Wednesday, 27 June 2012

What I Got and Why: The Geek Who Came In From The Cold

Aloha from somewhere that ain’t Hawaii!

What follows is a massive blog post regarding my last few weeks comic book purchases. I'm trying out a lot of new books at the moment, mostly Image and Dark Horse as that's where the new-weird is at apparently. I'm also dropping a lot of books at the moment, Winter Soldier being a recent victim, along with a few 'New 52' books from DC that I was still buying. Mostly all good books but there is a lot of great stuff out and I can't buy it all. So without further prattle here is what I done gone and got.

American Vampire: Lord of Nightmares #1

Looking forward to seeing Dustin Nguyen work on something non Batman related (even if it is still bat-related) he's been doing sterling work over the last few years on various Bat-books, but it'll be nice to see him sink his teeth (see what I did there?) into some work that doesn’t involve superheroes. I've not really checked out what the story is going to be about, aside from that it's going to be a period piece with vampires.

The last mini they did had superlative art form Sean Murphy but the story went off the rails for me with the introduction of gigantic vampire gods, my least favourite aspect of the American Vampire mythos, but was still a fun romp. You just can’t go wrong with undead Nazis. The main series is on top form at the moment and it seems Snyder can do no wrong these days (though I'm not reading his Batman so I can't speak for that). Fingers crossed this'll be a jolly good mini.

Bad Medicine #1-2

I know bugger all about this new series from Dark Horse but the art looks funky and the first 2 issues were on the new imports rack. Looks like a mystery/detective story in the vein of X-Files of early Warren Ellis work. I'll give this opening two-parter a go and see what happens. Curious that so many mystery books are popping up this days (Hoax Hunters, Saucer Country etc...) The beginning of a '90s nostalgia trend?

Batwoman #10

I've spoken about this series' highs at length, but unfortunately I'm debating dropping the title soon. Sub-par artwork from Amy Reeder and Co, and a storyline too fantasy heavy for my tastes has put it in serious danger of being dropped. Happy to see that JH Williams is back soon, but I may start skip arcs drawn by others in future. It's still head and shoulders above most of the industry's superhero output, but without the razzle dazzle artistry of JH Williams III and without Gregg Rucka making Kate Kane a truly compelling character, it can fall a bit flat.

Bulletproof Coffin: Disinterred #5
The Bulletproof Coffin: Disinterred #5

Another truly crazy series from messers Hine and Kane. This issue is not so much a comic as a series of fictional bubblegum cards, I've yet to read last months as well so I've got a double dose of Shaky goodness. I'm absolutely loving this series!

Casanova #4

Still weird. Still Love it. Stupidly late, but I don't really have a leg to stand on, do I? I suggest you buy a copy, you won't have a clue what’s going on, but who fucking does?

Daredevil #14

Top quality Superhero comics from Mark Waid with art duties from Chris Samnee at the moment, who although a beautiful craftsman, loses some of the acrobatic dynamism of the series' original artists Marcos Martin and Paolo Rivera. Both of whom have unfortunately left the title now, leaving rather large shoes to fill. Samnee, a rising star of yankee picture books, does a bang up job, but it's another title in the dropped title dangerzone for me, due in equal parts to double shipping, the past few months mediocre fill in art, excessive crossovers and the massive anticlimax that was the end of The Omega Effect.

Dancer #2

In the words of M Night Shyamalan (by way of Robot Chicken): "What a Twist!!" So the mysterious reveal at the end of last issue was a bit Future Shocks, but it's a rather gripping series so far. I picked issue one up on a whim, I'm making a point of giving all of Image's new series a go at these days because they've got a pretty good hit rate. I'll go on about it more another time, but while Vertigo's on the wane, Image is the got-to publisher for exciting new series right now (with Dark Horse bringing up the rear). This series is basically an espionage thriller with a twist at the end of issue one that I shant give away. Without the twist it's a competent spy story, with the inevitable intrigues and occasional bouts of obvious expositional dialogue, but it hooked me for issue two at least. Artwise it's what you expect for this sort of story, moody, filmic and dark. If that sounds dismissive it's not meant to, Dancer is a very good looking book.

Grim Leaper #2

Another interesting new series from Image. I've yet to be 100% sold on this series, but issue one intrigued me enough to come back for issue two. I think it was the faux-retro romance strip at the end of issue one that sealed the deal for me. This is a sort of Groundhog Day/Quantum Leap/Rom-Com thing with a morbid humour to it. I like it. I think. Certainly enough to come back for issue two.

Hellblazer #292
Hellblazer #292

One Off Story! Bisley Art! Werewolves! Cockneys! Gangsters! Buy it!

We at 2Badguys are big Hellblazer fans and you should be too to be honest, so hop to it!

Seriously, what the shit are you waiting for?

iZombie #26

Alas poor iZombie, I knew him Horatio. Unfortunately Chris Robeson and Mike Alred's delightfully upbeat supernatural series is coming to an end soon, and the much publicised barney with DCEntertainment certainly suggests he wont be back for a second go. Ever. Sad to see yet another of Vertigo's consistently exciting series getting cancelled, they will have very few quality series left soon. I shall miss it.

As for the story, a Lovecraftian apocalypse is coming to the town of Eugine, and the thrill of it being a) a Vertigo book, and b) a Vertigo book that’s finishing in a few issues, means that literally anything could happen. I hope for, but wouldn’t put money on a happy ending. This is a great book for fans of bold art, Buffy fans, fans of classic American comic books, and generally those that like kooky spooky highjinks. A woefully underrated book.

Judge Dredd: The Megazine #325

Spurred on by the esteemed Action Ash I’ve been seduced by the Meg in recent months. In my years of absence, the Megazine has transformed into one of the best value for money packages on the market. For your entrance fee you get four new stories, creator interviews, reviews plus - and this is the best bit - a whole fat booklet of 2000AD reprints, seemingly chosen at random, but always complete. It’s like the Meg and Best of 200AD Monthly all in one Zarjaz package.

Heartily recommended!

Juxtapoz #138: Adult Swim Special

Unfortunately this is a massive disappointment from my favourite magazine and my favourite animation company. The art on display is scarce and uninspiring and the interviews as insightful as those to be found on the One Show. Do not but this issue, save your money I emplore you!

The Massive #1

Once again I'm taking a chance on Brian Wood's new series, once again I'm sure I’ll find it to be pretentious toss, but I’m a glutton for punishment and it does look rather interesting, but let’s see if he can write a character that doesn't come off as a hipster douchebag. What’s that? The lead characters are Green Peace activists? Oh well…
Saga #4

Saga #4

In another case of Image picking up on something you would expect from Vertigo of yesteryear, Brian K Vaughan’s triumphant return to comics continues. This book is a breath of fresh air, a real treat. Fiona Staple's design work on this is like nothing you have seen before, and Vaughan's at his usual high standard with the dialogue and storytelling. This space-opera has none of the baggage of the genre and all of the excitement. I urge you to read this if you aren't already it is a class act in every respect. A mere four issues in and I can tell you I’m in it for the long haul.

The Shade #9

This time-spanning, globe trotting maxi-series had been top quality all the way; it’s got it all intrigue, derring-do, morally dubious adventurers and exquisite art has put it on the top of my pile every month. The story follows immortal reprobate The Shade tracing the mysteries of his past, in flashbacks to various stages of the 20th Century and the modern day, with some choice cameos from the DC adventurers of yesteryear. Story as ever by Starman author James Robinson with Frazer Irving stepping in for art duties this week. Irving is as eerie and impressive as ever, I don't know how they did it, but they've put together a mind-blowing collection of artists for this series; Darwyn Cooke, Javier Pulido, Frazer Irving, Cully Hamner, Jill Thompson, Tony Harris. This is a must-try for any comics fan.

Sweet Tooth #34

Another excellent Vertigo series that's reaching journey's end, but what a journey! This off beat post-apocalyptic road book has been a real treat every month. I’m really going to miss it. I wouldn’t recommend anyone jump on at this point but I'd heartily recommend picking up the first trade and giving it a pop. Sweet Tooth is an offbeat but consistently touching, engaging and exciting series. One of my favourite series of recent years.

The Walking Dead #99

In this Issue: More talking and build up! As the series raises the tension in preparation for the big #100 we know is coming, we get a fairly quiet issue. If you aren’t reading this by now there’s not much I can say to make you but I will say that this series has now been consistently excellent for 100 issues. Not many book in the history of the medium can say that.

Wonder Woman #10
Wonder Woman #10

Another perfectly decent book that's in the drop zone. Love the covers, the story is rather gripping, the fill in art isn’t even that bad (yet still noticeably inferior), no this time I'll give the fill in art a pass, this time it’s the dialogue. The naff fucking wordplay, that littered Azzarello's early work is at it's lowest and most prevalent in this book. It seems like a minor thing, but Jesus, will you listen;

Hell: "...You're nothing but Meat now!"
Wonder Woman: "Meat? Meet an Amazon!"

Yeah, fuck off Brian.

And with that, I bid you adieu!

See you sooner than last time.