What I bought - 30 September 2009

"I stick my neck out for nobody!"

You know, I only bought 6 single issues this week (I did get a bunch of graphic novel/trade paperbacks, so there's that), and while I liked them all, I'm kind of not in the mood to review them. Brent Anderson's art was off somehow in the Astro City Special, and I wonder how much was due to the new colorist, Wendy Broome (it wasn't bad art, just off somehow). Rapture was good, but it's the fourth issue in a six-issue mini-series, so it's kind of difficult to really review it. The cover is very literal, though, in case you're wondering. I'd like to address the use of John Garrett in Secret Warriors: Why is John Garrett in Secret Warriors? I have the sinking feeling it's because Hickman thought it would be "cool" to use a character from a book he liked in his youth, no matter how little sense it makes. I know Garrett is part of "regular" Marvel continuity these days, but his story (as told in Elektra: Assassin) was so perfectly, well, over, that using him in this book just seems like a nod to fans of the old book and Hickman saying, "Wasn't Elektra: Assassin pretty fucking awesome?" Well, sure it was, but is there going to be a reason to use Garrett as opposed to making up a new ex-S.H.I.E.L.D. agent? Stuff like this bothers me. The first issue of The Unknown: The Devil Made Flesh was pretty flingin'-flangin' awesome, as Waid completely twists our expectations about where the story of Catherine Allingham and James Doyle was going. Waid is good at brilliant twists, and he pulls a couple of nice ones, even though the second one we could see coming and won't stick anyway, based on the solicitations for the fourth issue. And Oosterveer's art is excellent. Unknown Soldier ended the latest arc well, and the book continues to improve. Interestingly enough, Ponticelli's art looked "off," too, and again, I don't know why. Finally, X-Factor continues to shamble toward issue #50, with David leading us to a conclusion we had come to quite some time ago. This issue also featured really horrible art - de Landro has been decent on the book, but this issue looked terrible. The figures looked stiff and out of proportion and sketchy, while the characters' facial expressions didn't seem to match what they were saying or experiencing at that moment. Blech.

So, that's what I thought. Instead of reviews under the boilerplate, I'm going to open my three volumes of Schott's Miscellany (Schott's Original Miscellany, Schott's Food & Drink Miscellany, and Schott's Sporting, Gaming, & Idling Miscellany), select passages at randon, then transpose those. Feel free to ignore them; you know that every so often I get a little weird (like when I used poetry to express my thoughts about the comics I bought; wasn't that fun?), and I'm sure by next week I'll be back in a mood to do straight reviews. Let's dive in!

Astra: An Astro City Special #1 (of 2) ("Graduation Day") by Kurt Busiek (writer), Brent E. Anderson (artist), J. G. Roshell (letterer), Jimmy Betancourt (letterer), and Wendy Broome (colorist). $3.99, 24 pgs, FC, DC/Wildstorm.

Final Meal Requests: Since the death penalty was reinstated in the mid-1970s, Texas has had the dubious honor of executing more people than any other American state. The lethal injection Texas employs consists of sodium thiopental, pancuronium bromide, and potassium chloride (at a cost of $86.08). Below are the final meal requests from some of those executed in Texas.

JEFFREY DOUGHTIE (executed on 8.16.2001): 8 soft fried eggs (wants yellow runny), big bowl of grits, 5 biscuits with bowl of butter, five pieces of fried hard and crisp bacon, two sausage patties, pitcher of chocolate milk, 2 pints vanilla Blue Bell ice cream, and 2 bananas.

GERALD MITCHELL (executed on 10.22.2001): 1 bag of assorted Jolly Ranchers.

SPENCER GOODMAN (executed on 1.18.2000): Double cheeseburger, french fries topped with onions and cheese, baked potato topped with sour cream, cheese and butter, 2 fried pork chops, 3 beef enchiladas, and chocolate cake.

WILLIAM LITTLE (executed on 6.1.1999): 15 slices of cheese, 3 fried eggs, 3 buttered toasts, 2 hamburger patties with cheese, 2 sliced tomatoes, 1 sliced onions, french fries with salad dressing, 2 lb. of crispy fried bacon, 1 quart chocolate milk, and 1 pint of fresh strawberries.

JOHNNY GARRETT (executed on 2.11.1992): Ice cream. [John Garrett??????]

RONALD O'BRYAN (executed on 3.31.1984): T-bone steak (med. to well done), french fries and "catsup," whole kernel corn, sweet peas, lettuce and tomato salad with egg and french dressing, iced tea, sweetener, Saltines, Boston cream pie, rolls.

(The Texas Department of Criminal Justice is at pains to note that 'the final meal requested may not reflect the actual final meal served.')

Rapture #4 (of 6) by Taki Soma (writer/layouter), Michael Avon Oeming (writer/artist), Val Staples (colorist), and Thomas Mauer (letterer). $2.99, 22 pgs, FC, Dark Horse.

Stanley Cup Winners, 1893-1926 (pre-NHL, that is):

1893: Montreal AAA1894: Montreal AAA1895: Montreal Victorias1896: Winnipeg Victorias/Montreal Victorias1897: Montreal Victorias1898: Montreal Victorias1899: Montreal Victorias/Montreal Shamrocks1900: Montreal Shamrocks1901: Winnipeg Victorias1902: Winnipeg Victorias/Montreal AAA1903: Montreal AAA/Ottawa Silver Stars1904: Ottawa Silver Stars1905: Ottawa Silver Stars1906: Ottawa Silver Stars/Montreal Wanderers1907: Kenora Thistles/Montreal Wanderers1908: Montreal Wanderers1909: Ottawa Senators1910: Ottawa Senators/Montreal Wanderers1911: Ottawa Senators1912: Quebec Bulldogs1913: Quebec Bulldogs1914: Toronto Blueshirts1915: Vancouver Millionaires1916: Montreal Canadiens1917: Seattle Metropolitans (an American team? for shame, Canada!)1918: Toronto Arenas1919: no decision1920: Ottawa Senators1921: Ottawa Senators1922: Toronto St. Pats1923: Ottawa Senators1924: Montreal Canadiens1925: Victoria Cougars1926: Montreal Maroons

No, I don't know why some teams shared the Cup back in the day. Anyone?

Secret Warriors #8 by Jonathan Hickman (writer), Alessandro Vitti (artist), Sunny Gho (colorist), and Dave Lanphear (letterer). $2.99, 22 pgs, FC, Marvel.

List of contradictanyms (words which have opposing meanings based on the context in which they are used):

You must BOLT the door ... or he will BOLT for the door.FLOG a horse ... in order to FLOG the horse-meat.GARNISH that dish ... or I will GARNISH your earnings.Secure it with a BUCKLE ... or it will BUCKLE under the weight.Please SCREEN us from ...the film they are about to SCREEN.Though CRITICAL in his comments ... he was CRITICAL to our success.You can see the stars are OUT ... once the lights are OUT.It is everyday CUSTOM ... to have suits CUSTOM-made.It was an OVERSIGHT ... to give him OVERSIGHT of the project.I will FIX the gate ... in order to FIX the race.Bind him FAST to prevent ... a FAST getaway.He was only a QUALIFIED success ... although he is fully QUALIFIED.

The Unknown: The Devil Made Flesh #1 (of 4) by Mark Waid (writer), Minck Oosterveer (artist), Andres Lozano (colorist), and Marshall Dillon (letterer). $3.99, 22 pgs, FC, Boom! Studios.

According to the latest figures [the book was published in 2005, so they may have changed] from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) [which actually exists!], Norway is the ideal country to move to if you're idle. There the "average hours worked" per-year per-person in work is 1,337 - compared to 1,792 in the United States and 2,390 in Korea:

Norway: 1,337Netherlands: 1,354France: 1,421Germany: 1,446Denmark: 1,475Italy: 1,591Ireland: 1,613United Kingdom: 1,673Canada: 1,718United States: 1,792Japan: 1,801Australia: 1,814Mexico: 1,857Greece: 1,938 Korea: 2,390

The conclusion: Europeans are lazy. I knew it! Except for the Greeks. What the hell?

Unknown Soldier #12 ("Easy Kill: Conclusion") by Joshua Dysart (writer), Alberto Ponticelli (artist), Oscar Celestini (colorist), and Clem Robins (letterer). $2.99, 23 pgs, FC, DC/Vertigo.

Some Shakespearean insults:

You are not worth another word, else I'd call you Knave.

Why art thou then exasperate, thou idle, immaterial skein of sleave-silk, thou green sarsenet flap for a sore eye, thou tassel of a prodigal's purse, thou? Ah, how the world is pestered with such waterflies, diminutives of nature.

Thou whoreson zed, thou unnecessary letter.

This woman's an easy glove, my Lord, she goes off and on at pleasure.

False of Heart, light of Ear, bloody handed, Hog in sloth, Fox in stealth, Wolf in greediness, Dog in madness, Lion in prey.

You shew'd your teethes like Apes, and fawn'd like hounds and bow'd like Bondmen.

Like the toad, ugly and venemous.

I would thou didst itch from head to foot and I had the scratching of thee; I would make the the loathsomest scab in Greece.

You fat and greasy citizens.

Like a villaine with a smiling cheek, a goodly apple rotten at the heart.

You common cry of curs! whose breath I hate as reek o' th' rotten fens, whose loves I prize as the dead, carcasses of unburied men that do corrupt my air.

X-Factor #49 by Peter David (writer), Valentine De Landro (penciler), Pat Davidson (inker), Jeromy Cox (colorist), and Cory Petit (letterer). $2.99, 22 pgs, FC, Marvel.


The Swedish dish Surströmming is a somewhat acquired taste. Small, freshly caught herrings (strömming) are placed in wooden vats and a solution of brine is added. After 48 hours or so the heads and intestines are removed and the fish are again packed into barrels with brine. The barrels are left for 8-12 weeks in the summer heat, "cooking" them at a temperature of 40-60° F. During this time the fish decompose producing a tremendous quality of vile pungent gas. The resulting "delicacy" smells very, very bad indeed, but is regarded by a significant minority as a true gastronomic treat. Sweden's medieval royal legislation, which governs the manufacture of Surströmming, allows for its sale on the third Thursday in August, when the fish is traditionall eaten with beer, aquavit, or vodka.

Now that sounds tasty!

I promise I'll be better next week. I guess I gots the fifth-week blues. I don't know how Chad Nevett was getting 13 books this week. I was looking at the outlay at the comics shoppe and I couldn't believe he'd be getting 13 books, unless he was in the mood to gouge his eyes out. But maybe he'll tell us what he got!

Anyway, feel free to discuss the miscellany or the awesome books you bought this week. Just because I skipped the JLA 80-Page Giant doesn't mean it sucked! Or maybe it does. Beats me!

Let's bring it on home with some totally random lyrics:

"I'm a beast on the microphone, a night stalkerA killing machine, a savage street talkerJason with an axe, but I put it on waxTo eradicate the suckers who thought I had relaxedThe prince of hip hop, straight from QueensKicking it mean, keeping it cleanAnd you've never seen anybody rock the partyAll you funky beat-aholics, this beat's BacardiI go to the show, and terrorize emcees, don't you knowMoving my hand like I'm playing the piano"

Now, if you'll excuse me, it's almost time for me to have some Surströmming for dinner (it's sold in cans, after all). I can't wait!

Superman: Year One Features Frank Miller's Version of Dawn of Justice

More in Comics