Wednesday, April 26, 2006

My Lovely Day

Oh, my, what a LOVELY day for comic books.

Ordinarily, I don't get my books earlier than any of the other customers at Big Monkey, but I had the good fortune of being at the store last night after hours when the books are put up, allowing me get my sub and read it at bedtime.

And, let me tell you, today's a lovely day for comic books. At least, for me!

While the plot from Battle for Bludhaven isn't entirely to my taste, I'm along for the ride as long as it seems to be the staging ground for the (re-)introduction of lots of bizarre but welcome characters to the DCU. The new and appropriately name Firebrand; the, um, opinionated Father Time; the new Human Bomb in his slimming black outfit; those wacky, expendable Atomic Knights; the surprising (to me, at least) identity of the new Phantom Lady (who's all that and then some); even the Golem is gaining new life (well, sort of). But I was NOT ready for the "guest star" on the last page. Yow. That'll shake things up!

Speaking of new life and shaking things up, Supergirl is just the breath of fresh air the surly Legion of Super-Heroes need. Here in the 21st Century, she's been an annoying bellyshirted elephant in the living room, but in the 31st, she's cheery and fun. Still a solipsistic avatar of the meaningless of life, yes; but a cheery and fun one! She and Brainy haven't met yet, but, oh, they will... .

I'm not totally sold on the new Blue Beetle because, well, I already watch Danny Phantom on TV. But I like the art, and, oh my goodness, I was not expecting the final page. It makes sense (or it will) but it was still a shocker.

I wasn't certain I was going to keep Catwoman in my sub once the new Catwoman / new direction kicked it. But after this week's issue, I'm sure I am. I should know better than to distrust Will Pfeiffer, who always delivers. The building "mythos" around Catwoman, Angle Man, et al. is hooking me. And if you don't buy this issue, you'll miss what is (I think) the first meeting of Slam Bradley and Ted "Wildcat Loves You" Grant. But for me the sweet sweet icing on this multi-layered kitty cake is the new version of Film Freak (an '80's character who battle Harvey Bullock). The fricking Film Freak as a public personality and a player in Gotham scene? I'm in.

Checkmate I really didn't want to like, which smelled much too S.H.I.E.L.D.y for me and whose "chess" theme is very heavyhanded. Sigh. The Wall, monoptic Alan Scott, Mr. Terrific, Beatriz DaCosta actually using her power to doing something other than fly, Count Vertigo and King Farraday; I can't fight against that, I'm in. One thing, though; PLEASE lose the ridiculous outfits that Alan and Amanda are squeezed into. Didio; just call Blockade Boy, he'll whip up something fun in no time.

Loved the Villains United Special; if you don't, I don't know what you're reading comics for. Thanks, Gail! The ongoing cryptolovestory of Catman and Deadshot; the wacky hijinks of the "Secret Six", the "Friends" of the hired assassin set; the unique role of Dr. Light, who in Gail's hands is both his goofy self and his very frightening self at the same time; mysteries like the Capt. Nazi/ Black Adam relationship; the new comedy stylings of Dr. Psycho and Warp.

Speaking of Dr. P, it's nice to know that he (1) stills dresses for important occasions (2) likes having a pet (3) can sing. Heck, I'm enough of a geek that simply seeing Odd-Man on the page was worth the price of admission. I need Odd-Man in my life, and, whether you realize it or not, so do you.

Oh, by the way, Gail ... don't count Amos Fortune out yet; I'm betting that his luck will still hold out.

I could write volumes about my pleasure in watching Batman and his conversation with Harvey Dent, who's still one of the most complex, disturbing villains of all time; or the reconciliation of Bullock and Batman; the maturation of the relationship between Batman and Robin and the understanding of its importance to the popularity and viabilityof Batman as a character.

But I won't. I will give you only two words, two words that will require any decent comic book loving human being to RUSH to the store to buy this issue ...

Killer Moth.


Marc Burkhardt said...

Odd-Man is back?? I'M THERE!

Seriously, it looks like I'm draining my bank account on DC this week.

Scipio said...

There's actually a MUCH bigger surprise than Killer Moth, but I wouldn't spoil that for the world...

Chris said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one giving Battle for Bludhaven a chance!

(And interestingly, both Marvel and DC are bleeding me this week; 7 books apiece! Damn you, comics!)

Anonymous said...

Battle for Bludhaven #1 was the worst non-Joey Cavalieri written comic I've read in the past year. Mssrs. Palmiotti, Gray and Jurgens couldn't have come up with a worse comic if they'd conspired to. I had no intention of purchasing B4B #2.

I also had no plans to buy the next issue of Catwoman, since I had no idea who anybody in the first OYL issue was (outside of Selina and Batman) -- I don't recall either the new Catwoman or the crazy guy with the Protractor of Doom even being named in the book. It was a terrible jumping-on issue, which I thought was the point of the OYL books.

HOWEVER, based on your usually sterling recommendations, I will give the new issues of both of those books a try.

DON'T LET ME DOWN, Scipio. That $5.95 I'm going to plunk down could have gone to feed starving puppies.

Scipio said...

"the crazy guy with the Protractor of Doom"

That's Angle Man, for goodness sake! Kids today... .

And there's no accounting for taste; I liked them, don't know whether you will.

Bill D. said...

When I saw the page with the other surprise I'm sure you're talking about, I flipped back to the first page to make sure I didn't miss some sort of "For Scipio" dedication credit.

Scipio said...

Ha! As if any writer would bring back that character just because of me!

Anonymous said...

Yeah, at the end I thought "wow, Killer Moth and **** in the same issue, Scipio must be on cloud nine".

And it was a great issue as well, the best of the arc so far.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, but in which comic is the conversation with Dent and the appearance of Killer Moth?

I went all ADD when I clicked that wikipedia link and spent the next half hour reading up about King Shark and Scandal Savage. When I got back, I had lost the momentum of the post.

Was all this in the Villain's United Special?

Also, I'd like to see more of Odd Man. What I always liked about Batman was that he was just a regular guy, but he always held his own. I'd like to see the same thing but from a guy who REALLY shouldn't be fighting supervillains.

(word verification: amotqejq
I think I spent a weekend there once on spring break...)

Scipio said...

This week's issue of "Batman".

One my very earliest posts here at the Absorbascon advocate the return of Odd Man, actually...

Anonymous said...

It seems like DC had a "blogger love" week. Killer Moth and the other suprise for you, Scip, plus El Diablo and some lesser Naga Nagamen for Dave Campbell! Only thing missing was the trimphant return of the Heavy Yellow Lamp.

Anonymous said...

The things that please you about this week mostly displease me.

Yeah, I'm all for Killer Moth, but what's with the unnecessary wipe-outs of perfectly fine Bats villains? Kill Magpie, sure, but why the Ventriloquist, an inspired character?

The Checkmate issue has a lot of the characters and situations of the Ostrander Suicide Squad that I liked, but in a very uninspired actual story. On the down side, also, it tells me a lot more about the JSA's long-term situation than I wanted to know. I liked the JSA roughly like it was: of all the books DC needed to mess with, that one was not that needed fixing.

That's the basic problem with IC and the OYL books: they're NOT so far a general corrective to the hideous gloominess and pointless violence that has come to afflict the DC Universe like a fog bank. We saw that in the last issue of IC: they're not going to adminster a corrective to the depressive mood, Black Adam pushed the Psycho-Pirate's eyeballs out, oh hooray.

I was looking for a shift in *mood* as well as a shift in creative teams. Yes, some of the people they've got in place now are better than the people who were in place before, but if this as simple as "Hire good people, fire the hacks" then who needs a huge event? If there isn't a new editorial direction that tells the hacks, "Hey, stop being hacks", what's the point? Before long we'll have characters doing all sorts of nasty crap for no reason at all, characters dying just to sell an issue or two, and so on.

The Battle for Bludhaven stuff is a great example of this: characters who interest me, a plausible mood of grittiness, but also: jeezus, it's derivative of a bad story (No Man's Land) and just needlessly grim and generic in many respects.

If they're not going to fix what's driving even the enthusiasts away, in an era when the casual readers and collectors are long since gone, what's the point of it all? Just get good storytellers who can ignore bad decisions OR get a new editorial direction. DC seems to want to split the difference.

Anonymous said...

Count me in amongst those in glorious, giddy, geeky glee from this week's books.

(--*-- Spoilery Space --*--)

A distinctly-returned-to-human-form Killer Moth (with snazzy new duds, no less!) alone made me dance a jig in the store, but the returns of El Diablo, Odd Man, Argus, and Geist were glorious, too. Hey, not ALL of the Bloodlines characters sucked, right?

(A cynical person might think that it was "Trademark Renewal Time" at DC, but I am in too high spirits to complain.)

The only thing this week to, as they say in the vernacular, "harsh my buzz" was the see-the-body-on-panel-type-death of the Ventriloquist. As I've said before, he's one of the best modern additions to the Bat-Foes--why couldn't it have been someone like Gearhead, or Steeljacket, or Chancer, or the Corrosive Man, instead?

Scotus said...

"Kill Magpie, sure, but why the Ventriloquist, an inspired character?"

Couldn't disagree more. As much as I loved Starman, that one page where the Ventriloquist gets killed might well be my favorite thing Robinson's ever written.

Steven said...

Two responses to Thing:

One, the reason it had to be Ventriloquist and not Steeljacket (Ha!) was because you wouldn't have cared if the Man-Bat knock off was, um, knocked off. And it's been implied that the dummy really IS the evil one, so expect the glorious return of Scarface (on the arm of Rhino) sometime soon.

Secondly, the appearance of Odd Man simply for Trademark renewal? Is there really a publisher out there itching to title his comic book Odd Man? Not to drag us too far back into the "word control" debate, but unless they publish a book TITLED "Odd Man," they've renewed nothing.

On the other hand, the book is titles "Villains United." Does this mean DC has trademarked the word "Villain"?

Anonymous said...

Secondly, the appearance of Odd Man simply for Trademark renewal? Is there really a publisher out there itching to title his comic book Odd Man? Not to drag us too far back into the "word control" debate, but unless they publish a book TITLED "Odd Man," they've renewed nothing. -- Steven

As I understand it, comic companies have to renew character likenesses with the requisite names every decade(?) or so to maintain the rights in a "use it or lose it" fashion. That's why weird characters get yanked from limbo and dusted off every blue moon, or odd "skip week" events take place. I seem to recall an article in the Comics Buyer's Guide from ages ago that explained it much better than I am....

Anonymous said...

Thank's a lot, Scip...I've only been hitting the local shop monthly to pick up Infinite Crisis and anything else shiny, but now I'll hafta drag my tired, aching feet to my car and head down there.

Goddamn Killer Moth.

Anonymous said...

I guarantee you, no trademark issues were involved, period. I picked the characters myself completely out of my usual method of utter random goofiness.


Anonymous said...

Gail, the world is crying out for a Mr. Terrible mini.

Jon said...

My God, Gail, I'm sure you get this a lot, but all the Guinness in me and my love for the absurdly random just has to make me say that there is love pumping from my typically cold, dead fanboy heart.

Odd Man!

Anonymous said...

That was money extremely well spent. Batman? Awesome cameo! Supergirl and the Teen Titans? Crazy chicks are fun. Villains United? Where do I begin?

And I know a lot of hardcore enthusiasts hate the "gimmick" character that only pop up to challenge popular characters, but I giggled like a hyperactive school girl when I saw Dr. Psycho's recruit. Probably helps that I missed all his mid-90's storylines and only know of them through Wiki, but seeing the Big D was huge for me, to the point that I nearly missed the other early-90's gimmick character in the dogpile.

So awesome.

Gail Simone said...

You big sweeties.


Anonymous said...

I know Killer Moth has been back for a while (thank God they de-Charaxesed him), but could someone please post a damn picture? I'm dying to see what he looks like!