Comic Picks By The Glick
Bakuman vol. 7

Bakuman vol. 7

October 14, 2011

This volume’s official subtitle is “Gag and Serious,” but it may as well be, “What to do when your series is cancelled.”  It’s another eventful look at the process of creating Shonen Jump manga, and for all that I talked about the kind of bloat that tends to be a token part of series from this magazine yesterday, this is one title that actually doesn’t succumb to it.  That could just be a side effect of all the text a typical volume of “Bakuman” has, but it also manages to cover a good bit of ground, plot-wise.  We see how Moritaka and Akito struggle to come up with new ideas, and butt heads with their editor as to which of these ideas is the best -- leading to some very heated verbal exchanges later in the volume.  While their struggle is presented with the series’ customary level of skill, it’s the romantic entanglements that crop up near the end that promise to be even more interesting.

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Berserk vol. 35

Berserk vol. 35

October 13, 2011

This was the summary given on the back of the volume:

“After a hellish battle against ravenous sea monsters, Guts the Black Swordsman and his companions are forced to seek refuge on a small island so that their ship can be repaired.  But this island is not the safe haven they’d hoped for -- it’s a sinister place rife with dark energy, watched over by an ancient, vengeful god.  And with a full moon on the rise, that god’s power is about to be unleashed...”

I read this and immediately thought, “FILLER!”

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Crossed vol. 2:  Family Values

Crossed vol. 2: Family Values

October 11, 2011

Garth Ennis did more than create one of the best comics I read last year with the first volume of “Crossed,” he created a franchise.  In a move that I haven’t seen since Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch gave “The Authority” over to the creative community over a decade ago, Ennis is letting other creators tackle the concept of ordinary people struggling to survive in a world plagued by the title characters.  First at bat is writer David Lapham, best known for his “Stray Bullets” series and a host of other Vertigo projects, and artist Javier Barreno, who is new to me.  Though Lapham hits upon a great idea to explore in the “Crossed” universe, his narrative soon runs out of steam and we’re left with nothing more than a horror-infused game of cat-and-mouse.

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Chew vol. 4:  Flambe

Chew vol. 4: Flambe

October 9, 2011

Though the issues inside are labeled as parts of an arc called “Flambe,” this collection is not a continuous storyline.  It’s just five issues documenting more crazy weirdness in the life of Tony Chu, starting with the fallout from the writing in the sky that closed out the previous volume.  As it turns out, such an event has many people convinced that these are the “end times” and suddenly, following the government’s prohibition on poultry doesn’t seem all that important.  That doesn’t mean there’s any less work for Tony and his cyborg partner John.  It just means that their jobs are only going to get odder from here on out.

So we get to see Tony tracking down a voresophic -- someone who gets smarter the more they eat -- former FDA agent, resolving a food-fueled hostage situation at his daughter’s school, and teaming up with the rough-and-tumble female agents of the U.S.D.A. to stop a rogue North Korean general.  If you think that’s weird, just imagine how it gets when you bring in babies conceived in zero-G situations and mutated by solar radiation, Mason Savoy’s mind-trip, the Church of the Immaculate Ova, and Poyo, the most bad-ass fighting rooster in the world.  It’s all delivered with the customary humor and style that you’d expect from John Layman and Rob Guillory, and things flow a lot better than they did in the previous volume.  When the end comes, you really feel that they’re building towards something instead of just marking time.  It’ll be a few months before I find out what, but I’m willing to bet it’ll be worth the wait.

Irredeemable vol. 7

Irredeemable vol. 7

October 7, 2011

While the series’ current direction, which has sent The Plutonian off-planet to an intergalactic mental hospital, may seem like a necessary evil for what writer/creator Mark Waid has planned it’s still quite compelling.  In getting the world’s most powerful superhuman out of their hair, we find that the inhabitants of Earth have traded  the devil they know for the devil that they don’t in The Survivor.  It’s long been insinuated that he only has his own best interests at heart, though to what extent his plans for self-aggrandization reach is a mystery to all but a few select members of the cast.  Long story short:  The series has momentum, and despite its high cover price, I’m eager to pick up a new volume whenever it comes out.

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Comic Picks #91:  Detroit Metal City

Comic Picks #91: Detroit Metal City

October 6, 2011

Raise your goblet of rock and thrash out to my thoughts on the most METAL series in comics.  Bat heads and makeup not included.

Uncanny X-Force vol. 1:  The Apocalypse Solution

Uncanny X-Force vol. 1: The Apocalypse Solution

October 5, 2011

I probably would’ve enjoyed this more had I not read Paul O’Brien’s review of it several months back.  Yeah.  He advertised major spoilers for it, but I went and read it anyway, so it’s my bad.  The issue here is that the ending is essentially a calculated anticlimax that takes a sharp left turn into nihilism and leaves it to the reader to pick up the pieces.  Normally I’d say that’s a good thing, but in this case I was left scratching my head at this twist, much like Deadpool was on the final page.

Ending aside, it’s a solidly constructed team book with sharp writing by Rick Remender and beautifully detailed art from Jerome Opena.  I never bothered picking up the previous iteration of “X-Force” (which is handily summarized in the back of this volume) as it sounded like it took itself too seriously.  That’s not really a problem here with a team made up of Wolverine, Archangel, Psylocke, Deadpool and Fantomex whose inaugural mission has them heading to the moon to take out Apocalypse who has been reborn as a child.  He has a new set of horsemen as well and the back-and-forth battle of brawn and brains between the two teams makes for some satisfyingly old-school action.  Maybe not as good as its hype and word-of-mouth would imply, but still fun and worth a read for X-fans.

Haunt vols. 1 & 2

Haunt vols. 1 & 2

October 3, 2011

It probably won’t surprise anyone to learn that I have little affection for Todd McFarlane.  The man’s artistic and sales achievements on “Spider-Man” and “Spawn” mean less to me than his court battles with Neil Gaiman over ownership of Miracleman and the fact that he spends more time as a businessman than a comics creator these days.  That’s why I waited until I found these two volumes in the half-off bins at Comic-Con before giving them a shot, despite the involvement of Robert Kirkman.  It’s a credit to that man’s writing skills that the twelve issues here zip along eventfully, but there’s still very little emotional depth to make this a memorable project.

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Hellboy:  The Bride of Hell and Others

Hellboy: The Bride of Hell and Others

October 1, 2011

Another collection of “Hellboy” short stories?  That’s all right by me!  Even though I’m eagerly awaiting  “The Storm & The Fury,” which is the next major arc in the main Mignola/Fegredo storyline, this collection of one-shots and shorts will tide any fan over until it arrives.  These collections are an eclectic affair -- as always --  since it starts off with the title character teaming up with some Luchadores to battle evil in Mexico, mix it up with a creepy little girl vampire creature, face off against an ancient devil in the title story, and punch aliens in the face.  What I’m trying to say here is that this collection really has something for everyone.

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