Funnybook Babylon

June 12, 2008

Pull List Analysis & Reviews for June 11, 2008

Filed under: Pull List Analysis,Reviews — Tags: , , — Chris Eckert @ 11:00 pm

Hey, lots of things happened (Memorial Day, Travel for a Wedding, MOCCA) that conspired against a Pull List last week. I trust everyone got to the store okay anyway. This week I am late enough that I actually got to the store before posting this, so reviews will be intermixed! A friendly reminder to Those That Like Them, these should be on the shelves:

  • 100 Bullets #92 by Brian Azzarello & Eduardo Risso
  • Booster Gold #10 by Geoff Johns, Jeff Katz & Dan Jurgens
  • Local #12 by Brian Wood & Ryan Kelly
  • Tiny Titans #5 by Balthazar & Franco
  • Young Liars #4 by David Lapham

On the Big Summer Event front, DC’s well-documented scheduling issues see two Countdown to Final Crisis series wrap up after FC proper has begun.

Salvation Run #7 by Matthew Sturges & Sean Chen: SR limps to a conclusion, as the solicitation asks: “Who will live? Who will die? Will anybody make it home?” Anyone following Final Crisis, DCU #0 or comic book storytelling conventions will know the answer to all three of those questions. This was a weird series, apparently cobbled together from a discarded Elseworlds and reverse-engineered from Grant Morrison’s Final Crisis scripts. If you’d like to see a bunch of supervillains play summer camp before returning home, this could be the issue for you! David’s reviewed it for you here.

Gotham Underground #9 by Frank Tieri & J. Caliafore: GU was another Countdown tie-in, designed to address what happens to Gotham while all the villains you’ve heard of are stuck on an alien planet in Salvation Run. DC chose Frank Tieri to write this, a man who confessed recently that “outside of the animated series and what I remembered as a kid, I didn’t really know Batman continuity all that well” before writing this book. So most of the book has been about a lot of ill-conceived cameos, a muddled turf war and implying that Spoiler might be back from the dead. This book isn’t running late, but it still comes out after Final Crisis and late enough so readers of Robin or know that Spoiler is back, so the only real question left is whether or not… wait, shit. I really can’t keep track of what’s going on in this book even though I was reading it. Either Tobias Whale or Great White Shark (two fat fish-based Kingpin ripoffs) has killed the other one and is now at war with some guy who is basically Jigsaw is working for Darkseid. Maybe the Penguin will die? The title of this issue is “The Day the Penguin Died” so my guess is no. (I WAS RIGHT!) Recommended solely for anthropological reasons. David covered this one too.

Action Comics #866 by Geoff Johns & Gary Frank: Continuing with the theme of Baffling DC Editorial Decisions, but shifting to a book that might actually be good: this issue kicks off Johns’s long-promised Brainiac story, which has been sitting in the background since 2005. Though never mentioned in solicitations or retailer bulletins, this issue sports a “SIGHTINGS” banner, which… uh… I guess I assumed tied into Final Crisis somehow since the first “SIGHTING” was Justice League #21, a direct lead-in spotlighting Libra. But DC itself doesn’t explicitly tie “SIGHTINGS” to FC, explaining that the banner is meant to be a “signpost, marking important storybeats and moments throughout the DC Universe. These moments, exciting in their own right, are the beginnings, the turning points, the beacons clearly guiding your way to the future of your favorite super-heroes.” That sounds like something that would be good to notify retailers about in advance! I also like the implication that the other storybeats and moments don’t really matter all that much, in the DC Universe scorecard. Oh well! Don’t let DC’s marketing keep you away, if you are a fan of The Creative Duo with Four First Names, or just want resolution from a three year old Teen Titans/Outsiders crossover. It’s an intriguing set-up issue, even if all of Gary Frank’s characters still look kind of like Iggy Pop.

Over at Marvel, DO NOT BE FOOLED! There are going to be a bunch of Secret Invasion 2nd Printing Alternate Covers. These are impersonating books you should buy, but they’re dirty fakes! The only two new Secret Invasion books coming out this week are:
Captain Britain & MI:13 #2 by Paul Cornell & Leonard Kirk: I confess, I was too busy thinking about externalities to pick this up, but I liked Cornell’s Wisdom and heard nice things about the first issue.

Secret Invasion: Who Do You Trust? by A Bunch of People: Marvel is doing a lot of things right with Secret Invasion, and I think they best thing they’re doing is partitioning off the story so that all the really big beats happen in the main books, while sideplots branch off so-far elegantly into other books, primarily the Avengers titles. Who Do You Trust? bridges the gap between Captain Marvel and Secret Invasion, as well as branching off to give the subplots of Marvel Boy, Agent Brand some more breathing room. As an added bonus, there’s a fun sidestory where Jeff Parker gets to bring in his pet team Agents of Atlas, and Mark Guggenheim reminds everyone that Beast and Wonder Man were the spiritual forefathers of Blue Beetle and Booster Gold back in David Michelinie’s Avengers run. It’s entirely possible nothing in this issue will “matter” to the overall plot, but for people enjoying Secret Invasion, this is a set of highly enjoyable “deleted scenes”.

Eternals #1 by Charles & Daniel Knauf & Daniel Acuña: If you’ve read any Marvel title in the past month, you’ve probably caught the preview for the new Eternals series. As a follow-up to the big Neil Gaiman/John Romita Jr. mini-series, the preview is shockingly continuity-heavy, but I suppose all those flashbacks could be readily understood by non-experts and are more Easter Eggs for devotees like me. I sort of drifted away from Gaiman’s mini-series, but between JRJR channeling Kirby and the goodwill the Knaufs have built up with their on-hiatus Iron Man run, I gave this series a chance. I got a heavy Carnivale vibe from this, and the preacher character was cringe-worthy, but it’s a decent set-up issue. Question, though: what’s with all the Gods in Comics being trapped in amnesiac human forms? The Norse Pantheon in Thor, New Gods in Final Crisis, the Eternals here… not to mention thousands of Amazonians in a similar predicament. Who’s next, will it turn out the Marvel Superheroes are amnesiac dockworkers in 1985?

Back to the Eternals, for people who really want to catch up but (like me) missed out on the Eternals Omnibus before it fell out of print, Marvel is reprinting the first half in Eternals By Jack Kirby Book 1, also on sale this week. I’m tempted, but am holding out hope that I’ll find the original ballin’ edition eventually.

Skaar: Son of Hulk #1 by Greg Pak & Ron Garney: Marvel’s other big launch book this week is Skaar! Skaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrr! I don’t know why I find this title so silly, but I do. I really enjoyed the barbarian space opera of Pak’s Planet Hulk, but I wonder if it’s been too long since World War Hulk for the general fanbase to really get excited about this. This first issue was a nice but slight story of swords-n-smashing, showing how far the world has fallen since PH. It will probably read better in a big chunk, though.

Marvel’s got another round of confusing one-shots this week as well.

Hulk: Raging Thunder by Jeff Parker & Mitch Breitwesier
Punisher MAX: Little Black Book by Victor Gischler & Jefte Palo
X-Force: Ain’t No Dog by Jason Aaron, Charlie Huston, Jefte Palo & Werther Dell’Edera

What a motley crew! The Hulk one-shot makes some sense, since they want to blanket the shelf with Hulk material in time for the film. Parker is a solid company man (and solid writer), and I guess a Thundra-centric one-shot might appeal to Girl Power and/or Amazon Fetishists. The other two are a little more confusing: were these try-outs for Palo and Dell’Edera? Did a Marvel editor get drunk one ngiht and commission a dozen Punisher stories from crime novelists? Did Aaron get so excited about his Wolverine gig that he wrote an extra story? Still, any chain of events that brings a comic titles AIN’T NO DOG to the shelf is okay in my book. I just don’t understand Marvel’s longterm gameplan with these.

Speaking of prohibition rules, if AIN’T NO MONTHLIES is your policy, here are some trades!

The Programme Vol 1 by Peter Milligan & CP Smith: The first half of Good Milligan’s maxiseries about Cold War Sleeper Cells and simmering race wars is now available for your bookshelf.

Question: The Five Books Of Blood by Greg Rucka and The DC Artists Repertoire: You know how Grant Morrison’s is ignoring all that Countdown jazz? This book, originally titled 52 Aftermath: The Crime Bible: Five Lessons of Blood (The Question) is one of the books that actually does lead into Final Crisis. It’s written by Morrison’s 52/FC crony Greg Rucka, and it has the added bonus of actually being enjoyable, to boot!

Incredible Hercules Against The World by Greg Pak, Fred Van Lente, Khoi Pham & Reilly Brown: To put the downtime between World War Hulk and this week’s Skaar in perspective: we’ve already got the first hardcover collection of another spin-off, Incredible Herc on the shelves today. Everyone involved with this book has been rightfully praised for this book, which mixes Marvel Superheroics and Olde Tyme Mythology together better than maybe anyone since Walt Simonson’s Thor run. Herc also gets the nod for being funnier (if less epic so far) than Simonson’s Thor. If you haven’t read it yet, check it out.

Freddie & Me A Coming-Of-Age (Bohemian) Rhapsody by Mike Dawson: This is one of the many books I couldn’t afford to pick up at MoCCA last weekend, but I’ve enjoyed Dawson’s Gabagool!; I confess I only bought it because I’ve found “gabagool” a hilarious word ever since it was a major plotpoint in an episode of The Sopranos, but it turned out to be the sort of book that doesn’t seem to exist much anymore, a light comedic serial a la Hate or Hectic Planet. Freddie seems to hew more towards self-contained memoir status, something comics are not lacking at all these days, though the intertwining of autobiography and celeb biography is an interesting twist.

We’ll be back shortly with MoCCA reviews, but in the meanwhile: what did I miss?

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