Weekly Comic Review for 3/5/08

Buffy the Vampire Slayer #12

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W: Drew Goddard

A: Georges Jeanty

Okay, so by now I’m sure everyone’s heard about the “huge, shocking events” of this issue of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, so we’ll just jump right into it, okay.

Yes. Buffy slept with Satsu (the little Slayer who’s in love with her). I’m sure everyone is up in arms about Buffy’s horizontal (I’m assuming she spent most of the time horizontal anyway…they are slayers, after all, so, y’know, wicked limber) explorations. I’ve seen some of the headlines already. “Buffy with a Girl!” Blah blah fuckin’ blah. Big deal! No one makes less of a deal out of gayness than Joss. It’s just another possibility with him…no fanfare…no hoopla. He’s the Anti-Winnick. And, let’s look at things logically. First, Buffy’s pretty much said she really needed to have her cork popped (I have a theory that on top of everything else, being a slayer gives you a sex drive that would make the Energizer Bunny blush–as evidence, I give that one episode where she and Riley boned for an entire 45 minutes). Now, wacky, head-popping dream aside, Buffy hooking up with Xander just wouldn’t happen, even for a meaningless romp. Sorry. Not going to happen in the world that Joss has painstakingly crafted. The only thing less likely to happen is Jayne boning Kaylee. That leaves who? Andrew? Andrew, who’s gayer than N’Sync and 98 Degrees put together in the middle of a Sex in the City Convention? Clearly, at this point in time, Buffy’s only means of getting some sweet, sweet lovin’ in the real world (Buffy-Spike-Angel three-way and dueling Christian Bale dreams just don’t cut it for our frustrated little Slayer) is to explore her Sapphic side. And, I’m sure there’s some underlying layer of selfless nobility to Satsu’s feelings for the Buffster (which is more than can be said about that dickhead Parker).

All of that aside, Drew Goddard’s given us an issue of Buffy that’s equal parts French farce and episode of Three’s Company, with magic and vampires–which, the faithful know, is not too far from some of the best episodes of the show. Plus, we’re given a nifty little side-story involving one of the few Big Bads (or Medium-sized Bads, I guess) from the show that actually escaped getting vanquished by our intrepid little Slayer: Dracula.
I had actually forgotten that Dracula escaped a staking at the end of the fifth season premiere, so this issue was a fun little surprise for me. And, who doesn’t want to see Xander become a spider-eating butt-monkey again…even if it’s just for a little while?

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Countdown to Final Crisis 8

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W: Paul Dini, Justin Gray & Jimmy Palmiotti

A: Carlos Magno

This is, without a doubt, the most confusing issue of Countdown to date. You heard me: Most. Confusing. Issue. Ever.

After finding Ray Palmer and get dear, sweet Mary Marvel back on the side of the angels, what happens? Well, people stand around and argue for an entire issue. Do we fight Darkseid? Do we let Karate Kid die so the super-virus he’s carrying in side of him doesn’t destroy the universe? Do Jimmy and Donna just grab each other and start making out? None of those questions are even answered, really, because by the end of the issue, Solomon shows up and whammies everyone back to Earth.

There was one cool moment in this issue when the mystery behind Jimmy Olsen’s recent apotheosis is revealed. Yes, it was all Darkseid’s doing. He manipulated things so that the energies of the deceased New Gods would be channeled into the Daily Planet’s cub photographer. Why? Simple. Once all of the New Gods were gone, Darkseid would pop up, peal Jimmy like a grape and take all of the power for himself. And, putting the mojo into “Superman’s pal” insured that no one else would get to Jimmy before the Big D could. Good job, Darkseid.

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Detective Comics #842

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W: Peter Milligan

A: Dustin Nguyen

What’s more terrifying than Batman? Batman wearing a suit of cursed armor that brings out the wearer’s inner rage. So, that nifty suit of armor that Talia gave Bruce back in during the “Resurrection of Ra’s al Ghul” storyline turns out to be the fabled Suit of Sorrows–a suit of armor that dates back to the Crusades. Okay, Bruce, I realize that Talia is hot, like really H-O-T, but she’s still the daughter of your greatest enemy, so I don’t think you should be accepting gifts from her. Especially when that gift has the word “sorrow” in its name.

The issue begins with Bats nearly wiping the pavement with a serial killer called Gotham Jack (who, based upon his appearance and M.O., seems to be Gotham’s answer to Jack the Ripper). That, understandably, gets Bruce thinking that something must be up, especially after the note from Talia claims that the suit will destroy anyone who isn’t “pure.” Of course, this cranks ol’ Brucie’s detective skills up to 11, leading him to uncover the truth behind Twelfth Century massacre. In the end, Bruce overcomes the effects of the Suit of Sorrows, but not before learning a valuable lesson: no man is pure, no one is above losing control, and everyone must be vigilant against these darker impulses.

I like when Bruce learns these little lessons, when he’s forced to face that the fact that, as awesome as he is, he’s still human and prone to human frailties. The only problem I had was the amount of time that Bruce–who’s the poster-child for scientific rationality–wasted worrying about whether or not the Suit of Sorrows actually was cursed, or was having some other mystical effect on him. For someone who claims that magic is a bunch of non-sense, Bruce spent an awful lot of time worrying about it. But, overall, this was another great issue of Detective Comics.

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Green Lantern #28

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W: Geoff Johns

A: Mike McKone

This is it, kids, the first appearance of the Red Lanterns of Rage (plus a teaser about the Orange Lanterns of Avarice).

Built around the trial of Lantern Laira, who is found guilty of murdering Amon Sur and expelled from the Corps, this issue of Green Lantern continues to build upon the recent mythology of the Lanterns, the Guardians, the Book of Oa, and the other Spectral Corps–in fact, the first red lantern appears on the second page. By the end of the issue, the first person to wield a red ring is revealed, and it’s Laira–who, I’m not ashamed to say, is about 43% hotter once she’s a rage-filled Red Lantern. And, if that isn’t enough for you, we learn that the Controllers are searching for an “orange light.”

What I thought was an interesting twist, was Johns deciding that the Red Lanterns aren’t just the “rage lanterns.” Sure, rage fuels them just like will-power fuels the Green Lanterns and fear fuels the Sinestros. But, it’s a specific rage. It looks like the Red Lanterns hate–and I mean really hate–Sinestro.

Oh, and in this issue, the Guardians reveal the second of the Ten New Laws: Lethal Force Has Been Authorized Against All Enemies of the Green Lantern Corps. Those little blue paranoid bastards are playing right into Sinestro’s hands.

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Justice League: The New Frontier Special #1

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W: Darwyn Cooke

A: Darwyn Cooke, David Bullock & J. Bone

I read Cooke’s DC opus New Frontier for the first time within the last month, so I can only imagine how the folks who read it when it first came out must have been champing at the bit for something like this special issue (which, I’m sure, has absolutely nothing to do with the release of the New Frontier DVD).

The New Frontier Special contains three all new stories–all written by Cooke–set in the over-stylized Fifties and Sixties of Cooke’s DC Universe. Luckily, Rip Hunter shows up on the very first page and tells us that it doesn’t matter what Earth these stories take place on, we should just sit back and enjoy them (and then he pulls out a rifle and shoots at a few pesky aluminum siding salesmen).

The first story is an actual continuation from New Frontier, written and drawn by Cooke. It’s 1955 and Eisenhower calls upon Superman to take care of Gotham’s Batman. This is a classic “Batman meets Superman” story, but set against the backdrop of Cooke’s paranoia-fueled McCarthy Era heroes. Clark and Bruce duke it out–Bruce comes out on top with the help of some kryptonite that Catwoman lifted from Luthor–and, in the end, Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman realize that they are a better force for good together than separately.

The second story (this time with David Bullock providing the art) chronicles the first meeting between Robin and Kid Flash in Cooke’s universe. Since he had already tackled the Justice League, it was nice to see Cooke’s take on the younger generation of heroes and how the Teen Titans would begin in the New Frontier Universe. Plus, Bullock’s art is a nice extension of Cooke’s style.

Unfortunately, the same can not be said for J. Bone, who handles the art chores for the third and final story. While it might have been interesting to see Cooke’s uber-feminist Wonder Woman and sexpot Black Canary teaming up during the 1960s feminist movement, Bone’s art is far too cartoony, making it almost impossible for me to finish the story (it’s reminiscent of Kyle Baker’s Plastic Man series, which made me want to vomit half-way through the first issue).

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Powers #28

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W: Brian Michael Bendis

A: Mike Avon Oeming

It isn’t always easy to do “something different” with super-hero comics. If you try to go too far away from the genre’s conventions, you lose everything that makes comic books fun. For example: as much as I liked the first two volumes of Ultimates, it sometimes became too real and, let’s face it, the real world isn’t always tons of fun. But, with Powers, Bendis and Oeming give the super-hero genre their own spin, while keeping the flavor of super-hero comics more or less intact.

In this new issue of Powers, Detective Walker continues to search for the serial killer who’s been spreading the Powers virus around the city. What makes this case tough for Walker, aside from the fact that all of the victims are young girls, is that the usually stoic detective finds himself personally invested in this investigation. Not only is his former partner, Deena Pilgrim (herself infected with the virus), a suspect in the killings, but his protege Calista–a.k.a. the new Retro-Girl–is a spitting image for the perp’s type, and she’s offering to use herself as bait.

This issue highlights one of the coolest parts of Powers‘ fairly subtle mythology. Walker is, essentially, immortal and, over the ages, he keeps encountering different incarnations of the same heroes, like Retro-Girl. So, while Walker’s been romantically linked with previous Retro-Girls, he’s taken on a more paternal role with the current one.

Oh, and there’s a great Tarantino-esque scene between Deena (who’s kinda hot when she’s hurling lightning at things), The Lance, and an army of creepy little goblin-y guys.

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Teen Titans: Year One #3 (of 6)

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W: Amy Wolfram

A: Karl Kerschl, Serge LaPointe & Steph Peru

The biggest mystery this week is this: how can a menace that is powerful enough to take out the Justice League, and force the League’s teen side-kicks to band together, be taken out in a single issue?

That’s really the weakest thing about this Year One title. The writing is still pretty top-notch, and I really like the art–despite the occasional “anime” moment, like Wonder Girl’s comedic torrent of tears that make a water main break look like a trickle. It was cool seeing Kid Flash and Speedy all revved up to getting to team-up with little Donna Troy. It was even cooler when Aqua Lad couldn’t contain his hero-worship and blurts out “Robin’s cool!”

I am curious to see how the creative team is going to fill the second half of this mini’s run, so I’ll definitely be back next month for #4.

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Quote of the Week:

“Oh, my eye. My burning, beautiful eye.”–one-eyed Xander Harris upon barging in on a clothing-free Buffy and Satsu in Buffy the Vampire Slayer #12.

Tarantino Moment of the Week:

“Take your time, boys. Not every day you get to beat the clit off a lying ex-cop bitch fuck!”–The Lance to his army of creepy little goblin-guys, regarding former detective Deena Pilgrim, in Powers #28.

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2 responses to “Weekly Comic Review for 3/5/08

  1. So what’s with aluminium siding salesman?

  2. Personally, I have nothing against them (or anyone who’s trying to make an honest living). I guess it was just a joke about how popular aluminum siding was in the 50s.

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