Friday, September 30, 2005

COMICS: Wed. 9/28/05

And now for something completely different: comic books!

I just need to take a brief break from the TV stuff. It's starting to feel like an actual job, and nobody's paying me. Why won't anybody pay me? Please, somebody pay me so I can quit my day job and just watch and think about TV full-time. That would be swell.

Anyhoo. Comics.

First of all, I notice I declined to mention issue #4 of Dorothy, which came out last week. It's amazing, the best issue yet of a wildly imaginative and unique series. This one was all about the Scarecrow, who tells his disjointed but surprisingly sad life story to Dorothy. He's quite the unreliable narrator; he seems to be unaware he's even talking about himself. (It actually took me a bit to catch on, too; at first, I thought the person we were seeing in the flashbacks was going to turn out to be the Wizard of Oz.) The CGI-enhanced photos work better than ever this issue, delivering some breathtaking and disturbing visuals, and the writing is top notch -- Scarecrow's vocabulary is peppered with Pogo-esque malaprops, and the way he tells his story, almost but not quite realizing that the tragedies he's describing actually happened to him, is heartbreaking. If you haven't been picking up this comic, you owe it to yourself to get the paperback collection of the first four issues, coming soon.

Okay, as for this week's haul:

The Authority: The Magnificent Kevin: Sick and funny, as always. We get a bit of Kev's backstory, and some political maneuvering involving the injured Midnighter. Which is all fine and good, but I just want to see the weird alien creature torture the Authority with cream pies a little more.

Invincible goes in an interesting direction, following the return of Mark's father at the end of last issue. No super battle, but a tearful reconciliation instead. As well as the most disturbing kiss since Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie at the VMAs. (Not between Mark and his father, although that would've been scarcely more disturbing.)

Plastic Man: I love that Kyle Baker has taken his sales-challenged humor comic and introduced an epic-length storyline poking fun at DC's "Big Event" comics, the hell with whether he ever gets to finish it or not. (I don't think the comic is in dire danger of imminent cancellation, but it's still such an audacious undertaking I smile just thinking about it.) Packed with bizarre comedy and a pretty good story to boot.

Defenders: I'm liking this series less as it progresses. I mean, I can play along with the less than serious take on the characters up to a point, but eventually my inner (and outer) nerd rebels. Silver Surfer is putzing around with a bunch of hippie surfers on the beach instead of helping out? Umar has sex with the Hulk?? Dude, that's just wrong. Is Mark Millar writing this? The heroes are unheroic, the villains are way overwritten and tedious... the Giffen/DeMatteis brand has not translated well from DC to Marvel.

Green Lantern Corps: Recharge: I honestly don't know why I bought this. I'm not a huge GL fan, but I have a certain fondness for the various characters who have worn the green ring. Silly me, though, I was expecting this first issue to be at least somewhat accessible to someone who hasn't memorized every minute detail of the last 20 years of Green Lantern continuity. Which was my fault; I should be aware by now that it's against DC policy to cater to anyone but the most rabidly absorbed, continuity obsessed fan.

JLA: Classified: Martian Manhunter has never seemed cooler to me. But why is Lex Luthor still president? Didn't his term in office get cut short in the first storyline of Superman/Batman, like, a year ago? At DC they're sticklers for continuity in everything but the stuff I'm actually aware of!

I also picked up the TPB of Mark Waid's Superman: Birthright. I guess this artist Leinil Francis Yu is supposed to be the next big thing, but I found a big percentage of his panels to be poorly composed, hindering the flow of the story with hard-to-decipher visuals. And that goofy-ass open-mouthed grin he insists on putting on Clark is so obnoxiously off-putting. The story itself starts out promisingly enough -- another retelling of Superman's origin, mostly centering on his first days in Metropolis and his conflict with Luthor. But it just falls into a complete shambles down the stretch; the last four issues or so are a mess. Everything's happening at once and it doesn't hold together; the story seems to contradict itself in places, especially regarding the effect Luthor's kryptonite has on Superman at any given time. And the whole bit where Luthor opens up a wormhole (or whatever it is) to Krypton, and knows more about Superman than Superman does -- that bit of revisionism didn't work for me at all. This was a disappointment.

Wow, this turned into a decent-sized post. I feel refreshed enough to tackle five more new TV shows over the weekend. Let's see if I can do it!

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