Thursday, December 10, 2009

Wednesday Is Any Day For All I Care #50

DC Universe Holiday Special '09 #1
The Great Ten #1
Sergio Aragonés Groo: The Hogs of Horder #1
Vampirella: The Second Coming #3

To celebrate this column's fiftieth offering, I will include a book that actually shipped this week. Also, just plain posting on this blog is a pretty special thing lately, so relish it or whatever.

DC Holiday Special '09 #1 (DC, 2009, $5.99)
I quit buying DC specials like this years ago, when I realized they were all bland apocryphal bullshit that rarely featured characters that mattered to me anyway. Oh good, modern multicultural man Kyle Rayner's learned a lesson about the miracle of Kwanzaa. Who-fucking-rah. Plus, did you notice this thing is priced at about half a trade paperback collection, and I didn't pre-order it at a hefty discount t'boot? So of course, this one actually had a must read story at full retail...

  • Batman:Six ugly, silent, lame pages by Jay Faerber and Peter Nguyen. When the guy from Dynamo 5 is one of the biggest names on your book, and even he can't be bothered to script his portion, you must be saving a bundle on production costs.
  • Superman versus a snow golem and Semitic sentimentality over four pages that still somehow manage to run too long. They all want to be "The Kid Who Collects Spider-Man," and they're rarely a pimple on the ass of a very special episode of "Blossom." And now I'll double check to see if there's any Mayim Bialik naked pictures on the internet... Nope, but I bet I get a few extra hits each week off that last line. Thanks sappy non-name Superman creative team for your inspiration!
  • The Flash: This was actually a mildly amusing four pager by Amy Wolfram. I don't think I've heard of her, either. Daniel Leister's art is pretty good too, reminiscent of early Bill Tucci, when he inked himself like he was outlining a tattoo.
  • The Doom Patrol: Easily the flashiest art and coloring of the book, as Jonboy Meyers and Chuck Pires channel Battle Chasers. Sterling Gates from Supergirl turns in what may for all I know be a major piece of DP cannon that gently brushes your heart strings (if you wear them on your sleeve, anyway.) A choice six pages.
  • "Superboy": I'm pretty sure this fits somewhere in a moment of continuity I couldn't care less about. Five pages of reasonable story and art that steps on a decent premise.
  • Martian Manhunter: The reason I bought the book. Fred Van Lente of Action Philosophers and Incredible Hercules non-fame turns in a swell if glum hexagonal entry, influenced by some of the best (and one of the least best) J'Onn J'Onzz writers. The art by Nick Dragotta even recalls Ed Barreto on American Secrets (or for 99.75% of the reading public, David Mazzucchelli by way of Marcos Martin.)
  • Angel and the Ape: Gag strip by Andrew Pepoy.
  • Sgt. Rock: An inoffensive, largely silent pentagonal story by Billy Tucci, who now skips inking and merely sketches like he was doing a poorly shaded gray tattoo.
  • Enemy Ace in "Six Pages Drawn just like he was Blackhawk, or Reuben Flagg, or any other Howard Chaykin Hero." Not written like one, though.
  • B'wana Beast: The only reason anyone would want to read Man's Man Beau Smith writing this dork is if it were in the Johnny Bravo-meets-Tarzan mode of the Justice League cartoon. So of course he quotes an Eighteenth Century hymn over four pages drawn by lesser '90s Punisher artist Gary Kwapisz.
  • Captain Marvel in "That Overused Cel Animation Style With Hamfisted Message!"
  • Deadman: By Scott Kolins, what brung us thet nigh-incomprehensible Solomon Grundy mini-series. Dark, depressed, and with a confusing abortion rights reference reference. At least it was seven pages, not issues.
  • Red Tornado in "Nobody Gives A Goddamn About Red Tornado (so only his alter ego appears here!)" Four pages by David Tischman are better than he deserves, and John Smith has an unrecognizable life behind his eyes as drawn by Adam Archer.
  • The Huntress in "What Was That Bullshit?" J. Torres writes like he should have been penciling this square story. Couldn't the Huntress at least have had sex with the retail clerk while making a snarky comment?
  • Ragman in "The One About the Retroactively Jewish Super-Hero Who Isn't Moon Knight, But Might As Well Be." The goys may enjoy the menorah saga, but the yids will yell "oy!" The art by Brian Ching makes up for it, and Rob Levin lays it all down in a trinity of pages (offensive pun shamefully intended.)
  • Adam Strange in "Wait, New Year's Eve Was A Story Option?" The novelty alone would have won me over, but there were some good jokes besides. Shannon Eric Denton should have drawn the thing as well, but Nick Napolitano isn't nearly as awful here as in his New Titans run (though dysentery wasn't as awful as his New Titans run.) When I hit the third page and saw him miscolored with brown hair, I half expected it was Captain Comet subbing. That's Adam Blake's lot in life, I suppose.

The Great Ten #1 (DC, 2009, $2.99)
Under a nifty cover by Stanley "Art Germ" Lau is... Scott McDaniel? One of the few long-lived artists whose work I actively detest? Taking for granted things are terrible on the art front, Tony Bedard writes a mean Ultimate Oriental Doctor Strange origin story. Actually, Accomplished Perfect Physician is a fairly Western-friendly P.O.V. character amongst some rather nasty Red Chinese caricatures. While I enjoyed this first issue, I wonder how most of the rest will come off, seeing as each of the Ten will be getting similar treatment.

Groo: The Hogs of Horder #1 (Dark Horse, 2009, $3.99)
I haven't read Groo since I was in grade school, so can somebody tell me, was it always this political? Parallels to last year's financial collapse abound, and while the jokes are generally stale, the commentary is spot-on.

Vampirella: The Second Coming #3 (Harris, 2009, $1.99)
Al Rio, the poor man's Ed Benes when Ed was the poor man's J. Scott Campbell, seems to have worked under a pseudonym in the previous two issues. That's my only explanation for why the book still looks about the same-- vaguely resembling Bryan Hitch by way of Chaos! Comics. That sounds mean, but the book has always looked good (light years from Rio's usual stuff,) just not quite appropriate for Phil Hester's story. The battle of the sexes/vampires vs. zombies riff continues toward a final resolution. The series remains squarely in the realm of "okay," but far short of the career resurrection Vampi needs.


mathematicscore said...

As discussed at the Idol-head, I Holidayed it up with the DCU.
A call and response.

Batman-Poor man's Paul Pope by way of Dustin Nguyen. Weak.
Superman-I liked the Golem as allusion to Superman's lineage. Pretty forgetable otherwise.
The Flash-Agreed. I like Wally, if only because he has fun with his superpowers.
Doom Patrol- I dug it, but was a little uncomfortable since I'm following the current Giffen run and he is highlighting all this weird inapropriate shiat with Mento and Elastigirl or whatever her name is. Ick.
Superboy- When curveballs just miss entirely.
Martian Manhunter- I really felt like this was an introduction to an ongoing series, while still keeping with in the confines of the holiday issue. I enjoy a more stoic and measured J'onn, a superman visiting instead of raised here, as much studying us as living here. The 5.99 doesn't sting as bad here.
Angel and Ape- These guys are DC property? Who knew?
Sgt Rock- What you said
Enemy Ace-Ditto
B'wana Beast- I think they should have kept Morrison's take as an actual African, but, whatever.
Capt Marvel-Well said, but that's par for the course.
Deadman- I've seen worse.
Red Tornado-Yep!
Huntress-I sort of dug this for some reason.
Ragman- I like Ragman a lot, but found this merely serviceable.
Adam Strange-Like Ragman, he's among by favorite third tier characters, and this wasn't half bad. The Kuberty faces sort of weirded me out though.


Frank Lee Delano said...

Man, I hope your callback didn't take near as long as my initial post. I lost something like two hours there without realizing it.

How is Giffen's Doom Patrol, anyway? That's a property that no one, not even Morrison, has ever won me over with. Lacking continuity baggage, can I look forward to this being good Giffen, or is this Keith coasting on confusing dialogue, vague plot and bad attitude? If it helps, I dug Ambush Bug, JLI, L.E.G.I.O.N. and Suicide Squad, less so Trencher, Legion, and Giffen obscurities.

mathematicscore said...

Nah, these were all pretty from the hip impressions. My teachers always hated that I don't show any work.

As for Doom Patrol, it's a damn sight better than DC/Wildstorm Dreamwar, which is the only negative experience I've had with Giffen so far. It's got JLI's balance of action and character developement, with his more cynical stuff, of which I think L.E.G.I.O.N. would qualify. That said, I've only read a few issues of anything involving Legions present or future, so, grain of salt.
Bottom line, I'd go back to my initial statement, it's JLI with even fewer sacred cows.
Oddly enough, I've been really enjoying his Magog too. And the Metal Men back ups in DP are the most fun the Metal Men have ever been.

Frank Lee Delano said...

Thanks for the opininin', M.C. I gave Magog #1 a positive review, so it sounds like I'll have two Giffen trades to pick up in the coming months. "Metal Men" was my initial draw, but thumbing through the lead feature piqued my interest.

I just pulled Dreamwar out to index for the Idol-Head, since it qualifies as worthless, useless, and disposable once I get that knocked out.


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