Friday, February 27, 2009

Val's Comic Book Notes: What I'm Reading!

Well, I really developed quite a stack of unread comics again. They really pile up! This past Wednesday, we spent a whopping $40 on comics. That's a lot of comics. To be fair, that particular shipping week is the biggest for us -- so other weeks, we may spend like $7.

I haven't been picking up any Peter David comics in a while, and I'm not sure why that is. I think consistently great writers like David are taken for granted, I really do. "Yeah, another well-written issue by David. What else ya got?" This week I read two: X-Factor #40 & She-Hulk #38.
X-Factor #40 was stunning. Haven't been following this book in a good long while, but plan to do some catching up. Artist Valentine DeLandro is *almost* there as an artist to watch for; I'd give him six more months & he's going to be another Mike McKone. Unfortunately, I have been remiss in following the adventures of the emerald giantess, and look what happens! Cancellation city. She-Hulk #38 is a great story about friendship. Jennifer is called on the carpet about her relationship with Skrull Jazinda, and Jazinda (almost) makes a startling confession. Steve Scott is another penciller to look out for. And does Peter David, figuring he has nothing to lose at this point, break that fourth wall? Perhaps...

Seriously, where does Marvel find these artists? These are like artists I've never heard of, each one ready (or almost ready) to take on a headline book themselves. Is it the portfolio reviews? Consider the work of Rodney Buchemi on The Incredible Hercules #126. This guy is ready for anything -- Avengers, a sprawling high-profile graphic novel, anything. This issue of Incredible Herc also boasts an adorable Amadeus Cho back-up story illustrated by Takeshi Miyazawa that explores what happened to that puppy Kirby.

I'll be perfectly honest with you -- I'm not a big Bendis Avengers person. That said, I've been following Dark Avengers, and have recently read The New Avengers #50. This latest issue of New Avengers goes back to Avengers storytelling basics, at least in my opinion. The double-sized cover, pitting the New Avengers against the Dark Avengers, pretty much says it all. The scope is HUGE. Massive fighting. A classic ruse is set up -- and then a strartling turnaround! Did I say massive fighting? The structure reminds me of classic Avengers, and I appreciate that.

Also: though Lenil Yu is obviously a very talented artist, New Avengers #50's main art team, Billy Tan & Matt Banning, makes the book far more readable to me. I guess that goes back to the "Big Avengers" storytelling thing. Lenil Yu's art was too personal. I needed more splash. That said, there is a big lineup of guest-artists in this ish, everyone from Yu, Alex Maleev, Michael Gaydos, and Greg Horn. Horn, of course, illustrates the Ms. Marvel segment. So he is the "iconic" Ms. Marvel artist, then?

Nova is an oddball title for me -- at least, in the sense, that I would never think to read it. But the BF loves it. And the special cover was by one of my favorite artists, Juan Doe, so I decided to give the latest issue a try. Nova #22 is as big an homage to (and perhaps critique of) the Green Lantern Corps as you will ever see in a Marvel Comic. The basic plot -- "Nova Corps" members are being recruited all over the universe. But is that voice the new Nova-ites are hearing in their heads good...or the opposite of good? Well, Richard Rider calls bullshit on the whole thing, so that gives you some idea as to what's going to happen next. Nova #22's writers, Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning, are fellow members of the Peter David tribe of consistently good comic scribes who don't get a big enough spotlight on them. If Abnett & Lanning are writing your sci-fi comic book, you will at least know it's going to deliver.

My main quibble with Thunderbolts #129 is the sight of President Obama talking with Norman Osborn. Okay, we've established in this issue that Obama is taking a "critical thinking" approach to Osborn. Osborn puts down SHIELD, and Obama reminds him that the organization has done many fine deeds. But here's my problem: NORMAN OSBORN IS A PSYCHOPATH!!!!! He's a psychopath. He has a shitty record. Yeah, I know he is a philanthropist. But it's like if Bill Gates did all these wonderful things for humanity but also shot two prostitutes in the head in 1997. Then again, sometimes this world is so screwed up, I can almost see the media trying to gloss over a crime like that if the person was powerful enough. And this new Thunderbolts team is led by one of my BF's favorite superheroines: the Yelena Belova Black Widow.

Oh, and there is more comics I've read...and am reading...will catch up with you w/more notes soon!


  1. "But it's like if Bill Gates did all these wonderful things for humanity but also shot two prostitutes in the head in 1997." Or, say, drove off a bridge in Chappaquiddick leaving a young woman to die. Hard to believe the public would let go of something like that in the 'real world.'

  2. "Or, say, drove off a bridge in Chappaquiddick leaving a young woman to die."

    I thought about going there, decided against it. But you went there. Yeah. I think that is what disturbs me about this whole "Dark Reign" event. Some people say: "it would be impossible for Osborn to get that much power, for him to be a media darling after everything he's done." I disagree. I think this scenario is very possible. And it's a deeply disturbing concept. And even if the president *knew* that he was dealing with a nut-case -- if the nut-case had that much power, Obama would have to outwardly tread lightly with him, and work covertly behind-the-scenes to remove him. Because the president was alone on a plane with Norman Osborn. That's scary enough.

  3. Your comparing Ted K. to Osborn? Seriously?

    So, a drunk driving accident is the same homicidal acts of murder.

    Ted had an accident, probably drunk, and saved himself from drowning. He then was too cowardly to all the police for a few hours (or until he sobered up.

    That is a far cry from the murderous acts of Osborn.

    I am not saying you should like Ted, but the comparison is retarded.

  4. "Ted had an accident, probably drunk, and saved himself from drowning. He then was too cowardly to all the police for a few hours" and the woman who was in the car drowned.

    But I know he's done many many wonderful things -- I'm not even being sarcastic, I'm serious. He's championed great humanitarian causes and has been a great Senator. That's a matter of record, and nobody can dispute that.

    So I can forget about Chappaquiddick.

    See how that works?

  5. If you check the last issue of Secret Invasion: Frontline, I think you'll see evidence that Osborn's history as the Goblin has been written off as a malicious rumor and hoax. Blame Brand New Day, but I think we're to assume that public awareness of Osborn's days as the Goblin has been retconned.

  6. I have heard very good things about X-Factor, but there's only so much money in the comic budget, y'know? I dropped $26 this week, and nearly went into money shock.

    Nice to see someone else recognize just how good Abnett and Lanning are. You're right--when you see them on a book, you know they're going to deliver. Their 'Guardians of The Galaxy' is another fun book with lots of twists and turns--and a Micronaut! You really can't ask for much more than that.

  7. And THAT is what makes this ongoing storyline much more compelling than secret invasion of the war of planet hulks and their final crisis.

    Because it COULD happen. Which is where Marvel always excels.

  8. I understand the point. I just didn't like the possible implication of tying either "shooting two prostitutes in the head" or the life and times of Norman Osborn with Ted. The disparate magnitude of the actions is glaring to me.

    For myself, I don't have a problem with the accident a much as the gap between the accident and calling the police. That was reprehensible behavior.

  9. You want a Hero? Want death and explosions? Interesting characters? Gods? An occasional company-wide crossover?

    Go read the new collection of Tales of the Beanworld by Larry Marder.

  10. Sigh...even brother Obama can see through Osborn's BS because we know Barack is all about the Spidey.

  11. Jazinda (almost) makes a startling confession
    But was it really that startling? Personally, I'd been half-expecting it for a while.