Comic Picks By The Glick
Golden Kamuy vol. 2

Golden Kamuy vol. 2

October 30, 2017

The second volume of this early 20th century adventure manga has an interesting mix of the nice and the nasty.  Much of the “nice” involves former soldier Saichi “Immortal” Sugimoto and tween Ainu huntress Asirpa hanging out at her village.  We get to learn plenty about the Ainu culture, such as how the size of a woman’s tattoo depends on the prominence of her husband, and how they give their children disgusting names initially to ward off evil spirits.  There’s also plenty more about their cuisine as we see Asirpa fix otter and rabbit dishes.  Saichi also has to suffer through eating a raw eyeball, but finally gets one over on his Ainu comrade when he tries to introduce her to the wonders of miso and she instantly regards it as “poop.”


All this is good fun and provides a nice counterpoint to the manga’s nasty parts.  These include an encounter between Saichi, a group of soldiers from the division that’s been tracking them, and a big brown bear.  It’s a surprisingly brutal sequence that includes a bit of face-based ultraviolence (and its aftermath) that would fit right in amongst the collected works of Garth Ennis.  We also get to see more of Lieutenant Tsurumi and find out that the reason he wears a plate over his forehead was because a piece of shrapnel carved out a chunk of his frontal lobe.  This has turned him into the kind of man who loses his temper quite easily and flies into finger-eating and cheek-stabbing rages.  It also makes him into an effective villain, in case it needed to be said.


What’s here is an effective follow-up to the promise that vol. 1 showed.  It’s true that mangaka Satoru Noda still loves to slow down the action with text-box asides about the period, but I think I can get used to that.  So bring on vol. 3, I’m ready for more adventure!


(Oh, and there’s been a development in regards to my thoughts on how dire this series’ commercial prospects initially appeared to be.  “Golden Kamuy” will be getting an anime adaptation early next year.  This will definitely bode well for its commercial prospects out here, assuming the anime turns out to be the next big thing.)

Image Previews Picks:  January 2018

Image Previews Picks: January 2018

October 29, 2017

It’s a big month for Robert Kirkman as both “Invincible” and “The Walking Dead” hit major milestone issues.  This is a much bigger deal for the former series as this is its final issue.  More on that and the rest of Image’s solicitations after the break.

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Marvel Previews Picks:  January 2018

Marvel Previews Picks: January 2018

October 28, 2017

The Marvel Legacy one-shot has arrived and with it, the identity of the resurrectee that issue was supposed to reveal.  To my surprise, it wasn’t some kind of prologue for “The Return of Jean Grey” miniseries that was solicited last month.  Instead, it’s the return of a completely different character.  One who we really haven’t had a chance to miss.


I’d give a proper *spoiler warning* here, but the return in this issue manages to be both unsurprising and underwhelming at the same time.  It’s Wolverine.  Now you may be going, “Wait a sec.  We’ve already got ‘All-New Wolverine’ and ‘Old Man Logan’ and now you’re telling us the original is back now?”  Yes, that’s exactly what Marvel is telling you.  I’d also expect that he’ll be getting his own solo series again in short order so you can have three ongoing “Wolverine”-type titles to buy.  Even though I like the idea of Jason Aaron writing the character again, I really haven’t had the chance to miss the Ol’ Canucklehead since his death.  If the whole point of killing him off was to get people to appreciate him in absentia, then Marvel flubbed that here big time.  Which is par for their course this year.


All this being said, I still have yet to read the “Legacy” one-shot.  Even though I’m sure I’ll be able to get around to it eventually, it sure as hell won’t be in the format Marvel is soliciting here.  For $40 you can get the one-shot in hardcover along with all of the “preview pages” for other Marvel series that have been added to other comics over the past few rounds of solicitations and a copy of the latest “Friends Of Old Marvel” magazine.  To their credit, Marvel has at least made an effort to make that cover price worthwhile with a 224-page count.  It still sounds like a horrifically overpriced way to read the one thing of actual substance in this collection.

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DC Previews Picks:  January 2018

DC Previews Picks: January 2018

October 27, 2017

*deep breath*  Okay, so about a month back Tom King tweeted a page of art from Jason Fabok with a severed hand catching fire in a wintery backdrop and Fabok tweeted a picture of snow with a statement that he was working with a writer on a secret project.  CBR thought that this meant the two were teaming up for a Rorschach miniseries picking up from the character’s demise at the end of “Watchmen.”  Given the existence of “Doomsday Clock” and the integration of “Watchmen” into the DCU, this isn’t an entirely implausible theory.  King and Fabok have already collaborated on the “Batman” half of the crossover story “The Button” which acts as something of a lead-in to the maxiseries.  It does, however, contradict writer Geoff Johns’ statement that “Doomsday Clock” is a self-contained maxiseries and won’t offer any spinoffs or tie-ins to other DCU titles.


While King and Fabok may eventually get around to doing a Rorschach minseries someday, January’s solicitations offered an actually convincing reason that their next project together won’t be it.  The two are teaming up for the Swamp Thing Winter Special which has the title character shepherding a boy through a blizzard while the two are stalked by a snow monster.  This special also features a story by the character’s late co-creator Len Wein, which was set to be the start of a new “Swamp Thing” series with art from Kelly Jones.  As far as I’m concerned, having King and Fabok collaborate on a story that will give Wein’s final story a wider audience than it would have otherwise is a much better use of their talents than giving us *ugh* more “Watchmen” spinoffs.

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Dark Horse Previews Picks:  January 2018

Dark Horse Previews Picks: January 2018

October 25, 2017

Dark Horse has partnered up with Nintendo to release several of their gaming art and sourcebooks, including the mega-selling “Hyrule Historia.”  One has to wonder when they’re going to take their relationship to the next level and start giving us comics based on these properties.  We have an answer now and it is “Fall 2018” as Dark Horse has announced that they’ll be doing a series of graphic novels based on “ARMS,” the fighting game about characters with springs for arms which debuted on the Switch earlier this year.


Now, it’s not the “Metroid” miniseries that retcons “Other M” that I was hoping for, but it’s a start.  It’s also telling that “ARMS” is the first property Nintendo is letting Dark Horse take a crack at too.  This is a brand new IP that the company clearly hopes it can build up into a major franchise -- maybe not into a “Mario” or “Zelda,” but “Splatoon” is the clearest analogue here -- and there’s more room for them to experiment here as a result.  Plus, if the graphic novel is terrible then it’ll just be weighing down a less important franchise as opposed to a big one.  However, if the graphic novel is successful, something that’s more likely considering Dark Horse’s track record with licensed work, then it may just be that first stepping stone to getting that “Metroid” miniseries.  Or, more likely, “Zelda” and “Mario” miniseries.

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H.P. Lovecraft’s The Hound and Other Stories

H.P. Lovecraft’s The Hound and Other Stories

October 23, 2017

I have a confession to make:  I’ve never read any of H.P. Lovecraft’s stories.  It’s a major failing of mine considering how his work has influenced a lot of what I read, play, and listen to.  One of these days I figure to finally sit down and start reading my way through his canon, but that day isn’t today.  With that said, I didn’t pick up this manga adaptation of three of Lovecraft’s stories in the hope that it would help balance the scales of my karma.  My purchase of this collection mainly came down to my ongoing desire to support the kind of manga I’d like to see from Dark Horse.  As far as providing a worthwhile reading experience, however, this collection left me with the feeling that the real appeal of Lovecraft’s stories must lie within his actual prose.

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Spider-Man/Deadpool vol. 3:  Itsy-Bitsy

Spider-Man/Deadpool vol. 3: Itsy-Bitsy

October 22, 2017

I really enjoyed the first volume of this series which had the creators of “Deadpool’s” first solo series, Joe Kelly and Ed Mcguinness, teaming up again to see if they could recapture some of that magic.  It was a very funny romp with fantastic art from McGuinness and acknowledged continuity in a way that most current Marvel comics fail to do these days (some might see that as a negative -- me, not so much).  Now, Kelly and McGuinness aren’t the fastest creators out there so vol. 2 wound up consisting of uneven but amusing filler and we’re only now getting back to the main plot with vol. 3.  Was it worth the wait?


That all depends on whether or not you wanted this story to turn into a drama with some comedic bits.  While the volume starts off as funny as you’d expect with Spidey and Deady taking on a group of hapless animal-themed villains, things quickly take a turn for the serious with the appearance of the title character.  Itsy-Bitsy is a woman who has been spliced with the genes of these two heroes and is determined to take after them in a more extreme fashion:  By killing ALL bad guys.  This doesn’t sit well with Spidey and the newly-reformed Deadpool so they make plans to stop her, with the former declaring that they do so BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY!


Now, if you just went, “Hey, that doesn’t sound like something Spider-Man would say” then you’ve recognized the biggest problem with this volume.  While having the character get worked up over taking on a particularly aggravating villain isn’t anything new, Kelly pushes here to the point where it really starts to feel out of character for him.  Admittedly, this leads to some good material for Deadpool to work through, but it doesn’t feel worth it.  The grim, depressing tone established by Spidey’s actions as the comic goes on works against all the worthwhile stuff in it.  Yes, even McGuinness’ amazing art.  I’d say this is still worth picking up to all of the people who bought the first volume so they can see how the story ends.  Yet it’s hard to imagine them, or myself, going back to re-read it anytime in the future.

Star Wars:  Darth Maul

Star Wars: Darth Maul

October 21, 2017

Cullen Bunn is one of those writers who has written a lot of comics that I’ve liked, but nothing I’ve been truly passionate about.  (Yet, anyway.)  “Darth Maul” doesn’t really move the needle regarding my opinion of him as it’s a capable, competent comic that you could buy or skip entirely without any repercussions.  There is at least a decent idea at the heart of Bunn’s take on Maul as we’re introduced to the apprentice Sith trying to control the bloodlust his master Darth Sidious has stoked in him.  Whether it’s taking on a pack of alien monsters or silently brooding at Jedi at Coruscant, he’s chomping at the bit to get on with his master’s plan to take down the Jedi order.  Sidious realizes this and sends his apprentice on a mission to bail out some of his allies in the Trade Federation, which Maul does without question or much of a hassle.  This mission isn’t without its benefits as Maul learns about a crimelord’s plan to auction off a Jedi Padawan.


In order to secure this padawan for himself and temporarily quench his bloodlust, Maul is going to need two things:  Restraint, and some allies.  The rest of the volume shows us how he deals with both of these things in ways both good and bad.  While the group of bounty hunters Maul hires at least have amusing one-note personalities, the decent idea of having this bloodthirsty Sith learn restraint starts to get old after a while.  This is mainly because Bunn won’t stop hammering this idea home in the character’s internal monologue which eventually transitions from overwrought to self-parody.  Even in the face of good scenes, like the one where Maul sneaks in to get a look at the padawan, but has to restrain himself once he’s caught.


Luke Ross handles the art here and he’s been an uneven presence in the time that I’ve seen his work.  This, however, is one of his better efforts as he produces some impressively detailed work that captures the “Star Wars” feel in its familiar and new elements.  If the writing was as good as the art, then this would be an easy recommendation.  Combining the two, the final product that is this “Darth Maul” comic is ultimately “not bad.”

All-Star Batman vol. 2:  Ends of the Earth

All-Star Batman vol. 2: Ends of the Earth

October 20, 2017

One of the things I was expecting to see from Scott Snyder’s run on “All-Star Batman” was more single-issue stories after the first arc.  While the writer did a handful of shorter tales over the course of his run on “Batman,” the majority of his time on that title was spent on blockbuster stories that (successfully) kept getting bigger with each one.  We don’t quite get that here.  “Ends of the Earth” collects four issues that initially seem like they stand alone only to come together to form a proper arc.  It’s pretty entertaining for what it is, so long as you’re already onboard with Snyder’s established style.

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Comic Picks #248:  Jeff Lemire — Old Man Logan/Royal City

Comic Picks #248: Jeff Lemire — Old Man Logan/Royal City

October 18, 2017

The writer does the (not hard) job of delivering the best take on "Old Man Logan" yet, and his new creator-owned title is worth a look as well.

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