew #32 ("Bad Apples Part 2 of 5") by John Layman (writer/letterer), Rob Guillory (artist/colorist), and Taylor Wells (color assistant). $2.99, 22 pgs, FC, Image.

This is your typically good issue of Chew, but it's good partially because it's so dense. It's a bit late because of that (plus Layman and Guillory got to go to France, where Chew is popular), but with comics like this, tardiness doesn't matter too much because the product is so good. So in this issue we get a hostage stand-off which Tony figures out how to solve by using his power (it's nice to see him using it without having to do something disgusting), but then we follow Colby after the case as he figures out what Cesar is really doing and who he's really working with. It's a nice, relatively calm issue (which means there's only one panel of Poyo fighting a molasses monster) but it moves the plot along nicely. Layman does give us a bit with Tony, who's changed a bit since his recent ordeals, as he's through taking shit from his boss. We also find out what Olive is able to do with food, and there's the usual Kirkman-teasing, which has become a nice staple of Chew issues. Layman shows how well he is writing dialogue when Tony calls Olive, and Guillory, as usual, shows how well he complements that dialogue with excellent facial expressions. There's a nine-panel grid of Tony and Olive's conversation that should be taught in schools, because it's so simple yet so effective.

Plus, there's the fact that Layman and Guillory call out Willy Wonka's child abuse practices. That dude's just shifty.

I don't want to be a broken record, but Chew is really good. Layman even provides a nice recap of some of the key events of the series!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf page:

So much good stuff on this page. First, there's another wacky food-based power from the odd mind of Layman. Colby's reaction is very well done, including his apology to Tony. This is the first indication that we get of Tony's new bad-assery, as he ignores Colby and demands a hand grenade. Guillory does his usual superb job, too - look at Tony's face throughout the entire page, as he moves through different thoughts. Colby's sheepishness in Panel 6 is nice, too. And, of course, the dude picking his nose is priceless. There's usually a lot on every page of Chew, and this is a good example of why it's such a dense comic.

Dark Horse Presents #22. "George Armstrong Custer: The Middle Years" by Howard Chaykin (writer/artist), Jesus Aburto, and Ken Bruzenak (letterer); "Alabaster: Boxcar Tales Part 5" by Caitlín R. Kiernan (writer), Steve Lieber (artist/letterer), and Rachelle Rosenberg (colorist); "The Victories: Babalon Fading Part 3" by Michael Avon Oeming (writer/artist), Nick Filardi (colorist), and Aaron Walker (letterer); "Journeyman Chapter 3" by Geoffrey Thorne (writer) and Todd Harris (artist/letterer); "Arcade Boy Part Two" by Denis Medri (writer/artist), Paolo Francescutto (colorist), and Frank J. Barbiere (letterer); "Villainman" by Patrick Alexander (writer/artist); "Beneath the Ice Part II" by Simon Roy (writer/artist) and Jason Wordie (writer/colorist/letterer); "Clark Collins and the Exponential Attraction" by Kel McDonald (writer/artist); "Villain House Chapter 2: Satan's Son" by Shannon Wheeler (writer/artist); "F.P.B.C." by Steve Moncuse (writer/artist), Brennan Wagner (colorist), Tom Orzechowski (letterer), and Lois Buhalis (letterer). $7.99, 80 pgs, FC, Dark Horse.

The highlight of this issue of DHP might be something that I didn't put in the credits, because I wasn't sure how to do it: Mike Richardson interviews Geof Darrow (as you can see advertised on the cover), and even though the entire interview isn't in it, it's still pretty darned fascinating (I'd link to the whole thing if I could, but I can't seem to find it on Dark Horse's web site). The actual comics are good, too, but I find insight from creators very interesting. You may not, of course!

Anyway, Chaykin's back, with a counterfactual that gives Custer some Hotchkiss guns at Little Big Horn, so he doesn't get annihilated. It's narrated by his wife, and it's clever enough - Custer ends up president, but he's still a spoiled war monger, just in a position to do far greater damage (which, of course, his wife doesn't care about, because she thinks Custer is just so awesome). There are your typical serials in the issue, doing their thing and doing them well, but I won't get into those. Alexander's "Villainman" is a nice one-off joke - he "helps people by committing violent crimes!" and does so with relish. McDonald's "Clark Collins" story is fun - it's about a geeky teenager who "solves" "mysteries" which aren't all that mysterious, like why a bunch of girls are suddenly signing up for Mathletes. But it's charming enough, and it seems like it could work as a longer serial, as long as McDonald was able to keep the light tone of this story. Wheeler's "Villain House" is the kind of thing I wish we'd see more from DC or Marvel, as a man goes on a blind date with a woman who dates a lot of supervillains. I think it would be fascinating to read about regular people in the DCnU or Marvel U. who really like to date superpeople. But maybe that's just me. Finally, Moncuse is back with a silent Fish Police story, and it looks superb. His art from the 1980s was fine, but it felt a bit slight. Perhaps Wagner's excellent colors add some heft to Moncuse's lines, but whatever it is, it's a beautiful-looking story, and clever to boot.

Much like Chew, DHP just keeps trucking along, giving us very good comics. What are the odds?

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf page:

There's not much to say about this page - it pretty much speaks for itself. I love Panel 6, where a prehistoric Inspector Gill tries to back out of finding the woman's egg because, well, he's a coward. So she uses the old "smackeroo" persuasion, and that's enough for him!

Deadpool #6 ("National Maul") by Brian Posehn (writer), Gerry Duggan (writer), Tony Moore (artist), Val Staples (colorist), Clayton Cowles (letterer), and Jordan D. White (editor). $2.99, 20 pgs, FC, Marvel. Wade Wilson created by Fabian Nicieza and Rob Liefeld. S.H.I.E.L.D. and Thor created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. Doctor Strange created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. Steve Rogers created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby.

Posehn, Duggan, and Moore end their arc (and probably Moore's involvement with the book) on a nice, violent note, as all bets are off and a lot of bodies hit the ground. Posehn and Duggan keep the humor level high, though, as Deadpool has been somehow keeping track of how many presidents there are, so we get a page about how five other zombie presidents were dispatched (in typical gruesomely humorous fashion). The writers even put some pathos in the comic, as Wade thinks about what happened in issue #5 and even Washington gets a final say that's a bit more heartfelt than you might expect (although Deadpool then dropkicks him someplace, so it doesn't last long). Both Captain America and Thor get fun lines, and the book ends with a pseudo-cliffhanger (not much to do with the actual arc, but sets up the status quo of this book fairly well). I'm a bit disappointed Ben Franklin doesn't show up in this issue, but such is life, I suppose.

This has been a very strong comic, and it ends pretty well. I encourage you to get the trade - Moore's art is always beautiful, and Duggan and Posehn have balanced the humor and the violence very well, plus they've managed to get some good jokes past the censors (see below). I'm not sure if I'm going to keep buying this when Mike Hawthorne takes over on art, even though I like Hawthorne. I might just switch to trades, 'cause that's how I roll. We'll see.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf page:

We never actually find out what Deadpool's question about Taft's presidency is. That's too bad - what trenchant insight might Wade have given us? The first panel contains deliberately lame jokes, but the writers make up for it with Wade's aside in Panel 4. That "AR" symbol hasn't become any less annoying since Marvel introduced it, however.

Elephantmen #47 ("Sleeping Partners Part Six: Behind the Shifting Clouds") by Richard Starkings (writer/letterer) and Axel Medellin (artist). $3.99, 36 pgs, FC, Image.

Starkings finally sends his characters to the moon, where we knew they were going to end up eventually, and they discover a secret Chinese base where they made their own hybrids, except, as we've seen, they used tigers, so their "elephantmen" are much sleeker and cooler than Mappo's. Of course, the "classic" hybrids are probably a lot tougher than those tigers, but it's all about looking cool, man!

There are a couple of pages devoted to other plots - Obadiah is getting the nanomachines purged from his system so he can't be controlled, and some corporate dude tells Sahara she can't keep her baby, which is not going to be a very nice thing for Obadiah to hear. But the rest of the issue is almost an info-dump, which means it's not exactly the most exciting issue of Elephantmen around. That's okay, though - Starkings has piled up a lot of stuff in the years that the series has been running, so recapping it every once in a while isn't a bad idea, and it's not like the issue is bad, just that it takes its time getting to the inevitable conclusion (which involves the cool-ass tigers, of course!). And when Medellin is drawing things so well, a recap issue is tolerable - the page below is the most fun of the issue (and indicates that Ebony is having some issues), but Medellin also draws a stunning full-page tiger at one point, and he's gotten really good at expressing the characters' thoughts through their facial expressions - when Sahara hears that she's not going to able to keep the baby, Medellin does a really nice job with her reaction.

I imagine there's going to be some violence next issue, because the tigers don't look happy, but we'll see, won't we. Even though this isn't the best issue of Elephantmen, it's still a good way to remind us of all the interesting stuff that's been going on as Starkings gears up for issue #50. I'm looking forward to see how Starkings gets us there.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf page:

I know Medellin does some very nice pin-ups for The Line It Is Drawn, so maybe I shouldn't have featured another one, but I love this drawing. I think the way Medellin adds the snow is excellent - it looks like white blobs rather than snowflakes, which is more "realistic" - and you have to love the ax that Vanya is carrying. Starkings switches nicely to "Conan-speak" with Vanya's bad-ass dialogue, which makes the page stand out even more. It might not show of Medellin's storytelling skills, but it's a wonderful drawing nevertheless.

Mind Mgmt #9 ("The Futurist Chapter 3") by Matt Kindt (writer/artist), Ian Tucker (assistant editor), and Brendan Wright (editor). $3.99, 25 pgs, FC, Dark Horse.

Mind Mgmt is really, really good, y'all. I know that kind of goes without saying, but in a week where another critical darling that isn't half as good as it is comes out (cough*Saga*cough) but will get everyone in a tizzy because Alana uses Marko's horns as handlebars while they fuck, Matt Kindt's weird comic just keeps on kicking ass. (That's not to say that almost everything I read this week is better than Space Porn #11, but those other books have been running for a while - Chew and Elephantmen - or didn't actually come out this week - Westward - and both this and Shoot It In My Twat #11 are relatively new books.) Mind Mgmt keeps getting better now that Kindt has established this weird world, and while issue #7 - the first of this arc - was the best one at that point, I think this might be better. We discover something about Henry Lyme that's fairly important, and the new team - Meru, Lyme, Perrier, and Dusty - decides to find Duncan, who can kill anything (or so they think). Kindt ends the issue with a biography of Dusty, set to the "tune" of one of his albums, with the tracks reflecting his rise from street urchin to pop star, and it's really an amazing achievement. Kindt continues to challenge the way he tells stories, from the end of this issue to the continuing vignettes about Mind Management agents, and he continues to challenge the readers with the way he draws the stories, as he gives us a page of Meru-as-avenging goddess in one place, while the way he transitions to Meru thinking about Dusty's life is wonderful, too. Plus, of course, there's the ongoing mystery of Mind Management itself, which is always interesting. Even the satirical album cover of Dusty's album is well done.

I don't mean to pick on that other comic, which I'm about to review. I just think it's self-evident that it's not even close to some comics, and I'm vexed that stuff like Mind Mgmt isn't getting as much press. I assume Kindt will be able to keep doing this as long as he wants, which is great, and I hope people realize that it's a budding masterpiece and they shouldn't miss it just because they want to watch aliens fucking!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf page:

First, note the writing on the side, part of a story Kindt is telling in the margins that seems to tie into the main story, but just as easily might not. I also love how the sound effect of the gun firing carries over from Panel 2 to Panel 3. And I've always loved the way Kindt colors his comics, so it's not surprising that it's great here.

Saga #11 by Brian K. Vaughan (writer), Fiona Staples (artist), and Fonografiks (letterer). $2.99, 22 pgs, FC, Image.

Now that I've pissed off a bunch of Saga fans, here we are! Look, you know me - if you think Saga is the greatest sequential art story since the Bayeux Tapestry, that's great. That's why we all live in America (everyone reading this lives in the States, right?) where we can think a whole bunch of incorrect things, like that the Dallas Cowboys aren't completely evil, ESPN is a good network, The Big Bang Theory is a quality television show, and the Pixies are a good band. IT'S OKAY TO BE WRONG, PEOPLE! And you know about my own, tortured relationship with Saga, which runs hot and cold depending, not on what issue I'm reading, but which page in the issue I'm reading. It's that mercurial!

So: Space Porn in Saga #11. On the first page of this issue, Marko and Alana are fucking. More specifically, they're having orgasms. That's fine. I'm not sure if you realize this about me, but for someone who reads a lot of "mature" stuff and curses a lot, I'm remarkably prudish. I'm not someone who wants to stop people from enjoying porn or from having sex with whatever consenting adult(s) they want to have sex with, but I'm always a bit annoyed when I read stuff like this. Most sexual situations in literature strike me as really poorly-written, and the first few pages of Saga #11 are not an exception. In fact, whenever Vaughan indulges in "sexy-talk" between his main characters, it feels really clunky. Who says "I came like a dump truck"? What does that even mean? Is that an expression? I don't know - I guess I'm not terribly adventurous, and that's fine, and it's also not something most people discuss with each other too often, so unless Vaughan is quoting dialogue he's actually heard in person (and I'm not going any further with that line of thought), the dialogue reads like someone who's read too many letters to Penthouse. Like a lot of issues of Saga, however, Vaughan quickly moves on to other, better things, but also like a lot of issues of Saga, the idiocy of the writing on just a few pages lingers and bothers me even after I've moved on.

Because the main story, where our heroes are trying to escape from the giant space fetus and The Will, is pretty exciting. The Will does something daring, Marko does something noble, and Barr (Marko's dad) does something awesome. It's very well done, and it's again clear that when Vaughan is trying to advance the plot, he can write superb dialogue, but when he sits down and tries to write good dialogue, he's not very good at it. If that makes sense. It probably doesn't. All I can say is the line "But then ... the clouds ... race the ..." is brilliant in context, but "That was Sexy Alana! She's a crazy person!" sounds really dumb. Sigh.

Oh, Saga. What am I going to do with you? Issue #13 was not in the latest Previews, so I assume issue #12 is the end of the arc (the solicit text is ridiculously unhelpful), and I assume they're going to take another break. Maybe I'll have to think about it after issue #12. That should be enough time to make a good decision, right? Man, I so want to love this comic. I really do.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf page:

Staples is killing it on the book, though, as we see from this page. Just look at Panels 3-5, with The Will's expressions in the first two, Gwendolyn's look of fear, and Lying Cat's totally evil stare. Just that one crooked line segment by Lying Cat's tail is superb, too, as it's just enough implied movement to show how excited he is at The Will's proposition. Staples is getting better and better on this book, so there's that.

Westward #4 (of 10) ("Internal Failure") by Ken Krekeler (writer/artist). $3.50, 32 pgs, BW, Kinetic Press.

Westward #4 came out last week? the week before? but I didn't review it because I hadn't read issue #3 yet. Despite pre-ordering it, for some reason my retailer didn't get it, and I didn't realize it had come out. So I found a store on-line that could get it, and it took them well over a month to get it to me. But they did, and so I read both issues #3 and 4 this week, but I'm only going to write about issue #4. Okay?

Westward continues to be the best comic no one is reading (well, except Travis), and issue #4 continues with that vein, as Krekeler picks up with the account of the accident that killed Victor West and gave birth to the "manifold" that looks like Victor. In issue #3, we saw how the accident happened, and now we see some of the aftermath. Because this is such a "compressed" comic, though, we get a lot more. At the end of issue #3, an old friend of Victor's showed up at his office, and after a brief confrontation, he leaves, but he's made an impact. Meanwhile, we get an intense scene between Victor's sister, Annabelle, and her daughter, Penelope, about Penelope's poor grades, which are entirely due to the fact that Penelope doesn't want to stand out. Then, we get Victor's hilarious attempts to play secret agent to get close to Aurthur LeRoux, the man who they think is going to buy whatever the terrorist organization C.L.A.W. stole from Westward Enterprises. That goes horribly wrong, too, and it appears Victor was set up. Meanwhile, we do learn what C.L.A.W. stole, and it ain't good.

One thing that Krekeler keeps managing to do is show how dumb Victor actually is. He's trying to educate himself and take his life more seriously, but it's going to take time, and while his attempts at being a secret agent are a bit too buffoonish, at least Krekeler doesn't turn him into a super-spy immediately. There are enough smart people in this book, so Victor's Clouseau-like bumbling helps balance that out a bit. Even though he has all these cool gadgets in his body, his personality remains immature, and Krekeler is doing a good job with that. He also does a fine job setting up each scene - the book flows very well, and Krekeler hits some good beats as he goes along. He also does a few clever things with the dialogue to get a lot of it into the book - Bendis has done this kind of thing in the past, turning parts of a page into a stage play, with just name attributions and lines of text, but others have done it, too (Moench on Batman comes to mind), so it's nifty to see it here. I hope Krekeler doesn't do it too often, but every once in a while is fine.

Krekeler shows a bit more violence in the artwork, as well. Not necessarily people beating on each other, but explosions and their aftermaths. It's quite nicely done - after the first explosion, he blurs parts of the page to show how the perceptions of one of the people near the blast have been altered, and the second explosion is very nice, as Victor is right in the center of it. He uses blacks very well in this book, as well (see below). With this kind of artwork, there's always the chance that the figure work will not integrate well into the backgrounds, but Krekeler doesn't have that problem.

The collection of the first three issues is in Previews right now, and I encourage you to get it if you've missed out on this series. It's really good. Would I lie to you?

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf page:

You can almost hear the desperation in Harold West's voice as he talks about protecting his children, and Annabelle's harsh truth is more awful because it affects Harold not one iota. Krekeler makes good use of the black on this page, as Harold is completely enmeshed in darkness, symbolizing his retreat from the outside world. The final panel is nicely done, too, because it's funny and it shows how much Harold is divorced from reality. Of course, he actually built his manifold, and it has laser beam eyeballs, so who are we to judge?

Wolverine #1 ("Hunting Season Part 1 of 4") by Paul Cornell (writer), Alan Davis (penciller), Mark Farmer (inker), Matt Hollingsworth (colorist), Cory Petit (letterer), Jennifer M. Smith (assistant editor), Jeanine Schaefer (editor), and Nick Lowe (group editor). $3.99, 19 pgs, FC, Marvel NOW! Wolverine created by Roy Thomas, Len Wein, John Romita Sr., and Herb Trimpe.

I'm going to wax nostalgic for a moment, if you don't mind. As I read this comic, it reminded me of a certain comic from over 25 years ago, the brilliant Uncanny X-Men #205, featuring Chris Claremont and Barry Windsor-Smith at the tops of their games. In it, Wolverine is stalked by Lady Deathstrike and the Reavers through a snowstorm in Central Park, and he's acting a bit crazed. He happens to find Katie Power, and she helps him calm down and escape, but not before doling out some extreme justice. It's a fantastic issue.

So why did I think of that as I read this week-old issue of Wolverine (sorry, my retailer accidentally didn't order it, so I didn't get it until this week)? Well, like that issue, this features a really beaten-up Wolverine. Like that one, we join this in media res. Like that one, this features a kid, and Logan is a sucker for kids in distress. And like that one, Wolverine dispenses some rough justice. So why is that a classic and this one isn't? Well, of course it has to do with context - that issue came in the middle of Claremont's long run, before Wolverine was such a commodity and before he was starring in, I think, 43 comics in March 2013 alone. But maybe it has something to do with the fact that Claremont and Windsor-Smith packed a ton of crap into that book, and it was far more exciting than this limpid story. I mean, this is "Part 1 of 4," and if you tell me that an old pro like Claremont wouldn't have finished whatever Cornell is planning in two issues, I'll call you a goddamned liar. Yes, Claremont could stretch out subplots for decades, but when he wanted to tell a simple story, he would get the fuck on with it. This is a dude who did the entire Age of Ultron in two issues, remember (Kulan Gath FOR THE MOTHERFUCKING WIN!!!!), so it's not like I don't know what I'm talking about. I mean, Marvel has the fucking gall to charge 4 dollars for 19 pages of, essentially, Wolverine killing a dude with a fancy gun. (Yes, I guess it's 20 pages, technically, but one of those is the title page, and I refuse to count that.) I know this is an old man rant and all you fucks should get the fuck off my lawn, but this issue, remember, came out in the same week where it took three (3) panels to show Black Widow eating a fucking Twix bar, and I don't think I'm too off base in getting pissed off about it. I mean, I like Paul Cornell as a writer, and I would look at Alan Davis drawing 20 pages of Hank Pym digging for gold in his nose and scratching his ass, but shit, Marvel, what the fuck?

So, anyway, Wolverine is blasted by some dude who is obviously not in control of his faculties but got his hands on a super-gun, and when he kills that dude, the dude's son gets possessed by the same thing and tries to kill our hero before escaping into the night. If it takes you longer than four minutes to read this comic, you're probably a first-grader and you need to sound some words out. Davis's art is pretty, to be sure, but he does get to draw a lot of big panels, so it's not even like he's doing a ton of heavy lifting. All in all, this is a big yawn of a first issue. Why does this book exist? I mean, I know Marvel thinks they need a solo Wolverine book, but don't they already have one? Do they need two? Plus the other 58 comics he appears in every month?

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf page:

I'd like to say that this is a typical mainstream superhero page, but it's a lot more restrained than your usual violence over in the DCnU. It still cracks me up, though, because in Panel 1, it's implied that Logan is basically gutting that dude - look at where his claws are and how the dude is falling, and check out the blood. Then, in Panels 2 and 3, there's not a scratch on him. Did he die because he couldn't stand the embarrassment of wearing a shredded jacket? I guess kudos to Marvel for trying to keep a book in which we see several skeletons of this dude's victims a bit less gory than your usual DC comic, but it's still kind of funny that the dude doesn't look injured at all.

X-Factor #253 ("Hell on Earth War Part Four") by Peter David (writer), Leonard Kirk (penciler), Jay Leisten (inker), Matt Milla (colorist), Cory Petit (letterer), Jennifer M. Smith (assistant editor), Daniel Ketchum (editor), and Nick Lowe (group editor). $2.99, 20 pgs, FC, Marvel. Jamie Madrox created by Len Wein, Chris Claremont, and John Buscema. Layla Miller created by Brian Michael Bendis and Oliver Coipel. Lorna Dane/Polaris created by Arnold Drake, Don Heck, Werner Roth, and Jim Steranko. Longshot created by Ann Nocenti and Arthur Adams. Monet St. Croix created by Scott Lobdell and Chris Bachalo. Julio Richter/Rictor created by Louise Simonson and Walt Simonson. Shatterstar created by Fabian Nicieza and Rob Liefeld. Armando Muñoz/Darwin created by Ed Brubaker and Pete Woods. Rahne Sinclair/Wolfsbane created by Chris Claremont and Bob McLeod. Guido Carosella/Strong Guy created by Chris Claremont and Bill Sienkiewicz. Mephisto created by Stan Lee and John Buscema. Satana created by Roy Thomas and John Romita, Sr.

The funniest page in this entire epic, probably (unless one trumps it in the final chapter) is the double-page spread showing a bunch of Marvel heroes fighting a bunch of demons. It's hilarious because it's definitely current (Captain America has his awful new costume, the faux Thing lady from FF is there), but it shows the problems with mainstream superhero comics in the 21st century - everyone is telling their own stories, so absolutely no other comic in the Marvel Universe even knows that this invasion is taking place, yet David chucks them all in anyway. Similarly, no other comic seems to know that some weird moon villains are destroying Earth cities (are they still doing that in Avengers?). I know I've mentioned this before, and I honestly don't mind that these comics don't acknowledge events from other comics, but Marvel likes to insist that these comics are all taking place in the same "universe" when it's clear they're not. At least David puts this ridiculous double-page spread in his comic - other writers don't even put "reaction shots" of other Marvel characters in theirs.

So the remaining members of X-Factor decide that since Tier can kill Hell Gods, he should, and he's all for it. What's interesting about the issue is that David acknowledges that sometimes, people get injuries that aren't all that apparent, and they're kind of deadly. I doubt if the person who suffers what appears to be a traumatic brain injury would be able to walk around, much less continue the fight, but at least David brings it up. We'll see what happens with that.

So onward we go. According to the recap page, David is "churning out" more scripts, which is great because of his recovery but kind of depressing - I know it's not meant this way, but whoever is writing the recap pages just implied that double-shipping means the writer has to "churn" out scripts. That doesn't sound like a good way to produce a comic.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf page:

Okay, yes, Satana looks ridiculous, but this is still a nice page. Kirk does a good job with the panel-to-panel storytelling, and Tier's freaky rabid face in Panel 4 is, well, freaky. I guess Satana is slightly more popular than Pluto, so Tier doesn't actually kill her like he did to Pluto last issue (even though Pluto doesn't actually die), but whatever Tier does is enough to eliminate her. As usual, nice colors by Milla - he's really going to town on this comic.

Batman volume 1: The Court of Owls by Scott Snyder (writer), Greg Capullo (penciller), Jonathan Glapion (inker), Fco Plascencia (colorist), Richard Starkings (letterer), Jimmy Betancourt (letterer), Katie Kubert (assistant editor), and Peter Hamboussi (editor). $16.99, 144 pgs, FC, DC.

18 months after issue #1 shipped, DC finally gets around to publishing a softcover trade of Batman. Nice. I guess I'll see what all the fuss is about - based on what I've heard recently about this comic, I'm not sure I have high hopes.

Daredevil volume 3 by Mark Waid (writer), Greg Rucka (writer), Marco Checchetto (artist), Chris Samnee (artist), Khoi Pham (penciler), Tom Palmer (inker), Matt Hollingsworth (colorist), Javier Rodriguez (colorist), Joe Caramagna (letterer), Alex Starbuck (assistant editor), Nelson Ribeiro (assistant editor), and Cory Levine (editor). $16.99, 140 pgs, FC, Marvel.

I so wish this had been called Daredevil volume 3: The Great MacGuffin Hunt! Oh, and while I flipping through this, I saw a woman pulling up her shirt and on her bra was written "You are Daredevil." I guess it's part of her game with Matt to get him to react, but I just loved it, because Waid actually thinks about stuff like this and admits that, yeah, sure, of course that would happen.


I don't have much to say this week about non-comics stuff. I don't know if I'll have a link post up this weekend - once again, it's been a busy week in the real world, so who knows how much time I'll have to surf around. I will link to my daughter's awesome story, which includes an amazing twist at the end. It's better than The Sixth Sense!!!!! Okay, maybe not, but still - Norah is awesome.

Oh, I guess DC continues to interfere with their writers, as Andy Diggle left Action Comics before his first issue shipped, and Joshua Fialkov ditched Green Lantern because DC wants to kill off John Stewart. Does anyone at DC ever read anything on the comics blogaxy? I mean, they don't even have to take the advice of crazy Internet people, but you'd think they would be aware that people are really not happy with their editorial direction and their practice of slaughtering anyone who has a tiny bit of pigment in their skin. It's very weird.

Let's dive into the Ten Most Recent Songs on My iPod (Which Is Always on Shuffle):

1. "Quartz" - Marillion (2001) "It's a kind of lie when we pretend that we're still friends" 2. "New Jack Hustler" - Ice T (1991) "Got me twisted, jammed into a paradox - every dollar I get, another brother drops; maybe that's the plan, and I don't understand, goddamn - you got me sinkin' in quicksand"13. "We" - Neil Diamond (2005) "Want to take you to that great unknown, show you to a place you've never been"4. "Chloe Dancer/Crown of Thorns" - Mother Love Bone (1989) "I used to treat you like a lady now you're a substitute teacher; this bottle's not a pretty, not a pretty sight"25. "Reflections" - Supremes (1967) "Oh, I'm all alone now, no love to shield me, trapped in a world that's a distorted reality"6. "Somethin' to Hide" - Journey (1978) "Please come talk to me, tell me what's on your mind"7. "Garden" - Pearl Jam (1991) "I don't question our existence, I just question our modern needs"38. "King of Carrot Flowers Part 1" - Neutral Milk Hotel (1998) "And from above you how I sank into your soul, into that secret place where no one dares to go"9. "Fairytale of New York" - Pogues (1988) "When the band finished playing they howled out for more"10. "Driftwood" - Travis (1999) "Home is where the heart is, but your heart had to roam"

1 My knowledge about this is woefully light, but I'll still ask the provocative question: O.G. Original Gangster: Best rap album ever? That or Paul's Boutique, right?

2 Obviously, these come up randomly, so it's a coincidence that this came up today, two days after 19 March, which is the day Andrew Wood died (23 years ago - man, I feel old). Anyway, it's strange to consider how different musical history would have been if Wood had lived. No Pearl Jam, for instance, and no Pearl Jam trying to take on Ticketmaster. Mother Love Bone was much more glam than Nirvana or Pearl Jam, so it would have been interesting to see how the "grunge" movement would have been different had Mother Love Bone been at its forefront rather than Nirvana. I love counterfactuals, in case you're wondering.

3 Well, that's weird. I didn't plan that.

So the 23rd of March is the 8th anniversary of me writing for this blog (my first post was on the 22nd, but it was only introductory), and it's been a lot of fun. I've been doing weekly reviews for even longer - I did them on my old blog before Brian was nice enough to let me write for this blog - with very little interruption. I've skipped some weeks, taken a month off once (or twice?), and I skipped seven weeks in 2011 when I was back in Pennsylvania and didn't get my comics every week. And now I'm taking a break. Not from blogging here - I like that too much - but from the weekly reviews. They've become a bit of a grind, to be honest. I've written before that it takes me about 8-12 hours to write these up, and it takes up a lot of my Wednesday and Thursday (and sometimes Friday). I don't really want to change the format, because I like doing the covers and the pages and the links, but it does take a while. There are other reasons, too. I've been volunteering more at my daughter's school, and that's a fairly big commitment. I'm not going to give that up, obviously, and something has to give. I'm also working on some big projects - a few actual creative ones, and some other non-fiction things for this blog - and I'd like to devote more time to those. Everything else I write for the blog doesn't have to be so timely as these do, so I'll have some extra time to work on other things without stopping in the middle of the week and writing these up. Plus, it's just not as much fun as it used to be. I'm happy with what I buy, and I feel like I really don't have much to say about them month after month. I do plan to write about certain comics, though. I don't know how many more Marvel NOW! #1 issues are coming out, but when they do, I'll review them. I'll probably pick an issue at random and review it, or when a story arc ends, I'll review the whole thing, or if a new book launches, I'll probably review that. I'm just not going to be doing the whole nine yards like I've been doing. It's just become too much.

I'm certainly not going anywhere - I still have a ton of books to review, plus I love writing Comics You Should Own way too much - but for now, I'm stopping the full-bore weekly reviews. I'll probably start doing them again at some point, but I don't know when. I'll just play it by ear. You can always follow me on Twitter!

So have a nice weekend, everyone. Don't watch too much college basketball! That's never healthy!

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