X-POSITION: Phoenix, Upstarts & More Tear Up Bowers & Sims' "X-Men '92"
To see what Caanan and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below …
In Thunderbolts #151, writer Jeff Parker accomplishes two things I did not think were possible:
1) Gives Ghost a backstory that makes me interested in the character
2) Rattles the unflappable Moonstone
Parker is one of the top three writers at Marvel presently working.
I’ve not read any of David Liss’ past prose or comics work, so I had no idea what to expect in the first installment of Black Panther: The Man Without Fear (aka Daredevil #513). I am unwilling to commit to the series with this first installment, though I’m unabashedly intrigued by the core premise (Black Panther sans his wealth/advanced technology) becomes Hell’s Kitchen main protection. Liss does a solid job of laying down a foundation of a premise, but artist Francesco Francavilla does not provide the spark to make the art engage me.
After interviewing Avengers Academy scribe Christos Gage last week, I was struck by the number of readers (in our comments section) who mentioned it was their favorite series of the Avengers franchise. After some consideration, I have to agree with them. The redemption (or whatever one considers it is) of Hank Pym is examined front and center in issue #7.
Things I’ve read:
Nipper 1963-1964 by Doug Wright. Utterly charming, inspired cartooning, done with a sharp eye for detail and drawn enough from real life to make it seem utterly familiar without ever being bland or too cute for words. Guaranteed to knock the socks off ya.
Eden by Pablo Holmberg. Holmberg has a nice, simple, thin-lined style, but this collection of four-panel strips is just too terribly twee for me to appreciate. It’s like John Porcellino or James Kochalka’s work, but without any of the bite or self-deprecation that makes the more precious moments worthwhile. File under “trying too hard.”
Fuc* **u *ss **le by Johnny Ryan. The fourth and final collection of Blecky Yuckarella strips. As with Ryan’s more recent work (including the just released New Character Parade) the jokes become have become more outrageous, absurd, disturbing and just plain odd. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing depends upon your appreciation for Prison Pit, not to mention your appreciation for Johnny Ryan’s comics in general. Me, I thought it was swell.
Odd Is On Our Side by Fred Van Lente, Dean Koontz and Queenie Chan. Even the addition of a smart writer like Van Lente can’t make me appreciate this contrived, tiresome series about a boy who solves murders with the help of dead people. Everything about it just rings false with me, from the set-up to the dialogue to Chan’s stiff art (though, to be charitable, she’s improved considerably since the last Odd book). For Dean Koontz fans only I suppose, wherever they may happen to be.
Sean T. Collins
With LOVE AND ROCKTOBER in my rear-view mirror at long last, I’m catching up on some of the more prominent releases from the last quarter of 2010. Click the links for full reviews!
If ‘n Oof by Brian Chippendale (PictureBox): Chippendale’s latest is a breeze to read — every page is a splash page! — which suits its rollicking action-movie buddy-comedy sci-fi tone…at least until that haunting ending kicks in.
X’d Out by Charles Burns (Pantheon): Burns refines his already emotionally rich and unnerving approach to surrealism to a now-laserlike focus in this story of a young punk artist haunted by dreams and memories he can’t control, throwing in stunning color work to boot.
Ex Machina Vol. 10: Term Limits by Brian K. Vaughan and Tony Harris (DC/Wildstorm): I always preferred this to BKV’s other long-running high-concept science-fiction series Y: The Last Man, but this final volume threw me, with strange art hiccups from the normally consistent Harris and an ending that depended on our attachment to Mitchell Hundred, a character who ideologically and emotionally has always been something of a cipher.
And oh yeah, one last LOVE AND ROCKTOBER review–
Love and Rockets: New Stories #1-3 and “Dreamstar” by Gilbert Hernandez (Fantagraphics/Dark Horse): Beto’s ingeniously intertwined contributions to the latest incarnation of Love and Rockets (and to MySpace Dark Horse Presents) comprise a complex, unforgettable career peak for an artist whose career is festooned with them.
As I mentioned earlier this week, I thought Vertigo and the creators of Fables #100 really blew the roof off for their big anniversary issue. I thought the duel was well handled, the main story sent off in a completely different direction than I expected and all the extras, from board games to short stories, really made the 100 plus pages something special.
With the end of the year approaching and Kiel contacting us about CBR’s annual best-of-the-year list, I’ve been catching up with and re-reading a bunch of comics from this year. This week I’ve hit American Vampire, Morning Glories, Scarlet, the Sixth Gun, Fantastic Four and Acme Novelty Library, with Wally Gropius and a re-reading of Duncan the Wonder Dog on deck, and hopefully time for Orc Stain and Joe the Barbarian again before I make my final list.
First, I want to say to the Robot 6 guys, thanks for having me! Second, I only get to a comic shop once every few months when I can make it to Halifax, so I’m not exactly up to date on the periodical comic world.
Living in the middle of nowhere, I have finally taken to the web for some of my comic fix, and boy, why did I wait so long? I’ve been going through Mal & Chad from the beginning and while I’m not very far along, so far it’s a real charmer, with Mal being a very earnest young genius in hiding, pretending he’s normal to stay near his lady love, Megan, and Chad being his actual talking dog (as in, not imaginary, Mal made him able to talk) and together they get into mischief and ponder the world. There is a collection coming later next year which I will be all over.
Also, on the web, I read That Monkey Tune, which I first learned of at NYCC this year. It’s an old school type comic strip – about monkeys! – with retro stylings, and blends a nice mix of character comedy, with irony-laden cynicism about modern society and pop-culture trends (without being too specific, which I like.)
Cleopatra in Space by MIke Maihack is also a fantastic webcomic I keep up with. It’s a fun, energetic ride, and the addition of colour really makes it pop.
In the print world, by far the best thing I’ve read recently is Smile by Raina Telgemeier. It’s a coming of age type story centered around Raina losing her two front teeth in an accident, but it’s the way it’s told that is truly remarkable. Each page is essentially a one page gag. They all string together to tell a complete story of course, but you could take each page on its own too, and get a complete vignette. It’s over 200 pages so that’s a LOT of vignettes! An absolute achievement in storytelling.
Being a massive Roger Langridge fan, and enjoying Chris Samnee’s art on The Mighty, I also recently picked up the first five issues of Thor: The Mighty Avenger. I have never read Thor before, I don’t care for Thor. Never have. Having read these comics though, now I do. Which just goes to show what the right creative talent can do with any characters given to them. Great fun.