Man of the Moment

Sean William Scott

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Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Several Things 

Things Kid Chris And I Talked About During What Turned Out To Be The Slowest Day The Store Has Had In Years:

Why is it that, even though all the local school districts are back in session, we still have kids coming in and "hanging out" for over an hour first thing in the morning? If they are truly, as they say, from a district that is not in session, that means they live too far away to have gotten here on foot.

Cobra's lack of a clearly defined goal.

The origin of Cobra Commander is that he was basically an angry white guy blaming the government for his own mistakes.

What was up with Cobra-La anyway?

The leadership differences between Cobra Commander and Megatron.

Which was the gay one, Tomax or Xamot?

Destro really wasn't that bad a guy, for an arms dealer.

Why did Megatron keep surrounding himself with flunkies who were after his job?

Golden Age pulp and comic heroes who were drug addicts.

Pro-fascist subtext in Doc Savage.

The fundamental differences between Ayn Rand and Friedrich Nietzsche.

Who would win in a fight, the Phantom or the Shadow?

Wasn't Jem's boyfriend Rio kind of an ass?

The Blue Velvet drinking game: take a drink every time Dennis Hopper swears.

A public-service ad in an Archie comic, which as Archie saying "Drugs are Uncool!" in a menacing font. Because the squarest kid in town is the person you want to be telling you what is and is not cool.

When Kid Chris is going to let me take physique-style photos of him to post on the site.

What other parts of his body Jack LaLane could use to tow boats with.?

Superman #411, the Julius Schwartz birthday issue, which not only includes a teaser for the upcoming Crisis, but establishes that Julius Schwartz is the person besides the Psycho Pirate who will remember the multiple Earths.

How the guys who work on game side need to learn that "loud" is not the same thing as "funny."

I noticed on this week's invoice that Marvel is making up for shipping the next issues of Powers and Daredevil: Father, along with the oft-delayed New Avengers, Young Avengers and Astonishing X-Men, by not shipping Ultimate Fantastic Four...which is okay with me, because outside of the Steve Dillon art on the Ultimates annual, these annuals really haven't been any good. At all.

Hero-Squared #2: We're treated to dueling explanations for how the world was destroyed by Captain Valor and Lord Caliginous. As usual with these sorts of situations, where neither narrator can be relied upon, the truth is probably somewhere between the two versions. It's a very funny issue, and has some of the sharpest writing I've seen in the series so far, but I was very unhappy with the art in the flash-back sequences. In both cases it felt like a bad fit for the story, and too strongly dissimilar from Joe Abraham's art.

What Were They Thinking?: Keith Giffen and Mike Leib's remix of old Wally Wood war comics is a bit uneven most of the time. Most of the gags go on a page or two more than they probably should have. Overall it's a funny package, but I found that I couldn't read it in one sitting. I could do one story, read a couple comics, and then come back to it and read another. The best of the bunch is probably "Hearts and Minds", but then, I like making fun of the White Man's Burden mentality when it rears up.

Monkey in a Wagon Vs. Lemur on a Big Wheel: It's a very cute comic, with a deliriously weird premise, but it doesn't really ever go anywhere. Not that it needs to, mind you. The appeal of something like this is the high-concept.

Otherworld #6: The narrative shifts over to the group stuck in the techno world. It's a necessary change of pace, perhaps even more so given the title's forthcoming hiatus. And it seems clear that, after this, as foul and corrupt as the magical world has become, the techno world is the true villain of the piece. Despite it's alien nature, it proves to be a far more seductive evil than anything the magical world can offer. It's a bit frustrating, however, to have the motivation of the prime villain, Jason, be revealed as nothing more than petty jealousy and hurt pride. Something a little grander seems appropriate.

Jack Cross #1: Warren Ellis tackles the war on terror with a liberal torturer. It's not one of his stronger works, based on this initial outing, and it lacks the appeal of Desolation Jones. Part of the problem is that the protagonist comes off as thoroughly despicable and strangely self-involved. That may rather be the point; that to fight monsters he has become one. But the final result is a rather lackluster entry into the spy thriller genre.

Teen Titans #27: I tried. I honestly tried. But this is simply awful. There may be an actual story in here somewhere, but it's completely lost in the terrible art. Something apparently happens to Raven in the last pages, but you wouldn't know that by Liefeld's page layouts.
This is worse than Purgatori.
This is SkateMan level bad.
This very nearly approaches the level of Hansi: The Girl Who Loved The Swastika.
And you all know how much I hate it when reviewers and bloggers ply on the superlatives to try and tell you how awful something is. This is what this book drove me to! It's just that bad!

Batman #644: I'm going to break my own rule about not talking about the cross-over books until the blog culture war dies down a little, because this book deserves comment. I don't honestly get some of the complaints I hear about Bill Willingham. I think Fables is really quite good. I don't read his Robin, but I can't imagine that it's any worse than any other writers prior runs on the character. It can't be worse than, say, Pete Milligan's X-Men or Straczynski's Amazing Spider-Man, both of which have their defenders. And I will even go so far as to say that I thought War Games, as measured against other Bat-Family crossovers, wasn't anywhere near as bad as it could have been. It's no Contagion or Knightfall, whatever its flaws.
But this...this makes no sense, for either any of the characters involved or the setting as a whole. You spend all that time making Black Mask into a major baddie, and then you turn him into a joke here. You have Joker making a remarkably quick recovery from having his skull caved in, precisely at a point when it probably really was necessary to have the character go away for an extended period. And even by the loose standards of "in character" for comic book characters, you have virtually every person who appears in this comic saying and doing things that have no internal logic or consistency and go against every prior appearance of the character.
This is also simply bad, and the sin is compounded by coming from people who can do better and should know better.

Banana Sunday #2: I missed out reviewing the first issue because I was moving, and I didn't feel like getting caught up on reviews. But it was charming, and wonderfully drawn, and warm and funny. This is too. This is funny and clever and all kinds of cute. Go-Go is quite possibly the greatest new comic book character of 2005. If you haven't already picked this series up, you need to go out and get it. Go on. I'll wait here until you get back.


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