Comics Load: Roll the Fashion Montage!

And we’re back! I received some complaints over the last Load that I’d like to address before we get started. Namely, some readers took issue with my assertion that no one needs Zatanna. Apparently, some of you do need her…a lot. One reader said, “Usually, you’re just annoying, but this Zatanna thing really proves how obnoxious you are.” Another reader called my dismissal of Zatanna “supercilious,” which I immediately looked up in the dictionary. Coolly and patronizingly haughty. Yup, that is so totally me. I want you to know that I take all of your criticisms and suggestions seriously, especially this one: “I’d like to tie you up naked and read the best of Zatanna to you.” I’m intrigued, but that sounds like a lot of effort for about 10 seconds of reading. –Chance

Now, on with the Load!


image Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #4
I’m sorry to have to say this, but do we really need nine issues of this series? The last four issues alone are pretty much the same story over and over. Each issue so far consists of the following: everyone argues the same issues again and again—like why the Young Avengers can’t go looking for the Scarlet Witch or why the Witch needs to die or why Wiccan feels he just has to rescue her when he shouldn’t—and then a whole mess of Avenger characters gather together to fight each other in that misunderstanding/difference of opinion way that superheroes like to do all the time, and the book ends to start all over again in the following issue. Ugh. Plus, did anyone notice that there are three splash pages and two double-page spreads in this book alone? That’s seven pages used for large, space-sucking pointlessness. Methinks the writer and the artist are padding this book out just a wee little bit, no? Also, how many characters do we really need shoved into one comic? I’m a fan of huge casts, but only when they’re being actually used for a purpose and not just running around and around and doing the same stuff each and every issue. Hey, creators, here’s a news brief: 30 million characters in one book and seven splash pages does not automatically elevate a comic into official awesome status. Just saying.
image Chaos War: The Dead Avengers #3
I’m something of a fan of writer Fred Van Lente (call me, Fred, like for reals!), so I’m totally biased when it comes to this book. Sure, I could care less about most of these characters and, sure, artist Tom Grummett is still stuck in the 90s with his art style, but with Van Lente at the helm I just can’t help but enjoy this issue for the writing alone. I wonder if this is how it feels to be a tween who irrationally obsesses over the lesbian-esque looking Justin Bieber and his terrible pop music, while the rest of the world realizes what a flash-in-the-pan he is. I am excited, however, for the potential return of the former villainous Yellowjacket. As a kid, I adored a short story featuring her back in the 80s in the Solo Avengers title when she battled the Fixer. Ever since that spotlight story, I’ve kinda had a fondness for the short-lived character, so I’m cheerleading her return in the hopes she stays alive and makes a triumphant return to assume her rightful place amongst Marvel’s elite pantheon of top-selling female heroes. (Hahaha, sorry. I just couldn’t type that with a straight face.)
image She-Hulks #3
You know what more comic books need? Fashion montages! Anyone remember those awesome scenes of old when a character would try on numerous outfits in a fabulous mutli-panel montage, all the while commenting on why each outfit is all wrong, until they finally, magically, marvelously stumble upon the perfect look in the final panel? I adore this! What gay boy doesn’t enjoy a little makeover fun, especially in the context of a comic book when something so simple and throw-away and mundane as trying on numerous clothing options actually turns into a deep, emotionally raw exploration of a character’s many insecurities? I say put Wolverine in a changing room and you’ll find yourself with some pure, character-rich, comic gold.
image Starman/Congorilla
Hey everyone, that Starman character is a big old ‘mo! Yay! How exciting. I don’t really read the main JLA series, which inspired this one-shot, but now that I’ve realized that the team has a full-fledged gay on its roster, I may just have to start picking up the book more regularly, which is saying a lot really because the writer on this one-shot is the same writer on the JLA and, well, this issue isn’t very good. For a single issue this is sure one overly, overly, OVERLY wordy comic—one whole splash page with 19 word balloons in it—and artist Brett Booth draws his pages like it’s still 1994, where misshapen, oddly-penciled human bodies were the norm. But since Starman is all gay and stuff, I supposed I have no choice but to support whatever comic he and his blue-hued shirtless torso show up in! Another exciting gay moment in this very same issue is the return of the newly-revived Tasmanian Devil, who it turns out is also a major member of the dick-lovers club. So we got two gay heroes in one one-shot! Woot! I will say that Tas does look like a weirdo cross between Dex Star, Marvel’s Wolverine, Taylor Lautner and that JSA Wildcat kid. Oh well, I’ll give the little Devil a break; he did just come back from the dead. We all know how rough that is. We all tend to look a little wonky when that happens.
image Wonder Girl #1
My non-comic reading boyfriend of ten years kindly offered his unasked for opinion on this comic’s cover, boldly proclaiming that he didn’t like the image of Wonder Girl, because she looks “too much like a man.” Wow, harsh. I mean, sure, Wonder Girl’s face is a bit on the angular, handsome side on the female prettiness scale, but is that her fault? Poor Cassie. She, like all of us, is stuck with the genetics that she was born with. I mean, her mom is this bookish, tightly-wound scholar with poor fashion sense and poorer parenting skills, and her father, the almighty Zues, is the very picture of masculinity in his beardy, toga-sporting, head-of-the-gods way. So, give the poor girl a break. We all can’t walk around with soft lighting and a professional airbrusher on hand at all times. Sheesh! Thankfully my boyfirned did enjoy the interior art by the underrated Adriana Melo, so that’s something, right?
image X-Factor #213
What I enjoy about this comic is that ever since the whole “gay issue” has come out (so to speak) with Rictor and Shatterstar, the series didn’t just do a big After-School Special on it and then never mention it again. Or worse, send the two characters into the sunset to live happily ever after with two overly pampered pooches, a modern and tastefully decorated multi-level home, two gym memberships and a panache for mani/pedis and Sunday mimosa-soaked brunches. No, thankfully, writer Peter David continues to not only use the boys in the book’s main story arc, but actually references them and their relationship often, even keeping it as an active subplot in various creative ways—like the naughty, super Christian-ized Rahne and her desire to “save” Rictor from his gayness by trying to bring him back to the hetero side of life by claiming her baby is his. Great stuff. All around. This SO deserves to be on everyone’s pull list.



image Batgirl #17
You know, Damian and Stephanie paired up on their own a few months ago, without any help or direction from Bruce. So, I don’t see why they feel the need to explain a new team-up as an assignment from Bruce’s Ego, Inc. Whatever the reason, the pairing works. Damian and Steph are such complete opposites that it’s destined to be fun whenever they’re together. He can teach her how to take her role more seriously. And she can teach him how to loosen up. Sort of like me and my last boyfriend. (P.S. I was the serious one. He was the loose one.)
image Batman and Robin #19
Oh god, I’m going to miss the Absence. She was just so deliciously weird. Plus, she shared my disdain for Bruce Wayne. Artist Scott McDaniel injects a lot of cleverness into this issue, and it becomes something of a game to turn the page and see what he’s going to put in that big open space in her head from panel to panel. (My favorite is the moon shining through.) I take comfort in the fact the issue ends with a promising “End?” with a question mark instead of a definite “End.” with a period.
image Birds of Prey #8
The scantily-clad men ran off in the last issue, so there’s no eye candy on display this time around. Instead, we’re treated to more restraint on the part of the Birds. Dove has proven that she has mega Princess of Power weaponry at her disposal, so why not use it? Freeze the bastards. The real highlight in this issue is Penguin’s charm school for terrified cocktail waitresses. Hilarious.
image Daredevil: Reborn #1
I tuned out of the Shadowland event about halfway through, when it became apparent that Matthew was going too far and would have to learn a valuable lesson about restraint and the power of friendship. So, forgive me for being slightly out of touch here. However, I’m assuming that Matthew is now on a lonely walkabout to try to make sense of his fall from power and discover just who he is and what kind of hero he wants to be. (He should join Superman on his walkabout.) Whatever the case, the worst place to start your long day’s journey into night is in a scary, dusty desert town full of suspicious locals. There are really only two kinds of these towns in American pop culture. The aforementioned desert town where it will take days for your car to get fixed, just long enough for the locals to rape and eat you. Or the beaucolic, too-good-to-be-true Twilight Zone kind of town where you discover some kid is the mayor or everyone gathers together once a year to stone a neighbor to death. Really, once you leave a major city in the US, those are your choices. So, you know, good luck, Matt!
image Superman #707
Okay, look at this. If this is what Lois Lane wears out in the field (literally) when she’s covering a potentially explosive environmental expose, it’s no wonder she’s stuck in Metropolis. I don’t see Diane Sawyer or Katie Curic tramping it up while tramping the globe, chasing a story. Lois, I know that you’re aging, while Clark stays young forever. But raiding the closet of a 14-year-old teen in crisis is not the answer.
image Starman/Congorilla
Aigh! I can’t believe Brian didn’t like this. I was able to overlook some things, because I really, really like the relationship between Starman and Congorilla. First of all, it’s just so ridiculous. Gay, blue alien guy teams up with man trapped in the body of a gorilla. It’s almost Perfect Strangers. But it works. There’s an authenticity to it that rings true. When you’re not only the “gay guy,” but the “gay guy with a lot of baggage,” finding allies isn’t easy. I imagine it’s also a challenge being a giant gorilla in the world, too. I’ve loved them together since Cry for Justice, and this issue is an important little detour to devote some time to Starman’s healing. Good, good stuff.


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