Monday, November 10, 2008

Not-So-Fast Thoughts - Comic Reviews for 10/29/08 and 11/05/08

Between things going on Halloween and this past weekend - which was, amazingly enough NOT spent at Wizard World Texas - it was a while before I picked up my comics, much less read them.

FINAL CRISIS: RAGE OF THE RED LANTERNS- More of a Green Lantern tie-in than a Final Crisis one on the surface, this continues the events of The Sinestro Corps War. And not only do we get to see a mess of Red Lanterns, we also get a look at what appears to be The Controllers getting ready to establish the Orange Lanterns and the very first Blue Lantern. So... yeah. Not a good jump-in issue but a continuation of the greatness that we've come to expect from Geoff Johns.

FINAL CRISIS: RESIST - I should have known better than to buy a Greg Rucka book sight unseen... but I thought this was going to tie-in to the much more enjoyable Final Crisis: Submit. It's not that it's all that bad, really, but a bit of a tough plow for those of us who don't read Checkmate and are wondering when Snapper Carr became a teleporting secret agent. Still, for those Kirby fans who were afraid that Final Crisis would not feature EVERY crazy idea The King had while working at DC Comics, have no fear... by the end of the story, Mr. Terrific is leading an army of OMACs against the New Gods.

GIANT SIZE RED SONJA #2 - Lots of good, short stories here to enjoy. A character-defining quickie where Sonja is separated from the more traditional literary amazons by being paired up with a true man-hating psychopath... an illustrated version of Frank Thorne's famous "Red Sonja Stage Show" drawn by the man himself... and a classic "Red Sonja vs. Undead Wizard" story by Roy Thomas himself. The only one that falls flat is a very strange and very creepy story involving an angel falling to Earth, falling in love with Sonja and then screaming as he is dragged back up into the Heavens as he begs Sonja to come with him. Overall, a fine issue.

GRANT MORRISON'S DOCTOR WHO #2- A darn good read, even if this IS a Sixth Doctor story and the ending is in no way possibly in cannon. Second Doctor fans will want to check this out for the heroic end of Jamie. Grant Morrison fans will want to check it out because... well, it's a good read and rather easy to follow even with the inclusion of a shape-shifting penguin.

HELLBLAZER PRESENTS CHAS: THE KNOWLEDGE - Last issue of this mini-series came out this week. I finally got the rest of it shortly before this. And I really wish I hadn't have bothered. Don't get me wrong - Chas is a great supporting character. But even with a story centering around the Cabbies of London sitting on top of a secret that keeps a demon imprisoned in the roads of London and John completely out of the picture, save for the scenes showing just WHY he is out of the picture... Chas just doesn't hold the interest very well.

And the scenes at the end of this issue, where he extols the virtues of a simple life, ring somewhat true... the whole thing seems a bit tilted given that Chas is made out to be some sort of virtuous paragon because he refuses to cheat on his shrewish wife... even though All His Engines - a story which no less an expert than Neil Gaiman considers to be the quintessential Hellblazer story - showed Chas cheating on her easily and almost running off to America with the woman involved. Of course I'm picking nits, but that's rather a big one to pick given the popularity of the story and how relatively recent it is.

JACK OF FABLES #27 - You have to love any book where the living spirit of the Deus Ex Machina shows up to save the day and everyone is pissed off that he won't do more, because it would kill the story.

JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #26 - While the idea of an alternate-reality Justice League fighting to restore a reality that might erase them from time has been done before (Indeed, Dwayne McDuffie wrote The Once and Future Thing episode of Justice League Unlimited), this issue is a good one. Comic History Fans might get a chuckle out of "The Brown Bomber" - a character who seems to have been created as a parody of DC Comics' original idea of an African-American superhero before Tony Isabella slapped some sense into The Powers That Be and convinced them that a redneck who transformed into a super-powered Black man was a BAD IDEA. I'm a little confused as to where this leaves Animal Man (are his powers coming from Anansi now too?) but still... good read.

KNIGHTS OF THE DINNER TABLE #144- The comics are good as always. The new movie column is an abomination. Seriously. Instead of the brilliant comedy and sarcastic kvetching of Noah Antwiler, we are - thanks to the whining of a few people who shouldn't be allowed to handle sharp objects - now being treated to a column that gives us gamers advice on how to "game" various geek movies for material for their role-playing games.

Because apparently there are a lot of game masters out there who have no idea rip off movies and TV Shows for game fodder who have been demanding such hot tips as "You could easily recycle some of the gangs from the movie, such as the Disco Boys, the Red Eyes or the Susies" for their comedic superhero games.

I'd protest but Jolly Blackburn and company have made it clear that they'll only listen to the hyperbolic exclamations of everyone who is willing to devote time to trolling their message boards claiming to have stopped reading the magazine rather than the people who actually buy the magazine. And I have no desire to demean myself by saying that I will no longer buy the magazine, am burning all my back issues and that I will not rest until Jim Davenport is living in a cardboard box under the freeway.

KULL #1- A new Kull the King mini-series. Soon to become a regular series? We can but hope, because this first issue - as Conan #0 did several years ago - perfectly defines Kull as a character while separating him from Robert Howard's other famous hero. Whereas Conan is a definitive man-of-action who has no problem with splitting hairs or skulls as needed, Kull is an educated warrior, trying to raise himself above his barbaric past. A must read for all fantasy fans.

RED SONJA #38 - My patience is starting to run thin with this "bold new direction", even if I am intrigued as to how they are going to end this and if/when they will return to the status quo.

SECRET SIX #3 - I'm not sure what I find more disturbing: on-the-wagon, paternally protective Bane or just-plain Ragdoll. I really wish they had found someone other than the "dear gods why has nobody killed her yet" Devin Grayson creation Tarantula to be the centerpiece of this story... but given the average mortality rate of the guest stars in this series, I figure it's only a matter of time...

SHEENA, QUEEN OF THE JUNGLE: DARK RISING #1 - The good news is that - apart from one fan-service shot while she's doing a back-flip in the middle of an action scene (unlike most rich American heiresses, Sheena DOES wear proper undergarments) - there isn't any gratuitous cheesecake artwork in THIS Jungle Girl book. The bad news is that the interior art isn't all that good. The story is as good as previous Sheen installments though, but one wishes they would find a good, steady artist and try and keep this book coming out monthly.


  1. Let's see... as I recall Snapper got teleporting powers WAY back in the Invasion! crossover, and was revealed to be working as a Checkmate agent in one of the 52 miniseries.

  2. It was in the 4 Horseman thing. Where Batman slaps him for calling Superman Clark...