Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wednesday Is Any Day For All I Care #91

Halcyon #1
Kull: The Hate Witch #1
R.E.B.E.L.S. #22 (2011)

Damaged/Hollow Point (Radical, 2010, $1.00)
Either I’m feeling generous this holiday season, or these Radical Comics previews are getting progressively better. I don’t know who the fuck “creators” Michael & John Schwartz are, but the motherfucker that actually writes this shit is David Lapham, and I keep enjoying the hash he slings. Damaged is basically the Punisher as an ex-cop with an ex-partner feeling guilty about the spree killings he hasn’t stopped. However, that tired premise entertained for twelve pages at least, partially aided by Dennis Calero’s art not being shat upon by some digital “painter” from an Eastern Bloc country like on most Radical books. On the flip side is Hollow Point, with decent art by Elia Bonetti that also wasn’t dicked with. The starfucker faggot I never heard of on this piece is named Ron L. Brinkerhoff, but the high concept of an assassin commanded by ghosts to avenge the people he wrongfully killed doesn’t get play within the preview’s twelve pages. However, actual working writer David Hine does a good job with the tale that sees print of the hitman preparing to kill a child molesting priest who isn’t actually one of those two things. As usual, neither story will sway me to buy the related mini-series/graphic novels, but I didn’t hate either, and you wouldn’t have to pay me to read further.

Halcyon #1 (Image, 2010, $2.99)
This one was okay, until it wasn’t. It’s The Authority, but at a diminished scope with no sense of humor. Did Dave Sharpe come up with that font for the Pakistanis that looks like Arabic characters, but is just stylized English? That’s so much cooler than brackets & captions, or untranslated text, so kudos for that. Anyway, Pseudo-Midnighter figures out that the world is becoming increasingly, artificially non-violent. Then he fucks Apollo With A Coochie, who’s a stuck-up bitch, and reveals his concerns to her. Finally, Apollo with Tits shares this information (not the fucking part) with the Justice League of Non-Sodomy, and Dr. Quasi-Doom surrenders to authorities (not Authorities, nor Not Authority,) continuing the peacenik trajectory. The art by Ryan Bodenheim is better than that seen in most Authority knock-offs, but not as good as actually The Authority artists, except maybe those guys who drew The Authority after everybody was over it already. Oh shit, they only just stopped publishing The Authority, right? How about that shit?

Kull: The Hate Witch #1 (Dark Horse, 2010, $3.50)
I was just talking about David Lapham’s rising stock since he started telling other artists what to draw. He doesn’t tell Gabriel Guzman to do shit as interesting as the dude from the Damaged preview, but Kull has always been Conan with more royal crown and too little Crown Royal, so you can’t make a banana split out of a pear and some yogurt. Court intrigue + supernatural threat – Red Sonja equals reading Fox or Swank because you’ve already used up this month’s Hustler, but as second rate barbarian porn goes, this is a satisfying first installment of a story I don’t care enough to read the next part of. It does what it’s supposed to do and is worth what they ask of you.

R.E.B.E.L.S. #22 (DC, 2011, $2.99)
Red Sonja was a prototypical '70s badass chick, as defined by being a) a ball-buster who wielded a phallic weapon & b) a rape victim out for revenge. Man, writers of that period seemed to think sexual assault was the new radiation as a motivation for becoming vigilantes with uteruses. It quickly devolved into a tacky cliché that excused a bit of sadistic titillation to spice up the hoary and obligatory origin recitation. Political correctness eventually swept that nonsense aside, but this comic essentially pivots on its brief revival.

As a kid, I never liked Starfire, who I viewed as a hyperreactive bimbo. Sure she was sold into slavery and experimented on, but that happened to lots of heroes without their becoming tittybabies about it. Besides, Starfire was kind of a transparent Storm rip-off, only trading bondage for claustrophobia as the catastrophic fear to pivot some shorthand characterization upon. Still, with time I've come to realize that Starfire is one of the few DC heroines of note who is not a "legacy," and does not have a more famous male counterpart. Further, this comic insinuates Starfire was a victim of bestial child molestation, which I must admit is a really good excuse to want to blast holes in lizard people and shack up with the most inoffensive, sexually ambiguous teen sidekick to be found. It makes a sick kind of sense that Starfire was a late term holdover of the Red Sonja years, as it actually makes the character more sympathetic and, hell, palatable to me.

Aside from wallowing is revenge fantasy/culture shock, Tony Bedard's plot is really basic, but works for the manipulative action script that it is. The reliably solid art of Claude St. Aubin only fills half the issue, but relief of Kevin Sharpe draws a damned striking Starfire, and makes up for that crap job he did on that recent Legion story.

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