grebok_sod (grebok_sod) wrote,

Last Week In Comics

First, sorry this is late. It was supposed to be last night, but my home email has this thing where it likes to block my work address, so if I email myself a rough draft with all my witty witticisms and cleverness, well then it just doesn’t feel right to rewrite it. Plus there’s that really-real writing job I’m almost done with, taking up my time.

I don’t know if it’s b/c I’m sick, overworked, have a lot going on in my family, or I’m simply having my boy-period, but this week in comics put me on the verge of tears a few times over.

Let’s take a look:

Countdown #28

Was there something wrong with the old Forager that we needed a new female Forager? One who flies? Whatever, I’m easy, but did something happen to old Forager that I’m not privy to?

Is it homage or hubris that makes DC think it’s time to try to rewrite Kirby’s Fourth World and then slap an ending on it? I’m sure they believe it’s the prior but only time will tell if it’s the latter.

Birds of Prey #111

This was cute. A little over the top, and it wasn’t the best representation of The Calculator, but it was passable. I’m anxiously waiting for McKeever to come on board so we can get back into a real arc or something. All of this is just wasting our time (not in a bad way, but--).

Brave and the Bold #7

Awesome. Just, awesome.

Mo’ Challengers of the Unknown = Mo’ Betterer.

Catwoman #72

Yup, this was one of the tear jerkers this week. Does it require having kids of your own to cry at this issue? I’ve heard, no, but I’m just wondering.

I came into this story knowing I was going to hate it, and it was going to be a total cop-out. Piled on with Black Canary giving up her daughter for the greater good (read: lazy writing) it was just going to be too much for me to bear in a short period of time. At least it would provide a clean break for the title, I thought.

In reality: wow, Pfeiffer takes it to the edge of that story and then made it something else. Something altogether better and less of a comic book. It’s still a cop out, even Pfeiffer isn’t so good to dodge that bullet for DC. But what he did: forcing Selina to remember and to make up her own mind about whether to stay on the side of the angels was spot on.

Unless Pfeiffer continues to write this, I find it likely I will quit on Catwoman for the time being. It seems like Will was just tidying up his run and letting the next body come on and regress Selina back to the skanky badguy she used to be (or the morally gray Outsider that I wasn’t too keen on either). Isn’t it okay if just one character changes every once in awhile? Or is that only good for Green Arrow?

Applause to you Will Pfeiffer, it’s been a hell of a run, and you made me all weepy.

Checkmate #19

Last issue won my Pick of the Week by presenting a story where everyone was gearing up to go to war with Amanda Waller. This month? Waller strikes back (I think that’s even the name of the issue). It’s delicious. I love how clear it is that Waller is the badguy here. She’s an utterly ruthless and inhumane individual that generates little to no sympathy.

But I’m totally rooting for her! You go, Wall. Take ‘em down, Mr. Terrific, Sascha, Fire, all of ‘em. You can do it.

Plus it was nice to see Scandal again, albeit briefly, and more of the Great Ten, equally as brief.

Be reading this book.

Justice League of America #14

I think this issue was the most apparent so far that McDuffie is really a JLU kind of guy. I’m mostly fine with that, but there are a few moments that don’t quite feel like the DCU-proper. I don’t know, something about his Lex Luthor saying “Too much information” or the way his Superman reacts to things.

It’s not bad, just noticeable. In fact, it’s quite good. If you’re a fan of lots of superheroes versus lots of supervillains, than this is pretty much the exact comic you should be reading right now.

Superman chumping Parasite made me cheer. Watching the villains still find a way to pile on and kick Superman’s teeth in also made me cheer.

Captain America #31

Are you not reading this yet? What’s wrong with you? It continues to just be gritty good fun. If you want to see Tony Stark but not as an incompetent douchebag the way he’s been most other places, than this is the book for you.

Also, Bucky kicks ass.

Mighty Avengers #5

It’s worth noting that I am loving the book about the pro-registration (read: badguy) Avengers way more than I am the anti-reg (read: good guy) Avengers by, like, heads and shoulders. Ares is suddenly kind-of awesome, and I really didn’t anticipate ever having a reason to say that.


Marty’s Pick of the Week
Death of the New Gods #1

I am become Starlin, Destroyer of Worlds.

This could’ve very easily not been worth a shit. After this strong an opening, however, it’s now entirely Starlin’s ball to drop.

Let's get the minor bads out of the way:

I have some mild complaints about the art. I like Starlin’s art in a lot of places. His elongated, almost boneless style brings something special to some projects and characters (like the Weird). However, would it have killed DC to go all out and ape the crap out of Kirby for this? Seriously, a lot of artists who are capable of working in various styles and draw at that high level have a Kirby impression they’ve developed. Were all of them busy? You have the hubris to believe that this generation has what it takes to end one of DC’s hidden Odysseys, but you don’t have the presence of thought to try and bookend the whole deal in the distinct style of its creator? That’s points against.

Something that’s only slightly disappointing to me: not a lot of effort is being put into making this series accessible. The narration does take time to refresh some of the concepts and faces, but all in all, if you don’t know who most of these players are, then you’re definitely going to miss a LOT of subtle awesomeness going on. It’s not completely inaccessible, but it’s not all that welcoming to a n00b either.

Otherwise, it’s a little bit great all over. True to the name, New Gods died. Three of them just in the first issue (and that’s not counting the several that bit it before this). Starlin has clearly brushed off his Fourth World lore, from Kirby to Byrne to stranger things.

Now, let’s talk about the spoilers (which in my writey hole I’ve completely missed how little of a spoiler these will be by now): I was reeling from Black Racer’s death (or Sergeant Willie Walker’s at least). I figured they’d leave old Willie around long enough to be a red herring for a few issues. He’s the first suspect that comes to mind when you ask “Who’s killing New Gods?” Who else but Death itself, right? Wrong.

Granted, we knew that was wrong, didn’t we? We knew that it was Infinity Man even before they showed Serifan leaving Sergeant Walker’s hospital room. Serifan, if you don’t already know, is the youngest of a group of space hippies called the Forever People who stays in his Batlash Halloween costume year-round. The same space hippies who touch their magic box, say a magic word, and magically replace themselves with Darkseid’s brother, the Infinity Man.

Speak of space hippies, wasn’t that Beautiful Dreamer, the moll of the group, in suspicious proximity to yet another of these mysterious murders? This has no business calling itself a mystery anymore.

That’s not the real shocker though. No, the real shocker is Mrs. Scott Free, Big Barda, left dead on the cold linoleum of her kitchen floor while her husband was just in the other room. Barda was on my list for people who might walk away from this series (even though, reportedly there will only be one survivor). As shocked and heartbroken as I am, I have to compliment Starlin. That’s a smart story move. It instantly moves the chips all-in. Now you honestly have no idea what might happen next.

There is apparently a resultant “Barda-Gate” or some other misused hotel reference from the so-called feminist branch of the comics blogosphere which is as retarded as it is misinformed (at least in this instance). At best --best they are fans or Barda’s later work, or Barda as a concept they’ve never actually read, but seen her in the background of something and heard she was hardcore. I think anyone who’s known Barda for more than five minutes, letalone five years, has a significantly better perspective.

She was hardcore and she does deserve a better death, a warrior’s death. That’s what makes it shocking and tragic. That’s what ups the ante. That’s what makes you say “ZOMG, if Barda just went down like a bitch, what chance do Kanto XIII or Sturmer have?!” Knockout went out like a mewling kitten to assert the same point. Lightray, space queer extraordinaire, died broken at the bottom of a crater! There is no fighting, there is no running, there is only the Infinity Man and death.

The other half of the outrage --other than the basic precept that something bad happened to a girl in a comic somewhere is that she died in the kitchen. “Oh noes, the gender-typing ignominy!” Read more comics. Barda was always a very domestic wife and Scott was always a very domestic husband (based on Kirby and his own wife). They were among the fleeting few truly happy married couples in comics (fewer now). Barda was capable of being hard enough to head-butt a Sherman tank and be home in time to take the cookies out of the oven. If you’re incapable of seeing Barda as a benediction of how awesome the suburban hausfrau is, then you’re just going to have to grow up and realize strength comes in many different shapes. Really though, that’s beyond the point, Barda died in the kitchen b/c she was going to the kitchen when she died. For reasons well established in the issue and the scene.

Back on point, if you still haven’t picked it up, but are familiar with and surficially enjoy Kirby’s Fourth World, then I recommend this series. It shall be a good little death (oh, but not in, like, a Shakespearean way).

If you’re not overly familiar but like big world-ending nonsense, then you could do a lot worse than this little series here.

If you’re reading other DC stuff and wondering who these people are that keep showing up and then dying, usually around Jimmy Olsen, then this is the series that will fill in the gap for you.

If you haven’t recognized a single word I’ve said in this whole last post or at least this review, then it’s probably not for you.

Tags: babs, barda r.i.p., big barda, birds of prey, brave and the bold, bucky, calculator, captain america, catwoman, checkmate, countdown, crying at comics, forager, jlu, justice league of america, mighty avengers, mr miracle, new gods, oracle, scott free, waller, where's oberon

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