Monday, April 13, 2009

Fast Thoughts - The Week of 4/8/09

SECRET SIX #8 - There must be something about Gail Simone stories with the title "Double Date". Such was the name of my favorite episode of Justice League Unlimited and such is the name of this book. It is easily the best issue of the series thus far, with Simone having established a perfect balance of humor, action and pathos... and that's just in the three page Tiny Titans parody which sees Lil' Ragdoll helping Batman save Gotham City, offered membership in the Green Lantern Corps and riding off into the sunset with Wonder Woman begging him to kiss her.

In all seriousness, this issue had everything.

PATHOS: Scandal runs into Liana - the lesbian stripper/escort that the rest of the team hired for her birthday a few issues ago, who is the spitting image of Scandal's deceased ex-girlfriend, the villainess Knockout. Scandal agrees to a date, despite not seeing any of Knockout's fire in Liana and despite wanting nothing more than to sink into alcoholic self-destruction because of Knockout's death. There are some geuinely touching moments here as Scandal keeps looking for something... anything... in this new woman to inspire the passion for life she has lost.

ACTION: Deadshot is forced into a date with teammate Jeanette (aka "the banshee") and is forced to promise a normal evening on the town where nobody dies. Since Liana's idea for a double date leads them to numerous encounters with a gang of skinheads with a grudge against Deadshot, this leads to numerous scenes where Floyd is challenged to fight non-lethally in a borrowed suit. And it is glorious!

HUMOR: Somewhere along the line, Scandal picked up an Apokolyptian lowlie named Insignifiucs as a personal servant, who philosophical bemoaning of his life reminds me of Zathras from Babylon 5 ("Hope is the heart of pain and only fear is eternal... On the other hand, I encourage rutting in the dirt with strangers at every available opportunity.") Between him and Ragdoll's pleading to be allowed to act as Deadshot's chaparone, it's a neck-in-neck contest as to who gets the best one-liner. ("I already have a tuxedo and some nice shoes and a bunch of pharmaceuticals and... oh and a fruitasmic rainbow of condoms! Not that I need them or anything...") Throw in Deadshot trying - honestly trying - NOT to kill people who are in desperate need of killing to keep a promise and you have comedy gold.

It's perfect. Absolutely perfect. This is not only what every issue of this comic should be; this is what every comic should be.

EDIT: Oh yeah... and Nicola Scott's art is just as awesome!

WARLORD #1 - I'm not going to lie. I was doubly disappointed. First, when I heard that Mike Grell was coming back to write and do covers for a book and some characters he was famous for working with over 20 years ago and then found out that they meant Warlord and not Green Arrow. Then I was disappointed again when I read this book.

That's not to say that this book is bad. Far from it. It just seems a lot more uneven than I am used to a Mike Grell story being.

Let me explain; this man wrote some of the best, tightest two-part action stories I've ever read without a single panel being wasted. To read a comic where there are two stories, seemingly unconnected and broken apart by a two-page flashback is like a James Robinson comic where the characters aren't having lengthy monologues about pop-culture and philosophy during their fight scenes or a Grant Morrison story where insane things aren't happening every 10 minutes. Not bad at all - just different.

The first two-thirds of the comic features a group of scientists and adventurers discovering live dinosaurs and a portal to Skartaris in Tibet, which they hurriedly enter after being trapped in a cave with said portal by the Chinese army. This cuts to a flashback of Travis Morgan crashing into Skartaris in June 1969 and a flash forward to present-day Skartaris, where Morgan fights a griffin and then receives reports of his men having fought a self-proclaimed deity, who killed from a distance using something that - judging from the wounds of the one survivor - is a gun.

It's a good start and an interesting one - certainly a lot better than Bruce Jones' attempts to reboot and restart the franchise two years ago. I'm a little anxious to see how the first part of the story is going to tie into the second, but I'm sure it will happen and will be well worth reading. Mike Grell taking his time with a story is a new experience but I'm sure it will be an adventure!


  1. LOVED the SEcret Six story. I mean, It was a RIOT. :)

  2. Oh yes. Everything was just so funny. And touching. And sweet. And exciting.

  3. You loved the Secret Six story too much you forgot to rave about Nicola Scott's art. Seriously, while I sometimes find her women too butch (though in this case, perfect for Scandal and Liana), her facial expressions are priceless.

  4. Point taken. As a writer, I often forget to complement the art when I love the story so much.

  5. 4 weeks, no comics. My shop isn't getting them in. I am soo far behind. I am going to have to order them, and I bet a few wont be able to be gotten.

    Best place in the business to get recent books quickly and cheaply.

  7. Thanks. It was between them, Graham Cracker and Midtown. If I so desired I could take the 45 minute drive to Dekalb and go to GC actually. But that is for another road trip day I think.

  8. *nods* They run the local shop here and their mail-order business is second-to-none. And I'm not just saying that because I used to work for it.

  9. I will definitely check it out. Though I am almost tempted to give up the hobby. It hasn't been as fun lately. Likely thanks to characters I love being handled poorly, namely the Runaways and Deadpool.

  10. Well, there's always the older series that you never had a chance to read. Just because most of the new stuff disgusts you is no reason to abandon the hobby completely... so sayeth He Who Boycotts All Marvel!

  11. There is still a lot of stuff I love, Secret Six, Ex Machina(when it ships), I think the time is the biggest factor. With work I don't have as much time to read and it comes down to novels or comics.
    I also think maybe my course has run, I got back in to comics 5 years ago when my dad got sick. I barely left the house. Once a week I would do a grocery run, but mostly I stayed home so my mom could do whatever needed to be done. I started stopping at the shop on grocery day and picked up a few things posters from Inside Pulse said was good.
    That got me back in, and I kinda went nuts. But that was my get away once a week I got to go out, and then bring a little escapism home. My dad has been gone a while now and life has stabilized, and it kind of feels like I don't need that escape as much.
    That said, if I had been getting my books for the past month I may not be feeling this way.

  12. Yeah. Somewhere down the line I realized I was buying more books for my girlfriend than I was for me. And most of what I was getting was due to love of a character or a certain writer and that I wasn't trying out very many "new books".
    Case in point - despite loving Geoff Johns in general, I have yet to read one issue of Booster Gold. I gave up on Brave and The Bold after the first story arc since - despite loving Mark Waid and George Perez - I couldn't get excited about a story involving The Metal Men and the Challengers of the Impossible. The only Batman book I've read in recent memory is the one Neil Gaiman wrote, even though I usually enjoy Grant Morrison and Paul Dini (Dini is still writing Detective, right?)

  13. I don't follow DC much so I have no idea who is on the Bat-books. Booster Gold is good, but not really good. Dan Jurgens is writing it now, and it didn't dip in quality at all from when Johns left, it just never got to be super excellent. It has been super fun though.
    Waid and Perez would be awesome. Speaking of Waid, next time I go to the shop I am going to see if they have any Tellos stuff, sadly they don't have much of anything. As for Perez, I am reading Sachs and Violens now, what with me being a huge whore for Fallen Angel and PAD. Pretty good book so far. Not for kids, that is for sure.
    getting the first All Star Superman trade renewed some love, since I barely ever like Superman stories. Then again I liked these because of Clark.

  14. Yeah, I really liked it too. Although I'm not sure I'd be able to get over Deadshot shooting me or hitting me with a car. But comics... like pro wrestling... don't seem to have to make sense that way. ;D

  15. Well, the fact that Deadshot was trying to save their lives - even if he was hoping to get killed and use the Get Out of Hell Free card himself in the process - counted for something. Not much. But something.