again this week, we had trouble getting a look at DC's books
ahead of time. So you'll find at the end of this column recommendations
"sight unseen," that is, some releases we're willing
to gamble on and the reasons for that wager. For now, that's
where the DC books go. Better luck next week -- Diamond swears
they'll have this worked out soon.
Recommendation of the Week:
Bullseye: Greatest Hits #1
writer: Daniel Way
artist: Steve Dillon
Since it may be years before we see Kevin
Smith finish his defining Bullseye mini-series, it only
makes sense for Marvel to give the go-ahead for a new one
that delves into the assassin's origins. While Smith noodles
around with The Green Hornet and a sequel to Clerks,
writer Daniel Way just might have made sure that we never
care how Smith's Bullseye story ends.
Instead, we get drawn into a story that
makes the character even more frightening than before, because
Daredevil has nothing to do with it. Kingpin has nothing
to do with it. Stripped of his usual surroundings, Bullseye
is still just …evil. Pure evil.
And the book is halfway done before he
even appears, imprisoned and one hopes incapacitated. One
would be foolish to hope, as Way has spent the first half
of the book building our dread. Two government agents bicker
and debate the assassin's crimes on their way to interrogate
him in a high-security government prison even more exclusive
than The Vault.
Clearly, one of the agents bears a grudge
(and a scar) as a result of his last encounter with Bullseye.
His partner, physically smaller and much weaker but stronger
mentally, wants to just get in and out. When things get
too tense, even before meeting their adversary face to face,
he has to retire into a bathroom for some meditation time.
Since Bullseye always comes back from physical beatings,
perhaps it is smart to throw him up against someone with
a knack for psychology.
Not that it helps. The story Bullseye tells
may be trite (and he gets called on it), but there are still
clearly elements he's not sharing. Those elements reveal
themselves through Steve Dillon's layouts.
Maybe it's that nobody draws smug like
Dillon, thus making him a perfect match for the character.
More likely, it's that Dillon may have a slightly cartoony
style, but knows how to act through it. The artist understands
facial expressions that belie the words characters speak,
revealing the truth within. For all that, something about
the people in Dillon's world seems rather ordinary, making
it all the more fantastic. With all his simplicity, Dillon
conveys the tension of ordinary people caught up in something
much bigger than they'd ever have wanted, whether it be
in Preacher, The Punisher or here.
Dillon's art alone would make this book
worth a look, but Way is setting up something definitely
worth following. After this issue, I don't much care how
Bullseye got that target in his forehead, or even how he
became the master marksman that he is. I only care what's
going to happen next.
Avengers #501: This issue, NOBODY
dies! That's because they're all too busy picking up the
pieces and trying to figure out just what the hell happened.
Due to various timing problems, the tie-in books jump all
over the place, with most of last month's taking place after
the events of this issue of Avengers. If you have
any doubts, stay on this book, because everything ends up
back here anyway. And David Finch does draw superheroes
Elektra: The Hand #1 Putting Elektra
in this book serves only as a ploy to get you to pick up
a martial arts story. She appears only in an opening sequence
to ask about the history of The Hand, the order of ninjas
that trained her and eventually resurrected her. But there's
no need to feel ripped off. Christian Gossett takes some
time off of masterminding The Red Star to return
to his Marvel roots without having to do standard superhero
stuff. There's a touch of manga here, but only to serve
Exiles #52: I don't exactly know
what's going on with this issue, but again, you can dip
a toe into this book without much investment. It's a two-part
arc, involving The Fantastic Four, a really warped version
of The Avengers, Ego The Living Planet and if you look carefully,
The Simpsons. Oh, yeah - the Exiles are here, too.
Gambit #1: The trouble with Marvel
putting out so many X mini-series within weeks of each other
is that their basic formula becomes pretty apparent. Come
up with some excuse to separate the X-Man from the rest
of the team, ideally take him to his "home," and then watch
unfinished business tear him apart. Still, this one has
some promise, as it starts delving into a character that
is terribly self-destructive even as he throws on the Cajun
charm. Though formulaic, it makes a good read.
Send You Scrambling For The Back Issues:
The Mighty Thor #84/586: Even for
the gods, the universe is an endless cycle of birth, death
and rebirth. One god will challenge the system. One god
will become wise even though he often acts pretty stupidly.
One comic book tied in to Avengers: Disassembled
may really be changed forever. But if you're jumping into
Michael Avon Oeming's storyline now, you need to go back
and get what you missed. Therefore, it is with reservations
that this gets a recommendation - but it is good stuff.
Birds of Prey #73: There's a reason
that this Gotham-related book isn't involved in the "War
Games" crossover: it's doing just fine on its own, thank
you. Gail Simone has delivered issue after issue of top-notch
action and intrigue. With this issue, Oracle may manage
to defeat one of Superman's foes more handily than The Man
of Steel ever has, and Simone will make you believe it.
Majestic #2: Worth reading just
to see how thin the membrane between the Wildstorm Universe
and the DCU is about to become.
Spider-Man #65: Bendis offers a standalone story as
Peter, Mary Jane, etc. get detention. The last time Bendis
spent an issue just digging through his characters' heads,
we got a masterpiece with Aunt May in therapy.
and write to us and let us know what you think, or talk
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