Monday, December 31, 2007

Because I promised you I'd do some comics reviews in 2007.

X-MEN: FIRST CLASS #7: This comic is fun. Not only that, it's been consistently one of my favorite fun comics of the year, and this issue (the second part of the "Catalyst" storyline) is no exception. The original X-Teens have lost their powers, and they're facing off against a squadron of 99 Sentinels (count 'em; they're all in a scary and impressive splash page). Jeff Parker's script is as always witty and well-dialogued, and the Roger Cruz artwork is vibrant and energetic in action and quiet scenes. It's got a great action-pacing with a real sense of urgency against the clock as they rush to save Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch. First Class continues to tickle my little stuffed stuff fancy, even when there's no Colleen Coover back-up (but there is a funny one-page Chris Giarrusso "Mighty Marvels" strip with a delightful Professor X as Jean-Luc Picard design. Speaking of Star Trek: The Next Generation, I've praised this book before for its frequent themes that a supposed antagonist is not always a true enemy, and the Catalyst is no exception. That said, I do wish sometimes there would be more straight-out black-and-white villainy—bring on Magneto!—rather than a misunderstood villain in almost every issue. Just once in a while.

BATMAN #672: This comic is sorta fun. Grant Morrison's Batman is another perpetual favorite of mine. How favorite? I bought and read, and more important, really enjoyed Morrison's two "Hey, I'm Ra's al Ghul and I'm Back, Baby!" crossover issues of Batman without picking up the other comics in the series. I think the "Club of Heroes" trilogy is one of the most entertaining Batman stories in several years (and one of my favorite stories of 2007). So why doesn't this issue get top marks? I guess it's simply because I really just don't get what's going on. I know it's related to events earlier in Morrison's run but I need to get those issues out again to reacquaint myself with the Three Batmen situation. Or maybe I just need to wait for the trade instead and read 'em all in one swell foop so I can slap my little fuzzy forehead and go "Oh, so that's who that is!" In the meantime, tho', I just don't feel smart enough for Batman. Then again, is that Bat-Mite on the final page? Cool.

SPECIAL FORCES #2: This comic is fun. Okay, this is a more adult comic with story, dialogue, art and themes that really isn't appropriate for a six-year-old stuffed bull, but my pal John (who helps me pick out and buy comics) really, really is enjoying this. Up above I mentioned a great breakneck pace to X-Men...well, compared to this, X-Men is a turtle crawl. Kyle Baker is always an amazing, colorful, dramatic artist, one of my favorites in anything he does, and this over-the-top comic with a social and political point. You can probably make the argument that this is simply the same sort of dark comedy, outrageous violence and sexual suggestion (Felony's fatigues get shredded more and more) that Miller and Lee are doing in All Star Batman, but perhaps because of the original story and characters or Baker's unparalleled design sense I'm enjoying this a heck of a lot more than the gosh-darn Batman. Beautifully-produced and no ads!—heck of a bargain.

JACK OF FABLES #18: This comic is fun. Like Special Forces, Jack of Fables is definitely for mature readers, but John lets me read this (and big sister publication Fables) and both have delighted me. My good friend the well-read Miss Jenn raved about these series so much while we were at San Diego Comic-Con this past year that I actually bought a stack of Fables trades and Jack comics in San Diego to read on the plane home, and I've been hooked ever since. Jack continues to be a great romp and one of the few genuinely funny comic books out there: witty, sarcastic, and, despite a tearful moment in here, unsentimental. At first I thought Bill Willingham and Matthew Sturges might have written themselves into a corner when they first told us Jack would never return to Fabletown, but this series has been a dandy way to explore the other mythological aspects of the world outside the Fable community. Plus, sexy librarians, the cracked Humpty Dumpty, very genteel zombies, and yet another page-long fantasy adventure of the Sensational Character Find of 2006, Babe the Tiny Blue Ox! (Really, how can I not love the only comic on the market with a small bull in it?) Plus, Jack #18 features The Best Line of the Week: "They are throwing the book at us! It is ironic!" Say, remember when DC Direct did Sandman action figures? Well, I want a Jack action figure, and a Gary the Pathetic Fallacy figure, and a Hillary figure with removable ska-check glasses, and especially Paul Bunyan with miniature Babe the Tiny Blue Ox figures. Until then, I'm content to name JACK OF FABLES #18 the most fun comic of the week!


Siskoid said...

Wow, how retro :)

SallyP said...

All lovely choices. I do have to admit that I have a terrible crush on Babe the tiny blue ox. If there should ever be a spin-off from Jack of Fables, it should be for Babe.

Mike Haseloff said...

Glad they're back! :-D
Nice work, chief!