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What I bought – 23 January 2008

by  in Comic News Comment
What I bought – 23 January 2008

My parents are in town this week, so these reviews are a bit … unusual, to say the least. I don’t have a lot of time, so I figured I’d be creative. Judge me not harshly!

The Amazing Spider-Man #548 by Dan Slott (writer), Steve McNiven (penciler), Dexter Vines (inker), Dave Stewart (colorist), and Cory Petit (letterer). $2.99, 22 pgs, FC, Marvel.

T. S. Eliot, “Gerontion”

Thou hast nor youth nor age

But as it were an after dinner sleep

Dreaming of both.

Here I am, an old man in a dry month,

Being read to by a boy, waiting for rain.

I was neither at the hot gates

Nor fought in the warm rain

Nor knee deep in the salt marsh, heaving a cutlass,

Bitten by flies, fought.

My house is a decayed house,

And the Jew squats on the window-sill, the owner,

Spawned in some estaminet of Antwerp,

Blistered in Brussels, patched and peeled in London.

The goat coughs at night in the field overhead;

Rocks, moss, stonecrop, iron, merds.

The woman keeps the kitchen, makes tea,

Sneezes at evening, poking the peevish gutter.

I am an old man,

A dull head among windy spaces.


Signs are taken for wonders.  ‘We would see a sign!’

The word within a word, unable to speak a word,

Swaddled with darkness.  In the juvescence of the year

Came Christ the tiger.


In depraved May, dogwood and chestnut, flowering judas,

To be eaten, to be divided, to be drunk

Among whispers; by Mr. Silvero

With caressing hands, at Limoges

Who walked all night in the next room;

By Hakagawa, bowing among the Titians;

By Madame de Tornquist, in the dark room

Shifting the candles; Fräulein von Kulp

Who turned in the hall, one hand on the door.  Vacant shuttles

Weave the wind.  I have no ghosts,

An old man in a draughty house

Under a windy knob.


After such knowledge, what forgiveness?  Think now

History has many cunning passages, contrived corridors

And issues, deceives with whispering ambitions,

Guided us by vanities.  Think now

She gives when our attention is distracted

And what she gives, gives with such supple confusions

That the giving famishes the craving.  Gives too late

What’s not believed in, or if still believed,

In memory only, reconsidered passion.  Gives too soon

Into weak hands, what’s thought can be dispensed with

Till the refusal propagates a fear.  Think

Neither fear nor courage saves us.  Unnatural vices

Are fathered by our heroism.  Virtues

Are forced upon us by our impudent crimes.

These tears are shaken from the wrath-bearing tree.


The tiger springs in the new year.  Us he devours.  Think at last

We have not reached conclusion, when I

Stiffen in a rented house.  Think at last

I have not made this show purposelessly

And it is not by any concitation

Of the backward devils.

I would meet you upon this honestly.

I that was near your heart was removed therefrom

To lose beauty in terror, terror in inquisition.

I have lost my passion: why should I need to keep it

Since what is kept must be adulterated?

I have lost my sight, smell, hearing, taste and touch:

How should I use them for your closer contact?


These with a thousand small deliberations

Protract the profit of their chilled delirium,

Excite the membrane, when the sense has cooled,

With pungent sauces, multiply variety

In a wilderness of mirrors.  What will the spider do,

Suspend its operations, will the weevil

Delay?  De Bailhache, Fresca, Mrs. Cammel, whirled

Beyond the circuit of the shuddering Bear

In fractured atoms.  Gull against the wind, in the windy straits

Of Belle Isle, or running on the Horn.

White feathers in the snow, the Gulf claims,

And an old man driven by the Trades

To a sleepy corner.


Tenants of the house,

Thoughts of a dry brain in a dry season.


Astonishing X-Men #24 by Joss Whedon (writer), John Cassaday (artist), Laura Martin (colorist), and Chris Eliopoulos (letterer). $2.99, 23 pgs, FC, Marvel.

Ben Okri, “They say”

They say

Love grows

When the fear of death



They say

Courage looms

When the fear

Of never loving again


In the smell of the enemy

Who crushes us so much

We can only fight.


Love and courage grow together

When the flesh is rawest

And the spirit charged

And distorted within the nightmare

We see the possibility

Of a future.


Blue Beetle #23 by John Rogers (writer), Rafael Albuquerque (artist), Guy Major (colorist), and Swands (letterer). $2.99, 22 pgs, FC, DC.

Allen Ginsberg, “The Terms in Which I Think of Reality”

Reality is a question

of realizing how real

the world is already.


Time is Eternity,

ultimate and immovable;

everyone’s an angel.


It’s Heaven’s mystery

of changing perfection:

Absolute Eternity


changes! Cars are always

going down the street,

lamps go off and on.


It’s a great flat plain;

we can see everything

on top of a table.


Clams open on the table,

lambs are eaten by worms

on the plain. The motion


of change is beautiful,

as well as form called

in and out of being.


Next: to distinguish process

in its particularity with

an eye to the initiation


of gratifying new changes

desired in the real world.

Here we’re overwhelmed


with such unpleasant detail

we dream again of Heaven.

For the world is a mountain


of shit: if it’s going to

be moved at all, it’s got

to be taken by handfuls.


Man lives like the unhappy

whore on River Street who

in her Eternity gets only


a couple of bucks and a lot

of snide remarks in return

for seeking physical love


the best way she knows how,

never really heard of a glad

job or joyous marriage or


a difference in the heart:

or thinks it isn’t for her,

which is her worst misery.


Faker #6 (of 6) by Mike Carey (writer), Jock (artist), Clem Robins (letterer), and Lee Loughridge (letterer). $2.99, 22 pgs, FC, DC/Vertigo.

Siegfried Sassoon, “Haunted”

Evening was in the wood, louring with storm.

A time of drought had sucked the weedy pool

And baked the channels; birds had done with song.

Thirst was a dream of fountains in the moon,

Or willow-music blown across the water

Leisurely sliding on by weird and mill.


Uneasy was the man who wandered, brooding,

His face a little whiter than the dusk.

A drone of sultry wings flicker’d in his head.

The end of sunset burning thro’ the boughs

Died in a smear of red; exhausted hours

Cumber’d, and ugly sorrows hemmed him in.


He thought: ‘Somewhere there’s thunder,’ as he strove

To shake off dread; he dared not look behind him,

But stood, the sweat of horror on his face.


He blunder’d down a path, trampling on thistles,

In sudden race to leave the ghostly trees.

And: ‘Soon I’ll be in open fields,’ he thought,

And half remembered starlight on the meadows,

Scent of mown grass and voices of tired men,

Fading along the field-paths; home and sleep

And cool-swept upland spaces, whispering leaves,

And far off the long churring night-jar’s note.


But something in the wood, trying to daunt him,

Led him confused in circles through the thicket.

He was forgetting his old wretched folly,

And freedom was his need; his throat was choking.

Barbed brambles gripped and clawed him round his legs,

And he floundered over snags and hidden stumps.

Mumbling: ‘I will get out! I must get out!’

Butting and thrusting up the baffling gloom,

Pausing to listen in a space ‘twixt thorns,

He peers around with peering, frantic eyes.


An evil creature in the twilight looping,

Flapped blindly in his face.  Beating it off,

He screeched in terror, and straightway something clambered

Heavily from an oak, and dropped, bent double,

To shamble at him zigzag, squat and bestial.


Headlong he charges down the wood, and falls

With roaring brain – agony – and snap’t spark –

And blots of green and purple in his eyes.

Then the slow fingers groping on his neck,

And at his heart the strangling clasp of death.


Ghosting #4 (of 5) by Fred van Lente (writer), Charles Carvalho (artist), Kevin Mellon (additional art), Tom Smith (colorist), and Troy Peteri (letterer). $3.99, 22 pgs, FC, Platinum Studios Comics.

Anne Sexton, “A Curse Against Elegies”

Oh, love, why do we argue like this?

I am tired of all your pious talk.

Also, I am tired of all the dead.

They refuse to listen,

so leave them alone.

Take your foot out of the graveyard,

they are busy being dead.


Everyone was always to blame:

the last empty fifth of booze,

the rusty nails and chicken feathers

that stuck in the mud on the back doorstep,

the worms that lived under the cat’s ear

and the thin-lipped preacher

who refused to call

except once a flea-ridden day

when he came scuffing in through the yard

looking for a scapegoat.

I hid in the kitchen under the ragbag.


I refuse to remember the dead.

And the dead are bored with the whole thing.

But you – you go ahead,

go on, go on back down

into the graveyard,

lie down where you think their faces are;

talk back to your old bad dreams.


G. I. Joe: America’s Elite #31 by Mark Powers (writer), Mike Bear (artist), Mike Shoyket (artist), Jean-François Beaulieu (colorist), and Dave Rothe (letterer). $3.50, 22 pgs, FC, Devil’s Due.

Francis Scott Key, “The Star-Spangled Banner” (third stanza)

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore

That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion,

A home and a country should leave us no more?

Their blood has wash’d out their foul footsteps’ pollution.

No refuge could save the hireling and slave

From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave:

And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.


The Order #7 by Matt Fraction (writer), Barry Kitson (penciler and inker), Jon Sibal (inker), Jelena Kevic-Djurdjevic (colorist), Soto (colorist), Antonio Fabela (colorist), and Artmonkeys Studios (letterer). $2.99, 22 pgs, FC, Marvel.

William Shakespeare, The Life of Henry V, Act IV, scene iii, lines 16-67

Westmerland: O that we now had here

But one ten thousand of those men in England

That do no work to-day!

King Henry: What’s he that wishes so?

My cousin Westmerland?  No, my fair cousin

If we are mark’d to die, we are enow

To do our country loss; and if to live,

The fewer men, the greater share of honor.

God’s will, I pray thee wish not one man more.

By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,

Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;

It yearns me not if men my garments wear;

Such outward things dwell not in my desires.

But if it be a sin to covet honor,

I am the most offending soul alive.

No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England.

God’s peace, I would not lose so great an honor

As one man more methinks would share from me,

For the best hope I have.  O, do not wish one more!

Rather proclaim it, Westmerland, through my host,

That he which hath no stomach to this fight,

Let him depart, his passport shall be made,

And crowns for convoy put into his purse.

We would not die in that man’s company

That fears his fellowship to die with us.

This day is call’d the feast of Crispian:

He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,

Will stand a’ tiptoe when this day is named,

And rouse him at the name of Crispian.

He that shall see this day, and live old age,

Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbors,

And say, “To-morrow is Saint Crispian.”

Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,

And say, “These wounds I had on Crispin’s day.”

Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,

But he’ll remember with advantages

What feats he did that day.  Then shall our names,

Familiar in his mouth as household words,

Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,

Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester,

Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb’red.

This story shall the good man teach his son;

And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,

From this day to the ending of the world,

But we in it shall be remembered –

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;

For he to-day that sheds his blood with me

Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,

This day shall gentle his condition;

And gentlemen in England, now a-bed,

Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here;

And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks

That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.


She-Hulk #25 with stories by Peter David (writer), Shawn Moll (penciler), Victor Olazaba (inker), Rob Ro (colorist), and Dave Sharpe (letterer); David (writer), Adriana Melo (penciler), Mariah Benes (inker), Chris Sotomayor (colorist), and Sharpe (letterer); David (writer), Val Seimeiks [sic], Dave Meikis (inker), Sotomayor (colorist), and Sharpe (letterer). 32 pgs, FC, Marvel.

Percy Bysshe Shelley, “Mutability”

We are the clouds that veil the midnight moon;

How restlessly they speed, and gleam, and quiver,

Streaking the darkness radiantly! — yet soon

Night closes round, and they are lost forever:


Or, like forgotten lyres, whose dissonant strings

Give various response to each varying blast,

To whose frail frame no second motion brings

One mood or modulation like the last.


We rest. — A dream has power to poison sleep;

We rise. — One wandering thought pollutes the day;

We feel, conceive or reason, laugh or weep;

Embrace fond foe, or cast our cares away:


It is the same! — For, be it joy or sorrow,

The path of its departure still is free:

Man’s yesterday may ne’er be like his morrow;

Nought may endure but Mutability.


The Scream #3 (of 4) by Peter David (writer), Bart Sears (breakdowns), Randy Elliot (finishes), Michelle Madsen (colorist), and Michael David Thomas (letterer). $2.99, 22 pgs, FC, Dark Horse.

Sylvia Plath, “Dirge for a Joker”

Always in the middle of a kiss

Came the profane stimulus to cough;

Always from the pulpit during service

Leaned the devil prompting you to laugh.


Behind mock-ceremony of your grief

Lurked the burlesque instinct of the ham;

You never altered your amused belief

That life was a mere monumental sham.


From the comic accident of birth

To the final grotesque joke of death

Your malady of sacrilegious mirth

Spread gay contagion with each clever breath.


Now you must play the straight man for a term

And tolerate the humor of the worm.


Wonder Woman #16 by Gail Simone (writer), Terry Dodson (penciller), Ron Randall (penciller and inker), Rachel Dodson (inker), Alex Sinclair (colorist), and Rob Leigh (letterer). $2.99, 22 pgs, FC, DC.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson, “The Charge of the Light Brigade”


Half a league, half a league,

Half a league onward,

All in the valley of Death

Rode the six hundred.

“Forward, the Light Brigade!

“Charge for the guns!” he said:

Into the valley of Death

Rode the six hundred.


“Forward, the Light Brigade!”

Was there a man dismay’d?

Not tho’ the soldier knew

Someone had blunder’d:

Theirs not to make reply,

Theirs not to reason why

Theirs but to do and die:

Into the valley of Death

Rode the six hundred.


Cannon to right of them,

Cannon to left of them,

Cannon in front of them

Volley’d and thunder’d;

Storm’d at with shot and shell,

Boldly they rode and well,

Into the jaws of Death,

Into the mouth of hell

Rode the six hundred.


Flash’d all their sabres bare,

Flash’d as they turn’d in air,

Sabring the gunners there,

Charging an army while

All the world wonder’d:

Plunged in the battery-smoke

Right thro’ the line they broke;

Cossack and Russian

Reel’d from the sabre-stroke

Shatter’d and sunder’d.

Then they rode back, but not

Not the six hundred.


Cannon to right of them,

Cannon to left of them,

Cannon behind them

Volley’d and thunder’d;

Storm’d at with shot and shell,

While horse and hero fell,

They that had fought so well

Came thro’ the jaws of Death

Back from the mouth of Hell,

All that was left of them,

Left of six hundred.


When can their glory fade?

O the wild charge they made!

All the world wondered.

Honor the charge they made!

Honor the Light Brigade,

Noble six hundred!

X-Men #207 by Mike Carey (writer), Chris Bachalo (penciler), Tim Townsend (inker), Victor Olazaba (inker), Jon Sibal (inker), Al Vey (inker), Brian Reber (colorist), Edgar Delgado (colorist), and Cory Petit (letterer). $2.99, 25 pgs, FC, Marvel.

William Butler Yeats, “The Second Coming”

Turning and turning in the widening gyre

The falcon cannot hear the falconer;

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere

The ceremony of innocence is drowned;

The best lack all conviction, while the worst

Are full of passionate intensity.


Surely some revelation is at hand;

Surely the Second Coming is at hand.

The Second Coming!  Hardly are those words out

When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi

Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert

A shape with lion body and the head of a man,

A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,

Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it

Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.

The darkness drops again; but now I know

That twenty centuries of stony sleep

Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,

And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,

Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?


It’s up to you to interpret how I really felt about all of these comics! Have fun! I’ll be back next week with actual thoughts that I don’t steal from other, smarter people!

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