Comic Picks By The Glick
DC Previews Picks:  September 2012

DC Previews Picks: September 2012

June 14, 2012

(Social conflicts and technological issues were working against us this week.  We're planning on recording the podcast this Friday and then posting it in short order.  Thanks for your patience.)

This coming September marks the one-year anniversary of the “New 52” and we’re getting another stunt to celebrate.  There will be no “regular” issues solicited this month -- only flashback “zero” issues designed to illuminate key points in the history of these characters and series.  Some of them, such as the ones from the “Green Lantern” line are explicitly setting up future storylines, and a couple like “Talon” and “Sword of Sorcery” are actually trailing new titles.  I doubt that this will produce the long-term growth that the industry so desperately needs, but anything that keeps the big two going long enough for Image to take over the industry (again -- this time for the right reasons) can’t be all bad.

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Empowered vol. 7

Empowered vol. 7

June 12, 2012

A YEAR AND A HALF!  That’s about how long we’ve had to wait for this new volume of Adam Warren’s great sex/comedy/action/superhero series.  I feel the need to vent about this because the first four volumes came out every six months like clockwork, with the subsequent two following in successive years.  Now you can’t rush greatness or the creative process, but... I just feel let down by the ever-lengthening wait between volumes.

Of course, in every situation where there’s an extended wait between anything released from a particular creative type it all boils down to whether or not it was worth the wait.  (Is there anyone out there waiting to hear more from Axl Rose’s version of Guns ‘N Roses after “Chinese Democracy?”  Are fans clamoring for “Duke Nukem Forever 2?”  Didn’t think so.)  Bitching aside, this was.  Though the execution almost makes one think that the whole wait came down to the fact that his structural plans for this volume were almost too ambitious for his own good.

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Moon Knight (by Bendis & Maleev) vol. 1

Moon Knight (by Bendis & Maleev) vol. 1

June 10, 2012

I’m having to add the “by Bendis & Maleev” qualifier to the title of this because this isn’t the first relaunch of the character, it’s only the most recent.  “Moon Knight” has been a title and character defined more by the people who have worked on it, notably Bill Sienkiwicz in the 70’s and Stephen Platt in the 90’s, which is why these relaunches never seem to stick.  The character has been described as “like Batman, only in a white cape, and crazy” and unless you’ve got a really strong story tailored to him, or a radically different take that subverts the genre there’s not going to be a compelling reason to read his stories rather than ones involving the actual “Batman.”  There’s a reason the previous two relanches only lasted twenty-five, and twelve issues, respectively.  However, rather than admit that the character can’t sustain a title by himself, Marvel let Bendis & Maleev take a whack at it.  Their take only lasted twelve issues too, but the first volume is a decent bit of fun.

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Star Wars:  Knight Errant vol. 2 — Deluge

Star Wars: Knight Errant vol. 2 — Deluge

June 8, 2012

As you can see, I liked the first volume enough that I didn’t bother waiting until Comic-Con to pick up the second.  “Deluge” continues the fast-paced, high action vibe of the previous series as Jedi Kerra Holt returns to her homeworld to free it from Sith occupation only to find it in the crossfire of Zodoh the Hutt and most of its populace addicted to a new drug.  Fortunately a mercy organization known as Grace Command shows up to save the day and offer some relief to the planet’s citizens.  But are their motives entirely altruistic?  And what is this “Stormdriver” at Zodoh’s command?  These questions, and the broken will of the populace are enough to drive any Jedi to the breaking point even before you consider that the solipsistic Sith Lord Daiman is still out there too.

Writer John Jackson Miller serves up a story with a full plate of action and pacing that doesn’t flag until the very end.  Pretty much everything about the plot is predictable, but it’s handled with such gusto that it doesn’t detract from things too much.  Still, it’d be nice to see more sides to Kerra’s personality in the next arc as she doesn’t get the same kind of development we saw in the first volume.  What is distracting, though, is the three pencillers used to tell the story.  Things start off with a gritty look that’s more in line with the previous volume, and end with a clean, bright style that works on its own terms but is miles away from what we started with.  The cover to this edition, from Joe Quinones, has Kerra with a really goofy look on her face and an image that doesn’t really give you a good idea of what’s inside.  Quibbles aside, it’s still a good read and has me looking forward to more stories with this freelance Jedi.

Bakuman vol. 11

Bakuman vol. 11

June 7, 2012

As with its previous volumes, this title again brings something new to the table.  Now that “Perfect Crime Club” -- rechristened as “Perfect Crime Party” for its serialization debut -- has made it into Weekly Shonen Jump the trick will be to keep it there.  In a move that keeps the protagonists and the story from resting on their laurels, we find out that Editor in Chief Sasaki is planning on holding Moritaka and Akito to their word.  If their title isn’t more popular than “Crow” or “+Natural” after 25 installments, it’s history.  So now they’re faced with finding a way to transcend their title’s initial popularity into something greater.

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Irredeemable vol. 9

Irredeemable vol. 9

June 6, 2012

It was only a matter of time since  this title’s spinoff book, “Incorruptible,” was launched and its protagonist, reformed villain Max Damage, was introduced that the crossover between the two would happen.  Well, here it is and it proves that smaller publishers can pull a bait and switch during these things too.  That’s because this “crossover” doesn’t involve the protagonists of these books crossing paths during the present day at all.  To be honest, the four issues here don’t read like one connected story, but simply two two-issue tales from their respective titles.  So anyone going into this expecting the mother of all throw-downs between Max Damage and The Plutonian is going to be disappointed.

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Flowers of Evil

Flowers of Evil

June 3, 2012

Takao Kasuga is a middle-school student in a small town who likes reading, and has a particular fondness for the poems of Charles Baudelaire.  He also has a crush on Nanako, the most popular girl in class, so when the combination of a moment of weakness and the perfect opportunity strikes, the kid winds up in possession of his idol’s gym clothes.  Naturally, (or else there wouldn’t be a story) he’s found out by Nakamura the class outcast who exploits this by claiming her dominance over him in body and soul.  The back cover indicates that this is “ever so slightly” based on mangaka Shuzo Oshimi’s real life, but it lacks the authenticity of such.  A lot of what we see here feels safe and generic, sanded free of the rough edges that we all know real life has.

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Deadenders

Deadenders

June 2, 2012

Believe it or not, there was a time when Ed Brubaker wasn’t regarded as the creative and commercial powerhouse that he was today.  It was back when he was working at DC.  Yes, he wrote “Sleeper” during his tenure there, but even though it remains one of my all time favorites it sold pretty dismally in single issue form.  He did have a decent run on various “Batman” titles, but the majority of his run on them remains uncollected to this day.  (Though the entirety of his contribution to “Gotham Central” is finally available in hard and softcover editions.)  Then you’ve got his Vertigo work when he first started out at the company.  “Scene of the Crime” is a great “whytheydidit” mystery (as opposed to a “whodunit”) that is currently out of print, and his contribution to the “Sandman” mythos in the “Dead Boy Detectives” miniseries was a lot of fun.  Then you have this, which should’ve been his creator-owned magnum opus much like Ennis and Dillon’s “Preacher,” Morrison’s “The Invisibles,” and Ellis and Robertson’s “Transmetropolitan.”  Long story short, that didn’t happen and the title only lasted sixteen issues.  They’re all collected here and in reading them now the biggest surprise is seeing how different it is from the writer’s later work.

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