Welcome to Adventures in Poor Taste’s weekly comic review. A typical week might see over 50 book releases, and that’s just the big two over at DC and Marvel. This column serves as a buyer’s guide to those of us holding a single Hamilton and can’t afford to read every single issue.
Each week I’ll read a glut of the good and the bad and post enough reviews to reach the budget of $X. Yes, that’s $10.00 for those of you who aren’t Roman. I’ll also post comics to steer clear from. Sadly a quality comic is few and far between these days, but using this column a diligent reader can still get their comic on.
Infestation 2 #1 of 2 (IDW)
Is it just me or is everyone on this cover being tentacle raped?
I did not read the first IDW Infestation story arc, but the general idea remains the same this go around: have an excuse to tie together all of IDW’s licensed and original series together.
The first series tied together Star Trek, Ghostbusters and G.I Joe. I know what you’re thinking, “Finally somebody had the balls to smash those properties together!” Well you’re in for a real treat this time. This series promises to tie together Danger Girl, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Transformers, 30 Days of Night, G.I. Joe and Dungeons and Dragons. You are now allowed to say “What the fuck.” I’ll wait since you’ll need to stretch it out for a good minute or so…
There were only two reasons I picked up this book. One, it’s written by Duane Swierczynski who’s done some good work at Marvel and knows how to write clearly and add some fun layers to the mix. Two, the cover above speaks for itself. Plus, if you’re into weird freaky monsters by all means pick this book up.
If this makes you hungry or horny god help you.
Coming in completely cold it’s easy to catch up on the main thread of the story. A team with the acronym CVO that is made up of special ops members who are vampires and monsters fight to keep monsters from destroying the universe. Oh, and H.P. Lovecraft never wrote fiction, but actually tapped into an existence of demons and now they’re trying to break into our reality and cause mischief.
This book only spends time explaining why all of IDW’s licensed properties and original series characters will be fighting a similar enemy. The book was interesting enough even with all the exposition and the overall feel of the book is worth a read. That being said, the cover is a total lie. The picture below is all you get as far as the heroes on the cover:
Obligatory, “See the cover wasn’t a lie” image.
It’s a neat idea to have a two issue big event comic to tie everything together and I wish Marvel and DC would do something similar when it comes to Summer events. Instead they smack their readers on the head with 7 or 8 event issues that must be purchased to understand anything. The problem here though, is what’s the point if you don’t get to see the characters?
If anything this story should be free or boiled down to the concept summarized in each of the cover heroes books. A simple 5 pages that are identical in each book would suffice. I’m not sure if these heroes will end up fighting side by side, but I get the impression from this book they won’t. Instead you get a $3.99 book with some interesting concepts but no real meat.
Budget $10.00-$0.00 = $10.00
Grimm Fairy Tales: Alice in Wonderland #1 (Zenescope)
I know what you’re thinking, “Damn, muscular rabbits are so HOT!”
This comic is published by Zenescope, which apparently specializes in comics with giant breasted women. This comic caught my eye not because of the ginormous cantaloupes on the cover though, but because I’m a sucker for fairy tales, especially when they involve interesting twists or retellings. Of course, this cover seems to suggest there is no substance in the book. I was happily surprised to find a real story within.
Right up front, this book is exploitative of women, mostly because there seems to be no reason behind Alice being scantily clad. The alternative covers are even worse than the one above:
This issue doesn’t dip into any obvious connections between growing up and sexuality, but I’m holding out hope that it does in later issues. If it doesn’t, this is a pretty cheap way to sell a comic. It alludes to some reason behind the sexuality when 8 year old Alice watches herself grow older, and sees herself agree to go to the prom, but there isn’t much to explain why she’d go to bed 8 years old and wake up like this:
Based on the story in this book I can’t help but think there will be some sort of explanation for Alice’s clothing. The story incorporates some neat ideas and plays with the fairy tale enough to make the classic story interesting.
Jabberwocky, or Mandarin knock-off?
Wonderland appears to be a very evil place. Alice is a captive for particular reasons that are unknown and the Cheshire Cat is more of a tiger than a pussy cat. Really there are no answers in this issue, but there are many questions. The visuals are great and the storytelling in the imagery alone is good enough to pick this one up.
This is not normal. But on meth it is.
This book is only 22 pages, which is a bit short, but at $2.99 that’s not too bad. I’m aware being a sucker for Fairy Tales can be an expensive thing, but this book has enough to warrant a purchase.
Budget $10.00-$0.00 = $10.00-$2.99 = $7.01
Captain America & Bucky #626 (Marvel)
I was a fan of Captain American & Bucky #625 last month because the book hearkened back to the Silver Age by digging up Cap’s past and adding a new layer to his mythos. That first issue had about 90% mythos and 10% action. This issue carries on the mythos, but it’s reversed, with 10% mythos and 90% action.
Zombie Nazi’s anyone?
This issue carries on the excellent story from last issue, only there’s about 90% more action and some riveting twists. Typically the second issue in a story arc is a bit slower, as the big twist of the first issue needs tidying up while the main meat of the story is set up. In this issue, instead of a long winded exposition Captain America faces a super charged Bucky in hand to hand combat with a twist at the end. Sounds like a great way to spend 3 bucks!
Proof Captain America would be a sick linebacker in the NFL.
I liked what Francesco Francavilla did in the last issue, but it’s clear he really has his legs under him this issue. Everything feels much more weighted and dramatic. The first issue had the Silver Age vibe going, but this time it’s refined and much more interesting to look at. There’s no colorist listed so I assume he’s doing that too, and by god it’s a pretty thing. This guy knows what he’s doing, and to prove he’s that much more awesome he delivers on a sick splash page near the end of the issue.
Captain America versus his history of costume changes!
Ed Brubaker is doing a great job here once again. He’s definitely going to go down as the greatest Captain America writer of all time. What he’s done with Bucky in the last decade is phenomenal, and at the same time he’s made Captain America espionage comic. He continues that here and it’s working wonders.
Budget $7.01-$2.99 = $4.02
Three different comics this week had a lot of potential, and I think they might make the budget another week, but ended up not making the cut. Lets deliver them to Hugo Strange in quick succession:
I really liked last months issue, but The Mighty Thor #10 just doesn’t cut it. This is what I like to call the “Episode 2” of a series. The whole thing is one pointless battle with very simple plot developments to stretch out the consumers interest until the real meat hits in the next installment. This issue is boring and nearly identical to last issue minus the humor and great action.
You might be thinking, “Hey wait Dave hated this comic last month, why is it in his might be worth buying list?” Well diligent comic review reader, the truth is I’m an optimist. FF#14 is only 20 pages long, contains yet again little story and bores me. But, and it’s a big but, the art within is unique, interesting to look at, and science fiction lovers dream. The way Juan Bobillo draws robots is spectacular. I just wish he had a more interesting story to draw.
Justice League #5 hits stands and finally we have recieved confirmation this story will never end. Geoff Johns has done relatively nothing in these 5 issues, with very awkward and boring dialogue spattering some decent art by JIm Lee. It’s clear the schedule is starting to hit the art, as this issue seems much more sketchy and not as well put together as previous issues. So far the story has brought together the heroes and introduced the main threat. That’s it?! Johns must assume a slow boil story equates to epic storytelling, but it’s killing each months pacing. Even in a trade paperback I can’t see this book being worth reading. It’s just too damn slow. I have hopes the second story arc will pickup, as Johns is a very talented writer and, assuming Lee takes another 2 year break, a new artist should handle the art on a more consistent basis.
Hugo eats madness for breakfast.
Batman: The Dark Knight #5 (DC Comics)
Last month, David Finch made me believe in his talents, as the issue was funny, action packed and the narrative was compelling. Lo and behold this issue forgets about pacing and good storytelling and decides to be one big fight scene. Sure, it’s always cool when Superman and Batman duke it out, but when the splash pages of a single punch add up to 4 or so pages in a 19 page comic what is DC trying to do? Rob us?
For a comic that’s dealing with fear it sure isn’t scary. Finch draws images that are supposed to be scary, but are laugh out loud stupid looking. Exhibit A:
Insert speechless caption in reaction to stupidity.
Superman shows up after receiving a message, from where exactly I don’t know. Instead of talking to Bruce and asking him if he’s okay he essentially ignores him and just tells him he’s okay, he can tell, totally you’re fine dude. I guess this is Superman not relating to us dumb humans, but it’s profoundly dumb and only lets the plot linger into a fight. Why not find Scarecrow idiot? Also to show up in a dark cabin like this:
When your teammate is under a fear toxin…not a good idea to come in eyes a blazin. Turn those eyes on low, bro.
DC Comics doesn’t need so many Batman books and this issue is proof of it. Instead of telling a good story it seems David Finch’s corner of the Batman universe is to fill pages with big splash pages that are at once boring and a waste of time.
This comic is proof DC selling to the lowest common denominator hoping people will lay down $2.99 for pretty pictures. Cutting the comics length to 19 pages isn’t helping my feelings on the issue either. Do not bother with this book.
Budget $4.02-$0.00 = $4.02
Green Wake #9 (Image)
This issue is part 4 in the current storyline, but even if you don’t know what’s going on this book contains a lot of entertainment. It’s actually a halfway decent jumping on point if you know the barest of details. The main character is a detective attempting to solve murders in a strange dreamlike afterlife. That’s about all you need to enjoy the art and mystery.
Note to self: asking questions is a great way to create more mystery!
Fans of David Lynch know that sometimes not having any answers is just as good as having them all. This is no different, as the relationship between Green Wake and the real world is still very much a mystery. The horror and mystery are delectable treats here, and this issue carries that on in spades. Sometimes a comic introduces 2 or three settings, but this book is jammed pack with different scenes and set ups.
Sorry I don’t date women who have kids!
I love the sketchy dirty art Riley Rossmo infuses into this book. Everything feels like it’s been sitting in an old attic for 15 years and is just now finally being read. Images look like artifacts from a vault of horror and pain. It’s a very unique style that I can’t help but stare at with envy. The atmosphere only benefits from his style.
Note to self: creepy kids are a great way to create a sense of gloom!
The first story arc dealt with what Green Wake is which hasn’t been the focus this go around, but the relationship between the protagonist and Green Wake is still being toyed with. With all the murders, Green Wake as an entity, new factions, and the growing conflict this issue should sufficiently maintain your interest.
Budget $4.02-$2.99 = $1.03
Three issues bought this week with a dollar to spare! Feels like old times with money left in the pocket. Unfortunately there are no .99 cent comics this week. If you like flair I hear pins are all the rage!