Thursday, June 15, 2006

COMICS: Wed. 6/14/06

It's been a while since I've mentioned comics. Probably because I'm trying to break the habit.

Well, not entirely. I've been trying to cut down on my weekly intake, both as a money-saving measure, and because I simply read way, way too many comics. I'm making progress; basically, I've decided that I'm going to stop buying any comics that will eventually be released in trade paperback form. When the paperback is released, if I'm still interested (and likely, in many cases, I won't be), I'll buy it then. Series which are in the middle of a storyline, I'll continue buying until the storyline is finished. And comics which probably will never be collected (which is hardly any, these days), I'll keep buying as well.

Oh, also, I'm going to stop reading shitty comics. But I've pretty much already done that. And so should you, other comics readers! No more crossover events! No more sampling, for example, Moon Knight #1 "just in case" it might not suck! (Which, by the way, it did. Big time.) No more John Byrne! At all! Ever!!

So, what did I buy this week, going by these guidelines? I narrowed it down to only three comics, all of which were very good.

Ex Machina Special: Part 2 of 2, about Mayor Hundred's battle with a man whose powers over animals match his powers over machines. Honestly, the defeat of the bad guy was incredibly stupid: the bad guy commands a pack of ferocious dogs to attack Hundred, but Hundred records the bad guy's words and plays the tape backward, which makes the dogs attack the bad guy instead. He plays the tape backward. Which logically would make the dogs do the exact opposite of what they'd been told to do. Except for no it wouldn't, because that's idiotic.

Also, the radio interview at the end was played pretty badly. Hundred engages in debate until he's confronted with a question he doesn't like, then says "Motherfucker" and walks out? Maybe there are no easy answers to that question, but shouldn't Hundred be smart enough to handle and at the very least deflect the question without pouting and going home? Hmm, the more I think about it, the less I like this comic. Maybe it wasn't very good after all. But hey: awesome art, as always.

Fables: Double-size issue #50, in which Bigby confronts the Adversary with brutal retaliation for the attack on Fabletown and, as Bigby says at the end, either stops a war or starts one. Good stuff, all of Bigby's mission to the Cloud Kingdom and to the Adversary's headquarters. Then we get to Bigby's reunion with Snow White. There was some good stuff in here, too, very satisfying, but it felt like there was just mounds of padding leading up to the wedding. Also, a lot of the artwork had a rushed look, especially at the end (some of it due to the use of an inker other than Leialoha); we didn't even get Buckingham's traditional border art framing the pages. All in all, a good package, and a good read, and, since this is the close of a storyline, that means this is the last issue I'll be buying of the monthly comic. It's still one of my favorite books, but that's just how it's gotta be.

Superf*ckers: issue #3, or #277, if you're going by the joke numbering on the cover. If I'm looking to save money, this is definitely a comic I need to stop buying. Five bucks for 24 pages is brutal, no matter the content. As for the content: funny stuff, as usual. The stupid, vulgar, venal, bickering, bitching, non-heroic superhero team provides some decent laughs as well as some genuinely cringeworthy moments. Five bucks worth of laughs? Maybe not.

Finally, a SPOILER for Marvel's Civil War:

Peter Parker is Spider-Man. You probably knew that already. But the Marvel Universe did not. Keeping his secret identity a, well, secret, has always been of vital importance to Peter Parker, because he knew the danger he'd be putting his friends and family into if his enemies knew who he was. Yet, at the end of this comic, Peter calls a televised press conference and unmasks himself to the world. All because he's on the side of the superhero "civil war" that believes that government regulation and registration of the secret identities of superheroes is a good idea. First of all, just the premise that Spider-Man would fall on that side of the split to begin with sounds extraordinarily out of character to me. And to believe that he would reveal his identity like that -- uh-uh. Nope. Not buying it, not for a second. I mean that in two ways: I'm not buying the reveal, and I'm not buying this comic (no shitty comics, remember?) -- all I know is what I skimmed while at the store, and what I've seen online. If there's a plausible -- I said plausible -- reason in the story why Peter would go against 40 years of character development and suddenly both bend over for the government and jeopardize his family's safety, please let me know.

Not that it matters; as Mike says, the most likely result of all this hoo-hah is that it will all be swept away by magic or some such at the end of the series, and everything will go back pretty much the way it was. Earth-shattering changes to the status quo -- for a month or two. That's the Marvel way!

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