Joe Rice Media Review 11/29/06
I bet you wish you had a job that you could start and then the very next time you're supposed to do it, you don't. It was Thanksgiving, man. My wife and her sister were running around the kitchen for, like two days straight. Though I knew I was useless until mashed-potatoes-making-time, sitting in a room typing about comic books could very easily have lead to pain for me. So you people had to wait a week. Stop crying. Now you get two weeks' worth of comics reviews. I even picked up a couple of things I normally wouldn't just to give you MORE. I think of you.
One of those things was Immortal Iron Fist. I'm a sucker for good kung-fu movies, but has anyone done really good kung fu comics outside of Kagan? Shang Hi doesn't count, it was a straight action thing with kung fu for flavor. I have to say I liked the prelude art better than the Aja art . . .which was nice, but just not AS good. The kung fu action didn't work here. The intrigue didn't really intrigue me. Oddly, afterward subplot about the early 20th century Iron Fist was also more interesting. Basically, the focus of the book and modern time stuff just didn't work for me. It's not bad by any means, really. I'd just rather either watch a good kung fu flick or read a better comic.
Jesus, Garth Ennis! I know that The Punisher is often unpredictable, but there wasn't much at all that went like I thought it would in this issue. Fine, fine pulp writing with some actual emotional content and some larger meaning as well. Punisher comics are still very good.
Unless they're not written by Garth Ennis. Punisher War Journal? I couldn't get through it. The art was stiff and weird (I thought I remembered liking Olivetti at some time in the past, but maybe not). I'm not opposed completly to the idea of this book, I just think the execution is pretty horribly lacking. I don't believe it at all. Bad action movie quips, silly bits, I dunno. I'm sure this will please the dorks that whine that Ennis' Punisher isn't about superheroes. This was the worst book I read this week. I regret the time spent trying to finish it.
Not that Garth Ennis can do no wrong. 7 Brothers went from being "possibly interesting premise" to "OK, I'm done with this." I guess it might make a good b movie but it's just not worth its space on a comic shelf. Too much stuff out there's better.
Someone said Grant Morrison wrote this issue of 52 by himself. This is like the third time I convinced myself to buy the damn thing. There were two good pages in the entire thing. The Ten-Eyed Men stuff was amazing and practically a blink of the comic. Jesus, what a dull, plodding thing 52 is. Why the hell are we supposed to care about any of it? Are we? Or are "we" just collecting it?
Darwyn Cooke? Yay! Jeph Loeb? Uhhhh . . .tough one. Well, Batman/The Spirit is no Cooke masterpiece, but it's pretty and it's fun. I'm sure Cooke's solo Spirit work will be better, but this was a fun little adventure. I especially like Cooke's Joker for some reason.
Wow, so far one good and one OK comic and some losers. The things I read for you people. You should pay me reparations for my eyes having to look at Punisher War Journal. Did you know I was at the dentist today? Getting a root canal started? This is dedication.
Fortunately Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E. was pure pleasure. A fun and funny Marvel superhero comic with Paul Pope, Dan Clowes, and Mike Mignola pastiches? Really, really good ones? (By the way, what was the Captain Universe one? Can't figure it out.) Hot damn. Those bits made me giggle with happiness. The Captain Marvel one is better than any Captain Marvel comic book that Marvel has ever put out. (Or DC since the seventies.) And the action/straight bits? Frakkin exciting. This is fun comics.
Runaways, too. How often can you say that you really, really don't know what's going to happen next? I actually don't know if Chase is going to do it! Good to have Alphona back. What a development over the course of this book. Oh, a 6th grade girl at my school has gotten obsessed with the manga-sized collections. She comes up to me and talks about how Lucy in the Sky is her favorite, and (she's on book 2) how shocked she was that Alex was so mad about the vampire boy when he pushed her away, etc. So cute. Great book, and it that's just a testament to that.
Now to the meat of my comics-buying this week. These three were what really excited me today, and I, of course, left then until last. First off, Angry Youth Comix. I love you Johnny Ryan. I love you and your holocaust juice and your breast cancer odd couple and your Ku Klux Klan corpse jet. I'd love to see his creative process. Is it spur-of-the-moment vulgarity or is it crafted? Either way it's pure awful hilarity. I kiss it now.
It's been a while since the last Big Questions so it took me a second to remember what was going on exactly, but once I did the love washed over me again. The deceptively simple illustrations and script create a comfortable, homey next for your brain to wander around in. This simultaneously makes the disturbing bits palatable and more disturbing. Simple conversations mean much more. Anders Nilson is really making something here and it's awesome to see it happen.
YAY! New Acme Novelty Library! Comics' current great formalist continues his new epic. I could go on and on about his formal work and how frickin AMAZING it is here, but Ware here actually exposes more emotion than he'd have you believe. In Chalky White and his sister we may have his first completely sympathetic characters. Of course, Rusty himself is just a magnificent train wreck filled with pains so familiar you can't help but appreciate it. It's not fair to call this the comic of the week, as it's just working on a higher level than anything else. Brad, I love you to death, but to say that Casanova is a comic you must read or you hate comics is like saying rubbing your own tummy is the king of orgasms. I'm sure Casanova's fine for what it is, but this, this this . . .I lose words. It's the sort of comic I almost have to get a little buzz on before I can really wax about its pleasures. That looseness of tongue, the breaking down of the barriers of communication. It's too big for me to talk about otherwise. Anyway, buy it, you saps. It's worth the sacrifice of six stupid Moon Knights or whatever. Do it.