This Week's Read Pile, or:

In which I admit I'm kind of wrong, go gay for an awesome Wicca and a Manhunter, watch a nine year-old go Kick-Ass and go unsurprised by Skrulls. Spoilers will lurk throughout.

Robin/Spoiler Special #1: This came with two stories and before I talk about the writing, I'll start right off with how very solid I found the art. Definitely nice. I really dug the second story, seeing Leslie being solid and great (like she ALWAYS WAS) gives me a great big happy and seeing a bit of Steph's journey helped me reconnect with the character. I didn't realize how much I'd really liked her Diary Stuff until I saw it again and it warmed a little part of my jaded soul.

The first story ended up feeling like it was a Few Months Later instead of Few Days Later--it seemed like she adjusted really quickly back into Normal Busy Teenager Society. I re
ally wanted to see more of a solid Dealing from both Tim and Batman (and maybe a cameo of Dick and Cass??), which I don't feel like we got. I'm not a big fan of over-dwelling, but I definitely feel that spending a few pages on the heart-wrenching fact that his girlfriend is back from the dead wouldn't have been a terrible decision.

The way it jumped from Shock to Settled sort of threw me off for a good chunk of the first story, but on the reread, I do have this to say: I liked Steph.


She was sharp and funny and daring and she knows Tim
so damn well, well enough to know that she doesn't know Big Parts of him anymore and I absolutely love that she doesn't care again about his girlfriend. Or at least doesn't let the girlfriend impede. Or something. And I found her comments about Spoiler and Robin vs. Stephanie and Tim unbelievably alluring and content-making. Generally, I actually liked it. There's still that very loud part that wants them to make this more concrete and thought-through, but if this is where Dixon's jumping ahead to, I think I can deal with it, especially considering that, in one issue, she became the Best Written Teenage Hero Of The Half-Year.

Then again, McKeever's writing the Teen Titans, so it's not that hard an award to win.

God dammit--this doesn't retract the shitty of her return or anything I said about it. Just to be clear.

I don't, however, have a recommendation for picking this up if you don't like Robin or have no interest in Spoiler.

Kick-Ass #3: I desperately wish I had my scanner easily accessible so that I could scan in the last page of this month's issue for all of you. It's awesome. No, no, really. It's awesome.

As is the whole of this issue, as it was last month and as it will be next month. Are any of you shocked? You shouldn't be.

Millar holds on strong to the flow of this story--I sometimes with this was a regularly double-sized book, with how restricting the 22 pages seem to feel, but hey--and he weaves the hilarious and pathetic together perfectly. I always want to cheer for Kick-Ass, but I'm always to busy wincing and wanting to hide my face in my hands for a moment.

Sucking it up to be a Gay Boyfriend is totally superhero. Just sayin'.

Recommendation: Really? You're not reading this yet?

Edit: Kirk handed me a link to his Moments of the Week post, which has the awesome little girl panel--check it out for not just that, but all the other fine moments that make comic books so very, very special.

Trinity #1: "I think I'll be wanting a bagel with my coffee."

I knew Bruce had the sexiest voice ever and I would like to thank Linda for confirming it.
Awesomeness. I love the three of them showing up all incognito and how intensely gay Batman plays Bruce Wayne. Seriously. Pssst, Batman, Bruce is supposed to be a playboy, not a half-caf/decaf peaberry non-fat latte, steamed to 145 degrees, not too much foam, light cinnamon, shot of butterscotch drinking, beignet (delicious) eating, fashion-adoring, boy-toy-needing rich guy. But you're being true to you, so I'm okay with it.

That said, I really enjoyed this issue. The banter was clever and enjoyable and I didn't get bored by the stuff that inevitably gets restated and for a first issue, the set-up was solid.

I've heard complaints that this was slow, but I'd just like to remind them that this is a weekly, not a monthly. Keep your pants on. (Please.)

To be honest, I didn't actually read the second story, In The Morrows To Come yet. I read the first two pages, but got impatient for Buffy and bored of the Huge Gold Boobs.

Recommendation: Look into it--I know after Countdown everyone's burned out on monthlies, but I have a feeling that this is going to be a solidly decent series that Batman/Wonder Woman/Superman lovers can enjoy. Aaaand watch me get a hit for fanfic off of that.

H.P. Lovecraft's Haunts of Horror #1: Completely lost my interest after the first page. I wasn't hugely into the art (you're right, Dr. Z, it is very meh.) and the writing just didn't interest me at all. I didn't actually find the art stirring at all, and combine that with writing that hasn't grabbed me, things equal out to me skimming the rest idly. If you love Lovecraft (and it's usually all-or-nothing with him), you've probably already gotten it. If you don't, it's not epic, no worries.

Tales from Wonderland- The Mad Hatter: Dammit. Wait, let's rewind a few months:

Every damn week it seems like there's something from this series hitting the shelves and I always eye the Too Breasty Borderline Porny Covers with eyes that have judged many a book by many a cover (literally, not metaphorically. Unless you smell like rotten cheese, but then I'm really only judging a scent mill by its . . . productions? Whatever.) Anyway, every week I ignore it. But then I saw the solicit for The Mad Hatter and I couldn't pass it up.

I have a not-so-secret love for him. There's no resisting, no matter how many heaving bosoms are squished into one cover.

Real Time: Dammit. Dammit. I really liked this and really hadn't expected to. It was the most fucked-up origin story I can ever remember reading, so naturally I think it's utterly fantastic. It tracks a Normal Joe on a journey from terrified sanity to content insanity. I love it. I liked the art quite a bit and the story twisted along at a great pace. Great storytelling, really, and I think if they took themselves a bit more seriously (or got laid?), this would be a more popular book. Read: This is what porn is for.

Recommendation: This is definitely a twisted series that I'll be checking out to see if this was just a fluke of genius or what. If twisted versions of innocent(sort of) tales are up your alley, check it out.

Also, I'd like a March Hare plush doll.

Angel: Revelations #1: This one was a Cover Seduction that grabbed me solely because it looked like it could be neat and I like Angel. I found Adam Pollina's art to be completely brilliant--the long, angular bodies are definitely my taste. And the story was well-written and clever too--I forget how much of a shit Warren Worthington is and I adore it. Him. Whichever. The writing is almost creepy in parts and maintains a solid flow throughout the issue. Worthington was established simply and well within the first two pages, the surrounding characters were immediately expressive and I really enjoyed how Worthington was made sympathetic after establishing he's a bit of an ass.

Recommendation: Snag it. Between Pollina's art, Matt Hollingsworth's coloring and Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa's writing, this was an enjoyable read.

Duostar Racers #1: Mecha racers and Ashley Wood's distinctively sketchy, chaotic art style. I liked it, but I think I'd recommend a trade pick-up for this. (So hopefully they do one) It's an interesting monthly read, but I think a trade would give readers a better all-around experience in the story. Also, the monthly . . . smells weird.

Seriously, go sniff it. It's strange and I have no clue what the smell is, but it's distracting, goddammit.

I'm not being crazy, go smell one.

Manhunter #31: Hot damn, what a smooth return issue. Andreyko has these characters down pat and it's more than evident, imo, from their awesome, awesome dynamics with each other. I missed Kate. And Dylan. And all the rest of them and they're back and right in it and Kate is awesome. This is a completely solid issue, as well as a very good jumping on point for newcomers.

Again: Kate is awesome. She's clever and tough and just a little bit clumsy in her landings. Gaydos' art in this is just as solid as the writing and all around, this should be a sleeper hit right alongside Blue Beetle.

Recommendation: Definitely, definitely check this out and love it (so that we have more people to bitch when they attempt to cancel it again).

Secret Invasion #3: Um. There was fighting. There were, shockingly, no walls of text. Something's going on between the Queen and Tony Stark, where she's either playing mind games with him or he's a Skrull (really, Marvel? You're all assholes if he is). Um. There were more Skrulls. Some more fighting.

This wasn't terrible. I just didn't think it was epic enough for its britches, especially considering it's the third issue. Except for the first two pages and the last page, which I found to be the best. It's good though, just not . . . Super. Maybe Marvel and DC should have double-sized Big Event Books. While I understand that's a lot of work for everyone involved . . .

Well, it should be already, so suck it up.

Recommendation: Eh. Pick it up for the gems scattered throughout, but I'm not in love.

Buffy #15: Drew Goddard reigns supreme, I swear. This issue was most excellent, hitting a range of notes in mood that I found absolutely perfect. I actually think that Drew's got comic writing down better than Whedon does, in terms of getting things done and retaining a sharp view of all the characters during the action. Every scene is so thick with the history of all of them, they relate together astonishingly well and I'm going to miss Drew so, so much when this arc is over. The twenty-two pages ranges from intense pain to witty Scooby hilarity and the Dawn Mocking is so choice.

Perhaps he'll come back for season nine.

Recommendation: This one's a definite.

Nightwing #145: Another great issue from Tomasi. The first half of the book was good, but the second half of the book was just great. I really love seeing Batman, Nightwing and Robin all relating together in the same room and getting to see Nightwing be an utterly slick smart ass makes my day. This is the second-to-last issue for this arc before we hit the R.I.P. tie-ins and opposed to the messiness we're seeing over in Robin, where it reads like they're just biding their time over there in filler (even if a Big Event happened) until the book gets nicely hijacked, here we've gotten a complete reestablishment of Dick Grayson and Nightwing and an interesting story arc.

Go figure.

Recommendation: Naturally. I think Nightwing and Talia's relationship is hilariously thwarty.

Detective Comics #845: Ahahahahahahahaha, the interwebs. LOL, Batman! U R L33T!

I enjoyed this one immensely--from the conversation with Catwoman to the Interwebs, this was a fun issue. I really like Dini's writing and paired with Nguyen's art, this issue becomes an awesome Batman story that has great detecting, solid funny and great characterization.

Catwoman refers to a possible hook-up between Zatanna and Batman and then calls her Batanna. Excellent.

Recommendation: This one's a definite, Dini is well-versed in Batman and is a total show-off with the stuff he can accomplish within twenty-two pages. And I think Dini implied Tim plays WoW.

In other news, Coldplay's new album, Viva la Vida is out. And quite simply: it's gorgeous, of course. Listen to it here, then go buy it. I spent most of last night wallowing in the album and I recommend you do the same. I'd go on, but then it'd be thirty paragraphs about how awesome Coldplay is and you all should already know that.

I've been listening to the Flobots album, Fight with Tools, and they are definitely another sleeper hit waiting to get Very Famous. They're going to be at Summer Camp, so if you're headed over there next weekend, I very much suggest hitting their show up. I found them to be politically relevant and moving, topics along the lines of Rage Against The Machine when they were awesome, as well as musically quite talented. They range from rock to blue grass to hip hop and back again in a style that I would love to see last for a few years. Very refreshing. These guys definitely have strong talent and an awesome passion, test out a few of their songs. My recommendations are: Stand Up, Anne Braden and Rise. You've already heard Handlebars everywhere and that song is only a very small taste of what they have to offer in terms of range and excellence.

Damn, there's something else I'm forgetting. Oh well, I have a Spider-Man birthday party to prep for.

. . . oh that I could hire a Venom to make balloon animals.

Note: Blogger didn't pull up L33T as a spelling error during the check. I fear for our world.


themaimedman said...

Hey it's Mike the Marvel fan you love to hate.

Seceret Invasion is getting on rather slow, but they are cramming so much into the avengers books as well, plus I'll give Bendis the benifit of doubt cause of powers, and Yu earns him a stay of execution with great art... however I agree one hundred percent that if Tony Stark is a skrull Bendis should be flogged to death in streets. ruining Stark's mistakes by giving him a free "OH it was a skrull" pass would be too... easy.

Kick-Ass is the most appropiately named comic ever, it is litterally addictive, I gave two people the first hit free and now they can't get enough. Im Mark Millar's evil street comic peddler.

Haunt's of horror had crappy art, i was dissapointed by that. But considering that almost all Chutulu stuff disapoints...

DC stuff not written by Grant Morrison worth picking up I must investigate futher...

Kirk Warren said...

I enjoyed Robin / Spoiler Special. It wasn't great, but it was still a lot of fun to read and it's great to see Spoiler alive and kicking again. Now we just need a Batgirl / Spoiler Special that redeems Batgirl from the hack job Beechan and DiDio have done on her.

I get scans of most of the "kick-ass" moments from comics every week and post them on my blog. I'd post the individual link to the last page of Kick-Ass #3, but Blogger has some kind of anti-hot-linking coding that makes the images never appear. If you or your readers want to see it, you can hit up my Moments of the Week post for it and several other images from comics of last week.

I loved the little girl (I forget the name, but Millar said it in an interview somewhere) and the rooftop jumping scene.

As for Trinity, I found it good, but, as you say, slow. After two years of "it's a weekly, it's allowed to be slow" and watching the trainwreck that was Countdown unfold and, like passerby's, being unable to look away and stop reading it, I'm not willing to get sucked into another weekly that may or may not deliver.

I think the "it's a weekly" excuse for lack of content is weak and if it can't deliver a good story once a week, it shouldn't be weekly in the first place. They could have easily did a bi-weekly or two issues every 1.5 months like Bags was doing on Ultimate Spider-Man and then give us full 22 page stories instead of 10-12 page fluff pieces with teh odd payoff (yes, that's a little harsh for it being only the first issue, but even 52, for how great it was, only really had Black Adam ripping a guy in half for its first 25 or so issues before there was finally any incredible payoffs. Countdown had none. Hard to say where Trinity will fall).

More love for Manhunter! Woot! I almost wish they had gone with a new issue #1 to try and lure in some new readers. Despite hating that practice, Manhunter is so good, I'd rather more new readers and a cheap relaunch than to have it cancelled in a year's time due to poor sales like Shadowpact or what have you.

Girl Friday said...

Mike: Hello, you. And don't think I don't adore you for peddling Kick-Ass and thusly giving The Stop even more money. +245 points.

DC stuff not written by Grant worth picking up: many numbered. I'll see you and your wallet Weds.

Kirk: The link'll be up, thanks for it. The shot of her is too priceless to be missed.

"I think the "it's a weekly" excuse for lack of content is weak and if it can't deliver a good story once a week, it shouldn't be weekly in the first place."

And I agree--if this week's issue is motionless, than I'll be firmly on the opinion lawn that it should be bi-weekly. We are all extremely bitter wallets and expect to see something amazing instantly to justify the purchase.

I'll be giving Trinity two issues to prove itself as a worthy weekly expense. Perhaps DC should have given their readers a bit of a break before launching straight into another weekly after the Disaster That Was Countdown.

And regarding Manhunter, I wished for the exact same thing as I was reading it. I hope that new readers pop onto Wiki for some background on the Awesomeness That Is so that this book doesn't get buried in the dirt again.

Thanks for the link on your site, btw. Quite nice.