Sunday, October 24, 2004

Hey, Nerds! Comics!

I meant for this blog to focus mainly on comics, hence the name. And yet, this is only the first post about them. Go figure. I buy comics every week or two -- it's mostly DC stuff, with some manga. I'll review my purchases here. My other comics posts will most likely deal with some of the treasures I've acquired during my thirty years of collecting. (I have a complete run of "Dazzler." Jealous?)

Last Friday, I bought...

Teen Titans #17 by Geoff Johns, Mike McKone, and Marlo Alquiza.
So... bloody, amputated limbs are "approved by the Comics Code Authority" now? Of course, the teeny-tiny stamp on this issue's cover consists of white lettering on a black background, which is the reverse of its usual look. Maybe this is the Bizarro Comics Code Authority. ("Bloody, amputated limbs am REQUIRED!") This book also contains a scene with a character getting shot in the face. Thank goodness for that code stamp, or else I'd think this was unsuitable for children. Now, that said, I'm not a kid, and if all superhero comics still read like they did in the 70's, well, I wouldn't be reading superhero comics anymore. No, sir. I'd be much, much happier. In this issue, the Titans wind up ten years in the future, and find that the junior members -- Wonder Girl, Superboy, Robin, and Kid Flash -- have all become grim, possibly villainous versions of their adult counterparts. There's also a buck-nekkid, feral version of Beast Boy, who has amped-up powers -- he can become two separate animals at the same time. (I thought he was actually cooler than the current version.) The future Raven -- well, I don't know what's up with this Raven, but it clearly ain't good. Johns throws in a future version of the new Aquagirl, just for good measure. The young Titans enter into an uneasy truce with their future selves, and wonder how things could have gone so wrong. But then Superboy sees something they didn't want him to see... (Hint: bloody, amputated limb.) It's good, violent, soapy fun.

Identity Crisis #5 by Brad Meltzer, Rags Morales, and Mike Bair.
Atom fans will probably be pleased as punch about what transpires this issue. Firestorm fans, not so much. Meltzer's script offers up another possible suspect in the murder of Sue Dibny, even as it suggests that the person who sent Lois Lane that note in a previous issue wasn't threatening her, but warning her. As always, the dialogue and characterization is spot-on. Morales' stunning artwork really sells the story, particularly in the final sequence, as two young men listen to what may be their fathers' final words. The faults and merits of "Identity Crisis" have been discussed to death on the web, so I'll restrict myself to this: I think that superhero storytelling is diverse enough to allow for something like this book as well as more lighthearted fare such as "She-Hulk" or even the Cartoon Network stuff. And I think that DC (and Marvel) superhero continuity is fluid enough to accomodate radically different tones in storytelling about the same characters. I have umpteen versions of the Legion of Superheroes in my collection. For me, dealing with the events of "Identity Crisis" is a freaking cakewalk.

H.E.R.O. #21 by Will Pfeifer, Dale Eaglesham, and Wade von Grawbadger.
This is the next-to-last issue of "H.E.R.O." I've followed this book since issue number one, and I have to say that I enjoyed it a lot more when it functioned as an anthology title. Pfeifer is certainly wrapping things up in an explosive fashion, with most of the former users of the H.E.R.O. device dying at the hands of a super-powered... serial... killer...ZZZZZ. *snort* Sorry, nodded off there for a second. Luckily, I'm still interested in the character of Robby Reed, so I'll buy the final issue just to see what happens to him. Eaglesham handles the pencilling chores with his typical aplomb, meaning that it's quite dynamic, as well as anatomically shaky and just unbelievably ugly. It's probably for the best that "H.E.R.O." is ending. I would've dropped it soon enough anyway.

Plastic Man #11 by Kyle Baker.
Baker's standard approach with this book is to throw a bunch of jokes at you and see which ones stick. As per usual, this issue consists of more "hits" than "misses." The bulk of the plot gives us a "brain swapping ray" that redistributes the pysches of Plastic Man, President Lex Luthor, an FBI agent, a mad scientist, a cat, a frog, a fly, and (wait for it) Bizarro. According to the internet (so it must be true) Woozy Winks' surreal speech at the end consists of actual George W. Bush quotes. I find this sadly plausible. Baker also throws in some meta-textural jokes that don't work at all. And in a move meant to bolster one of those failed jokes, he gives us a Vice-President Pete Ross who is Black. The funny part for me was thinking about all the hard-core fanboys going out of their minds with rage when they saw that. Haw! Losers.

No comments: