Flashpoint #3 (2011)
Ghost Rider: Fear Itself #1 (2011)
Roger Langridge's Snarked! #0
Dollhouse: Epitaphs #1 (Dark Horse, 2011, $3.50)
With the exception of Firefly/Serenity, Joss Whedon product is good enough to entertain me in brief chunks (2-3 hour spans max,) but then I'm ready to move on. The least of his efforts that I've been exposed to (with the exception of Alien: Resurrection,) was the television series Dollhouse. The show struck me as Alias without the charisma laboring under a quasi-feminist exploration of the institutional misogyny of the spy genre. In other words, it was rather boring without offering near the unnerving twists that it would like to have believed it could deliver. Unaware that the series wrapped on an apocalyptic note, Epitaphs was not what I was expecting, which isn't the same as being interesting. We've got a grade school Neo trained by Alan Tudyk and a bunch of people who have been brainwashed into believing that they're the same person fighting legions of
Flashpoint #3 (DC, 2011, $3.99)
This was a mistake on my part. Three of the five issues of this mini-series were offered to me at a dollar each, but I knew after the first and the events to follow that I did not want. I accidentally ordered this anyway, so it behooves me to poop on it some more. Seven of the first eight pages are devoted to saying "psyche" on the stupid shock ending to the previous installment, but I guess with fifteen friggin' spin-off books the actual world building and general scope is done elsewhere. There's a two page prelude to one of those books, then another six pages to forming a super-team that was supposed to have gotten together in the first issue, were it not for Bat-dickery. The final ten pages were spent rescuing a character so that he could appear in another tie-in mini, plus a totally limp cliffhanger. Oh my gosh, a bunch of red shirts have laser scopes targeting our super-heroes! However will they esca--zzzzzzzzzz. Your extra dollar supports a cardstock cover, decompressed story pages (i.e. more half-&-whole splashes,) plus four weak character sketch pages.
Ghost Rider (Marvel, 2011, $3.99)
Marvel Comics has a program wherein retailers can send stripped covers from Flashpoint tie-in books to them in exchange for a Fear Itself variant cover. This is based on the premise that the books are not very good, were ordered in excessive quantities, and have been undercut by the "New 52" making the Elseworld doubly irrelevant. This comic is the glass house shipping address for those covers.
Under a mark of shame Kubert Brother cover are two of the worst Ghost Rider stories I've ever read in his already less than illustrious career. After a first page of grating first person exposition, there's a two page spread of GR villains where physics are damned, there's an awful lot of negative space between goofy looking characters, and I'm pretty sure someone gave the artist the wrong reference for Lilith. Following that is a badly constructed title page, and then story pages that prove Keith Giffen was totally doing uncredited layouts on Doom Patrol, because Matthew Clark's storytelling leaves something to be desired. A couple of early Danny Ketch period foes turn up, both of whom I thought were already dead, to be killed by a new Ghost Rider with breasts. They struck me as being out of character anyway, but it still sucks to throw a couple of decent bad guys under the bus after having already illustrated how lousy the Ghost Rider rogues gallery was, all in the name of the worst designed Ghost Rider ever. So many inglorious landmarks in this one book.
Of all the many things people have gotten wrong with the character in the past, the avoidance of adding chesticles and a corseted waistline to a flaming skeleton wasn't among them. Neither was carrying the handle of a motorcycle like a lightsaber until it was called upon to manifest a motorcycle. This bowdlerizing of Morrisonian mad ideas just amounts to an opportunity for the artist to draw a motorcycle in as few panels as possible in a book whose lead character counts riding a motorcycle as 50% of the appeal. After twenty pages of the thinnest and dumbest event tie-in possible (people punching people from that other mini-series,) we're "treated" to the origin of the new Ghost Rider with ovaries afire. She's some sort of Nicaraguan warrior monk chosen to be the new spirit of vengeance by a mysterious mystic. Again, the only reason people bought Ghost Rider comics ever was because he's a flaming skeletal biker who smacks people with a chain and rides a boss hog. Save the hoodoo for Dr. Strange. Even on its established terms, this book is garbage, but it's doubly useless when it's supposed to be Harley porn but reads like a rice rocket brochure.
Snarked #0 (kaboom!, 2011, $1.00)
My firm belief is that the printed comic book is a dying art form that has choked itself with its increasing insularity while alienated women, children, and general audiences. Like cigarettes, this is a habit best started young, so a kid's comic by the acclaimed writer of The Muppet Show, influenced by the timeless work of Lewis Carroll, should serve as an ideal gateway to new readers of all ages. Too bad this fucking piece of shit chokes on a goddamned meaty cock. The characters, truncated story and gags are all dog shit. Eight pages into this motherfucker and the anorexic story cuts out, leading to a premature letters page, a sketch gallery of Langridge's unimpressive art, a pair of diary pages from a barely introduced character, a three page poem from the 19th century, a faux newspaper page, two more pages of Victorian poetry, a couple of fun & games activity pages, and a wanted poster. This is like the Black Dossier of kids comics, and I mean that in only the most derisive, creator-up-his-own-asshole, molesting the target audience with artistic pretense way. For my dollar, I demand the opportunity to roll up my copy of Snarked #0 and beat Roger Langridge about the face and neck for being such a cunt.