Thursday, December 18, 2008

Fast Thoughts - The Week of 12/17/08

BIRDS OF PREY #125 - What should have been a charming "old-school" story in which Babs and Dinah team-up, in person, to bring down one of the creepier members of techie-villain group The Syndicate is ruined by the artwork of Scott McDaniel. I'm not one who believes that all artwork must be full of cheesecake shots and pin-up work but is it too much to ask for somebody who can actually draw women to be given the art chores on Birds of Prey?

At least the art distracts from Tony Bedard's dialogue and the heavily forced idea that Babs is apparently suffering some kind of crisis of faith in her own abilities following her nearly getting beaten to death by The Joker last issue. Apparently this is mean tot set up the character-redefining Oracle mini-series nobody asked for. At least we won't have to suffer through this for much longer...

CONAN THE CIMMERIAN #6 - More of the same, though the story is moving forward. Conan's adventures intercut with tales of his adventurer grandfather. This time Conan comes home and plays storyteller regarding his own adventures, reunites with his mother and hears tale of how his grandfather came to settle down, due to a woman who promised him adventure enough at home - Conan's grandmother, of course. Though it seems Truman is now writing for the Trade, the issue does not suffer for it. I suspect though that this tale may, like Conan's own tales, be all the better told in one sitting.

EX MACHINA #40 - This may well win my pick for issue of the year. A meta-textual treat staring Brian K. Vaughan and Tony Harris themselves, as they go in to pitch for the job of doing a comic book based on Mayor Mitchell Hundred's administration. There's quite a few in-jokes here, such as "BKV" being mistaken for Brian Michael Bendis (which would piss me off as much as it does him) and the "finished comic" that eventually shows up on the last two pages. Give you a hint - if you're a fan of Wildstorm in general and The Authority: Kev in particular...

One question - is BKV's girlfriend's name Ruth? I just want to know if the issue name is a bad pun...

FABLES #79 - Still the best overall book every month, bar none. Go get the first trade if you haven't read it already.

HELLBLAZER #250 - An anthology comic of five stories involving John Constantine and the holidays. Well, four stories involving the holidays and one that has sod and all to do with anything. Let me give you the run down and we'll make like it's Sesame Street.

One of these things is not like the other...

* "Happy F****** New Year" - a story by Dave Gibbons, in which John is pressed into recovering a stolen Egyptian artifact only to wind up rushing to stop the sacrifice of a baby on New Years Eve.

* "Christmas Cards" - a story by Jamie Delano, in which John stands witness into a Christmas Eve poker game between a ruthless card shark and a man desperately trying to win the money to buy his daughter out of sexual slavery.

* "All I Goat For Christmas" - a story by Brian Azzarello, in which John is hired to end the curse on the Chicago Cubs.

* "The Curse of Christmas" - a story by Peter Milligan, in which John is pressured by a pushy ghost into investigating the mysterious deaths of three politicians who all died mysteriously during The Queen's Christmas Eve address.

* "Snow Had Fallen" - a story by China Mieville (a British sci-fi writer who is apparently my generation's answer to H.P. Lovecraft, according to the biography I found), in which John is called in to investigate an industrial accident and the plague of demons hounding an Anglican orphange in the shadow of a purification plant at Christmas.

If you guessed that four of these writers are Brits and one is American, you're close. If you guessed that four of these writers are respected masters of horror and one of them had a run on Hellblazer that was so disastrous that most John Constantine fans pretend it never happened, spot on.

Still, if you're curious about Constantine and looking for a good jump-on issue, this is it. Just skip the bad poetry and John fighting a giant goat demon in an American Sports bar.


  1. I was reading Ex Machina thinking *well, this is funny, and cute* and on the last page I read it, did a double take, flipped back a few pages and started laughing my ass off. Vaughan books always seem to have the best final pages.

  2. I still like Azzarello's run just fine. So pbbbbbbt!

  3. That's fine. You are entitled to your ill-informed and tasteless opinion.

  4. Yeah. I didn't notice the change in the art-style either.
    So now I'm wondering... did they really get Ennis to write two pages and Lee to draw two pages? Or did Harris and BKV change their styles to ape them? :)