Archive for the 'limited series' Category

10
Sep
08

Ebay Flux Capacitor Adventures in Variated Timelines

Today some stuff showed up from the internet.  I usually buy some impulse comics in addition to looking for deals on various things that would fill in the enormous collection/library that I one day hope to share with many friends that I might someday attain.  This means that, barring a miracle that the USPS takes a break from their intense douche-baggery, I get old stuff every week.  This is kind of like show and tell.

I didn’t read DC or any independents in the 1990s when I was a teenager.  In fact, I didn’t really read anything that wasn’t x-men related.  I have a short year or so of Spider-man comics from around 1992, when they did the Clone Saga thing, but that threw me off of Spider-Man and I have yet to come back aboard 16 years later.  I was entirely unaware that independent comics were happening, that Dark Horse was doing all these great licensed property comics and developing their own universe, or that Image and Wildstorm were essentially creating massive story lines with great art.  I’ve yet to be able to determine why, but after the X-Men cartoon came out, I was never aware of anything but X-Men from 1992-1998 when I stopped reading comics due to an expensive obsession with music and CD collecting.  When I came back to comics in 2004, mostly due to Joss Whedon’s X-Men relaunch, it took me about six months to discover guys like Ben Templesmith, Steve Niles, Warren Ellis, Grant Morrison and a huge group of English writers had been doing tons of work that I had missed out on.  This was, of course, in addition to the horrifying revelation that DC had done a ton of great content in the nineties that I had missed out on.  Some of this work was the Tangent line, an attempt to create an entire new universe using classic character names but infusing them with new abilities, personalities and settings.  This was all done through the use of one-shots, each featuring a different character.  A few of these showed up today.

the Green Lantern issue was why I really bought this lot of four issues, which also included Secret Six, The Superman and the Joker.  It was interesting and not at all related to the cosmic ideas that the Lantern comics in mainline DC continuity that has drawn me in, but it was more of a mystical revenge story written by James Robinson of Starman fame.  Along with the other issues, the art was better than the writing of this particular issue, in this case being done by J.H. Williams III, but this isn’t to say Robinson’s outing into the unknown was bad, it was just really out there without anything to fall back on.  I found it refreshing and unappealing at the same time, though I ultimately liked it.  I intend to buy the three trades that have all of these one-shots bound together, hoping that reading them in that format will tell a story that assumes some semblance of continuity and sense, not just vignettes of the unknown.

I also managed to win Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess’ Stardust softcover for about five dollars, which is a deal considering it’s a $20 book.  I’ve been trying to go around and buy up Gaiman’s relatively small amount of DC work from the 80’s to the 90’s and this trade will make four Vertigo books of his that I now have for my graphic novel library if you don’t count the three massive Absolute Sandman books I’ve been buying as they come out. There are so many versions of this book – the trade, the mass market novelization, the big $40 hardcover illustrated, there’s even a damned movie and at some point they put it out in single issue format, but this is the only version I really need, though a few years ago I got the MMTPB for X-mas and have yet to take a peek at it.  I’m excited to dig into it.

And finally, as a continuation of my absence from DC Comics in the 1990’s, I managed to find Zero Hour: Crisis in Time, the entire mini-series that acted as both a sequel to and bridge between Crisis on Infinite Earths and Infinite Crisis.  The books essentially try to tie up loose ends and establish a solid time line and continuity throughout the whole of the DC Universe.  Jerry Ordway and Dan Jurgens do an excellent job plotting this out and the art is classic 90’s superhero art.  Great Stuff.

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23
Sep
07

World War Hulk #4

Written by Greg Pak

Art by John Romita Jr, Klaus Janson and Christina Strain

Marvel Comics $3.99

Though I hate to jump on the anti-blockbuster even bandwagon, I really am starting to miss Planet Hulk’s storytelling and interesting themes, characters and settings.   Outside of Dr. Strange letting a demon possess him, turning into a ten foot monster and kicking the hell out of the Hulk until he, of course, lost, this issue was more of the same.  Virtually everyone has known how this last issue is going to unfold, so the build up has seemed incredibly pointless and bland and even myself, an iron man hating, kill reed richards sort of reader can’t even stand the constant beat downs and unfair fights.

By showing the Sentry as a terrified schizophrenic sad guy in his apartment for four issues, they’ve made the final showdown next issue seem even dumber than it really is.  And, conveniently, at the end of this issue, he’s in his doorway looking like a bad ass and ready to fight, instead of a 8 year old girl who just saw a spider in the bath tub, like he has for the entire rest of this series.

I just hope that, when this is all over, Greg Pak is going to get back to those good Hulk stories.  This has become so stale, I can’t wait for November.

02
Sep
07

World War Hulk X-Men #3 of 3

Written by Christos Gage

Art by Andrea Di Vito

Cover by Ed McGuinness

Marvel Comics $2.99

I had thought that someone was going to be taken prisoner or something would actually happen other than non-stop action, but no, not really.  Cessily gives a speech to the Hulk about how he doesn’t get to decide who’s been hurt more and he retreats back to his ship.  And that’s it.  A lot of action sequences of X-Men, including all of the various teams, ineffectively fighting the Hulk.  After a while, it just gets really boring watching Hulk throwing the various characters off of him.  One could read this issue without actually being literate until the last three pages, because there’s virtually zero dialog with meaning to it.

27
Aug
07

Black Summer #2 of 7

Written by Warren Ellis

Art by Juan Rose Ryp

Avatar Press $2.99 

Some readers seem to have a problem with Warren Ellis because, like most of the English, he doesn’t particularly abide by the nonsensical adoration and respect toward superheroes and formula storytelling that Americans are used to.  It’s actually because of this that I really enjoy his superhero stories.  Like Garth Ennis or Grant Morrison, you get an outside perspective on an old theme, but getting a superhero story from someone who doesn’t particularly like superheroes is great because you get to witness a writer take something bland and make it stand out.  Not just to the reader, but to the writer as well.

Black Summer is about the most powerful superhero in the world, John Horus, who has just killed the president and endangered the superhero team he’s part of by involving them by association in the event.  This issue mostly focuses on what we do when we’re backed into corners, when we’re scared and when we’re forced to fight.  The outcome is generally bad.

Ryp has seriously cleaned up his art for this issue, which improves the look quite a lot.  Instead of a messy, cluttered panel, you get a neat, clean one like above. This is far less a distraction from the story and more like an additional dialog you get visually, which only aids the story’s progression.

All in all, this was a great issue where Ellis tries to humanize the superhero by showing  them under pressure and terrified, not knowing what to do.  By doing this, showing human beings who happen to be superpowered, he comes very close to what Alan Moore did in Watchmen, making the fact that the main characters are heroes secondary and making the fact that they are people with problems primary.

26
Aug
07

Batman/Lobo: Deadly Serious #1 of 2

Written by, drawn by and cover art by Sam Kieth

DC Comics $5.99 

Batman/Lobo #1

YES!

Okay, so I was really excited when I saw this in my pile on Wednesday.  First of all, I was obsessed with Kieth’s The Maxx when I was younger.  I stopped reading comic books around the age of 16 when I started to become obsessed with music, but I continued to reread the Maxx series and eventually ended up buying a bootlegged version of the television series from Ebay.  It was well worth it.  I had noticed though, in my previous two years of rediscovering comic books, that Sam Kieth seemed to be missing entirely from the scene, but Jim Lee, the Kuberts, Chris Claremont and most of the people who were making my favorite books in the nineties.

So, again, I was seriously fucking jazzed when I saw this in Previews a few months back.  It comes at a time when I’ve been reading Grant Morrison Batman for almost a year, so I feel like I’m not at a point where Batman is strange territory for me.  Another great writer/artist on a character I’ve come to like quite a bit.  Excellent.

So, Sam Kieth, Batman, Lobo, Spaceships, Alien disease that makes women turn into homicidal maniacs, explosions, lots of guns, aliens.  As long as you aren’t expecting a super serious Batman story, this is made of 100% win.  Batman, against his will, is brought to a spaceship light years from earth to stop a disease that makes women act out and go on insane killing sprees.  All the men have left the ship and so all of these women are being killed.  Kieth’s women are, of course, beautiful and the story is fun as well as morbidly funny.  Of course, Lobo just happens to be there for some reason, trying to make some money.

Although this is only a two issue series, it’s being published in the prestige format, so each issue is 48 pages.  That means this won’t be a short little story, it will be almost 100 pages, easily the size of four or five issues published as a regular comic series.  I think it’s going to be a blast.

20
Aug
07

Metal Men #1 of 8

Written by Duncan Rouleau

Art and Cover by Rouleau

DC Comics $2.99 

Metal Men Cover

This was recommended to me by my comic shop owner and, though I’d never heard of it and wasn’t familiar with the concept or characters, I really liked this first issue.  This article does a pretty good job of catching one up.  So Dr. Magnus wants to be a successful scientist and he has some great ideas involving the time stream and alternative physics, but his robotic assistants get much more attention than the ideas he’s actually interested in.  I like the concept of the unhappy, unappreciated scientist whose creations, which are made to help him, actually turn out to be a major problem.

The comic features seven robots, all fashioned after different metals, who have differing personalities and make up a sort of super team.  A rival team of robots is, of course, trying to destroy the world and Magnus is at odds with his creations.  Overall, it’s enough conflict and characterization to make the story interesting.

I’ll definitely keep reading.  The art is great and mildly cartoonish, which is a nice change for a DC book, and the writing is entertaining, not trying too hard to be funny or serious.  I’d pick it up if I were you.

11
Aug
07

World War Hulk: Front Line #2 of 6

Written by Paul Jenkins

Art by Ramon Bachs, Matt Milla and John Watson

Marvel Comics $2.99

wwhfl02pg00.jpg

As Ben and Sally continue to cover the escalating war from the mostly evacuated Manhattan, things seem to keep getting worse for the heroes.  I liked the dialog between Ben and Sally, heated as it was, at the beginning of the issue when Sally suggests this all might be a government conspiracy to leave the poor behind.  Because only the people with money can afford to relocate outside of the city during the first day of the warbound’s invasion, she relates the situation to Katrina, adding that things are still shit in New Orleans.  That’s the first time I’ve even seen the hurricane brought up in a comic book, so I appreciated that.  The interactions between the police and the journalists is much more entertaining than that of the superheroes.  A comic book essentially devoted to showing the human aspect in a superhuman war is incredibly interesting and, I should say, rather important as well.  This is all starting to remind me of the miniseries Marvels.

In the meantime some ungrateful kids who distruste superheroes get rescued by Daredevil, which was interesting to see, and some more super-powered people get their asses handed to them.  This includes Luke Cage, who after being thrown by the Hulk across town, sails into a gas main where Sally is.  Then something suddenly happens and the entire city blacks out.  At that point, the story ends, but the issue is divided into two separate stories.

The second one is of Korg’s dealings with Detective Danny Granville, trying to figure out who killed off one of the warbound’s robots.  Demanding justice or retaliation, Granville offers to help and is pretty friendly to the giant warrior made of rocks.  An informative flashback shows a massive magnetic disturbance right before the robot was knocked out of service.  I’ll be really excited if that turns out to be Magneto.