Friday, November 18, 2005

Was it worth it?

So, I know what you're thinkin'. You're thinkin' was it worth it, little stuffed bull?...Was it worth it?

Heck yeah. It was worth it.

But first...

Simpsons #112SIMPSONS #112: This comic is fun. At last, a Simpsons comic that is more than just sorta's actual full-out real fun! It's a comics sequel to one of my favorite episodes, "The Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase" and features three stories based on the Simpsons spin-off series from that show. My favorite in the TV show and in the comic was "Chief Wiggum, P.I." ("Look! he's slowly getting away!"), but the other two were good fun as well. And hey, a guest appearance by Susan Dey and Gary Busey! Still not convinced? Not enough to tickle your funny bone? How about the sudden reappearance of long-absent but always-loved Troy McClure, who you may remember from such comics as "Troy McClure's Comics and Stories" and "All-Star Troy-Man and Troy-Boy-The-Boy-Wonder." (Sniff. You're missed, Phil Hartman.)

Batman MM #1BATMAN & THE MONSTER MEN #1: This comic is fun...sorta. Wow! Best Batman cover in a long time! Creepy and cool. (But that sure is a big moon, Mister Wagner.) It's kinda a big shock after that cover to have the first word in the book be a swear word! Just to remind you: I am allowed to read comic books with some swear words in. An' it doesn't say "For Mature Audiences Only!" on the cover in big red letters, does it? (Checks and sees.) Nope! No, it does not. Still, that is not the first word I expected in a Batman comic book. It's a little too inspired in tone and format by Batman: Year One (not that there's anything wrong with that) but the plot seems promising enough: early in his career, Batman's facing off against the Mob (hey! isn't that a little like Batman: The Long Halloween?) but some monsters are very likely 'right 'round the corner 'cause yay! There's Professor Hugo Strange! You gotta love Professor Huge Strange. I wonder if he is Doctor Strange's brother. Anyway, there was one thing missing from most of this Batman story: Batman! He's only on five pages of the whole story! Yes, I'm aware that this is just the first chapter and I know there will be plenty of Batman coming later. But there were even whole rows of pages in which Bruce Wayne didn't appear. And then...oh no, can it be...pages of Batman's girlfriend in her underwear??!? Well, sorta. It looks like she got tired when visiting Bruce and Bruce let her sleep over. That was nice of him! The story is all well and good but that's not what I buy a Batman comic book for. Still, fantastic art. I might peek at the second issue to see if there is more swearing and kissy-kissy stuff first, though.

Runaways #10RUNAWAYS #10: This comic is fun...sorta. Here's a little riddle: what do the original X-Men, the Micronauts, and the Runaways have in common? Give up? Give up yet? The answer is: when they first appeared in their very first issue #1 of each comic, they were a team of heroes, none of which had ever been seen before. So you might assume, as I did when I first read John's old copies of Micronauts, that maybe this didn't take place in the Marvel Universe, so maybe we wouldn't get any cross-overs that would make it more confusing and tied-down to Marvel events and...whoops! There's Man-Thing! And Ant-Man! And the X-Men! Oh well! Anyway, it'll take a lot to make Runaways not fun to me, but plopping them down firmly in the Marvel Universe is one sure step. I really think this was a mistake not only in terms of making the story more reliant on Marvel Universe events (for example: will Molly of Runaways lose her powers after House of M?) but it also makes it a little less accessible to new readers. A book like Runaways is ideal to target to teens and pre-teens who like manga: the storyline of kids whose parents turn out to be evil villains is something any kid would enjoy, huh? But start tying it into the Marvel Universe: Ultron is one of the kid's fathers, ex-New Warriors and Power Packers show up, and Cloak and Dagger become regular cast members...well, that's jus' plain confusing for the casual reader. Don't get me wrong: I loves me some Marvel Universe. But I don't think every book they publish has to be set smack-dab in the middle of Marvel crossover land. (That said, without the Marvel Universe you couldn't get my entry for a new feature in my weekly comics reviews: The Best Line of the Week, this time spoken by Iron Man as he comes across Wolverine on a rooftop: "A Wolverine appearance? How novel." Bwah-ha-ha-ha-ha!)

Banana Sunday #4BANANA SUNDAY #4: This comic is fun. Oh, I love this comic, and in any normal week, it would easily win most fun comic of the week. The monkeys are funny, the girls are cute, the mystery is cool, the mythology is surprising (John was close but no cigar on what the monkeys represented when he guessed what they were in issue #1!), and the dialogue is just plain wonderful. (As Go-Go, the Sensational Character Find of 2005, says: "I like to have all the muffins!") Mister Nibot and Miss Coover, please please please please make more Banana Sunday comics! I will buy them all (unless Jim Lee draws them). Thank you.

FF #532FANTASTIC FOUR #532: This comic is not fun. This is the end to the storyline I like to call "The Cosmic Rays Are Intelligent But Are They As Interesting As Galactus? No, They Are Not." Reed learns a lot about the secrets of the universe but apparently mostly just how to get home and get in bed with his wife. Maybe they were both very tired. (Wow, that seems to be happening a lot this week in comics! Maybe all these superheroes should take some more vitamins.) A lot of the subplots are wrapped up pretty quick and I'd forgotten about most of them anyway. Some of the funny and fun stuff happening with my per'sonal hero, Ben Grimm, kinda spirals down the drain on the last page, maybe just serving as a set-up to the new THING comic book. And since the story is mostly about Reed, why is Johnny on the front cover? I figure I gave Mister J. Michael Straczynski (I don't even feel like making a joke about how to pronounce his name anymore!) enough time. Now that this story is finished, I'll prob'bly drop FF from my monthly comics shopping list and maybe peek in on the next storyline when or if it's collected in trade. It jus' isn't fun enough for me. And when "The World's Greatest Comics Magazine" isn't fun enough for me, well, that's 30 dimes I can save and spend instead on...

All Star Superman #1ALL STAR SUPERMAN #1: This comic is fun. Wait, that doesn't do it justice. Let me repeat it with the aid of excessive, needless HTML:

This comic is fun!

I mean, like wow. I know I first read this comic in the aftermath of a total fever dream but it was everything I hoped that All Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder wasn't: a wild, modern, tossed-into-the-action storyline that starts out with out of the single greatest retellings of Kal-El's origins in eight words and ends with some spilled oranges. It's got modern-as-nanotechnology elements and classic-as-Christopher Reeve character portrayals. It doesn't insult my little stuffed brain by spelling things out, but everything is there on the page for you to put together (why is Clark stumbling in a crosswalk? Why is the villain talking like Lex Luthor?)—that makes it a truly rare modern comic that actually rewards re-reading. It's Superman, all right, but it looks different (thanks, Mister Quitely!), it feels different, and golly, is sure is different from any other Superman comic on the stands now because it doesn't forget that first and foremost, Comics Oughta Be Fun. This one's not goin' in the longbox—it's going on the shelf so I can read it again and again. Is there any doubt in your mind that All Star Superman gets the award as the most fun comic of the week?

Golly! I'm so excited for All Star Superman #2 to come out next month that I bet I will hardly sleep tonight!

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