Box Four 10/11/10
incredibly rare week for me, having bought only one book from
DC. So it's worth noting Marvel made it into my short stack
twice, both times by appealing to my misguided youth. And
I'm not referring to my son. Dark Horse did the same thing,
except that I can't claim youth - they hit upon my misguided
brought to you by Illusive
Comics and Games of Santa Clara
Back in Quack
Stuart Moore has the unenviable task of
reminding everybody that Howard the Duck still roams the
Marvel Universe. So why not hearken back to his early days,
team him up with Spider-Man, and maybe, just maybe people
will notice. Already Nate Costa whispers in my ear "it's
only a clone… the real Howard is with the Savage Dragon."
But Moore does a good job with the story,
almost effectively blending the weirdness of Howard's world
with the ongoing tribulations of the webslinger. One of
Howard's old rogues gets a bit of an updating, but the years
have not been kind; honestly, Howard the Duck worked best
when being written by someone with a personal stake or at
least a personal anger. Moore really has neither, settling
for turning Howard into a feathered Harvey Pekar.
On that note, let's also add that the reason
Howard does not look like himself was so that Marvel wouldn't
run the risk of being sued by Disney. Would someone please
remind editorial that Disney now owns Marvel? It's okay
to return to that dichotomy of Howard being what Donald
really wanted to be if not for that naval commission.
In the back-up slot, Moore also contributes
a Man-Thing story, teaming with Joe Suitor to tell a muted
tale of sadness and a little bit of fear. It serves as a
slice of life, at least as much as one can have in the dark
corners of the Marvel Universe. Inexplicably, it's set years
ago, but in tone and content, it has no bearing on the main
Worth $3.99? Curse me for buying Howard
the Duck no matter how Marvel messes with him.
Brightest Day #11
DC Editorial, would you please, please
stop putting the final page cliff-hanger as the cover image?
This might have been a fine time to feature Deathstorm,
instead of the couple of other times he's been on the cover
and barely appeared, because this issue focuses on him.
In fact, the focus by Geoff Johns and Peter
J. Tomasi really does what this big event was supposed to
do - make Firestorm seem viable again. He has an opposite
number for the first time, instead of letting his greatest
enemy be his own incompetence.
The work on Aquaman doesn't seem to be
going so well. If anything, it just continues the decades
of abuse the character has suffered. A little arrogant,
a little misinformed, and oh, yes, Arthur Curry, for at
least the sixth time in your life, everything you thought
you knew is wrong. At least the new Aqualad has some
potential, and maybe the writers can sketch in enough motivation
for Black Manta's hatred. Despite being an Aquaman defender,
I've never seen Black Manta get beyond "because I'm a bad
guy, that's why."
Still, Brightest Day is like a weekly
Quarter Pounder. It's not really good for me, but I keep
enjoying it. It's also evidence that too many are being
sold - in addition to two writers, this book has four pencilers
and four inkers, with styles that only occasionally mesh.
Worth $2.99? If a Quarter Pounder with
Cheese is, so is Brightest Day. And it will taste
the same the second time around.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer #37
Spike commands an army of insectoids from
the control center of a steampunk zeppelin. His rival Angel
has developed super-powers and fights Lovecraftian menaces
all over the world, complaining that now he stinks of fish.
And though also empowered and the key to everything, Buffy
really can't keep her mind on the game, because she finds
herself attracted to Spike thanks to what must be supernatural
testosterone coursing through her system.
Yeah, that's the ticket.
We're nearing the end of "Season Eight"
of Buffy, which means that the world must be in grave
danger again. Of course it is, and of course everything
leads back to the ruins of Sunnydale. The Master has returned,
and oh, how I can hear Mark Metcalf's voice in my head.
It's fun, but still a little confusing, though for once
that's not because of Georges Jeanty's vague faces.
It works for fans, probably won't bring
in many new ones, and I can't shake a feeling of dread.
If it's the apocalypse, somebody we like isn't going to
Worth $2.99? Honestly, page for page, Buffy
the Vampire Slayer has been one of the best books on
the stand since Joss Whedon launched this "season" plan.
Metalocalypse: Dethklok #1
It looks and reads just like an episode
of the show, with the added bonus of being able to understand
the lyrics to Dethklok's songs. Of course it does, because
the show's creators took a direct hand in this book, and…
if you like Metalocalypse, you absolutely need this
book. It's sharp, satirical, painful and occasionally very,
Worth $3.99? You know who you are. I had
you at Metalocalypse. They had me, too.
TRON: Betrayal #1
Here's a movie tie-in that does almost
everything right. The characters are on model enough that
you can recognize who they're supposed to be. The plot actually
bridges the gap between the first movie and the sequel opening
in just a month or so. Yet it feels like it's moving things
forward, and filling in information you'll need.
In my heart of hearts, I get the strong
feeling that it will end in a cliffhanger that will take
me to the local movie theater - in 3-D and in IMAX as the
good lord intended. Or is that the good Flynn? But this
isn't just a cheap tie-in; it reads much more like the second
book of a series, with TRON: Legacy being the third.
It's safe to say that you can forget about
the Slave Labor book from a few years ago. This instead
picks up with Flynn trying to juggle his responsibilities
as CEO, imminent father and god to a new civilization as
the internet gets more and more sophisticated. He's revived
CLU and co-opted TRON, apparently leaving his friend Alan
in the dark as to what's really going on in the mainframe,
and why he disappears for days on end.
The only problem may be that really, you
need to know who the characters were before for this to
be accessible, and I still can't shake the fear planted
in me by people post-Comic-Con that there aren't as many
TRON fans as TRON fans want to believe.
Worth $4.99? The story is really interesting,
the art quality is high, and it's got at least twice the
usual page count of a $2.99 book. Don't make me do the math;
just accept that it's a good deal from Marvel.