Sunday, November 29, 2009

CBD 11/29/2009

Image United, Detective Comics, The Tick New Series, Ultimate Avengers, Beasts of Burden

Image United #1 - I had no interest in getting this until I read something recently that talked about it and it got in my head for some reason. It is both a crossover book AND an image comic filled with all of the characters I was turned off of in the 1990's. It is slightly better than my expectations, but not great. I don't think I will get any further issues, but this wasn't exactly terrible. There is something that I secretly like about this stuff but am afraid to admit.

Beasts of Burden #3 - This is really a great series. I've said this before, but the art is fantastic, and the writing is every bit as good as the art. This comic is about animals that dabble in the supernatural. The animals are cute and compelling and distinctive. The dialog is natural and fast paced. It would make a fantastic cartoon in my opinion, which isn't always the case. There is a lot of action and suspense in this issue, as well as humor in the form of banter. Great stuff. It is a tiny bit to the right of pg, but I think this would be a good comic for kids over 10 or so, and it certainly works for me as well.

Ultimate Avengers #4 - I think that I would absolutely buy any comic where the focus was all the big powerful heroes trying to beat up Captain America, and Captain America Schooling them as he is inclined to do (same thing with Batman... It's a thing of mine). Again, I don't think I will continue to get this title, but something about it calls to me when I see it on the shelf. I think that I am hoping it will be a reprint of the first Ultimates series.

Detective Comics #859 - This is another chapter in the Batwoman origin story. I am still really enjoying this. It's nice to read this as it isn't a story we've seen before.

The Tick New Series #1 - Reviewed Here... Go buy it, you'll love it. If you don't love it then you are incapable of love and I can't help you.

The Issue at Hand: The Tick New Series #1

The first issue of the new ongoing Tick series came out last Wednesday. Unfortunately for me i didn't pick up my comics until today. The really great news is that in addition to there being a copy in my box, there was also a copy on the shelf. This is in a store that doesn't tend to use a lot of shelf space for comics that aren't from the top four or five publishers, but it was there. Hopefully it will catch the eye of someone who has fond memories of the Tick from its various incarnations who didn't realize that a new series was starting.

Despite some very unnecessary self deprecation by the author, both on his blog, and on the Arachnida page at the back of the comic, This is an exceptional book. I understand the fear that there will be disappointment from people who are only familiar with the Tick from the very excellent Fox cartoon that ran in the 1990's. There are a lot of characters that were created exclusively for the show, and they will not be in the comic. There are a lot of characters from the cartoon that created very strong and lasting impressions on people. I don't see this as a negative.

In the case of the Tick, I think that the humor and the tone are most important. The cartoon recreated and perfected the tone and humor of the original comics. Subsequent comics in my opinion were created with an awareness of what had already been done.

This latest offering does the same thing. It draws upon the tone and the humor, it uses existing characters, and adds it's own new elements. Cereno perfectly creates situations and stories within the existing framework of the character, and does so at a level that keeps you from even wondering about the creative team as you are reading it. This is an extremely funny new book that feels familiar in the best possible way. Les McClaine's art is fantastic in the same way as the writing is. When you look at it, it looks like what you are expecting. The book will get a lot of people's money based on the fact that it elicits this sense of familiarity. The good news is that you get more than just the familiar in both the writing and the art. The expressions that McClaine brings out in the characters are what really tie the comic together.

Issue number 1 focuses on two separate Christmas parties. One is for heroes at the Comet Club, and the other is for sidekicks in the Sidekick Lounge at the same venue. In each party there is a gift exchange going on, and stories are being told by both the sidekicks and a group of super-villains gathered in a lounge at the institution in which they are housed. There is an underlying story relating to the gifts, but we also see a handful of times when the Tick ruined a number of villains Christmas-time exploits.

The Tick New Series #1 is good comics. It's funny, well written, and the art is spot on. The 4.95 price tag may seem a bit steep in relation to mainstream comics, but don't let that stop you. If you love the Tick, you will love this. If you are a fan of funny riffs on superheroes, you won't be disappointed.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Tale of One Bad Rat

I borrowed this Bryan Talbot Graphic novel (Dark Horse Books) from the library a few weeks ago, and just got around to reading it.

The title of this book is in the style of Beatrix Potter. The cover art and font are obviously a nod to the small volumes of stories featuring animals that many of us grew up loving. The story relates to Potter in a number of ways, and is a nice story about overcoming abuse and learning to live and finding peace with yourself. It is a bit neat, and perhaps overly straightforward in its telling and its resolution, but it is still very well done.

There are several themes that run the course of the book. One is a connection to Beatrix Potter, One is vivid visions or hallucinations, One is the theme of child sexual abuse and the toll it takes on the victim, and the last one is rats. These are all tied together in a way that helps us to feel what the protagonist, a girl named Helen, who is homeless when we first meet her and has a pet rat. is going through, and to really see how she is coping with a history of many years of sexual abuse by her father, and emotional neglect by her mother.

Helen goes from one place to another, encountering something at nearly every point that triggers flashbacks to her abusive past. It is something that is ever present, and keeps driving her on. She has a strong interest in Beatrix Potter and goes more or less on a pilgrimage of sorts the the area in which Potter lived and wrote her stories about. In addition to meeting a number of people who just want to use her, she does encounter a number of good souls.

The overall feeling of the book is one of hope. Helen takes control of her situation by the end of the book and it ends on a good note. She is greatly helped toward this end by people she happens upon when she is at a low point, who end up being good and kind to her and step into a positive sort of parental role that she had been lacking in her life.

It's a good story, I'm glad I read it, but I don't particularly love it. The art is good but not a style I like very much, and the story is well written, but didn't blow me away. It's a good book to borrow first.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Talkin bout the same thing over and over

I picked up this weeks comics today. It was a light but good week and I picked up a little bonus comic to read as well.

The Unwritten #7 came out, and it continues to be really good and really compelling. The is great, the covers are even better, and the writing is pretty awesome. I love the fictional geography aspect of this probably more than anything else, but the whole conceit of the power of stories and their influence and their standing as a commodity of sorts is really neat. There is a lot going on in this. There are a variety of things that will eventually come together, and the promise of learning a lot more as everything develops. This is one of those smart comics that doesn't come off as pretentious or trying to be more than it is. One of the core stories is basically Harry Potter. The power is in stories, no matter what the stories are.

Batman and Robin #6 - I am not loving every second of this title, but I am liking it a lot. It is going a long way to keep me reading it. The team of Dick and Damian is a good one. Both characters have strong well defined personalities, and bring a lot to the table. Both provide different perspectives on the Batman identity and make for good action and an interesting dynamic. The Jason Todd Red Hood and his crazy sidekick Scarlet were a good counterpoint to Batman and Robin, and the flamboyant Flamingo was a tough enemy, but still came across as sort of generic and with only the flashiness and brutality standing inplace of actual character. I am enjoying this more than a lot of relatively recent Batman stuff. I still like Batwoman more, but this is pretty good for a Batman fix.

I also picked up SuperGod, but haven't read it yet. Touching the ultra glossy cover was like taking a time machine back to the 90's but I don't hold that against it. I am pretty sure I will like this just as I tend to at least LIKE most things Warren Ellis writes. I'll talk about it more when I don't have to make stuff up to do so...