Monday, July 25, 2005

So, comics of interest to me from... last week? Week before? Now that they're not coming on the Saturday after they're released, it's harder for me to remember. Anyway...

All-Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder from DC Comics:
Drawn by ultra-hot artist Jim Lee and written by the man who made Batman cool again in the 80s, Frank Miller, this is a book that had some pretty heavy expectations weighing it down. (The idea behind the All-Star name is that DC gets big name creators to do stories featuring their top characters, and they just have to do the best Superman or Batman story they want, without having to fit it into current continuity or anything. Later this year, hopefully, we'll see All-Star Superman by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely, who did WE 3, my favorite comic of this year. Or maybe last year. So hard to remember.) And some of the comments I've seen online, with the exception of the typically-reliable Shiny Shelf, don't feel like it lives up to those expectations. Because it's just getting so-so reviews.

Whatever. I really liked it, for the most part. It's a good, solid retelling of Robin's origin, told in a much more clear and interesting and memorable fashion than the current Batman comics seem to be capable of. If the writing doesn't seem to be particularly groundbreakiing, it's because Frank Miller is writing it using the same voice he uses for all his Batman comics, and that's a voice that everyone else has been ripping off since The Dark Knight Returns premiered back in 1986 or whenever. But he still does it better than anyone.

Still, there's no excuse for the full-page shot of Bruce Wayne's love interest Vicki Vale to be hanging around her apartment in a lacy bra, panties, and high-heeled shoes. It's gratuitous, silly-looking, and it happens so early on, it's hard for the book to recover from it. Still, one misstep isn't enough to ruin the comic for me. (It's not like anyone is possessed by a yellow fear alien or anything.) So it lived up to my expectations just fine.

Gun Candy #1 from Image Comics:
Okay, the lead story about an 18-year-old assassin dressed as a cute schoolgirl is probably just as gratuituous as the cheesecake shots in All-Star Batman and Robin, but it fits in with the style of the rest of the comic, so I'm okay with it. Lots of cute chicks, guns, and explosions, it's completely a male fantasy comic, and I'm okay with that. (And nice art by Brian Stelfreeze.) The second half of this flip-book features a story by Chuck Dixon, Sanford Greene, and personal fave Jason Pearson, another installment in The Ride, the anthology series that introduced the characters in Gun Candy. The series features a bunch of different stories, all based around a '68 Camero, and this story brings the car and some kids to New Orleans for Mardi Gras... and some unexpected mayhem. Again, nice art, an okay adventure story, and it doesn't work too hard trying to be any more than it needs to be.

Zombie King #0 from Image Comics.
Featuring an opening sequence with a zombie fucking a cow up the ass. Pretty much every review I've seen online fixates on that point, as if somehow that cheapens a medium where the yellow fear alien story is due to be reprinted in hardcover. Zombie cow-lovin aside, I thought the book was hilarious. Looking foward to more from the always-reliable Frank Cho, creator of the comic strip Liberty Meadows.

And that's all I feel like writing today. I haven't read most of the smart comics yet, anyway, except for Smoke #2 from IDW. Every bit as good as the first issue. A nifty political action-thriller story, with fantastic art.


No comments: