This Week's Read Pile, or: Sparklers Screw You Again!

Whenever comics ship late, it totally throws my week off. I can't decide if I'm just a little too set in routine (I'M SPONTANEOUS. REALLY) or if it's okay. Also, as I'm watching Constantine, I'm wondering if Keanu hadn't been cast and they'd gotten an actor that could actually . . . um . . . change expression and just kept everything else the same, whether or not everyone would've liked this movie.

La. Dee. Dah.

Well, comics were fucking excellent this week, weren't they? Was there a bad one in my bunch? Not really. Well, Detective Comics as a R.I.P. tie-in sort of miffed me, but the story was good. Hush! How could anyone with a proper soul deny Hush?

It was a smallish week, but God, every book I read really smacked it out of the park. I am a happy reader. Let's do it!

This week, they're not really in any particular order, except for the first one, which is totally my Book Of The Week.

I Kill Giants #1: Joe Kelly (from various Marvel and DC titles Supergirl, to name a recent one, also Steampunk. Apologies for earlier mix up, I'm clearly never allowed to start a review at seven in the morning again.) writing with JM Ken Niimura on art. Maybe it's because I was a dork in grade school (no, really, I wasn't always this coordinated or pretty! shock!) or maybe because I'm not dead and rotted out inside, but the first issue for I Kill Devils owned my dork ass.

Remember fifth grade? Remember being so awkward? Remember being really into something that no one else was? Rem
ember being that kid the teachers dreaded hearing from in the middle of class?

I do!

And as such, I reall
y connected with this. I love Barbara Thorson. I love how she's clever enough to know all those things the girls are talking about are stupid, and human enough to feel left out that she isn't talking about them too. And then smart enough to be mad at herself for caring. She's strong enough to stand up to a shoddy D&D player's attitude, but lonely enough to blame herself for ruining the game. Even though she was right.

I totally believe she kills giants and raise my broadsword in honor. My inner fifth grader has found a kindred spirit.

I debated doing an in-depth spoilery review, but opted not to, in favor of letting you guys enjoy it without too muc
h spoiled.

Recommendation: Grab this immediately, before it's too late and you're stuck waiting a year for the trade. This is, easily, one of the most poignant books of the year.

I want bunny ears to wear in support, dammit.

Pilot Season: Urban Myths written by Jay Faerber and art done by Jorge Molina.

I lied, this one's in order too. Definitely my second favorite book of the week. The art is fantastic--really vital and smooth and completely delicious. And I loved the coloring. All of it, actually, was just awesome.

As was the story--an intensely clever opening story that introduces us to our hero-of-sorts, Jack Kaklamanis, Medusa's son. He's a private eye who's been hired to find a missing girl. Jack is a solid introduction--inter
esting from the get-go, as is the case and where it leads him. The art just rounds the story out and bangs it into life--I could spend an hour flipping through this again just to look at it and examine all the backgrounds and random characters.

The mythology play is really interesting and finding mythology mixed with the crime noir genre should be strange. It isn't--it reads really naturally, which isn't easy to do in a fantasy universe, but Faerber solves the problem by handing us characters--including the ones we'll probably never see again--that are deep and rich and completely identifiable. Go figure.

It's a solid one-issue story that is really self-contained--which is good, since it's an entry for Pilot Season--but manages to promise so, so much more if Faerber gets the votes. So give them to him, would you?

Recommendation: A hit waiting to happen and you definitely won't be disappointed by this. Eat it up, then in August hit MySpace (oh god, twice in three weeks, I should die) and vote for this one. Don't worry, I'll remind all of you again come August.

Booster Gold #1,000,000: Geoff Johns and Jeff Katz wrote this gem, with pencils by Dan Jurgens, finished art by Norm Rapmund (someone take a moment in comments to explain what 'finished art' is if it isn't inking) and Hi-Fi doing colors.

How was this not awesome? Johns and Katz wrap up their run with a completely awesome epilogue that ties up everything from their run, leaves off with an interesting twist that I'm not sure if I'm going to get too invested in (is there any word on who is taking over after they abandon us? aside from the Dixon two or three issue arc?).

But yeah, okay, I lied again. Booster's number three on my list this week and for good reason. This was such a great finishing touch story, it really gave Booster a chance to show how much he's grown since the first issue--hell, obviously since 52. And he gets validated by the resident Crazy Obsessed Bat, which is worth Clayface's weight in gold. Not only does he get validated, he gets recognized by one of the top three--and I don't think there's anything better than one of the greatest heroes recognizing the things you do, especially when you go into it thinking no one will ever, ever know about it.

The art's a perfect match with the story--naturally--and I'm really glad Dan Jurgen's going to be staying on.

Recommendation: I thi
nk this is a great stand alone story as well--it serves the purpose of wrapping up things for a long-time reader, but a new reader wouldn't be lost as to what the hell's going on, why and who Booster Gold is. A good jumping on point, as the book contains a summary of past events and character exposition and growth.

Graaaab it.

Joker's Asylum: Penguin: Remember that time I said I didn't like Penguin? About how he came across as a bit of a joke and I couldn't ever take him seriously? About how he's my least favorite villain and I wish he wasn't involved in anything at all. And oh, yeah, I was disappointed he was getting an issue in this mini, because he was useless.

Jason Aaron, the writer, completely proves me wrong with a goddamn stellar book that easily slammed up into my favorites of the week. I'm now a little in love with Penguin. This issue was a glory. It was creepy. It was sad. And the art, thanks to Jason Pearson, completely matched the moods and gave us a believably adorable, pitiable and nearly likeable Oswald and just as easily ha
nded us panels of a creepy, nightmare-inducing Penguin.

I've an urge to frame a few of these pages.

Joker gives us a story about love, Arkham Style, and we're handed an Oswald Cobblepott who is truly pitiable. It's an old cliche--the evil beautiful girls crushing souls under their merciless, well-shaped feet--but it's used so well in this story that I can't mind it.

And we see a different side of Oswald, we see how his psychosis spawned, we see what feeds it.

We also see Batman is totally his Girl Talk Boyfriend in a scene that had me laughing aloud and loving it.

God, this was creepy. The art was creepy. The story was creepy. The twists of clutchingly sweet to creepy were . . . creepy awesome. Do you think I'm over-using 'creepy' here?

I'm totally not, you'll see.

Recommendation: Well fucking done and should've been read by you this week. I enjoyed this so much more than I thought it would--I actually read it last on my block and God, was that a mistake. I want more of this Penguin. I want him everywhere in the DCU, fucking up your noise and bringing in the birds.

I wanna give Jason Aaron a hug.

Final Crisis: Requiem: I snagged this because of Peter Tomasi and Doug Mahnke's Black Adam mini last yearish. I figured, yeah, I like Martian Manhunter, but I'm not totally devesated or anything over him dying.

I almost wish I hadn't read this, because then I never would've cared he died and definitely wouldn't be so ripped up about it now. I wouldn't have cared at all and now I'm so incredibly moved by this goodbye book, by his final message and his life that I want to go out, grab everything J'onn was ever in and eat it up.

this was so good. It was so good. Tomasi and Mahnke'll completely knock you out with J'onn's final moments, with his death scene and his viciousness for life that resonates throughout every page.

Agh. Gah. So good. So good.

Recommendation: If you weren't attached to J'onn, I'm going to punish you (because I love you. And I'm suffering too) by recommending you pick this up. Pick it up and love him.


Kirk Warren said...

I Kill Giants wasn't in at my shop (didn't pre-order it, no shelf copies available), but I'm going to see if he can order me in a copy for next week.

Completely agreed with Requiem. Best single issue this year and it will be almost impossible for any other to take that crown away from it. I, too, had no interest in Martian Manhunter and his death was a huge, "meh", for me, but now I can't believe he's gone and was actually touched by this issue.

themaimedman said...

I've only read Giants and Requim but both were awesome.

Proudly declaring what one does is awesome esspecially when its killing giants.

And I always thought Martian Manhunter was a chump and then he gave every DC villain nightmares about the heroes all going hardcore lethal on them. And the with the poinioncy (spelled wrong I know), awesome.

Darth McQuinn said...

While it doesn't have the sentimental punch of Final Crisis: Requiem, I really am enjoying Secret Invasion quite a bit. Issue #4 hit this week and is a rompin' good tale! Also, I would suggest The Goon #26 and Witchblade #119 as good reads with solid art. (I know. I know! But I really am enjoying Witchblade lately)

Evie said...

God didn't Booster just kill it? I'm so sad to see Johns go on this one. And I love the little epilogue about how the whole family went on saving time for centuries but there was this one yahoo who couldn't do a damn right thing. And that thing with Bats nearly made me cry.

As for Requiem, I was depressed by his death beforehand, but only because of the Justice League Unlimited cartoon.

technogreek said...

"Finished Art" is when the penciler actually doesn't do full pencils, and more does half-rendered layouts (the figure roughly goes here, etc) so the inker has to actually do a lot more work than just using the pencil line that's been put down.

Ally said...

I'm thinking this shall amuse you a little: http://jedoch.livejournal.com/25180.html#cutid1