Comics Load: Psychopomp and Circumstance

I was so looking forward to new comics this week, not because of any particular story event, but because I was sure it was the end of the relentlessly annoying Super 8 mini-comic inserts. Well, as many of you probably noticed, it was indeed the end of Super 8…and the beginning of the Subway mini-comic inserts. Good lord, DC. If the only way to “hold the line at $2.99” is to sell off the middle of the book every week, I’d rather pay the $3.99. Subway? Really? If they try to stick these things in the middle of digital comics, I might just become one of those fanboys who writes a passionate blog entry, quitting comics all together, forever and ever. But enough about that. Let’s talk comics. Brian Andersen returns this week, offering his historical/hysterical insight to you, the FBOTU community. And speaking of Brian, here’s a fun interview he did with Diana Terranova at Wondercon.

Congratulations, Brian! Now, on with the Load!

Brian‘s Load image

image X-Men #13
So, let me get this straight: the X-Men are fighting evil, stone-age monkey-men who were rescued from extinction by the ancient Celestial-created super-people, the Externals, and given technologically advanced super-suits and abilities? Sure, it sounds a little weird and “out there,” but it’s comics, people! Weird, crazy shiz happens all the time. Next you’ll tell me that DC is going to ditch decades worth of continuity and brand recognition to reboot their ENTIRE line of characters as if they never existed before. Hahahaahahah! That’s crazy talk…what? They are? Wow, how awkward. Okay, so anyhoot, didja know that Emma Frost used to be in a mental institution? According to this issue, she was! So, uh, Emma used to be crazy. Yeah, that’s the big news this week in the comic book world.
image Flashpoint: Wonder Woman and the Furies #1
I’m still not totally feeling the whole Flashpoint event in the current DCU. I mean, it’s just another alternate reality of the current (soon to be replaced) version of the DCU heroes. Haven’t we seen and read these alternate dimensional stories about a bazillion times before? Aside from the death and return of a superhero, is there anything in comics more cliché? That being said, I did enjoy the art in this book. Artist Scott Clark sure does doodle up himself a sexy, but respectful Wonder Woman and a very sleek and fit Aquaman. Yums. He looks delish. Swim on over my way, Aqua-baby, you can explore my great barrier reef anytime!
image Supergirl #65
What a fun read! I’m surprised. For a regular-sized comic with the normal amount of pages (I think its 22 or something), there sure was a lot of meat to this story. It felt like it was 50 pages long. In a good way. And the best part is that the story isn’t all Bendis-y talking heads and 50 word balloons smashed on a page, either. There’s humor and action and an intriguing backstory. Good job, writer Kelly Sue Deconnick! It takes a talented writer to craft a multi-layered story that reads like a full meal and not a splash page heavy fill-in issue! ‘Course, in two months, anything that happens here won’t matter anyway, so, like, at least try and enjoy this well-written issue while you can. In two months, it’ll be like this never happened! Yay?
image Uncanny X-Men #538
So, it looks like Kitty Pryde is back to being all touchable and stuff. Awesome! I’d be more excited about her solidness if how she got cured made even a remote amount of sense. But #1) it all happened off panel and #2) she basically died and was brought back to life by alien technology that swaps spirits or some junk. Oh man, comics people! Does it get any zanier? No wonder my non-comic reading boyfriend’s eyes cross whenever I attempt to explain a character’s history. Lately, when he dares to ask me who a character is as I flip through my comics next to him on the couch, I tell him the character’s name, what they do (as in superpowers) and then quickly follow up with an “it’s complicated.” He then knows to resume watching TV and avoid attempting to dive into the murky waters of comic book continuity. Anyhoo, alien tech or not, welcome back Kitty Pryde! Now you and Colossus can hump to your hearts’ content! Give Emma and Scott a run for their horny money!
image Fear Itself: Youth in Revolt #2
There are more Z-List superheroes abounding in this comic than you can twirl a hammer at. I only have the vaguest knowledge of who most of these teen characters are, and the brief explanation of who and where Thor Girl comes from/is doesn’t really help much—she comes from a different world, was saved by Thor, decided to become like him, fought alongside him, got turned to stone and then somehow made it to Earth? Yeah, it’s comics, people! I’m just gonna go with it. Plus, I like her hair, it’s long and blond and pretty. What more do I need to know? And speaking of good hair, there appears to be some female version of the Hulk’s Doc Samson named Geiger? She sports green locks and cut-off jeans! It took one panel of her in action, and I knew that I loved her. So scram, Cat-Girl, Geiger is my new nobody comic infatuation.
image Alpha Flight #1
I loved me some Alpha Flight when I was a boy. Loved them! And while it’s great seeing the whole original team together again and I’m thankful that Northstar is still gay (it’s yet to be retconned, amazingly enough), and still has a boyfriend, I’m a little “eh” about the “shocking” ending. So—SPOILER ALERT—Heather Hudson (aka Vindicator) is some kinda traitor? Oh man, really? Aside from a hero dying and coming back to life (like, basically all of Alpha Flight have done), and alternate realities, is there any other comic cliché bigger then the former hero turning out to be a traitor? Been there, done that. Plus, really, after Terra in the Teen Titans, no other surprise traitor story can ever even come close to that masterpiece. I will say, however, that I’m happy that sea-bound Marrina is being made into this pro-alien anti-human punk rocker diva bitch. It’s, like, 20 trazillion miles away from how the character has ever been portrayed in any comic before, but I kinda dig it. I suppose coming back from the dead makes you wanna become some kinda wild child wild card? I wanna see more of this Courtney Love-ish Marrina! Bring on the solo series.
image Teen Titans #96
I’ll tell you this, comic lovers, it’s reallllllly hard to care about any of the DC monthlies now that everything is reboot…reLAUNCHING in two months. So, seriously, what do I care what happens here? It won’t matter in two months anyway. What a pity. It was nice sorta-kinda knowing ya, Solstice.
image Screamland #1
Retired monsters in Hollywood? Check. Cocaine deaths, sex tapes, a murder mystery and a cheesy convention signing circuit? Check and check. This comic could totally be about my life! From the quirky art to the entertaining story, this book was a surprisingly enjoyable read. Seek it out, classic B movie monster loving peeps! You’ll be glad you did.

Chance‘s Load image

image Alpha Flight #1
One of the things I’ll miss when comics go completely digital and all the brick and mortar stores turn into Sprint stores or Starbucks is the meaningful insight I get interacting with my comics monger and other comics fans on Wednesdays. For instance, after I read the previous issue of Alpha Flight, I had this brief exchange with my comics monger:

CM: What did you think of Northstar’s kiss?

Me: I thought it was great. Though, I’m a little worried that they’re going to kill him.

CM: I’d be more worried about the boyfriend.

So prophetic. So wise. Poor Kyle. We hardly knew ye.

image Daken: Dark Wolverine #10
So profoundly has this DC business affected me, that I’ve been mourning the impending loss of ALL the comic book characters and stories I’m reading, whether DC or not. I swear. After reading this issue, I immediately got annoyed, worried that there’d be no Daken in the relaunch. Thankfully, Marvel is keeping calm and carrying on (except for Uncanny X-Men, but that will totally be back in a few months, I bet). This issue is rather illuminating, because we get to see Daken vulnerable. Yes, even more vulnerable than sad naked Daken last month. Daken learns the hard way that Hollywood is a tough town, and if the bouncer or receptionist doesn’t recognize you, you’re not getting in. Believe me, I’ve been thrown out of enough parties, studios and bar mitzvahs to know how he feels. It doesn’t take Dak long to figure things out, though. He kills some guys, finds a drug dealer and has sex with an A-list actor. He’s gonna make it after all.
image Flashpoint: Lois Lane and the Resistance #1
I suppose if you’re going to get captured by Amazons, it helps if you’re already wearing a toga. I wish I had access to a scanner right now, so I could show you what they’ve got Lois wearing in this book. Truly, it’s so distracting and out of character that I couldn’t really get into the rest of the book. Lois’s breasts cast a significant shadow across the rest of her body and I spent a ridiculous amount of time trying to figure out how this garment was supposed to be constructed. Her breasts, it seems, are in a “pouch,” if you will, separate from the rest of the gown. Sort of like a pair of Joe Snyder underwear, where you put some of your junk in a pouch, which then hangs over the rest of your junk below. The Amazons, no strangers to cleavage themselves, finally give her a more modest toga to wear. Still, if anything else happened in this issue, it was hidden in the shadows of Lois’s rack.
image Green Arrow #13
I hate when comics make me wrestle with my own beliefs. After Green Arrow “killed” Prometheus, I was one of the first to say, “Good.” And it annoyed me that the other heroes and society condemned him. Then the whole Osama Bin Laden thing went down, and I said, “Good.” But then the celebrations sort of gave me the wiggins and I started to feel creepy for celebrating anyone’s demise. In this issue, we’re immediately reminded of the horror of Lian’s death, then are treated to the horror of Oliver’s flashbacks to the good old days when he used to use hacked up cadavers as target practice. Then, a federal marshal shows up in Ollie’s forest to recruit him to help escort a crazed evangelical to prison. The marshal even applauds him for whacking Prometheus. So, all of this is set-up for Ollie’s eventual choice of whether or not to kill the crazy preacher guy when he has the chance. It’s really well constructed, actually. I was totally on the marshal’s side in the beginning, but by the end, I wasn’t so sure. Still, it’s not an easy choice. If killing one guy will save many, is it justifiable? Are those decisions best left in the hands of the authorities and not superheroes? Oh, Ollie. Why can’t you just stay in the forest with Galahad?
image Ultimate Spider-Man #160
I was standing in line, waiting to buy my stack of comics, when I overheard the cashier trying to sell a costumer on this final issue of The Death of Spider-Man saga. He said, “It made Bendis cry. And he WROTE it!” I already had the issue in my hands, but if I didn’t, I can’t argue with Bendis tears as a selling point for anything. I wanted to hold up my issue of Ducktales #2 and ask if it made Walt’s frozen head cry. Seriously, if stores would start labeling things with sticky notes that said, “Made Geoff Johns vomit” or “Made Gail Simone moody” I would really appreciate that. As for this issue…you know I haven’t cried since November 5, 1976, during a screening of Snoopy, Come Home, but I will admit this: my eyes may not have been entirely dry by the end of the book. So put that on a sticky at your local comic book store.
image X-Factor #221
Here’s another book that I love and was feeling depressed about it getting relaunched in September. Then I realized it’s a Marvel title and relaxed a little. I’m not even that worried about Ric or Shatterstar dying, mainly because they’re both white. I also love Layla calmly salting the entrances to HQ and Madrox explaining it to Ric via a Supernatural reference. Some scary stuff is coming, clearly, and none more so than a mutant werewolf birth scene in the middle of a demonic assault. Push! Push!

Thanks for reading!

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