Comics Load: Christmas Means Carnage

Happy holidays, Comics Load fans! This is the last Load before Christmas, so let’s give a really cool present to one lucky Load reader! Up for grabs is ONE annual subscription to Marvel Digital Comics! You’ll have access to over 9,000 Marvel comics, past and present, as well as exclusive new releases! And you can read them all on your computer, iPad or iPod! All you have to do is post your TOP 5 favorite comic book titles of 2010 in the comments section, and you’ll be entered to win the Marvel Digital Comics subscription! It’s just that easy! You have until 11:59PM on Friday, December 24 to submit your list. A winner will be drawn, then notified on Christmas morn! Now, on with the Load!

Chance‘s Load image

image Amazing Spider-Man #650
I must admit that I’m enjoying the new monthly BIG TIME Amazing Spider-Man. I’m enjoying Peter Parker having a job. I’m enjoying Carlie’s hair growing back. I’m enjoying Peter stripping down to his boxers in front of his boss and coworkers. I’m less thrilled about Peter singing songs from Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark and dissing Gaga. Honey, if you’re singing show tunes, even ones written by Bono, you have no room to criticize Gaga. The anime-style art continues to be inconsistent from page to page, but it feels like artist Humberto Ramos is still developing the look and feel of the book, so I’m willing to be patient. Now that Peter has informed his coworkers that he works best in the buff, here’s hoping it becomes a regular feature!
image Batgirl #16
Um…when did Wendy start talking to dead Marvin? And did I call that or what? I said ages ago that Wendy was on the fast track to becoming an anti-Oracle supervillain. Well, not only is she chatting up her dead brother, but she’s growing increasingly resentful of Steph and Babs and their Batgirl bond. Oh yeah, Wendy is well on her wait to having a lair and a costume and minions. So maybe you’ll all believe me the next time I make a wild accusation or assumption. Thank you!
image Batman and Robin #18
So of course I had to look up Dandy Walker Syndrome. Turns out it’s a real thing. It’s just not quite the thing they’re claiming it is in Batman and Robin. Still, I wonder if the first media representation of someone with DWS is encouraging to those who really do have it, or if they’re kind of horrified that a villain in Batman is walking around with a big hole in her head, threatening to kill Bruce Wayne for not f**king her when he had the chance. I’m guessing “The Absence” will become a role model and spokeperson for DWS awareness. Frankly, I hate her, but only because she has the nerve to threaten Dick Grayson’s sizable manhood. Someone needs to hang this bitch on a coat hook somewhere until she learns some manners. (No offense to any DWS folks reading this.)
image Birds of Prey #7
While I appreciate the eye candy on display at Dawn’s birthday celebration, I think they really missed a character and story opportunity here by having Hawk refuse to join the Birds for ladies night. Is he a Bird of Prey or not? He should have been in there and either dealing with his discomfort or proving his devotion to Dawn or cracking jokes or something. Also missing from the festivities is Oracle, who’s too busy planning her own death. You know she’s going to go to a lot of trouble to make Calculator think Oracle is dead, then Wendy’s going to let it slip that Oracle is alive and well and over there in a wheelchair. I would be highly amused, though, if Babs kills off Oracle, then replaces her with Oracle 2.0. You know who they should get to replace Oracle? Synergy. I’m pretty sure she’s available.
image DC Universe Holiday Special 2010
I look forward to these DC holiday issues, because they’re usually a fun or irreverent detour from the usual sturm und drang of the comics pages. I haven’t exactly been in the holiday spirit lately, so I was happy to pick up this book and dive in, expecting some adventure featuring Batman helping Santa deliver presents or Superman and Superboy doing a gift of the magi thing. So what do we have this year? Prehistoric cannibalism. A father getting shot in front of his son. Ritualistic bloodletting. Elementary school burn victim. Punctured lungs. Abused orphans. Well, happy f**king holidays to you, too, DC!
image Supergirl #59
If the DC Universe Holiday massacre didn’t creep you out enough, be sure to check out Supergirl’s run-in with the Dollmaker. He’s a pint-sized psycho with a penchant for vivisecting helpless children. Ho ho ho. He’s kidnapped Cat, hoping she might like to be his mom, since his dad, the Toymaker, killed her son. It’s all pretty messed up, but the biggest crime here is how the obviously straight artist has drawn Cat. She’s wearing a lime green, short-sleeved, low-cut tee (in December), a leopard-print miniskirt (in December) and mid-calf black go-go boots. The whole ensemble just screams “first round” on RuPaul’s Drag Race.
image X-Factor #212
I love when a story arc comes to a close and I actually feel satisfied and entertained. The gang (plus Thor) finally have their showdown with Hela, who proudly proclaims that her ridiculously circuitous plan is nearly one-quarter complete. It’s fun to see Madrox and company in Thor’s world, and even Shatterstar gets some nice action scenes. Plus, you have to love a book that manages to reference both Shakespeare and The Princess Bride all on one page. In the midst of this story wrap-up we also get a couple of new tantalizing threads that remain to be unraveled. If you’re not reading this title, now’s a good time to jump in. If you have any questions about bi-curious alien mutants or werewolf babies, you just let me know.

Brian‘s Load image

image Birds of Prey #7
I think all stories should take place in a male strip club, don’t you? This is truly the best plot device ever employed in a modern comic, wayyyyy better than when the X-Men used to start an issue with a training session in the Danger Room with all that holographic nonsense and crap. Blah! Boring! Give me sexy men in g-strings and drunk superpowered ladies whistling and slapping dollar bills at them anytime. Who’s with me? Raise your voice and join me in a chorus of “we want more male exploitation, we want more male exploitation.” I just know that if we fight as one, our demands will be met!
image Brightest Day #16
Ahhhhh yeah, babe-eee, the new Aqualad is here and he is badass! Trust me, I know how crazy that sounds, calling any aqua-based character a badass is a seriously dangerous way to have my comic reviewing clout questioned, but I stand by it, because it’s true. I’m really feeling this new Aqualad. It certainly helps that I adored the preview of the upcoming cartoon Young Justice which also stars this new, tough, cool “I’m a moody teenager with water powers” character. So why is Aqualad cool? Is it those dreads? Or the fact that he’s black and not another white comic book character? The fact that his hands turn all webby (gross) when he’s in water? Or the cool tattoo that appears all lit up and sparkly when he’s in the ocean? Or maybe it’s those weapon-y things that allow him to create hard (hahah, hard…) water instruments of death? It’s probably all of the above, really. But either way you slice it, I’m down with the ‘Lad. You down with the ‘Lad?
image A Deviant Mind #1
This exciting and mysterious sci-fi series by writer/artist Pam Harrison (she of the famed House of the Muses comic) is totally worthy of a look-see or ten. In the first issue alone, we meet Tara, an escaped telepath who’s running from something – or someone – who might also be a member of the LGBT team (yay!); and a sexy female transformer-ish looking robot named A.G.N.E.S (read the series to see what that stands for; it’s very clever and fun much like Marvel’s famous S.H.I.E.L.D acronym) who’s like a sweet, motherly nurse/nanny/sexy-sexy robotech lady. Lots of great stuff here for Star Trek, Firefly, futuristic story fans, or, you know, anyone who’s just a fan of a good, intriguing story. Go here to find out more about this stellar comic.
image I Am an Avenger #4
The only reasons I picked up this book? #1) For the super fun two-page mini-story featuring Ms. Marvel and Spider-Woman. Although while not a whole lotta shiz-nit happens in this story, it’s just awesome to see Jessica Drew and Carol Danvers teaming up, dishing on their lives, and looking towards the future as they chase fire trucks and beat up crooks. Hey Big Corporate Marvel, how about a new team up book staring these two lovely ladies? It’s not everyday we see two characters introduced in the 70s who’ve beaten the odds and have still managed to remain relevant today. Get the artist/writer from this story, Ms. Colleen Coover, on it and it’s a hit for sure! #2) Non-superhero cartoonist Lucy Knisley’s fab one-page gag strip featuring Stature shrinking and growing, growing and shrinking and #3) the fact that out queer writer Roberto Aquirre-Sacasa wrote a very enjoyable Thing-focused Fantastic Four story. Which is a pretty great accomplishment, because I don’t really care for the Thing, and spotlight series or issues starring individual members of the FF always crash and burn. There’s a reason they’re the Fantastic FOUR, people. They’re only good when they’re all together.
image The New Avengers #7
Man, oh man, Wolverine is a slut! I’ve totally lost count on how many ladies Logan has bedded. (Hey! That might actually make for a good pie-chart or graph or waterfall chart. Someone with extensive X-knowledge should get on that ASAP.) But now you mean to tell me that the Canadian runt also banged sweet, cutesy, cheesy Squirrel Girl? Wow, he is SO worse than a horny gay boy who just came out of the closet. Plus, uh, don’t squirrels have rabies or something? Keep it in your pants, Wolvie. Sheesh. Unless of course you’re planning on swinging your hairy self across my porch, then by all means, please show me why you’re “the best there is at what you do.”
image Next Men #1
What the hell happened to John Byrne? Anyone remember when his art was the most dynamic, exciting and powerful stuff around? (Think 20+ years ago.) Remember when he wrote interesting, odd, engaging stories? (Think 10-15 years ago.) But like his old collaborator Chris Claremont on Uncanny X-Men, John Byrne seems so out of touch with modern comic storytelling that his stories are complete, utter, snorefests. Now I’ve never read a single issue of the old Next Men series from years back, but this new reboot is just one super long recap of everything that happened from before, told in the most confusing, most densely worded, continuity-heavy way possible. At no point did I care for, know anything about, nor feel invested in this story. It dragged, it sagged and it might just be the worst comic I’ve read all year. Yikes! Sorry, John Byrne! But it’s true. At least in the Phoenix Saga you can say you helped tell one of the greatest stories ever told!
image Strange Tales II #3
If you haven’t heard of indie cartoonist Kate Beaton and the HIGH-lariously goofy/high-brow comics she creates, then do yourself a massive favor and spend an hour or so scrolling through some of her winning work here. I’ll wait. Ok, so, weren’t you just sorely – and I mean SORELY – missing out? She’s the best! The two mini-tales she presents here are by far the standouts in this overall odd-ball comic of short stories. How can you not love seeing Rogue prance about in her Jim Lee-designed classic costume from the 90s stealing a kitten’s cuteness in order to avoid getting into trouble for breaking a lamp? Ha! Or watching Thor blow his top at one of those fake strongman mallet things at the fair? Beaton’s comics are always like this: clever, funny and, quite frankly, delightful (I almost hate her for her talent and wit). And I realize that the word “delightful” should only ever be used by 75-year-old grandmas and not 30-something comic book nerds, but heck, they’re delightful, damn it. So go read some more and be delighted! Tell her “Granny Brian” sent ya!

Happy holidays (and comics) from Chance and Brian and FBOTU’s Weekly Comics Load!

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