Monday, July 20, 2009

Grab These Books

Action Comics #879 - This issue really puts me back into this book that, honestly, I'd become fairly bored with over the last couple of months. Greg Rucka is one of my favorite writers working in the industry, but I usually feel that he works better in Gotham City than Metropolis. Of course, most of this issue takes place just outside Los Angeles, but you get the idea. Not that I don't look forward to Action each month, but of the four major Super-titles (World of New Krypton, Superman, Action Comics and Supergirl), Action Comics has been my least favorite for a while now. That all changed with this issue. The script just seemed a lot tighter this month and the story ran along at a great pace. Plus, Flamebird went all Phoenix-force, Lois played detective, Chris almost found his groove and they finally fixed those annoying Kryptonian to English subtitles so that you could actually read them. Add to all of that a beautifully-pencilled Captain Atom back-up full of adventure and this month's AC definitely had a lot of bang for the buck

Scalped #30
- There's no rest on the rez for Dashell Bad Horse and company as Scalped continues to be the best damn comic Vertigo has put out since the last issue of Preacher left the shelves. You know that moment in between thunder storms where everything seems to calm down for a bit and the world seems a little brighter, but there's something about the air, the color of the sky, that tells you this next storm is going to be even worse than the first? That's exactly what Scalped #30 feels like. Red Crow grows more suspicious of Dash and goes to war with Johnny Tongue, Dash gets an ominous visit from Catcher and Granny lays down a bit of prophecy. Whichever direction you look in, a storm is coming. You'd better batten down the hatches. By the way, if you're not reading this book then please, for the love of all that's good, start. While Aaron and Guera's crime epic is still doing pretty well, it doesn't hold a candle in sells each month to some far less worthy offerings from both major publishers. Get out there and grab the trades and give this book the support it deserves.

Blackest Night #1 - Terrifying. Terrifying is the best possible word to describe this issue. Seeing the undead herald of the Black Light carrying your hero's skull around with him like a trophy is, to say the least, unsettling. Despite it's bright and hopeful beginning, a serious sense of foreboding pulses through this entire issue. Like the reader, Hal Jordan can feel that something isn't right, that something dark is coming. Brilliantly written by Johns and brilliantly rendered by collaborator Ivan Reis, Blackest Night #1 is an impressive opening salvo. The most impressive thing to me about this issue, from a creative standpoint, is the fact that Johns makes this book feel like a book about heroes, not just a book about Green Lanterns. While Johns has certainly laid the foundation for this story in Green Lantern over the last year, you can also see threads from his work on JSA as well as things left over from Grant Morrison's Final Crisis showing up in this issue. While Hal Jordan may be the central focus of this title, it's obvious that it's a book about the DC Universe and that when all is said and done, that universe will be forever changed. If this is a sign of things to come, we're all in for a very exciting, very frightening Fall.

Wednesday Comics #1 and #2 - What can I say about Wednesday Comics that hasn't already been said? Just the fact that DC was willing to take a gamble on this concept is impressive enough, nevermind that they've assembled one of the greatest collections of talent the comics industry has ever seen. Sure, some of the strips represent better than others, but they're each a great experiment in form. So far, the strips that are standing out to me are Deadman, Adam Strange, Batman, Green Lantern and Metamorpho. That's not to say that there isn't quality to be found on every page here. Go grab a copy (if you can find them. Some shops drastically under-ordered) and take a look for yourself. Wednesday Comics is such an ambitious project and I hope that all of you out there who are fans of the medium and the industry will do what you can to support it. Might I suggest, if you can, buying more than one copy and framing some of the pages for your walls at home or at the office. Yes, they're that good.

That concludes this segment of Grab These Books. Let me give you my pull list for this week.

Blackest Night: Tales of the Corps #2
Gotham City Sirens #2
Green Lantern #44
Power Girl #3
Supergirl #43
Wednesday Comics #3

That will do it for this week. Remember to head out to your local comic shops on Wednesday and grab these books! And for those of you going to the San Diego Comic Con, have a great time and best of luck!


  1. I picked up Blackest Night this week as well (Hey... they gave me a power ring....). I wasnt nearly as impressed with it as you were. I thought it seemed to be trying to cover far too much ground with far too many characters.

    Of course, you know of my total distaste for some of the themes here (not to give anything away) but I dont think that colored my opinion as much as you might think.

    OTOH, On your advice I did swallow my pride and pick up the last two issues of Batman and Robin. While I still think the "We killed Bruce Wayne" is not only just the "flavor plot of the year" but also just a lousy plot line altogether.... I have to say that on its own merits I rather enjoyed the two issues. I dont like the set-up, but I thought the writing and dialogue was snappy and the rapport between the new Batman and Robin is quite intriguing.

    At least they are doing a good job with it until they have the multi-issue "Look, we're bringing Bruce Wayne back" event next year.

  2. I'm really not certain it's going to be that soon. DC has committed a lot of time and effort to this storyline. Hell, even Captain America was dead for two years, and the only reason they brought him back was because they wanted Steve Rogers alive in current continuity to go along with the movie. Batman doesn't need that sort of support from the comic line to sell a movie, and besides, there isn't a movie currently being made. I think you're going to see Bruce out of the cowl, if not totally out of the story, for a couple of years.

    Of course, that's just a theory.

    As for Blackest Night, I think you might be suffering from not reading the lead-in. I think Johns handles a large cast better than anyone in the business, but this book in particular is going to require some working knowledge of the characters involved.

    Why it may have seem spread too thin to you, being a casual reader, anyone who has been following his Green Lantern and JSA stories for the last year would have no problem jumping on here. And frankly, that's who DC is really marketing this book to.

    I actually think you'd really enjoy that JSA stuff, but then again I can never quite get a handle on your tastes, so who knows?

  3. It is true that I havnet been reading GL much...actually, not at all. I read the GL you recommended and then read this. Thats about it.

    However, I have been reading JSA every month since week one... so I do have an idea about all this. I love JSA and I'm generally big on large cast books as opposed to "one character" books. Blackest Night just seemed, at least to me, to be trying to shove too much into one issue.

    You may be right about it being two years, but we both know Bruce will be back at some point. I tell you, and maybe its just me being cynical, that knowledge does cause me great annoyance with the storyline in general.

    I have no problem with them doing "events" to sell books. I'm as big a free market capitalist as the next guy....maybe more so. But there comes a time when a gimmick has been done so much that it gets transparent. I can see through this one like water..... and even if I ultimately turn out to be wrong about it, its still coloring my enjoyment of the current books.

  4. I don't mind if it's a gimmick if it's done well, and personally, Morrison's run on Batman, which lead into Batman R.I.P and Final Crisis is some of my favorite comic book writing ever and is very influential on my own personal take on the character.

    Also, and this may be the slight generation gap coming through, but I love Dick Grayson. I don't want that to sound patronizing because that's not how I meant it. Certainly Dick Grayson is older than either of us. What I mean is Grayson has been Nightwing pretty much my whole life. In that time, there have been plenty of signs that he would some day have to take over for Bruce Wayne. Being a HUGE Dick Grayson fan, I'm very happy to finally see this. I like moving a story forward, taking risks, doing something different. I personally feel like Dick deserves this chance and it makes for a very good story to see him get it, regardless of the circumstances.

    Plus, if you read Batman & Robin which you say you have, you can see that a central focus of the book is how uncomfortable Dick feels in that cape and cowl. It's not just about killing off Bruce Wayne to sell books (some of it, of course, but it's what we have to do. The industry needs new readers and big events. And this is better than anything Marvel's been doing for the last two years), but it's about showing everyone exactly what Bruce Wayne means.

    Morrison has said that his biggest goal through all of his Batman stories was to prove that nobody could be Batman accept Bruce Wayne. That only this man with this much experience can handle the stress that is being the Batman. This affords him yet another way to prove that while adding a very rich chapter to one of DC's greatest heroes, Dick Grayson/Robin/Nightwing/...Batman.

    Is it similar to what's been going on in Captain America for two years? Sure, but that's been some of the best Captain America ever. I expect this to be just as good if not better.

    Plus, I believe that Blackest Night is richer for Batman, the real Batman, being dead. I personally feel like Batman is the glue that holds the universe together and what Morrison and Johns are trying to do here is show you that. That without this man, this master strategist, this hero that everyone fears and respects, the whole thing goes to hell. Literally.

    That's a story I can't wait to read.