Comic Picks By The Glick

What I’ve been reading: 1/21/09

January 22, 2009

So, I heard Batman died last week.

Yeah.  I don't belive it either, and while I could go on about how comic book deaths never last (most are speculating that Mr. Wayne will escape death the same way Shiloh Norman did in another Grant Morrison comic, "Seven Soldiers of Victory") but someone else summed up the situation in a far better way than I ever could.  In his latest Tilting at Windmills ( http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=19580 because this post doesn't want to add links) retailer Brian Hibbs talks about how DC managed to cockblock themselves in promoting the death of one of their biggest heroes.

That said, onto the reviews:

Star Wars:  Legacy vol. 1 -- Broken

I used to buy EVERY "Star Wars" comic and book that arrived on store shelves for a very long time.  I stopped around the time "The New Jedi Order" series started and (except for re-buying the "X-Wing:  Rogue Squadron" series in omnibi) haven't looked back.  Then along comes a very slow week at the comic shop and I decide to pick this up after hearing good things about it from a friend and the comic review sites I frequent.  After reading it through I was pleasantly surprised to find out that most of the good word about the series was true; granted, the status quo set up in this volume doesn't add a whole lot to the series.  Even though the series is set 125 years after "Return of the Jedi" we've still got the Sith, the Empire, the Jedi, a princess (an Imperial one this time), and a Skywalker destined to save the universe.  The Skywalker in question is Cade, Luke's grandson, and as much as he'd like to forget his Jedi heritage in drugs and bounty hunting, the universe isn't going to let him.  So even though there are a lot of familiar elements at play here, veteran writer John Ostrander does a good job putting a new spin on them, and he earns an immense amount of goodwill from me by making Sith Lord Darth Krayt have his own struggles to overcome and not an all-powerful, all-knowing plot point for the good guys to overcome.  I'll be looking forward to seeing where this goes from here.

Groo:  Hell on Earth

The formula for pretty much every "Groo" comic written by Mark Evarnier and illustrated by Sergio Aragones goes something like this:  Groo shows up somewhere -- his stupidity causes untold destruction -- a lesson is learned at the end of the story.  Hilarity usually ensues throughout, but not so much this time.  While the morals for most "Groo" stories tend to be short, witty sentiments that briefly sum up the action, this story is all about the moral.  This time around, the world's strongest and dumbest barbarian is set against pretty much all the problems facing us today:  corrupt rulers, the arms race, famine, global warming, you name it, it's in here.  While previous "Groo" stories have dealt with the ills of the world before, they've done them in a way that's one step removed from the actual problem which gives them room to insert the funny stuff without making the message seem too blatant (i.e. using sneezing as a stand in for STDs... no, really, it worked; check out the "Groo 25th Anniversary Special" to see this approach done right).  Unfortunately by making these real-world problems a direct part of the story, Evarnier and Aragones wind up hammering home the point that our world is going to perish unless we change our ways on nearly every single page.  The end result is that no matter how many frays Groo gets into, or explosions that cow belches cause, the story winds up being too preachy for its own good.  Recommended for "Groo" completitsts only.

Ghost Talker's Daydream vol. 3

I mentioned how I was less than impressed with the first volume of this series in the second Dark Horse podcast, but there's been a steady uptick in the quality of the series since then.  Of course, if I could only recommend one Dark Horse manga where the lead character talks to ghosts, it'd still be "The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service," but a lot of the things that annoyed me about the first volume have been addressed or toned down.  Main character Saiki Misaki's day job as a dominatrix has actually been worked into the plot of several stories now and doesn't exist just as titillating window dressing, and the goofy stuff has been toned down to the point where it doesn't interfere with the creepy stuff... as much.  The stories in this volume find Saiki helping her lesbian friend converse with the ghost of a dead one-night-stand, meeting up with an old man while reminiscing about the past on a hot summer day, and encountering a real-life version of a "ghost taxi" urban legend.  While none of these stories are straightforward in their execution, the perceptive reader will be able to see the twists coming from a mile away.  Fortunately the character details found within each story are well done (see: Saiki's sad tale of her "almost" first time) and add a lot to them.  The series isn't at "must-read" status yet, but now I can at least say that I'll be a little disappointed if Dark Horse ever decides to give this series the axe.

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