Saturday, 19 April 2008

Almost Weakly

Back again to get up to date.
Now where to begin...?

All Star Superman great. It's not controversial to say so. However, it's getting better. Frank Quietly made the choice towards the end of his X-Men issues to ditch inkers as he felt no-one managed to make it look how he wanted. It's taken a while (ie all of WE3 and the previous nine issues of All Star Supes) but this is the first issue I didn't read wincing at bits that I wish he'd inked or had someone else ink.
The storytelling, grace, detail and sense of scale that he's always had hasn't gone anywhere and Morrison is stripping the sory back to the absolute minimum of text etc but the book is so rewarding on a reread. Highlight of this issue are a great Lex Luthor moment, the innovative illustration of Superman's X-Ray vision (above) and Superman creating a mini universe to see what would have happened if he'd never 'come' to Earth (below).

Continuing with Superman, Action Comics 863 finished up the Superman and the Legion of Superheroes arc. Difficult to to remove any image to show without damaging the resolution of the story. No beat is wasted by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank's art, as repeatedly mentioned before is great. I was left wanting more and I'll get more. IN future though, when James Robinson starts on Superman, Action and Superman will run closely together and crossing over. This pisses me off a bit as I like James Robinson but I'm really not sure about the regular artist on the book (Renato Guedes). IT's really souless and I'd already stopped getting the Busiek Superman because of it.
We'll see.
More Superman (what the f*ck's going on). Well Darwyn Cooke and the Justice League New Frontier Special which came out about a month ago. Cooke's written the whole thing and drew half of it, a missing scene from his mega mini New Frontier. A conflict aluded to but only briefly in the series is ellaborated on, Batman Versus Superman. The whole thing is told on three panel per page and feels a little like storyboards. Everything is set up perfectly. Batman stages the fight in a junk yard so the lead will screw up Superman's X-ray vision and then doesn't stop hammering at him. Interesting too are mentions of Batman stuff that retroactively forshadows Dark Knight Returns; interesting because Cooke was very outspoken about Miller's Dark Knight Strikes. However as much as New Frontier was very settled in time because of Cooke's research and structuring of the series within the "real" events of the DC silver age, these nods to Dark Knight, for me, secure it as part of DCs future.
The back ups in the book are good too. The director of the DC:NF cartoon, Dave Bullock does a great Robin and Kid Flash story and Darwynn Cooke's frequent collaborator Jay Bone does a fun Wonder Woman/Black Canary strip.
Oh and DAVE STEWART colors it all.
Which reminds me...the Eisner nominees were announced this week, reminding me how out of touch I am for the for the most part ( but Richard Isanove nominated for best colourist!?!?!?!? Awards are always controversial but bloody finger's really not on the pulse.
Moving on, in my last review of Loveless, I mentioned that it was one of the series I pick up just for the art, when its drawn by Daniel Zezelj. This latest one stand alone story makes me question my judgement. While the art is superb and the colours a perect fit, the story is incredible. Really great. X ammount of years after the main story takes place, a couple of gangsters turn up to hide at a farm house and lie low. They're pretty callous and the old man lives alone and tells 'em a story of when he was a kid, racing horses in a touring racing team. The reveal at the end isn't necessary (though I still shalln't spol it) but if you've read 100 bullets, this is similar to the Kennedy issue. Pick it up, if only when Zezelj is drawing it. Great stuff!
Along with Loveless from Gosh I received issue one of Suitcase Nuke #1. The comic's funny, very well drawn with creative layouts and story telling. I don't, however, know what Wangchung is. Regardless the comic was a really pleasant surprise (I've met him) and I recommend checking out his stuff at
The book also inspired me to flex my polish poster muscle for the first time in ages, the result of which you can see at the bottom of this post.

Also funny Zeb Wells and Bachalo finished their three part Spidey story this week in Amazing 557. This is very much the kind of story which would've bee given a mini or have been relegated to Tangled Web (a place for good solid Spidey stories which don't fit into the convoluted continuity). However, thanks to a load of convoluted continuity, there's now a new unconvoluted continuity so while some stuff might go over your head, you can enjoy what you're reading. As my mate Anthony pointed out, if Spidey was that good every month, we wouldn't miss it. Chris Bachalo's seamingly involved in the colouring of the book, from what I understand, directing the colourist so it looks like he coloured it himself. It looks great, though yet again Tim Townsend ducks out just before the end of the three issues and while Bachalo's pretty hard to overpower/ruin, the art suffers a little for it. Could be worse though, Barry Kitson's on the next arc.
Couple of last mentions of things I can't scan cause it'll f*ck the books up.
The new recoloured Killing Joke has a healthy pricetag but is really gorgeous. I had the book in black and white, which I love, but would never have imagined anyone else colouring it other than the very lively John Higgins. I had a happy moment at Alan Moore's signing at Gosh when he agreed that the Batman Annual story he did with George Freeman (love letter coming soon) was a better Batman story than Killing Joke. It's questionable of course whether its supposed to be a Batman story at all.
Picked up the Mad Archives volume 2 a few weeks back and though I'm dipping in and out (as I feel I have to with really old comics) it's plain gorgeous. Not much to add really, just don't assume it's the weakest link in the EC stable until you've looked at what Wally Wood's capable of with Kurtzman.
Lastly, a friend bought me a book (in the form of giving me the money for me to pick it up). I chose the collection of Michael (Heroes) Green and Denis Cowan's Batman Confidential arc. I'll give it the full review next time but so far, really liking it.


David N said...

All Star Superman is my favourite Superman comic ever. It hasn't let me down once so far - I always feel I got more than my moneys worth in terms of how many moments of pleasure it affords, both artistically and in the narrative.

And Darwyn Cooke. He gets what makes a certain type of Superhero comic work. Then he works it. New Frontier came out of nowhere, for me, and he became part of my personal pantheon of creators I'll always follow - whatever he does from now on, I'll get.

Anonymous said...

From Nat

Anonymous said...

P.S. Check out last weeks' "Pigeons From Hell" comic from Dark Horse. Possibly up your street.

Beezer B said...

Ooh I wanna read that Darwin Cooke business...

On unrelated note: Mario Kart Wii
-If you've an ounce of twitch gaming appetite left in you and fancy racing me online...
Is very good in my picky-about-mariokart-oppinion.

Anthony Hope-Smith said...

I keep waiting for Dave Stewart to f*ck up in my cynical, nothing great ever lasts forever, kind of way.

Still waiting...

Andrew W said...

I didn't know you were blogging, Bill. Funny the things you find when you're looking for someone's e-mail address.

I'm in Barcelona for a bit next month. Are you going to be about? Drop me an e-mail! Have you got my xemnu e-mail address?

Will Shyne said...

Hey Andrew.
No plans for July. Contact Gosh to get my mail or give me yours. Speak to you soon.