Thursday, October 16, 2008

I Elect To Save My Money.

In a week that saw Canadian voters return to the polls for the second time in two years (twice this week even, for Halifax--the municipal election is this Saturday), comics readers were faced with an equally difficult choice: which is a bigger waste of time and paper...a comic that deals with how fictional characters would vote in a fictional election (DCU: DECISIONS), or a comic about Superman and Batman fighting vampires and werewolves (the elegantly titled SUPERMAN & BATMAN VS. VAMPIRES & WEREWOLVES)? I wouldn't really know, since I elected not to read either. Democracy in action!

Okay, so I was a bit hard on ol' DC there, but I kid because I love. Despite their boring political comics and silly monster mashes, DC gave me my favourite read of the week, the SUPERMAN'S PAL, JIMMY OLSEN special. James Robinson continues to hit his stride in the Superman mythos, as Jimmy investigates the mysterious floating guy who was watching the Superman/Atlas throwdown in his inaugural SUPERMAN arc. Robinson does his best to reconcile various iterations of Jimmy here--the dork who brings Perry White his coffee, the supercool adventure hero who hung out with the Newsboy Legion, the weirdo who was turned into Turtle Boys and Elastic Lads, etc., while throwing the character into a serious and deadly mystery. Fans of Kirby's run on the title will find a lot to like here, as Project Cadmus plays a big part in the mystery, and readers of Robinson's SUPERMAN run won't want to miss this as it continues directly out of the four-part "Atlas" story. Carlos Pacheco's inker, Jesus Merino, handles most of the art here and continues to show that he's doing Pacheco better than Pacheco these days; unfortunately, he only does about 75% of the issue. Also, the story is far from complete, since it continues in next week's NEW KRYPTON special, but it's a pretty great read nonetheless. Also, for diehard DC continuity nerds, Robinson continues his tradition of resurrecting characters from the pages of FIRST ISSUE SPECIAL: first, it was Mikaal Tomas in STARMAN, then Kirby's Atlas character in SUPERMAN, and here, it's CODENAME: ASSASSIN. I can't wait to see what he does with THE DINGBATS OF DANGER STREET!

The new issue of the excellent magazine COMICS FOUNDRY is also out this week, and continues to make WIZARD look even more trivial, dated, and misogynistic. There's an article about politics in comics (which doesn't have to be dull, DCU: DECISIONS), the wobbly manga market (featuring quotes from The Beguiling's Christopher Butcher!), and a hilarious Matt Fraction-penned last page column that does little more than showcase select panels from DOOM PATROL ARCHIVES VOL. 5 (a little of that stuff goes a long way, believe me). One article also credits Stan Lee as "Movie Cameo Actor", which struck me pretty funny.

So we were bagging and boarding a bunch of back issues at the store the other day, and I came across an issue of ALPHA FLIGHT that featured Aurora and Sasquatch fighting FANTASTIC FOUR heavy Diablo, and I was telling my co-worker Mike how nothing like that scene appeared in the book--Diablo only even appeared in a flashback, and he wasn't even fighting anybody! Well, this week's issue of Marvel's revamped (and quite good!) GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY has Vance Astro fighting Starhawk on the cover, while a Skrull lords over the whole affair. I'm pretty sure this never happened, since Vance doesn't even appear in the issue. Who says this isn't still the Mighty Marvel Age of False Advertising? However, the Guardians find out this issue that the Skrulls have invaded Earth, which, at this point, would be like me only just now finding out that the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbour. "Guardians", indeed! Still, a good old fashioned cosmic slugfest nonetheless.

And finally, Jeff Smith's newest series, RASL, continues to be a beautifully drawn, quietly creepy excursion into sci-fi, and this third issue starts to unravel the mystery of the dimension-hopping protagonist's past a bit. Still, though, what's up with the schedule? "To Be Continued In RASL #4 Shipping March 2009"? Seriously? That means it won't even be solicited for several months yet! The DCU's half vampire/half werewolf President will already be in office, for Chrissakes!


Johnathan said...

DCU: Decisions is pretty bad, but I'm determined to see it through, out of sheer bullheadedness. At least the colours are really pretty - pretty enough that it took me half of the second issue to realize that the art had gone from decent to super-duper awful. Haven't had the courage to crack open issue 3 yet.

dave howlett said...

Yeah, it's a shame about the art--I usually like his stuff, but I think right about now he's like, "Even I can't make this crap interesting", and has just stopped trying.

Johnathan said...

You know, it's not even that bad a story (although Jericho as the villain is a bit much). It's just so gratuitous that there's no real way that to cut it very much slack.