Clever Titles are for Better Writers Comics Round-Up 02/27/13

Got some marbles? Do you have all the marbles? HA! I thought not. But you don’t care, you’ve got comics, and sometimes that’s ok. It’s nice here, in Comicsland. It’s warm, and numb, and sometimes these little stapled bits of paper might make you feel something. COMICS! Read ’em or weep.

Batman Inc. #8 written by Grant Morrison, drawn by Chris Burnham and Jason Masters, colored by Nathan Fairbairn, lettered by Taylor Esposito:

Tt

Despite the thoroughly spoiled twist in this issue, the finale of Morrison’s second act on Batman Inc, it’s still worth talking about why this happened. Morrison’s always been a big fan of meta-textual commentary of all kinds, from editorial over-sight in that Super-President issue of Action Comics to Doom Patrol literally being too good to exist in the banal and humorless world of reality. And in this issue, Damian, easily Morrison’s greatest and most-beloved addition to the DC Universe, turns to a newly-demoted-back-to-Nightwing Dick Grayson and says: “We were the best. No matter what anyone else thinks.” The hyper-violence that follows that short interaction seems to be Morrison critiquing his audience for taking away that wonderful Dick and Damian Batman and Robin series because they wanted the real Batman. The final image, of a character brought low by a bunch of nameless thugs shooting their guns at him until he can’t help but give up sure seems like a fitting dig at the internet blog-o-sphere. Still, what’s really lovely about Morrison, when he’s not doing garbage like Happy!, is that when he has an able artistic collaborator, he’s sometimes able to make his comics seem deep. This comic might really be a fitting critique on the nature of cyclical storytelling, bound in a universe curated by a punch of corporate IP holders, or it might just be a very pretty Batman comic wherein the Dark Knight becomes grim and tragic in order to gear up for the final climatic confrontation. Either way, I guess it’s worth your $2.99, god knows you’ve spent more on worse.

Five Weapons #1 written, drawn, and lettered by Jimmie Robinson, colored by Paul Little:

No, I won’t fight, either. But I will win.

I picked this up after reading a glowing review by David Brothers, and I wasn’t disappointed. It’s got an attractive concept, solid artwork, and coloring that actually makes it look like a comic, instead of terrible dark and moody story-boards for an ABC original series. What’s more, I’m a sucker for throwing a tactical character  into a setting that allows him or her to bounce off of a lot of crazy concepts and characters. Which happens less than you’d think, since it’s pretty tough to make a character that comes off as actually smart, rather than looking like they got an early look at the upcoming script. Luckily, Robinson seeds enough hints in the art and dialogue to make the logical leaps sensical.. And hell, If you were gonna guess that I’m also a sucker for numbered areas or characters that a protagonist has to defeat one-by-one, you’d be right.

G.I. Joe #1 written by Fred Van Lente, penciled by Steve Kurth, inked by Allen Martinez, colored by Joana Lafuente, lettered by Neil Uyetake:

Because then I’d have half a dozen Joes all fighting over who gets to be “Badass”!”

I don’t have one iota worth of nostalgia for G.I. Joe, but I’ve got plenty of nostalgia for the days when Fred Van Lente wrote like 5 books a month for Marvel. Long opinion short, this is solid. Van Lente brings the reader up to speed quickly, and Kurth’s penciling isn’t bad, and services the story well-enough. I can’t speak to the Joe-heads, but if you like Van Lente’s writing style, this has definitely got that, which is worth my money.

Harbinger #9 written by Joshua Dysart, drawn by Pere Perez, colored by Ian Hannin, lettered by Rob Steen:

They could make me fall again.”

Well, it looks like I missed #8, somehow, but until I checked, I thought Dysart had just done a whole En Media Res. Shit gets real in this issue, as the bad guys catch up. I’m still firmly in the tank for Dysart’s writing, despite my growing fear that it’s secretly terrible, and the art is servicable, but the absolute best part of this comic is that Ian Hannin comes back as colorist. I already talked about how much I don’t like the ongoing hatred Valiant seems to have about coloring their comics like they’re actually comics. Hannin’s colors aren’t entirely free of this, but he’s a vast improvement over Matt Milla. Look, no matter what psycho-analysis and careful planning Dysart might put in, Harbinger’s a superhero series, so it might as well get colored like one.

SPACE JAM OF THE WEEK

Hawkeye #8 written by Matt Fraction, drawn by David Aja and Annie Wu, colored by Matt Hollingsworth, lettered by Chris Eliopoulos:

“Whoa, whoa, hold on a sex—SEC–!”

I’m on record as being sick to death of long, 8-issue mega-arc epics featuring a character at death’s door on every page, which is why this comic is such a breath of fresh air. Contrary to whatever bullshit DC is currently spouting, it’s much harder to make an entertaining series with issues that stand alone but still build off each other, while being continuously accessible to new readers. It’s much easier to do a six-issue arc about one plot point. That’s why it’s so nice to see Fraction and Aja are continuing the streak with this comic. Obviously, Fraction’s dialogue and Aja’s design work have had enough (well-deserved) praise heaped upon them, so instead let’s talk about Hollingsworth’s color schemes. They’re excellent, shifting from the familiar color palette on the Hawkguy sections to a more modern look inside Love Covers to match Annie Wu’s lovely art. This is a good comic, and it’s nice that it’s got enough critical and popular success behind it to assure that we keep getting comics of this quality. Also, I don’t know enough about lettering to talk about it in depth, but Eliopoulos’s lettering is very easy to follow, even when Fraction puts a lot of words in a thin panel, so good on him.

The Massive #9 written by Brian Wood, drawn by Gerry Brown, colored by Dave Stewart, lettered by Jared K. Fletcher:

“And Georg carries pain enough to obliterate the world.”

Well, I am officially switching to trade. I think I enjoy this comic, but every single time I sit here and try to write something about it, I come up blank. I simply don’t have anything to say about this comic that I don’t end up erasing a couple of minutes later. C’est la vie, The Massive. You certainly were a comic.

Prophet #34 written by Brandon Graham, drawn by Simon Roy, colored by Joseph Bergin III, lettered by Ed Brisson:

“Its core artery-hall filled with brothers from across the universe, made and changed to survive missions in vastly differing environments.”

Uncanny Avengers #4 written by Rick Remender, drawn by John Cassaday, colored by Laura Martin and Larry Molinar, lettered by VC’s Chris Eliopoulos:

“You will bleed in the gutters with your fellow vermin.”

This comic is getting problematic. For one, the faux-Claremontian overwriting really tends to lose its charm when instead of describing how many quarters the X-Men are giving or accepting (Hint: it is none), it instead gruesomely describes the indescribably large number of people killed in New York because apparently the new Avengers team sucks at their job. I realize, of course, that the unceasing murder of innocent bystanders is a staple of modern superhero comics, but to use it in the first arc, with a literal Nazi that gets away scot-free, is less than great. Plus, the charm of seeing three Aryan ideals beat the tar out of the Red Skull is lost fairly quickly when you realize that it was less because it’s a hilarious idea, and more because Remender has apparently never used an African-American character in his Marvel work. I mean, dude, the Prowler is right there! Finally, the cliff-hanger is 110% reliant on your familiarity of a shitty ’90s Marvel crossover, with at least two jarring references to classic X-Men stories. Isn’t this comic Marvel’s big step-forward in the not-a-reboot? Shouldn’t this be just a little more accessible to anyone who just wants to read a superhero comic not mired in continuity bullshit? HAHA, what am I saying. That’s a dumb idea. How could that ever work?

Witch Doctor: Mal Practice #4 written and lettered by Brandon Seifert, drawn by Lukas Ketner, colored by Andy Troy:

“An Ivy-Drip, a magical biotherapy plant.”

Young Avengers #2 written by Kieron Gillen, drawn by Jamie McKelvie, colored by Matthew Wilson, lettered by VC’s Clayton Cowles:

“Bacon really is magic.”

Gillen clearly thinks a lot about how to tell a story through comics, and McKelvie makes it look like no one else even tries This comic’s pretty great. Marvel, leave these dudes alone to make this comic forever.

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