Cool Comics Love-In

August 1st, 2006 by | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

If I’m posting on this here comics blahblahblog, I try to ensure that we’re working with snark-free waters. Not these Snark Free Waters, but similar in spirit nonetheless. Personally, I feel that comics are too awesome to waste sniping at each other and the creators. If I have a grievance, I’ll air it out professionally, courteously, and in a coherent manner. If I can at all help it, you’ll never hear the words “(author) is a hack” come out of my mouth. 99% of the time that word is thrown around, it’s completely untrue, and there’s really a better way to say “I don’t like this guy’s work.”

So, in the spirit of the idea that comics are freaking awesome and we’re all freaking awesome for reading them, even you in the back with the bad haircut, I’m going to present to you a Cool Comics Love-In. It’s a snapshot of what I like in comics right now, be they single issues, series, or other, and you better like it, too, or else I’ll and hopefully you’ll dig it as well. Let’s see if I can do these three or four at a time, once or twice a week okay?

Batman 655 Batman #655: Coming as a surprise to no one, David likes a Grant Morrison book! There’s a number of reasons why I like it. The opening scene with the Joker and the disabled kids. Batman’s black sense of humor (“How’d they find his neck?”). Kirk Langstrom doing his best Renfield. Bat-Poles! Look at his poses and tell me that that’s not straight out of Dracula. “I’ve been eating flies” and all that. Alfred’s sense of humor has never been better. He’s almost too perfect. Zur-en-arrh being a reference to Super-Batman of Planet X was another high spot. But, you know what sold the book for me? The Bat-poles are back. Look at how Robin enters the cave. One of two crystal bat-poles, baby. Grant Morrison and Andy Kubert deliver an excellent first chapter in what I hope is a long, long run on Batman. They took a bucket of Bat-Angst Repellent Spray to the whole works and came out with something wonderful.

Loveless Cover Loveless #09: Another big surprise! A good book from Brian (100 Bullets) Azzarello. All I want to say about this book is better said right here by the book’s own colorist. Also, she has a great blog. Loveless is uncomfortable-making. Azzarello is telling a harsh story from a harsh time, and I can see how it would put some people off. It can be a hard read, but it’s worth it. Half the fun of 100 Bullets is guessing the way that things are going to go. It’s the same as in Loveless. I’ve got a hint of how Wes and Ruth Cutter’s revenge is going to work out, and I think I know how Atticus fits in. Knowing Azz, though, I’m almost certainly wrong. The book, from the writing to the art on down, is excellent. Azzarello expects a lot out of the reader when he layers in the past over the present, and if you get it, you’re richer for it. Frusin (and Zelzej on his fill-ins) do a wonderful job conveying emotions, most especially anger. And Trish Mulvihill actually gives black people different skin tones from each other, so she’d be tops in my book even if the book weren’t perfectly lit and colored. Wes and Ruth are villains, but Azz/Frusin/Mulvihill makes them so likeable… hoo boy!

Wolverine Beat 'Im Up Wolverine #44: This is big, dumb comics at its very best. I like Wolverine. Is he oversaturated? Sure. But, he’s oversaturated because he’s cool. He’s got the claws, the attitude, and the fighting ability to be completely awesome. His showdown with Nitro has been the over-the-top comic book theatrics that we all love. It’s framed against Marvel’s Civil War, but it’s really an excuse to have Wolverine do hilarious things like grow all his skin back after getting beaten up. This issue opens with text that fits. “People call me Wolverine. I’m the best there is at what I do. And what I do best… is killing a whole mess of people.” C’mon, this is quintessential Wolverine. What follows is essentially a 20 page beatdown that’s interspersed with Wolvernudity, smart talk, and capped off by the appearance of Namor, which promises another beatdown next issue. This is good comics. Save your Nextwave. That book can be way too self-conscious sometimes. Beat 'Im Up Again! When I want my superheroes loud, I’ll go to Guggenheim and Humberto Ramos, who are turning in some excellent, excellent work. Their Wolverine is enjoying himself. Ramos’s art carries that through perfectly, and Guggenheim’s writing nails it. When Wolverine realizes that Nitro can’t hurt someone close to him with his explosions, meaning that Wolverine can beat on him all day… his only thought is “It’s gonna be a lovely day.” Yes. In all seriousness, though, a naked Wolverine is the last thing I want to fight. That dude has body hair like velcro.

Spidey Hearts MJSpider-Man Loves Mary Jane: Man, what does it say when the most well-written Spider-Man book on the stands is a satellite title aimed at young girls? Does this make me a little girl, too? If so, I don’t care, because Sean McKeever and Takeshi Miyazawa are knocking this book out of the park. The best part of Spidey is his relationships with other people, and SM(heart)MJ does a great job of showing that. Example: Mary Jane is crushing on Spider-Man. She sets up a date with him, gets all ready to go… then Peter Parker shows up and asks her out. She pretends he’s joking, goes on the date with Spidey, then realizes– holy crap– that it’s Peter Parker she likes! She brushed him off. Her woe is compounded by the fact that, whoops, Gwen Stacy just transferred in! Yes. This is good soap opera. SM(heart)MJ exists in a kind of alternate continuity, where all your favorite Spider-friends went to high school together. Miyazawa’s art is perfect for these Mary Jane in high school stories. It’s the right blend of cute and the body language is on point. Moment of Truth 01 Moment of Truth 02The teenagers actually look young enough to be teenagers, too! Sean McKeever is good at making the teens sound like teens, rather than like adult imagine teens to talk. He even nailed the drama that came when Mary Jane realized that the Benjamin Parker who died on the news while she was running around all mopey? That’s Peter’s uncle. It’s a good book, and I like that Peter is a supporting character rather than a main.

Runners Up: Civil War Frontline, for bringing the good characterization that the main Civil War series lacks. The Wedding of Black Panther and Storm for being solid from Hudlin’s writing down through Eaton’s art. Catwoman 57 for the Lone Wolf & Cub homage cover, and the quality story inside it.

Remember, if you ain’t loving a comic, you shouldn’t be reading it! What comics tickle your no-no area?

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4 comments to “Cool Comics Love-In”

  1. What, all Marvel? Heck.

    Actually, the only superhero title I’m reading that I am consistently FOAMING AT THE MOUTH FOR when a new issue comes out is Robert Kirkman’s Invincible. In fact, I should really write an essay on it for this site. Wouldn’t that be cool?!

  2. Why yes, Kaz, that would be cool!

    You should do that!

  3. Anything Garth Ennis tickles my fancy, particularly Punisher MAX. Maybe I just like mean comics.

  4. All Star Superman is the most feel good comic ever. Every single panel of every single page of every single issue of that comic is a joy to read.