Wednesday, February 01, 2006

No lessons have been learned in the reading of these comic books.

Futurama #23FUTURAMA #23: This comic is fun. There's nothin' like a comic book story about evil twins! And this is nothing like a comic book story about evil twins! (Ha! Ha! Did you enjoy my little joke! Hmmm? ......................Didja? ............Hmmm? Hmmm?..........Oh, like you could do better!) Seriously, this may look like evil twins, but there's a twist even I didn't see coming! And I'm pretty savvy about comic plotlines in advance: f'rinstance, I knew, months before it happened, that Avengers: Disassembled was gonna stink. (Ha! That was another one. I'm tot'lly on a roll.) Anyway, more fun with Fry, Leela, Bender and company (with a big in-your-face Bender cover!), makin' me miss the cancelled TV series yet again, but fillin' a nice void with this story. What's more, FUTURAMA #23 features The Best Line of the Week: "Once Joss Whedon reads my online Buffy fan fiction novel, I know he'll want to go camping with me!"

Simpsons Super Spectacular #2SIMPSONS SUPER SPECTACULAR #2: This comic is fun. Here's more fun from the House of Bongo. This issue of the Simpsons-universe superhero title isn't as much fun as the first one, but it's still a highlight of this week. The first story is a kinda pedestrian Crisis on Three Earths crossover called "The League of Extraordinary Barts," but where this issue really shines is in the second story, Batton Lash's "Bongos," a parody of the comic series Marvels. Sure, Marvels is not the most fresh of parody topics, but nobody's done this in this way, and it's especially fun to see the Radioactive Man universe in a pseudo-photographic style. Fun stuff, even if a non-comics fan won't get a word of it.

Fury #1FURY: PEACEMAKER #1: This comic is fun. Nick Fury: before S.H.I.E.L.D.*! Before the eye-patch! And, apparently, before the Howling Commandos! Garth Ennis has made a name for himself writing some fairly realistic and pretty darn good war comics in the last couple years. Now he puts Marvel's Sgt. Fury in the middle of one. Rather than fighting Baron Strucker and the Red Skull, Nick's heading a platoon in Tunisia in 1943 as the Afrika Corp bears down on them. There's a neat framing sequence that shows the foolproof plans the platoon trained for being shattered left and right, and I guess it's a good thing this book doesn't feature Dum-Dum Dugan, Gabe Jones and Pinky Pinkerton, 'coz Nick's platoon has about the same chance as a snowball in Tunisia. There's a great scene at the end of the issue where Nick faces off against a German Lieutenant General and we...and he...can't see how he's going to escape. The answer may, as Stan Lee used to say when he wrote Fury's adventures, shock and astound you! Seriously, this is good war comics in the vein of Joe Kubert and Robert Kanigher. It does kinda seem like one of Ellis's Vertigo war comics with Nick Fury shoehorned in, but I'll definitely be around for issue two to see what happens next. I bought this book because of my New Year's Resolution to Try Each Week to Pick Up One New Comic Title I Haven't Been Reading, and this week's choice of FURY #1 was definitely a good impulse.

X-Factor #3X-FACTOR #3: This comic is fun. First off: when's the last time you saw an orange comic book cover? Pretty cool, huh? Well, I thought so. I like orange. Anyway, the fallout from a couple stories I didn't really wanna read ("House of M" and "Decimation") continues, with most of Mutant Town having lost their powers and bands of rampaging normal humans rioting in the streets. Time for Strong Guy to cut loose, M to dance in her bathrobe, and Layla Miller to do her thing, whatever the heck that is. I'm diggin' Peter David's new series: he clearly knows and enjoys these characters, his dialogue is sharp, realistic, and funny, and the ongoing storyline is compelling and makes me wanna come back for more, but I just have to say this: Enough with Layla Miller, already. The "I'm Layla Miller, I know things" joke is already pounded into the ground too many times, and she shows every sign of being plopped there as the series' resident deus ex machina. More to the point, PAD's trying to give her this whole River Tam spooky power chick vibe, and does the universe really need more than one River Tam? No, it does not.

JLU #18JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED #18: This comic is fun. Superman meets Space Cabby. Let me repeat that. Superman meets Space Cabby. This is not only fun, it's so brilliant I don't know why it hasn't been done before. This is a comic chock-full of oh, yeah! moments (amazing comics blogger Dave Campbell calls these moments something different, but I'm a little stuffed bull so I'll keep to "oh, yeah!"): Superman uses his super-breath; "It tickles!", and, oh yeah!: the cavalry arrives just in the nick of time! What's more, this comic avoids one of the problems I've had with previous issues of JLU: it doesn't end with a moral or a lesson learned of the sort that sometimes makes JLU read like an episode of G.I. Joe. No moral? No lessons? That's why JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED #18 is the most fun comic of the week!

*Supreme Headquarters, International Espionage and Law-Enforcement Division.

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